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Arcam FMJ P7 with Rotel RSP 1066

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Tracey, Jul 8, 2003.

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  1. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Ok, I thought I'd start a new thread about this. I'm still weighing up my options (and my budget) and I'm now thinking about auditioning the Arcam FMJ P7 power amp with a Rotel 1066 processer. The Rotel is £2k cheaper than the AV8 processor and that £2k can go towards buying a new set of speakers. so I'm thinking of listening to the following:

    Arcam P7
    Rotel RSP 1066
    B&W Nautilus 805 fronts
    B&W Nautilus HTM2 centre
    B&W CDM SNT rears
    Haven't decided on which sub yet, any ideas???

    I really want a 7 channel amp so I can either bi-amp the front channels or use the extra two channels for some outdoor speakers. Also I love the Arcam sound.

    what worries me though is would this paired with my Arcam DV27 sound good with music? At the moment I love the sound of my system with music, nice tight bass, detailed midrange and a nice treble (I have an AVR100 bi-amped with an Alpha 10P3). what I don't want is something that is going to sound harsh and boomy. I've heard that the B&W speakers can be a bit forward, but is that just the cheaper speakers in the range?

    I was also considering KEF but I'm not sure of prices or how big the centre speakers are (it must fit in my cabinet, putting it on top of the tv isn't an option).

    So any suggestions? I'm hoping to keep the power amp and then possibly upgrade the processor at a later date (much later).
     
  2. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Surely by using a Rotel processor you will end up with the Rotel sound, regardless of power-amp?

    If you really want Arcam, budget for the AV8 and use a Rotel amp.
     
  3. Tracey

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    You see that's the problem, this power amp/processer stuff is all new to me, so it's the processor that determines how something will sound is it, I didn't realise that, shows how much I know!!
     
  4. Jeff

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    I agree, much better to go for the AV8 proc and Rotel power amp. As long as the power amp is powerfull enough to drive the speakers in your room size and at the volumes you like then the processor will make a much greater difference.
     
  5. Nobber22

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    Hi Tracey

    I know this thread follows on from the other interesting one and I (please note with much more limited experience of hi-end kit than other's here) was VERY surprised when someone threw B&W 805 speakers into the ring, especially at the expense of the full Arcam set. IMO the Arcam processor/amp is a once-in-a-decade buy, while matching speakers are likely to come and go. You move house and have different room size, you decide floorstanders are more your thing, etc.

    Those 805's are FARKIN BIG money in anyone's language (the matching stands are £400 ***!) and I think skew the processor decision for someone like yourself, who even tho' you are looking at hi-end kit, are still on a budget. :( I can see the benefit of the whole she-bang of Arcam/B&W working brilliantly, but I feel that one or the other with, say Rotel, is a (unneccessary?) compromise.

    I would get the fulll Arcam Av8/P7 setup, but wouldn't spend £2500 on standmounters on your budget. How about something like Dynaudio Contour Mkii (?) for around £1300 or Jamo D8 or something similar? No-one can tell me that matching speakers from this price range will do the Arcam's a dis-service! :eek: They will certainly be a huge step up from what you have now. Even keeping your existing speakers and using them with the Arcam will vastly improve on your current amp/s.

    You seem to be driving yourself crackers trying to decide on everything at once. I know it's a lot of money and shouldn't be rushed, but honestly: buy the Arcam kit today, then shop for new speakers next week. :smashin:
     
  6. Tracey

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    thanks, sounds like the AV8 is the one to audition then. Are there any 7 channel power amps around that are cheaper than the P7? I really want a 7 channel amp if possible.
     
  7. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Oops, that's the price of the Signature model, not the "regular ones" :blush: . Still pricey tho'!
     
  8. Tracey

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    I think my problem is that I have a bit of spare cash and I've decided to treat myself, ordinarily I wouldn't even dare to demo the Arcam kit, but I thought £1600 was loads for a DVD player but do I regret buying the DV27, now way, I love it to bits. I have looked at every processor around and the Arcam looks nice, does eveything I want it to do and hopefully will sound even better in stereo than what I have now. I've never auditioned the Rotel kit but I've never been that keen on the look of it (I know it's more important to have something that sounds good) but if I can get something that sounds and looks good then that's even better.

    I know what I'm like and I don't doubt that IF I get the Arcam kit I will definitely upgrade all my speakers, after all in about 18 , months time I will have paid off all my direct debits so why not start a new one to pay for some decent speakers! My other problem is that I could buy the AV8/P7 and still spend another £3k on speakers if I wanted to, but I just can't justify spending that much in one go. I know the best thing is to just go a demo the Arcam stuff, which I will do, but only when I have the cash to buy it becuase I know I'll want it straight away!

    :clap:
     
  9. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Get in there! :D Everyone else is buying their stuff on credit, so why shouldn't you? :cool:
     
  10. Tracey

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    exactly, life's too short to save, I'd rather die penniless but happy! :rotfl:
     
  11. NicolasB

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    Tracey,

    IMO the Arcam P7 is a very nice power amp for the price. But then again the AV8 is a very nice processor for the price. I'm a bit concerned about the fact that your budget seems to have jumped upwards by £2000 when I wasn't looking.

    I think you need to take a serious step back from all this and start again from scratch. Ask yourself:
    • How much do you want to spend?
    • What's the absolute maximum that you could spend if it got you something nice?
    • What is it that you want the system to do?
    • In what way is your present system unsatisfactory?
    There are an awful lot of complications here. For example, there are two different ways you can play CDs with a DVD player and a processor. The first is to use the player just as a transport - to read the data off the disc - have the digital data fed through the digital connection to the processor, and then have the processor convert it into an analogue signal which is then fed to the power amp. The second is to have the player do the digital-to-analogue conversion, and have the processor act simply as an analogue pre-amp.

    Not surprisingly, these two processes don't sound the same. Other things being equal, which sounds better will depend very on the relative quality of the DACs and surrounding circuitry in the player and in the processor. The DV27 is really pretty good at doing D/A conversion - better than an AV8, and (I would assume) significantly better than a Rotel processor, so in terms of the sound quality you get playing CDs you might want to focus on the ability of a processor to act as a pure analogue pre-amp. Does it have an analogue bypass? (If not then you basically have to have the processor do the conversion whether you like it or not). If so, how effective is it?

    Or maybe you want to have a whole separate stereo system with a stand-alone analogue pre-amp, power amp and speakers, with the player being the only thing that is shared between music and movie setups?

    Or you might not want to have the player doing the conversion at all, because a pre-amp or a processor in analogue bypass mode can't do bass management, which means (unless you have some other bass management device available) you can't redirect bass from the front speakers to the subwoofer. So if you want to play back (say) a recording of a large cathedral organ which has a 32-foot stop, and your speakers are stand-mounts, then you might decide you actually want to have the processor do the conversion after all.

    So questions like "which component makes the biggest difference to the sound?" are often not something one can easily answer. If the processor is doing the conversion as well as pre-amplification then the choice of processor will have a huge influence on sound quality. If the player is doing the conversion then not as much (but still quite a bit).

    Opinions vary, but I'd say that, much of the time, the power amplifier has the least influence on the quality of the sound out of all the other things. (Quality of recording, quality of source, quality of pre-amplification, quality of speakers, quality of room acoustics, and quality of cables being the other factors on the list, but by no means necessarily in that order). This assumes that you do at least have an amplifier that is capable of generating enough current to comfortably drive the speakers - some speakers are much more current-hungry than others. But I'd say that, once you get to the point where the amplification is "good" as opposed to "bad" that the power amp is probably the thing you'd want to be upgrading last.

    But some people would disagree, and there's also the issue that power amp technology isn't advancing very fast at the moment, while processors are - a processor that's 5 years old is in danger of obsolescence. A 5-year-old power amp probably has another 10 or 15 years in it....

    Tracey: I'm obviously rambling a bit, here, but that's because I want you to appreciate the fact that there really isn't any simple answer to the questions you're asking. I think you need to ask yourself a few more questions about priorities and budget before we can really help you.
     
  12. mick23

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    tracy as you like the arcam sound it makes sense to stick with arcam,
    why not demo your dvdplayer with the arcam processer+power amp, then with the rotel 1075 power, also try a85 integrated or a higher model fmj32 i think its called, with a range of speakers, and see what suites you ,

    if you like the processer, but think the dedicated power is to expensive, you could add the p3/p/85/powers from the arcam range which are avaliable ex dem 2nd for reasonable price.

    more boxes though, there was a post earlier what to add to arcam proccesser , and arcams john dawson gave some info on this just do a search on forum.
     
  13. Tracey

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    Yes I understand what you're saying (I think), I'm just getting a few opinions, looking at my options etc. My budget hasn't actually jumped just for the sake of it, it's just that what I want is going to cost more than I originally thought, but if I go for the cheaper option I will always be wishing I hadn't. Also I've saved a packet on my house due to my boyfriend (who's a plumber/heating engineer) disovering he can plaster better than the plasterer can and having a friend that fits windows and another friend who happens to be an electrician!! So basically what I'm saying is I want to audition some better speakers and if they are a major improvement I will save up for them. :clap:
     
  14. Tracey

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    I am seriously thinking about keeping my 10P3 and getting a 5 channel Rotel power amp (or similar), that would then give me the option of bi-amping my front and centre speakers, plus I have a spare two channels to use for outdoor speakers (the 10p3 has an A/B speaker switch). or even any second hand power amp that cost less than the rotel. I do have enough shelves I just don't want my rack to be 10ft tall if I can help it. :mad:
     
  15. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    (shudder)

    Oh boy. Been there, done that. :(

    Late last summer I set out with the idea of spending about £2K, maybe £2.5K on a system. I'm currently heading for a setup whose total list price is over £16K, not including cables or stands. It is treacherously easy to find yourself sliding steadily higher and higher up the price scale. You need to be firm with yourself. Never ask "is there something that sounds better?" because there always will be. Instead ask "is this good enough that I would actually enjoy listening to it?" Never, ever go any higher than that.
     
  16. sticker

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    Tracey,
    I know someone who was selling a silver AV8 last week for £2,300. If you enable your PM ability I'll send you his e-mail address.
    Regards
    John
     
  17. Tracey

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    Thanks but unfortunately I need black as my DV27 is in black. I had to make the decison on wether to go for silver and black and as at the time most stuff was available in black rather than silver I decided to go for that. I suppose that's the problem I'd have if i waited for an ex dem unit, most of them are always in silver :(
     
  18. Tracey

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    £16k is most definitely over my budget!!! I know what you mean though, what would I be happy with hmmm, I was happy with what I've got but now I'm not, it's not just because I have some extra money, I was actually thinking about upgrading anyway but knew I couldn't but now it's possible. I don't want to just throw my money away, but as for budget, looks and features and sound (according to reviews) the Arcam seems to be everything I want, as for speakers I knew that I would have to upgrade them eventually and if it takes me a couple of years who cares, that time will fly by, and as I said, I have £5.5k initially but interest free credit is a wonderful thing :laugh:
     
  19. paiger

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    In my limited experience, I would put more priority on speakers. I think a better set of speakers will make a more noticable difference than that between an AV8 and a 1066. I have demoed the AVR32, AV8 and 1066 quite a few times in different combinations and I reckon the 1066 is just about all there. The only way I could say the other 2 were better was that to me, they sounded slightly more 3 dimensional (if that makes sense).

    What I would do is arrange a demo with a 1066, an AV8 and a fixed power amp (Rotel 1075?) and then work out which speakers you could afford with either processor and try the cheaper ones with the AV8 and the more expensive ones with the 1066. See what you think.

    At the end of the day, the 1066 is only a grand and you could probably get a few quid off. In 12 months time you are could get £750 of that back and upgrade then if you can afford it. As for 7.1, there are always Rotel 2 channel amps on ebay for around £100 and Empire Direct are selling new 985's for £499.

    Me, I'm going for the 1066 with my new (old) Rotel 985 and Ruarks.
     
  20. mick23

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    there was a av8 advertised on hifi for sale for £1800 silver i think,i would not worry about the silver/black if i could save a considerable sum as against new.
     
  21. Tracey

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    Yes that does make sense. I'm not ruling out the 1066 I'm just worried that it might not be good enough for when I'm just listening to music in stereo. I'm definiltey going to audition both and if there's not that much difference I would probably go for the Rotel which is much cheaper. when I auditioned the DV27 I also listened to the DV88, I wante a DVD player that would be used as my dedicated CD player too, the DV88 sounded ok but the DV27 like you say was much more 3 dimensional for music, it didn't sound like it was just coming out of two speakers, so I was sold and had to get one.
     
  22. jont

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    I must say I agree with nobber22 ... the av8/p7 purchase is a once a decade (or maybe less) and it far easier to take and use from house to house or room to room than a set of speakers ...

    Due to medium term room relocation I got a set of gallo micros + sub to go with my av8/p7 ... a good example of speaker/amp value mismatch ... and sold my old B&W's ...

    But I know that when I move next year I can get another set of speakers and allow the amp to do its stuff with a little more breatrhing space ...

    I've had Arcam and B&W kit now for the last 5 years starting with A22/Dave/10P, through FMJ A32/Dave/P25 (courtesy of an insurance claim) and ending up with my AV8/P7 (coutesy of a small windfall & good dealer px) ... and I do love the sound they make together ...

    The gallos are good for what I need at the moment in terms of size/space/flexibility ... but making a speaker change is going to be easier and cheaper than another amp change ...

    Similarly I don't intend changing my DV27 for a while ... although have just booked it in today for its DVD-A upgrade :)

    Jon
     
  23. Tracey

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    I must admit I'm really not sure what speakers I want yet and I do have a bad feeling that when I move them to my new house (going from a carpeted room with wallpaper to a real wood floor and painted plastered walls) that they will sound really feeble and probalby lose all the bass. The room is also bigger than the one they're in now. So I'd like to audition some speakers with the Arcam kit so I can get an idea of what's around and how much I need to spend, but as you say, I'm sure I'll be happy with whatever I get for a while even before I upgrade my speakers.

    Oh and my cheque arrived in the post today :clap:
     
  24. Tracey

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    So how are B&W speakers, I've heard that they can be a bit boomy and harsh or is that just the cheaper models, presumably the Arcam tames them a bit? I do like the look of the Nautilus 805's but I was also looking at the KEF reference series as they are available in maple which matches my floor :)
     
  25. nathan_silly

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  26. NicolasB

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    I agree - but I think B&W speakers are pretty neutral.

    I stand by my previous assertion that to really do an AV8/P7 combination justice you would need something more like 803s with an HTM1 centre than 805s/HTM2. But I know some people disagree with that.

    Processor-wise, I wouldn't rule out the Naim AV2. In terms of price and quality it sits roughly between the lower end (Rotel, Cyrus) and the next step up (Arcam AV8).

    If you think you might buy the Rotel processor, I'd suggest auditioning the Cyrus AV8 too.
     
  27. Nobber22

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    It seems to me that the industry are missing out on a trick here. Why are there so few processors around in the mid-end price range?? How about Denon splitting a AVC A11SR in two? Processor containing all the input/surround gubbins in one box and then a 7x150w (Denon's figures of course) power amp for the other? All the R&D work was finished years ago. Buyers choose to go with the Denon amp or a second-hand Rotel or whatever. Pioneer could split the AX10i or even the 2011? I'd buy one! :smashin: Allows people to avoid 4 ohm speaker issue with some makers' receivers too.

    Someone like Arcam is probably secretly working on just such an upgrade to their A85 amp (or similar), but don't to take sales from AV8 just yet.
     
  28. NicolasB

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    Actually there are loads: Myryad, Primare, Roksan Caspian, Tag AV30R - I just happen not to rate any of them very highly. :)
     
  29. Nobber22

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    Aahh! I see. Just another case of fringe products being ignored on the forums in favour of those we know already. A shame :(

    Myryad seems to have a comprehensive range of kit, looks good and WHF like their processor too. :cool: ;)
    Roksan appears to need an update or 2 (PLII) and unfortunately for the Tag, everyone says it is worth stretching to the 32R instead. Primare looks well equiped and very pretty too.

    Surely some of this kit is better than a top-of-the-range Jap receiver and worth a demo??
     
  30. NicolasB

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    No, I don't think so. While it is generally the case that products improve in quality as they improve in price, there are always going to be some components that represent better value for money than others. If either you can get significantly something better sound for the same or only slightly more money, or you can get something that sounds as good rather more cheaply, then it makes sense to do so.

    Or, to look at it the other way round: it isn't enough for a product to sound better: it has to sound enough better to justify the price differential.

    You seem to have the idea that there is a huge range of products out there that are just as good as the ones mentioned more frequently, and there's some sort of conspiracy of ignorance that discriminates against them. There are certainly are such products; but many things you don't hear mentioned around here aren't mentioned precisely because they aren't actually very good value.

    In my opinion (and of course others may not agree) the Cyrus and Rotel processors are good value at the price. I think that the Naim AV2 and Arcam AV8 also represent good value - there is nothing as good that is cheaper. By contrast, unless you have rather specific requirements, some of the processors we're talking about here aren't in quite such a favourable position (again, IMO).

    So if you listen to the Cyrus and the Rotel and the sound quality isn't good enough to satisfy you, then the chances are that you will have to go at least as high up the price/performance ladder as a Naim AV2 before you find something that does satisfy you. The other products may be better than the Cyrus or Rotel, but (again IMO) they aren't enough better to justify the price difference. The Naim and Arcam processors are.
     

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