AV amp has died. What direction to go with a replacement?

D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I would be surprised if anyone were to recommend a Denon AVR to you for listening to music, as you say most use a separate stereo integrated amp for that where they have a Denon for their AVR.

You could go down that route, but as you say, it's expensive. Plus you already have a power amp for your front mains, so you would be looking for a pre-amp with HT bypass, or a stereo integrated amp with HT bypass and pre-outs.

Plus Denon comes with Audyssey, which did a poor job in my room, compared to Dirac.

The well measured analogue side of Arcam AVRs are still as good in the HDA and FMJ models, and can be accessed via the stereo direct mode. With my external DAC the Arcam 550 in direct mode is as good as my Musical Fidelity stereo integrated amp.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Occasional music use an AVR of any description may be fine. I would perhaps supplement that with a good headphone set up and perhaps route your music sources to that amp. That will take the room out of any equation and you can listen to music as loud as you like.

Other than that I would pick a Marantz over Denon if not wanting to stroll down the Arcam/NAD/Anthem route.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
The arcam is used as a avr, in avr mode it's lousy.

Avoid arcam
I have to disagree: I have a 390 runing an all MK Sound system with MPS300 series speakers, used with an Arcam P7 power amp (rebuilt, because they don't last forever ;) ) with the speakers set to 'small' since my MK are satellite speakers. It sounds fantastic for films and music, it can exceed reference level in a fairly decent sized room too without breaking into distortion like some would have you believe: Don't just repeat stuff you read on the web and spout it as fact, because IMHO it isn't. ;)

I won't get drawn into an argument about the ASR 'review' because there were so many mistakes in it, yet he never went back to sort them out. Therefore there are certain (ignored) members on here, who can't help but pop up every time they get mentioned, despite not actually having a set up like mine: The supposed 'limitation' is not relevant when running in small speaker mode, as pretty much every AVR tends to be used in.

Even so, the output limit when running speakers in full range mode is also not the big issue some make out, especially if using an Arcam power amp or one with a higher input sensitivity. The output is still louder than many say they listen at on here anyway, so again, another moot point. There is a specific use case where it can mean that you won't get the full output from an attached power amp, but it's far from common.

I wouldn't chose to buy a new one now, but that's more because it's now a very old model in AVR terms. However, if you find a deal on one and install the last but one firmware (something like 4.41 IIRC) then it can work really well with an external power amp like you have. I wouldn't use a 390 to power a 5.1 (or more) setup without a power amp, but that's not an issue for the OP.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The OPs power amp has an input sensitivity of 775mv so would work fine with any Arcam AVR, however it is configured.
 
I wouldn't chose to buy a new one now, but that's more because it's now a very old model in AVR terms. However, if you find a deal on one and install the last but one firmware (something like 4.41 IIRC) then it can work really well with an external power amp like you have. I wouldn't use a 390 to power a 5.1 (or more) setup without a power amp, but that's not an issue for the OP.
Would that be because the latest and current firmware is full of bugs, perhaps?
 
Default position seems to be replace the Pioneer with a mid-range Denon. That’s the easy option. Precision in music which logically would bring with it clearer voices in films and TV would be worth paying extra for. Sounds like I need a minimum of a Denon 3700 and a £2k+ stereo amp.
I think that would be a good call.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
There are zero bugs in firmware version 4.41 on the FMJ range of Arcam AVR's.
 

SonicHedgehog

Active Member
Lots of people making a good case options different options. My brain is also starting to melt at the thought of how to wire this lot up.

The Arcam appeals because of what it could be. With the Denon it seems we all know what I’m going to get. The Denon will be easy to set up and live with. Movies will be great but unless I get an expensive integrated two channel amp it isn’t going to sparkle.

The Arcam may be a little behind in the movie stakes but will be very good with music and could be tremendous if I add an integrated amp. It does have the downside that the software is a bit iffy. It’s available for £1299.

Here’s a curved ball. I bought my 909 with the 99CDP-2 CD player and preamp. The CD no longer works but the pre amp is tip top. Does this pre amp have the necessary connections to do the job being suggested?
 

mikeysthoughts

Well-known Member
For £1299 the Arcam is an absolute steal and will offer the best music sound quality in your budget whilst also offering superb film audio quality. As Rambles has pointed out, v4.41 is a stable firmware release.

It's worth noting that some of the Arcam detractors here have never heard them, and only ever link to flawed ASR reviews.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
For £1299 the Arcam is an absolute steal and will offer the best music sound quality in your budget whilst also offering superb film audio quality. As Rambles has pointed out, v4.41 is a stable firmware release.

It's worth noting that some of the Arcam detractors here have never heard them, and only ever link to flawed ASR reviews.

Are the reviews on the products that are well regarded flawed also?

The arcam acts are not cheap, granted I may not use the large setting in avr mode, but it's still a bug, and there are other issues as well. You also have to match with their av power amps also
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Here’s a curved ball. I bought my 909 with the 99CDP-2 CD player and preamp. The CD no longer works but the pre amp is tip top. Does this pre amp have the necessary connections to do the job being suggested?

Based on the usual list of amps with HT bypass it seems it doesn't have it but all is not lost. If it gives you the stereo sound you are after then you can add a speaker switch to switch between the Quad and av amp. Not something I've done myself but a few members that post in the stereo section of the forum have and I'm sure they will be happy to help if you post there. As I recall they aren't very expensive either.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The Arcam may be a little behind in the movie stakes but will be very good with music and could be tremendous if I add an integrated amp. It does have the downside that the software is a bit iffy. It’s available for £1299.
Not quite. The Arcam is better than the Denon for both movies and music, you don't need a separate integrated amp with it, and you get Dirac which will do a better job with your clarity of dialogue issue than Audyssey will. And the software is perfectly stable and bug free.
Here’s a curved ball. I bought my 909 with the 99CDP-2 CD player and preamp. The CD no longer works but the pre amp is tip top. Does this pre amp have the necessary connections to do the job being suggested?
It doesn't have HT bypass, from what I can see, you could still use it between the AVR pre-outs and power amp inputs, but you would need to manually adjust the volume each time you switch from using it with your AVR and for music.

Or, you could set-up a switching system, so the power amp inputs are switched from being fed by the AVR for movies, or by the stereo pre-amp for music.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Or, you could set-up a switching system, so the power amp inputs are switched from being fed by the AVR for movies, or by the stereo pre-amp for music.

Much better idea than my speaker switch suggestion, assuming the Quad power amp is better than whatever is in the new AVR, which I assume it's likely to be. Assuming the OP likes the sound of the Quad pre then this is surely the way forward.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If you go the Arcam route then that is your one box solution. You will not need a separate stereo amp for music as the Arcam are simply better at stereo music over the majority of other AV amps. You'll need to master Dirac to get the best out of it certainly for film and TV. Some members turn off Dirac for stereo music. Other members even use Lyngdorf stereo amps along side an Arcam AVR as they prefer Room Perfect to Dirac for music as some feel Dirac sucks the life out of their music [in their particular room] and is another dicussion completely.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Dirac is highly customisable, I use it on my front three speakers for films, as it does good things for dialogue, but I have it switched off completely for music.
 

Hianholland

Active Member
As a one box solution I would suggest the Anthem MRX540 (~£1799), would give you a step up in both movies and music. ARC is very easy to set up and only becomes complicated if you want to customise the results, which is something you can learn over time. From my experience having owned Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Arcam and Anthem AV kit, Anthem is very reliable and no more buggy on the firmware than any other manufacturer, based on my own experience.

If you wanted to up the budget to ~£2K you could look at something like the Denon X3700 feeding the stereo preouts to an Arcam SA20 for HT bypass, but this makes your Quad 909 redundant, so you could sell that to recoupe some outlay. This adds complexity to your set up though, and I'm not sure the added cost/complexity would be a superior solution to the MRX540.

In all of this though, having a listen to a shortlist of kit is recommended when it's allowed, as its your own ears that will inform you of what to do next.
 
For £1299 the Arcam is an absolute steal and will offer the best music sound quality in your budget whilst also offering superb film audio quality. As Rambles has pointed out, v4.41 is a stable firmware release.

It's worth noting that some of the Arcam detractors here have never heard them, and only ever link to flawed ASR reviews.
On the other hand, the fanaticism of some of the Arcam cheerleaders does make you wonder.........

I much prefer to take a balanced view based on science, facts and reality - so for instance I am more than happy to have an Arcam stereo amp, but I wouldn't touch their AVRs with a bargepole.

The fact that even the Arcam AVR fans admit that you have to rollback to an old firmware version to achieve any degree of stability speaks volumes, IMHO.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
For £1299 the Arcam is an absolute steal and will offer the best music sound quality in your budget whilst also offering superb film audio quality. As Rambles has pointed out, v4.41 is a stable firmware release.

It's worth noting that some of the Arcam detractors here have never heard them, and only ever link to flawed ASR reviews.

I'm still waiting for you to demonstrate nehy the Denon 8500 , using asr results.is a flawed design over one that is on the right hand side of the bar results
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
It would be interesting to know if the Arcam bashers in this thread have actually used or heard an Arcam AVR?

I am by no means brand loyal to Arcam, but I have used a lot of AVR's and stereo amps in my room, and the Arcam AVR550 sounds the best, with the Cambridge Audio CXR200 coming in a close second.

I currently have Denon, Marantz, Yamaha and Arcam AVR's in four separate rooms in the house. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but the Arcam's strength is that it sounds amazing., it is used daily in the main lounge, by the family, it is rock solid, reliable and stable and has been so for over two years.

Not sure what else I can say about that!
 

SonicHedgehog

Active Member
It’s amazing how passionate and defensive we can become about inanimate objects dear to our heart. I drive a 15 year old Subaru that’s been in our family since new. It’s faultless (touch wood) and I love it. I have no desire to change it and yet every objective test suggests I’d be better off with something newer.

I didn’t really intend to throw in an analogy but it is kind of relevant. I like to be different. I like to explore the left field option. Sometime it works and you end up with the most wonderful outcome and sometimes it doesn’t. For me, the Arcam falls into this category. If I don’t have any trouble with the firmware it sounds like it could be fabulous and could be made to sound even more fabulous with the addition of a stereo amp. The more obvious choices are objectively better, have won and will continue to win group tests and yet they seem to be products to admire rather than to fall in love with.

The other factor is price. The Arcam is £1299 and that may be where the spending stops. A Denon/Yamaha/Marantz type amp will require a second amp which in all reality will end up being double the cost of the Arcam.

Shops open tomorrow and I’ve requested a call back. Hopefully a deal can be done. I’ll keep an eye on this thread until then though as it’s been really useful and interestin. Thanks.
 
It’s amazing how passionate and defensive we can become about inanimate objects dear to our heart. I drive a 15 year old Subaru that’s been in our family since new. It’s faultless (touch wood) and I love it. I have no desire to change it and yet every objective test suggests I’d be better off with something newer.

I didn’t really intend to throw in an analogy but it is kind of relevant. I like to be different. I like to explore the left field option. Sometime it works and you end up with the most wonderful outcome and sometimes it doesn’t. For me, the Arcam falls into this category. If I don’t have any trouble with the firmware it sounds like it could be fabulous and could be made to sound even more fabulous with the addition of a stereo amp. The more obvious choices are objectively better, have won and will continue to win group tests and yet they seem to be products to admire rather than to fall in love with.

The other factor is price. The Arcam is £1299 and that may be where the spending stops. A Denon/Yamaha/Marantz type amp will require a second amp which in all reality will end up being double the cost of the Arcam.

Shops open tomorrow and I’ve requested a call back. Hopefully a deal can be done. I’ll keep an eye on this thread until then though as it’s been really useful and interestin. Thanks.
Some very good points. I used to drive Alfas for a long period of time, loving their personality and dismissing their gross unreliability, fragility and expensive repairs as "character". As I got older however, the unreliability and cost became more unacceptable, and I succumbed to the German engineering option instead - which I have found to be pretty bullet proof and definitely the smart option.

When it comes to tech and cars, then I think science and logic trumps emotional incontinence every time.
 

SonicHedgehog

Active Member
It is a fair point and malfunctioning tech drives me nuts. However, I bet you remember some wonderful summer drives in your twin cam/V6 Alfas. Do your German masterpieces give you that fizz?

Staying on the car theme....when Top Gear reviewed the latest McClaren about ten years ago they confirmed that “in every measurable way it was better than the equivalent Ferrari” and yet all three presenters would choose the Ferrari. It’s almost as if engineers need to be partnered with a hippy in order to stop them engineering out all the little differences that make products appealing to some but not to others. Logically speaking, the end game for all this is that all products will be the same and how boring will that be?
 
It is a fair point and malfunctioning tech drives me nuts. However, I bet you remember some wonderful summer drives in your twin cam/V6 Alfas. Do your German masterpieces give you that fizz?

Staying on the car theme....when Top Gear reviewed the latest McClaren about ten years ago they confirmed that “in every measurable way it was better than the equivalent Ferrari” and yet all three presenters would choose the Ferrari. It’s almost as if engineers need to be partnered with a hippy in order to stop them engineering out all the little differences that make products appealing to some but not to others. Logically speaking, the end game for all this is that all products will be the same and how boring will that be?

Oh definitely - the sound of the 3.2L V6 in my old 156 GTA was something to be savoured. It did however only knock out 250 bhp, although Alfa still managed to fit a weedy front diff that exploded on the motorway and cost me 2 Grand to repair.

My current BM however with a 3L straight six turbo knocks out 340 bhp - so what it may lack in character, it more than makes up for in speed and acceleration. I wouldn't swap it back for a GTA.
 

dts197

Distinguished Member
I see a lot of references to ASR and how things perform "on the bench". It's almost like that's the only thing that matters and how something sounds is irrelevant. If everyone bought an AVR based on ASR, nobody would buy anything because he seems to hate almost every AVR he's tested.
 
I see a lot of references to ASR and how things perform "on the bench". It's almost like that's the only thing that matters and how something sounds is irrelevant. If everyone bought an AVR based on ASR, nobody would buy anything because he seems to hate almost every AVR he's tested.
It's always a balance, but the science is important as it gives objective measurements and comparisons. To dismiss it as irrelevant reminds me of when people used to defend British amps built in someone's garden shed back in the 80's - because they "just sounded better".
 

The latest video from AVForums

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset + Rotel A14 MkII Amp Reviews & Best of the Month
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Sky to add NBCUniversal's Peacock service
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Bang & Olufsen announces Beoplay EQ TWS earphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 28th July 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Sky drops Sky One brand and introduces Showcase and Max
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Cleer Audio announces Roam NC, affordable TWS earbuds
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom