AVR 360 as cheap preamp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by lokyc, Aug 28, 2013.

Tags:
  1. lokyc

    lokyc
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Messages:
    2,176
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +428
    You guys may be aware, Arcam recently cut its price for the AVR 360 to ease the introduction of the AVR 380.

    Musically, I think the 360 is rather good. Bit let down by the power amp bit. Struggles to drive my B&W 685/686/HTM62 5.1 system. Maybe its just B&W.

    Thought I needed bigger speakers, but then tested adding a 100W pc power amp, and suddenly the B&Ws are singing!

    I have a suspicion that the premap bits across the AVR range are largely similiar. If you can afford the space, adding a power amp will transform the sound. At £750 (£650 now at Sevenoaks), it makes for a very good value preamp.

    Power amp choices are slightly limited. Audiolab 8200X7 is retailing around £1500. Rotel RMB-1565 around £850.

    I can testify the Rotel sounds as good as the Audiolab. Possibly because they work well with B&Ws.

    So for less than 2 grand, you could have a solid pre-power combo!
     
  2. cineman

    cineman
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Messages:
    103
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Norwich, Norfolk, UK.
    Ratings:
    +12
    Sounds good. I'll keep that in mind, thanks! I think my '360 is probably loud enough? (Only one month old), but what does rattle my cage about it is that, as you say, Sevenoaks is now charging £650, whereas when I was in the market, I wanted this amp (they didn't have any & tried to sell me a NAD) with the MA Mass 5.0 speakers & a T5 Rel sub, which in the same offer, they are knocking £150 off 'your choice of speaker system'! I had to go elsewhere to get the amp & lost out on the offer to the tune of £200! Oh well, some you win & some you lose!
     
  3. lokyc

    lokyc
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Messages:
    2,176
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +428
    Yea, got it at £750! Its a bit early to think about an upgrade. Then again, I felt it was "lacking" after a month or so. Thought was my speakers and auditioned a pair of CM8. Just as I was leaving, we thought to try an Audiolab Power Amp, and the difference was astounding.

    Like many, I used to think that wattage was about loudness. Not true at all. At 100w vs 70w isn't that different. Also at stereo mode, the 360 pumps out about 90w anyway.

    The difference comes in the detail. With the B&W 685, the 360 sounds good with simpler, quieter music. But as the sound becomes more "complex", ie more instruments etc, it starts sounding muddy. The bass loses punch.

    Though was my speaker, but its really the amp. Maybe its B&W, or maybe its 2-channel, they have to be driven hard to bring out the additional, subtler details.

    The bass becomes tighter and fuller. Mid-range has more authority and trebles rounder. Background details like breath sounds of the singer, fingers sliding on a guitar etc are now discernable.

    And this is when I'm using some crappy QED 2 interconnects and Silver Anniversary speaker cables. (Mark Grant stuff awaiting collection at UPS depot!)

    Not sure how well the Mass are being driven. But if you ever feel like as the action is building up, and suddenly there is a sense of anticlimax, like you're being let down, its the amp.

    And I think that's where the money's saved for the 360. Its the transformer and power amp stage.

    Sevenoaks Holborn has an exdemo Audiolab 8200X7 going cheap. Worth an audition.

    They're apparent quite a low volume item. Most buyers want an all-in-one receiver, preferably feature packed Japanese, or go the full monty with separate power amps for each channel. Hence there aren't that many affordable multichannel power amps around. The Arcam P777 is basically 7 A38 amps stacked in one box, hence the steep price.

    Will have to hook up with all the MG cables to be able to say for sure, but I suspect the 360 as a preamp provides the main character to the sound while the power amp just escalates it mostly.

    ps. to slightly digress, to anyone who doesn't believe interconnects matter, i hooked my centre channel using a spare QED 1, and on volume balancing, the 360 had to add 1db.
     
  4. jasonmiddleton

    jasonmiddleton
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    I've found adding a power amp to an Arcam based system makes a big difference. You get all that Arcam detail but with added dynamic range. I have a 360 with an A28 and P38 'bi-amping' the fronts and it's a monster. Not louder than the 360 on its own, but loads of punch when it needs it. It also gives me a dedicated 'stereo' system that's much better than using the 360.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice