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AVR 400 Vs AVR 300?

bilge

Active Member
Just noticed the Arcam website's Christmas trade in discount on the AVR 400 and I was wondering how much difference I would notice between that and my trusty AVR 300?

Biggest +'s would be the HDMI connectivity and the new decode modes for BD playback but would the basic sound (Which i still love from the AVR 300) be that much better?

Is this actually a good deal? (I have an old Yamaha AV reciever that i could part-x)
 

bilge

Active Member
How refreshing to find someone else who still rates the 300

For the moment i've decided to keep mine... it aint broke so i'm not fixing it!
(But as you say HD audio would be nice)
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The AVR400 is a functional enhancement - if you need the functions, you need the AVR400, and if you don't, then you don't. So you need to place your personal value on the HDMI / HD audio and the processing functions such as EQ, and compare this with the cost of the upgrade to determine whether it's a good deal for you.

Upgrading to "improve performance" when you're already happy with the current performance is an exercise in futility. OTOH, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket demanding to be spent, the AVR400 is decent path for expenditure.
 

bilge

Active Member
Upgrading to "improve performance" when you're already happy with the current performance is an exercise in futility.

Thanks for the useful info Mark
As i am very happy with the quality of overall sound I'll stop fretting until that lottery win comes in :rolleyes:
 

nrighton

Active Member
I own and love a 300. I auditioned the 400 and 600 recently. The 400 sounded worse than the 300 for 2 channel work. The 600 was amazing on all counts. Maybe a 500 would be a good fit for you as it is from the same DNA as the 600 as opposed to the 400 which comes from another family.
 

bilge

Active Member
I think you've hit it on the head N.
To buy the 400 I am treading water whereas to buy the 500 or 600 is a definite upgrade... But... Having upgraded the amp I need comparative ancillary kit to match it..... and the price goes up and up.

I am on a reasonably high plateau between cheap tat and true audiophile nirvana and I actually like the sound I have.

Probably just a little post Christmas blues and upgradeitis.

I'll try a little Jarre in China with the volume turned up to the max and forget the whole sorry idea!
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Although the AVR500 can be found a fantastic price, there are excellent reasons it is no longer made or listed on the Arcam web site.
 

Rich_ZT_CDTi

Active Member
The last 500's with the current firmware are fine. Mine is superb, i think they gave up on the 500 too quickly.
 

bilge

Active Member
If the AVR500 is going for £1100 then that is indeed a real bargain...
thats less than my 300 cost!!

Mark...

Would you care to comment on the price/performance of the 500 at that knockdown price?
(assuming one could still be found at that astonishing price I am certainly tempted)
 

newbie265

Active Member
great info guys much appreciated I am the same as bilge just a little bout of upgradeitis. I think my 300 has just 'run in' as well as its sounding better tahn ever in 2 channel mode. as bilge also mentioned the 600 is the one I would really like but presumably I would have to upgrade my power amp and speakers as well ?
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
There are a few AVR 500's on the net still but going fast. The 500 had many many problems with over heating and fan noise being the main problems. ARCAM have now fixed these issues. My first 500 was returned after 3 weeks and replaced with a fully adjusted and fixed one from ARCAM. No probs with it at all. They come with a 5 year ARCAM warranty.
The 500 sounds very very similar to the 600. It is also upgradable if you require network functions,dab radio and the new 3D Board. I use Sonos for all my streaming and Internet radio needs hooked up to the 500.
It does not have pre outs but that is not an issue for me or most as the amp section is phenomenal.
If you can get one it is the bargain of the century.
 

RaceTripper

Standard Member
My AVR300 is starting to decline. I'm having problems with the coax digital-in constantly losing audio, and now have to limit myself to the toslink inputs. I'll just hang on to it until it dies completely before deciding what to replace it with. I'm kinda done with Arcam. Too many reliability problems (with Alpha 10, DV88 Plus, AVR300) compared to other electronics I've had. Love the sound, but I don't want to replace things that often. My next AVR needs to last 15 years or more.
 

RaceTripper

Standard Member
Consider an Anthem MRX 300/500/700.
Awesome.
Thanks. I'll look into it. Next purchase, though, is a Naim NAC202/HC2 for my 2-channel system.
 

calgaryjohn

Standard Member
My 300 died! purchased 2005 died 2011, it wouldn't start up and stay on, the Arcam repair shop said a new main board is needed. Luckily Arcam was offering a trade in on the 300 ($800 CDN) for the new 400 over Christmas.
I just received my 400 yesterday and it works.
Hard to be objective but it sounded good with a CD and the FM radio, I couldn't turn up the Bluray to test it sound wise.
My 300 never impressed me with movie sound so the trade in was a better deal (only deal) other than buying an equivalent competitors unit.
 

bilge

Active Member
Thanks Calgaryjohn

As it settles in could you please tell me your thoughts... particularly 2ch music but also how you find the overall experience of 400 Vs the 300
.
Do you find the functions better with hdmi switching &etc.
(Marks post above... it's only a functional improvement not sonic)

Keep us posted please
 

calgaryjohn

Standard Member
My 300 died! purchased 2005 died 2011, it wouldn't start up and stay on, the Arcam repair shop said a new main board is needed. Luckily Arcam was offering a trade in on the 300 ($800 CDN) for the new 400 over Christmas.
I just received my 400 yesterday and it works.
Hard to be objective but it sounded good with a CD and the FM radio, I couldn't turn up the Bluray to test it sound wise.
My 300 never impressed me with movie sound so the trade in was a better deal (only deal) other than buying an equivalent competitors unit.

I configured the speakers using the auto settup last night, just on the set up alone it leaves the 300 behind as "old technology".
The main use in my system is home theater and zone 2 music distribution and the Av 400 is better than the 300 for this purpose.
My experience with 2 channel using both the 300 or the 400 will be limited as I have a very sophisticated SimAudio (moon) 2 channel rig that I use for that.
I am using Focus audio FS68 bookshelf for Main R & L and my first impression is that I like the 400 sound better "more clear and distinct instruments" the bass line came through on the Vince Guaraldi Christmas CD I tried.
The switching for me is via component inputs as my Pioneer elite TV is not HDMI, the switching seems slow; there is a pause screen goes black but it works.
 
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phil1p

Standard Member
On the 500, I think the only honest answer is that they are great as long as you get one that works. Some people on these forums and elsewhere were lucky and got receivers which work well with no problems and they tend to be big fans of the 500, which is entirely reasonable. Many many others weren't so lucky, though. I persevered with four units before finally giving up. It's also not true that arcam have fixed the new units. They haven't. All of mine were new, constructed after the initial batch of units which suffered the overheat problem. Plus, the fact that arcam discontinued the product seems to suggest that they too realised that they couldn't fix all the issues with it. You don't discontinue a good quality, fully functioning piece of equipment, especially if it's pat of your flagship fmj range.

My advice would be to not touch the 500 with a barge pole. If you do decide to go that way, make sure you keep all the receipts, register the product, and cultivate a good relationship with your dealer as there's a very good chance that you'll be chatting with them on a regular basis after your purchase!
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi Phil,
I remember reading your posts about your 500's. My first 500 was replaced within a month for running too hot thus the loud fan would always come on. My 2nd unit is 8 months old and so far so good. It runs cool.
There must be some sort of fix because how can one unit differ from another?

I think the 500 was dropped cos of its bad reliability reputation and lack of flexibility. Yes it can be upgraded with new boards ie networking etc but if you factor in the costs you may well have just bought the 600 which also has pre outs,a serious omission on the 500 for many people.
If the 500 had pre outs I think it would still be in production. Just my views.
As you know it sounds awesome. But yes I agree with you that you need to fill in the 5 year warranty. If mine does go wrong I will be expecting a very very generous trade up to a 600 as I think the sound of the 500 and 600 can't be beaten unless you go pre/power amp.
If the trade up offer is not good enough I will go the Anthem route.
 

bilge

Active Member
With the eminent Mr Yudkin and others telling me to avoid the 500 I think I'd be a brave man to consider it.
As the 300 is still working well I'll save up for the 600 instead... But thanks for the comments.
 

calgaryjohn

Standard Member
I have had 2 weeks to play with the 400 now, and I managed to configure the inputs to the respective players. My playstation 3 is (on the AV input) with the multiconnector and optical digital; the oppo 83 DVD (on BD input) set to component out and coaxial digital.
I have a 10 meter run of RGB component to my TV from the 400 Receiver, I had to boost the brightness on both players to get the proper brightness out of the 400 over component. I have not tried it with HDMI at this point. I also performed the auto speaker set up twice and it was helpful but I ended up measuring the speakers myself and doing a manual set up to get the best sound. I had problems with the L & R interfering with my Center and creating fuzzy speech. When I manually configured the speakers I was able to get everything arriving in synch with a clearer result.
My Wife :mad: was extemely upset that this new box sounded so poor (For voices) until I manually configured it.
The surround sound is outstanding even with the bad voicing (1st week); Now we watched several movies on the weekend and the kids/wife had no complaints.:)
The 400 gets hot just like the 300 even though I use an external amp for the LCR speakers. The 400 LCR terminals are still being fed current obviously with no way to turn off.
I have been pleased so far but I wish I could get the HD sound from my HD sources but the unit will not configure HDMI audio with component video on one input. You could run the video directly from the players to the TV and input HDMI for audio only but I want to use the 400 as the output for simplicity. My Oppo BD 83 could do this but it is upstairs on the big plasma. So for now on a pre HD TV my configuration is the best compromise. :thumbsup:
 
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