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AVR300 Arrives!

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by RaceTripper, May 5, 2004.

  1. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    My AVR300 showed up today. I just got it hooked up, ran through the setup menu, and did some quick speaker delay settings and audio level calibration with an SPL, and threw in LOTR TTT (using DTS ES Discrete).

    All I can say so far is WOW!!! This thing sounds fantastic. The soundstage is amazing and I haven't even started to experiment with speaker placement.

    I also tried PLIIx briefly with a DirecTV (Sat) input, and that was a very noticable difference.

    I haven't yet tried any music in analog (stereo direct) mode, but plan to shortly.

    I'm having a few glicthes programming some of the IR codes into my MX-700, but hope to get those sorted out soon.

    This thing rocks. Arcam is going to sell a ton of these.

    Kudos to John, Andrew, and the team on an awesome product (I'm sure I'll have questions for you soon). :clap:

    Dean
     
  2. sticker

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    Excellent Dean, if you get time would you do a detailed report on your findings. A friend of mine is torn between this and the Pio AX5i

    Enjoy

    John
     
  3. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    Will do.

    So far, I'm very impressed. Had my wife watch the first attack scene from Master and Commander, sitting in the sweet spot. She always claims she can't tell the difference, but she didn't this time. She was all smiles as the boat creaked and groaned all around her.

    Since the AVR300 has bass/treble eq settings for individual speakers I may get my dealer over with a spectrum analyser to calibrate the speakers for that. I know I need to tame the treble a bit as I have hardwood floors and very hard walls (plaster on concrete/brick x 3, palster on lathe x 1). My front speakers are bit too close to each other, but the wife likes them that way. Maybe I can now convince her to let me change that.

    Dean
     
  4. Icarus

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    More more - we want more!

    What Receiver did you have before, Where is the AVR300 better. C'mon give us the rundown. :)
     
  5. sticker

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    I think Dean had the AVR200
     
  6. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    That is correct. Had it since Jan 2003 and traded it for the AVR300.

    While the AVR200 is a great AV receiver, the 300 is better in every way: sound quality, features, configurability. It also has more power (100WPC vs. 70 WPC), which makes my Dynaudios really happy.

    I really enjoy having 7.1 surround. It's really more theatrical and enveloping.

    I'll have more chance to use it this weekend and try different kinds of audio sources.

    Dean
     
  7. M100

    M100
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    Sorry to intrude - would be grateful for a quick bit of feedback from your 200/300 owning perspective...

    How do the volume settings you use compare between the 200 and 300 - trying to get a feel for the power reserve it has over the 200?

    (I've had a 200 on demo recently- which I liked a lot - this ran up to 80db max, usually using it ~55/60 level typically - so leaving ~20-25 in reserve (roughly!).

    Just demoed a 300 (and the volume scale goes up to 100?) - so the equivalent volume on the 300 to get 200 levels I'm used to should leave it more headroom before the 300's max setting?

    Hope this makes sense - grateful if you could let me know how it seems to you!

    Wonder how the waiting lists are developing for it? :confused:
     
  8. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    No intrusion whatsoever. That's what this forum is for...

    I find that the volume control for a given volume on the AVR300 indicates about 15-20db higher than the same volume on the AVR200. So where I might listen to movies at 60db on the AVR200, I set the AVR300 to about 75-80db for the same level of volume.

    This is with my 4 ohm Dynaudio Audience speakers. Above 85 db or so starts to get really loud, so even with my somewhat inefficient Dyns (86db senstivity), I find the AVR300 has plenty of power.

    As for waiting lists, can't tell you what to expect. I preordered mine in January and am likely one of the first US customers to get one.

    Dean
     
  9. M100

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    Much appreciated Dean - it confused us a bit in the demo as we were initially expecting similar numbers :rolleyes:

    Have now got it home and will try it out - have about a week to decide if it's staying (suspect it will be) so am in the fortunate position of a short delivery time (i.e. now - which is somewhat less than I was expecting) :) .

    I guess part of my concern is that my speakers seem to have similar levels of sensitivity (Castle Compacts) - so was looking to the 300 to have more in reserve than the 200. So far it seems to be working well - will try over the 85db mark next week and see how the place survives.

    Still to play around with setups - menu options seem to have grown somewhat as well. May even be forced to read the manual. :eek:

    And time for another amp test session...

    Many thanks for your reassurances!

    M100
     
  10. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    I don't think you'll regret getting the AVR300. The more I use it the more I like it. It's really exactly what I wanted when I got the AVR200 early last year. The 200 was great, but this is way better and something I feel I can live with for a long time.

    I've even started upgrading cables to take every bit advantage of it's quality: new speaker cables and a new digi-coax for the DVD audio input.

    I'm even getting curious about DVD-A (would have to upgrade my DV88+) since it sounds so good with music. Software choices seem pretty sparse right now though.

    Dean
     
  11. M100

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    Suspect you may well be right about its long term presence - sounded superb on the first listening session at home - and that was before I had set it up at all (and yes I did eventually have to resort to the manual). :blush:

    Oddly enough the demo in the shop didn't seem to reveal too many improvements over the 200 - but on trying it at home it immediately seems better on music (haven't quite got around to dvd collection yet - soon) - maybe the setups were rather different after all? It certainly seems to be well enough featured to last a while - and I'd prefer to get something that will last 5-10 years and concentrate on the dvd player for upgrades.

    Have got a few general music dvds but likewise would like to try some DVD-A stuff to see what it can do. The player should handle them, although arguably it's now the weakest link (sorry) - one of the Limit 900SE players that was being discussed on the forum a while back. Something else to add to the general plan I guess.

    Having said that the budget's been stretched far enough with a projector still required so no Arcam dvd player to complete the set just now, but I digress once again!

    May have a go at the 85db level later - after closing all windows/doors. :eek:

    Would be interested to know how you find the interconnect changes affect things.

    Happy listening. :)

    M100
     
  12. Barend

    Barend
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    Can confirm DVD Audio is often superior to SACD.
    It wraps all around you- although both sorts have bad examples, especially live recordings: some are awful in surround, some are really good. You don't want people coughing or applauding for every angle...
    Bought a lot of both through Ebay, mostly from Germany or the USA, for around 15 USD.
    Well I'm glad I ordered an AVR300 instead of the new HK AVR-7300, since to start with I really hate the new HK look, and I read some really disappointed reviews on Audioreview on the AVR-7200, I believe that's not too different from the AVR-7300.
    Can't wait to feed my KEFs with some new fodder!

    As for interconnects:
    I'm not a real hi-end believer here, IMO you take a well screened, well constructed cable with well fitting plugs, use RG59 for video and forget all the BS about gold platings etc.
    Same for speakers, 4 or 6mm stranded core off-the-reel is good enough for me, ever taken a look inside amps at the wiring gauges used? I will say no more!
    But to each his own, my father used to say "On parties never discuss religion or other peoples' kids"...
    Barend
     
  13. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    I have no desire to open another debate on the merits, or lack thereof, of premium cables, but these are my experiences...

    Until I got the AVR300 I used Transparent's High Performance in-wall cable for speakers all around. Once I got the AVR300, I was trimming the treble by about 2 db because of what I thought were room acoustic problems. Three of my room walls are paster on brick, the fourth plaster on lathe. The floor is hardwood with one large desnse wool area rug. i.e. very reflective surfaces.

    My dealer loaned me the Transparent MusicWave speaker cable for my fronts, which are several steps up from what I was using. I noticed a difference almost immediately and discovered I could set the speaker EQ back to flat again. I got improved detail, lost some shrillness I had, and got back much of the wamrth I was accustomed to from my Dynaudios in a carpeted room. So now I have the MusicWave cable for the fronts and center permanently.

    This weekend I just started auditioning Transparent's Premium digital coax cable for the DVD player (have been using a Transparent 75 ohm composite cable). This seems so far to elminate a lot of distortion. On the DTS R1 Twister, what used to sound like a lot of noise in the storm/tornado effects now sounds far more like howling and groaning high speed winds, and from within all that loudness I can more easily pick out details like the vehicles crashing, trees and houses snapping, etc. In Star Wars I pod race I hear improvements as well, like mechanical sounds that before sounded like ambiguous effect sounds. The initial canon battle scene in Master and Commander is amazing -- I get lots of detail and clarity in the mids and highs that were prviously somewhat shrouded by all the LFE. LFE in general is now less boomy and more detailed, also pretty much solving what I thought has been a room/placement problem. I'm getting ready to try out some of the Jurrasic Park stuff to see how that performs (those dino screams are pretty hard on a system at decent volume and can sound grating, so I wonder if this cable will change things).

    On video, I upgraded from the Transparent HP component to the Premium component cable on DVD. As a result, I got deeper blacks and more intense color. I ended up turning contrast down, and brightness up a bit on the TV for better shadow detail, and images took on a more three-dimensional appearence. LOTR almost seems to jump off the screen in some images. Detail and smoothness improved as well. Overall, the cable gave me better film-like quality on DVDs. The gap between DVD and HD material on broadcast/Sat has closed considerably.

    Incidently, the AVR300 soundstaging is so good on Twister (DTS 5.1), that the speakers disappear entirely, and it really seems like a tornado is raging all around you, with no gaps in placement around the room. WOW!!!

    On satellite, quality is too inconsistent, so I use good cables, but don't bother with premium quality ones.

    Dean
     
  14. pwiles1968

    pwiles1968
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    How do they sound in Stereo?
     
  15. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    For "they" what are you asking about?

    My setup AVR300/Dynaudio is quite good in stereo. The AVR300 does the best job of direct stereo playback of any AV receiver I've heard, although there I plenty I haven't listened to. It sounds best when you engage the stero direct mode that bypasses the DSP circuitry.

    Dean
     
  16. pwiles1968

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    Sorry :rolleyes: I was on about the AVR 300 in general, Have been considering a Marantz PS-17 but the AVR300 is an option, Stereo is an important aspect.
     
  17. Jesse350

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    I am getting jealous of the new owners of the 300. Could you tell me how hot it gets when pushed and how easy or difficult it was to hook up. Also, any problems with audio or video so far. Thank you.

    Jesse
     
  18. M100

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    I suspect Dean can answer this somewhat more fully than I - but from the perspective of a 2 day owner (& still fairly new to the area) it sounds quite healthy.

    For what it's worth I went through a few choices re av/stereo balance (Y640, 2803, HK 230 & 330, etc) - but couldn't get the stereo aspect to my liking - too shrill mostly. Then I tried an AVR 200 on home demo and while it wasn't as sharp as some others for films it seemed pretty good for stereo - certainly in comparison to the other amps I'd tried. I could certainly live with the balance.

    Tried the 200 and 300 back to back for a while as well, though in retrospect I'm not sure all the levels were setup quite the same so may try a quick rematch out of curiosity before coming to any useful conclusions.

    Anyway - it sounds good in stereo!

    (Not so sure about the rubberised remote :eek:)

    Heatwise - running it at ~75-80db mark (max is 100) and you can feel some heat on it - but it's not hot. Did run it with the dvd player above it and again slightly warm but no more.

    Off to give it some more running in.
     
  19. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    I really haven't checked to see how hot it runs. I have it sitting on a shelf under my TV, and it's a bit cramped but has enough ventilation above it. It certainly has never shut down on me. And it gets plenty loud for me (at 75-80db)long before I approach the 100db mark on the volume indicator, and I don't have the most efficient speakers.

    I don't use the video features, preferring to connect video sources directly, so I can't speak to whether or not it has problems. I do have a single composite connection so I can adjust settings using the TV monitor, and that is trouble free.

    Audio is great on it. I just love the PLIIx and DTS ES with my 7.1 speaker setup. I've been most satisfied with the quality. The soundstage imaging has been excellent. I'm hearing lots of nuances on movie DVDs I missed before, including ones I've played numerous times in the past (like LOTR).

    Although it's used almost completetly for movies, what CDs I have played sounded impressive (with DV88+).

    Dean
     
  20. zamwessell

    zamwessell
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    I agree.The 300 is superb.

    You could say i actually downgraded from the Denon AVC-A1SE but for my personal taste i actually think the Arcam is superior.

    I auditioned the AV8/P7 last year and fell in love with it but that is above and beyond my budget so the AVR300 is my new best friend.

    I too am hearing things from my surrounds that i have never heard before.I am looking around,thinking someone or something is outside or in the room.It also has made me jump during certain scened in movies which the Denon never did.It is like when i upgraded from pro logic to dolby digital all over again.

    Arcam have produced yet another superb product...it oozes care and quality.
     
  21. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    I was playing LOTR (DTS ES) this weekend with the AVR300.

    There's a scene where Celeborn is just offscreen talking and he suddenly appears onscreen from the right.

    The sound imaging of his voice moves from front right to center speaker, perfectly in sync with his offscreen to onscreen appearance.

    Freaking uncanny! I never heard that before.

    Dean
     
  22. Barend

    Barend
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    Could be my AVR300 arrives next Friday!
    Can't wait!
    However, Friday we're going on vacation to France, suppose nobody could think of a viable excuse to stay home?
    Problem: Who drives the family there...
    Barend

    PS
    Yeah I know this is a pointless msg, had to get it off my chest to People Who Understand...
     
  23. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    Look at it this way. You can have holiday twice. Once when you take the family to France, and again when you return and unpack your shiny new AVR300. :thumbsup:

    Dean
     
  24. gilesm

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    Dean

    What's it like at low volume? I live in a town house with neighbours attached each side, so I can never have my AVR100 up too loud. When I bought it ages ago I was impressed with the detail of the sound you could here at low volumes, all the other receivers I listened too had to be turned up loud to hear the same things. I'm hoping the AVR300 is the same (and better) than mine. Off to demo it this weekend though, can't wait :)

    Giles
     
  25. RaceTripper

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    Anything you like about the AVR100, you'll like much better with the AVR300. I had a AVR200 before, and the 300 improves on it substantially in every way.

    Low volume listening is still very satisfying, though not as fun as kicking it up for dynamic effects. It also has a "midnight mode" where you can compress the digital dynamic range for listening at lower levels. I sometimes watch movies when the wife goes off to bed early so I have to tone it down. The 300 still performs like a champ.

    In fact, with the 200 I often displayed subtitles on DVDs when playing them at lower volume, and I hardly ever do so anymore with the 300.

    Dean
     
  26. Jesse350

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    I want to thank the 300 owners who have answered my questions. I hope to hear it soon in Manhattan. I have been told it will be arriving soon. It seems NYC is sometimes behind the rest of the country. Thanks again.

    Jesse
     
  27. HMHB

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    What's the sound like in stereo ? Lots of amps sound harsh (shrill) to my ears and so I would prefer a somewhat warmer sound. Would I get that with this amp ?
     
  28. RaceTripper

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    Arcam put a lot of effort into getting the AVR300 right for playing music in stereo, as well as making it first class for multi-channel DSP. You can play analog stereo sources in a direct mode that bypasses DSP circuitry and it sounds great. You will not be disappointed. You will be impressed with how well it images the soundstage.

    I have a room that's fairly bright and reflective and have found that I can still leave the EQ settings flat. I originally had some issues with a bit of shrillness, but solved it when I upgraded speaker cables for the fronts.

    Nevertheless, you should go hear it for yourself. Your own ears are the best judge, regardless of our opinion.

    Dean
     
  29. Jim_R

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    Well, I'm bringing home an AVR300 this weekend for an in-home test. Luckily, being a holiday weekend, I will have it for an extra day. I can't wait.
     
  30. booktrunk

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    Barend...

    How about a little accident... smallish dent in the car... can't go away in it until it's been repaired? :) Just run into a tree SLOWLY and make sure you wear your seatbelt when you do it

    Steff

     

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