AVR300 Issues?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by logoguy905, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. logoguy905

    logoguy905
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    Hello All,

    I have an Arcam AVR300. Pretty fresh... only had for a month+.

    My concern is with the ramping of the power with this unit. It seems a bit weak until you get into the 80's. I really have to crank this baby. It can seem underpowered just a bit in movies. Which is odd, becuase I just reciently went back to the dealer when buying a new CC, and was able to ramp up the AVR200 (300 not hooked up at the time) in his showroom. And the 200 seemed to climb smoothly and fast from 0 on up It seemed to get louder (still clean) faster... and seemed to go higher! This too was while processing a movie soundtrack. What gives? And yes, I understand there are quiet passages, and maybe I just heard a loud one at the showroom... but I compared both at length with diff. scenes... same result. Also, there appears to be an audible pop... like a record skip, to the music whenever I ramp up my 300 from 84 to 85. Could something be wrong with my unit?

    Thanks for any/all help!

    Regards,
    Paul G. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
     
  2. Spoonfed

    Spoonfed
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    i was testing an AVR300 today vs a 3805 (denon)

    It also had the audio pop when going up down the volume as u describe!!!

    Not sure about your other issues
    (and im still not sure which to get.... boy the Denon is nice for the $'s..)
     
  3. Barend

    Barend
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    No pops here. Stop eating popcorn- you're not in a REAL cinema! :D
    Default AVR300 volume settings are a bit low, so just visit the setup and set all speakers to max level, and reduce any that need reducing by use of an SPL meter or your ears...my ears tell me "Gimme more surround man!" with ANY receiver I try and I believe them because they're very helpful things although rather ugly!

    Now for average movie viewing you shouldn't need to crank up the volume beyond 60 or so.
    Also check the MAX VOL setting in main setup (top left).

    Barend
     
  4. liteswap

    liteswap
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    Hmm, strange -- mine does that too (pops between 84-85dB). The only time I'm likely to go that high is when listening to phones though...
     
  5. logoguy905

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    Hi Spoonfed...

    Yes, you're right. There is a skip to the sound between 84 to 85 db on the Arcam dial! Wish I knew what was causing it. I'm wondering if the latest software update will take care of this. My system software is around 2.6 and I believe the latest update is 2.8+.

    The Denon is a nice piece... very loaded. However, I still liked the sound of the Arcam just a bit more. I'm not sure, but I don't think the Denon has a toroidal amp like the Arcam, and my Paradigm's are pretty hungry for a high-current amp.


    Hello Barend...

    Although I understand you're just joking around, the poping issue is real. Just because you do not have the issue (software related???) does not mean it's not happening on my machine.

    I also understand that a movie should be watchable at 60 db on the AVR300. I can barely hear it on mine at that volume. Which, as I had mentioned, movies seemed fine on the dealers AVR200 at medium volume. Again, just because yours is not experiencing the issue does not mean mine is not malfunctioning in some way.

    As for the tweaks you mention... I have gone though the whole bag of tricks. I'm not a newbie to quality equipment. I'm not saying I know it all either, but I have tried the obvious solutions.

    Concerning Max volume mine is set to the 'max' at 100 db.

    I'm driving the following....

    Paradigm 40's v.3 w/ Premier J-23 stands
    Paradigm CC-470 v.3
    Paradigm ADP-470 v.3
    Paradigm Servo 15 v.1

    Arcam AVR300
    Pioneer 47ai DVD/SACD/DVD-A
    Sony classic DD turntable w/ Creek Pre
    G3 Powerbook acting as a music server w/ M-Audio Opitcal Pre
    Bell 301 Sat System (soon to be replaced w/ a PVR)
    32" Panasonic Television (soon to be replaced w/ LCD/DLP R. Pro)
    Ultralink & AR wiring thoughout
     
  6. MattTheBeanster

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    The popping sound was noted in the review in hifi choice. sounds firmware fixable to me but i'm no engineer.
     
  7. Spoonfed

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    The Denons do "tick" very very slightly with each "numbered" volume increment... one only can notice it when going up/down volume at high levels but with quiet passages.

    Certainly not as promonant as the Arcam's "pop".

    Yeah im still undecided 3805 or 300........... price is substantially different....

    Yeah no toridial in the Arcam but its quite sizable still and boy is it heavy..... the entire AVR is 1kg heavier than the 300.

    Oh it also has plenty of grunt, actually got a "crack" from my 12L's today (too much cone extension). Mates old suposed 200watt x 3 Rotel Power couldn't manage that..... mates Music Fidelity 2ch did once but. :)
     
  8. logoguy905

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    Hi Spoonfed,

    I think you mean 'no toroidal in the Denon'... it's the Arcam that has the Toroidal.

    I prefer Toroidals because I feel at higher volumes they give you a smoother midrange. A standard amp is ok for light to medium volumes, but breaks up when cranked. Not to say that the Denon isn't good... just feel the Arcam is a touch better.

    To be fully truthful about the Arcam, it too has some slight ticking here and there when the volume is turned... but not always noticable. I was told once that either they would have to filter that out (at the risk of damaging dynamics) or the parts that control volume would have to be considerably more refined... as in the AVM 20 I used to have which was smooth all the way up. But, alas, I seeked a fairly solid all in one solution... and the Arcam seemed the best fit with the least weaknesses.

    Beanster - Thanks for your follow-up. I must have missed that part of the review in Hi-Fi! I'm going to attempt a software upgrade in the next day or two. I'm a few itterations behind already, but have only had the amp a month. It's nice to see Arcam is keeping the machine up-to-date. Hopefully this will correct the issue. Also looking forward to 96K PCM with the latest software!
     
  9. Spoonfed

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    96khz PCM????? Im guessing over digital input?

    What source would this be??? DTS music only discs or something?
    (would have thought the AVR300 would do this straight up as its not that old)
     
  10. logoguy905

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    Hi Spoonfed,

    I am assuming that the AVR300 would resample any digital frequency from 41+khz up to 96khz. I would also assume that it would allow the full bandwidth of 96khz DTS audio to come shining though.

    The web address below talks about the latest software version for the 300....
    http://www.aslgroup.com/arcam/AVR300Software/AVR300Software.htm

    Here's a direct quote from the page....

    "In our view the most important features added to the AVR300 so far have been:

    * Version 2.72 - Added the ability for the AVR300 to respond to IR remote control signals from learning remotes that could not correctly reproduce the "toggle bits" as required by the RC5 standard.* Previously remotes like the Philips Pronto worked fine, but other learning remotes could produce erratic responses from the AVR300.
    * Version 2.76 - Added 96kHz PCM capabilities for Stereo, Dolby PL, PLII, and PLIIx."

    So apparently my current itteration of software, 2.6+, SHOULD be upgraded right away!

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  11. Spoonfed

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    oooh so it sounds like onboard decoding... which i found already to be very good could be somewhat improved more? hmmm

    Is it likely a "brand new" unit purchased now would have this firmware? or need an upgrade?
     
  12. logoguy905

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    Hi Spoonfed,

    I assume that just about any AVR300 you pluck off of the shelves for the next couple weeks will still have the old software. Although this seems to be a successful piece for Arcam, they don't move the volume to replenish stock like Denon would on their 3805. As well, it took Arcam some time for the product to wind up on American shelves.

    If you're just in the market, hold the DVD and SAT buttons down on the front of the unit... this will tell you the exact software version installed.

    Just on a side note, I wish Manufacturers would get their acts together and stop with the null modem connection upgrades (rs232). Why can't they put a damn USB connection onboard? I'd like to use my Mac (also running XP in emulation on the machine) to be able to do the upgrade. Instead, I have to purchase the special cable and dust off my girlfriends old PC. Meanwhile, it's so virus laden I'm having to spend hours reinstalling XP on it... damn PC's!!.
     
  13. liteswap

    liteswap
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    I've upgraded mine to 2.84 (the latest) and it still pops.

    On the null modem cable issue, why not get a USB-serial converter?
     
  14. logoguy905

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    Hi Liteswap,

    Well, that positively sucks! I've contacted Arcam about fixing the issue. I'll see what comes of it. With that asside though, has the sound though PCM digital improved that you can tell?

    I was looking for a usb-to null cable... but couldn't find any. Do you know where I can find one? Because, why buy an adapater, and the cable? Then that's 2 things I'm never going to use (after the update).

    Thanks
     
  15. Spoonfed

    Spoonfed
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    I have PM'ed the Arcam guy whom appears on AVSForums (and perhaps here) about this poping issue... hopefully will hear something. Maybe its not on ALL units? I couldn't see it being a software thing (though maybe). Im sure if it happened on every unit such a thing would have been picked up at testing?
     
  16. logoguy905

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    For a company that touts being above the bar, I find it disappointing that such a noticable flaw would find its way into production and onto my shelf. A fix should be offered at the very least.
     
  17. Spoonfed

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    agreed... if not a software fix... a "service" fix. Would be good to confirm that ALL units are doing it.

    Have you emailed arcam?
     
  18. liteswap

    liteswap
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    I think you can find a USB/RS-232 adaptor at Expansys -- the cheapest I've found is here.

    Haven't had a chance to fully check out the PCM digital yet....
     
  19. Spoonfed

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    Please do let us know what you think of the onboard PCM decoding vs your current source (and any other you may have)

    While my ears are probably not as educated as many... i found using digital input for 2ch PCM gave quite impressive results.
    (to me.... extremely close to Arcam CD73)
     
  20. logoguy905

    logoguy905
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    Spoonfed - So far, I find that My Arcam is a bit better than my Pioneer 47ai when it comes to a smooth presentation... going in digital to let the Arcam do the work. The 47ai is a touch more reavealing, and gives a touch more 3D'ness to the sound, but the highs are harsher. Now this is also before I've updated the Arcam, so who knows? The Arcam might come out shining with 96khz pcm. So far, I've pretty much stuck with the Arcam decoding. With some subtler music, I sometimes switch back to the analog.

    Liteswap - Since I'm in Canada and not the UK, I would rather look at home for the cable and adapter... but thank you for the image! I now know what to look for. Does the serial adapter function as a Null Modem connection... because I hear you have to use a null modem line, and not a standard line. Thanks!

    To all that have the skipping sound issue, I would email Arcam ASAP on it. Don't want them sitting on their hands. If enough people compain, hopefully they will offer a fix. I emailed them 3 days ago, and there's been no word on this issue from them!
     
  21. Spoonfed

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    logoguy,

    I guess thats not too bad that it compares favourably to a higher model DVD/SACD/DVDA player.

    I have also emailed arcam re the sound issue BUT have received a reply from John Dawson (hope he doesn't mind me cut and pasting it here :) ) on PM on AVSForums.

    So it seems "normal" and there is a reason:

    "The slight noise you heard when changing volume at highish levels is related to our hardware design. At high levels we switch in a "gain ranger"
    so that the residual background noise at lower listening levels is reduced - this is done entirely for reasons of sound quality and is one of several reasons why we can subjectively outperform the competition. The switching of the gain ranger into the system can be heard as a slight discontinuity when operating the volume control at 84-85dB but it does not of course impinge on the sound except at the instant of changing volume between those levels. In any case it is not a fault."
     
  22. logoguy905

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    Hi Spoonfed,

    I finally got a response from Arcam... but it seems almost the opposite of what you've heard from Mr. Dawson concerning the audible blip. Read below an email from a Canadian Rep, Mr. Nicholson.....

    ______

    Dear Paul:

    Thank you for your enquiry, which was forwarded to us by Arcam. We are their
    Canadian distributor. What you are experiencing with your receiver is a known problem. The protection circuitry in the power amp is acting at too low a threshold.
    We can modify it so that it will attain higher volumes before it "protects".

    There is also a newer software version, which we can install for you at the same time. Of course, both service procedures will be at no charge to yourself, covered under your 5-year warranty.

    You mention you are in Toronto. Please return the unit to the dealer from whom you bought it, and they will handle the rest for you.

    Thank you for choosing Arcam.

    Regards,
    Gary Nicholson

    ______


    I feel like I'm smelling a rat here. It seems like Arcam was aware of the problem, and hoped it would just go away. Although I can understand the general explanation of Mr. Dawson, I've never seen any high-end gear exhibit this 'issue'... or claim that such a noise was normal. The sheer fact that this audible blip was not mentioned in the literature which came with the amp tells me the issue was found out afterwords. They wanted to see how many would notice the issue and report it first before doing anything about it.... and that stinks.
     
  23. Spoonfed

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    I was assured by John that it is "normal" in this units an employed to keep noise down at lower volumes (ie the volume operation switches at higher volumes where noise is not an issue).

    On testing im pretty sure there is a second setup in the mid nineties (ie near full) though it is DAMN loud at that point hehe :) so i doubt most people would get that loud

    It can be a little annoying.... esp if 84/85 is in the range one operates the volume at.... as with louder passages of music/movie the blip can be very pronounced.

    I guess depends how one uses the unit....... im a volume hunter :) (sort of like a channel flicker....well im that also haha) :)
     
  24. logoguy905

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    I guess for me, the issue only really arrises with movies. FM/AM/CD are all loud enough for me at normal volumes, but I really have to crank it for DD and DTS.
     
  25. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Paul - The message from your Canadian distributor is nothing to do with the volume control operation - it was simply a misunderstanding. As Gary is here with me at CEDIA right now I have put him right on that point for future communications.

    Sincerely,

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  26. logoguy905

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    Hello John,

    Although I thank you for your follow-up with me on this issue, it is now further dissapointing as I thought this issue could be resolved. I'm not sure I would have considered the Arcam had I known that such a blip in audio was present. Certainly not your fault, John, but this is something that should be told to a purchaser. I don't even know why I had to discuss the issue here to get to the bottom of this. I will probably be looking at Rotel in the future.

    Regards,
    Paul
     

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