AVR350 to buy or wait??

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by JayMann, Aug 30, 2007.

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  1. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Hi all:hiya:

    Right I'm not a 100% what i maybe on at here so please bare with me

    I'm looking at the AVR350 to replace my 7 year old amp (not telling what it is lol ) but a few question to you experts out there.

    1. Is the AVR350 the one to go for?
    2. Is it gonna do the job for another 7 years?
    3. Heard a lot about HDMi audio/video will that be the way to go or just keep things the way i have it now video down one cable and audio down another
    4. Do i wait for Arcam to introduce a Amp with video up scaling/conversion and do i really need this??
    5. Should i wait for the BR/HD DVD war to finish
    6. What format is the standard now is it for HDMi 1080 I or P?


    Think that's the lot for now if anyone can help?

    Thanks Jay :D
     
  2. Kazuya Mishima

    Kazuya Mishima
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    I love mine, think it's ace, got it paired with Arcam DV88+ and MA Silver speakers, lovely! :smashin:

    I never buy anything with the expectation it will "last" (by that I mean keep up with current technology!) 7 years! :D

    The Arcam 350 will "switch" video and audio signals from a source, but will NOT extract audio signal. So if you have the Arcam 350 you should continue with separate cabling for video and audio. I prefer it that way anyway.

    I wouldn't wait; could be a few years yet...? other people will know much more than I will on this one.

    No, NEVER wait!!! :D You could spend your whole life waiting; format wars etc will NEVER settle down IMHO. IN a few years we will be onto something else, probably all download/streaming based media or something.

    Things move so fast I could be wrong but until recently 1080i was certainly more 'common' (I am not saying standard) and 1080p required a bit more outlay (in the case of my Pioneer 507XD plasma, 1080i screen cost £2k, 1080p 50" screen cost approx. £5k!!!). But I bought my plasma in January so I am probably well behind the times here...

    Hope my thoughts / opinions help you somewhat.
     
  3. Timbo21

    Timbo21
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    Hi Jay,

    1. The 350 is definitely worth consideration, but it lacks the ability to recieve hi res audio from Blu-ray or HD DVD via HDMI. If you are only planning on having one hi def player in the future then you could use the analogue phono inputs on the 350 (if the player has 5.1 analogue outputs). However, this becomes a problem if you like things like SACD, since surround SACD absoloutely requires you to use the 5.1 analogue inputs on the 350, and there is only one set of inputs... You could buy a Zektor switcher that will take multiple 5.1 analogue audio inputs and spit it's single analogue 5.1 output to the 350. This box costs around £200 and don't forget that getting decent cables for 5.1 analogue is not cheap; if you had two sources you would need 3 sets of 6 cables (2 sets in and 1 set out to 350), which will cost you at least around £200 if you want good quality ones. And don't forget it's not easy to make that amount of cabling look tidy.

    2. Personally I would wait for Arcam to bring out a reciever which can handle surround audio from HDMI. I know they are not fond of HDMI audio because of the jitter issues, but IMO it's getting harder to justify omitting this from their processors/recievers now that we are starting to get a reasonable choice of HD players. So in answer to your question you may find it lacking even in two years time, depending on your needs in relation to the above.

    3. If you are looking to get into HD, then HDMI is very important, and all players, bar a couple, will only send upscaled via it's HDMI connection.

    4. Personally I like recievers/av amps to just handle the audio, but that's just me. The more video stuff you put in an av amp the more compromises you get with audio since video signals interfer with audio ones. Basically if you have a good player chances are it will do good upscaling, and HD players either don't need scaling or do a very good job of downscaling to 720p

    5. It could be a long wait for the format war to end. Dual format players are on the horizon, or you can buy a PS3 and a Toshiba player. Both now play straight DVD very well also.

    6. The main HD format is 1080p (known as Full HD), but all HD players have the option of outputting 1080i, or 720p. Normal DVD players sometimes output 480/576 i/p, when upscaling is included they will have a minimum of 1080i/720p, but most made now also upscale to 1080p.

    Hope this helps,

    T.
     
  4. trailer

    trailer
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    In a way the AVR350 is future proof.

    SkyHD is already at 1080i, HD-DVD and BluRay are at 1080p. Hence if you want to look 7 years (or even 1 or 2 years) ahead there wont be a need for upscaling unless TV's gain more resolution. For current SD DVD's theres a very good chance that a decent DVD player will do an equal or better job at upscaling than an £1500 AV amp.

    Audio wise, the AVR350 has analogue inputs. If you want to add an HD or BluRay DVD player then let that do the audio processing and output it analogue to the AVR. Admittedly when the updated versions of hdmi from 1.3a and above will let you send audio through the cable too. This means that the AV amp will do the processing. Again, it is debatable whether the player or the amps processing is currently better at doing this, since there are so few players and even less amps about that can in fact process this HD audio.

    One thing is for sure, every 6 months something bigger and better will come out to tempt you to flex ye olde credit card. Whether you buy now or hang on, you can guarantee that you will be "superceded". The one thing about Arcam gear is that it might not have all the fancy bells and whistles but it sounds great for the money. At the end of the day isn't this what we're all after?
     
  5. JayMann

    JayMann
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    HI every one


    Popped in to the local dealers the other day, Told them i was after the AVR 350 but he talked me out of it!

    Telling me that it's not the AMP to go for for that sort of money went on to say that i'll be better off with the new Marantz SR 8002

    He said that the 350 is i bit behind as in it has HDMI 0.1 (is that right?) and the Marantz has the new 1.3

    So now i don't know what to pay do i stay with Arcam witch are a bit behind or go with the Marantz with is out there?

    Or is my dealer just chatting a load of ****

    Thanks Jay
     
  6. trailer

    trailer
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    I've not heard the Marantz but Arcam work on the sound first philosophy. Feature wise the Arcam will come out lower.

    I would say it depends if you need the all singing all dancing amp or one that sound is the priority.

    Did the dealer offer you a demo?
     
  7. JayMann

    JayMann
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    He told me that the AVR can't carry HD sound can i not connect it with a optical cable for the sound and HDMI for the Video??
     
  8. trailer

    trailer
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    You most certainly can.

    However, the only way you can get HD sound from it is via the analogue ins. This means running 3 pairs of phono cables from the source to the AVR.
     
  9. Turtles

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    I think on a more basic level you need to decide on your priorities. The Arcam is not going to offer the cutting edge all bells and whistles that you get with any of the Japanese AV amps. What it does do though is provide a very high standard of stereo for an AV amp, generally considered to be much higher than its competitors.

    If you are looking primarily for a cinema AV amp then there are better, with more features elsewhere. If you are looking for an amp that has a very good cinema aspect but that also provides excellent stereo performance (a balance if you like) then this is a very, very good choice.

    As many will testify that by using a high quality CD source and by using the direct fuction on the amp really does amaze in stereo. But if you're a film buff and not really bothered about music then this isn't the ideal amp for you.
     
  10. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Thats the thing i'll be using it about 98% for films
     
  11. JayMann

    JayMann
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    What do you guy's think i should go for then?
     
  12. Turtles

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    Despite my loyalty to the 350 then I'll have to concede that its probably not the amp for you. I have a 50/50 split of music and films so its great but if I was in the market for just an cinema amp I’d loiter around the Amp forum and give them a price range and I’m sure your get some great advice.
     
  13. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Thanks for all your help guy's

    I really really what the 350 but as you say it don't look like it's the one for me:(:(
     
  14. trailer

    trailer
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    I'd still definitely have a listen to the Arcam with say the Marantz and see what you think yourself. Specs aren't everything.
     
  15. RumNYC

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    Once you compare the 350 with anything from Marantz/Denon/Yamaha/Pioneer/Onkyo, you will end up getting the 350. Its easy to list a million features that the 350 doesn't have, but its a different matter to beat it in audio performance. Don't count it out unless you get to listen to it and compare it with sth else.
     
  16. blue max

    blue max
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    Sound quality is sound quality, whether it's through two or six speakers.

    That is particularly true of the centre speaker where dialogue could get lost.

    I would certainly second the demonstration idea.

    Graham
     
  17. RogerSch

    RogerSch
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    I can only confirm that you should decide not on specs but on the sound quality! 17 years ago I was looking for a decent stereo amp and with no experience I was focussing on Denon, Onkyo and Marantz. So I went to a HiFi / Piano store and I asked to listen a "huge" Denon amp. I sounded good but then the salesman mentioned the Arcam Delta 60. Only one third of the size, less power, less features and connection options so I was a bit sceptical. But then I heard the music the Arcam amplified... GREAT.. So I ended up in buying the Arcam :)

    Six years ago I made a mistake in buying an Harman Kardon Surround Amplifier. (Buying an Arcam surround amplifier was at that stage above my budget...) Although it was good enough in playing movies, listing to classical piano music you could immediately hear that the sound was to much "coloured". Even my wife complained about that. So three months ago I corrected my mistake and bought the AVR350. But only after comparing it to a Onkyo, Rotel and Denon surround amplifiers. To my ears the AVR350 sounded the most natural both for music and movies. So now it is connected to 4 BNS Soundcolumn II speakers and 1 BNS Soundcolumn I speaker as center speaker. Piano music sounds great again!
    Here is a link to my current setup: http://www.mijnhometheater.nl/index.html?url=/Rogersch.htm


    So JayMann please listen and compare the sound quality of the amps before deciding on which amp to buy..

    By the way: The Arcam Delta 60 is still in use as the stereo amplifier connected to my main computer at home.
     
  18. JayMann

    JayMann
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    I hear what all you guy's are saying i really really want the Arcam But i can't hear all that good sound like you guy's can and i never listen to music (only on the ipod)


    When i do watch film's their AVI files so most of the time.....

    Plus with all the toy's i have the Denon will do the job for me bang on besides i think my old Sony amp sound's good :blush:
     
  19. NonPayingMember

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    The Arcam sounds so much better than all the other amps with HDMI audio that I can't see why you wouldn't go AVR350 in the end.

    True HD audio digitally into a poor amp, or True HD audio via analogue into a very bloody good amp? It's no more complicated than that really. 200 quid switch isn't much to cry about to get more sources in!
     
  20. barrywi

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    I am nearly 61 and with hearing that is nowhere as good as a youngster and my wife is 59. We had decided on a Yamaha 2700(on spec alone) and were ready to buy, We went to Creative Audio in Shrewsbury( a long way from where we live in Cumbria) and had the amp ready to listen to with my choice of speakers, Dali Ikon 5.1. Both of us were disappointed with the sound, it was un focussed and had no impact with CD and DVD. Needless to say I was mortified and thought all was lost. The salesman suggested listening to the Arcam 350 and we were just blown away with the difference. Its unusual that my wife and I agree:D but this time there was no doubt and it was a huge improvement. Needless to say we bought the Arcam and its just as good at home though not quite as good as my previous Meridian/ Mission sysytem for CDs. I dont miss all the gadgetty things on the Japanese amps, though I found myself impressed with the spec of the new Onkyo 905....but am sure the Arcam will beat it for pure sound quality so am suppressing my itchy credit card. I am sure Arcam will bring out an AV amp with the new HD Dolby decoders eventually but it is easy to work around with the analogue inputs .
    My advice GO AND LISTEN TO THE AMPS!!!!!! (dont buy on spec or review):nono:
     
  21. McFaber

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    The Marantz would be good compromise IMO..;)

    Btw, my previous amp was an Marantz, although I've since changed to a 350.

    Both amps are what we would 'Musical' amps meaning both companies have sound quality high on their agenda.
    I'd recommend to get a demo of the two amps concerned, as Arcam and Marantz have different 'sound' signatures.
     
  22. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Ive been looking to change my old amp ever since the AVR200 came out but other thing's came first (like new with a H K system in it :) ) so after waiting so long to change my mind now I'd be mad to change to a different manufacturer now!!

    350 it is :D

    When i do get the 350 what will be the best set up with my DV88 plus do i go with component in for video and coax for sound???
     
  23. Dankeech

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    Component for video, and you'll want coax for DVD. As for listening to CD's, I'd suggest experiement between the coax (AV Reciever's DACs in use) and a set of phono stereo interconnects (DV88's DACs in use).

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  24. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Hi guys,

    I'v decided to go for the 350 not gonna go and have a go before i buy just gonna go in and get her

    Managed to get a bit of a deal on the 350 and wanted to see what you lot think to it?

    AVD350 @ £1550
    £150 off that,
    rDock (Witch is £130 rrp i think)
    and £20 off a £70 QED HDMi lead

    So all in all £300 off

    Any good?
     
  25. blue max

    blue max
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    I'd skip the QED hdmi lead at that price. Mark Grant's are well made and much cheaper, or go for an ultra cheap one as is often recommended here.

    I think you will be pleased. I know I was.

    Graham
     
  26. JayMann

    JayMann
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    Why do you say that mate is there not much difference in cheap and expensive HDMI cables then??
     
  27. blue max

    blue max
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    Head over to the cables and interconnects forum. It's hotly debated!

    In a nutshell, it's digital so on or off.

    Graham
     
  28. Jack the lad

    Jack the lad
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    Dont listen to him :smashin:

    I have had lots of gear (mate in the industry) and I always go back to Arcam in fact I have lost count of the times I have swapped to other brands only to go back to Arcam a week later, sometimes the same day :rolleyes:

    Doesnt stop me checking other gear out though :rotfl:

    After saying that YOU need to check out the gear for yourself and make your own mind up on whats best for you. We all have different tastes and needs thats whats so good about this hobby.
     
  29. StrontiumDog

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    You should never put the HDMI through to the AV receiver. HDMI should be connected directly up to the video display. As any audiophile will tell you, it is always best to use the least amount of connections possible. If you take the HDMI to to AV and then to the TV you have two connections there , whereas if you take the HDMI direct to the display then there is only one connection. Every time you add a connection, you lose quality.

    I would take the audio via optical cable to the AVR 350 and the HDMI direct to the TV. That's what I do with mine and it sounds AWESOME!!!

    Forget about the Marantz. The Arcam sound quality is awesome. In the price range, you won't beat it in audio performance.
     
  30. Dankeech

    Dankeech
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    Further to Deancm's post,
    I'd suggest you try both methods and weigh up the convenience benefits of having video and audio running through the Arcam against the possible difference in signal improvement connecting direct to the tv. I'd expect the Arcam to lose little if any quality by having this digital connection passed through, best trying both methods.

    Let us know which one you go for if you try both:smashin:

    Dan.
     

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