Bi-amped AVR350 vs A80

mlilliman

Novice Member
Hello,

I know this has been touched on in a couple of other threads (and the definitive answer is to always listen with my own ears!), but I'm interested to see if there's any informed opinion of how the following setups would compare in 2 channel operation.

Arcam A80 bi-wiring a pair of B&W CM1s
Arcam AV350 bi-amping a pair of B&W CM1s (running in Stereo Direct mode)

While the B&W CM1s are not the most sensitive of loudspeaker designs, they are a relatively straight-forward load. Assuming that the A80 may get the nod, would the recommendation be any different if we substituted the CM1s for a pair of floorstanders such as Monitor Audio's RS6s?

As a side consideration, I understand the AVR350 uses Wolfson DACs to decode digital audio sources. Can anyone let me know if these are the latest WM8740s arranged in dual configuration say, or simply one DAC per digital input as I cannot find detailed information about this on the Arcam website.

I think it's obvious where I'm going with this line of questioning! I hope to combine my stereo and multichannel systems without sacrificing (too much) my enjoyment of CDs. Thanks.
 

mlilliman

Novice Member
Appreciate the offer Crusty, I know arranging a demo is the right way to go. Unfortunately being based down in Berkshire, a trip up to Edinburgh might be a touch to far. ;)

We're planning on moving house early in the new year, and I think I'll take that opportunity to listen to the AVR350 in my HC and stereo setups.

Regarding the second part of my posting, would you (or Mr Dawson if I'm lucky!) have any additional information on the DACs in the AVR350? Given that the natural partner for the amp would be the DV137, how does the AVR350 perform in handling the decoding of 2 channel audio via a digital connection to the DV137, compared with using analogue interconnects and letting the DV137 do the decoding?

Presumably, the DACSs on the DV137 and using the AVR350 in pure stereo mode delivers the better results. Has anyone tried both configurations?
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
mlilliman said:
Presumably, the DACSs on the DV137 and using the AVR350 in pure stereo mode delivers the better results. Has anyone tried both configurations?
My experience so far indicates towards that being the case. The DACs onboard the players for two channel playback usually outperform using the receiver's DACs. Being an Arcam dealer I have tried most combinations available.
 

oceanrower

Novice Member
My vote is on Custys opinion, as is my own experience. The DV137´s analouge outputs will outperform the digital cable / AVR350 decoding variant.

I think the DV137 is a very strong cd-replay player. Not as good as the CD192 but good enough to make me really impressed.
 

mlilliman

Novice Member
Cheers Crusty, Oceanrower. With hd-dvd and blu-ray on the horizon, I'm reluctant to spend £1k on a dvd player. While the Denon 1920 may not be in the same class as Arcam's DV137, I only require my DVD player to output digital audio and a solid image via HDMI, as I have a dedicated Naim CD player.

I'm happy to be corrected on this, but believe it is easier technically to get a multi channel amplifier to sound as good as a stereo integrated amp, than a DVD player to match the CD replay of a dedicated CD player. Would the following comparison be fair if using Arcam products as best-in-class at the price?

Arcam AVR350 (&#163;1500) <---> Arcam A80 (&#163;630)
Arcam DV137 (&#163;1300) <---> Arcam CD73 (&#163;420)
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
mlilliman said:
Cheers Crusty, Oceanrower. With hd-dvd and blu-ray on the horizon, I'm reluctant to spend £1k on a dvd player.
How many DVDs do you own?

How long do you think it will be before there is a large selction of HD-DVD/Blueray discs available?

Do you plan on replacing your entire catalogue of DVDs with HD discs?

Do you think there will ever be HD Disc players that can playback your exisiting DVD catalogue to the same level of performance as the DV137?

Ask yourself why you have a dedicated CD player, when DVD players that also play CD have been around for so long?

I think with the cost of the media coming down and the performance of the high players being so high there has never been a better time to invest in a machine that will get the very best out of a media format that you have the highest quantity of, and probably will do for quite some time.

mlilliman said:
Arcam AVR350 (£1500) <---> Arcam A80 (£630)
Arcam DV137 (£1300) <---> Arcam CD73 (£420)
That's probably a pretty fair comparison.
 

KenX

Standard Member
That's an interestin point Crusty, i.e. the quality of ordinary DVD playback on the nextgen players. Are the HD DVD players likely to have better and less expensive DVD playback than Blueray players, because the technology is similar to DVD?
Is there anything said at all so far, about the quality of DVD (as well as CD, DVD-A and SACD) on the nextgen players, for example the Toshiba player?

I think the only reason for being early in on HD is that one can start buying all new material on HD instead of on DVD - as well as getting some old favourites in never previously seen quality - instead of buying more DVDs.

Of course the format war makes this impossible...
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
My current view on the next gen players is that like anything designed for a purpose they will not be particuarly good at anythng else. As I have pointed out earlier, how many people on these forums have a dedicated CD player instead of using their DVD player for all formats? Why is that the same people who refuse to use a DVD player for playig their CDs on would seemingly be quite happy to use a first generation Bluray or HD-DVD player to play all of their existing DVD collection on?
 
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