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Comments about the Arcam AVR100 ?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Russ, Apr 10, 2001.

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  1. Russ

    Russ
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    I would wecome views and comments about the Arcam AVR100 Receiver (to go with my DV88!).

    My set up includes the Ruark Vita 100 4+Sub Speaker system. The satellites have quite a wide range but really need a sub to give full Bass. Clearly this is Ok with the AVR100 in DD or DTS mode, but not so easy in two channel mode.

    There is some flexibility in connection, the Vitas having low level and high level inputs, but I just wonder how you other owners have faired.
    NB Wont be changing the speakers for some time - they are really good ! and 'fit' my lounge.

    Thanks
     
  2. Guest

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    I like the AVR-100 and of course it looks smart sat next to the DV-88. It might not the most powerful sound around but it doesn't try to be - it's more about refinement and clarity. The tuner is good too, if you give it a decent aerial.

    I have full-range front speakers, but I think this snippet (borrowed from ASL Groups Salesman's Guide) should help for your setup :

    "If you own a true SUB/SAT system in which
    the sats must be used with the sub to achieve adequate stereo performance, they
    (the sub and the L & R sats) should be treated as standalone full range L & R speakers. That is, the sub should be fed from the L & R speaker or L & R line-level outputs."

    To do this you can select Preset 2 in the bass management screen and it sounds like it will work for music and movies with the above setup.

    Update - thinking about this, you might have to use the DAC's in the amp for this to work with music CD's. So you would connect the DVD player up with coax only and not use analog inputs. This would prevent you from using the DV-88's DAC's though :(

    You might want to audition it with a 5.1 speaker setup though, since my experiences relate to running the AVR-100 with only front l/r speakers. I'm waiting to move house before getting the centre/surrounds !

    Hope that helps,

    DF

    [ 10-04-2001: Message edited by: DF ]
     
  3. UrbanTiger

    UrbanTiger
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    I demoed all this stuff on Sunday, this is my feeling. I was looking for an upgrade from my Toshiba 2109 and RXV795a amp.

    My friend already has the DV88 and AVR100 so I have had a good audition of this system. It struck me how good the music mode was on the AVR, but I found the Home Cinema side lacking a certain uumph, even compared to my Yamaha.

    On Sunday I demoed the DV88 with the AVR100 together with an Arcam power amp to see if some of that oompph returned. It didn't.

    I then demoed the DV88 with a Denon AVC10SE and its advantages in Home Cinema are vast, with power, refinement, slam, clarity. Its got the lot. For CD replay, the Denons 'direct' mode produces an excellent CD sound, but not as good as the Arcam AVR100's.

    I think at this price point, you can't have the best of both. If you want fantastic HC and good music, then the Denon is a clear winner. If you want excellent CD music, and average/good HC, then the AVR100 is the clear winner.

    In the end, I bought the Denon and the DV88. Its interesting that my friend who has the AVR100/DV88 combo is now very pee'ed off with the HC performance of the AVR100 after coming with me to the demo yesterday.

    My advice is simply listen to both and pick the one you like the sound of, they are both great bits of kit

    :)
     
  4. Russ

    Russ
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    Thanks for the comments guys.
    I do plan to audition the AVR100 with other receivers.
    I must say that its style matches the DV88 very well (of course) so if the HC performance is acceptable...
    I dont use many of the many features in my current 930, but flexibility is always important - as is sound quality.
     
  5. JohnS

    JohnS
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    The above post from urbantiger agrees with the same thing said in this months What Hifi with regard to excellent CD playback but not great for Home Cinema.

    All depends on your priorities. ;)
     
  6. UrbanTiger

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    I don't read What Hi-Fi but its nice to know I can mix it with the 'experts' ;)

    These were just my personal observations from my demo. I think Arcam make great gear but the Denon amp made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I've just watched Fifth Element to answer a query on the DVD Player Forum, and I'm hearing sounds that were never there before. The seperation and clarity is outstanding.
     
  7. le hutch

    le hutch
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    I'm running an AVR100 with a DV88 with Monitor Audio Silver 9i fronts and Silver 12i centre ( cant afford the rears yet!)

    This is a superb sounding amp but has a few niggly problems.

    Poor bass management options.

    No sub output on stereo mode. Not sure about prologic though. I need to connect high level speaker inputs up.

    When you switch between inputs you also need to switch to your prefered sound mode. IE when you switch from SAT (prologic) to CD (stereo) its two or more button presses. My Yamaha processor used to remember which mode was last set.

    I've emailed Arcam about this and they say they are aware of this.

    One nice feature is that it has extra digital inputs for SAT (phono) and VCR (optical) as well as the normal analogue inputs. It will sense if there is a digital signal present before switching to the analogue.

    I've currently got my PS2 connected to the optical VCR in and it sounds awesome!

    :D :D :D

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Stuart M. Robinson

    Stuart M. Robinson
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    Guys,

    I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell you all what I thought of the Arcam AVR100 since the review hasn’t yet been published… but let’s just say that it wouldn’t be my choice of receiver and that it would be impossible to disagree with any of the comments made in this thread. Note that the Arcam’s three digital inputs are tied to their respective source names – DVD, SAT and VCR – and that video switching is also given a low priority.

    You can take a peek inside the thing at: http://www.smr-group.co.uk/components/avr100.html


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  9. UrbanTiger

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    Stuart, may I ask a question?

    My friend with the AVR100/DV88 combo is considering buying the P85 power amplifier to try and give him the 'slam' he feels is missing in HC playback. He has B&W CM4 speakers and would bi-amp them with this combo. His feeling is the CM4's require seperate power to drive the bass units in the speakers and this will give that missing sound.

    My feeling is that adding the Arcam 2 channel power amp and bi-amping will improve his CD playback (which he is already happy with) but will not change the basic soft sound of the Arcam on HC mode, which I always thought came from the way any amplifier processes the 5.1 sound in its chipset, and not purely its power output rated in watts.

    Would I be right or is the purchase of a P85 a good idea for him for HC use?.

    Thanks

    :)
     
  10. Stuart M. Robinson

    Stuart M. Robinson
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    UrbanTiger,

    “My friend with the AVR100/DV88 combo is considering buying the P85 power amplifier to try and give him the 'slam' he feels is missing in HC playback. He has B&W CM4 speakers and would bi-amp them with this combo. His feeling is the CM4's require seperate power to drive the bass units in the speakers and this will give that missing sound.”

    B&W loudspeakers are often tricky to drive, the CM4’s impedance can fall as low as 4.4ohms. Couple that with the Arcam AVR100’s weedy amplification and I feel that is highly likely that an external amplifier would help restore some grunt for both music and movie listening. The left, centre and right pre-amp outputs are phase and gain matched to meet Arcam specifications, so at least the AVR100 is suited to bi-amplification, provided an Arcam power amp is used.

    “My feeling is that adding the Arcam 2 channel power amp and bi-amping will improve his CD playback (which he is already happy with) but will not change the basic soft sound of the Arcam on HC mode, which I always thought came from the way any amplifier processes the 5.1 sound in its chipset, and not purely its power output rated in watts.”

    Hard to say. The Arcam uses a Cirrus Logic Crystal CS4926 engine, an IC found in literally dozens of 5.1 receivers from Kenwood all the way up; it’s a competent design and shouldn’t be the unit’s weakest link. I’m not thrilled by the use of Crystal CS4340 DACs, but there are worse. No, given that I’ve seen the Arcam’s HCC test bench measurements, I’d say the amplification is probably to blame for your friend’s misgivings, especially if he's driving the B&W full-range.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  11. UrbanTiger

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    Thanks for the answer Stuart, I'll let him know what you have said.

    Time to book another demo room me thinks :)
     
  12. Jeff

    Jeff
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    I had 2 AVR100's over a period of 2 weeks, both developed a humming noise through the centre channel. I believe that there is a fix for this now, but it's something to watch out for. Arcam should be releasing a 3 channel P85 in the summer so your friend might want to wait for that, 1 small negative point about the Avr100/P85 combo is that there isn't a power relay to power on both units from the AVR100. I would be very interested to hear how good a AVR100/P85 combo is as it was my original plan, after the hum problems I went for the Denon AVC-A1SE instead.
     

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