Debating on new receiver - Arcam? Denon?

sase

Standard Member
Hi all,
Curious to see what you think. I don't really have a budget for this, okay to spend a good amount, but I'm curious to hear what you all think...

I have an existing home theatre room that I not as functional now as I'd like (some older gear, etc). My main setup (which isn't setup right now) was an arcam avr600 w/ B&W Cm6's and center channel, etc. This room is setup with 5.1, B&W DM603s, center channel, 601's in the rear.

Eventually I want to tweak the area out, but for now I'm focusing on other things in my life, but I can't stand the old setup (I bought it with the house). It's older, doesn't have HDMI, etc.

Eventually I would like to go with separates, but I'm not in the mood to do that / spend on that just yet.

I look at reviews, etc. and it seems like the AVR850 all around has positive reviews, but with a 6k pricetag. I'm okay with that, but the problem is, I had a lot of problems with my AVR600,and that really spoils the water. I had problems with it from the get go, having to have it replaced, and then I had it repaired (one of the boards went), and shortly after being repaired, the amps stopped working. Also, during use, it was always so finicky, with pop's when changing sources, or the amps not working quite right. Having to power up/down to get working. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome sounding and I loved it when it worked, but for the convenience factor of just 'working' it was a disappointment for 6000$ price tag.

When I first started putting in surround systems in my home, I started with the SONY ES series receivers..and honestly, they always just 'worked', there was no fiddle factor, no qwerky problems, etc. I missed that with the arcam.

I am willing to pay the price for say the AVR850, but I had such a bad experience with the arcam, that I was left disappointed (But I LOVED the sound).I've heard good things about the denon x4400H online,and the pricetag is appealing, but get a little saddened by the wattage, and wouldn't mind a little more with the same features. The room is a medium sized room.

What do you guys think I should do? I want to have a reliable receiver, that sounds great, and maybe isn't the best of the best (because of price tag).
 

MacVee

Well-known Member
Hi all,
Curious to see what you think. I don't really have a budget for this, okay to spend a good amount, but I'm curious to hear what you all think...

I have an existing home theatre room that I not as functional now as I'd like (some older gear, etc). My main setup (which isn't setup right now) was an arcam avr600 w/ B&W Cm6's and center channel, etc. This room is setup with 5.1, B&W DM603s, center channel, 601's in the rear.

Eventually I want to tweak the area out, but for now I'm focusing on other things in my life, but I can't stand the old setup (I bought it with the house). It's older, doesn't have HDMI, etc.

Eventually I would like to go with separates, but I'm not in the mood to do that / spend on that just yet.

I look at reviews, etc. and it seems like the AVR850 all around has positive reviews, but with a 6k pricetag. I'm okay with that, but the problem is, I had a lot of problems with my AVR600,and that really spoils the water. I had problems with it from the get go, having to have it replaced, and then I had it repaired (one of the boards went), and shortly after being repaired, the amps stopped working. Also, during use, it was always so finicky, with pop's when changing sources, or the amps not working quite right. Having to power up/down to get working. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome sounding and I loved it when it worked, but for the convenience factor of just 'working' it was a disappointment for 6000$ price tag.

When I first started putting in surround systems in my home, I started with the SONY ES series receivers..and honestly, they always just 'worked', there was no fiddle factor, no qwerky problems, etc. I missed that with the arcam.

I am willing to pay the price for say the AVR850, but I had such a bad experience with the arcam, that I was left disappointed (But I LOVED the sound).I've heard good things about the denon x4400H online,and the pricetag is appealing, but get a little saddened by the wattage, and wouldn't mind a little more with the same features. The room is a medium sized room.

What do you guys think I should do? I want to have a reliable receiver, that sounds great, and maybe isn't the best of the best (because of price tag).

Isn't the 600 known for being particularly quirky/unreliable?

As you do like the Arcam sound, have you thought about getting the lowest cost Arcam AVR; the 390 and just using it as a processor? You can then add the power amp of your choice (such as a Class G Arcam) and if you play your cards right get comparable or better performance to the 850.

You don't even have to buy brand new as there are usually some open box models floating about on eBay for example, if fully used puts you off. This gets the cost down even further.

There is of course Arcam's dedicated AV Processor; the AV860 but that is a high price for what you get.

Of course you will be giving up the one box solution but it gives you the improvements (albeit not perfect) that Arcam have made over the two cycles since the 600, such as newer HDMI specs. Not only that but you get Dirac room correction to boot which has received a lot of feedback (pun intended) and most of it is positive.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The Arcam 550 is also a good option, open box for around £2200 with a 5 year warranty. A bit more power than the 390, and sounds very nice for both music and movies. However, if you are not going to use the system for music, then for movies only a Denon at half the price would also be a good option.
 

sase

Standard Member
The Arcam 550 is also a good option, open box for around £2200 with a 5 year warranty. A bit more power than the 390, and sounds very nice for both music and movies. However, if you are not going to use the system for music, then for movies only a Denon at half the price would also be a good option.

Yes, certainly. This will be primarily 95% or more for movies. That a why I figured going with the denon... the 8500 doesnt look too bad either.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If music was more of a consideration I would say take the Arcam 550. However for just movies the Denons are really rather good at it. The 8500 is top of the shop but you could also consider the 6400 at a considerable saving and will do the job for you with some aplomb.
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
I’ve had a denon 7200 and now have an Arcam 550. Both were powered with power amps.

Regardless of music or movies, the Arcam Superior to the denon in every way. The inbuilt Dirac is miles better than audyssey, even in my room which is acoustically pretty good.

The denon has loads of extra features that the Arcam doesn’t, but for purely sound quality there really is no comparison.

Where are you based? You state $ so I’m assuming the States? If so, I’d probably get an anthem as you get a lot better value for money over there. Over here they are really expensive, opposite for us with the Arcam I suppose.
 

gav_sw20

Active Member
Am in a similar position, I too have CM6 speakers plus the corresponding CM Centre and rears and want a new AVR purely for Movie duties.

I’ve narrowed it down to the following;
- Denon X6400 - Heavily discounted (price is £1300) compared to the original RRP / 11 Channels / excellent variety of inputs / high power output
- Marantz SR7012 - £350 less than the Denon / simple looking design / only 9 channels though

I also looked at the Arcam390 but it needs an additional amp when you start looking at more channels. FYI - the Arcam850 is about £4500 now.

The Marantz SR8012 is also supposed to be amazing (movies and music) at around £2650, but I don’t need anything for music duties as have a separate Cambridge streamer and amp.
 

sase

Standard Member
You guys are killing me :) now with the price at 4600 usd, theres not much of a difference between the two...

I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet...but I'm afraid the arcam will cramp out like my 600...


Heavy sigh!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've had four Denon receivers, the longest was kept for around five years and is in storage now. All have worked with out problem. I may very well get an Arcam next as Dirac is an itch that needs to be scratched. However I can't see the Arcam being any better for music than my present Denon 6200 and Rega Elicit R amp combo.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Arcam AVRs do come with a 5 year warranty, and after that offer a fix priced repair. That's the arrangement for the UK anyway. However, if you are not going to use the system for music I think Denon would be the better value purchase.
 

sase

Standard Member
Arcam AVRs do come with a 5 year warranty, and after that offer a fix priced repair. That's the arrangement for the UK anyway. However, if you are not going to use the system for music I think Denon would be the better value purchase.

Yes, but it's always a pain in the butt. I don't have a dealer near by, so I have to ship it, etc. Shipping is expensive.

I think in the end I will probably go with the denon 6500H since it is primarily for movies, and when I want to do my big upgrade (separates etc.) there will probably be a new arcam processor out there by that time :)

This way I can dump some more money on other things and not feel so guilty :)
 
Yes, but it's always a pain in the butt. I don't have a dealer near by, so I have to ship it, etc. Shipping is expensive.

I think in the end I will probably go with the denon 6500H since it is primarily for movies, and when I want to do my big upgrade (separates etc.) there will probably be a new arcam processor out there by that time :)

This way I can dump some more money on other things and not feel so guilty :)
Remember there is a lot of music in films so the Arcam will still be better for films. ;)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Yes, but it's always a pain in the butt. I don't have a dealer near by, so I have to ship it, etc. Shipping is expensive.
I don't think that the Denon is necessarily guaranteed to be less likely to break than the Arcam. There haven't been many reports of the latest batch of Arcam's developing faults. In the last couple of years I have had faults with a Cambridge Audio CXR200, A Denon 6300 and a Marantz SR7011. The two reliable ones have been the Denon 4400 and the Arcam 550, but I have only had the Arcam a couple of weeks, so fingers crossed!
 

smallangryboy

Active Member
Having had receivers from Arcam, Marantz, Denon and Yamaha and stereo amps from Arcam, NAD, Cyrus, Rotel and Naim I just bought a rather modest Denon AVR-X1400H for the home cinema room.

It's a cracking bit of kit especially when driving 5.1 and as I've got a decent sub (which helps with stereo) it makes a good job out of music too. Setup was a breeze and much better than the Audyssey that came with the Yammy and Marantz. Arcam I will never touch again for AVR's and I believe many people suffer confirmation bias about the stereo capabilities of the Arcam over other AV amps.

Anyway my two penneth - you don't need to spend big bucks for big sound.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Having had receivers from Arcam, Marantz, Denon and Yamaha and stereo amps from Arcam, NAD, Cyrus, Rotel and Naim I just bought a rather modest Denon AVR-X1400H for the home cinema room.

It's a cracking bit of kit especially when driving 5.1 and as I've got a decent sub (which helps with stereo) it makes a good job out of music too. Setup was a breeze and much better than the Audyssey that came with the Yammy and Marantz. Arcam I will never touch again for AVR's and I believe many people suffer confirmation bias about the stereo capabilities of the Arcam over other AV amps.

Anyway my two penneth - you don't need to spend big bucks for big sound.
Interesting viewpoint, I suppose it depends on your room, speakers, sources, ears, expectations??

Personally, I thought that my Denon 6300 and 4400 sounded really uninteresting for music, the Marantz SR7011 was better, but again, I found myself not really using it for music much, as it just didn't engage me. The Cambridge CXR200 was pretty good, but a little bright for me, but then I had Kef Q's at the time, and they are quite bright sounding anyway, so maybe not a great combination.

The best I had was the Kef R300's with a BK XLS200 sub, and a Musical Fidelity m3i, that sounded glorious, very engaging and I listened to a lot of music on that kit. I recently moved to an Arcam 550, mainly for convenience - a massive downsizing of the system and making it much more user friendly. I am still getting used to it, but it is not far behind in terms of pure sound quality for music. But when you add in easier bass management, Dirac, convenience and features, it wins.
 

smallangryboy

Active Member
The sub makes a huge difference to the soundstage and detail (ironically) for music. It's never ending though isn't it? All components interacting differently with each other including the room and your mood!
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
Have you considered NAD?

I used the T777v3 for a period of time and thought highly of it... aside from the not-so-minor issue of it refusing to play ball consistently with my TV (and it seems many Sony TVs). A really nice sounding amp, particularly for music, and no issue driving my B&W CDM-NTs cleanly to antisocial levels. Dirac onboard as well, which worked well with minimal fuss. They're also very keenly priced in the US

I swapped it out for a Denon 8500 which sounds less "nice" and more aggressive - on balance IMO better for movies. I picked Denon in the end since I've used Denon for 10 years prior and they've all performed flawlessly, and moving away from Denon to NAD didn't work out all that well - Arcam AVR850+P429, or AVR390+other power was a consideration, but my perception of reliability, cost, and not hearing any magic in an admittedly short demo to justify it put me off.

HDMI 2.1 on the roadmap for the 8500 is a nice to have as well, longevity being one of the things that pushed me to the 8500 over the 6400 (the other one being, that if I go big, I'll never wonder what if)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Having had receivers from Arcam, Marantz, Denon and Yamaha and stereo amps from Arcam, NAD, Cyrus, Rotel and Naim I just bought a rather modest Denon AVR-X1400H for the home cinema room.

It's a cracking bit of kit especially when driving 5.1 and as I've got a decent sub (which helps with stereo) it makes a good job out of music too. Setup was a breeze and much better than the Audyssey that came with the Yammy and Marantz. Arcam I will never touch again for AVR's and I believe many people suffer confirmation bias about the stereo capabilities of the Arcam over other AV amps.

Anyway my two penneth - you don't need to spend big bucks for big sound.
I have a Denon 6200 and used it for music in pure direct to my KEF R300s, no sub involved. It was not involving at all. Then I bought a Rega Elicit R which I integrated into the system via HT bypass. Now the Rega grabs the R300s and takes me to a full concert venue with a top class artist whilst the Denon was like a karaoke night at the local pub.
 

chiro81

Active Member
Have you considered NAD?

I used the T777v3 for a period of time and thought highly of it... aside from the not-so-minor issue of it refusing to play ball consistently with my TV (and it seems many Sony TVs). A really nice sounding amp, particularly for music, and no issue driving my B&W CDM-NTs cleanly to antisocial levels. Dirac onboard as well, which worked well with minimal fuss. They're also very keenly priced in the US

I swapped it out for a Denon 8500 which sounds less "nice" and more aggressive - on balance IMO better for movies. I picked Denon in the end since I've used Denon for 10 years prior and they've all performed flawlessly, and moving away from Denon to NAD didn't work out all that well - Arcam AVR850+P429, or AVR390+other power was a consideration, but my perception of reliability, cost, and not hearing any magic in an admittedly short demo to justify it put me off.

HDMI 2.1 on the roadmap for the 8500 is a nice to have as well, longevity being one of the things that pushed me to the 8500 over the 6400 (the other one being, that if I go big, I'll never wonder what if)

I was thinking on getting a NAD 777 to pair with my Sony Z9D-are you saying there are know compatibility issues I should be worried about?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sase

Standard Member
Having had receivers from Arcam, Marantz, Denon and Yamaha and stereo amps from Arcam, NAD, Cyrus, Rotel and Naim I just bought a rather modest Denon AVR-X1400H for the home cinema room.

It's a cracking bit of kit especially when driving 5.1 and as I've got a decent sub (which helps with stereo) it makes a good job out of music too. Setup was a breeze and much better than the Audyssey that came with the Yammy and Marantz. Arcam I will never touch again for AVR's and I believe many people suffer confirmation bias about the stereo capabilities of the Arcam over other AV amps.

Anyway my two penneth - you don't need to spend big bucks for big sound.

Interesting. Why were you put off from it?

I loved the sound, but it always had issues...switch issues amp not turning on...had to send one unit back to get a new replacement, and two dead boards. Infuriating.

That's why figured I'd get a different brand...I've used denon before in customer installs and Sony before...no issues...

I dont want to deal with the BS.

I purchased the demon 6500h. I will set it up in the next few days when I receive it (haha no pun intended).
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
I was thinking on getting a NAD 777 to pair with my Sony Z9D-are you saying there are know compatibility issues I should be worried about?

I have a suspicion that there's an issue, but I'm not sure it's known/recognised. I had problems with two different video modules, and another had the exact same issue with a T758 (and a Z9D as it happens)

NAD UHD Passthrough issues

It's a great AVR if it works, but if I were you I'd make sure I have easy returns available. The latest firmware available on the NAD site is the same I was testing with. I can't find any other mentions of the issue, but then if we're talking about an incompatibility that only exists between relatively low volume AVRs like the v3 NADs and the high-end 16/17 Sony TVs I'm not sure there would be a whole lot of chatter.
 
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barrywi

Active Member
I have had various Arcams 350, 600 ,750 and now the 850. The 600 had a few small problems but since then the amps I have had have been totally reliable. I use the 850 for both music and movies using an oppo UHD player. The other equipment is shown in my profile.
The 850 is fantastic especially after performing the Dirac set up with a laptop, and I believe Dirac 2 software is nearly ready and supposed to be more user friendly.
It takes about half an hour to do the set up using the supplied microphone from Arcam. I Was sceptical about how much difference Dirac makes but it really is very good and solidifies the sound image ,if that is the right word.
The 850 has more powerful amplifiers so I would not hesitate to recommend it as the best choice.
 

pcaddy

Well-known Member
I wouldn't worry too much about Arcam AVR's now days, back when the AVR 600 was the top of the range I remember that they had a lot of problems but I believe that they have sorted it out now. I bought the AVR 400 after reading good reviews and at the time when they were changing models so got £500 off by giving an old amp trade in. I can say that after 5 years of use I've never had any problems with it other than one day when the radio was on it wouldn't turn to another input, a quick switch off fixed it and I've never had any other problems with it at all, it's built like a brick outhouse and sounds superb and I know that when it's time to upgrade it will definitely be to a new Arcam AVR. :lesson:
 

chiro81

Active Member
I wouldn't worry too much about Arcam AVR's now days, back when the AVR 600 was the top of the range I remember that they had a lot of problems but I believe that they have sorted it out now. I bought the AVR 400 after reading good reviews and at the time when they were changing models so got £500 off by giving an old amp trade in. I can say that after 5 years of use I've never had any problems with it other than one day when the radio was on it wouldn't turn to another input, a quick switch off fixed it and I've never had any other problems with it at all, it's built like a brick outhouse and sounds superb and I know that when it's time to upgrade it will definitely be to a new Arcam AVR. :lesson:

How do the arcam range compare with NAD 758 and 777-they both have Dirac but NAD is much cheaper...
 

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