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Demo Report Tag/Arcam/Bryston

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by spiderv6, Jul 20, 2003.

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  1. spiderv6

    spiderv6
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    As promised, here is the outcome of Saturday mornings three hours of listening....

    The following was demo'd

    Tag DVD32FLR (4K)
    AV32R Dual Sharc (3.7K)
    Arcam FMJDV27A (1.9K)
    Arcam AV8 (2.5K)
    Arcam P7 (3K)
    Tag 250x3 (?K)
    Bryston 9B SST (4K)

    We started with pure stereo and CD. First up was the DVD32FLR, AV32R, 250x3. Immediately struck by how bright the sound was. Incredibly bright - to the point where it was giving me a sore head. Quick switch of CD and it was better but still very very bright. Listen to the clarity and detail said the salesman. I can't, it's giving me a sore head says I.

    Swap to the DV27A, AV8, P7. Ahhhh, much better. Much more mellow. This I can listen to. Still lots of detail. It sends the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. Wow!

    Now we swap the AV8 for the AV32R but keep the 27A and the P7. Again, the brittleness returns but not as bad this time. TMREQ could sort that out I'm told.

    Time for some 5.1.......First impression was the picture quality of the DV27A. It's stunning. Silky smooth. Cant fault it at all. The AV32R (still running via the P7) was delivering rear channel effects I never knew were there before. The dialogue was lovely and crisp and clear (one of my bug bears in my current system).

    We then swapped in the 9BSST as I'd read such great things about it and I was expecting huge improvements over the P7. It was better. A bit. Certainly seemed to provide much more detail in the bottom end - rounding out all of the high end that I'd been hearing. But it wasn't a grand better and it has two less channels.

    So........although I loved the sound of the AV8 I am a bit shy of buying something that is excellent today but basically cannot be upgraded (that's where I am today and I don't want to repeat that mistake). The AV32R is apparently endlessly upgradeable and at least for the next few years I expect that will continue to be the case. But, that brightness......can it really be tamed by TMREQ.

    Not sure if I feel any closer to making a final decision........
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    What were the speakers?
     
  3. warrj

    warrj
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    Why do you think that the AV8 can't be upgraded? Arcam have certainly said that it's possible and Arcam's credibility as a 'high-end' processor manufacturer would be severely dented (or even destroyed) if AV8 owners were left in the lurch wrt upgrades.

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  4. roversd1

    roversd1
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    Sounds like iffy speaker choice by the retailer - Acme Speaker Co. with their patented 'Forward Treble TM'. :D

    I will carefully state that the TAG system isnt bright, just maybe you are being treated to more information than you are used to.

    I thought the same myself when I demoed (and bought) a similar TAG system. Now when I listen to other equipment, they sound muddy when compared to the DVD32R, AV32R and 100x5R.

    Go with what you like the sound of, but try a long term test, dont forget all those old bass monster systems that sounded great in the shop but annoying later on.
     
  5. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Wot no SP1.7?
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Arcam have a very serious history in supporting their products with updates so I would not rule them out on that count.
     
  7. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    quoted dirrectley from the av8 booklet

    'The product software is upgradeable via an RS 232 connector to ensure the AV8'S software can be easily upgraded in the future'

    If thats the kind of upgrading your talking about anyways.
     
  8. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    Yeah probably is s/w upgradeable; just like the other top-end processors- what at what point is (any) processor unfeasible to upgrade?

    The Proceed AVP was a excellent processor upon initial release, but lack of software & hardware support made owners furious about a £5000 product. The cost of upgrading from the AVP to the AVP2 was expensive, and so are Arcam upgrades IMO.

    I would not have high hopes about upgrades- if they come out- great. But don't expect support for new super fangly hardware options that are around the corner.
     
  9. spiderv6

    spiderv6
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    Upgrades to the AV8....sure it's got an RS232. So does my current 4 year old kit but I have never and never will see an upgrade for it. When I talk about upgrades I mean more than just moving the OS from 1.2 to 1.3. I'm talking about major hard- or software upgrades. Like adding a second processor or new dacs or a dab module or TMREQ etc etc.

    My point is that Tag have a proven history of offering upgrades. The kit is designed with it in mind - in otherwords this is more than just software, we are talking physical architecture. Take DTS 96/24 - the Arcam hardware can't support it. Will they offer a new board upgrade when it does? I don't know.

    Will 'ARREQ' be released as a plug in board for the AV8? Can the box take additional boards? I haven't heard it discussed.

    The AV8 may or may not be upgradeable. Arcam sinply does not have that same history that Tag does. I'm not saying they wont, I'm just not sure I want to take the risk.

    Of course the Tag will not be upgradeable forever, but if I can extend it's life by 2, 3, 4 or more years by upgrading it then that's a better investment.

    Maybe someone from Arcam will jump in and tell me I've got it all wrong.

    Now, all that doesn't change the fact that the Arcam sounded better than the Tag. :D
     
  10. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Exactly! Also I reckon that loads of people will queue up (me included) to buy a second-hand AV8 in 2 years time if you just have to have TAG's latest upgrade to Dolby Headphone II or whatever.

    3 years of harsh sound (in your opinion) with the potential to maybe-upgrade-sometime-if-feel-I-have-to-eventually OR 3 years of great sound that I really like now. No contest IMO.
     
  11. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Arcam have an extremely good record when it comes to offering CD-player, and now DVD-player, upgrades; and the AV8 is designed to be modular enough that you can actually remove and replace (say) the processor board and leave the rest of the machine intact. I wouldn't be unduly concerned about upgrades. They have a far better history than, say, Lexicon.
     
  12. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    If you liked the Arcam i would buy it.

    Steven.
     
  13. Garincha

    Garincha
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    spiderv6,
    my brother-in-law fought the same fight for a longer time (brightness of TAG).
    He has full TAG system with Dynaudio speakers and it was always brght, in some cases on the limit.
    He was just about to sell it all but then he did demo with his setup and McIntosh MC202 amp (he always does stereo only tests)
    It is ideal match (at least wit his speakers) and it is far away from any brightness now
    I am very curious to hear what TMREQ can do when he does upgrade, but his budget is zeroed at the moment and he still needs three channel amp to match mc202
     
  14. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I think the relative brightness of Tag gear has also got a lot to do with what it's partnered with,and some power amps go a long way towards taming this.....taken separately,quite a few components in my system are not exactly noted for being soft in the treble region....combined,the end result is a very good match...smooth but extended treble and very well controlled bass.

    It's certainly true that the AV32R is rather unforgiving of bright/edgy sources or amp/speaker combinations.
     
  15. kryten

    kryten
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    I found the same my AV8/AV32R demo .
    With P7 power and Dyn speakers
    The Arcam stuff should arrive soon....
     

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