I have an Arcam AVR 280. Would I be disapointed with the sound of a modern £400 amp?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by damo_in_sale, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. damo_in_sale

    damo_in_sale
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    As per the title really,

    I know the Arcam amp is good but feature wise it is very basic compared to modern offerings, eg none of the DTS-HD or Dolby hd equivalents, just Dolby Digital and DTS via coax or optical. There's also no proper surround sound headphone type feature which might be useful on the rare occasion. Also no room calibration.

    Correct

    Speakers are SVS 5.1 with the sub being the SVS SB12, and I won't be going beyond 5.1.

    So I guess I'm wondering if a modern £400 amp with all the new tech can sound as good as the Arcam.

    Thanks,

    Damo
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  2. dante01

    dante01
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    The Arcam's components and amplification will still be better than what you'd expect to get from a modern day £400 AV receiver. Despite the added bells and whistles associated with newer models the Arcam will still sound better when it comes to its signature sound, low distortion and neutrality. You'd be looking at having to spend in the region of £1.5K to replace the Arcam with a modern day equivalent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  3. Buckster

    Buckster
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    Yes - unfortunately :(

    I had an Arcam AVR350 - which was very similar to the AVR280

    the only three receivers that sounded about on par with it were

    an Arcam AVR500, Pioneer AX10Ai, and my current Denon 7200

    I'd agree with dante01 - you will prob be disappointed anywhere below around 1500 new :(
     
  4. gibbsy

    gibbsy
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    If it's still sounding good and you have no desire for going further than 5.1 then why go through the expense. Atmos or DTS X is the obvious upgrade so you would be looking at a Denon X6200 or Marantz 7010 at the very least. There is a noticeable difference coming from a low range receiver, as I did, but I was looking for Atmos anyway. Just because things get newer doesn't mean they get better.
     
  5. PSM1

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    As above, I think you will notice (one reason I have not changed my 350 yet). You could go and have a listen to see what you think but suspect you will be disappointed.
     
  6. stevos

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    Since HD audio is only available on disc, i would say it would be better to spend your money on an player (something like an Oppo) with 5/7 RCA output for audio, therefore gaining access to the HD audio.

    The only thing you really lose then is RoomEQ, which really depends on your room, but i suspect unless its terrible that no RoomEQ is going to make up for the difference in quality of the amps.
     
  7. damo_in_sale

    damo_in_sale
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    Thanks guys for your advice, really appreciated.

    Funny thing is the Arcam was heavily discounted when all the HD Audio and HDMI up scaling receivers started coming out. Got it new for £400 from Superfi all them years ago :)
     
  8. ashenfie

    ashenfie
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    Not sure what you mean by HD audio is only available on disc? QoBuz does 96khz/24bit for example and yes there are other HD music services.

    The weak component for this would be the amp as many £500 pounds don't do stereo as well as many would like. So a £1000> amp might be the route forward. Speakers would also need some consideration too.

    Should you want to not use the HDMI outputs for music and use old school analogue then you might look at the Oppo 105 as he big daddy of combined Video/Music solutions.
     
  9. dante01

    dante01
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    He's referring to the HD frmats associated with film and movie soundtracks. You only get formats such as Dolby's TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio via Blu-ray and now UHD Blu-ray releases. You would however still need an AV receiver with HDMI inputs and audio abilities to gain access to these formats or you'd need a more expensive player with multichannel analogue outouts that can decode and convert the digital audio to analogue prior to conveying it to an older receiver's multichannel analogue inputs.
     
  10. stevos

    stevos
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    For your QoBuz stuff, you again need a way to convert to analogue from whatever output device you are using.

    What I realise is that your comparing old to new.

    What about looking at early edition second hand HDMI amps (maybe 4 years old). For example I sold my Denon 4308 with HDMI, DTS-HD MA, Audyssey etc (£2.5k AVR new) for a couple of hundred. There are some bargains out there, if you hunt for them.
     
  11. stevelup

    stevelup
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    As others have suggested, getting a decent player and hooking it up to your multi-channel inputs could be a good idea.

    In the used market, you might be able to pick up an Anthem for your budget.
     
  12. davisa

    davisa
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    I had an Arcam 280 and when trying to upgrade ended up with an Anthem MRX510. You can probably pick one up on offer as the x20 range is just out. Worth a listen.
     
  13. Artizen

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    I still have an Arcam 280 which I used for three years. I now use a Denon X2200. I have listened to both at some length running through my "reference" film soundtracks and music. Here's the thing. They both sound very good.. they are different and both have their "strong" points to my ears. Would I go back to the Arcam? No… because I run a basic 5.1.2 Atmos system and I love the Dolby upmixer and Atmos…I also like the ease of use on the Denon and the other more modern features it has over the Arcam.. Multiple HDMI inputs etc etc.

    Does the Denon running DTS Master HD sound better than the Arcam running DTS?… Well its a matter of opinion..in mine...Not really.. both sound very good in the real world... that is without sitting trying to pick out sonic faults of one over the other . The main swaying factor for me is Audyssey. I like Multi XT. For me it gives a "fuller" overall sound than the Arcam ever did… I appreciate that is a very basic assessment but I don't want to go into reams of details which again would boil down to a matters of opinion. BTW I never use Dynamic EQ anymore or compression settings at normal film listening levels.

    Will I still upgrade to a better receiver in due course.. say a 1.5K Denon X6200 or equivalent Marantz? Yes. Would I spend 3-4k on a new Arcam offering? No. Not unless I had money to throw around and aesthetics were high on my priority list.

    Bear in mind all my opinions are based around my listening area (an average sitting room). Not a dedicated listening room.

    There's my two penneth!
     
  14. Arcam_boy

    Arcam_boy
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    I'm a BIG fan of Arcam, if you can't tell by my name, and have owned an AVR 280/300/350 in the past as well as a coupe of the newer models.

    I would say from my own experience, in terms of actual amplification you won't gain anything by going for a new amp and in fact the Arcam still probably has the better amplification/power supply.

    What I would say and as already mentioned DTS MA/Dolby True HD etc offer the next step up in sound quality again but this can still be achieved with the 280 and right blu ray player!

    I'm currently running an Onkyo 818 with XT32 room correction and can honestly say it sounds better than any of my older Arcams ever did once Audyssey (xt32) was set up - everything just seems a lot more integrated and seamless. I've sat for hours with tape measures and SPL meters setting the speakers on the Arcams and had it sounded superb but just not quite as good as the Auto EQ on the Onkyo does things :facepalm:

    I'm not a big Onkyo fan to be honest and only purchased the 818 as it was the cheapest amp (£250 s/h) I could find with XT32 but I can't for one second say the Arcam 280/300/350 are better than the 818. I guess in an ideal world I'd have the 818 as a pre and p7 power amp!!
     
  15. SteveTDCI

    SteveTDCI
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    Up until the last post I was thinking I'll keep my old avr250 ...,
     
  16. dmartinburns

    dmartinburns
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    Hi Damo,
    If I were you I'd buy the Cambridge audio 751bd currently on eBay for a bin price of £270. Just use hdmi straight to your tv for video and the Cambridge's multi channel analogue outs into the Arcam. That's what I currently do with my 751bd and Arcam avr250.
    By the way I have no connection with the seller of the Cambridge! I just think it's a real bargain.
     

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