Just received Arcam DV79 HDMI player


Novice Member
Yesterday I received what must be one of the first Arcam DV79s in the States. I bought this player because I am trying to achieve an all-digital signal to my Panasonic 6UY ED plasma. A bug in the Panasonic DVI card prevents it from receiving widescreen resolutions from HTPC, which was my original DVD source.

I owned the Denon DVD2900 in the past, and I considered buying the DVD5900. In the end I decided to go with the new Arcam, which outputs 480p via HDMI. This is not a problem, since I own an ED plasma. The other drawback is that DV79 does not support SACD, but 99% of the music I listen to can be found on CD only. When I had the 2900, I bought every hi-res disk I wanted – and only ended up with eight or so. Given my positive experience with other Arcam components (Alpha 9, DV88, CD23T, CD33), I chose an Arcam without SACD over the Denon 5900.

My Arcam dealer included a HDMI-DVI cable, which I used for the video signal to the display. I output analog audio from the DV79 to my Arcam A32 integrated amp (two channel).

At first I didn't get a digital signal to the Panasonic, so I connected a composite cable and set the Arcam to HDMI output. Plug-and-play will supposedly do this for you, but didn't read the directions first time through.

Well, now I have a pristine all-digital signal going to the Panasonic plasma. Last night I only played one DVD -- Last Samurai – but it looked damn good. I've never seen a digital signal on the Panasonic, so I don't have much to compare it to. But this weekend I will try various DVDs (Nemo, AOTC, Fargo, etc) to see how the Arcam looks. So far, so good.

Question for Arcam people: what audio settings should I use when connecting to the A32, bit stream or PCM? Or does it not matter with an analog connection?


Standard Member
Originally posted by gregeas
Question for Arcam people: what audio settings should I use when connecting to the A32, bit stream or PCM? Or does it not matter with an analog connection?
Disclaimer: I'm not an "Arcam person" unless you mean customer?

The "bitstream vs. PCM" audio option only affects the digital out and only when playing back DD or dts streams. It doesn't matter what it's set to if you are just using analogue outs.

If I had to make a choice I'd leave it at bitstream for reasons that are little more than superstition ;) .



Novice Member
Thanks for this information, baileych.

I have another question: do the DV79 and CD33 support HDCD? I don't see anything indicating that they do, but wanted to make sure. I have many more HDCDs in my collection that DVD-As.

Also, I tested the DV79 and CD33 head-to-head this weekend through my A32 integrated amp (the A32’s remote control makes the testing easy). I first played Bela Fleck's Tales from an Acoustic Planet, Volume II. I put the CD in the CD33, and the DVD-A in the DV79. The result here was that it was tough to judge the winner. The advanced resolution (in two channels) didn't make a dramatic sound improvement to my ears. The only difference I could detect was a bit more space between the instruments on the DVD-A. Both players sounded excellent with this acoustic material: the bass was tight, the banjo plunked reassuringly, and you could hear the metal in the guitar strings, as if the musicians were in the room.

I also A/B tested the players using the same CD: Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Wow -- the DV79 did very well against the CD33. In this first test I had a tough time distinguishing between the two. I used headphones (Sennheiser HD650s) and speakers (Definitive Power Monitor 900s). I'm not certain I could tell the players apart in a blind test. Of course I only tested one CD in this case; I’ll try some other CD tests soon.

On the audio front I conclude that the DV79 can do very well as a combined CD/DVD-A player. On the other hand, owning the CD33 makes two-channel, advanced-resolution audio less relevant, at least on my system, especially in light of the very limited DVD-A selection. I’m curious if anyone can point out where I should listen for differences between the two players.

Finally, the DV79 looks great via HDMI on my Panasonic 6UY ED plasma. This is the picture I’ve been waiting for. I even got the chance to compare Matrix Reloaded in HD (from HBO) with the DVD on the Arcam player. I viewed the HD broadcast and DVD a day apart, but suffice it to say that the DVD held its own on my display. I also watched scenes from Finding Nemo: not my favorite movie, but a great test piece. I can’t imagine getting a better picture from a DVD player. The all-digital image was stunning, and the colors were vibrant.

So at this point I can sit back and enjoy music and movies. For a while, at least. ;-)


Standard Member
Now, can it be SDI modded?

That may be the 1000£ question...
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