Power Amp for Arcam A19

NM20

Well-known Member
I have setup a music room with an Arcam A19, supplied by a Googlecast Chrome Music powering Tannoy DC6T SE.

I am thinking of adding a power amp to bi-amp the speakers. I don’t want to spend a great deal, less than £200 secondhand really.

What should I look for? Rotel? Acram? Something else?
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
An Arcam power amp would be the sensible way to go because then both amps will have matched gain
 

NifkinFZ6

Active Member
Any of Arcam's power amps starting from the DiVA range (early 00s) until the present date will work as they are all gain matched. There are plenty available on eBay for reasonable prices (e.g. P75, P85 etc).

However, by passive biamping you won't notice much improvement, if at all, in SQ.
 

NM20

Well-known Member
Any of Arcam's power amps starting from the DiVA range (early 00s) until the present date will work as they are all gain matched. There are plenty available on eBay for reasonable prices (e.g. P75, P85 etc).

However, by passive biamping you won't notice much improvement, if at all, in SQ.

What do you mean by passive biamping?

Edit: I just looked it up, which I should have done first, but was in a rush, sorry!

It looks like if I use a Power Amp with my Arcam, then the HF are powered by one amp and the LF by another amp, I assume this would be active instead of passive?
 
Last edited:

Jamie

Distinguished Member
No. Passive biamping means that both amps are fed the full range signal.

Active bi-amping is where you have a crossover or filtering network BEFORE the power amps. So the amp to the high frequencies will only be fed those high frequencies, same for the LF amp.
 

NM20

Well-known Member
No. Passive biamping means that both amps are fed the full range signal.

Active bi-amping is where you have a crossover or filtering network BEFORE the power amps. So the amp to the high frequencies will only be fed those high frequencies, same for the LF amp.
How can you tell if an amp will be an active or passive amplifier?

The A19 manual shows the HF connected to the A19 and the LF being connected to the PA.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Traditionally the crossover would be a separate component in an active bi-amped system.
 

NM20

Well-known Member
Ah, so basically I am wasting my money unless I get an additional crossover?
 

oscroft

Member
Ah, so basically I am wasting my money unless I get an additional crossover?
I've tried passive biamping with Audiolab amps, and though I thought there was an improvement, it wasn't a big one. I only did it to try it, as I'm in the process of putting together an active biamping system (actually, triamping), as I've had a system like that in the past and I liked it a lot.

For that, I need an active crossover (which goes between the pre-amp and the power amps). The problem is, nobody really makes them. The main reason is they have to be set with their crossover frequencies matching your speakers, and that's not something you can adjust with a knob - it's factory set by choosing a network of components of specific values. So I'm building my own crossover based on a Rod Elliot design, and I calculate the values of the components to suit my speakers. And then, to get the full benefit of active biamping, you really need to remove the crossovers from your speakers (and then install some tweeter protection). If you don't, you still have some of the problems that active systems are meant to solve. So unless you can build a crossover yourself and can do the speaker mods, you probably can't put together an active system based on your existing setup.

But, if you want to try passive biamping, you can probably do it relatively inexpensively. As NifkinFZ6 says, you can get suitable Arcam power amps on eBay at a reasonable prices. And if you get one and try passive biamping, and then decide the improvement isn't worth it, you could resell the power amp for probably very little loss, if any.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
The A19 is a nice amp but is one of the lower powered FMJ amps at 50W. You may very well find improvements with a more powerful Arcam power amp driving your speakers on its own and they can be picked for decent prices.
 

NM20

Well-known Member
@oscroft thanks for the really detailed response. @Jamie thanks for always helping.

I think I will keep my eye out for a decent Arcam Power Amp at sub £150 to give it a go.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Buy an A38 if you want more power. I paid 450 for my A38 2-3 years ago. The price has bottomed out now, so what you buy it for you can sell it for....
 

NifkinFZ6

Active Member
Also, do you really want to have two boxes, two power leads and additional cables for maybe a bit more power but no real change to the SQ? I toyed with the idea of getting a power amp myself when I had my Arcam A65+, but instead I upgraded to a more powerful integrated, which also was a step up in SQ. I'd take @Hixs advice and go for a something like the A38 or A29 if you like the Arcam sound.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
I can't speak for the OP but I do quite like a big stack of hi-fi in an appropriate location. My mates old housemate a few years ago had a bi or Tri amped Linn system that was 4 or 5 components just to play CDs which I could happily make room for TBH.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Sounds like a lot of pretentious nonsense to me, but each to their own!
 

NM20

Well-known Member
I don’t mind a stack, however, not if there isn’t a benefit.

Total curveball, but would a Bluesound 2i be a better SQ upgrade over the Chromecast?
 

NifkinFZ6

Active Member
You see lots of audiophiles showing off systems made up of 8 components, say, displayed on an overpriced rack, which does no more, and has no better sound quality than, 3 well chosen components on an attractive sideboard. But I guess some.people like to feel like they're 'engineering' something, with efficiency and discretion going out the window.

Each to their own 😏
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
@NifkinFZ6 Totally agree - 2 house systems, one a single box Lyngdorf 1120 and the other a two box Lyngdorf 2170/Streamer setup. There was an amazing sense of calm ditching loads of boxes/cables and getting off the upgrade merry-go-round. Simplicity is the key and music has never sounded better which is more important than pub bragging rights on how many boxes and cables you need to listen to music.
 

NifkinFZ6

Active Member
I don’t mind a stack, however, not if there isn’t a benefit.

Total curveball, but would a Bluesound 2i be a better SQ upgrade over the Chromecast?
Probably, yes, as the BS has a more sophisticated DAC than the CCA, and certainly provides more usability options.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
@oscroft Now you are talking - steam powered hifi

1617098116067.png
 

Paul7777x

Member
I've tried passive biamping with Audiolab amps, and though I thought there was an improvement, it wasn't a big one. I only did it to try it, as I'm in the process of putting together an active biamping system (actually, triamping), as I've had a system like that in the past and I liked it a lot.

For that, I need an active crossover (which goes between the pre-amp and the power amps). The problem is, nobody really makes them. The main reason is they have to be set with their crossover frequencies matching your speakers, and that's not something you can adjust with a knob - it's factory set by choosing a network of components of specific values. So I'm building my own crossover based on a Rod Elliot design, and I calculate the values of the components to suit my speakers. And then, to get the full benefit of active biamping, you really need to remove the crossovers from your speakers (and then install some tweeter protection). If you don't, you still have some of the problems that active systems are meant to solve. So unless you can build a crossover yourself and can do the speaker mods, you probably can't put together an active system based on your existing setup.

But, if you want to try passive biamping, you can probably do it relatively inexpensively. As NifkinFZ6 says, you can get suitable Arcam power amps on eBay at a reasonable prices. And if you get one and try passive biamping, and then decide the improvement isn't worth it, you could resell the power amp for probably very little loss, if any.

Have you considered a mindsp DDRC?

(Or the HD version).

A pair of these will give you 8 potential channels. A tri-amped pair of speakers and a pair of subs, potentially.


Quite simple to use to after a bit of a REW messing about.

When I finally get round to triamping my AVI Trios it’s what I’ll be using.
 

Paul7777x

Member
I’d consider what was said earlier, selling the 19, put the cash with your £200 and buy a more muscular Arcam. The A38, as an example, would do a better job.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I don’t mind a stack, however, not if there isn’t a benefit.

Total curveball, but would a Bluesound 2i be a better SQ upgrade over the Chromecast?
I do feel that up to a certain point (Node2i), that the sound is better then Chromecast at least. Note, I’ve not heard the Chromecast but I can’t imagine it being better then the Node2i. Still it is difficult to tell. You just need to try both options as Dac today are quite good, regardless of price,
 

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