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Recommend me a two channel amp better than AVR300

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by Icarus, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. Icarus

    Icarus
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    Hi,

    I have re-caught the bug. :eek: I thought that I would be perfectly happy with the AVR300 and I am for AV use, but less so when used for stereo.

    I recently treated myself to some floorstanding speakers (Monitor Audio GR20's) these are bi-amped. I have always had relatively small stand mounted speakers before I am wondering what I am missing in the amplifier department.

    Really don't want to mess about switching cables from amp to amp and am wondering where to go from here.

    I would be reasonably happy spending £1000 - £1500 if this was justified in the quality of reproduction. The only stereo source is an Arcam CD93 CD player.

    Any thoughts chaps and chapesses?



    /Edit: If it helps, I listen mainly to classical but a bit of jazz and a bit orf rock, but AFAIAC it is the classical that needs to be right.
     
  2. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Icarus,

    At first, I'd have recommended not to look further than the Arcam A90, with multichannel board fitted! At least that is what I did. But considering, you already own the AVR 300, then why not simply add the A90 for FL/FR and link your cd player to it?

    The A90 has a very convenient 'processor mode' feature on its A/V inputs

    Just a thought.
     
  3. Radioactive__Man

    Radioactive__Man
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    I'd agree with that approach, I use Cyrus MonoX power amps with my AVR300. Not the most subtle combo so if you like the tinkly tinkly la la stuff try something else :)
     
  4. mrkeeling

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    I would first try adding P90 (or P35, or maybe even two P1’s) to power your FL/FR (maybe even two of them to bi-amp) and use AVR 300 as a pre (for two channel).
    You will not need to do any cable swapping for AV use.

    I am using P85/3 with my AVR 200 and am quite happy with it. The difference in sound quality that I accomplished this way was far greater then the difference between AVR200 and AVR300 when using 5.1 analog inputs.
    :)
     
  5. RaceTripper

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    I'm with mrkeeling...

    I have an AVR300, and just this past week added an Arcam Alpha 10P-3 to drive the fronts (L/C/R). I have Dynaudios so I can't bi-amp.

    The improvement in stereo direct and multi-channel audio was well worth it, and I'd expect the P90 would be even better than the Alpha 10P.

    My dealer still has an Alpha P9 and I'm tempted to grab that for powering the side surrounds.
     
  6. Icarus

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    Thanks for the input. I am not against Arcam at all and will arrange a dem or home dem but if I was to listen to another make of amp or even a pre/power combo, how would it integrate with the AVR300 cable wise?
     
  7. kid rock

    kid rock
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    I have just bought an a90 which is biwired to power my front stereo pair- KEF XQ3s- with the avr 300 only being used for the other five channels -stereo sounds far better, much more refined and no clipping at highish volumes . However in surround use no difference in sound.



    Kid Rock
     
  8. Vanderlay

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    You can of course connect other amplifier brands also to the fronts using the preouts on AVR300 into the stereo amplifier of your choice.

    I have a pair of Monitor Audio GR20s and recently upgraded the amplifier from just an Arcam A85 (predecessor of A90) to a biamped combo of A85/P85. In my opinion, the biamped option really works wonders on this speaker. The separation of instruments is far better, and - not surprisingly - the greatest advantage is in the lower midband. Strings, pianos and male voices simply have much more body to them without becoming overly heavy.

    I would look in the ex-dem-sections for two Arcam P85s, P90s or P35s to biamp your front speakers and still use the preamp-section of the AVR300
     
  9. barnythebear

    barnythebear
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    Certainly agree with the people who mention the benefits of adding a power amp to the AV300. Picked up a FMJ P25/3 from ebay and bi-wired my three Leema Xens, the difference was amazing. I was wondering if adding an FMJ A22/32 would make a significant difference now. I've also been bitten by the bug. :suicide:
     
  10. cwick

    cwick
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    And there's me thinking that the AV300 was good in stereo. Or is that just good compared to the competition ?

    Only ask because I've been pondering an upgrade - currently running a Denon 2802, with the Front L/R pre-outs going to a A75/P75 pre-power combo bi-amping the fronts. Plan was to replace those three boxes with just an AV300 ... but you're all making that sound like a bad idea.
     
  11. RaceTripper

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    The AVR300 is great on its own in stereo and multichannel. But it can be improved on like anything else.

    In my case I added a Alpha 10P-3 for the front channels, but you have to consider that the 10P-3 amp retailed for not a whole lot less than the AVR300 does now. You can't expect Arcam would put the same kind of amplifier section for their AVR300 without raising cost substantially.

    But that's why the AVR300 has preamp outputs. So you can add external amplification for improved sound.

    Dean
     
  12. barnythebear

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    I'm no hifi buff but would agree with dwette. I was certainly not disappointed with the AV300 when I took it out of the box and ran it with some basic other bits of kit. But now I realise it has a lot more to offer by giving it a helping hand and a chance to show its full range. Best thing to do as they say is "listen to it yourself" and buy what grabs you. :thumbsup:
     
  13. Icarus

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    Thanks for the comments from all who contributed!

    >The separation of instruments is far better, and - not surprisingly - the greatest advantage is in the lower midband. Strings, pianos and male voices simply have much more body to them without becoming overly heavy. <

    You must have known what I was after. :)

    Will go to my dealer and the competition and have a listen, see if they can tempt me.
     
  14. Icarus

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    This may be out of the scope of this thread but I have a query.

    Tell me chaps, you appear to be telling me that I can use the AVR300 as a pre-amp for stereo; apart from switching, volume, remote etc., are you saying that it does nothing to the sound? Does a pre-amp not affect the sound in any way?

    Forgetting the cash side of things for the moment, would I be better off sound wise using a dedicated stereo amp plus a power amp perhaps, or adding a power amp to the AVR300?
     
  15. RaceTripper

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    Icarus...

    Both preamp and power amp can affect the quality of sound. Everything from source to speaker can have an affect. And there are those who will disagree, but that includes cables.

    When I auditioned the Alpha 10P-3 I now have with a borrowed set of Transparent Audio interconnects for the pre-pwr connection. Now I'm using a cheaper set of Liberty THX audio cables I had sitting around, and the sound is not as good as before. But I will be getting a new set of Transparent cables soon.

    Anyway, the AVR300 has a fine pre/pro section, but it is worthwhile adding high quality external amplification.

    I've now added another Alpha 10 to the mix. I had an Alpha 10 Int sitting around unused, so I configured it as a power amp only. Now I have the Alpha 10 Int powering front L/R and the Alpha 10P-3 powering center and side surrounds. The AVR300 still powers the rear surrounds. The setup really sounds great.
     
  16. clancol

    clancol
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    How easy is it to match the volume levels of the avr300 and the a90?
     
  17. barnythebear

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    Icarus
    Cannot really help you further as I've not tried adding a dedicated stereo amp with the AV300. I would also be interested in other people's opinions as this has also crossed my mind as the next upgrade.
     
  18. Barend

    Barend
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    I am now happy with the rich stereo sound of the AVR300 combined with an old Rotel RB981 to feed the front speakers bass sections.
    Of course, I realize that adding top quality finals for every channel would add some extra quality, but I feel a stack of amps is beyond me...
    I tried my RB985 4-ch final to biamp the rears and center, but could not hear any difference...
    Barend
     
  19. JetJockey

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    Hi.

    I tried some Nad C272's to bi-Amp my fronts to help out the AVR300. There was "some" increase in volume but no improvement in quality so I removed them again

    I must confess though, that I would like to Bi-Amp my centre speaker having realised just how much information it carries.

    Anybody got any suggestions for an Arcam stereo amp with the same gain as the AVR300 but more "Oomph" and maybe quality to run my centre??

    Gerald. :)
     
  20. Barend

    Barend
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    Found just the opposite- biamping the center brought nothing at all; apparrently the center channel does not have much bass.
    I checked with just the bass section connection, on SACD, DVD-A and Dolby EX, only now and then a low level of bass came out.
    However, biamping the fronts led to lower and much tighter bass.
    This depends to a large extent on the crossover frequency of the speaker, my KEF Reference 203 have a pretty low Fc, so biamping may be more effective than on many other speakers.
    Also, they are rather power hungry.
    Lastly, it's not REAL biamping of course, since the crossover filters remain in place. Real biamping uses filtering somewhere in the amplifying chain instead of after.
    You can buy these filters (seen on Ebay) but the main problem is- who wants to hack such expensive speakers?
    Barend
     
  21. kid rock

    kid rock
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    :oops: sorry i didnt pick up your post earlier. The 300 and the 90 have the same gain so no problem with volume matching. Just connect the 90 and the avr300 together via av in on the 90 and bingo the 300 contols the volume of both units.

    HTH

    Kid rock
     
  22. clancol

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    thanks.
     
  23. davehk

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    This thread is interesting as I am considering upgrading to an AVR300 + additional amp for the fronts. (which means I loose 2 boxes - tuner & DSPE-800).

    So, it seems to me some possiblilties are:

    AVR300 alone, biamp fronts with Ch6&7, CD using pure direct
    AVR300 + P90, biwire fronts from P90, CD using pure direct
    AVR300 + A90, biwire fronts from A90, feed CD player into A90

    and later perhaps

    AVR300 + A90 + P90 (biamp fronts with A/P 90)
    AVR300 + P90 + P90 (biamp fronts with P90s)

    I am aware that I could also use A90+Multichannel board + P90/3 (+P90!) but then I still need the tuner and I don't get the video switching and composite to component upconversion.

    Questions are:

    (1) how much difference between bi-amping using the AVR300 only, or bi-wiring using a P90 ( quite a bit, I would think as the P90, on paper at least has a significantly better spec than the AVR300 - how much would the additional power available from the AVR300 biamped offset this?)

    (2) how much difference is there between the pre-amp sections of the A90 and the AVR300 for 2-channel use (since the A90 is £300 more than the P90 and that's a lot of CDs/DVDS)

    I am going to listen to some of these combinations at Audio-T after Xmas - but your opinions/experience will all help.

    Thanks
     
  24. barnythebear

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    Go for the Power amp option. I used your option 1 with just the AV300 and then went to option 2 with all three fronts powered by a P25/3 the difference was significant.
    I've thought about adding a A22 for stereo direct and was told the difference would not be significant over AV300 P25/3 as the power amp was the big gain. The AV300 certainly runs cooler.
     
  25. Tejstar

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    A good stereo amplifier would be the AVI Laboratory series for around £1400 :thumbsup:
     
  26. jgrg

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    Or multiple digital sound inputs, which are very useful to get the best possible sound from computers or Freeview tuners etc... which have digital sound outputs. This is what convinced me against the multichannel board.

    James
     
  27. booktrunk

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    everyone has mentioned the A90, How about the A32 :) or if you love and want to stick with Arcam but want a serious upgrade how about the C1 and mono amps. Is it the c1? the new pre amp only thingy... :)

    EDIT: OK someone mentioned the A22 not being much of a gain. Go to a shop and just demo the A32 or C1 as a stereo system and see for yourself.
     
  28. RaceTripper

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    C30 pre, and P1 pwr :smashin:

    I want a AV8 and 7 P1s :thumbsup:
     
  29. booktrunk

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    dwette...

    Only 7 P1's I was thinking about that and then thought well if spending that much money should really bi-amp the front 3 :)

    But... Then I had a look on chord electronics last night and decided that i'd fancy 7 Chord 14000 mono amps..... :devil: :devil: :devil:

    Steff
     

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