Question Recommendations for an amp to add to an Arcam 850 + P429

techted

Standard Member
I currently have a 7.2.4 setup with an Arcam AVR850 powering the LCR, surrounds and back (7 speakers) and an Arcam P429 powering 4 in-ceiling Atmos speakers. Am contemplating adding an external amp to power the LCR speakers and using the 850 to power the surrounds/back or maybe using an external amp to power all 7 floor speakers and wanted to ask any current or ex 850 owners if they had gone down this road and what amp they used and/or any recommendations/advice.

Is it worth it? Aside from Arcam amps are there other amp brands that match well?

My speakers are B&W CM S2 speakers - CM8 S2 in the front, CM1 S2 for the surrounds/back. Room size roughly 5x4m.

Am currently looking at an Arcam PA720 and an Emotiva XPA-7 Gen3. Budget is under £3k-ish.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
What are your reasons for adding the power amp?
 

techted

Standard Member
What are your reasons for adding the power amp?

Good question
1. upgrade itch :)
2. wondering if it will provide any improvement to the sound
3. a step towards going from a receiver to a processor (few years from now when DTS X Pro & HDMI 2.1 are more common place)
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
Good question
1. upgrade itch :)
2. wondering if it will provide any improvement to the sound
3. a step towards going from a receiver to a processor (few years from now when DTS X Pro & HDMI 2.1 are more common place)
Good answer :)

I suspect it probably won't improve the sound, the 850 has an exceptionally good power amp section for an AVR, with plenty of headroom, 110 watts all channels driven into an 8 ohm load, which should be plenty for you to hit reference listening levels in your room.

However, if you have an itch that needs scratching, that is one way of doing it. As long as you have your speakers set to small, you shouldn't be constrained by the Arcam's pre-out voltage.
 

fetish31

Active Member
I connect to that post as just bought new speakers to my AV set up - Monitor audio gold 200 mk2 , MA C250 center and Monitor Audio Studio for rear speakers . I don't have any external power amp in my set up , all speakers will be driven by Arcam AVR 550 , I have 2 height speakers as well for atmos . Is that could be too mutch for 550 ? I thing to meybe add arcam p429 for front and center or p349 , but as I spend over 3k today it will be hard to squize anything more .
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A good power amp cannot improve the audio per se. It can give extra headroom to avoid clipping and distortion certainly but actual tone and detail is down to the pre-amp of the connected amp. Any failings in the connected pre-amp will be passed onto the power amp. If a power amps does colour the original audio then get rid.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
I connect to that post as just bought new speakers to my AV set up - Monitor audio gold 200 mk2 , MA C250 center and Monitor Audio Studio for rear speakers . I don't have any external power amp in my set up , all speakers will be driven by Arcam AVR 550 , I have 2 height speakers as well for atmos . Is that could be too mutch for 550 ? I thing to meybe add arcam p429 for front and center or p349 , but as I spend over 3k today it will be hard to squize anything more .
Hi, I saw your post in that thread, and didn't respond because I am not sure of the answer. Are all of your new speakers rated at 4 ohms? If so, there is some doubt over the internal amps of the Arcam AVR550 as it is not officially rated for 4 ohms, although real world use, sometimes it is fine.

If there is an issue, it will shut down, and not cause damage. Even then, there is the option of lowering the protection sensitivity in the hidden menu, to stop it shutting down, but you could risk it overheating if it isn't well ventilated.

Hopefully, it will be okay!
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Have a read in rambles arcam avr thread as may have similar issue with voltage pre outs, meaning you are stuck with buying arcam poweramps.
 

fetish31

Active Member
I will give a go and try , but as I never was listening on very high volumes just normal let's say 75-80db I am more worried as It may limited my speakers to not fully open and create dynamic sound stage . I was never played whith external amps , but been read posts on forum in the past and alot of peoples described adding power amp for demanding speakers really improve the sound stage and dynamics . Thanks
 

GCG

Novice Member
Hi,

Hoping someone can help as I am relatively new to the AV world and would like a similar set up to what you have described above.

I currently have an Arcam AVR550 receiver, B&W 683 S2 for the fronts, Monitor Audio W280IDC for sides and surrounds and Monitor Audio C265IDC for atmos ceiling speakers to achieve a 7.1.4 set up.

As standard the Arcam receiver can only power 7 channels - I am trying to figure out what the best way forward would be, whether to swap the amp to something with 11 channels built in, or adding an additional power amp to drive the heights? I do enjoy the Arcam, and would prefer the latter so I can utilize the Dirac software to set up the Atmos in my room.

Does anybody have some suggestions on power amps, and whether to even get two, 1 for the fronts to get max power out of them and another for the heights, or just one to do the heights and leave the rest in the 550? I have seen a Arcam P429 4 Channel Integrated Amplifier on ebay at a good price and have considered this. @fetish31 do you have any feedback on yours at all?

First time I have ever posted on a forum so go easy on me :)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Hi,

Hoping someone can help as I am relatively new to the AV world and would like a similar set up to what you have described above.

I currently have an Arcam AVR550 receiver, B&W 683 S2 for the fronts, Monitor Audio W280IDC for sides and surrounds and Monitor Audio C265IDC for atmos ceiling speakers to achieve a 7.1.4 set up.

As standard the Arcam receiver can only power 7 channels - I am trying to figure out what the best way forward would be, whether to swap the amp to something with 11 channels built in, or adding an additional power amp to drive the heights? I do enjoy the Arcam, and would prefer the latter so I can utilize the Dirac software to set up the Atmos in my room.

Does anybody have some suggestions on power amps, and whether to even get two, 1 for the fronts to get max power out of them and another for the heights, or just one to do the heights and leave the rest in the 550? I have seen a Arcam P429 4 Channel Integrated Amplifier on ebay at a good price and have considered this. @fetish31 do you have any feedback on yours at all?

First time I have ever posted on a forum so go easy on me :)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice
Hi. If you fancy something that is low cost and have the space for 2 X 2 channel amps, I can recommend the Behringer A800, I use one with my AVR550.

 

GCG

Novice Member
@Rambles - Thank you for the advice, this could be a cheaper way to start atmos with and potentially upgrade the units later in time.

Out of curiosity, what channel speakers do you use the A800 for? Would you say, from your experience, an amp from a different manufacturer (for heights in this case) wouldn't effect tonality or balance etc?

Thanks again!
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
@Rambles - Thank you for the advice, this could be a cheaper way to start atmos with and potentially upgrade the units later in time.

Out of curiosity, what channel speakers do you use the A800 for? Would you say, from your experience, an amp from a different manufacturer (for heights in this case) wouldn't effect tonality or balance etc?

Thanks again!
Hi, I currently use it on my atmos speakers, upfiring Kef R50's. I have used it on my front mains and also bridged on the centre speaker. When I first got it, I did some experiementing and measured it with REW against the Arcam's internal amps, and also with my ears(!) and it sounds and measures exactly the same.

If a power amp is working correctly, it should just amplify the audio that is sent to it from the pre-amps. There can be issues with gain matching if the pre-amp is outputting too much or not enough voltage to match with the power amp gain. The Behringer A800 is very useful though as it has an adjustable gain, so you can set it to more or less match the levels of the other speakers that are being powered by the Arcam.
 
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