Question Setting up my dad's Arcam Alpha 9 with an Acam Alpha 8 CD player and KEF IQ5 speakers

hudsonroe

Standard Member
Hi

I've had a look to see if others are talking about this, but I cannot see that they are. I'll try and be as plain as possible. I'm a bit lost.

I inherited my dad's Arcam Alpha 8 CD player, an Arcam Alpha 9 amplifier, his Nakamishi BX-100E tape deck alongside a pair of B&W DM603 speakers.

I already had my own Arcam A80 amplifier and CD72 CD player, alongside a pair of KEF IQ5 speakers.

I've replaced my speakers with my father's, so the A80 is now powering the DIVA equipment, rather than the Alpha equipment.

I found that the Alpha 9 amplifier was broken, so have had it fixed. I bought some new speaker cable, Audioquest Rocket 22. I bought if set up for bi-amping. I did this because the speaker cable that my father had for his B&W/Alpha set up was connected in a bi-amp configuration.

Have attached some images to try and illustrate.

Those cables are now being used for the DiVA/B&W set up.

So I've set everything up, and now, when I hit play on the Alpha CD player, I can hear a tiny level of sound from the KEF IQ5s, but nothing more. I don't want to play around too much as I'm afraid of blowing the amp up or messing something up.

What am I doing wrong? Any help gratefully received!

Thanks so much!

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IMG_2083.JPG


IMG_2084.JPG
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
There's no need or advantage to bi-wiring, although it handy in the future if you bi-amp.

In your current setup you're using the 2 speaker outputs which are normally switchable to either or both, have you defenitely got both speaker outputs turned on?
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
There's no need or advantage to bi-wiring, although it handy in the future if you bi-amp.

In your current setup you're using the 2 speaker outputs which are normally switchable to either or both, have you defenitely got both speaker outputs turned on?
Hi

Thanks so much for the response.

I double checked everything and just checked whether the amp worked with a pair of headphones. It did, but only through the left channel, not the right channel.

I connected the speakers back up to the amp and got the left channel working. I just can't understand why the right channel isn't working properly.

Appreciate you taking the time to reply!
 
You may have more success in the HiFi forum, here is AVRs.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
It's normally just a case of eliminating things and narrowing down the issue methodically.

So for example swap the speakers over to conform it's not a speaker or speaker cable issue and keep going, maybe try different inputs, RCA cables etc
 
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password1

Well-known Member
Agree with @Jamie, eliminate each component one at a time. Also try a different cd player or source that you know is working, try single wire, try a different phono input, test the cd player on a different system to eliminate the cd player. Try the amp in a different system.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
And after all that it'll be the first thing you didn't check properly, everytime! 😜
 

password1

Well-known Member
If everything apart from the amp has been tested and working fine, then you can eliminate whether its the pre amp or power amp section.

There's a switch inside the alpha 9 amp to turn the pre amp off and if it works fine as a power amp (assuming your other amp has pre outs you can connect to) then you'll know the problem lies with the pre amp. Whilst you have the lid off, check for anything loose or blown.
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
Thanks everyone. Through the process of elimination suggested by @Jamie I figured out I had a dodgy interconnect. I've ordered a lovely couple of QED cables to replace some quite old ones I'd been using. I appreciate all of your help. Lovely to have my dad's equipment going. Thanks for the advice and hope you all have good days!
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
I must admit the fact the issue was with the headphone socket as well as the speakers made me think the issue was before the amp. I've done quite a few different roles that all involve fault tracing and problem solving so I've learnt to not assume too much.

I'm a bit of an Arcam fanboy TBH, an Alpha 9 amp is one of the only bits of kit I regret selling, so it's pleasing your dad's amp is still doing its thing.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
So now it's working have you compared the Alpha and Diva equipment using the same speakers? In case you weren't aware of the timeline, your A80 and CD72 were the first DIVA models that replaced the Alpha range but as I recall it was only cosmetic changes while the internals remained the same. So your dad's Alpha 9 and 8 should be the same as a Diva A90 and CD82 internally.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
So presumably the A80 is the same internally as an Alpha 7
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
So presumably the A80 is the same internally as an Alpha 7
No the A80 would have been the Alpha 8 . There were Alpha 7/8/9 amps and CD players along with a couple of slightly modified SE versions of the amps. These were replaced with Diva A 70/80/90 amps and CD 72/82/92 players.

I can't remember if there was an 8SE amp but if there was, I would imagine that would be the equivalent of your A80. I would have thought the Alpha 9 would outperform it either way though. It just doesn't look quite as nice!

EDIT: Sorry Jamie, I thought I was replying to a comment from the OP but just realised it's not your gear we're discussing. I'll leave the post as is though in case the info is of any use to the chap.
 
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hudsonroe

Standard Member
No the A80 would have been the Alpha 8 . There were Alpha 7/8/9 amps and CD players along with a couple of slightly modified SE versions of the amps. These were replaced with Diva A 70/80/90 amps and CD 72/82/92 players.

I can't remember if there was an 8SE amp but if there was, I would imagine that would be the equivalent of your A80. I would have thought the Alpha 9 would outperform it either way though. It just doesn't look quite as nice!

EDIT: Sorry Jamie, I thought I was replying to a comment from the OP but just realised it's not your gear we're discussing. I'll leave the post as is though in case the info is of any use to the chap.
Thanks. This is really interesting. I’m going to do a side by side comparison and see what’s what.

This is such an addictive area of interest for so many of us. I worry if I feel the A80 is being outperformed that I’ll end up replacing it!

I have ordered some B&W 603 S2 Anniversary edition floor standing speakers. The KEFs are lovely but I tried the DM603s that were my dad’s and the difference is vast. Not sure how big the difference between the new speakers and the KEFs will be, but I have high hopes. For me it’s the first bit of kit I’ll be buying brand new. Hopefully not made a foolish purchase.

thanks again for all your advice!
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Thanks. This is really interesting. I’m going to do a side by side comparison and see what’s what.

This is such an addictive area of interest for so many of us. I worry if I feel the A80 is being outperformed that I’ll end up replacing it!

I have ordered some B&W 603 S2 Anniversary edition floor standing speakers. The KEFs are lovely but I tried the DM603s that were my dad’s and the difference is vast. Not sure how big the difference between the new speakers and the KEFs will be, but I have high hopes. For me it’s the first bit of kit I’ll be buying brand new. Hopefully not made a foolish purchase.

thanks again for all your advice!

I was just looking at some old pages on the Arcam website and I may have got some of that info wrong it seems. I had forgotten there were also A65 and A75 amps too and now I can't remember which ones replaced what and what order they came out in! The info I posted about the CD players is certainly correct though. With that in mind, with any luck you may not find the Alpha amp does a better job after all but no harm in trying.

Do you plan to run two systems now? If not, one thing you could consider trying at some point is bi-amping using both the Alpha and Diva amps. I would wait until your new speakers are settled in before trying that though.
 

password1

Well-known Member
I thought the A65 and A75 replaced the Alpha 7 (or Alpha 6) and Alpha 8, which were later replaced by the A65+ and A75+ and the A85 replaced the Alpha 10? The A70, A80 and A90 were newer? When the A75+ discontinued the A80 was available?
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I thought the A65 and A75 replaced the Alpha 7 (or Alpha 6) and Alpha 8, which were later replaced by the A65+ and A75+ and the A85 replaced the Alpha 10? The A70, A80 and A90 were newer? When the A75+ discontinued the A80 was available?

You may be right. The more I've looked into it, the more confused I've become! Was there an Alpha 6 in the last plastic fronted Alpha range? I think I remember there being one in the previous black coloured range that matched the old Delta range but I don't recall seeing a later one.

One amp I am more certain about is the Alpha 10. That one was replaced with the FMJ A22 and they are very similar. I know that for sure as I own both.
 

password1

Well-known Member
There was also the Alpha 1 and Alpha 5.

The higher models had power amps, 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p.

I don't think the Alpha 9 was ever replaced.

Each new range had less models so we're now left with only 3 stereo amps (non receivers)
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
There was also the Alpha 1 and Alpha 5.

The higher models had power amps, 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p.

I don't think the Alpha 9 was ever replaced.

Each new range had less models so we're now left with only 3 stereo amps (non receivers)

It seems you are right and my original suggestion about the first DIVA amps being direct, near identical, replacements for the Alphas is perhaps way off. From what I can make out, an Alpha 9 replacement, if it had existed, would have sat somewhere between an A75 and A85, at least based on the quoted power outputs in the specs I could find. It also seems that unlike the Alpha 10/A22 and the original DIVA/FMJ CD players, Diva amps were more than just rebadged/cased and slightly tweaked Alphas.

Having only ever briefly owned one Diva amp I have no idea if any changes were for the better soundwise but at least they got did of the problematic volume/input selector problem that plagued the Alpha and Delta ranges. For that reason alone I would always choose Diva over Alpha if ever buying a used Arcam integrated.
 

password1

Well-known Member
The crackling knobs are common buts it's a cheap fix. If people can overlook the plastic exterior the Alphas are quality amps inside and still sound very good today.

Maybe the A80 was later released to sit below the A85 and would be the closest equivalent to the Alpha 9.
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
Essentially, now I've bought these new B&W 603s, I have to decide what to pair them with. The DM603s with my dad's original set up (the alphas) and the new 603s with my Diva, or switching the speakers. Any views?
 

password1

Well-known Member
Try both and see what you think.

Bi amping makes a difference on the 9.

The A80 has pre outs and you could try bi amping with the 9 (by switching the pre amp section on the 9 off) for the woofers and A80 for the tweeters.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Yeah I would try both. Despite what I said in previously, I now wouldn't like to guess which amp sounds better but the Alpha CD player should certainly be better than the Diva.

As far as bi-amping goes, I find it's more speaker than amp dependent but I've certainly found it worthwhile in the past with my own systems. It seems you want to run two systems so obviuosly if you bi-amp one, it leaves you with no amp for the other but you might still like to try it. If it works out well you could look to buy an additional used Alpha or Diva power amp later down the line as an upgrade.

There's no need to open up the case and fiddle with internal switches if you wanted to just experiment with bi-amping as you can use proessor mode on either amp to effectively turn it in to a power amp.
 

password1

Well-known Member
It's still possible to bi amp and have 2 sets of speakers connected at the same time and run one pair at a time, on the Arcam 9 amps at least its possible.

There is a speaker button to turn speaker terminals on and off independently. So you can. Connect 2 woofers and 2 tweeters to each amp, and toggle terminals 1 or 2 on or off independently.

On some amps you can turn speaker set B on or off but speaker set A is on all the time. On the alpha 9, it's independently switchable.
 

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