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

camelot1971

Well-known Member
This thread has brought back good memories from the late 90's, when I had an Alpha 10 and 10P combo, 9SE CD player (with ring dac!) into Kef Reference 1 floor standers. Glorious! I still use Arcam to this day due to that experience.
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
So I've decided, for nostalgic and sentimental reasons, to fully reunite my Dad's set up. So that's the DM603s with the Alpha 9 amp and Alpha 8 CD player - alongside a Nakamichi BD-100E cassette deck.

I've decided that I'll see how the 603 S2 Anniversary edition's do alongside the A80 amp. I have little sentimental attachment to the amp aside from buying it with my first paycheck. I may look at saving up for a brand new Arcam amp. But will take some time to think about that. If there is a particular Arcam amplifier that you would suggest - old or new, please let me know.

I've really appreciated all the advice on this thread. It's been wonderful. I'm now just enjoying a Northern Soul CD like my dad would've. Thank you.
 

password1

Well-known Member
You're welcome

The Arcam Alpha may be old but the quality of the sound hasn't changed. it should still as good as it did on day 1.

Don't be surprised though if the new entry level Arcam isn't much of an improvement or worse in sound quality as the £500 Alpha 9 from 20+ years ago, which is £1k+ in today's money and you'd probably need to spend that to get matching or better sound quality. The basic amp design is the same inside, However, one thing for sure with a new amp is that you're also paying for a newer.cosmetic design as well as the lcd digital displays and other extra connectivity such as Bluetooth and/or digital input.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you are looking at the newer Arcams, as with most makes their are some high an low points in their ranges to look out for. Going on the reviews the Arcam FMJ19 is a good place to start but I suspect this will not be a particularly big jump (if any from the Alpha/Diva), next up is the FMJ A32 - this is an older amp but is touted as one of (if not) the best amps they have produced and as such are startying to attract a premium on the SH market when they occasionally come up for sale, finally there is the SR250, which is a bit of a curious beast with the new G class stereo amp similar to that used in the FMJ A39 but with HDMI inputs and Dirac room EQ system, best of all it is a run out models and available at approx 1/3 of its original selling price (if you can find one).

Just a few thoughts to get the juices flowing and something to search for.
 

password1

Well-known Member
An alternative, much cheaper way to improve your dad's existing system, is to buy another 9r or 9p or 10p and bi amp. No issues with crackling knobs as power amp doesn't have the volume pot/input selector.

I have 2 Alpha 9r amps (one with the pre amp switched off) and it makes a difference. Plenty of power and current. Plenty of control and the sound doesn't break up or lose definition at all volume levels.

A combined 140 watts rms @ 8 ohms per side.
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
An alternative, much cheaper way to improve your dad's existing system, is to buy another 9r or 9p or 10p and bi amp. No issues with crackling knobs as power amp doesn't have the volume pot/input selector.

I have 2 Alpha 9r amps (one with the pre amp switched off) and it makes a difference. Plenty of power and current. Plenty of control and the sound doesn't break up or lose definition at all volume levels.

A combined 140 watts rms @ 8 ohms per side.
Sounds great! But for now, I've spent a lot sorting it all as the amp and tape deck both needed fixing and servicing (a great guy in North London if anyone looking for tips).

My bigger issue is that for some daft reason I didn't measure the height of the 603 S2s and they're quite considerably taller than the DM603s. Which mean they don't fit in the room they're in (they had to have the thing above them for a variety of reasons - one day I'll have a house where they can have their own room and breath even better!).
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
What was wrong with the amp and how much was the repair?

There's a faulty p85 on ebay at the moment. Depending on how much you can get it fixed for it might be a worthy addition to your Diva set up if you can persuade the seller to post it.

 

password1

Well-known Member
What was wrong with the amp and how much was the repair?

There's a faulty p85 on ebay at the moment. Depending on how much you can get it fixed for it might be a worthy addition to your Diva set up if you can persuade the seller to post it.

I looked at that. It's been advertised for a long time. I first saw it March last year. My local amp repair guy says its not worth it.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I looked at that. It's been advertised for a long time. I first saw it March last year. My local amp repair guy says its not worth it.
Did you find out what's wrong with it then? I guess if it's been on that long then a low offer might be worth it depending on what needed fixing.
 

hudsonroe

Standard Member
I'd love to get a power amp. Probably for both set ups. I'll have a look at what's available. I saw an Alpha 8 and an 8P for £250 the other day. Was going to give the Alpha 8 to my old KEFs as a spare system and give the 8P to the Alpha 9 as a buddy.

Quick question for the wise-owls on this thread. If I end up playing music through my computer, what would you use to hook the computer up to the Alpha 9?
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I'd love to get a power amp. Probably for both set ups. I'll have a look at what's available. I saw an Alpha 8 and an 8P for £250 the other day. Was going to give the Alpha 8 to my old KEFs as a spare system and give the 8P to the Alpha 9 as a buddy.

Quick question for the wise-owls on this thread. If I end up playing music through my computer, what would you use to hook the computer up to the Alpha 9?

If you are happy with a wired connection and to use the computer to control things then I'd buy a offboard DAC rather than connect the computer straight into the amp. How much you want to spend will determine what people will recommend.

Edit: I use one of these (see ebay link) and like it very much. There are of course both cheaper and pricier options that will do the same thing with some doing it better than others.

You could also try and find a used (now discontinued) Chromecast Audio or Logitech Squeezebox if you didn't want the computer tethered to the system all the time. Both should be quite cheap but you will still want a separate DAC to get the best out of either. An alternative option that still keeps costs down is to put something together using a Raspberry Pi. It's not as complicated as you might think and there are loads of online guides and people on here that can help with that.

 
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password1

Well-known Member
3.5mm stereo from sound card line out to 2 phonos on the amp will so work. The sound quality of some sounds cards is decent and adequate for the source if they are not high quality such as most you tube viideos and computer sounds.
 

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