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Thoughts of a new Arcam AV8 owner

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by warrj, Dec 12, 2002.

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  1. warrj

    warrj
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    Hi,

    Well, having tried and been horribly disappointed by the bypass stereo performance of a Tag AV30R I tried an Arcam AV8. What a difference! Whereas the Tag sounded compressed and veiled the Arcam sounds open and transparent with good stereo imaging. Sounds less 'digital'. The performance on movies is also superior to the Tag (IMHO).

    Of course the Arcam does cost a lot more than the Tag and a more natural competitor to the Arcam would be the Tag AV32R. However, I have to say that I prefer the tonal balance of Arcam's stuff.

    Anyway, I'm a seriously happy camper now.

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  2. Garincha

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    Hi,
    what's the rest of the system. I wonder how the difference is so clear because AFAIK they use the same semi-conductor type of bypass switching for regular stereo sources.
    Or you maybe used front channels from 5.1 bypass - there are some differences there?
    I am interested in this one, can you please clarify.
     
  3. warrj

    warrj
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    Garincha - I'm currently most interested in stereo bypass performance. The kit involved in this is:

    Arcam AV8 - Pre-amp
    Arcam FMJ CD23 - CD Player
    Roksan Caspian AV Amp - Power Amp
    B&W Nautilus 805 - Speakers
    Sonus Faber Gravis - Sub

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  4. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    Don't you mean happy (Ar)camper. :D
     
  5. acave

    acave
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    Picking one up weekend :) on loan. Done the same with the tag. My MC-1 for movies was better than tag but crap on 2 channel.

    Maybe this is the unit for me.
     
  6. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    acave, I'd be very interested to hear how your impressions of Arcam AV8 vs Lexicon MC-1 vs Tag AV32R.
     
  7. acave

    acave
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    The Streering of the MC-1 was superb, Tag was clearer but the MC-1 had a sharpness and crunch that gave it the edge. Before I bought my MC-1 I had loans of Meridian 565 and the Arcam Dave setup. The MC-1 would still be here had it's sofware been updated to DTS ES/PLII.
    The one option on the arcam which I think will secure a sale is the fact you can adjust the bass and treble (on all speakers as well). I need this control as some soundtracks and music are to bright. Will post more thoughts over the weekend on the AV8.
    At present I have Denon 3802 which some friends prefer over the MC-1 !!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    DTS ES, sure, but PLII? Surely the MC-1's "Logic 7" mode renders PLII redundant?
     
  9. acave

    acave
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    You know I really wanted pro-logic 2 but since having it, I never use it :) My MC-1 was also not EX upgraded so nice to have that now as well.
     
  10. garmtz

    garmtz
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    No, simply buy an MC-12! You will never look back... :)
     
  11. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Okay, garmtz, I'll buy an MC-12 if you pay for five eighths of it. Can't say fairer than that.
     
  12. garmtz

    garmtz
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    Hahaha.... Yeah, the price... I know... :eek:
     
  13. Apone

    Apone
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    Depending how long you want to wait, Lexicon will be bringing out a 'baby' MC12.

    Check out WWW.SMR-FORUMS.COM for all things Lexicon. I'm sure those guys will be the first to know when it is due.

    I once had a Lexicon DC2 on home trial with version 2 software and I must say that this machine was very good. I set it up at 75db spl per speaker and at ref level it was MUCH louder and had MORE bass than the processor I had before.

    It is also great for people that love to tweak parameters. I must say that Logic 7 was also very good.

    Regards

    Mahmood
     
  14. acave

    acave
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    Always a better product round the corner. At this moment in time I do love the Arcam, need to borrow a tag again to compare.

    Damn, I think I'll borrow the MC-12 instead :)

    Sure the lexicon MC-12 would be my 1st choice, however I refuse to pay the inflated UK price on this and I would rather put the extra cash towards a speaker upgrade.
     
  15. garmtz

    garmtz
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    You are completely right! The Arcam AV8 is still a magnificent piece of equipment and thoroughly musical.
     
  16. Lowrider

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    Forget about waiting for the next big thing... Buy a TAG, you will be able to upgrade whenever you feel like, and can afford, and it has always kept up with whatever comes up... :p
     
  17. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    As we now seem to be talking about high-end processors I'd just like to say that I was extremely impressed with the Bryston SP1.7 I heard yesterday. Really quite a big step up from an Arcam AV8 on the same system. (Other comparisons suggest that the Arcam is broadly comparable to a Meridian 568.2, and noticeably superior to an AV32R, although I haven't yet had the chance to listen to an AV32Rbp192). Of course the Bryston's also rather expensive: £4800, which is taking it up into Krell and Proceed territory. But, crucially, there is a 5-channel only version of it (the SP 1.5) which is "only" £3800. I believe an upgrade to 7 channels is possible, albeit slightly more expensively than buying a 1.7 straight off. Bryston processors do have have an analogue bypass.

    Three important caveats:

    1) I didn't listen to it in analogue bypass mode, so I can't say anything about the quality of that.

    2) The amp/speaker system was some active speakers from ATC. These have balanced inputs. I found out (too late to do anything about it) that the Bryston processor had been using balanced-to-balanced connections while the Arcam AV8 was, perforce, using phono-to-balanced. I don't know how much of a negative effect this would have had on it the sound.

    3) The system was configured without a subwoofer so the bass may have been jumpy.
     
  18. AV Geeza

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    Warrj,
    Any further feedback on the performance of your new baby?!!
    Acave,
    Have you come a decision yet? If so, what were the determining factors?

    Cheers ;)
     
  19. acave

    acave
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    I like the AV8, I like the user interface. bit bright on my M&K speakers but I love the THX on this machine and that tones it down to a T. As commented above Lexicon maybe brining out a downgraded MC-12, no doubt with the multi room option removed. I can get the MC-12 at less than 5K shipped to UK. I will listen to the tag again then the MC-12 then decide. I think it will only be the 2 channel performance that sells me the unit.
    For home cinema they are all great.
     
  20. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You can? Where?
     
  21. warrj

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    Hi All,

    AV Geeza's post prompted me to add some additional comments now that I've had the AV8 for a few days. Firstly, I haven't actually watched an entire movie yet (though I have had a quick blast thru the usual suspects - Fight Club, Blade II, SPR, LOTR, Big Night). My use of the AV8 has therefore been mostly music (both from an Arcam FMJ CD23 thru the analogue bypass and also the same player thru the AV8s own DAC).

    I guess my reference point for stereo pre-amplification is the Roksan DSP (since it was so much better than the Tag AV30R). The Arcam is, well, different to the Roksan. Whilst the Roksan sounded very 'hi fi' the Arcam sounds more musical. Subjective or what? I'm beginning to prefer the Arcam. This may be because I'm just getting used to it or it could be because a lot of CDs which were unlistenable on the Roksan are actually pretty groovy thru the Arcam (I'm talking about poorly recorded rock music here - e.g. Bauhaus, Husker Du etc). Stuff which used to shine thru the Roksan (well recorded stuff like Alison Krauss or even late Billie Holiday) is still lovely thru the Arcam but, again, more musical and less 'hi fi'.

    The player's own DAC is, surprise surprise, not as good as the IMHO rather special DAC in the CD23. It's still quite listenable but it does seem more obviously 'digital' and less 'organic' (more subjective bull).

    So, in summary I'd say that the bypass on the Arcam AV8 is much better than the one on the Tag AV30R. In terms of the DACs in the two machines I'd say that they sound very different but which is better is totally a personal preference thing.

    As an aside, there are two products I'd like to see from Arcam; a) a new Ring DAC based DAC for the AV8 which means that I wouldn't need a separate CD player and b) a hard disk jukebox with enough capacity for 1000 CDs to be stored with lossless compression.

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  22. AV Geeza

    AV Geeza
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    NicolasB,
    Where did you demo the Bryston & Arcam together?
    I'm going to demo the Lex & Arcam this weekend, but would really like to hear the Bryston too.
     
  23. Guest

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    Just a little 'Boothroyd Stuart' Meridian reminder.

    There's 4 numbers and a decimal point.

    5 6 8 (decimal point) 2

    2 channel & multichannel sound to do away with your missus.

    Audio quality is fabulous.

    I'm gone

    Adzman.
     
  24. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    At Cornflake. See www.cornflake.co.uk - the shop is on Windmill Street, which is a left turn off Tottenham Court Road about half way between TCR and Goodge Street tube stations. They also have Lexicon, Tag McLaren, Proceed and Naim stuff.
     
  25. michaelab

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    Since we're talking seriously high-end AV, has anyone heard the new Chord DSP-8000? Yours for a mere £10K :D

    There's a review of it in January's HiFi News. If it's anything like the Chord 64 DAC then it should be a storming bit of kit. HFN did say however that "what's inside the DSP-8000 is not so fundamentally different from those 'humdrum' boxes from Arcam or TAG McLaren", implying that the extra cost was as much for the cool design as anything else...

    Enjoy:

    [​IMG]

    Michael.
     
  26. AV Geeza

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    Thanks Nicolas,
    I thought it was, so Ive already booked a demo! The funny thing is, they said they had sold their 9B ST this morning! Now, I wonder who could have bought that? ;)

    They will be getting the 9B SST in after Xmas so I have to wait!!

    Enjoy!!!! :D :D
     
  27. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    (does his best to appear innocent) :blush:
     
  28. Lowrider

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    You are getting there, Nicolas, slowly but surely... ;)
     
  29. alexs2

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    Like all Chord stuff,their AV processor is beautiful,but as michaelab says,doesnt contain anything that the Naim processor which is several thousand notes cheaper doesnt already have.
    It uses the Motorola Flextronics processor board.
    Chord have been aiming for some years now at being the British version of Krell,with some success,but without anything seriously innovative,other than switch-mode power supplies,which Linn do just as well.
    It's also worth noting that in the HFN review there was mention of the switch mode noise levels affecting the ultimate S/N ratio of the machine,although it's unlikely anyone would notice!
    At that cost,I'd probably buy the Krell processor or wait for a Tag AV192R...
    :p
     
  30. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    My go then:

    Proceed AVP 2+6 + CVP2

    http://www.proceedaudio.com/

    Or:

    Mark Levinson No. 40 Media Console

    http://www.madrigal.com/


    :D
     

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