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To Denon or Arcam that is the question

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by zippo4, Feb 12, 2002.

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  1. zippo4

    zippo4
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    Now I'm a mite confused here. I had my heart set on a sparkly new Denon 3802 until I walked into Audio-T in Tunbridge Wells. Having explained to the salesman that whilst I wanted a great surround sound set up for viewing movies, music was also pretty high on my priorities too. He iimmediately pointed me to the Arcam 85. Now I know that the Arcam 85 is meant to be a good amp but I thought it was more of a purists HI FI amp and hence not so hot on the AV side of things.

    Anyone out there got any advice / comments to ease my befuddled brain?

    Cheers


    Paul
     
  2. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    The Arcam A85 is a stereo amp - not surround sound. Was he suggesting you add a processor, like the Yamaha?

    I'm not sure what you mean about it not being so hot on the AV side of things - if you mean that it is only stereo, then yes, you are correct. But performance-wise, it's amplification should be better than the Denon's. The dynamics of some music can be every bit as great as those of action films.

    What did you think when you listened to them?

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  3. Jase

    Jase
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    I could be wrong but I thought the Arcam 85 was an older 2ch amp and the AVR100/200 were the AV amps

    The Arcam´s are more musical than the Denon but if its movies & the latest formats (DTS Discrete, PL2 etc) you´re after, I´d be looking at the Denon if I were you.

    You really need to demo them and go with what sounds/suits you best.
     
  4. zippo4

    zippo4
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    Thanks for that.
    The salesman did tell me the Arcam was a stereo amp to be fair to him. Just my ignorance getting in the way:blush:
    Am I right in saying that the Arcam can power 2 pairs of speakers? If so couldn't one get some sorta surround sound out of it then?

    Cheers
     
  5. zippo4

    zippo4
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    Sorry to drag this on. Accepting that the Arcam is beter musically than the Denon....how good is the denon at playing music?

    Paul
     
  6. Jase

    Jase
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    If it can power two pairs of speakers you´ll just get the same sound out of each pair, not really proper surround sound as we know it but you could argue the fact the sound would surround you if you sat in the middle!!
     
  7. Jase

    Jase
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    The Denon is no slouch when it comes to Music, but its not as good as the Arcam. You really need to compare the two and draw your own conclusions.
     
  8. zippo4

    zippo4
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    Cheers guys for the advice. Like you say its all down to the listening but I'm leaning towards the Denon at the moment. On another subject I saw an advert the other day which stated that Audio T will 'lend' you bits of kit for a short period of time so you can assess it in house. Anyone ever heard of this before? What sort of conditions do they put up front?
     
  9. Jase

    Jase
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    Depends on how well you know the dealer, mine (in Spain) lets me have stuff without leaving a deposit. I would imagine in the UK they would either charge you for the item & then refund it or ask for a large deposit.
     
  10. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I've used the same dealer for 3 or 4 years now and they are happy to lend me kit for a few days without asking for any kind of deposit. I've found this to be an invaluable way to audition potential upgrades. You only notice certain things when you've had them home for a few days and tried to integrate them with the rest of your kit.

    For a dealer that you've never used before, I wouldn't be surprised if they asked for a credit card swipe or other deposit.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  11. ReTrO

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    Zippo4: You could upagrade the A85 to use surround sound by adding a 3ch P85 (around £800 I think) and getting the 6ch input board for the A85 when it arrives, then you'd just have to get a processor. Hoepfully Arcam will have a DiVA processor soon (maybe this year end at earliest)
     
  12. zippo4

    zippo4
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    I would love too but that would mean a heck of a lot of money to layout. Worth it I'm sure from a performance point of view but I don't think I can personally justify it yet. I'll go with the Denon which I guess is great at movies, ok and music and live with that for a while. Eventually buy myself a seperate Music amp whe nthe dosh magically appears.

    Expensive habit this Home Cinmea/HiFi lark isn't it!
     
  13. rnjones

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    I had an Arcam Stereo amp and an add on yamaha processor for years. I lived with it. But was for ever fiddling with the Arcam volume to get the balance with the other channels right. Took up more room and didnt allow me to use my Sub on music sources. Ok I could have plugged my Linn CD player into the yamaha and have the LFE that way. But with all due respect to the Yamaha processor it was just another processing step in the way of the music. I would be very wary of the add on processor.

    Zippo the other way is to look at the A11SR. Yes its a lot more cash, but it is really brilliant with Music sources and of course outstanding with movies. Check out the review in the current Home Cinema Choice mag.
    Rog
     
  14. PeteM

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    I have to agree its real pain in the neck having to set 2 seperate volume controls when using an off board converter with an ordinary stereo amp!

    Before I got my Arcam Alpha 10 / Dave setup I endured such a scenario for years, and would never go back.

    However in the case of the Diva A85 I believe that the volume control can be bypassed when an external processor is attached - fixed gain from processor input. This means you don't need to calibrate the system each time you want to use it, for stereo use volume is managed by the amps volume control, for AV use it would be the volume control of the procesor.

    Such a setup would not necessarily be that expensive, you could partner the A85 with something cheap such as the Yamaha DD decoder, this has amplification for the center and rears built in.

    Later you could add extra power amps to improve performance for AV use - if you feel the need, the P85/3 would be suitable for this and would avoid any differences between the acoustic properties of the processor and the Arcams power amps.

    I will also say that having experienced what is possible from an Audiophile grade setup, I would never contemplate moving to a single box Japanese battleship AV amp, it would be too much of a downgrade!
     

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