Upgrade from Arcam AVR 200 to 300

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Arken2k, Jun 25, 2004.

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  1. Arken2k

    Arken2k
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    I got the HC system which consists of Arcam AVR 200, Castle (130WT) in the front and Rogers GS3 in the rear. The DVD Player is Onkyo DV-SP800. The system lacks power and volume (the music sounds flat) Would it help to upgrade it to Arcam AVR 300?
     
  2. RaceTripper

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    I upgraded from the AVR200 to the AVR300. It is a big improvement, and an excellent value for the difference in cost. It has about 50% more power (100WPC vs. 70WPC), has many more features, and sounds much better, both in DSP and analog modes.

    Plus, if you stay with a 5.1 setup you can use the spare back surround amps to bi-amp your front speakers (if they support bi-amping).

    Definitely a worthwhile upgrade. I have been very pleased, and have no regrets.
     
  3. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    You don't say what the source is - many DVD players, even when using the digital output, have indifferent quality sound, so you may want to take this into account too. Naturally Arcam ones don't fall into this category :)

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  4. RaceTripper

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    I didn't think of that. I remember a Sony DVD player I had that seemed to have really low output. My Arcam doesn't suffer that problem.

    John...isn't it also true that if the problem source is analog, that can be corrected/adjusted using the Input Trim/Analogue settings page in Setup?
     
  5. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    There is a gain trim (to optimise the dynamic range of the various analogue stereo inputs feeding the ADC when not in "direct" mode) in the setup pages but I don't think that's the issue here.

    If the sound is "flat" it may be an amplifier issue, especially if it is not set up with the correct levels and delays in multichannel mode, but it is just as likely to be caused elsewhere - by an indifferent source, or wobbly speaker stands/poor speaker positioning/room interaction or a host of other things. Or it simply could be not understanding that the volume on a unit with a true dB scale needs to be turned up fairly high compared with older products that have a simple one turn rotary volume control, where the market dictated that a quarter turn put on most of the gain so that the system played very loud at quite a low volume setting.

    We need Arken to expand more before this can be pinned down. But, other things being equal, an AVR300 will be an all round improvement over a 200, as you have heard!

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  6. RaceTripper

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    Thanks for the explanation John.

    I agree that speaker placement/position can make a big difference in sound. And they should definitely be sitting stable.

    Arken2K: I can assure you the AVR200 and AVR300 have never sounded "flat" in my setup, and I'm using speakers that are fairly demanding of an amplifier (Dynaudio Audience). I get audio that's very dynamic, detailed, and easy to listen to and natural. In fact, when I first auditioned the AVR200, I compared it with the Marantz 9000 series (which costs a lot more). While the Marantz had more bells and whistles, it didn't even apporach the sound quality of the AVR200. The 300 is much better yet.
     
  7. Arken2k

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    The DVD Player is Onkyo DV-SP800, top of the line, they say :)
     
  8. Arken2k

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    Thanx for the reply! Now all I need to know, is what's this bi-amping thing, the speakers are bi-wired, if this what you mean?
     
  9. sticker

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    No Bi-amping is different, its using a seperate channel of an amp to power the LF section of a speaker & another one to power the HF section of the speaker.

    HTH

    John
     
  10. Arken2k

    Arken2k
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    Thanx,
    how am I supposed to know if my speakers support bi-amping (Castle Avon)?
     
  11. sticker

    sticker
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    How many speaker connections are on back? If there are 4 then generally the speaker can be bi-amped, but to make 100% sure consult your manual or speak to the manufacturer

    Regards
    John
     
  12. Arken2k

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    Thanx a`bunch, There are 4 connections in the back. I wrote to Castle. We'll see what they answer.

    Once again. Thanx.

    Arkady
     
  13. Icarus

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    If you have four posts per speaker you can bi-amp them. I have read that you must remove the bridge from the HF and LF binding posts if going this route. This is what I plan to do when Arcam have finished making my new AVR300 amp.
     
  14. Arken2k

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    O.k. , but this way you have to chose between bi-wire and bi-amping, haven't you?
     
  15. mrkeeling

    mrkeeling
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    Forgive me for piggybacking this thread, but I have (almost) the same question. :)

    What do you people think (specially you John) what would give me better sound quality improvement:

    Upgrading from AVR200 to AVR300,
    Or
    Adding P85(90)/3 for front stage (with possibility to ad another P85(90) in the future and then bi-amp my fronts). :D

    Just to make things clear – I am not interested in 7.1. Most of my listening is hi-res music (DVD-a; SACD), so I have no need for any processing whatsoever (using 5.1 analog). Actually if multichannel volume control module was available at the time I got my AVR 200, I would have probably gone that route.

    And as we are at it, is there a significant difference between P85 and P90?

    Thanks a bunch
    :beer:
     
  16. SMCC

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    This may help - I've been trying to decide how to expand from 2-ch (my A85)to multichannel. Last week I demoed an AVR300 and A90 (no A85 available at dealer) back to back using the same source (CD93) in 2 channel only through a pair of ATC SCM7's and a variety of lesser speakers. The AVR300 sounds OK but with 2 channel sources even in direct mode it's not a patch* on the A90. The set-up still sounded substantially better* when using the A90 as a power amp with the AVR300 as pre-amp (similar to the setup you propose mrkeeling). As a result I am now seriously considering a multichannel board and 1 or 2 P90's instead of the AVR300.

    If you're interested primarily in multichannel audio not movies, I strongly suggest you demo the AVR300 in comparison with your existing AVR200 plus a P90. You may prefer the AVR300!

    AFAIK there is absolutely minimal difference between P85/P90 and gain is the same for both so they could be mixed in a system OK.


    * The AVR300 sounds fine, but the A90 just sounds better. AVR300 is muddy/hazy by comparison.
     
  17. mrkeeling

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    Thanks for the response SMCC

    Looks like that the right upgrade for me would be A85(90) with multicannel board + P85(90)/3 – not AVR300. I am definitely going to do some serious listening (as soon as time allows) comparing AVR200 as pre and A85.
    :beer:
     
  18. parrydave

    parrydave
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    SMCC,

    You're report on AVR300 /A90 comparison is interesting. I have an A85 and have just bought an AVR300 - predominantly for movies. First impressions of AVR300 in stereo direct with CD92T source are similar to yours - good but not as good as A85.

    I was wondering about the bi-amp route for stereo listening. You mentioned biamping with the A90, using the AVR300 pre-amp, sounding "substantially better"? Better than the AVR300 alone, or better than the A90 alone?

    If my A85 is going to sound better than an A85/AVR300 bi-amp setup I may keep the two systems seperate, just use front pre-outs to AVR300 and use the A85 for fronts/stereo.

    If the bi-amp combo comes close to A85 in stereo, I may compromise so I can get biamped fronts in AV. This route also has the added bonus that the AVR300 remote control would no longer operate the A85 every time I try to control the AVR300!!

    I will try options tonight and report back.
     
  19. SMCC

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    Parrydave reading back my first post I realise it's a little ambiguous - sorry!

    I have not tried bi-amping the front 2 speakers. What I tried was using the AVR300 as preamp i.e. receiving the source and then hooking up the front L and R pre-outs to the tape loop of the A90 which was set to the processor mode. (The A85 and A90 can be set to a fixed gain 'processor mode' to enable use with a multichannel amp. Your A85 may or may not have this depending on the version of the software inside.)

    Thus I wasn't biamping the speakers at all but simply using the A90's power amp circuit with the AVR300's preamp and this sounded better than the AVR300 on it's own. I didn't spend a lot of time comparing this setup with the A90 on it's own but initial impression was that best sound quality was from A90 solo, then second best was AVR300 pre-outs driving A90 in processor mode and last and least in terms of overall sound quality was the AVR300 alone.

    I repeat that I haven't tried bi-amping using the power circuits of both the A90 and AVR300 and I would have reservations about mixing the two different sounding amps in one speaker. Got to be worth giving it a go though if you have the two at home - you never know it might sound better!

    I look forward to hearing which setup you settle on parrydave.
     

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