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Warm sounding Arcam advice

Devil On Your S

Well-known Member
I've currently got a Marantz CD7300, PM7200, Quad 11L stereo combination, which is very detailed, but too harsh in the treble stakes for my liking (got a bit of a neurosis about treble!). I've heard that Arcam produce very rich warm analogue sounding, which is what i'm after. I'm looking for advice before i go down to my dealer to audition some. CD or DVD player, plus an integrated amp. Would rather go the second hand route, so a few stages down the product line would be fine. Which is the absolute warmest Arcam gear?

deaf cat

Active Member

Yes I love the Arcam sound and don't want to put you off buying one, just an idea - have you tried different interconnects/speaker cables?

I've found that they can have quite and effect on the sound repro.

You should be able to demo cables(or try them at home)if your popping in your stereo shop any way to have a listen to an Arcam, just ask about cables.

Devil On Your S

Well-known Member
I don't believe cables make much of a difference to the overall sound. I have several interconnects, all sound the same (including a van den hull III, which is supposed to be warm sounding) and have my own speaker cables. Thanks for the suggestion anyway.



I have recently upgraded my system to an AVR300, P90, CD73 and DV78 with KefiQ7's (am waiting on the rears <iQ1's> and centre <iQ6C> and I can say that I am more than happy with the sound.

Compared to the old system which consited of Bose acoustimass speakers it is a huge improvement and the bass and mid and top all complemented each other perfectly and there seems to be just the right amount of each, which in turn helps bring CD's 'alive' and certainly puts a :D on my face.

I must admit to not listening to a huge amount of different systems/setups and I personally always feel that you can end up tying yourself on knots and that if you find something that you personally like (you are going to be the one listening to it at the end of the day) then it always best to go with your heart (or in this case ears).

I guess that everyone has a different interpretation as to what sounds pleasing to the ear, but for my needs (and ears) the arcam gear sounds brilliant.

Good Luck :)


Devil On Your S said:
I don't believe cables make much of a difference to the overall sound. I have several interconnects, all sound the same (including a van den hull III, which is supposed to be warm sounding) and have my own speaker cables. Thanks for the suggestion anyway.
Cables are a very "try and see" art. In my first system, they made little or no difference, but have found now in my cuurent setup that cables can and do make a considerable difference in some circumstances. It's like anything else though, you get what you pay for, swapping a £30 interconnect for another similar priced/similar construction interconnect may make little if no difference, however, if you tried a £150 interconnect or changed a copper one for a solid silver, you should notice a difference. I recently changed a Chord cobra (£50) interconnect for a solid silver interconnect made by a professional who didn't charge the earth, only £85. He has no frills marketing and I suspect the quality of this cable is probably the equivalent to a £200 mass produced, mass marketed cable and the difference really was very impressive. I could have changed to another CD player and heard less a difference....really! I certainly won't be putting the Chord cable back in my system! A little while ago I tried an Atlas Voyager cable (£110) and it sounded terrible compared to my silver cable, so there can be considerable differences, depending on how sensitive your source and amplification etc is.
If you can get to try a decent solid silver interconnect, this could be an answer to your problem with the treble. Silver cables can make splashy and harsh treble disappear and produce a very smooth refined sound in my experience, but this will again depend on your own source and amp. Afraid I know little about your CD player and amp but I use an Arcam CD player and the difference was extremely pleasing.
Whatever you choose to do.....good luck!!

[email protected]

Active Member
There's too much subjectivity here to give a clear answer. If you have a receiver that is overly bright (not an uncommon problem) or it has limitations that keep you from getting as much bass as your speakers actually have, then yes, the Arcam may sound "warm". But if you have speakers or a room that is too bright, and you want something that is going to deemphasize treble, I don't think an Arcam receiver is going to do that. You'll probably need sound treatment, equalization, or a subtle use of the treble control.


Active Member
Devil On Your S

I agree totally with Hedrick about subjectivity. Your room and/or speakers (and possibly cables as already suggested) may be contributing to harsh treble that I also hate. I say this because I have just been reviewing some short listed receivers to replace my faithful Marantz SR5200 which I chose originally because it was nowhere near as bright as say Denon etc. But whilst brighter, the Denon wasn’t harsh because amongst other things, my speakers were essentially neutral and not harsh either.

My short list comprises Marantz SR7/8500, NAD T773, Arcam AVR 300 and Rotel 1056/68 and I have listened (2 channel direct) to all using my own speakers. To me, the Marantz is the warmest and most laid back of all and the Rotel the brightest, so I am surprised that you find your combination harsh with the implication that it may be the Marantz receiver causing it.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, the words I could use to describe the differences I have perceived in the receivers above, may mean completely different things to different listeners. To me they were all high quality, detailed receivers but the combination that was simply outstanding to me was the Arcam. However, if I tried to use many of the common terms to describe why, I would fail to pass on my perceptions fairly. For example, I found the Rotel a little too bright/forward for my taste after listening to the Arcam and the Marantz is a little more laid back than I now prefer. Does the Rotel deserve to be classified as overly bright or harsh because I prefer the Arcam? No. Would others agree with me that the Marantz was warmer than the rest, possibly not. Did I think the Arcam was rich and warm as others have described, no. I thought it superb but pretty much neutral – perhaps a touch on the warm side. Also, with other speakers, my perceptions may be totally different. I would be looking at all aspects of your system and room to see where the harshness can be addressed.

Devil On Your S

Well-known Member
Thanks for the answers, and thanks for the attempts to stop me paying money ;)

Still haven't had any reccomendations on actual Arcam gear though, which is kinda the point of this thread. I won't be able to demo anything other than the latest stuff, and like i said, i'm quite happy to buy older gear second hand if it's what i want.

I'm not even going to go down the route of cables, i have a solid silver interconnect, a van den hull 102III and a mark grant analogue stereo pair. So i've had plenty to change between. As far as the room is concerned, i think it's fine. It's only 3.5m x 3.5m and is full of furnishings, cushions, etc. Even has a massive thick mat on the floor over an already thick carpet :D

I'm not gonna buy an amp yet, if at all if the CD player solves the problem. The Marantz PM7200 is a damn fine amp that's for sure, but i'd still like to hear any comments on warm sounding Arcam amps. I do think it's the CD player now though, after comparing my iriver H140 through the amp. Wasn't harsh at all, though obviously lost detail compared to the CD7300. Gonna stick a few wav files onto the iriver, and see how they sound. But i'm pretty certain now the harshness is coming from the 7300. I want a DVD player, as i've heard the CD quality on the 78, 88 and 89 is very good, and probably better than my current player, and it means I can lose a box, upgrade my CD and DVD at the same time without too much of an outlay. So any advice on the CD playing capabilities and sound of the 78, 88 and 89 would be appreciated!


Active Member
I think you are a point where i was a while back where my marantz gear was a little too harsh sounding for me....

As mentioned about i tried all the main contenders in the all in one a/v receivers.

marantz 8500
nad t773
rotel 1067?

And i not only did listen to the receivers at different shops but i managed to bring most of them home and i must say as people always claim the marantz are "warm" sounding receivers that is in my opinion definitely not the case or maybe my understanding or conception of the word "warm" is different than most.

I found the marantz to be less detailed had an artificial "laid backness" to it which in effect i can see be misunderstood as warm sounding.. but highs were brutally harsh sounding. It was almost close to a yamaha denon esque sound.

I found the rotel to be harsh sounding not to my taste.

The t773 and avr300 are possibly the closest to in terms of sound quality and they are both fairly warm sounding... i found the avr300 to be very detailed and also very unforgiving in terms of listening to badly produced recordings.

I preferred arcam solely for its sound quality and i have not regretted the purchase.

If you are going for warm look at the

Nad T773 &
Arcam avr300

i would recommend you listen to them "side by side" or at home.

If budget permits i would look into the separates as well... especially the higher ups in the diva series and the fmj series.
As for the dvd players. I am not too big into recommending dvd players to anyone as the release of hddvd players and such no point spending oodles on a hardware thats most likely would not be upgradeable.
CD players again i would listen to them, i have heard the arcam cd players and they are superb in direct/analogue mode. If you do not listen to cd player in analogue/direct mode i don't think you should spend a lot on cd players.

As i understand if you use the digital out to feed to your amp sound quality from cheap cd player to a really expensive dvd player is not that much different?


Active Member
Hi there, it is the cd and dvd players that give the warm arcam sound imho.

I tried the Quad 11L with my Arcam A32 amp and it didn't sound that great as the Quad 11L's are pretty hard to drive.



Active Member

With some allowance for how we describe things, it appears we have come to the same conclusion on receivers. I feel you pretty much described what I heard. The AVR 300 certainly stands out to me.

Only, you now have me thinking. I could agree that the Rotel was on the verge of harshness and something (in comparison to NAD and Arcam) was less than ideal in the Marantz, but I never perceived it as harshness. It seemed to be missing something rather than having too much treble, perhaps your "artificial laid backness" . Hence my previous comments to Devil On Your S to look elsewhere as well as the receiver for his harshness problem.

I’ll be most interested to hear any other comments on this thread about warmth and harshness.

Devil On Your S

Well-known Member
I've gone out and bought a DV88 now, so hopefully that will give me more of the sound i'm after!

Devil On Your S

Well-known Member
Not really as I'll get about the same amount I paid for the dv88 by selling my CD and DVD player :)


Mofar said:
@Hoggers: why did you add a P90? Not enough power from the AVR300?

Hi Mofar, I added the P90 as a way of splitting the high and low frequecies into the speakers.. I know I could have achieved the same kind of result by running the cable from 6 & 7 out of the 300 but after listening to both set ups I felt as though the sound sounded a little better using the P90.


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