What the Arcam P-25 did for my system



This thread is really intended for people wondering about power-amping and the viability of power amping with non-full range speakers.

Jase, (the horrible moderator on the forum who makes me want to buy more stuff :) ) was talking to me a few weeks ago about power amping. At the same time, there was a big ‘argument thread’ as well about power amps and their relevance when used in conjunction with ‘satellite’ speakers such as M&K S-85’s.

I couldn’t really afford Rotel or Bryston (ahem, saving is NOT an option!) but managed to pick up an Arcam P-25 for £500. I connected this three-channel 100W power-amp up to my Denon 3802 and therefore split the load; the Arcam handling the front three channels and the Denon handling the back two channels and sub connectivity.

I am simply amazed by the difference. I am not a real technically versed guy with Home Theatre but I can seriously hear the difference in sound quality and control.

I listened to Chapter 30 of Lord of the Rings at–10db (The Dragon and ‘You will not pass!’ scene) and was simply astonished. Beforehand, just using the Denon at –13db to power all 5 speakers used to sound harsh and strained. Around –15db was pretty much its quality sound limit for both front and back channels. To be fair, however, my M&K’s are all four ohms so I was asking it to do quite a lot! Adding the Arcam P-25 has done my system wonders. I now have exceptionally clear speech at low levels (-30db) which the Denon never seemed to deliver and the soundstage has just really come together in a way that I just cant explain; its almost like one big speaker with no gaps and added midrange.

But what’s my point? Well, I would like to state two things.

1. Power amping definitely worked for me for overall improved system sound for listening at both high and low sound levels.

2. Power amps seem to work extremely well with non-full range speakers such as my M&K’s. The sound difference and control us massively apparent at both low and high levels of volume.

What this really says to me is that complete ‘power separates’ is the route to take if you have the money. The difference in sound and control from using the internal amplifiers of the Denon to the P-25 is literally staggering. Obviously, splitting the power and having dedicated units doing dedicated jobs is the way forward.

Believe me, I have spent under £500 on an upgrade by adding this power amp to my system, and its just one step closer to that high-end sound.

All the above may be blatantly obvious to some of you, however, I am just writing this as for the benefit of people looking for an upgrade or perhaps wondering if they should buy a power amp and want to see others experiences.

Mine was good.


Good report Brad, I must admit to have been considering a power amp upgrade for a while as the next step. Looks like I might have to spend some money.:)

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