Arcam, NAD or Integra - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-17-2013, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, We are looking for some advise:

Currently we are using an Integra 9.1 U2 receiver in our 5.5 GoldenEar Triton 2 system. We are starting to look at upgrading the receiver. We started by looking at the Arcam 600, NAD 787 and the Integra DTR 80.3

IMHO/ The Arcam 600 sounds best, but we had the 300 and had nothing but problems with it, we called it the snap, crackle and pop receiver because of the noises it made changing formats. The 600 is the most costly, and we are a bit leery.

We are open to suggestions, it took us about a year to get to this point with our 5.5 GoldenEar system... we aren't in a big hurry, I guess our target date is to buy something by this fall.

Thank You!
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post #2 of 29 Old 01-17-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Does the Integra DTR-80.3 and the DHC-80.3 really do exactly the same thing (other than the DTR having 9 Amps)?
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post #3 of 29 Old 01-18-2013, 03:42 AM
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Did the Arcam 600 click and pop when you audition it? Mine didn't seem to that much when I used it on its own, maybe 1-2x. I now have an Onkyo 818 as a processor feeding the Arcam's MCH inputs so I get Audyssey MultEQ XT32 (it's THE thing to have around here) and other features lacking in the Arcam - best of both worlds.

I got my Arcam only a few months old as 'used' for half price so with the Onkyo it comes to about $4K, which is NAD's MSRP but NAD only has Audyssey MultEQ. I wouldn't pay even 25% off full price for the Arcam which is getting dated in features. I had NAD back in 2001 and now it is too expensive. NAD has its fair share of problems too.

Integra is just Onkyo with a higher price.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #4 of 29 Old 01-18-2013, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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The Arcam 600 did not click and pop when we heard it, we just watched a blu-ray movie, and listened to music, and didn't switch between formats.

Thank You,
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post #5 of 29 Old 01-18-2013, 09:45 AM
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Integra is just Onkyo with a higher price.
There ARE differences between Integra and Onkyo, especially for custom installs. You can find better power supplies and toroidal transformers on some models, and some more esoteric (if minor) features at times. Moving up to the high end of the Onkyo line will get you into Integra territory for the most part.

NAD has always provided a lot of bang for the buck, but they've had a history with reliability issues. I've had an integrated amp and 2 CD players all give me problems. I don't know how they're doing these days, but they've got me spooked for life.
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post #6 of 29 Old 01-19-2013, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve609 View Post

The Arcam 600 did not click and pop when we heard it, we just watched a blu-ray movie, and listened to music, and didn't switch between formats.

If you start a Blu-ray disc, it goes through various silent screens, previews and menu before the movie. So you would have encountered different audio formats. Previews and menu are usually DD or 2CH.
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There ARE differences between Integra and Onkyo...

Yes but do the differences improve SQ?
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Originally Posted by palover View Post

NAD has always provided a lot of bang for the buck, but they've had a history with reliability issues. I've had an integrated amp and 2 CD players all give me problems. I don't know how they're doing these days, but they've got me spooked for life.

My NAD AVR's power on LED went and the CD player's drive wouldn't close.

If I pay $4k for the NAD787 I would actually go up to the M15HD. I've not heard anything bad around here. Problem with non-mass market brands is they don't have the best room correction and they have a fair share of bugs. If you want more reliability then Integra or Denon would be a better bet. Onkyo has a bad reputation here and currently the 818 has the 24p bug and there is uncertainty if it's present in other Onkyo, or Integra for that matter.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #7 of 29 Old 01-19-2013, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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We did not listen very long, but we didn't hear any clicks or pops out of the 600.
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post #8 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Please let me clarify our question:

We are looking to add a top of the line receiver or AVP and AMPs to our GoldenEar 5.5 system, we are willing to spend a few thousand dollars, we are not interested in spending many thousands of dollars.

IOHO/ Of the three Arcam sounds best ($6K), NAD 2nd best ($4K) and Integra 3rd best ($3K) (all very good in their own right), when in this esoteric class we feel that one pays dearly for incremental increases in quality, and the higher up you go the more it cost for smaller increments.

We are looking for suggestions to get the best bang for the buck.

Thank You!
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post #9 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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In a report from the 2013 CES: Arcam is working on the successor (no release date) to the AVR600.

Has anybody heard anything more?
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post #10 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 PM
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I'm confused. You say a few thousand... To me that means not more than 2k. So why are you looking at 3k, 4k, and 6k receivers?

I like my NAD 747. I've had no issues. If I had to do it again, I would probably upgrade to a 757. They are on sale now.
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post #11 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 10:32 PM
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The new Cambridge Audio 651R receiver is what you might want to consider.

It is the Rolls-Royce of receivers IMO; the only thing I can recommend if you want the BEST sound quality in your system.

It is available for $1999 from a couple of retailers, and is a bargain at that price.

The Arcam is very good also, but way overpriced by comparison.
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post #12 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve609 View Post

Hi, We are looking for some advise:

Currently we are using an Integra 9.1 U2 receiver in our 5.5 GoldenEar Triton 2 system. We are starting to look at upgrading the receiver. We started by looking at the Arcam 600, NAD 787 and the Integra DTR 80.3

IMHO/ The Arcam 600 sounds best, but we had the 300 and had nothing but problems with it, we called it the snap, crackle and pop receiver because of the noises it made changing formats. The 600 is the most costly, and we are a bit leery.

We are open to suggestions, it took us about a year to get to this point with our 5.5 GoldenEar system... we aren't in a big hurry, I guess our target date is to buy something by this fall.

Thank You!

You have a lot of time until next fall. Perhaps you could take a turn towards separates:D. Lots of new processor's hitting the market which might mean prices may come down a little, and you can shop for more power in a separate power amp. I love my Arcam AVP700 every time I power it on. It's an older processor, so I miss some of today's desirable features. It's been a flawless piece of equipment for me. Processors today come in many different price ranges.and features.

Espo77
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post #13 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superdavetx View Post

I'm confused. You say a few thousand... To me that means not more than 2k. So why are you looking at 3k, 4k, and 6k receivers?

I like my NAD 747. I've had no issues. If I had to do it again, I would probably upgrade to a 757. They are on sale now.


What I mean is a few (a small number (not many)), a couple to me means 2.

I have heard good things about the 757.

Thank You
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post #14 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The new Cambridge Audio 651R receiver is what you might want to consider.

It is the Rolls-Royce of receivers IMO; the only thing I can recommend if you want the BEST sound quality in your system.

It is available for $1999 from a couple of retailers, and is a bargain at that price.

The Arcam is very good also, but way overpriced by comparison.

I agree, the Arcam price is a hefty price and a stretch for our budget.

It also appears that there are deals on Integra and NAD, but not so much on Arcam

I'll checkout the Cambridge.

Thank You
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post #15 of 29 Old 01-23-2013, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Espo77 View Post

You have a lot of time until next fall. Perhaps you could take a turn towards separates:D. Lots of new processor's hitting the market which might mean prices may come down a little, and you can shop for more power in a separate power amp. I love my Arcam AVP700 every time I power it on. It's an older processor, so I miss some of today's desirable features. It's been a flawless piece of equipment for me. Processors today come in many different price ranges.and features.

Sonically separates are the way to go, but if we do our "few thousand" will quickly turn into "many thousands".

My guess is if we decide to go more esoteric the new Arcam 600 successor will most probably go to the top of our list.

We had a Arcam 300 and it did a good job sonically, we like the Arcam sound.

This unit will be mostly used for home theater... our critical music listening is done in my home office (Ray Samuels tube amp, Lavry D/A, Sennheiser HD-800, Pure Music on a MacBook Pro and a Sony SCD-XA777ES CD / SACD Player).

Thank You
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post #16 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 12:04 AM
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If money was no factor then I would go with the Arcam. One of the best AVR's I've ever heard. The 600 is long in the tooth and probably will be updated or totally replaced in the line at some point. You might also have a look at the 400 as it has much of the SQ as the 600, minus the rail switching amps of course so it may have trouble driving some speakers with a full 5 or 7.1 arrangement. Though Arcam is honest when it comes to power specs so you will get wpc for all channels driven. The only Arcam model I would stay away from would be the 360. I had to return two of them, both with defective HDMI boards. Even the ones at the showroom did exhibit problems anytime a blu-ray was loaded. Screen would go black and you would have to cycle through inputs to get the picture to come back. The dealer I bought the 360 from knew about this issue, but sold them anyway without telling the customers, a very douche move. Anyway with the exception of that particular model, I would choose Arcam over the brands you have listed.

Have not heard the Cambridge though. So it might also be worth demoing.
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post #17 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Our Arcam 300 was also problematic.
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post #18 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 12:29 AM
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Our Arcam 300 was also problematic.

Sadly I think Arcam payed little notice to the video side of things in their newer, lower end line of AVR's. Arcam's roots are grounded in the old analog days, they have had some minor problems adjusting to the whole digital revolution. Even some of their updates to the 400 and 600 lines have lacked some basic digital surround codecs and when they finally do get around to a hardware update, it tends to have a lot of bugs that take another few months to get the necessary firmware update. Heck they just this past year finally got around to adding 3D support for the 600 and that is their flagship, wowzers.

But if you can ignore the minor side effects, the audio quality they produce is extraordinary.
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post #19 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 12:40 AM
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If I were in the market for a new AVR for primarily HT purposes, my short list would be Denon 4520ci, Onkyo NR 5010, or Pioneer Elite SC67/68.

Any one of those would easily perform as well if not better than the NAD or Arcam, IMO. And all are more feature-filled.

Jeff
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post #20 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matts View Post

Sadly I think Arcam payed little notice to the video side of things in their newer, lower end line of AVR's. Arcam's roots are grounded in the old analog days, they have had some minor problems adjusting to the whole digital revolution. Even some of their updates to the 400 and 600 lines have lacked some basic digital surround codecs and when they finally do get around to a hardware update, it tends to have a lot of bugs that take another few months to get the necessary firmware update. Heck they just this past year finally got around to adding 3D support for the 600 and that is their flagship, wowzers.

But if you can ignore the minor side effects, the audio quality they produce is extraordinary.

To say we are hesitant about Arcam is an understatement, you know, once burnt...

Thank you
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post #21 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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If I were in the market for a new AVR for primarily HT purposes, my short list would be Denon 4520ci, Onkyo NR 5010, or Pioneer Elite SC67/68.

Any one of those would easily perform as well if not better than the NAD or Arcam, IMO. And all are more feature-filled.

We are currently using an (over 10 years old) Integra 9.1 U2 Receiver, we really liked it, it did a good job for home theater (not really good with music).
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post #22 of 29 Old 01-24-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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jss designs,

Thank you for the suggestions, I hear you...

If we were going to critically listen to music we would have a completely different setup, and that setup wouldn't be as good for HT as the one we are doing.
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post #23 of 29 Old 01-25-2013, 02:01 AM
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The distinction between music and HT is arbitrary, when there are concert videos, operas and music only Blu-rays. I just watched one concert video BD with 5.1 24/96 lossless audio, which DVD-Audio and SACD could match in audio spec over 10 years ago. I've always felt what's good for one is good for the other. Now with lossless audio on Blu-ray the boundary between pure music and movie track is blurred. Movie music can be real music often played by an orchestra. The new features that work with movie tracks such as room correction and dynamic EQ work with MCH music too.

There is no need to be forced to choose one to the exclusion of the other. A receiver coupled to a stereo amp for the main front speakers can be a way to improve 2CH music with little compromise. Or better, a receiver coupled to a stereo integrated amp with HT bypass: this gives you the additional flexibility of using a pure 2CH analogue source such as vinyl or a CD player with good analogue outputs, etc.

Rather than soliciting brand names randomly, you have to decide apart from subjective SQ, do you actually need any other features in a modern receiver, such as video processing, the new digital processing modes, streaming, room correction, USB etc. Here on AVS people overwhelmingly choose AVRs based on features and budget. If you need some of these new features then you're not likely to find many of these outside the mainstream mass market brands.

If you don't then why would you need to update your old Integra for HT, just because of new speakers? Not enough power? Add power amps. If it's back to just subjective SQ, then it's back to square one and with non-mass market brands it never a case of bang for the buck compared to the mass market ones.

Just about every brand, mainstream or otherwise has its problems one way or another at some time. Pioneer, Denon and Onkyo all have dissatisfied customers just as NAD, Arcam, Cambridge Audio and Anthem. Well the Bryston SP3 users are very happy but it costs $10k. The new Arcam successor to the AVR600 will no doubt cost more than the 600 so it's not likely a viable option. Also trying a newly released AVR is risky especially given Arcam's track record and your particular bad luck with the 300 (I've heard no one else complaining about the 300).

To throw out another suggestion, Audiolab processor (about $2k) plus MCH power amp of whatever brand you fancy, bare features, no video, good review of SQ and plenty of power.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #24 of 29 Old 01-25-2013, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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> "your particular bad luck with the 300 (I've heard no one else complaining about the 300)."


Just do a google search: arcam avr300 problems
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post #25 of 29 Old 01-25-2013, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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My comment: > "If we were going to critically listen to music we would have a completely different setup, and that setup wouldn't be as good for HT as the one we are doing."

Kilian.ca
> "The distinction between music and HT is arbitrary, when there are concert videos, operas and music only Blu-rays. I just watched one concert video BD with 5.1 24/96 lossless audio, which DVD-Audio and SACD could match in audio spec over 10 years ago. I've always felt what's good for one is good for the other."

Generally true, but...

If we were going to critically listen to music we would buy Magnepan speakers (we just love their wave launch sound), with a nice sweet tube (amp - preamp) setup. This set up presents issues, we know first hand, we had an Arcam / Magnepan 8.1 setup. (issues: space needed, size of speakers, speaker placement, less dynamic impact (for movies), and they are 4 ohm speakers etc.)


On a side note:

IOHO/ If you want to be ruined for life, listen to music with Magnepan 20 series (20.1 or 20.7) speakers, along with high powered tubes amps, to us music doesn't get any better than that.
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post #26 of 29 Old 01-25-2013, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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> "If you don't then why would you need to update your old Integra for HT, just because of new speakers? Not enough power? Add power amps. If it's back to just subjective SQ, then it's back to square one and with non-mass market brands it never a case of bang for the buck compared to the mass market ones".

We are currently using a borrowed Integra 9.1 U2 from another system we have. We need to buy something at some point (yes, we are snowbirds).
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post #27 of 29 Old 01-25-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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> "To throw out another suggestion, Audiolab processor (about $2k) plus MCH power amp of whatever brand you fancy, bare features, no video, good review of SQ and plenty of power."

Kilian.ca We will check them out.

Our goal here is (like most) to get the best bang for the buck.

We greatly appreciate all of the suggestions.

Thank You
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post #28 of 29 Old 09-28-2013, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, we finally made our decision, and we are going with a NAD T 787 A/V Surround Sound Receiver.

We feel this unit gives us the the best bang for the buck.

Thank you for all of your help,
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post #29 of 29 Old 10-27-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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5.5 GoldenEar Triton 2 System Upgrade with - NAD T787 / SuperCenter XL / Forcefield 5

We hooked the system up Friday, and haven’t been able to put the remote control down!

It's a major improvement for Home Theater, but a massive improvement for music.

The NAD T787 is built like a tank (replacing an Integra 9.1 U2 AVR), it's extremely heavy, with a fantastic remote control. We manually tweaked in the surround sound system with a SPL meter, we didn't care for how Audyssey colored the vocals (in all three formats Audysseey, Flat and NAD). The SuperCenter XL (replacing a 50c) is a better match with the Triton 2's, and the Forcefield 5 (replacing an older sub) has nice tight deep bass and it blends very well with the 4 Triton 2's.

IOHO/ there is nothing else close to this price range that can give you the sonic qualities this system offers... smooth rich tube like detailed sound for music, impressive dynamic impact for surround sound, along with crisp clean vocals.

We would like to take this time to thank everyone for their help, especially Sand Gross / GoldenEar and Don Tomlinson / Gleeson's Home Entertainment in Ocean City, NJ. Couldn't have done it without you!

Thank You,
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