I've been doing a LOT of reading, and some listening to recievers, and , so far, I'm thinking that the closest audio quality to something like the Arcam I'm going to find is probably going to turn out to be with Yamaha. I believe they do a better job on the audio side of things. They are a music company, making pianos, guitars and such, so they should have people that know how instruments sound.
Today, I compared at Tweeter three receivers listening to two-channel CD. I tried to level-match them and set them all on "direct", and even persuaded the salesman to turn off the subs. They were the Sony 5300, Pioneer VSX-91, and Yamaha RX-V1800. Speakers were some Focal floorstanders they had.
Actually they all sounded decent, but the Yamaha did just sound a bit better with regard to the vocals, piano and percussion. It also seemed the placement of the vocalist and instruments was a bit better.
If I could make a move right now in the $1500 range(which I can't, but that's another story), I think my top choice is the Yamaha RX-V3800. I have read user comments and some professional reviews commenting on the audio quality of that unit.
FAMILY ROOM SYSTEM--Legacy Signature II tower speakers, PSB Image 5T tower speakers, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, Oppo BDP-83 universal disc player, RCA HD-DVD player, Samsung HL67A 750A TV
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Yamaha RX-V1800 receiver, Sherbourn 5/1500A 5-channel amp, Oppo DV 980H DVD player, Panasonic DMP DT210 Blu-ray player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.