Originally Posted by Zissou
Glad you think so. The amp was always the same for testing, Krell TAS, but all pre/pros were also used with a Sunfire Signature and an EVO6 and the speakers are Magnepan 3.6R, 1.6R and CC3. If you like sound lacking in detail that's fine as we all have different priorities, however it is not accurate. My findings are also correlated by UAV. The AVP700 was tested extensively and it's shortcomings were very obvious. It was most apparent in low level detail where instruments low in the mix simply disappeared. A great example is Al Stewart's "Flying Sorcery" which has some very subtle keyboard sweetening on the second verse and it simply disappeared using the Arcam. Holly Cole's natural sibilance was diminished to the point where it was almost non existent as well. Again not accurate.
UAV said this about the 700 but to be fair I found the dynamics to be only slightly compromised so disagree with Shane on that finding.
To get a fix on how it stacks up in pure sonics I began by shuttling the AVP700 into my system with my reference amps- Theta Citadel monoblocks with a Theta Dreadnaught for center and surrounds. In my system the AVP700 produced sound that was spacious and refined, if a bit lacking in detail in comparison to my memory of the Arcam flagship, the FMJ AV8.
In years past this reticence could have been regarded as a savior for a controller with no simple Re-EQ. But as I explained earlier, I find fewer and fewer bright soundtracks. In this case, I felt like I simply wasn't getting as much detail out of the best soundtracks, like Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The opening space battle has Anakin and Obi-Wan hurdling through the interstellar carnage to rescue Chancellor Palpatine. Sonically it's as much of a thrill-ride as one would expect of the opening of a Star Wars movie. Not only was I not hearing as much resolution of finer details as I wanted, I wasn't get as much spatial sensation of the ships and debris hurtling past, and I found the scene surprisingly restrained dynamically.
The slight softness in sound is an artifact that I can live with, especially with the AVP700's formidable feature set, and friendly price. But the lack of dynamics kept leading me to edge up the volume higher than I typically listen to try and get some punch out of active, aggressive soundtracks like Revenge of the Sith, or even Polar Express which features an abundance of sonic delights both subtle and aggressive in nature. While the higher volume levels gave me some of the drama I was looking for, it also made the sound harder, and almost brittle. During very loud, dynamic passages I'd end up riding the volume back down. I was concerned enough about this aspect of the Arcam's performance that I had a second sample sent over and essentially found the same thing.
I really had wanted to like the piece as I was, am, a fan of the AVR300.