Originally Posted by Jaboe Crimm
I don't do many posts but really value this site for all the input, so thanks in advance to you all.
I've got an Onkyo TX-NR809 that still does what it does, but I'd like to improve music quality which is the main use for my AV system. No movies, no cd, no vinyl...just stream jazz, blues, rock. 7.1 system using B&W + Seaton sub with separate 3-channel Emotiva amp for LCR. I'll not go past 7.1.2 due to room layout.
Listened to options at Magnolia and was really impressed with the Arcam 850. But in reading about this unit, it seems to have been plagued over its years with problems. Are there important DSP formats missing from the 850 compared with competition. OTOH, I don't need lots of bells/whistles if the Arcam's software delivers great detail and channel differentiation from 2-channel audio streams. I like DTS better than Dolby, btw.
So to anyone who's owned this unit for awhile, and anyone who's just starting out with it, are you having hardware problems with the Arcam 850? I can do without sending a unit back or to the repair shop. And to anyone with an opinion on the market overall, given the new units coming out (Arcam included) at this price point is there a better solution for my objective? Anthem 1120? Many thanks.
I would pretty much mirror what akka83 has said but I have experienced some software issues. Firstly my unit would forget how to play Atmos when put into standby when, upon resumption, it would play Dolby Digital instead. This was fixed by Arcam but I was without the unit for a while. Secondly, following the last firmware update, the crossover for my height speakers will revert to 50Hz (which is too low for my speakers) when the unit is totally powered off. A workaround is to just put the unit into standby when the set value is retained. I await a promised firmware fix for this but it doesn't seem to be a priority for Arcam as it has been months in the coming.
Despite these issues I am very happy with the sound that this unit produces and plan to keep it for some time yet. It all depends on what new innovations come along to improve things. One feature I would like is eArc which this unit doesn't support.
One word about Dirac is that different people will see differing amounts of improvement depending on how good the starting point of their room is. If you have an acoustically very good room then you may not see as much improvement as someone who has a room that is not so acoustically good. I have found in my room the stereo performance is slightly better whereas the 7.2.4 performance is quite a lot better with Dirac engaged and as compared to my previous Marantz 7010 which uses the top line Audyssey room equalisation. I put this down to the room being an attic room with sloping ceilings meeting overhead and running front to back. I have my ceiling speakers mounted on these ceilings with two each side of the apex and Audyssey really struggled to give me a coherent Atmos soundstage. Dirac does much better and was well worth the investment for me.
I did consider the Anthem 1120 but went with the Arcam because of Dirac and also the power output. Once you start to drive more than two channels then the Arcam is more robust and I always like to have a bit of power in reserve. I bought a good , clean Arcam P7 second hand to power my rears and uppers.
So I would say, if you don't need eArc, go with the 850 but if you do want eArc then look at the spec of the new Arcams.