Originally Posted by jima4a
So any more to comment on musicality? Granted you can?t compare as you no longer have it but do you still miss your Classe?? The U.K. AVFORUMS seemed to put the 860 at a similar level to the Anthem AVM60 which I believe is great for movies but not quite at the previous $10K prepros for music - Classe?, Anthem and Bryston. I want to be able to get rid of my Ayre preamp from my setup on my next Prepro.
I am stilling going thru the motions and as stated I don’t want to flip flop on any comments I make. I lived with the 860 in manual mode for several days now. I’ve set distance and levels with my SPL meter. I also inserted rear height modules and I was unable to do this with the 550 as I used preouts for my own amps for front three.
I’ve watched a number of UHD discs now the last being Life and it was awesome. I really love discs playing thru the Arcam. It’s crystal clear and has been just a blast. Boy, one of the effects that put a smile on my face was a scene in Life where there was a breach from behind in one of the chambers and the alarm was up high on the ceiling. That alarm blasting and coming thru the rear height modules was a treat for sure. My rears are KEF LS50 with KEF height modules front and rear. I know this is for just surround effects but these speakers (especially the LS50) sound better with a bit more grunt behind them. The move to a 7 channel amp for rears and heights has been an improvement over the 550 internal amps. I do think the 860 is sounding better than the 550 but as I said not night and day but enough that I notice. It could be the separate amps (but I was already using my own with the 550) so that’s not it. The XLRs? Maybe. I just did not have the patience to hook-up all XLRs for 9 speakers including sub then break it down and try RCA. Too much work. I had the cables so there was no need not to use them.
So far so good right?
I mentioned I picked up my first music server and I was getting really annoyed!! I’m dumb sometimes but not stupid.i could not get the NAD M50.2 to play thru my speakers. I at first was using a coax cable and into one of the inputs and set the matching input for stereo and a digital connection and nothing. I changed the settings and tried other inputs so many times I thought my head would spin. Nothing. I then decided okay, I ran a cable into my new Oppo 205. Fired it up. Changed the input on the Oppo and bam! Beautiful MQA sound coming from the NAD into the Oppo and into my headphones via my headphone amp. Sounds awesome and confirmed not an issue with NAD.
Back to Arcam. Moved to optical. Only two choices for optical connection STB or AV input. I swear I tried for well over two hours and nothing thru my speakers. I flopped the connection back and forth between the the inputs and was ready to send an email to Arcam or post a question here on AVS if I was missing a set-up option. I was extremely annoyed and couldn’t get it to work. I tried STB again changing to stereo and digital connection and finally sound!! This was not a user error. For some reason the Arcam was not picking up on my revised settings and it just kicked in. Now reads digital stereo. Maybe I should have turned the unit off and on again/recycled after changing values in the input but I was annoyed as hell by the time it kicked in. A little bug or something.
Stereo has sounded really really good and I love this NAD server. This is where I’m going to leave it as I continue with things. If you put a water pistol to my head, no, I do not think the Arcam will quite live up to the SSP-800 or the Bryston in Stereo but these two units are/were twice the cost of the Arcam and a chunk of that money went into analog/stereo.
The Arcam is no slouch though and I want to continue my audition for a few days but it really does sound pretty darn good. The NAD has no DAC but it seems to be a highly built unit and is contributing to the overall sound picture I’m sure. You want this to replace your Ayre? Boy I’d rather have you hear for yourself. What will be your source?
But I am finally down to running Dirac tomorrow. If connection issues hadn’t taken so long with the NAD (but not a NAD issue) I might have gotten to Dirac today but I wanted to enjoy the NAD before the next round and etch in my head the sound via manually set-up.
Broadcast TV. It’s very good, I’m not sure why something changes along the way at times. I’ve stated this before. Sometimes it’s off for some reason and other times it’s great with a steady very good in the middle. I think someone in the 550/850 thread made a comment about a show there. I’ve heard better with sports and crowd noise but I did enjoy the games Sunday. There was improvement from initially on due to getting things more dialed in. This unit also sounds better with some volume attached. It can be a little soft during real late night listening when the family is in bed or whatever.
I’ll let you know after a few days with Dirac. I was behind two or three versions on the 550 as I waited for Arcam to make some updates. I have the latest version loaded and ready to go on the 860.
Maybe we can wrap this up by the weekend but I’m very happy thus far. Everything I updated or added has really come together as I hoped for the most part. The 860 is doing a really nice job pulling it all together and movies have been the best I’ve experienced even over the Classe.