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Downsize from Anthem to Arcam????

751 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Ricky
Hi. I currently have a pretty nice HT setup powered by an Anthem AVM 20 with a Bryston 5B-ST and an Anthem MCA 20. Tax time is coming up and it seems that I'll end up owing this year so I am thinking of selling my Anthem AVM 20 and the Anthem 2 channel amp (will keep the Bryston) and picking up a used Arcam AVR200 receiver to act as a pre pro and to power my surrounds. What I want to know is how much of a down grade will this be? Will I lose that 3D soundstage that I now enjoy? I hear that the Arcam is great for music but how is it as a pre pro for movies? My use will be 80% movies and 20% music. I've burned through a lot of recievers, pre pros and amps in the past 2 years and I don't want to take a real step backwards in terms of sound quality (I will give up functionality though which is fine) now that I have a great sounding system.

Just to let you know, in the past I've owned:

Marantz Sr7300

Yamaha 1400

Harman Kardon 630

NAD T752

Cambridge Audio 540R

Outlaw Audio 950

Audio Refinement Pre-2 DSP

The Audio Refinement was the only one in the bunch that came close to besting the Anthem. How will the Arcam AVR200 compare? I don't need 7.1 or THX processing, just a great soundstage and detailed sound that lets me hear everything that I am supposed to hear. I can't afford the Arcam AVR300 and I do not like Denon or Pioneer so please no suggestions for their products.


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You can look at my comments here:


I don't know what speakers you have but with my NHT I haven't found anything that can match better than Arcam receivers. I did a one on one test of the AVR200 and 250 with Proac Studio 100 speakers. The difference was there but not uge, I little tighter bass, maybe a tiny bit more detail but you really had to concentrate to notice the difference that much so I think you would probably be satisfied with the 200.

Is it equal or close to your current kit, I have no idea!

Have fun shopping. Please let us know when you buy it, I would be really interested in reading your comments.

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Arcam has a very musical and detailed sound. I would say that it is capable of providing the results you desire. Anyway you can test it first?
Markus, how did you like the Outlaw 950? What was your amp and speakers when you had that one? What are your speakers now? Also, if you don't mind, how would you rate your satisfaction between the 540R and the T752?

With all the testing I've been doing lately I think matching the speakers with the receiver is probably as if not more important than the receiver itself. I've heard the Cambridge 540R with about 6-7 different speaker setup and boy can it sound different, the best match I've heard for this one was the Monitor Audio B1...

As for the Arcam AVR200, I think it will be a bit nicer in music than any of your preceeding receivers, however, will it match your Anthem/Bryston kit, hum thats a difficult one.
NEC Baby - I liked the Outlaw 950 for movies but found it rather sterile for music. As for speakers, I am using powered Definitive Technology speakers with the matching powered center and cannot change these as my wife absolutely loves them, as do I. I have a cavernous family room (20' ceilings) and the def techs are the only speakers that I have found to fill the room with satisfying sound due to their bipolar design. Everything else just seems to "small" or lost in our room (have had Paradigms, B&Ws, PSBs, Dahlqusits etc.).

As for my observations of the Nad vs the Cambridge Audio 540r, see my comments here http://forum.ecoustics.com/cgi-bin/b...824#POST160824

I can admit that I became a touch obsessed with upgrading from this to that over the past year and that the sonic improvements became less substantial the further up I climbed / spent. You did gain a fair amount of additional flexibility but in terms of sonic quality, we are talking 10% here, 5% there for almost 50-100% increase in cost. I love my current setup and hate to dismantle it but I find the Cambridge, Arcam, Rotel products hard to beat for the $$$$.

Hope that helps.
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[email protected],

Like you, I've owned many 5.1 prepros and receivers (as prepros) in the past few years. I was too was underwhelmed by the Outlaw. It's hard to tell exactly how close the Arcam 200 would be vs the Anthem AVM20---which was/is highly acclaimed on the forums (and amp driving the rears)... perhaps you should buy a used Arcam and try it. If it works out, you'd have the best value for HT: a receiver that does what you need plus an outboard 3 channel amp. You'd probably get ~ 2500 for the AVM20/MCA20 combo, so that's almost 2k net in your pocket!
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