"Arcam has long had a stellar reputation for quality and audio performance. Experience tells us that some reputations are manufactured, whilst some are well deserved."
It has become rapidly apparent that Arcam's reputation for performance and audio quality is well deserved.
Every piece of Arcam that we have tried so far has excelled at it's role. From the Arcam Airdac, a DAC with superb separation and vocal articulation, presented with a smooth, effortless and lively delivery, to the Arcam's FMJ series AVR750, with absolute authority and control over it's subject, regardless of whether it's movies or even more challenging musical tasks.
As an integrated Home Theatre receiver, the FMJAVR750 is simply one of the best for sonic performance. Musically, this amplifier delivers subtlety and dynamics at quiet levels, that translates to outright dramatic scale, when asked to go for gold. Consistency is a key here too, with the sonic signature being incredibly consistent regardless of where you “set the dial”.
And did we mention it has an air scoop!! That's truly awesome. Fun aside, the air scoop is actually important, having a pivotal role in keep the amplification and processing running at the right temperature, especially given all of that power available! Does this have great implications for long term performance?
Sonic Performance for Music.
It becomes clear from the outset, Arcam has a goal of sonic purity, almost to the point of genius. Arcam do not have the cheapest Integrated Home Theatre Receiver on the market, but you certainly get what you pay for. We've had some great results, with Paradigm Tribute speakers and Paradigm's new Prestige Series. The Tribute is a speaker that requires quality amplification, as they will show up a “wannabe” very quickly. The AVR750 handled the task, impressively.
Home Theatre, Scale and Separation, Ease of Delivery.
Auto Calibration: The Auto calibration on the Arcam is a capable affair. When everything is ideal, matching speakers within a brand and series is desirable, but the delightful Paradigm Tribute have no direct match for a centre speaker, so we called a upon the new series Paradigm Prestige 55C for the centre.
By the time Arcam's calibration worked it's magic, we had a near seamless blend, not to mention the wonderful job the calibration system did with taming the room. Network Control, IR Control, Music Streaming. The Arcam home theatre receivers can be controlled via Infrared Remote, RS232 or IP control. The supplied remote is simple, with not too much clutter. Set up is done via a sensibly laid out, no nonsense and easy to navigate modern looking on screen display
The Arcam app is sweet to use.
It is clearly laid out, and gives the user access to most functions of the receiver, and even the On Screen Menu and Surround Set Up can be driven form the app. Source information such as Bitrate or video resolution etc can be clearly displayed on the app. Access to functions is well laid out and simple to use.
There is a delay of a few seconds as the App loads information from the receiver, but once connection is established the app works beautifully. The only other gripe here is there is no official Android app. So for the Apple avoiders out here this may be a short stall.
However, the Receiver is so good, it's worth considering buying a second hand Ipad just for the purpose.... For streaming the Arcam works well off a number of generic Android apps or Windows UPNP apps.
Aircam's “Music Life” app is very well laid out.
Once the app is populated browsing music is a breeze, with alphabetical short cuts down one side, now playing and playlist on another and browsing in between.
Choosing between playing now, adding to playlist from either album, track or artist is well implemented, as is deleting items from the playlist.
Affordable Sonic Genius: AVR380
For some who are looking for a more affordable musically superb home theatre receiver, the AVR750 might be a bit over the top. The AVR-380 is a sensibly priced sonic genius.
With the same clean sonic personality as the spectacular AVR750, and with a good chunk of it's prowess, the AVR380 all there. As a bonus it is capable of 7.1 or 5.1 plus zone two and shares the same control infrastructure as the AVR750.
It is without a doubt that whichever Arcam home theatre receiver you chose, sonic results are nothing short of impressive.