Arcam A70 -> Marantz PM7001: Huge step down?

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particleman
Stammgast
#1 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 09:26
I've recently received my new Monitor Audio RS6 speakers (90 dB sensitivity) paired with the Arcam DiVA A70 integrated amp (50 watts). The sound of the Arcam is simply superb, it has good attack, is non-fatiguing and extremely good for quiet listening.

However, here's the problem. It's very soft spoken. The volume readout* goes from 0 to 72 (I assume that's -72 dB to 0 dB??). I have to keep it at 50-55 for music listening but even with the dial at 60 (or 84% of full volume!) the volume is extremely poor for movies. Dialogue cannot be heard at all even in total silence.

This really has me in a quandary because the sound of the amplifier is simply marvelous. Its warm sound complements the bright RS6 perfectly and the detail, which I love, is clearly perceptible. But I am not too sure I would wish to run them all the time at 80% volume. I can always use my Yamaha HTiB for movies since I don't care too much about video.

So here's my question: My alternative is to request an exchange of the Arcam A70 for a combo of Marantz PM7001 amp (70 watts) and Marantz SA7001 SACD player (my current source is a DVD player) and pay a small difference. Do you think this is a huge step down or an acceptable compromise given I will be getting a much better source?

(* - it has an electronic volume control, there is no fixed marker on the rotary dial. So I am referring to the equivalent of a 3 o'clock position here).


[Beitrag von particleman am 02. Okt 2008, 12:05 bearbeitet]
Manek
Inventar
#2 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 10:25
I had seen the same happen to a arcam avr and maggies

My guess in your case could be that your speakers may not be actually 90 db as they are made out to be

The same amp connected to the aristas sang effortlessly

About you not being able to hear speech is it that some component has a upper midrange dip ? Can u decipher lyrics in a soft song?

The sacd is a good frontend
If you have the option of a 100 watter pls do thatas the marantz combo should not be that much of a let down
particleman
Stammgast
#3 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 12:09
Sorry, I meant that the overall volume is extremely low for any DVD. So the volume of speech is especially hard to hear. There is no clipping of any kind. The midrange is fine while playing a CD.

My other option of course is to buy an Arcam P80 power amp. But that is a very costly route to take, and one that still leaves me with a poor source.

The biggest worry of course is consistently driving this amp at 80-90% of its volume all the time. Surely that can't be healthy.
Manek
Inventar
#4 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 14:19
What dvd player do you have ?

Does it play well with another amp ?

Manek
viren
Stammgast
#5 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 14:46
Particleman,

I have noticed that the audio output from DVD players is quite a bit lower than that from CD players. So, you have to set the amplifier gain up to get similar sound levels.

The gain control in your Arcam amp is probably set up on a logarithmic scale. The later rotation of the volume pot may give higher steps of gain. The rotation is not linear, so you may be using much lower power in the amp than you think.

The position of the volume pot is relative - to the level of the input signal, and the sensitivity of the amp. If you are enjoying your music, and you are nowhere close to clipping the amp, don't worry about it!

Viren
Manek
Inventar
#6 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 17:13
Particleman, Viren I wonder if the dvd player has a setting of higher output in one of its audio menu settings ?

Manek
Arj
Inventar
#7 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 17:30
virens point is a very valid one..which is your current DVD player ?

Manek i very much doubt about the setting to increase gain as the output section of most DVDps is not really powerful enough to drive any impedance. Tube buffers are one way of isolating it and giving an easy load although not usually the recommended one.

could you try to borrow some dedicated cdp and try it out ?


[Beitrag von Arj am 02. Okt 2008, 17:36 bearbeitet]
G_S_Madhav
Stammgast
#8 erstellt: 02. Okt 2008, 17:59
Hi Particleman,

Arcam amps are good , very analog sounding and quite musical. I once auditioned it at my place with my ARITA 86 db speakers and Pioneer DVDP and as far as I remember I too needed to crack up the volume control knob beyond 12 o'clock position to get some decent SPL.

When I hooked up my 20 WPC , VA-1 for the first time , I observed the same thing . Then I had a word with Ajay Shirke , President and CEO of Cadence and he confirmed that there is nothing wrong in using 12 o'Clock position as long as the amp is not clipping . What one has to worry is clipping , which can damage the speakers and not the volume control position.

So don't worry much and don't rush for any immediate upgrade . DVDP gives around 1.8 V output while most CDPs give 2.0 V so try to borrow a CDP and cross check.

Hope this helps.
square_wave
Inventar
#9 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 06:18
Going from a 50 watter to a 100 watter is not going to help much if you want lot of headroom. A doubling of watts will give you roughly 3db of extra power which is negligible. What matters is the guts in your power supply. Having good headroom in the power department is always a good thing. You get lot of reserves for dynamics in the music.
If I was in your shoes I would do the following. Spend some 20k and do a diy power amp or buy used and bi-amp using the additional pre-out in your Arcam. Use the new power amp to drive the bass drivers. Arcam actually recommends doing this using their poweramp while upgrading.
Arj
Inventar
#10 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 06:49

square_wave schrieb:
Spend some 20k and do a diy power amp or buy used and bi-amp using the additional pre-out in your Arcam. Use the new power amp to drive the bass drivers. Arcam actually recommends doing this using their poweramp while upgrading.


are you sure you want to suggest this ?

a different power amp means
1. Different Tonality
2. Different gain (Hence some kind of a gain control mechanism to be put in)

I would really suggest to try out the CDP approach to see if it does solve your problem.


Going from a 50 watter to a 100 watter is not going to help much if you want lot of headroom. A doubling of watts will give you roughly 3db of extra power which is negligible. What matters is the guts in your power supply. Having good headroom in the power department is always a good thing. You get lot of reserves for dynamics in the music.


while 3dB is right that is reading too much into specs..and i doubt if power calculations are so simple as 30Watters can be more "powerful" than a 60 Watter :)..it is, i bleieve , a lot more than a matter of guts


[Beitrag von Arj am 03. Okt 2008, 06:50 bearbeitet]
square_wave
Inventar
#11 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 10:29

Arj schrieb:

square_wave schrieb:
Spend some 20k and do a diy power amp or buy used and bi-amp using the additional pre-out in your Arcam. Use the new power amp to drive the bass drivers. Arcam actually recommends doing this using their poweramp while upgrading.


are you sure you want to suggest this ?

a different power amp means
1. Different Tonality
2. Different gain (Hence some kind of a gain control mechanism to be put in)

I would really suggest to try out the CDP approach to see if it does solve your problem.


Going from a 50 watter to a 100 watter is not going to help much if you want lot of headroom. A doubling of watts will give you roughly 3db of extra power which is negligible. What matters is the guts in your power supply. Having good headroom in the power department is always a good thing. You get lot of reserves for dynamics in the music.


while 3dB is right that is reading too much into specs..and i doubt if power calculations are so simple as 30Watters can be more "powerful" than a 60 Watter :)..it is, i bleieve , a lot more than a matter of guts :D



Yup. The gain has to match. A diy’er should know how to match this. Tonality is more of an issue when you do vertical bi-amping. Each amp driving one full speaker. While doing horizontal bi-amping, using a high power / good quality power amp for the bass units and a much mellower (tube amps) or SS for the highs is very common.

Your spec related comment is valid when you discuss high-quality low power amps where a 30 watter will outdo a 60watt low grade amp. I seriously doubt he will gain much in power and drivability if he upgrades to a PM 7001 which is an entry level integrated from Marantz


[Beitrag von square_wave am 03. Okt 2008, 10:32 bearbeitet]
particleman
Stammgast
#12 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 11:18
Wow, as always I am overwhelmed by the sheer quality and quantity of help one receives on this forum. Thank you all so much.

My DVD player is a Cambridge Audio DV89 universal player. It has worked fairly well with my previous setup, the Cambridge Audio 540A V2 amp & Mordaunt-Short 906i speakers. I've never connected a CD player to this or the previous setup so I'd like to try that.

@Manek: the DVD player worked well previously. It does not have a gain setting. But this is related to what Viren stated. I did not realise the volume control on this is logarithmic.

@Viren: you hit the nail on the head! This turned out to be exactly the "problem." Even though volume goes from 0 to 72, it gets pretty loud as I approach 64/65. And surprisingly no clipping or strain no matter how high I go. So yes, it seems to be logarithmic not linear. This has provided some relief. Previously I followed the "do not go beyond 1 o'clock position" rule. But this amp changes that.

@Arj: Thanks I will be trying to borrow a CD player. Also considering another option discussed below. As you mentioned in your follow-up, yes I will stick to the same brand if I do get a power amp.

@G.S. Madhav: Yes, you're right. As Viren suggested it is on a logarithmic scale so I am not really as close to maximum volume as I thought. This pot is electronic so there is no notch or LED on it. You can only control its direction - the actual level is shown on the LED.

@square_wave: Good point, I will be getting pricing info on the Arcam P80 power amp and seeing if it is affordable right now. For the moment I am not too worried about power now that I know that the volume control on this thing works very differently from my previous amp. That I am getting clean power all the way to the upper end of the volume control setting. Grattan of Boomarang has suggested exactly what you have - get the P80 or P90 power amp. I will be waiting for the buyer of my older setup to pay up so I need only pay the difference in cost.




So for now, it seems clear that this amp can go to a very high volume setting with no clipping or any kind of distortion. I could not test this previously because I would very strictly never drive an amp beyond 70%. But even so, if the power amp is affordable I will consider adding it. Especially because the Arcam DiVa is being phased out and I will not get it later on. I could always add a CDP later (oh how it keeps slipping further away).

A question to pre-/power-combo owners. How much impact will bi-amping have on my electricity bill? Is it effectively drawing twice as much power? Perhaps a silly question but Mumbai residents know all too well how expensive its gotten lately.

Thanks again to everyone. I will be sure to update the thread as things develop.
particleman
Stammgast
#13 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 18:22
Update: It looks like I will be getting the Arcam FMJ A28 integrated amp instead.

Thanks to everyone for their help. I hope I have made the right decision.


[Beitrag von particleman am 03. Okt 2008, 18:29 bearbeitet]
Arj
Inventar
#14 erstellt: 03. Okt 2008, 19:39
so now are you going to change the topic to " a huge step up " ?

I would give a benefit of doubt to your DVDp..it is not a usual entry level one . do let us know how it goes with the FMJ !
particleman
Stammgast
#15 erstellt: 04. Okt 2008, 15:00
Thanks, Arj The FMJ will take a fortnight to arrive but I am indeed hopeful it will be a "huge step up". I will be sure to post my experience.
Shahrukh
Inventar
#16 erstellt: 04. Okt 2008, 17:50

particleman schrieb:
Update: It looks like I will be getting the Arcam FMJ A28 integrated amp instead.

Thanks to everyone for their help. I hope I have made the right decision.


IT'S A DEFINITE STEP UP SIR. CONGRATS!
Arj
Inventar
#17 erstellt: 04. Okt 2008, 19:03
i think, If really required, there is an option of converting the Arcams Int amps to power amp..in that case if required you can actually BiAmp it by using then FMJ as the main pre/power
Manek
Inventar
#18 erstellt: 05. Okt 2008, 14:15
Particleman

Maybe I am missing something here....hope you don't mind asking....

First issue was with input sensitivity which was dismissed by the fact that if the amp does not clip then its ok.

Then comes the fmj but the source is still.a dvd player ???

Manek
particleman
Stammgast
#19 erstellt: 05. Okt 2008, 15:03
@Shahrukh: Thank you, sir.

@Arj: Yes, in fact that influenced my decision heavily. I was rushing to buy A70 to pair it with P80 later but then realised that if I get the new FMJ then I have more time to pair it with a FMJ power amp if need be. Unlike the DiVA which I would have to rush to grab because it is phased out.

@Manek: I know it may seem strange. I doubled my budget to buy the FMJ-A28 (nearly twice the cost of A70) because I was convinced by its superior build quality (made in UK!) and that its higher power would drive the speakers better. Not to mention this post by Andrew Dutton.Also it gives me the option of buying a matching power amp at leisure unlike the soon-extinct DiVA series. Of course this left no budget for a CDP. This also has to do with the fact that I'm stubbornly holding out for a SACD player so I don't have to buy separate units. Since the Marantz 7001 is the only one below 50k, I will try to get it in about 5-6 months. There is a used CD-7300 for 17k but I am not too sure.


[Beitrag von particleman am 05. Okt 2008, 15:09 bearbeitet]
bombaywalla
Stammgast
#20 erstellt: 06. Okt 2008, 03:49

particleman schrieb:

Of course this left no budget for a CDP. This also has to do with the fact that I'm stubbornly holding out for a SACD player so I don't have to buy separate units. Since the Marantz 7001 is the only one below 50k, I will try to get it in about 5-6 months. There is a used CD-7300 for 17k but I am not too sure.


How about considering an Oppo universal player like the 981 model? it is $200 & if you import it it might double in price but still be much less than Rs 50K. I've read very good things about this player.
Arj
Inventar
#21 erstellt: 06. Okt 2008, 07:36
BTW..there is an Arcam CD192 for sale for 40K http://www.hifivisio...arcam-cd-player.html
particleman
Stammgast
#22 erstellt: 02. Nov 2008, 10:56
Sorry for my late response.

@bombaywalla: After hooking up the new arrival - FMJ-A28 - I felt there was no need (right away) for a new player. It is so much better than A70 and more refined and detailed even with a poor source that I think I can live with this for a few months.

@Arj: Thanks. However I am uncomfortable with transporting such a delicate item over such a distance. Also I was offered the newly launched Arcam FMJ-CD17 for 40k. And it is supposed to be just as good as CD-192 (?), I think?

In summary, the A-28 is brilliant! Its neutral sound with slightly recessed treble is a perfect complement for the slightly bright RS6 and its deep bass reach. I will be picking up a pair of Chord Crimson interconnects soon as I fear I have damaged my present pair (while removing the locking connector, the cable was twisted rather badly).
Arj
Inventar
#23 erstellt: 02. Nov 2008, 14:39
Hey congrats ! its amazing the level of refinement a more compatible and capable amp can bring in.

I thinkan FMJ is much higher in the series and hence should be better than the 192.
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