63 posts / 0 new
Last post
p_m_brown's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 01/02/2013 - 13:55
Posts: 301
Arcam A19 vs A28

So I thought this may be useful as a thread on it's own so here goes - 

I was talking to my Dad on Father's day and agreed to help him source a new amplifier. I suggested an A18 given the recent price drops but found a very reasonably priced A19 on the 'Bay and picked it up this afternoon.  I live a fair way from Dad so I thought it only helpful to get the A19 run in before I deliver it to him!

First impressions of the amp in my set up are very good. It has a soundstage to rival the A28 and has some decent bass power. It is detailed and has a full midrange so vocals, snare drums and cymbals sound particularly nice - definitely has the Arcam family sound albeit a bit a tad more exciting.

Just listened to Stop Listening by Radiohead, Consolers of the Lonely by the Raconteurs and Needles and Pins by the Deftones on the A28 then on the A19. The little A19 certainly produces a room filling sound but one thing that it does fall slightly short on is organising that big soundstage. When listening to the raconteurs track, the vocals sound a little bit too far forward in the mix, so some of the background atmosphere of the track is lost and I feel it doesn't quite convey the layers as convincingly as the A28.

That slight layering issue is also evident with the Deftones track. It is a pretty loud track and not overly dynamic but it does sound just as powerful on the A19 as the A28 if not quite as composed.

 Surprisingly, the Radiohead track, which is my favourite for auditioning gear, sounded pretty damn good. Ok, so the ride cymbal didn't fly around the room like it does on a more expensive set up but it stayed pretty composed! 

All in all, a great amp for the money and not one I feel I need to swap back straight away! The detail is definitely on par with the A28 and whilst it doesn't quite deliver the punch or composure of the A28 at higher volumes, it is a fine sounding amplifier that has left a smile on my face!

More importantly, the A19 is a massive upgrade for Dad's ageing Cambridge Audio amp and I am sure he is going to love it!

 

 

plastic penguin's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 28/04/2008 - 10:56
Posts: 16418
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

What you have described is there's little difference between a £650 amp and £900er. Makes you wonder why a manufacturer needs to saturate a certain price bracket (£600-£1000). Go over that threshold and things generally change.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

p_m_brown's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 01/02/2013 - 13:55
Posts: 301
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

Agreed although it is worth bearing in mind that the A28 is getting on a bit now. I think the design is about 5 years old now so as you know, things move fast in technology hence the A19 closing the gap in SQ.

plastic penguin's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 28/04/2008 - 10:56
Posts: 16418
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

Sure, can't argue about things moving on. However, if you test like-for-like, with the same speakers and source it would be hard to justify spending the extra on the A28. The one big gripe I had about Arcams - as a Arcam fanboy - is the DIVA range had too many amps in and around the same price bracket. There was very little difference between the entry-level A65+ and the A85.

The FMJ carried on the similar theme: The A18 was originally around £550, the A28 was £750 and the A38 was about a £1000.

This is another reason why I admire Leema so much: Pulse was £1200ish and the next one was the Tucana @ £3500.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

p_m_brown's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 01/02/2013 - 13:55
Posts: 301
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

If I were in the market for an Arcam amp today, it would be a no brainer to buy the A19 over the A28 given the current prices. Sevenoaks are selling the A19 for £649 and the A28 for £1099 and great though the A28 is, I don't believe it is 500 quid superior!

I am toying with checking out the element power amps at the moment - if I buy two, I can use them as 150 watt monoblocks!

radiorog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 13 hours ago
Joined: 01/01/2013 - 21:55
Posts: 178
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

 very generous of you

ID.'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: 22/02/2010 - 13:12
Posts: 1485
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

I really miss the soundstage and the sense of space I got from my Alpha 9, and it sounds like these are still characteristics of Arcam amps.

Unfortunately Arcam no longer has a distributor here in Japan. Arcam used to be distributed by Denon, but I don't know why they stopped.

The A19 sounds like a beauty. Let's hope they achieve similar things with (soon to be released?) next generation of the A28 (A29?) and A38 (A39?).

Bedroom: Esoteric RZ-1, PMC DB1i, Fostex CW200A. FUBAR IV

Office: Nuforce Icon HDP, Adam A7X

Living room: Apple TV, FIIO D03K, Fostex PM0.4n

Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-AD900x and ATH-A900x, Sennheiser HD595,  Grado SR80i

BigH's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 29/12/2012 - 12:31
Posts: 3569
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

ID. wrote:

I really miss the soundstage and the sense of space I got from my Alpha 9, and it sounds like these are still characteristics of Arcam amps.

Unfortunately Arcam no longer has a distributor here in Japan. Arcam used to be distributed by Denon, but I don't know why they stopped.

The A19 sounds like a beauty. Let's hope they achieve similar things with (soon to be released?) next generation of the A28 (A29?) and A38 (A39?).

 

Can you get Creek in Japan, well worth checking out the new Creek 50A if you can.

 

As for technogoly moving on I don't think amps have changed much in the last 20 years.

ID.'s picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: 22/02/2010 - 13:12
Posts: 1485
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

Creek is available here.

I don't think I really meant technology moving on, but more how the new amps may be voiced. The Arcam amps can have a reputation for being a bit soft, but it sounds like the A19 is a little more lively. The fundamentals change very little, as I'm often reminded when I listen to my dad's Luxman from the mid-70s.

Bedroom: Esoteric RZ-1, PMC DB1i, Fostex CW200A. FUBAR IV

Office: Nuforce Icon HDP, Adam A7X

Living room: Apple TV, FIIO D03K, Fostex PM0.4n

Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-AD900x and ATH-A900x, Sennheiser HD595,  Grado SR80i

plastic penguin's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 28/04/2008 - 10:56
Posts: 16418
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

ID. wrote:

Creek is available here.

The Arcam amps can have a reputation for being a bit soft,

This is where speaker matching comes into its own.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

BigH's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 29/12/2012 - 12:31
Posts: 3569
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

Yes Arcam have a rep for being soft/warm and I now know why, when someone had his Arcam 9 upgraded he found: "the Arcam sounds very bright, too bright - so what they do is put an attenuator in to tone down that brightness making the amp sound warm. This warmth is actually quite nice but it can seem to put a blanket over the music."

plastic penguin's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 28/04/2008 - 10:56
Posts: 16418
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

BigH wrote:

Yes Arcam have a rep for being soft/warm and I now know why, when someone had his Arcam 9 upgraded he found: "the Arcam sounds very bright, too bright - so what they do is put an attenuator in to tone down that brightness making the amp sound warm. This warmth is actually quite nice but it can seem to put a blanket over the music."

The old Alpha range was fairly rich in character. From the DIVA range upwards they are neutral, albeit lack any real edginess. My Naim CDP has more warmth  over the CD73 IMO.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

BigH's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 29/12/2012 - 12:31
Posts: 3569
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

plastic penguin wrote:

From the DIVA range upwards they are neutral, albeit lack any real edginess. My Naim CDP has more warmth  over the CD73 IMO.

 

I was only referring to amps not cdps.

plastic penguin's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 28/04/2008 - 10:56
Posts: 16418
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

So was I. IMO, Arcam amps aren't warm, particularly with MA and Focal speakers.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

SudburyAudio's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 20/06/2013 - 10:21
Posts: 1
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

:grin: I am glad you are enjoying it, what did you think about the Monitor Audio GX50 that I partnered the A19 with for the demo? Your Dad is going to really enjoy this upgrade especially as he has the SonLink already. Enjoy the music :rockout:

 

On the Arcam amp range topic I think What Hifi got it very wrong about the A38 as it is a fantastic amp for those who love the Arcam house sound and has enough power to effortlessly drive most sensibly priced speakers

BigH's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 3 hours ago
Joined: 29/12/2012 - 12:31
Posts: 3569
RE: Arcam A19 vs A28

plastic penguin wrote:

So was I. IMO, Arcam amps aren't warm, particularly with MA and Focal speakers.

 

Why are you going on about Naim cdp then?

 

As for MA/Focal thats the speakers not the amp.

Pages

Log in or register to post comments