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Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?
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Still only a few snippets available on the web - but very keen to hear any reports. After another night of being told to "turn the music down" i'm also looking forward to hearing what the Arcam-hyped headphone stage sounds like. This is currently my number one plan to power my MA RX1s and rDac combo.

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Hi

Yes Ive heard it recently. I dont have great experience yet in hi-fi, but it sounded really good to me .

See here for the demo I had recently

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/recenet-demo-of-bw-685-kef-r300-ma-gx50-100-not-available-and-pmc-twenty22

 

I didn't listen to any other amps at the time, but it never felt strained, and stayed smooth throughout, and I cranked it up as loud as I would listen to at home. Cant  compare it to anything other than the Marantz PM6003, Rega Brio R and my Pioneer VSX-LX55, but I was surprised that the speakers I listened to sounded so good on a relatively modest amp. Looking forward to listening to the A38!

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

When I saw this thread I had a look at the innards of the 19 as well as the older 18. I remembered Arcam use something called 'mask of silence' and 'something stealth', can't remember the exact description. I haven't listened to this newer model but Arcams usually measure well.

Looks neatly built with decent components and a fair sized transformer for its relatively low rating etc. Power supply is star earthed and the above fancy description seem to relate to some small damping stickers on relays and certain electrolytics, further damping of the lid and a ferrite core ring around the power supply wiring. Whilst some will frown upon these (and anyone could add those to their own amplifier for a few pounds in equally as few minutes) it at the very least shows care taken in the design and build.

There are some differences in circuit layout to the 18, probably related to power supply options for R components but on the whole, they are similar, not surprisingly. Considering the older model is available at substantial discounts I'd be inclined to buy the 18 and forgoe one or two features.

In comparison, a Leema Pulse III is very similar electrically and costs a whole lot more although it does have digital inputs.

regards

 

 

Anonymous
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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Yes... Heard it a few times now...

 

It's ok IMO but nothing special! TBH I'd save my £££ and go for the Marantz PM6004!

 

It's just too similar to the Arcam A18; smooth and rounded sound with some good detail but that's about it TBH. Bass weight is fairly light; midrange detailed but the top end was a little 'quiet' at times!

 

For me Arcam have gone a bit backwards & downhill since the FMJ A32; no idea what they're doing but I wish they'd get it sorted!

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

The Marantz 6004 has a, what looks like around a 160VA torroid. A Rega Brio R has one around 200VA as does a Cyrus 6a.

The Arcam has 320VA or thereabouts, likely to make it more load tolerant than either of the the above all else being equal. They all seem to use the normal pair of output transistors/channel and roughly similar supply capacitance but Arcam has fitted the amplifier with a more generous transformer. You could also choose a Cambridge Audio 651a which, if anything, is even more generously specified then all of the afromentioned.

Whilst that in itself does not guarantee perfect SQ, it does make future speaker upgrades a little more flexible and the amplifier is less likely to buckle under stress..

regards

Anonymous
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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Fullyer understand/appreciate that DM but for his current set up (M RX1's and Arcam rDAC) the Marantz PM6004 would suit very well indeed and wouldnt have issues driving the RX1's

 

I'd also be tempted to look 2nd hand at maybe an Arcam FMJ A32, even the Arcam Alpha 10 would work very well indeed as would the likes of a NAD C352/C355BEE. Even the Brio R & Cyrus 6XP or 6A would work very well too... The Cyrus 6XP can be had ex-demo/2nd hand currently for c£400-£500 and offers a superb upgrade path!

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

He did ask about the Arcam ...

Just noticed the importance of the headphone amplifier section.  Seems Arcam have paid special attention to that which would make it perhaps more unique amongst all the others and also discounts my suggestion of buying the older A18 though I would perhaps investigate what exactly Arcam has done there first. With the difference you could buy a decent headphone amplifier if needed though the same criteria largely apply for those and all are not made equal.

regards

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

drummerman wrote:

............ the above fancy description seem to relate to some small damping stickers on relays and certain electrolytics, further damping of the lid .............

I think you are referring to sorbothane (a damping material) pads, they have been using these on their amplifiers since the Alpha 7.
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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

I don't speak from a position of great experience or expertise but having spent several hours auditioning an A19 this weekend alongside a Rotel RA 1520 I was not impressed.

 

The first thing to strike me about the Arcam was how much better the bass was than on the A18, much tighter. Regrettably the second was that much of the emotion had been sucked from tracks which normally elicit a pronounced response from me. Finally and most damningly I found that at times the top end became painfully shrill; to the point I winced on more than one occassion.

 

Now in fairness to Arcam I only tried the A19 with a pair of BX2s and they may well not make a good partnership. The Rotel, I ought to mention, in comparison injected all that emotion I craved and had me tapping along with the music and just as importantly didn't leave my ears bleeding.

 

As an aside having stretched the patience of Superfi, thanks guys, I had them swap out the BX2s for some RX1's and have now ordered a pair of those; wonderful speakers and especially at their current sale price.

Anonymous
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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

I own one. I like it , cant really give a in depth review of it though as its my first proper amp.

I bought mine for headphone use as well and yeah its a step up from previous gear. I used a denon dm37 as well as one of those little dot mk3 headphone amps before and didint like the little dot so put up with the  hiss from the denon before upgrading. 

No hiss from Arcam and a good refined delivery through my grado sr325i.  Practical things i can advise on though are that it uses a smaller 3.5mm headphone socket if that matters, i fortunately already had a grado 3.5mm adapter so was ok there. It  has a power lead for powering an rdac which is handy i guess and also of note is that I got the amp on sale so paid 12-15 percent less than rrp for the amp from audio t and they let me take it home for a few days to try first! Smile

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Some extremely helpful responses here. Many thanks. I'm not sure the A19 powers an rDac -- think rLink and rBlink only according to the manual. But need to check. 

Quite a divergence of opinions here so I guess the old adage of "try before you buy" still holds strong. Hadn't really considered Cyrus but maybe the 6 with DAC is an option and trade in the rDac. Cuts the boxes down to one - just as long as a good partner for the RX1s. 

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Some extremely helpful responses here. Many thanks. I'm not sure the A19 powers an rDac -- think rLink and rBlink only according to the manual. But need to check. 

Quite a divergence of opinions here so I guess the old adage of "try before you buy" still holds strong. Hadn't really considered Cyrus but maybe the 6 with DAC is an option and trade in the rDac. Cuts the boxes down to one - just as long as a good partner for the RX1s. 

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

antcg1 wrote:

... I guess the old adage of "try before you buy" still holds strong.

Aye. IME, contemporary Arcam amps' top-end can sound horrifyingly bright / tinny / synthetic if paired with the 'wrong' speakers...

Anonymous
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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

antcg1 wrote:

Some extremely helpful responses here. Many thanks. I'm not sure the A19 powers an rDac -- think rLink and rBlink only according to the manual. But need to check. 

Quite a divergence of opinions here so I guess the old adage of "try before you buy" still holds strong. Hadn't really considered Cyrus but maybe the 6 with DAC is an option and trade in the rDac. Cuts the boxes down to one - just as long as a good partner for the RX1s. 

 

It does power the rdac, a power lead for two devices comes with the amp. 1 end plugs into the back of the amp and then two ends for two devices. Suppose there are some advantages to the amp powering the dac but an expert would have to conclude that.

I wish i had a pair of those hard to drive headphones like sennheiser hd600/650s to conclude the 150 quid headphone amp claim from arcam. All i know is im listening sweet jane by the velvet underground through a pair of grado sr325i via the amp and rdac and it sounds pretty sweet to me Smile

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

 

Hello everyone, I am new here.

The biggest difference, at least for me and to which no one else has mentioned yet, between the Arcam A18 and A19 is that the new version is now made in China and no longer in the U.K..  :doh: 

If you look on the back of an A18 it says Designed and Made in the U.K. and  then on the A19 it just says Designed in the U.K., only. Arcam might as well stick a giant Made in China label on the back of the A19 and be honest about it all. Not sure about you but this bothers me. Lost U.K. jobs and more money in the pockets of upper managent at Arcam because the A19 cost the same as the A18 did. They didn't pass the savings of low cost labor onto us the consumer. The savings went somewhere else. 

The other differences between the A18 and A19 are:

Accessory Power port in the back of the A19 to power smaller Arcam devices. Not sure if it's a big deal as a wall outlet works just fine.

Same 50 watt output into 8 ohms both channles driven BUT the A19 has more rated power into a 4 ohm load than the A18 does. 90 watts versus 70 watts with one channel driven.

The A19 weighs more than the A18 does. 8.5kg versus 7.2kg. 

The A19 comes with a cheaper looking and made remote control than the A18 does. Not sure if the A19 remote can control the Arcam CD17 player like the better looking A18 remote can.

Some differences in specifications listed with both the MM phono stage and headphone socket/amp. Not sure if this is good or bad? The A19's MM phono input sensitivity at 1kHz has rating of only 5mV with no other range given. The A18 has a sensitivity at 1kHz  rated with a range of 2.5 to 15mV. I am not 100% versed in phono knowledge but it would seem that the A18 has a better and more versatile MM phono stage than the A19 does and also it should be easier to match up with a wider range of MM phono cartridges. 

Headphone specifications for the A19 for a maximum ouput level into 600 ohms is at 4V and the for the A18 is 600 ohms at 7V. I'm guessing V stands for Volts? Aren't 7 volts better than 4 volts?

The A19 lacks some buttons on the left side that the A18 has. There is no processor mode button anywhere on the A19 and there are no longer any bass and treble contol buttons on the A19. The A18 has all of these. 

The layout in back is now different. The speaker binding posts has now moved to the right side on the A19 versus the left side of the A18. 6 line inputs on the A19 versus 5 on the A18. But the A18 has both in and out PVR and in and out AV inputs. Both the A18 and A19 have pre-outs. The A19 only has one record out inputs and no PVR or AV inputs.

Stupidly on the A19 the phono input is 3 inputs over from the grounding screw. On the A18 the phono input is right next to it.

Have not had a chance to see a picture of the inside of the A19 yet. So can not tell what differences there might be between the two on the inside.

Even though both the A19 and A18 look almost identical, somehow the A19 just looks cheaper made to me. Would have to see and feel the finish in person. At least the layout of the A19 does not seem as good as the A18's. The back of the A19 is laid out oddly and is missing some inputs. The front of the A19 is also lacking of few buttons that the A18 has. Throw in a cheaper remote, perhaps not as good a phono stage, and Made in China, and the clear winner for me is the A18. 

The only thing going for the A19 is an accessory port (not a big deal) and a slightly better 4 ohm power rating. Whether or not this translates into the A19 driving speakers better or sounding better remains to be heard. 

For me I was on the fence about getting an A18 for my second system to replace my old Creek 4030 that recently broke down. When I heard about the A19 I did some research and realized that I much prefer the A18 for the above reasons. In fact I just bought one yesterday. I could have bought either the A18 or the A19 as the store carried them both. No discount either on the A18, both were priced the same. Even though I chose the Made in the U.K. Arcam A18. I think I made the right choice.  Smile

 

 

 

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RE: Arcam FMJ A19 - has anyone heard it yet?

Well i own an a19 i and haven't had any experience of the a18 before it so couldn't comment. One thing i will say is that the build quality is second to none it has a nice solid weight to it and looks well made.

I also like the simplistic uncluttered remote control.

My setup consists of the a19 and a pair of kef r100s qed xt anniversary cables and at the moment everything is sounding nice. I demoed many other stereo amps from marantz, rotel with my choice being the arcam.

The best thing for anyone to do is demo but i think that it sounds pretty impressive for the money.

 

I

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