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Dan Turner's picture
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Joined: 09/07/2007 - 22:50
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Home cinema amp - need to route front L&R through Arcam FMJ A32 stereo amp

I've got a Pioneer PDP427XD Plasma, Sony HDR-860S DVD recorder, Sky HD, Arcam CD93 CD Player, Arcam FMJ A32 stereo amp and Denon AVR-2105 home cinema amp. PMC TB2 Front L&R/centre speakers and Mordaunt Short MS903S rears (I know, planning to upgrade to PMC DB1s).

Basically I want to upgrade my home cinema amp to something with HDMI switching.  I have the front L&R channels routed through the Arcam stereo amp via pre-outs and want to keep this configuration so that I can remove all the home cinema components completely from the chain when playing CDs. So what I need is a home cinema amp with pre-outs, and that is a good sonic match for the Arcam. The Denon has been fine, and I have only really noticed a shift in the tonal balance when the same voice pans accross the front channels, still I would like to improve on this if possible. Is it worth waiting for amps to start featuring decoding for the new HD sound formats? I do plan to buy an HD player when multi-format ones have been through a couple of generations and hit reasonable price.

An Arcam home cinema amp would seem to be the obvious choice, but I don't really want to spend that sort of money.  Any suggestions below £500? Am I selling everything else short by not spending more?  Music and movies are equally important to me.

Advice greatly appreciated!

 

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Re: Home cinema amp - need to route front L&R through Arcam

Hi Dan, I think I am in a very similar situation. I currently channel my telly (V+ box) audio thorugh my Arcam Stereo amp and it sounds fantastic (good speakers and cables help also!). I posted a similar question to yours a while ago and got no answers. I guess that the centre channel, after the L&R, is the most importantand should be kept in line with those. I am happy to buy a matching speaker, but feel that spending £1,200 on an Arcam multi-channel amp would be too much (for only 3 channels). I considered trading the stereo amp in for a multi-channel one but I suspect that would leave both the CD player and the L&R telly channels worse off. Nobody has yet come forward to suggest that the Arcam multi-channel amp is comparable to my stereo amp (A32). I also guess that the rears only get a very small proportion of the action so I am not worried about them too much. I also think I can live without the sub-woofer as I get plenty of ooompf from my Stereo set-up. But what to do with the centre chanel. When it comes to new HD DVD formats I would hope to end-up with a player that outputs 5.1 audio, so all that decoding trickery pokery will be done in the player. New HD players can all be upgraded through the Internet connnection so it is easier to add new decoding technologies to the player rather than the amp. But still, I need 1 channel of A32 quality and 2 of £350 cinema amp quality! Do Arcam do 3 channel amps? Smile Perhaps the solution is to wait until you can pick up a second hand Arcam cinema amp for £500.

Dan Turner's picture
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Re: Home cinema amp - need to route front L&R through Arcam

Hi George, If you had the cash (which I know I don't) you can get a FMJ power amp (P35 it's called I think), and it comes in 3 channel version as well I think.  Arcam also do a 7.1 channel input board that can be fitted to the A32, so you can hook up a DVD player or HD-DVD/Blu-ray with on-board decoding - I imagine that would be pretty special, however TV hooked up via stereo would remain in stereo, the add-on module for the A32 doesn't perform any processing.  Alternatively you could get the 3-ch P35 (or a lower spec 3-channel diva model) and then buy a cheap home cinema amp and use it purely as a processor, using the pre-outs to connect to the A32 (front L&R) and the 3-ch power amp (C, RL & RR). To be honest via that route you'd end up spending the same as if you bought an arcam home cinema amp, and via the first route you'd spend a lot more.  I did think about waiting until i could pick up an Arcam HC amp for reasonable money, but the trouble with that is that things seem to move on so fast, that whichever amp you got would never be up to the latest spec.  Which kind of brings me back to the original idea of getting a decent HC amp for around the £500 mark as long as I can get one that is a good tonal match.  The results I've had with the Denon really are pretty good, only very rarely do i notice an issue with the tonal balance - like I said, only when the same voice pans accross the front channels. I quite like to look of the Sony STRDA3200ES but have no idea how well the sound would match with the Arcam. I think I got fairly lucky with the Denon and I don't want to make a mistake. What I didn't mention is that I do have a sub - REL Quake - and I have to say both DVD and TV sounds a lot better in multichannel, the only thing I listen to in stereo really is music. I'm sure that you would regret trading in your A32 for a multichannel amp, big-time.

Anonymous
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Re: Home cinema amp - need to route front L&R through Arcam

Good points, Dan. I'll probably wait until I get a second hand Arcam HC amp to complement the A32 or until I can afford a new one. That'll leave open the option to add a sub and also minimises the number of items in the rack. Thanks.

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