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Arcam A85
40 Reviews
rating  4.55 of 5
MSRP 
Description: 85 wpc integrated


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Reviews 1 - 5 (40 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Paul Norton a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 6, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I bought a second hand A85 on the strength of the reviews (couldn't afford new at the time) and regretted ever after.
Where was the "crystal clear/razor sharp/dynamic powerhouse" that the hifi magazines raved about? The thing clearly had no hope of controlling my B&W 602 S2 as the bass was soft and 1/2 a mile slow! I have serious doubts about the claimed output too as it's a bit quiet for 85 watts RMS
Now adding a P85 in a bi-amp configuration really does help control and low frequency speed and extension, thumping out a some electro pop bass lines in respectable style.
Sadly for the core of my taste in music the A85 does not cope well with hard rock and HATES Metal. Overdriven guitar tones are incredibly grainy and drums just don't have the desired slam. Playing some Children of Bodom shows the highs are somewhat smoothed off too as the keyboards extreme treble frequencies sparkle is lost.
The A85 is a flexible modern amplifier with the ability to slot into a home cinema system and upgradable with a power amplifier but if you crave the exciting performer this amp was touted as you're better off looking at offerings from Naim or Cyrus.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mosfetaus a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 23, 2010

Bottom Line:   
First of all, let me say that as I write this it is October 2010 and I have just purchased an Arcam A85 second hand (of course). This amp dates back to the ancient times of 2001 I believe. Here in Australia it retailed new for AU$2500 and I picked this one up for AU$650 in excellent cosmetic condition, obviously well looked after. Ok so that's the background.
I'm slowly working my way up the audiophile ladder, I've had and still have a lot of systems in different living areas in my home. Brands of electronics I've had and some I still own are NAD, Musical Fidelity, Rotel, Cambridge Audio, Denon.... and now.....ARCAM! What can I say, words that come to mind when listening through this amp... Musicality, Truth, Control, Revelation. Many of you may have heard the cliches before like 'OMG this amp is amazing, I am hearing things in my old CD's that I never heard before". Well the truth is, I AM hearing things I've never heard before... sublime clarity, total control of 'the recording', nothing is overdone, subtle little nuances in the music that just aren't there in my other amps (is this my first taste of true audiophilia?) Currently my DIVA A85 is re-birthing a pair of Acoustic Energy AE109 floorstanders and a pair of ELAC BS203.2 bookshelves (speaker switching via remote control, oh the luxury of it) and I too have been re-born.
The legend of ARCAM is real, believe me. They are masters of sound. If you have any chance to buy one of these amps, DO IT!!
Points To Note:
* This 9yo amp works perfectly, all the electronic controls still work as new.
* It's a true audiophile amp, you WILL notice the difference.
* The remote control is beautiful to hold and use, offers complete control (I really don't know what other people writing these reviews are talking about when they say the remote is not good).

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Hicabi Beton a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I loved how my Arcam A75+ sounded with Audience 80's. It is sounded significantly better than the midrange stuff (NAD, Rotel, etc.) and even better than similarly priced items (Creek, etc.) at an affordable price. When I upgraded, I got the Arcam A85 with Contour 3.3's. I really never noticed much difference between the two amps.

After around two years, the Arcam A85 went dead. I sent it to an authorized service center. After three phone calls, 6 months, and three main board changes, they returned it back saying they simply could not fix it... $1500 gone. This is expensive. I have used a 30 year old Sansui with no issues, and sold it in perfect working condition.

I like the Arcam sound, and will probably try simpler Arcams (no displays, no complicated software based stuff) in future. But I will never buy anything else from them.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by nadman a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 29, 2008

Bottom Line:   
This an amazing integrated! I auditioned other integrated amps in this price range and the difference was night and day. The bass was cleaner, less "boomy" and vocals were very life-like. Very clean and precise. Soundstage is nice and wide with Paradigm studio 20's. Build quality is exceptional along with some of the other perks including variable input trims. Considering this amp can be had under $1000 now is an absolute steal.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $975.00



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Yasvanth a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2007

Bottom Line:   


Most of the reviews that I have read in Audio Review about the Arcam A85 have been a bit over the top.
Here my own opinion of this amp. I first heard the Arcam A85 at my local hifi dealer but and was amazed about the amount of detail and speed that it produced from my small collection of CD's that I took along to listen to.
But for some reason I just felt that there was something missing from this amp and that a big powerful sound. So my dealer advised me to also try the Arcam P85 as they are a perfect match, well the outcome was far superior with a much faster and tighter midrange. In the end I did purchase the pair including the Arcam CD 72T and Kef Ref 1:2 Floorstanding speakers.

Now the bad news, after owning this award winning amp and it's brother the P85 for 5 years I still felt that the sound just did not live up to my expectations of a £800 amp and a £500 pwr amp. I just felt that it lacked that big muscular powerful sound that I have always craved for and in the end I sold the pair.
Do I think that it was worth What Hifi giving it an award well the answer is no as most magazines to overhype particular brands anyway.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $8.00

Purchased At:   Musical Images, Beck




Reviews 1 - 5 (40 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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