Arcam AVR100 A/V Receivers

AVR100

Dolby Digital/DTS receiver

User Reviews (93)

Showing 1-10 of 93  
Jamesheaven   AudioPhile [Oct 12, 2010]

I came to this forum because I am trying to improve the sound of my AV100. I have a great little system a marantz cd player with an arcam alpha amp and mission baby speakers. It sounded amazing. When home cinema was becoming the rage I thought Id upgrade. I went for an Arcam Cd72 cd....and Pro Ac 125 studio speakers mainly on reviews.....I decided to marry the Arcam AV100 with the arcam Cd for balance. the AV100 getting great reviews and being what I thought was the best home cinema amp I could buy....now Ive been very disappointed. the sound has never been any good. I've still got the old system and when I chop and change it's the AV100 that is the weak spot for me. It also frustrates me that my cheap Sony Dvd player actually sounds BETTER than the Arcam Cd....but my old arcam alpha amp....that cost a hundred quid....with the mission speakers that cost the same....sounds better than the AV100 with the the legendary ProAcs....that's go to be wrong. Very disappointed.....I'm going to try Bi amping my old arcam amp with the Av100 and see if we can get an improvement...but be warned, I think receivers...with all the gubbins they cram into those little boxes is a serious sound compromise....sorry Arcam.....

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
samurray   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 16, 2003]
Strength:

Enough said above.

Weakness:

Ditto

This review is for an Arcam AVR200 and I must confess that I just about didn't keep it. That said, everytime I listen to it I’m happy I did (grin). The AVR200 is such a departure from the typical feature laden products out there. When other brands are offering network connections, component HDTV video switching and flashable bios (Rotel RSX-1055) Arcam offers a product which is comparatively simple in both looks and feature set. So why’d I buy it? One word, its ‘sound’. This receiver produces smooth… accurate sound and is an excellent match to my speakers. At the end of the day I was willing to forego many A/V or HT features because of the musical sound of this receiver. This tradeoff won’t be right for everyone. So here’s some constructive criticisms of the AVR200: 1. Digital inputs are inflexible. All the digital inputs are fixed to respective inputs. For example, the DVD input assumes your DVD player has a COAX output. Mine only has a TOSLINK output so I use the AUX input (which only has a TOSLINK input) for my DVD. So although the choices they made are reasonable they aren’t flexible. 2. Speaker settings are global. In other words it would be terribly convenient if you could set your speaker sizes and whether the sub was on/off specific to each input. So for HT you could have your sub turned on but for music it was turned off, etc. 3. Only auto-detects audio input digital vs audio. Manually selecting between Auto/Analog/Digital audio inputs would be handy as there are times when you want this kind of control. For example, my Motorola Digital Set-top-box leaves the digital output ‘active’ even when you’re watching analog channels. In this situation it would be nice to be able to manually force it to use the analog input. 4. Minor hiss is audible from 6 inches away. I personally don’t listen to the speakers this close ;-) so it’s not really a big problem. 5. If you plug in both S-video and composite video into an input only the S-video signal is passed. 6. Slow detection of analog vs digital audio sources (minor) 7. One additional video input would be nice. 8. Oh ya, why exactly do you have to have a DVD in your player to enable the receiver to generate test tones for setting up home theatre speaker levels? (Minor considering usual one-time setup) Here’s a quick summary of what I think the AVR200 does well: 1. Music is just fantastic and engaging. Both multichannel and stereo reproduction is so smooth, dynamic with excellent imaging. IMHO stereo music is just stellar. 2. In two channel stereo listening the analog signal can be passed completely unprocessed. 3. I personally like the non-splashy sound for movie and big blockbusters with orchestral arrangements sound fabulous. 4. The remote is pretty decent and allows me to retire all my other remotes. 5. Easy to operate. There just aren’t that many ‘buttons’ you can push. This may be negative for those button pushers out there. ;-) 6. Simple exterior has very sharp styling. For context my system consists of: PSB Image 4T (mains) PSB Image 8C (centre) PSB Image 1B (surrounds) PSB Subsonic 5 (sub) Adcom GCD-700 CD Changer Panasonic DVD RP-31K

Similar Products Used: Rotel RSX-1055 (bad match for my system), NAD 761, Denon 3802
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bbolival   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 18, 2002]
Strength:

-Excellent for music listening -Neutral and Clear sound

Weakness:

- only has Dolby Prologic I

I am a happy and proud owner of an Arcam AVR100. It delivers clear and neutral sound thats nice for both DVD viewing and music listening. I use this receiver mainly for music listening and I havent been disappointed. Make sure that you match it with the right components in order to derive the expected musicality. Anything less than that would result to bad sonic experience (the blame is on your substandard components and not the receiver). In other words, dont expect the Arcam to do wonders if your speakers are just average. My system consists of the following : Speakers : Mission 773es (fronts) Mission 70c2 (center) Mission 701s (rears) Mission 70AS (subwoofer) CD Player: Marantz 6000 OSE LE DVD Player: Onkyo DV-S555 Interconnects: DH Labs Air Matrix (for Cd player) DH Labs Silver Sonic BL-1 (stereo for subwoofer) DH Labs Silver sonic D-75 (for DVD player) Speaker Cable : DH Labs Q10 (biwired to 773es) DH Lab T14 (for center and rear) With the right set-up, the Arcam AVR100 will make your ears happy. Enough said. I got my Arcam second-hand over at eBay for $600 and at this price, it's a real bargain for the quality of sound it delivers.

Similar Products Used: Onkyo TX-SR500
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
boc-huns   AudioPhile [Dec 14, 2002]
Strength:

???

Weakness:

Lack of power, simply it cannot be used as surround sound amplifier, probably not even as an audio amplifier; mediocre quality of sound for the price.

I bought the product for £320 from Richer Sounds in Edinburgh (Richer Sounds is probably the best audio shop in the world, and the Edinburgh staff are just perfect). I listen primarily to music, mostly classical, hence I wanted an AV applifier that has an audiophile character. This was my first AV amplifier. I saw good reviews for the Arcam AVR-100 in both "Hi-Fi Choice" and in "Sound & Hi-Fi (Ixos & Hi-Fi)", a Hellenic magazine that I highly trust. My initial thought had been to go for the Nakamichi AV-10, which I eventually got, but I went for the Arcam thinking that it may have slightly better sound. Given that Arcam's products are considered by the specialist press to be very competitive in the mid-price hi-fi range, the decision was reasonable. My system was basic: Marantz PM4000 amplifier, Sony CDPXE570 CD, Denon TU-260 tuner, Nakamichi DR8 deck (the only hi-end piece) and Mission 701 speakers. I was expecting a substantial improvement in the sound by replacing the £150 Marantz with the £800 (typical price) Arcam. When I connected the AVR-100 into the system, replacing the worthy Marantz, the first fact that stroke me was that the sound could not be turned above 80db! I have a small room (about 3x4 meters), but still to be able to listen to decently I had to use 70% of the available power... The situation was much worse in surround mode, where even at 100% power the sound was too low! Simply this amplifier does not have enough power to be used as a surround sound amplifier! I seriously cannot imagine how anyone with a larger room (or a louder taste) can use this amplifier not only for movies, but even for listening to music... Regarding the quality of the sound, there was some improvement over the Marantz, mainly in the detail front, but not a great one, and certainly nothing to justify the five times higher price. You have also to take into account that when I connected the Arcam into the system I replaced the standard manufacturers' interconnects and the cheap speaker cables with the award winning QED Qunex 1 and Ixos 603, respectively. Therefore, part of the, small, improvement can be attributed to the new interconnects/cables... One hour after connecting the amplified I had made the decision to return it. What is difficult to understand is how a, reputable as its seems, audio manufacturer like Arcam made the decision to launch this product! Who gave the "ok" for AVR-100 to reach the market? It is not just an average product it is a really bad product. The impression of this product has affected my general impression of Arcam products (i.e., I can never consider buying an Arcam product again). Another problem, maybe minor, was that the remote control was not working properly, many times it would not respond, which was upsetting. Fortunately, I was able to find the Nakamichi AV-10 (£300, great Richer Sounds again), which is amazing. And it is also very difficult to believe that those two products were priced equally (i.e., £800)! I read the reviews of the AVR-100 in this site and a friend, who defended the product, wrote that if someone gives to it one or two stars there is a hidden agenda. My view is the oposite: if anyone gives anything above two stars (which is too generous anyway)to the AVR-100 this certainly means a hidden agenda!

Similar Products Used: Nakamichi AV-10
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
lcrim   AudioPhile [Dec 06, 2002]
Strength:

I was considering adding a 3 channel amp and using the AVR200 as a Pre/Pro only but now I'm not so sure. How much resolution would I gain? This receiver has sounds great on music, spectacular on SACD playback. Remote doesn't suck. There are more powerful and more fully featured receivers but none which sound better. I am raising my rating because of the sound quality. The price point is terrific for the quality it produces.

Weakness:

100 Hertz cutoff between Large/Small is too high. Video switching is non-existent. Bass management still rudimentary.

This is again for the AVR200, which I reviewed back during the summer. I have added some componenets and cables which bring out the inherent quality of this receiver. new setup: Sony SCD CE775 (sacd)modded by sacdmods.com Outlaw Audio PCA interconnects (3 prs) Arcam AVR200 NBS Omega Jr. speaker cables fronts:Sonus Faber Concertino Homes center:Sonus Faber Solo Home sub:Monitor Audio ASW110 surrounds:Polk f/x300i (dipole/bipole) The cd playback on stereo is through Harmonic Tech. Silver TruthLinks, the Outlaw PCA's are used on SACD 5.1 direct and though inexpensive and very forward are a happy accident that works quite well on DSD format material. From my satellite receiver I use Harm. Tech. Precision Link IC's. The improvement in IC's and speaker cables as well as the upgrade in the center channel speaker has raised this system into hirez territory. I recently got Junior Well's, "Come on in this House", the man is in my house with his harmonica, a drummer, guitar player, bass man and occasiionally piano. You don't need to close your eyes to imagine it, they are there. You can hear Junior wet his lips. It just wipes me out.

Similar Products Used: NAD 761, Denon 3802 and 1601, Onkyo 474, 575
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
LRSKY   AudioPhile [Oct 01, 2002]
Strength:

Very Nicely appointed finish, and a remote which works beautifully. Sound stage, detail, articulation all belie the price of the product. Tuner is plenty good and offers a smoothe rich sound that makes for fun listening. Power is plenty for all but the really, really, really loudest. In the inimitable words of Jim Thiel, "100 watts is good, but 10,000 watts, all things being equal...are better."

Weakness:

May be too inexpensive to be taken seriously by some potential audiophile buyers. Plus, some of those with some hidden agendas who choose to write reviews, give unfair ratings. Who knows why? Real weakness are not yet apparent, and I have put it through its paces.

Surround Sound Receivers are so variable in absolute quality that an audition under controlled circumstances is a must. I was familiar with the Marantz and B&K, both very good products. In fact, subjectively the better ones, with B&k my pick, but I wanted something that was better, not in features, but in sound quality, since I was driving a good pair (for now, others to be added later) of Vienna Acoustics Mahlers. Having owned one of the original Arcam A-60's sold many years ago, and my first piece of gear which imaged,(soundstaged beautifully)I wanted something of that ilk. I love good music and wanted two channel sound as well. After using the product for only the break in period, I can say that it performs as well as many medium priced to above medium priced separates, and actually outperforms integrateds such as the Krell 300i, which I have personally owned. It may not have quite the punch on the bottom, as the Krell, but the imaging/soundstaging, detail and articulation is superior. Plus the sense of smootheness is unquestionably better. Voices, holograph pretty well in two channel, though not quite as much as tubes, though not fair by price comparison. The operational logic of the piece is easily understood, and interestingly, the pro logic circuit is fun in two channel, though a blasphemy to mention, I realize. The tuner is smooth and sensitive enough for anyone not needing to dx around the dial. The new remote is easily understood and works flawlessly. In terms of pecking order for just sound quality for two channel, I would say that it easliy bests the Marantz and B&K which cost more, and in most ways bests the B&K separates, Adcom's smaller wattage stuff also. It is not the same level of computer sophistocation re: surround sound as the Marantz, Dennon and B&K, but it is very tastefully appointed, well built and actually sounds, as I said like good separates. Please, if you are a serious listener, don't listen to the idiots who, are agenda laden and give this, or for that matter even the Levinson 383 integrated, one star ratings, for some obtuse reason. This is a very nice receiver which deserves a listen, especially at the asking price, which at 2K would still be reasonable for the kind of sound it reproduces. You may think that $1400. for a receiver with $10K speakers is a mismatch. It is, dollar wise, but for now, I am very pleased and pleasant

Similar Products Used: Marantz, B&K, Yamaha, Dennon, and some integrateds, such as the Krell 300i which was not as musically satisfying.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
lcrim   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 13, 2002]
Strength:

Musicality in stereo mode. As far as A/V receivers are concerned this is the one for music. You can purchase more powerful ones but you won't improve much on the sound until moving into high end separates.

Weakness:

Digital inputs need rethinking. Audio swiching will have to happen in another place.

This review is for the AVR200 purchased and used since fall 2001. Firstly, I can't understand some of the low ratings given by some earlier reviewers. This is a high quality product which has minor short comings. A rating of 2 seems to indicate a reviewer with a private agenda. My System: fronts Sonus Faber Concertino's center Paradigm CC370 surrounds Polk fx300/i sub Monitor Audio ASW110 Digital Panasonic RV-31DVD satellite rcvr Hughes GAEBO (Directv) TV Sony KV 27fs12 speaker cable Linn K20 interconnects Copperheads by Audioquest The digital output from the Panasonic comes via Audioquest optical (toslink cable)into tape monitor input, I also use the analog outputs on the Panasonic (24/96) to CD inputs on receiver. The AVR200 receiver provides two optical (digital) inputs and for some reason shows one as Auxiliary and one as Tape Monitor. The tape monitor one just sounds cleaner and brighter. I had purchased a Cambridge Audio DVD300 mostly because it had a coaxial digital out and bought a high end digital interconnect (Audioquest Digital Corridor #2) and then discovered that the budget Panasonic w/ its optical output provided a better image plus using the analog outputs into the CD inputs on the Arcam versus using the onboard DAC's by employing the digital connection are about equal. The sound is quite detailed yet on some recordings suffers from the digital sharpness inherent in such a setup. The stereo image tends toward the center rather than to the outside of the Concertino's. I can't be sure if this is caused by the amplifier section or the room acoustics. Prologic II in movie mode is how I watch most satellite TV. It is very like DD 5.1 on many channels. My speakers are set to Large because the trade off is 100 hertz cut off point with the Arcam. The Sonus Fabers roll off naturally in the high 40's so the integration with the Monitor Audio sub is wonderful. Stereo listening is the forte of this system. The Arcam sound is inherently a smooth, quality, non-fatigue causing sound. There are some CD's which cause a congested sound. But on acoustic stuff and jazz there are passages where you would swear that the perfomers are physically present. My system would likely benefit from a higher end CD player. Maybe an Arcam would be good fit.

Similar Products Used: Denon 1601, Onkyo 454
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Brian   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 11, 2002]

Update: If you intend to use this receiver as a preamplifer (as I am for my left and right channels) the AVR-100 does not have a switched AC receptacle on the back panel. Most of you probably already knew that. However, what you may not have known is that the AVR-100 may be incompatible with the Niles AC-2(?) and other AC-Enhancers such as the Adcom. Since the AVR-100 has no switched receptacle, I purchased a Niles AC-2(?) so that it could trigger my AC-Enhancer to power up all of my other components in the desired sequence. For some reason, after triggering the Niles (which in turn triggered the Adcom and subsequently all of my other components) about 5-10 seconds later, it must have sent another signal (or reduced current significantly) to the Niles causing it to send an "off" trigger to the Adcom AC Enhancer. So basically what would happen is when I would hit the power button on my Arcam, everything would power up, then about 5-10 seconds later, everything would turn off with no input from me. I don't know if I received a defective Niles component or if the Arcam is incompatible with this type of equipment. Either way, I have to turn on my Arcam and my Adcom AC Enhancer separately for all of my components to power up. This is somewhat frustrating. If Arcam is going to provide pre-outs, it should at least also provide a switched receptacle to avoid the situation I'm running into. Peformance is still excellent, with the preamplifer section being at least equal to that of my previous NAD preamp.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
betheri   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 15, 2002]
Strength:

Terrific clarity, dynamics and rhythm in all modes, ease of use, great stereo performance for audio listening.

Weakness:

remote for AVR100, low powered for large room applications, buzz in pre in AVR100

This review is for both the AVR100 and AVR200. I purchased the 100 four or five months ago for my home theatre system along with a complete Totem Dreamcatcher six speaker system. I spent some time looking as I am a long time two channel hifi enthusiast with a good two channel hi end system for my main audio listening room. I had to find a system that would perform in an above average fashion for movie sound with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, but would also be able to serve as an above average stereo sytem for late night audio listening in my TV/family room. The AVR100 was the first home theatre receiver that met these requirements and I certainly enjoyed listening to it for several months. Although the power was not overwhelming it was more than adequate for my relatively small home theatre room. The two channel sound was excellent when compared to most of the competitors from Sony, NAD, Denon etc, especially in that price range. But there were some shortcomings. Most bothersome for me was a slight buzz that seemed to emanate from the pre section in all modes (it was most noticeable in the centre channel). It was not a problem at all for movies or for most music listening, but could be noticed during very quiet passages in a classical or jazz recording. The other problems for some listeners were the relatively hard to read remote that had no capacity to operate other devices and the lack of Prologic II. I am happy to report that ARCAM seems to have solved all three problems with the AVR200 and has also added more digital inputs in the 200 model. The buzz is gone and the 200 matches or exceeds the 100 in the clarity, dynamics, and soundstaging in both home theatre and stereo modes. The new remote is terrific and has a very effective learning mode for devices that do not have codes in the manual. It took me only 2 minutes to learn and set the codes for my new digital cable box. I can now operate my amp, TV, VCR, DVD, and Digital Cable box all from the ARCAM remote. Very practical. It also lights up for better visibility. Good job Arcam! And the 200 adds Prologic II with 5 additional modes for conversion of two channel signals when watching TV, cable or VCR signals. The power has remained the same but the new pre section is obviously an improvement on the 100.

Similar Products Used: compared it to NAD, Carver, Denon, Sony
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jbrough   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 09, 2002]
Strength:

Stereo (Superb Classical responce)

Weakness:

Connection versatility

This is a top of the line receiver for both the CD listener, and home theater enthusiast. The crisp audio reproduction from my Cambridge Audio D500 special edition, and the DTS conversions from my JVC DVD (XV-D721) are incredible. Unfortunately, I have the DVD hooked into the VCR input, as it is the only fiber optical input on the unit. A common complaint in these reviews. It might lack slightly on bass reproduction (without sub), but for these extremely picky classical muscian ears, it battles any stereo output unit My System: Arcam AVR 100 Receiver Cambridge Audio D500 special edition JVC XV-721 DVD player Speakers JM Lab Chorus 750

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 93  

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