Arcam Alpha 9 Amplifiers

Arcam Alpha 9 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

75w x 2 into 8 ohms

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 40  
[Jul 26, 2008]
Janinea
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

very good value
refined sound

Weakness:

Could have a little more clarity on mine, but there is some corrosion on my selector swith.

Basically I think the other reviewers here have it about right. i would just like to mention that the source selecting knob contacts can oxidise and that can limit sound quality - muffle it. This is cheap to fix if you do get one from ebay.

Also worth mentioning is that biwiring this amp seemed to improve the sound quality hugely (tech info: the induced feedback current from the speaker seemed to set up some resonant bass hum via the amp).

I have not bi amped, but not sure if it will make a huge difference on my 6 ohm monitor audio RS8's.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 01, 2008]
wrx74
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Music breathes freely and naturally thru this equipment

Quality built -since the amp/cd player has been around since 1998,the fact that they are still working well today shows they have quality tho the exterior makes people feel they are not.

Weakness:

I wished the exterior would look like the FMJ or Diva series

I was a bit doubtful that the Arcam alpha 9 was able to deliver since it doesnt weigh much (about 5 kgs) and rated at 75watts per channel.The last integrated amp i owned prior to the Alpha 9 was the huge PM7200 which lured me into buying due to its size and larger RMS watts per channel.

The Marantz was indeed good value but somehow its sound does not covey as as much emotion to draw me into music.I started looking around and picked up the Alpha9 from someone changing to a Cyrus amp and remembered i was pleased with Alpha 8 only wishing it had a bit more power.A side by side test of the marantz 7200 and Arcam Alpha 9 was obvious.The vocals from Norah Jones Come away with me album feels more alive on the Arcam and music was more open and seemed to fill the room more than the Marantz.Even my girlfriend who doesnt believe much differences between components could tell the difference in the test.The Marantz does the basic job of presenting music well but doesnt give "life" to music.I think it means when you are playing a cd, u can feel that the performer is alive and performing "to you" rather than sound generated by equipment.All sound must come from equipment just that the Arcam makes u forget that and enjoy the music.

Craving for extra Power, i bought th Alpha 9P which improves bass and separation.Its probably not the best equipment to play rock and bassy music but it does a very good job for relaxing music.So far for me,having owned for 2yrs now, i have no plans to upgrade yet and listening at Audio shops dont really blow me away as i know my system can deliver within my budget or they just fooling you with room acoustics.

Now the Alpha 9 combo sits in my living room and I've gotten the Arcam Delta 290/290P in my bedroom.Both are my treasured possessions.

My equipment:
Arcam Alpha9(Qed P75)
Arcam Alpha 9P(Qed P75)
Arcam Alpha 9 cd player(Qed P75)
Tannoy Revolution 3 (biwired with QED xtube300)

Arcam Delta 290(Qed P75)
Arcam Delta 290P(Qed P75)
Arcam Alpha 8SE(Qed P75)
Tannoy Revolution 2 (biwired with QED xtube300)

Similar Products Used:

Marantz PM 7200
NAD 302
Arcam Alpha 8 Integrated

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 15, 2008]
Shane Diaz
AudioPhile

Strength:

Very articulate presentation, pair them with matching speakers with a max power rating of at LEAST half of what the amp can drive. Eg. BW 602S3 Max power input 100W @ 8Ohms, Arcam Alpha 9 = 70W@ohms which is a little more than 2/3rds of the speakers handling capability.

Weakness:

....I can't say, A lot of people say this or that, but at the end of the day it really depends on your source, speaker matching and interconnects. Kinda like cooking, Use the ingredients correctly and you'll be surprised what you can come up with. Remember audiophile listening just like tasting is subjective.

Equipment Used:

Rotel RCD 951
Philips PXT1000 RCA Cables
Bowers & Wilkins Dm 603S3
Arcam Alpha 9 (no power amp just yet)

...First thing first, every audiophile has his/her quest for that perfect, "sound" . A recreation as it were of that audio demo we heard in store somewhere, sound so sweet it made us literally driiiiift with the hairs at the back of our necks on end.
In my case it was the Bowers 800D's with a classe setup.

Im 27 this year, still a little far from having the ability for that kind of setup, but in the meantime my current equipment in my room will have to do. I got this amplifier after extensive research. With a tight budget my choices were the Cambridge Audio 640V2, NAD 372, and a second hand Arcam alpha 9. Cosmetically Cambridge is the better LOOKING of the the three, but having bowers with its metal tweeters the cambridge was already a big no no. (Cambridge audio equipment is designed specifically for speakers with silk dome tweeters for the purposes of imitating valve sound in a solid state configuration) ..Nad, hmm, no doubt also an incredible amplifier but with the majority of reviewers complaining about faults after an average of about 2 years simply turned me away due to poor build quality (and believe me nad has really shocking quality) which leads me to Arcam, I recieved my box with great anticipation...only to be disapointed by this cheap plastic fascia that greeted me. Looking inside through the grilles on the top cover I caught a glimpse of the massive torroidal power block, I knew that this was a serious piece of hardware. I carefully opened the shell, observing that Arcam must have cut the budget on the cosmetics as the metal shell was incredibly thin. Inside however was a tooootalllly different story, rubicon 10,000uf capacitors, a 400VA torroidal block and a very very neat and organised circuit board, Volume Control, Tone and balance switches were all made of high quality parts some of which had the 'JAPAN' markings on it. Clearly all expense was spared for the build quality. Of the the three amps mentioned, Arcam came out on top with flying colours. Vacuming the dust that was collected by the previous owner, this amp started to look like a Datsun with a ferrari engine.

Plugging in all the cables etc. I switched the amp on, after a few seconds maybe if "clickshat" to life as if to indicated its readiness to drive whatever is thrown at it. I popped in my 'Best Audiophile voices' and was apalled at the initial sound. I couldn't understand how this amp sounded so terrible. The sound was forward, but unrefined, not harsh, but simply unrefined, all the details were there, but the intrgration between mids, bass and high frequencies was just...off. I thought that if maybe I biwered my speakers it would sound better, but it ended up sounding worse. Really bad. Worse than the cambridge.
I eventually returned the brdiges on the boswers, kept the cables to the SPKR1 terminals and thought this was it.

upon my researching back to Nad equipment, (hoping that maybe if I do get one of their units it would be one of the very lucky few) I observed at the back of their panels they have jumpers that bridge both the Pre amp out, and Main in jacks. I reverted back to my unit and noticed that Arcam Leaves these terminals open hoping that buyers will use their Power amps to accompany their integrateds. hesitantly I shaved some old copper wires and bridged these two terminals.

I turned the amp on expecting with a slight worry that I may burn a capaciotr or something.....popped in a Jheena Lodwick HDCD...sat back raised the volume to 8oclock.......and woooow...
What I heard was a sound that was faaaar more tight. More controlled, I then began to truly experience the Arcam sound. Details started to appear, very forward but controlled. Light years ahead of Cambridge, and maybe a foot or two ahead of Nad. It presented an overall well crafted/ chiselled output. It doesn't give the "air" of rotel, or the lushness of tubes, but instead a very very articulate presentation. One that could make you stay planted in your chair for a few hours. Its hard to say all those things without any reference to harshness...but thats what makes it unique, forward but without ear fatigue.

Currently it drives my bowers to an 'ok' level I seldomly reach 10 o'clock as this starts to present distortion due to it being underpowered. Im hoping to couple it with a rotel 1070, but am a bit intrepid with gain matching...will just wait and see.

if you can find the alpha 9's or 10's in working condition, Grab them, Parts inside are really well built. Brush the dust off, polish up the fascia, pair them with a decent pair of METAL tweeter speakers, Monitor audios, paradigm, BW etc (the alpha arcams sound terrible with silk domes)





OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 31, 2008]
Anh165
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

- Balanced, clear and untiring presentation.
- Upgradable and thus will outperform the sum of its parts, what more could you want?

Weakness:

- It's not the most solid built amp in the world, but its nice to know that all the money was spent on the parts inside rather than bling.


I have had the Arcam Alpha 9 & 9P in bi-amp configuration for about a decade now, and I still enjoy the clean and honest sound quality from these boxes and still works well considering its age. Only from 2 years ago, I do now get the intermittent left/right imbalance at low volumes but I dont listen at those levels anyway unless i needed to turn the music down for other purposes.

They are currently driving some Linn floor standers (nice high end AV monitors) with a 20 year old Meridian 200 Transport and DAC combo as the source.

The Alpha 9 amp on its own works well, I think this amp's performance is perceived consistently across many listeners, well weighted bass, open midrange and a confident treble (not clinical or fizzy). The Alpha 9 starts to lose "grip" on more pacy and complicated music at higher volumes but add the 9P on in bi-amp mode and the weaknesses of the amp are virtually eliminated and its strengths are enhanced a stage further.

Stereo imaging is good, solid, doesnt drift. Nice depth to the placement of instruments, and detail is great but obviously not in your face.

I dont think this kind of amp pulls any tricks, it doesnt add what isnt there in the music or colours the sound to instantly grab you by the throat impression at the demo room. When in 9/9P bi-amp mode, I think it is only beaten by much more expensive gear. I think adding extra 9P amps to drive each channel would further control music especially at high volumes.



Similar Products Used:

- Arcam Alpha 10 integrated amp
- Audiolab 8000A

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 08, 2007]
jwsb
AudioPhile

Strength:

Musical

Weakness:

Plastic facia! Letterings have rubbed off. Plastic knobs! Would look a lot better if the front had more aluminum.

A very good product a the price it is being sold for now. Best contender against the newer Rotels and NAD's. Paiored this with an Alpha 8 CDP and Celestion SL 600.

Rich and laid back. Took the edges off usually glaring recordings from GRP. Great vocals and a relatively large sounstage. Bass is authoritative, weighty and controlled. Made me think I was listening to a much larger amp of 150 wpc. Sweet and detailed. Highs were never tizzy or metallic. (Perhaps due to the combo as well) The volume works with the CD player's remote. Mids breathe with ease and finds the right place for itself.

Imaging was not quite as pinpoint but the overall image was relatively accurate.

Very relaxed but not boring...

Customer Service

OK

Similar Products Used:

Integrateds:
NAD 3020, Rotel, Adcom GCA

I HAVE A SHOP AND HAVE ACCESS TO A LOT OF GEAR!! The benefits of ownership...

Arcam, Audio Note, Audio Research, Audible Illusions, etc. etc.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Nov 26, 2006]
jack1111
Audio Enthusiast

Weakness:

cheap looking
my old NAD was much better

I bought the Arcam alpha 9 some time ago to replace my old NAD 317, which I loved, but which had finally failed after many years of faithful service.
I chose the Arcam based on its overall good reviews,
and because the other ones I was looking for were not easily available here in
Singapore. Unfortunately, here in Singapore, it is also not usually possible
to audition the equipment, certainly not at home. Anyway, I bought the Arcam,
perhaps against my own better judgement, and certainly in spite of its ugly
appearance. It is one poor design job, really cheap looking. Unfortunately, it
is not at all cheaply priced.
It was a huge disappointment. Compared to the old NAD, which had a very clean,
analytical sound, the Arcam sounds muddled. The bass falls off
suddenly where the NAD had a wonderful deep clean sound. The treble is tiring
and the midrange is indistinct. The sound did improve somewhat over time; I like
to think it is the components getting run in, although it could be me getting
used to it, I suppose. Also, the tone circuitry is incredibly noisy!
So now I have this ugly poor-sounding piece of plastic, and considering buying
yet another amp. I would definitely not recommend this amp to anybody.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
[Apr 08, 2006]
warrenmmmmm
AudioPhile

Strength:

(in combination with Arcam Alpha 9P)
Clean deep musical bass
Very musical
Sweet high frequencies
Portrays vocals superbly
Holographic stereo imaging
Wonderful ability to convey complex rhythms
Remains an intense listening experience at low volumes (very rare ability in ANY amplifier)
Sound quality nearly matching the very best amplifiers that money can buy.

Weakness:

No inbuilt phono (RIAA) preamp (or a very ordinary phono preamp on an add-in board)

My ratings relate to the Arcam Alpha 9 Integrated Amp in combination with the Arcam Alpha 9P Power Amplifier.

I bought my Arcam Alpha 9 in 2001 for AU$1400, which was $500 below the new price, having just been superceded by the Alpha 10. It was fairly involving, detailed and very musical, particularly when playing from my Linn Sondek LP12 turntable / Benz Micro MC-1cartridge / Rotel RQ-870 phono preamp, and biwired from the A and B speaker outputs into my B&W Matrix 2E speakers. Certainly a dramatic cut above every other amplifier I had owned until then. I recently bought a pair of Totem Arro speakers to replace my aging B&Ws, and took the opportunity to get a traded Arcam Alpha 9P power amp which is designed to match the Arcam Alpha 9. I tried the Alpha 9 / 9P combination biamping my B&Ws (which were about to be packed and shipped to their new owner), hoping to hear a marginal improvement in the system.

I was stunned by the audible improvements - wider soundstage, much more effortless quality to the music, vastly improved sense of tension in soft passages in the music, better bass control, the list went on and on. These improvements carried over and were even more pronounced when using the Arros. The Alpha 9 on its own would rate a 4 or so in my book (most amplifiers would rate a 1 or 2 to my ears). Adding the 9P brings it very close to a 5, up there with some of the best megabuck amps I have heard.

By the way, the Arcam Alpha 9 has an excellent facility for integrating AV into it - there is an AV input which is designed to accept output from the front speaker RCA outs on your AV receiver. This means that my audio speakers are also the front speakers of my AV system, without any swapping of cables. Works beautifully!

I recently upgraded my CD player to a 2nd hand Arcam Alpha 9 CD. I am now finding that same efforless musicality that I hear with my vinyl, coming through the CD as well, although the combination of Alpha 9 CD and Alpha 9/9P Amplifiers seems a tiny bit bright.

My advice to any Alpha 9 owner is to find an Alpha 9P and turn your very fine amplifier into a staggeringly good amplifier.

If you are considering an Alpha 9 purchase, I'd strongly recommend it, but if you can get the 9 and 9P, I can promise you that you will have to pay many thousands of dollars to get a better sounding amplifier.

Customer Service

n/a

Similar Products Used:

Pioneer A-400
Pioneer A-400X
Rotel RA-820B
Sansui AU-417 (heavily modified)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 05, 2004]
EBes
AudioPhile

Strength:

Sound quality versus price

Weakness:

Build quality and durability. Don't buy this thing 2nd-hand!

This amp sold itself on the sound quality. Very lively, well-rounded, airy reproduction on various speakers. I first used it to drive my Hepta's (2-way floorstanding, dutch speaker brand), and later to drive my Vifa basis-95's. Here, the alpha-9 couldn't keep the low-end under control, so I added a delta-9 (basically the power-stage of an alpha-9) to bi-amp the bass section. Great combination, has been with me for several years. However, after a couple of years, the build-quality started acting up. There's a very distinct left-right unbalance at low volume, that couldn't be solved by the dealer. At the same time, the source selector contacts started to burn in, so I eventually replaced the set with a T+A1530R.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Mar 10, 2004]
stmusic
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Simple, Good Value, Bi-wireable, has many outputs and does not look too bad.

Weakness:

None Really apart from the fact that it would be nice to afford Linn stuff

A fantastic budget good value for money amp and is still a force to be reckonned with here in the UK but their newer stuff somehow lets the side down with such brightness in sound reproduction. Paid £200 not 200 USD

Similar Products Used:

Sony and other cheap non - seperate stuff.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 21, 1997]
Lee Goodman
an Audiophile

The Arcam Alpha 9 is a very smooth sounding amplifier, Sweet in the treble with a slightly rounded bass . I have found that it works better (especially at higher volumes) if a cooling fan is position over
the cooling vents which helps it to sound more taut and punchy. I found it sounds best with the new
marantz CD67SE.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 40  

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