Arcam Alpha 7 Tuners

Alpha 7

The Alpha 7 covers the whole FM broadcast band from 87.5 to 108 MHz, the medium wave AM band from 522 to 1611kHz (530 to 1720kHz in North America) and, in Europe, the long wave AM band from 146 to 290kHz.

User Reviews (1)

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Rob May   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 30, 2000]

British Made, Great Soundstage, Ease-of-use, Simplistic clear display


Lack of featuers (RDS, etc)

Choosing a tuner is extremely important, as it is likely to be the component that will have the greatest lifespan. This is mainly due to the fact that most systems begin with budget components, with the amplifier and speakers the first to be upgraded. So please bare this in mind when making your selection – a budget tuner may sound fine with your current components, but will it become an annoyance when you do finally upgrade?

When first seeing the Arcam you would not be blamed for being uninspired by its bland appearance. However once switched on and suitably connected to your amp you will be immediately impressed. The Alpha7 sounds superb, with all types of music, but excels when tuned into stations such as ClassicFM. It reproduces voices with amazing accuracy and does not make delicate instruments such as the piano sound artificial, as many other tuners do. The soundstage is magnificent, making listening a very enjoyable, exciting experience.

However the Arcam is not flawless. It does not respond very well to bad signal qualities, something likely to affect inner-city users (although it performs well enough in London!) The feature set is also very limited. This may however be a refreshing change to many of the other tuners available as the Alpha is ease-to-use and has a simplistic panel layout. It certainly seems as though Arcam have spent the majority of the budget on perfecting sound quality and not adding more circuitry that interferes with the sound. There is an exception to the lack of features and that is the second stereo output which could be very useful for connecting directly to a minidisk recorder or computer system.

When the Alpha7 is placed against the best of the budget tuners, the very capable Denon TU-260L Mk II, it sounds more musical and is a great joy to listen to. You will be inclined to listen for longer periods as the room is filled with a natural, expressive sound that does not get fatiguing as time goes on. Something that I felt occurred when auditioning the Denon. However, the Alpha is £100 more expensive and the Denon has a huge selection of features such as RDS, RadioText, and a tuning knob. The choice really is whether you believe that the Alpha is worth the extra money even with the lack of features. My decision was clear (much to the delight of the expert, Keith, at Grahams Hifi in London!) I felt that sound quality was much more important than amount of features and remembered that my tuner was likely to stay in my system the longest, as explained above.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a decent tuner at a reasonable price and are uninterested in amount of features but pure sound quality then make the Alpha7 your choice. You will not be disappointed!

Equipment Used:-
Rotel RA-931 Mk II Amplifier
KEF Cresta2 Speakers
SonicLink Interconnects

Note: An Alpha8 is also available (the same unit) that comes with a remote but is an extra £50!

Similar Products Used: Denon TU-260L Mk II
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