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Rotel or Arcam

 

New member
Username: Bobbio

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
I am looking to get a new receiver with a max budget of around $1500. My top choices are the Rotel RSX-1056 and the Arcam AVR250. Listening to music is more important and I may be able to get a better deal on the Arcam. Not sure which speakers I'll be getting yet. The system will be in a medium size living room. Any suggestions between the Rotel and Arcam or anything else in that price range?
 

Daniel Benatar
Unregistered guest
Robert,

Since I own a NAD T773 and not happy at all due to quality issue, and I want to buy new receiver, I have audited both Arcam Avr300 and Rotel. The Arcam with J&B speakers sounded nice, but to me it was more compressed, probably becouse of the speakers. The Rotel 1098 with the B&W 703 speakers sounded more warm and clean. I still would like to go with the Arcam and try it with the B&W speakers, as I think it will be sounded better then the Rotel with these speakers - though, not sure why I am feeling like that. I must say that the Arcam includes more functions like PLIIx, and can drive 4 ohm speakers. I am not sure that the Rotel will be able to hanlde 4 ohm - need to check.

Good luck, Daniel
 

Bronze Member
Username: Mgkaplan

Calabasas, CA USA

Post Number: 87
Registered: Mar-04
I have an ARCAM AVR 300. I am using primarily Paradigm speakers (Studio 40 mains, Studio CC center, PS 1000 sub and, Sonance surrounds.) The combination is outstanding. Although I did not do a side by side test, my dealer (who is both a Rotel and an Arcam dealer) gives the edge to Arcam. Regardless of your choice, you cannot go wrong with either of these receivers.
 

New member
Username: Bobbio

Post Number: 2
Registered: Oct-04
Thanks. That helps a lot.
 

New member
Username: Bobbio

Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-04
I'll probably get the Arcam receiver. I may purchase the JM Lab Chorus 726 speakers for the front. They sounded good to me, although I heard them on a different, very high end system. Any comments on those?
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 895
Registered: Feb-04
The JMLabs are great. I prefer the neutral and clean sound of the the new Chorus S lineup over many more expensive speakers.

Interestingly here in Finland the AVR300 is around the same price than the RSX-1056 or T773.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 62
Registered: Sep-04
I give the Arcam avr 250 a slight edge versus the Rotel, you'll find the Arcam to be a little more laid back but with lots of detail and smoothyness, also the Arcam is a 7.1 receiver with a toroidal transformer. I've also been told that the Avr 250 is very similar to their big dady the Avr 300 just look at the specs...by the way I purchased a Nad t773 2 weeks ago and I'm in the process of exchanging it for the Avr 250 or the 300 depends on the price difference. by the way the Rotel 1056 is no joke it is also a very good choice, I guess you'll have to decide for yourself.
 

Daniel Benatar
Unregistered guest
Yep, I have decided, since I have issues with my NAD T773 and will ship it this week to customer service -- see "why not to buy NAD receiver" - Why not to buy NAD receiver, and hopefully it will be fixed. I started to look for other receivers and or preamp with amplifier systems. I admitted that I look also on NAD T163 with the 973 amplifier -- it sounded good, but I will not take again the chance to have quality issues with NAD -- as I really don't have the time and energy for that. I have talked with my wife, and the NAD T773 (once it will be fixed) will be in the family room, and the new system that I will buy will be in the living room. As of that, I probably will buy the ARCAM AVR300 or the Pre amp with the amplifier (AV8 with the P7) -- will see if I can have a good deal -- will probably will wait till Jan-05.

Thanks, Daniel
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 25
Registered: May-04
What other brands are in the "league" of Arcam and Rotel for receivers?
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 899
Registered: Feb-04
NAD, Sherwood Newcastle (R865/965), T+A, bigger Marantz's.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 26
Registered: May-04
T+A??
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 900
Registered: Feb-04
http://www.taelektroakustik.de/eng/ta2/r_system/sr_1535_r.htm
http://www.taelektroakustik.de/eng/ta2/r_system/sr_1510_r.htm
Ok, it's slightly more expensive, but it's also more high end.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 786
Registered: Dec-03
B&K certainly belongs on that list but there is no way Sherwood Newcastle does if you are going to leave off Elite or H/K. I don't think among those mentioned that you can group any as clearly superior to the others. Too many variables.
Landroval,
I am interested to know what kind of market presence that Sherwood has in England. They are very scarce in the US which is a shame. For an original American company from Chicago they have dropped off the map for all practical purposes.

 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 901
Registered: Feb-04
I have to say I have some kind of knowledge only on those two models I mentioned, the new R865/R965 and maybe also the separates P965 and A965. They're very special receivers, no where near the basic Yamaha, Denon, H/K level. They sound good, have good internal components, sturdy construction etc. AVSForums have some discussion about these, and the French at homecinema-fr absolutely love them.

I have no idea about England, but here in the Nordic countries they are about as rare as the monster of Loch Ness. We had a dealer in Finland, but I believe he dropped the Sherwoods.

Here's a few reviews of the Sherwoods by JPG of Hifissimo (in French):
http://www.hifissimo.com/store/loadpage.cgi?user_id=2170&file=text/be_sherwoodr9 65.html
http://www.hifissimo.com/store/loadpage.cgi?user_id=2170&file=text/be_sherwood96 5.html
He says they're Rotel quality.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 120
Registered: Sep-04
I haven't heard the AVR250 yet (been on holiday). In the choice between the Rotel and AVR300 I would choose the 300 (which is similar money here in the UK). That said, if you chose difficult to drive speakers, I might opt for the Rotel which has more drive I feel. The Arcam is warmer than the Rotel so it benefits from cleaner cables such as those from Chord Co. Rotel and Arcam are probably the most musical makes of surround sound amps, Nad following closely behind. The other big makes such as Denon, Pioneer and Marantz seem to go for the surround sound first and music comes in a distant second. I only have familiarity with HK's older stuff and the new range purports to be very good indeed.

Robert, the focal JMlab Chorus S range suits the Arcam AVRs very well indeed. Good quality speakers and a synergistic combination. I notice you said 726's 'for the front'. Please remember that for best results you would be well advised to stay with the same manufacturer all the way around. The Chorus S Centre is a fine speaker and at the back you could get away with the diminutive little standmounts which can be wallmounted, or a pair of 724s if you have the space. The Focal sub is pretty good too, though I would probably go with a REL instead - I just love what those subs do. For similar money to the focals you could check the B&W 600 series, but if you want beter, other successful combinations are the Dynaudio Audience range and B&W's 700 series (although that's at a push for the AVRs). You could also try Totem, but I can't remember what results I had with that combination - that's holidays for you!

Daniel, the AV8/P7 is in a completely different league to the AVR series. It's an absolute cracker of an amp. The processor has some of the best, most natural steering around, and the power amp has got to be one of the HiFi bargains of the moment. I know it's not cheap, but for the money you get a better, faster, more detailed amp than any other - and it can drive quite difficult loads too, thanks to that huge transformer. If you can afford an AV8/P7 combination, you will not regret it. Cable up well of course - look at things like Chord Co Odyssey for the centre and Rumour for the main fronts as a minimum. Rears tend to be far from the system so you could go down to a lower spec cable for them, but not if you don't have to! As to interconnects between processor and power amp, I prefer the Acoustic Precision EIKOS interconnect which is a snip in this country for the performance you get, and really gets the best from the Arcams - I have tried other more expensive cables but always return to the AP interconnects which just seem to work incredibly well with Arcam.

MaroonMike, depends on if you're looking at the big stuff like Arcam's AV8/P7 combination. The best competitor to that which I've heard is the Naim AV2/NAP150x/NAPV175 (in minimum guise).

therealelitefan, some years ago Sherwood started achieving some market presence through Richer Sounds. I believe Richer still distributes it here through their stores. However, it is not considered a brand of particular quality, rather than as a bargain basement brand, even cheaper than Cambridge Audio. I would not be surprised (though this is uncorroborated) if Sherwood was owned by Richer Sounds, as are Cambridge Audio, JPW, Audio Innovations and Mordaunt Short.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 788
Registered: Dec-03
Landroval,
Sorry for my confusion. For some reason I assumed you lived in England. I hope you were not offended. You certainly live in a beautiful part of the world.
The Newcastle's have gotten good reviews here over the years but are impossible to find. Too bad. I get the impression from the last review I read that they are very well built, heavy and do use great parts but are on the bright side. Sure wish I could hear one.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 27
Registered: May-04
Frank,

Thanks for you e-mail. It sounds like Arcam is the logical upgrade path from NAD. I would like a better receiver with more power and do not want to risk a Tx3 series NAD.

Before my local dealer we out of business, they rated the Arcam 3rd best in their shop behind Naim and Linn. I always liked Arcam's receivers.

My dad owns a Sherwood Newcastle and it is very nice and has good sound quality. I am not sure it is as good as my NAD, but it is hard for me to really compare since he is running Linn speakers and I run PSB.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 135
Registered: Sep-04
Mike

In my view, the AVR300 has a particularly clean and clear delivery, so much so that I drive it pretty hard usually, with no sense of strain. I imagine that the AVR250 won't be as good, but Arcam have been designing some really cutting edge products lately, so it will be very good.

Not surprised at your dealer's rating. That said, if he were around now I wouldn't be surprised if he thought the Arcam had eclipsed the Linn stuff. We had to give up doing Linn since none of it made sense to us musically and their unidisk machines aren't exactly top drawer performance either.

In a head to head, I wouldn't want to have to choose between the similarly priced Naim and Arcam FMJ options. They're both excellent. The Naim has a lot more flexibility for future upgrades and usually has the edge musically, but the Arcam is stunning value too.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 68
Registered: Sep-04
Frank

I've actually been told that the 250 is pretty much the same amp as the 300, same power supply same dac's, I understand that they played around with the rail voltage so that the amp would shell out 75W instead of the 100W of the 300.
Other differences are: no light on top the source selector buttons and no pre-outs.

Look at their web site all the specs are identical except for the Wattage. A dealer I visited made a joke saying someone could possibly hack into the 250 and make it a 300 with a fiew adjustment...
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 139
Registered: Sep-04
No pre-outs? Doesn't sound right for an Arcam product. I'd be surprised if that were true.

I had a quick (very quick) blast of the 250 on Saturday and what I heard made me very interested. It seemed very good indeed on a short blast. That said, what little I heard indicated that it may have more character than the very clean 300. Not sure since it was a very quick blast, but that's my impression so far.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 29
Registered: May-04
I heard the only differences between the AVR-300 & 250 were:
1) 100w x 7 (300) vs 75w x 7 (250)
2) AVR-300 has pre-outs for everything; AVR-250 only has a sub pre-out
3) Cosmetics. AVR-300 has some extra lighting on some buttons or something.

Otherwise, same guts, same DACs, same power source.

One other cool feature; for folks like me living with a 5.1 setup, you can bi-amp the zone 2/7.1 speakers to the fronts for extra 'umph'. Nice.

After looking at these, I am aiming at the AVR-250. My local dealer requires appointments, so maybe I can schedule one and give a complete report after seeing and listening in person.


 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 150
Registered: Sep-04
Sounds like a plan Mike! Let us know how you get on. Thing is, Arcam must be charging the extra for something other than a little more power and some lights!

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Omarj

Post Number: 12
Registered: Aug-04
I am also very interested in the AVR 250 and AVR 300. I currently have a Harman Kardon AVR 7500 with Def Tech 8b's in the front CLR 2002 Center and Promintor 200's for rears. Do you think the 250 would be better than the HK 7500? Would Arcam be a good match with the Def Techs? Please note that Audio is not my priority, Home Theatre is, and I know that Arcam is very good on the audio side so was just wondering if there is a compromise on the home theatre front. Given that most of the people say that there is not much of a difference other than the wattage between the 250 and 300 the 250 seems like the logical choice. My room is 15 X 21. Thanks
 

New member
Username: Blitzschnell

QubecCanada

Post Number: 5
Registered: Oct-04
Omar,

I have an AVR-200 in test for the week end, I own a HK AVR-330. There is no comparison possible between them. One plays music the other makes sounds ... I have Athena speaker which really come to life with arcam avr-200 ...
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 178
Registered: Sep-04
I checked the 250 on Saturday - you're right in that it doesn't have preouts. I guess this is fine if the owner has no intention of upgrading, but it seems odd (to say the least) not to have preouts on a £1000 receiver! It doesn't square up with the traditional Arcam owner who does upgrade over time, so once you've bought this amp, you can't use any other combination or build into the next amplification stage easily. I think this is ill-judged.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 31
Registered: May-04
Frank,

Besides the preouts, what was your opinion of the receiver?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 125
Registered: Dec-03
Do these Arcams still produce the "popping" noise when change volume levels and that sort of thing, or have they rectified that yet?
 

Hugo
Unregistered guest
Darryl,

I'm about to get a AVR-250, what are those popping noise your are talking about ? Is it occuring when the receiver change from dts to dolby for example ?

Is there any alternative to avr-250 ? is there a receiver, in that price tag, which is as musical as the arcam ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 126
Registered: Dec-03
A recent review I read on the Arcam 300 described some low level popping noises when changing the volume on the receiver. I haven't heard the Arcams yet, so I cannot comment on this personally, though I am heading to an Arcam dealer today or tomorrow to audition one.

As far as alternatives to the 250 go, I believe that it's generally held that Rotel, Arcam, and NAD all make very musical receivers with an emphasis on performance, not bells-and-whistles. The 773 would be the closest match from NAD, while either the 1056 or 1067 would be the match from Rotel depending on whether you wanted to buck up the extra cash for a 7-channel Rotel receiver.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 186
Registered: Sep-04
Darryl

I have not noticed any low level popping noises from any of our Arcam receivers. I'm guessing the reviewer had a duff one.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 127
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Frank. My other big concern was heat... I've heard from many that Arcams have a habit of running really hot. Coupled with the current-limiting switch the Arcams use, which is generally indicative of lackluster high current output, I was a bit worried about the 300's ability to drive high-demand loads...?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 71
Registered: Sep-04
Hi Darryl,

I just pick up an AVR 250 v2.90 a week ago and let me reassure you that I've heard no popping sounds, Hisses and the amp does get hot or excessively hot. I just changed this amp from the Nad t773 and i've had no regrets, that little arcam is a big performer.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Maroonmike

Dixie, USA

Post Number: 32
Registered: May-04
Why did you choose the 250 over the 300? Just curious if it was any reason besides price?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 72
Registered: Sep-04
Price was a big factor, and the fact that the 250 is basically the same as the 300 less the preamp outputs (which I wont use) the lights and the power differences (75x7 vs 100x7)

They both sound identical, unless you like your music extremely loud.

the specs on the units are identical, same DACs same current draw same power supply...

I've been told that if you wanted you could probably hack into the receiver and change the rail voltage so that your 250 would give you 100x7...not going to try it, I like it too much.
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 128
Registered: Dec-03
Hi Sound, Just out of curiosity, why did you go with the 250 over your 773 (the 773 has more features and power for the same price tag)?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 129
Registered: Dec-03
I'm especially interested in how the Arcam 250 or 300 compares against the NAD 773. I currently own a 743, and had planned to upgrade to the 773, but the Arcam 300 caught my attention in the meantime.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 192
Registered: Sep-04
The 300 is a great amp. However, I think you're right that it can't drive very demanding loads. Now I've not managed to get it to complain yet, even though I regularly use it at very high volumes indeed so what I'm saying is just a feeling. The thing about the 300 is that it just gets louder with absolutely no distortion whatsoever - fabulous amp.

I haven't played with the 250 enough yet to come up with the differences. On an extremely brief listen it obviously has the 'house' Arcam sound and may have a slightly bigger or warmer bass, but as I say it was a VERY brief listen.

The NAD 773 is meant to be one very fine machine indeed. I haven't heard it yet but the rep has eulogised over the thing which is saying something since she's usually quite restrained about anything they make!

regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 130
Registered: Dec-03
It's interesting to note that (if I recall correctly) Arcam has their receivers made by the same Chinese manufacturer that NAD uses. However, you never hear anyone complaining about Arcam's reliability or QC...?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 73
Registered: Sep-04
Well Darryl,

I had a Nad t773 previously to my Arcam 250, I just found the Nad too noisy (Fan & Hiss) this noise was just too much of a factor at lower volumes or during very quiet passages during movie watching...appart from that the nad was a very good sounding receiver.

I've had no regrets whatsoever from the change, I say the arcam has better defined high and low frequency but i'll give the nad the advantage of the mid range (just a little fuller)

believe it or not I'm hearing a lot more detail in both music but also in home theater. Power has not been an issue since the Arcam also plays very loud without sounding strained in anyway.

I'm also bi-amping my fronts, something the Nad couldn't offer.

I say in the end both are great units, just know what your getting into before buying one.
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmeister

Post Number: 131
Registered: Dec-03
And you say it doesn't run very hot? That was one of the concerns I had with the Arcams. (That, and their ability to drive high loads.)
 

Bronze Member
Username: Mgkaplan

Calabasas, CA USA

Post Number: 90
Registered: Mar-04
No one on this board seems to have had any problems with the Arcam receivers. Contrary to their various concerns prior to testing the Arcam receivers, everyone who has tested one, seems to agree that Arcam meets every challenge presented, and delivers outstanding sound.

I have had my AVR 300 since April and it has performed flawlessly. It sounds much more musical, open and detailed than the NAD that it replaced. In addition, the ability to biamp the main speakers adds significantly to Arcam's performance.

Feel free to contact me directly if you want more input or details.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Agimat

Post Number: 58
Registered: Aug-04
Michael

Any comment on the ARCAM AVR 200?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Mgkaplan

Calabasas, CA USA

Post Number: 91
Registered: Mar-04
I have not listened to the AVR 200. Although I have seen many positive posts about the 200, my understanding is that the 250 and 300 are much more substantial.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 199
Registered: Sep-04
The AVR200 was based on an earlier Arcam design. It's a good machine with a better than average musical performance so still worth a look, especially as there are a few dealers around who are offering the last-of-line models at significant discount.

That said, on the basis of my brief listen to the AVR250 and good knowledge of the 300, it's not in that class by a long chalk. the new amps have the biamp facility to provide more power and they have an outstandingly clean preamp for the money.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 74
Registered: Sep-04
Agreed,

Also having said that, I've heard the Arcam Avr 200 directly versus the Rotel 1056 and at that level both amp operated flawlessly (it would be very hard to decide between them), the 200 is also a great machine but not quite to the level of the newer 250 and 300's
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