Arcam A28/CD17 combo opinions (vs NAD C372)


New member
Username: Halfempty


Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-08
Currently have a NAD C325BEE amp and C542 CDP, and just picked up a pair of Totem Arro's.

As per what I've read here, and from Totem, the NAD amp can't properly power these speakers.

The options I have are:
1. Return the NAD amp to the store I bought it from where I can get full credit towards an upgrade to the C372. That would be a difference of about $450CAD.
2. A friend of mine can get me a new Arcam A28 for $1100 CAD (tax incl.). I would then need to sell the NAD amp. The difference here could be about $800, but Arcam *should* be a lot better.(?)

If I went with the Arcam, I would then have the choice of keeping my NAD CDP or getting the Arcam CD17 for $600CAD. Not sure how much better the Arcam is, though.

The issues I have are:
1. There aren't any dealers around me that have Arcam, so listening to them will be problematic.
2. My friend tells me that all prices are going up 25% in a couple of days due to the drop in the Canadian dollar, so I need to make a decision quickly if I get the Arcam gear from him.

I was hoping there are some people here who have been able to listen to these Arcam pieces, and give me their take on their "sonic signatures" (e.g. forward, bright, etc.). I can't seem to find many reviews about them anywhere.
How they sound with Totem Arro's would be an added bonus.

Also, if anyone can comment on the capabilities of an Arcam CD17 vs NAD CPD's, that would be great.

My guess is the difference in quality between the amps is more than the CDP's (?).

I generally listen to everything but country, but when I'm actively listening to this system, I focus on Jazz, Classical, Acoustic rock, and alternative rock (Pink Floyd, early Genesis).

I had already reached out to Frank as he seems to be a Totem lover. Thanks Frank!

Thanks for helping me out on my first post!!


Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2055
Registered: Jun-07
I can only give you my opinion on what is a more musical combination and that is definitely the Arcam combo. I have owned 60 percent of NAD products, and have heard all of them. I also had that Arcam cd player here for an audition, and heard that combo at a local hi fi dealer here in my home town. Personally, I feel the Arcam combo is the way to go. More musical, more involving, and probably a much better match with Totem speakers. This is my ears. Cheers.

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3078
Registered: May-05
Totem and NAD don't mix very well IMO, and a lot of other's opinion as well. Adding more NAD power will make it a bit better, but its more of a short term fix than long term.

Arcam is a great pairing with Totem. Totem recommends Arcam over just about anything in their price range (you alluded to this). They may use Arcam in their development.

Comparing NAD and Arcam on paper is a bit difficult for me. But I'll give it a shot. This is in general, and not component specific. Both companies are pretty consistant throughout their range. This is also to my ears, others may disagree...

Arcam is a lot cleaner sounding, not from a background noise perspective. NAD tends to exagerate things, which blurs the music, so to speak. Arcam is therefore more detailed, and sounds a bit quicker. The attack and decay of notes is quicker and truer IMO, thereby sounding more natural. Everything sounds tighter - highs are less shouty, mids are more natural, lows are better controlled. Arcam sounds flatter in frequency response. Its not as tipped in the high, mid, or low region, as NAD is tipped up in the lower mid/low region. Arcam may be a bit softer/more polite in the highs. I think this is due to more cleanliness. I don't think either is more forward or laid back, in terms of where the soundstage is. Arcam may be slightly more forward if anything.

Just because I described it as better in pretty much every way, doesn't mean that everyone will prefer Arcam over NAD. Some think its a bit too soft in the highs. Some say its clinical or analytical, and not musical. I can see where they get thses impressions, but I don't agree.

I'd take an Arcam over an NAD any day. But that's just me. I've been fortunate to have spent time around both. The Arcam/Totem combo is quite good IMO.

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3295
Registered: Sep-04
David, you didn't mention the AMAZING deals (just that you had a deal). $1100 CND is about £541. The A28 is meant to be £750 so that's 60% of retail. He's offerred you a sweeter than sweet deal. I just wonder why.

New member
Username: Halfempty


Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-08
I know it's a great deal ;)

That's why I think I might just get it sight unseen, even though I will lose money on the NAD.

How is the CD17 price I mentioned?

If I told you, I'd have to shoot you :-) (actually shoot me...)


Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3298
Registered: Sep-04
The CD17 seems like a similar deal to the A28, so once again it's very good indeed. Is this guy a good friend of yours or something?

New member
Username: Halfempty


Post Number: 4
Registered: Oct-08
Yes, he is.
Don't worry, it's nothing illegal or a scam :-)

They're being shipped now and should receive them tomorrow. Can't wait.

Frank, I thing you recommended some interconnects and speaker cables for this combo. What were they again?

Now I just need to sell my new NAD stuff.


Silver Member
Username: Soundgame

Richmond Hill Toronto ..., Ontario Canada

Post Number: 251
Registered: Jun-08
That is one sweet deal. Your buddy want to sell any more at that price...he he.

Let us know how it works out.
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