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Arcam AVR300 Review

First of all, I do not consider myself an expert, especially in regard to Home Theater but wish to provide my opinion regarding this receiver/processor. I’ve owned and used the 300 AVR for about 3 weeks now using it for stereo listening and 5.1 and agree with most of the published reviews; they are not exagerations of its excellent performance for home theater. Also, its functional versatility surpasses anything that I’ve used, albeit, it is newer by at least 5 years than my previous HT processors, and its sound quality is superior to systems costing much more. In my opinion,it is easily the best buy on the market for many reasons. As far as its capabilities as a stereo amplifier, I’m still evaluating ways to best incorporate it into my system. I realize that much of what people enjoy listening to is based on personal taste and that various combinations of up and downtream electronics bears heavily, sometimes subtly on the final sound. With this in mind I will relate my personal but relatively experienced view. Using either the Theta or California Audio Lab CD transports’ digital outputs to the 300-AVR I found the sound to be detailed but bright, almost shrill, for some jazz passages, especially the alto sax. However, using a CAL DAC between the two tamed this to a very appealing, almost warm sound w/o sacrificing content. Because my McCormack DNA HT-3 amp is out for repair and I have not placed my other amp back into the system yet either, I am using this time to experiment with the ultimate possibility of condensing my system to the point of no longer using the McCormack amps at all. From the standpoint of home theater, that decision has already been made; the Arcam is a definite keeper. For stereo the jury is still out but I’m fairly confident that if any HT processor/receiver can fill the bill, this is the one. By the way, aside from the equipment mentioned above for stereo I’m using a Sony DVP S9000ES DVD player, Martin Logan Odyssey front speakers, JM Lab center, etc.

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