A home test. Arcam Alpha 7R V A65 Plus

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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After a lot of pressure from the fiancee to sell some of my old hi-fi equipment, I've decided on carrying out my own test. Last night I dusted down my old Alpha to see whether it can still cut the mustard.

May I stress this is for research purposes, so no magazine or professional body is or will be involved.

Both amps have the same sources, MA RS6's, CD73T, Project Xpression 1, Marantz tuner 2060ML; Sony CRT & DVD Recorder and Panasonic VHS. The leads are Chord Chryslis and Merlin Chopin; speaker cable Carnival Silver Plus.

Amplifier history: Alpha 7 I purchased in 1998 from Richer Sounds, Kingston = £299.00

A65 Plus I bought in 2004 from Unilet = £350

I will post the results before the weekend finishes, which is being done on a points-based system. This is the only way I know of carrying out a fair test.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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Will be interesting. I still have an Arcam 7R, and my old Arcam A80.

The A80 is in another league entirely IMO...more musical, more clout, more clarity, and simply more 'hifi' But I guess it was originally £600 or thereabouts.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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What an interesting weekend this has been. The test started at 8.30pm Friday and concluded last night around the same time, minus shopping trips and an afternoon out [a very hot afternnon] at Brooklands yesterday.

Both amps performed as expected; the upper mid and treble is very impressive and the lower frequencies are absolutely fine, well defined if you avoid bass-heavy songs like early Costello. Spin "Watching the detectives" and the Alpha nudges ahead regards low end solidity. The Alpha's timing is a tad crisper and is particularly noticable when you crank up "All night long" by Rainbow. The detail levels on both units is superb for the money. No worries there.

This all sounds like the Alpha wins hands down, doesn't it. Well no, listen to some Classical stuff and the Alpha lacks a smidgen with dynamic swing, comparatively speaking. Also put on a Madagascar DVD and you notice the film doesn't grip you as much as the A65.

There is another small but distinct difference: the mid-range of the A65 is slightly smoother, not better, than the Alpha. This I feel sure is a case of IMHO. Boring it may be, but It really is down to simple case of personal taste - or even what mood your in?

To conclude: If you're after an amp purely for music, then the Alpha is your kiddie. For all-round ability including films and TV and a slightly safe mid, the A65 Plus.

The point of the exercise was to weed out the duff one. I thought it would be pretty clear-cut. How wrong can one person be? I'm still divided but I'll probably sell the Alpha. No other reason than because the remote matches the A65 amp and CD player perfectly.
 
T

the record spot

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Not a bad idea this; I have my old NAD3020A, Arcam Alpha 5 and current Marantz amps all within relatively easy reach. Might give this Vintage v. Contemporary shootout a bit of a blast (not literally) soon!

My money's on the NAD still holding up quite well 22 years down the line, the Arcam being strong, but the Marantz being the pick of the bunch - this is purely down to sonics, the build on all three is pretty impressive and none of them skimped in this area IMO. The Arcam especially doesn't look like a £250 unit.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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You can bring it with you on Thursday if you're still up for it (presumably you're down my way, being a Unilet customer) and we can do some A/B. Obviously we will be knob-agnostic, otherwise there'll be no contest.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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JohnDuncan:You can bring it with you on Thursday if you're still up for it (presumably you're down my way, being a Unilet customer) and we can do some A/B. Obviously we will be knob-agnostic, otherwise there'll be no contest.

can I have your address please, JD
 

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