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Arcam Diva A85 has no Personality, New Amp Needed!

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T

the record spot

Guest
d_a_n1979:RS I'm stamping the badge out for you as we speak...


Apologies... Been one of them days...

As the saying goes "don't sweat the small stuff". Not a problem.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
APatel8:

Fraz1:i would change the interconnect and speaker cable first of all for something with no silver in it. QED is bright sounding cable with speakers that have a forward treble.Not a good combination imo. You said you use your laptop for music, i take it your tracks are on the laptop lossless?

What cabling/interconnect is better then? Everybody recommended QED for speaker cable to me on here and Silver High Breed for the interconnect on here for me.

I would never use silver cable on monitor audio speakers and especially not with an arcam amp. For me it is just too bright. I used to have an arcam diva amp with mon audio RS1 speakers and used qed x tube 400 ,but had also demo'd chord odyssey.I thought they were good cables until i tried DNM reson and DNM precision. It was a revelation. It was a much better combination with the amp and speakers than odyssey or x tube and gave a fuller more neutral sound removing the brightness. I wish i had used it before. It really opened my eyes as to just how bright and shiney sounding silver cable is, especially with Mon audio speakers and especially QED cable.

The interconnect you use will not help either.Again, DNM and cyrus do good all copper cables that are excellent but there are some silver plated interconnects that are neutral sounding. I would also change your source. Using a laptop is far from ideal in my opinion. Get a decent cd player.

I noticed you said you were going to look at Roksan Kandy stuff. I would avoid the Roksan kandy amp or cd player unless you are going to change your speakers.They sound brutal with monitor audio speakers and with your speaker cable would be like fingernails down a blackboard imo. At the risk of causing some aggro, i would agree that nad stuff would give you the sort of sound you crave. I also love it so am happy to recommend it!
 

Rich27

New member
Apr 19, 2009
1
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0
What quality of mp3 are you using through the dac, what media player are you using and how is it connected?

IMHO if you are using anything less than some kind of lossless files all the talk of changing amps and cables is just smoke and mirrors until you sort this out.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
God this is hard.

Everyone has different opinions I know, but there's a lot of contradicting opinion's here. I guess it would be best to gauge if anyone here has owned any Monitor Audio Speakers (preferably RS8s) and has the same taste in music that I do - then an amp recommendation would probably mean a lot more. No dis-respect to those who have helped, it is all very much appreciated.

Someone who has paired NAD and Monitor Audio is of the opinion that for RnB music, he found the NADs a little too cuddly for these type of tracks, and therefore recommended Roksan Kandy - however, the above post seems to completely scratch that (no pun intended).

Guess right now, I am between Roksan, NAD and AudioLabs.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Rich27:
What quality of mp3 are you using through the dac, what media player are you using and how is it connected?

IMHO if you are using anything less than some kind of lossless files all the talk of changing amps and cables is just smoke and mirrors until you sort this out.

Generally 192/320kbps - DAC connected to Laptop via USB and then to AMP via SHB interconnects. Using Windows Media Player.

To be honest, I've heard CD quality on some great set ups and it sounds excellent, but I've also heard MP3s sound very good on systems too - good enough for my ears anyway - I am not that much of an audiophile to be obsessed with perfect sound, but I do think I would get an improvement changing my amp - especially since I was quite happy with it to begin with. It's just a case now that the novelty has worn off and I want something that gives me a punchier sound and more clarity - I think I would get this with a change of Amp, and possibly interconnects too.

I will never use a CD player as a source because it's not an option for me considering the way I listen to music.
 

Rich27

New member
Apr 19, 2009
1
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0
Before you spend serious money you can play around with the media and see if this makes any difference. Try ripping a couple of cd's using the maximum quality that Windows Media Player can use (forgive me I am not familiar with WMP as I use Mac's) and see if this makes a difference. You could try downloading iTunes or one of the other various media players and see if these make a difference too.

Does your laptop have a mini optical out, many do and this will probably sound a lot better than usb out?

I used a MF V-DAC before I had the Naim and to be honest, using an apple tv and lossless rips from cd this ran the CD5X I had at the time bloody close in terms of sound quality. So no problem with this as a dac.

Hope this is of some use!
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Not stuck between those three at all mate.

I was going to suggest a couple before, but didn't when I saw your speakers, but will again as my memory of the reviews of the day and current user opinions sing their praises.

Harman Kardon again (sorry Dan...!), but not a current model, this time the HK1200 which you can snag for pennies almost. It was around £300 in the mid-90s, but reviewed very well and HK's 1990s kit was very nice. I nearly bought one myself a few weeks back when I saw a cracking one on Ebay for about £60. Do a search and see what folk say (you might find a review from back then kicking around somewhere).

Another one is an earlier Cyrus model - the Cyrus Straight Line amp. Many folk preferred this over the III of the day as it was a line only, non-remote amp which users apparently preferred.

I can't say having not heard either, but the write-ups for both are extremely good.

Bartlett's in London have the Cyrus, currently £150 used, but in decent nick. Again, you can stick on a power amp when funds allow (plenty of used Cyrus power amps out there). they might even let you try it out if you ask the nice people there (I enquired a few weeks back and it was possible - all you do is pay up, try it out and return it if you don't like it though it will cost you postage obviously).

So, you're really not stuck with just three choices. There are heaps out there.

Both of those amps are around the 50w mark by the by. Just check the sensitivity of the speakers and take it from there. I assume they're not too demanding and the amps would be fine.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Rich27:
Before you spend serious money you can play around with the media and see if this makes any difference. Try ripping a couple of cd's using the maximum quality that Windows Media Player can use (forgive me I am not familiar with WMP as I use Mac's) and see if this makes a difference. You could try downloading iTunes or one of the other various media players and see if these make a difference too.

Does your laptop have a mini optical out, many do and this will probably sound a lot better than usb out?

I used a MF V-DAC before I had the Naim and to be honest, using an apple tv and lossless rips from cd this ran the CD5X I had at the time bloody close in terms of sound quality. So no problem with this as a dac.

Hope this is of some use!

Cheers Rich!

My laptop does have an optical out, but I remember when I first bought the V-Dac I read somewhere that Coax, Optical or USB connection to laptop would all essentially produce the same sound - you don't think that's accurate?
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
To my mind the fault lies with the amp. It's perfectly possible for your source to sound great, and those speakers ought to match Arcam well. However, they're big and in my experience the Diva range weren't dynamic enough without adding more power. Before you throw good money after bad, then, I'd suggest you get one of the bigger Arcam power amps (borrowed from a dealer or bought off the bay - 200 should get you a good example) and bi-amp. If that doesn't sort you out then you definitely need something else (and the power amp should make its money back at auction if thqt's what you have to do).
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
APatel8:
Hi Guys,

My current set-up is Monitor Audio RS8s connected to Arcam Diva A85 via QED Silver Anniversary Bi-Wire. Music is played through laptop through Musical Fidelity V-Dac - this is connected to Amp with Silver High Breed interconnects.

When I first got the set-up, I was ecstatic, but the more my ears have become used to the sound, the more plain it is becoming. I listen to mainly Hip Hop/RnB which is quite punchy music, so I need an amplifier with a bit of life to it, which isn't going to sound harsh. I don't play music particularly loud, apart from on the odd occasion, so the clarity is what I am most concerned with. However, even at low-levels the Arcam seems to struggle, and the clarity fades with the higher volumes.

I imagine bi-amping would really improve things, but unfortunately I'm not in a financial position to do that at the moment. For that reason I will probably sell on my Arcam Diva A85 for about £250 and then add a bit to that for a power amp upgrade.

So based on the requirements, what amp would people recommend for around £300 second-hand to improve this set-up? I'm not expecting anything massive given the constraints, but would still like to hear people's opinions.

Cheers!

Hi APatel8

I know the A85 well. I quickly came to the conclusion that the A85 was ok and could be bettered upon by other amps for similar money. I never sold a single A85.

One amplifier i will highly recommend you should also consider is Rotel's RA-1062 (which you should be able find for around £300 or so). In the 92 demos done of the RA-1062 versus the A85 the RA-1062 was chosen by 90 of my clients (regardless of associated components used). The RA-1062 also cost less and had an RRP of £600 as opposed to £800 for the A85.

The RA-1062 is rated at 60w/ch however its quality of power enables it to provide enough zest so as to maintain clarity with grip from low to high volume levels. The RA-1062 can peak out 500w of current rich power into a 1ohm load which is text book. This is not surprising considering 801's was one of the speakers used at the develpoment stage.

I see you have decided to change your speaker cables however i will suggest that you also consider single wiring with a generic speaker cable which will be very modestly priced and will suit your speakers. Please also use standard mains cables supplied with your components.

Btw, a NAD C370 amplifier is also worth consideration.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,637
84
19,770
JohnDuncan:To my mind the fault lies with the amp. It's perfectly possible for your source to sound great, and those speakers ought to match Arcam well. However, they're big and in my experience the Diva range weren't dynamic enough without adding more power. Before you throw good money after bad, then, I'd suggest you get one of the bigger Arcam power amps (borrowed from a dealer or bought off the bay - 200 should get you a good example) and bi-amp. If that doesn't sort you out then you definitely need something else (and the power amp should make its money back at auction if thqt's what you have to do).

The Op did originally say that doesn't have the money to try a power amp. It would be the obvious choice, granted. Trying to find s/hand or ex-dem power amps is tricky to say the least. As mentioned before the OP budget is fairly tight, therefore it's hard to find the right solution.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
plastic penguin:The Op did originally say that doesn't have the money to try a power amp. It would be the obvious choice, granted. Trying to find s/hand or ex-dem power amps is tricky to say the least. As mentioned before the OP budget is fairly tight, therefore it's hard to find the right solution

Surely you'd agree though that adding a power amplifier to an A85 is the obvious solution, and one that can be done for more or less zero loss if it doesn't work? There are 22 on eBay at the moment of various hues, and will probably cost less than a sidegrade to a different amp which may or may not provide the solution.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
JohnDuncan:To my mind the fault lies with the amp. It's perfectly possible for your source to sound great, and those speakers ought to match Arcam well. However, they're big and in my experience the Diva range weren't dynamic enough without adding more power. Before you throw good money after bad, then, I'd suggest you get one of the bigger Arcam power amps (borrowed from a dealer or bought off the bay - 200 should get you a good example) and bi-amp. If that doesn't sort you out then you definitely need something else (and the power amp should make its money back at auction if thqt's what you have to do).

This was my thinking too. As someone said earlier in the thread, the other things are not as significant.

Unfortunately, I don't have any funds to buy an additional amp. I am relying on selling my current amp and then using those funds (+ a bit more) for a new integrated amp, which should be about £300-£350.

Any integrated amp recommendos for the musical taste?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
JohnDuncan:plastic penguin:The Op did originally say that doesn't have the money to try a power amp. It would be the obvious choice, granted. Trying to find s/hand or ex-dem power amps is tricky to say the least. As mentioned before the OP budget is fairly tight, therefore it's hard to find the right solutionSurely you'd agree though that adding a power amplifier to an A85 is the obvious solution, and one that can be done for more or less zero loss if it doesn't work? There are 22 on eBay at the moment of various hues, and will probably cost less than a sidegrade to a different amp which may or may not provide the solution.

What would be the name of the Arcam power amp I should look at? I guess I could always busy and test to see if the bi-amping improves the sound. If possible though, I would prefer an integrated amp to deliver a better result than I'm currently getting.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
reggaedave:mine will be fine with R&B and hip hop mate....LOL

Ha ha, thanks for the reply!
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
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0
APatel8:
JohnDuncan:plastic penguin:The Op did originally say that doesn't have the money to try a power amp. It would be the obvious choice, granted. Trying to find s/hand or ex-dem power amps is tricky to say the least. As mentioned before the OP budget is fairly tight, therefore it's hard to find the right solutionSurely you'd agree though that adding a power amplifier to an A85 is the obvious solution, and one that can be done for more or less zero loss if it doesn't work? There are 22 on eBay at the moment of various hues, and will probably cost less than a sidegrade to a different amp which may or may not provide the solution.

What would be the name of the Arcam power amp I should look at? I guess I could always busy and test to see if the bi-amping improves the sound. If possible though, I would prefer an integrated amp to deliver a better result than I'm currently getting.

See if you can get an Arcam Alpha 10P power amp or an Arcam DiVA P85 or P90 power amp via eBay.

Price wise - between £150 and £250 IMO
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
Hi APatel8

I haven't read any of this thread other than your original post, so I apologise if I repeat anything. Usually I won't get involved in threads this big as it's just too much to read through (but I like to know what has been said). And you asked


You could try an Arcam Alpha 10 amplifier. I know this might seem to be replacing your current amp with something similar, but from what I recall, I never found the Alpha 10 dull to listen to - it was quite neutral (unusually for Arcam) and had plenty iof kick behind it. I suspect your A85 isn't controlling the RS6's bass properly, so you're getting a duller, lacklustre sound with no attack.

If you want a different manufacturer, maybe a 90's Audiolab 8000P and 8000C pre/power.
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
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I'm with the above on this


More so if you can get one with its matching power amp; they'd drive the RS8's to heaven and back
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Cheers guys.

Out of shere curiosity I tried my mate's Cyrus with these just now. My ears are bleeding. Bass kills the Arcam but top-end is ear stabbing!!!
 

Sorreltiger

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2008
40
0
18,540
Sorry - I'm with Rich on this one. The original problem and the result when the Cyrus was put into the chain sounds as if it comes back to playing mp3s. They may be of quite reasonable quality, but IMO before spending loads of money you ought to try lossless to see if it takes away the harshness and brings more subtlety.
 

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