Arcam power amp advice

gryffe

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Sep 8, 2013
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Hi,

Looking for some advice on Arcam power amps. I currently have an Arcam FMJ P35 power amp that I bought at least 10 years ago, perhaps even before that. It is still working away good style, but I have a bit of an itch to scratch and I am thinking of replacing it. I am looking at the Arcam PA410, but would only consider buying it if it will outperform the P35. Would any of you kind souls be able to give me some advice on whether this is a worthwhile upgrade, or if in fact the P35 is actually superior?

I am clueless when it comes to reading all the technical specs, so I have included links to specs for both amps. Would appreciate it if any of you peeps can have a quick scan at the specs and advise?

https://resources.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/images/manuals/ARCAM-PA410-Spec.pdf

https://www.arcam.co.uk/ugc/tor/fmj-p35-power-amplifier/User Manual/a32p35e_manual.pdf

Thanks in advance

Kevin
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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Hi,

Looking for some advice on Arcam power amps. I currently have an Arcam FMJ P35 power amp that I bought at least 10 years ago, perhaps even before that. It is still working away good style, but I have a bit of an itch to scratch and I am thinking of replacing it. I am looking at the Arcam PA410, but would only consider buying it if it will outperform the P35. Would any of you kind souls be able to give me some advice on whether this is a worthwhile upgrade, or if in fact the P35 is actually superior?

I am clueless when it comes to reading all the technical specs, so I have included links to specs for both amps. Would appreciate it if any of you peeps can have a quick scan at the specs and advise?

https://resources.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/images/manuals/ARCAM-PA410-Spec.pdf

https://www.arcam.co.uk/ugc/tor/fmj-p35-power-amplifier/User Manual/a32p35e_manual.pdf

Thanks in advance

Kevin
According to the specs, your P35 is a more powerful amp (on paper at least). With 2 channels driven, it has 100W @8ohm versus the PA410's 60W.
The amount of watts is not always the full story, so you would have to demo one to be sure.
I have little knowledge of the Arcam amps, so I am only commenting on the basic specs published.
 
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gryffe

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Thank you.
As I say the P35 is still performing well, but I wonder if power amps have evolved/improved much over the last 10 years or more, the way other HIFI components have, eg DACS and perhaps integrated amps? Is it all about the power, or have the electronics under the hood improved in a way that ultimately improves the sound quality of new power amps over older power amps?
 

Al ears

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Thank you.
As I say the P35 is still performing well, but I wonder if power amps have evolved/improved much over the last 10 years or more, the way other HIFI components have, eg DACS and perhaps integrated amps? Is it all about the power, or have the electronics under the hood improved in a way that ultimately improves the sound quality of new power amps over older power amps?
In my opinion a good power amp is exactly that, although different amplifier classes have appeared over the years they do the same thing and not necessarily better.
I would be asking about the age and reliability of said amps and not if one is better than the other.
I don't know the age of the amps you mention but development hadn't moved on in leaps and bounds
What preamp are you using?
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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Thank you.
As I say the P35 is still performing well, but I wonder if power amps have evolved/improved much over the last 10 years or more, the way other HIFI components have, eg DACS and perhaps integrated amps? Is it all about the power, or have the electronics under the hood improved in a way that ultimately improves the sound quality of new power amps over older power amps?
It is possible that a newer amp is better but it is likely to be more about its design and construction and whether the two amps you mention are similar in design or significantly different.
Again I don't know much about the Arcams but on face value I would stick with your current amp (versus the 410).
 
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gryffe

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Sep 8, 2013
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In my opinion a good power amp is exactly that, although different amplifier classes have appeared over the years they do the same thing and not necessarily better.
I would be asking about the age and reliability of said amps and not if one is better than the other.
I don't know the age of the amps you mention but development hadn't moved on in leaps and bounds
What preamp are you using?
Im using the Musical Fidelity M3Si.


I would love to partner this with a Musical Fidelity power amp but they seem to be quite expensive.

I'm not too hung up on brands, and not overly bothered about both pre and power being the same brand. I used to partner the P35 with an Arcam A18, but the M3Si blows the A18 out the water imo.

I'm really just looking for a power amp in the £1000-1500 price range to compliment the M3Si, but I wonder if I'll actually struggle to better the P35 at that price range?

Edit, posted this before seeing Jonathans reply
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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Aah, didnt really notice that. I'm not into home cinema so just assumed it was an amp for hifi. So no, I just need a 2 channel amp.
The 410 will still do 2 channel as will the Arcam P429 - another 4 channel amp but for an extra £400 you get more power but a different class of amp in terms of its design.
Really you need someone who knows more about the Arcam range really, or get one home to listen to.
On paper at least the P429 looks a better candidate to rival your P35.
 
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Al ears

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Im using the Musical Fidelity M3Si.


I would love to partner this with a Musical Fidelity power amp but they seem to be quite expensive.

I'm not too hung up on brands, and not overly bothered about both pre and power being the same brand. I used to partner the P35 with an Arcam A18, but the M3Si blows the A18 out the water imo.

I'm really just looking for a power amp in the £1000-1500 price range to compliment the M3Si, but I wonder if I'll actually struggle to better the P35 at that price range?

Edit, posted this before seeing Jonathans reply
Personally I wouldn't waste money on using an integrated amp with a power amplifier.
If that integrated doesn't supply enough power for your speakers keep it simple and then consider a pre amp / power amp combo.
To me it's a tad alien to complicate a decent integrated by adding a power amp from a different manufacturer but whatever, it's down to you.
Just what are you trying to drive that needs more than 70 wpc?
 

gryffe

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The 410 will still do 2 channel as will the Arcam P429 - another 4 channel amp but for an extra £400 you get more power but a different class of amp in terms of its design.
Really you need someone who knows more about the Arcam range really, or get one home to listen to.
On paper at least the P429 looks a better candidate to rival your P35.
Cheers Jonathan. I'll look to try and get one to demo
 

gryffe

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Aah, in my ignorance I thought pre and integrated amps are the same thing.
I've never tried the Musical Fidelity powering the speakers on its own, it's always been in combination with the Arcam. So perhaps I am better ditching both these amps, and going down the pre/power combo route? Or perhaps get an Arcam pre to partner with the P35 power amp?
So what exactly is the difference between a pre and integrated. Is it that the integrated can drive speakers, but the pre cannot?
 

12th Monkey

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I had an Arcam A32 integrated acting as pre-amp (i.e. bypassing internal amplification) and two P35s biamping. I replaced the A32 with a Musical Fidelity dedicated pre-amp, and the gains were more than worthwhile - the Arcam sound was a little soft and restrained, it seems. Subsequently replaced P35s and upgraded pre-amp, all with MF stuff.

There's no harm in mixing and matching manufacturers, and there's always eBay.
 
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rainsoothe

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The preamp has a bigger influence on sound than you might think - perhaps even more than a power amp. So right now, the sound characteristics you like are probably the MF's.

But first of all, I'd try using the MF as an integrated, it might just be enough on it's own, and you can simplify your system.
 
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Al ears

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Aah, in my ignorance I thought pre and integrated amps are the same thing.
I've never tried the Musical Fidelity powering the speakers on its own, it's always been in combination with the Arcam. So perhaps I am better ditching both these amps, and going down the pre/power combo route? Or perhaps get an Arcam pre to partner with the P35 power amp?
So what exactly is the difference between a pre and integrated. Is it that the integrated can drive speakers, but the pre cannot?
The integrated amp is so called because it has the preamplifier section and the power amplifier component in one box.
A preamplifier on its own will not drive speakers, and needs to be connected to a power amplifier.
In your set-up you have paid for the power amplifier section in the MF but aren't actually using it.
My suggestion is you try connecting speakers to the MF and see how it sounds.
What speakers are you trying to drive?
 
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gryffe

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Hi, thanks for the replies.

The speakers are Monitor Audio Bronze 6.

Edit, should have said. Have 8 runs of speaker cable with banana plugs both ends.
 
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amormusic

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My two pence FWIW.

Your MF integrated is a grand amp. You are wanting to spend 1-1.5k on a power amp. As others have said above try the integrated alone first, you may not need the Arcam at all.

Your speakers are 500 quid. Your MF amp is considerably more than your speakers. I'd wager that the 1-1.5k instead spent on a better pair of speakers would give you a huge jump in performance.

BTW on hifi wigwam is a bloke called Nigel 'TheFlash' - probably the biggest Arcam fanboy going who'd probably be able to answer your Arcam questions. However, as mentioned I think you might be going about it wrong.
 
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Jez l

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May 1, 2020
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Like you I experimented with an integrated amp driving a power amp.

Imo the pre amp makes a big difference to sound.

I now use a passive pre amp driving two power amps. It has given me the sound that I was after all along.

I'd suggest getting a dedicated pre amp and using that to feed your power amp, you are likely to get bigger changes in sound via changing pre amp, as opposed to power amp
 
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gryffe

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Hi, thanks for replies. The speakers did cost £700 new, so not sure if you are judging the speakers on their current price, rather than their capabilities? Here is the spec
System Format
2 1/2 Way
Frequency Response
34Hz - 30kHz
Sensitivity (1W @ 1M)
90dB
Nominal Impedance
8O
Maximum SPL (dBA @1M – each)
114.8dBA (pair)
Power Handling R.M.S.
150W
Recommended Amplifier Requirements
40-150W
Cabinet Design
Bass section - Front/rear bass reflex with HiVe®II Port technology. Sealed mid-range enclosure.
Crossover Frequency
LF: -6dB @ 150Hz
MF/HF: 2.5kHz
Drive Unit Complement
2 x 6 1/2" C-CAM® bass
1 x 6 1/2" C-CAM® bass mid-range driver
1 x 25 mm gold dome C-CAM® tweeter
Cabinet Dimensions: (H x W x D)
985 x 185 x 315 mm
(38 3/4 x 7 5/16 x 12 3/8 inches)
Complete Dimensions inc grille, terminals, plinths and spikes: (H x W x D)
1033 x 235 x 350 mm
(40 11/16 x 9 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches)
Weight (Individual)
16.6kg (36lbs 8oz)

Sounds like most of the advice is to try the M3Si integrated without the P35 power amp? However I'm wondering am I a bit hamstrung here given the fact that I have 8 runs of speaker cable terminated at both ends with banana plugs, and the M3Si only has 4 loudspeaker outputs?
 

Jez l

Active member
May 1, 2020
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If that's the case and you like the sound with just the integrated amp powering your speakers.

You could then sell the power amp, separate interconnect, old speaker cable and upgrade your speaker cables:)
 

Jez l

Active member
May 1, 2020
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To be fair. I wouldn't pay too much attention to specs of amp and speakers . Listen and trust your ears!
 

gryffe

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Sep 8, 2013
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So am I right in saying with the speaker cables I have at the moment I cannot try out the M3si on its own? Seems like I've boxed myself into a corner with this set up I have lol
 

Jez l

Active member
May 1, 2020
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I don't see why they wouldn't work.. post a picture of connections etc If you are concerned
 

amormusic

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Feb 24, 2016
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So am I right in saying with the speaker cables I have at the moment I cannot try out the M3si on its own? Seems like I've boxed myself into a corner with this set up I have lol
Your speakers should have jumpers so you can single wire, rather than biwire.

Ps not knocking your MA's at all. Staring right at me now are a set (of different MA's) in my front room, which have done away many other speakers on side by side comparisons.

The MA's can deffo be run by the MF. If you've got specific biwire cable (4 wires per cable) then you need to pick up some 2 wire cable. OFC high strand copper Billy no name stuff can be picked up for peanuts on the bay or Amazon. I'd avoid silver if I were you (based on my own experience as it made the MA's very bright sounding).

As someone has commented above. Your ears should be the deciding factor, price and specs are not everything. But you should be able to have a play around with your own setup I.e. I integrated to MA's incredibly cheaply, if you even have to spend anything at all.
 

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