Arcam power amp advice

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

Al ears

Moderator
Nov 23, 2008
1,239
391
19,570
Well I know you will have been waiting with baited breath for the outcome. And I'm sure some may be seriously dismayed, but hey ho.

I bought the Arcam SA30 integrated amp and it arrived yesterday, and I am seriously happy with it. The detail is astonishing, crystal clear, and has that warmth that I love about Arcam.

I've been listening to lots of different stuff, but playing Underworld's King Of Snake was just breathtaking. For those that don't know it, it's basically a rip off of the Giorgio Morodor/Donna Summers song I Feel Love. The synths and pounding beats are a joy to hear, and the SA30 and the P35 power amp carry it off with ease.

Wilco's A Ghost is Born has me detecting sounds I wasn't aware were even on the recording.

I know it's a divisive subject, but I'm even hoping the performance might actually increase after some burn in time. Haven't tried the Arcam SA30 on it's own as just an integrated amp without the P35, but to be honest I don't really see how it can be better than what I'm hearing now, but no doubt curiosity will get the better of me one day.

Chuffed to bits.
Great, try it without the P35..... sell the P35..... Happy days!
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
626
327
11,270
Happy for you that you are now sorted (y)

Very partial to Donna Summer so looked up your track on YT... it's good but nothing beats the original. I'm old enough to remember hearing the original for the first time back in '77 :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: gryffe

gryffe

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2013
24
2
10,525
Great, try it without the P35..... sell the P35..... Happy days!
Al, you seem to have strong opinions on why combining an integrated and a power amp is a waste of time, and I respect that.
However the manual for the SA30 does have a section on biamping, and it describes how to use the SA30 driving the HF, and a power amp driving the LF. So seems like they are proponents of this configuration and must think it's workable. They already have your dosh cos you've bought the amplifier, so why advise on something that is not going to enhance the performance?
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
626
327
11,270
Al, you seem to have strong opinions on why combining an integrated and a power amp is a waste of time, and I respect that.
However the manual for the SA30 does have a section on biamping, and it describes how to use the SA30 driving the HF, and a power amp driving the LF. So seems like they are proponents of this configuration and must think it's workable. They already have your dosh cos you've bought the amplifier, so why advise on something that is not going to enhance the performance?
I've learnt a lot from Al in the years I've been a member on here, he offers good advice. To try what he is suggesting comes at no cost so maybe worth a go, you never know, nothing ventured nothing gained :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: gryffe

Al ears

Moderator
Nov 23, 2008
1,239
391
19,570
Al, you seem to have strong opinions on why combining an integrated and a power amp is a waste of time, and I respect that.
However the manual for the SA30 does have a section on biamping, and it describes how to use the SA30 driving the HF, and a power amp driving the LF. So seems like they are proponents of this configuration and must think it's workable. They already have your dosh cos you've bought the amplifier, so why advise on something that is not going to enhance the performance?
You misunderstood me a little. What I meant is the integrated / power amp only really makes financial sense if you happen to already own one or the other. It's not something I would do if I wanted a proper biamped set-up from scratch.
If this is what you had in mind for a system then performance wise, and often financially , it would be better to purchase a pre/ power amp combination or even a preamp and two monoblock power amps.
Your set-up is different, many people seem to get an integrated amp then use pre-outs to drive a stereo power amp and this way you are not using half the circuitry in the integrated that you have already paid for. In set-ups such as this the addition of a power amp simply provides more power it doesn't normally enhance performance as such because most of what you hear is a function of the preamp stage.
If you feel the performance has been enhanced in your particular set-up then this is all that really matters.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gryffe

gryffe

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2013
24
2
10,525
Cheers for the info Al, and sorry if I am misunderstanding you again,but are you saying I perhaps should not drive any speakers from the integrated, and instead use all 8 speaker terminals on the P35 power amp rather than 4 speaker terminals on each amp? Does this take some strain of the SA30 and improve it's overall performance?


On a wider note, one thing I have noticed while researching this recently is the apparent dearth of new pre amps available for sale these days. And as far as I could see Arcam no longer manufacture them at all. As for power amps I was lucky enough to already own the P35 and in my mind its paid for itself many times over already given that I've had 10 plus years constant use so forking out the 2k for the SA30 was less painful. And seems as if I've also future proofed myself by buying the SA30. If it really is such an all rounder as is claimed then it shouldn't be such a catastrophe if my P35 was to finally die of old age and the SA30 had go solo.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Nov 23, 2008
1,239
391
19,570
No you're correct. The SA30 is a very good amp by all accounts and have even looked into one myself.
As you say you already have the power amp so, in you situation, I would wire it up as Arcam suggest using both the SA30 speaker connections and the power amp driving either the LF side of your speakers on alternatively the HF side.
There are arguments / preferences for either method but to save confusion do it as Arcam suggest.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gryffe

12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
332
161
5,070
When I had Arcam amplification, I had an A32 and a P35 bi-amping, and added a second P35 to allow the A32 just to act as preamp. Before I bought the second P35, I briefly tried running it with A32 as pre-amp and just using one P35 as power.
A32/P35 as pre/power seemed to have a little more resolution, but as integrated/power was definitely taughter and more full-bodied.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gryffe

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts