Arcam SA20

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
A quick heads up to one of the best £1000 amplifiers I've heard. Now great value at just over £800 discounted.

Good power (ignore Hifi Choices review), fantastic built in DAC, backlit remote etc.

If you can afford the few £'s over the Audiolab, get the Arcam. If not the Audiolab gets 90% there imho which is no mean feat considering it was almost half price of the Arcam at launch.

The missing 10% is related to detail and the better DAC.

The SA20 is now 2.5x cheaper than the SA30. You loose 29 or so watts and DIRAC but save around £1300.
 
  • Like
Reactions: plastic penguin

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
164
62
18,670
A quick heads up to one of the best £1000 amplifiers I've heard. Now great value at just over £800 discounted.

Good power (ignore Hifi Choices review), fantastic built in DAC, backlit remote etc.

If you can afford the few £'s over the Audiolab, get the Arcam. If not the Audiolab gets 90% there imho which is no mean feat considering it was almost half price of the Arcam at launch.

The missing 10% is related to detail and the better DAC.

The SA20 is now 2.5x cheaper than the SA30. You loose 29 or so watts and DIRAC but save around £1300.
How would you rate the Arcam against the 8300a and Elex r....also, how good is the phono input on the Arcam......
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
How would you rate the Arcam against the 8300a and Elex r....also, how good is the phono input on the Arcam......
Never heard the Elex R and I prefer the 6000A over the 8300, both sound and value wise. I don't use vinyl but the stage is likely the usual op amp & discreet affair with no loading adjustment etc. as is common to amplifiers up to £2k. If LP's are big on your list you're almost always better off with a dedicated pre-amp. - For everyone else it'll probably do.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Gonepostal

plastic penguin

Well-known member
A quick heads up to one of the best £1000 amplifiers I've heard. Now great value at just over £800 discounted.

Good power (ignore Hifi Choices review), fantastic built in DAC, backlit remote etc.

If you can afford the few £'s over the Audiolab, get the Arcam. If not the Audiolab gets 90% there imho which is no mean feat considering it was almost half price of the Arcam at launch.

The missing 10% is related to detail and the better DAC.

The SA20 is now 2.5x cheaper than the SA30. You loose 29 or so watts and DIRAC but save around £1300.
If you the SA20, you'll definitely like Leema.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RoA

plastic penguin

Well-known member
How would you rate the Arcam against the 8300a and Elex r....also, how good is the phono input on the Arcam......
Apologise to @RoA Hope he doesn't mind my interjection

I actually heard the Rega Elex-R with the SA20 back in 2017 or 18, when I took my ailing Arcam CD73. I was looking at a possible replacement.

Anyway, the dealer switched back and forth between the two amps. They had Focal floorstanders. The test went on for only about 20 minutes, testing a couple of different players, incl Arcam CDS 50 and Rega Apollo-R.

From memory, the Elex-R was a little more transparent but very involving. The SA20 had a slightly richer presentation, typically Arcam, but wasn't a case of which was better, just a preference to the different presentation.

If it was my money, with the PMCs, I would plump for the Arcam.

Sorry can't help anymore.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gonepostal
D

Deleted member 195594

Guest
A quick heads up to one of the best £1000 amplifiers I've heard. Now great value at just over £800 discounted.

Good power (ignore Hifi Choices review), fantastic built in DAC, backlit remote etc.

If you can afford the few £'s over the Audiolab, get the Arcam. If not the Audiolab gets 90% there imho which is no mean feat considering it was almost half price of the Arcam at launch.

The missing 10% is related to detail and the better DAC.

The SA20 is now 2.5x cheaper than the SA30. You loose 29 or so watts and DIRAC but save around £1300.
Great value for money; if I was putting together a 2nd system for more casual listening, I'd definitely go for the SA10 having trialled one last year. At <£600, for me that would ideal.
Haven't heard the SA20, but at that price definitely worth considering if Arcam is your cup of tea
 

robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
690
254
19,270
A quick heads up to one of the best £1000 amplifiers I've heard. Now great value at just over £800 discounted.
I know you love the Audiolab 6000a, so how would you characterise the sound of the sa20 against the Audiolab. I think you know that I don't like the Audiolab and find it a bit analytical.
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
Love is a bit too strong perhaps :) but I appreciate what they have done for the money. I find nothing analytical about it, quite the opposite, smooth and very, very evenly balanced. Perhaps by analytical you mean boring? Because of its even balance it does not have the bombastic sound of more characterful amplifiers? I prefer that to to character in an amplifier. I'd rather not have certain traits present on every recording whether they are there or not, hence I like Hegel. The 6000A also goes very loud without loosing control or bass power despite only 50 watts. Oddly enough that is something most German reviews but few English ones mention.

The SA20 is clearer and a little more forward through the midrange, has a fuller bass and more extended, clearer treble. Altogether it seems slightly richer but also brighter. The DAC is outstanding and was, until recently, one of ESS's top models. It is the better amplifier by a smidgen as it should be at twice the price of the Audiolab original RRP. The bass can be too much with speakers that are not inherently well damped but if you use a source that has tone controls it's not that much of an issue. The Audiolab seems slightly more transparent by virtue of its less forward midrange. The Arcam is an engaging listen.

Perhaps allso consider Cyrus' ONE Cast or ONE HD. Both heavily discounted now.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
690
254
19,270
OK, thanks for your swift and informative reply. And yes, by analytical, perhaps I do mean a little boring. I owned the 6000a for a brief time and it definitely didn't win me over with its presentation but perhaps I was a bit hasty in dismissing it. I think our tastes can change and we can learn to appreciate a different sound. That was certainly the case with my Triangle Titus speakers, which have quite a forward lively sound that I thought I didn't like, being a hitherto big fan of Elac, which has a laid back house sound.

Then of course there is synergy and that is where the combination of my Denon pma 800ne and Triangle speakers really hit the spot. The Denon is slightly warm sounding I would say, probably not your cup of tea, but it marries so well with the agile Triangles. So what am I looking for? Well, maybe a little more insight into the music and layer separation. Do you think the Arcam could bring that?

Oh and not a fan of the Cyrus aesthetics; don't like that half width look.
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
Unfortunately I am not familiar with your Denon amplifier, perhaps others can help?

The Arcam is more forward/brightly lit than the Audiolab so I don't know how that would pair with your speakers.
 

robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
690
254
19,270
Thanks for that.

Another thing about the Audiolab was I remember you said you didn't notice any change in the sound from new to a few days of use. The sound of my Denon changed quite substantially over the first couple of days but I know burn in is quite a contentious subject. I had the Audiolab for about a weekend and it probably only had about 12 or 16 hours of play. Of course, the logical upgrade for me as I am a Denon fanboy would be the pma 1600ne, which I've heard nothing but good things about, but it's HUGE, far too deep for my set up.

Ooh, one more thing. I remember you were going to try a Roksan Attesa. Did you ever get round to that?
 
Last edited:

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
I haven't had one at home and only heard in Barcelona with MA's. Impressive.

Rob, I know you started another thread but are you living anywhere near Dorset/UK?
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
640
362
1,270
I did, on first getting the amplifier, try the different filters and settled on one.

If you had lived close I could have brought it to you to listen to.

It is the only reliable way to find out if you like it no matter what others may think about the amplifier.

Don't overthink it. Get one and shift it on if you don't get on with it.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: robdmarsh

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts