Arcam SA30 or Audia Flight FL Three S?

RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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The SA30 is without a doubt the most complete and for less money then the FL3S. But which will sound better?? Anyone have experience with both? I live in Belgium and can't seem to find a dealer for the Audia Flight. This means i could buy one from an other country but without auditioning it first.
 
I doubt many will have heard either let alone both, particularly if they are in the UK.
you really do need to audition yourself for this sort, or any sort, of money to be truthful.
There are not many Audia Flight dealers here either, I would never spend this money on something I couldn't audition so why did you select these two? There must be some dealers in Belgium that stock amps in a similar price bracket.
you don't even mention what speakers or sources you intend to use them either, not that it's going to help much anyway.....
 
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RCduck7

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The Audia Flight. Based on user reviews actually. On french forums it is a very loved brand. Some prefer it to for example Rega, Lavardin and even Hegel. On audiogon someone had one in his $200k system to replace his amp for repairs. It not only held it's own but was also very musical. He went as far saying that is better sounding then the accuphase and Luxman integrated he had once.
Auditioning is one thing but it means not much if one can try it in his own listening room and speakers. Therfor i would have one for a trial period. And if i don't like it i will loose on p&p to get it to me and sending it back. Not a smart option i'm afraid. Maybe i should look on the second hand market. I think i could get a trial period on the arcam and compare both. If i would like the arcam better then put the Audia Flight on the second hand market again.

Speakers i use are Dynaudio Heritage Specials.
 
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The Audia Flight. Based on user reviews actually. On french forums it is a very loved brand. Some prefer it to for example Rega, Lavardin and even Hegel. On audiogon someone had one in his $200k system to replace his amp for repairs. It not only held it's own but was also very musical. He went as far saying that is better sounding then the accuphase and Luxman integrated he had once.
Auditioning is one thing but it means not much if one can try it in his own listening room and speakers. Therfor i would have one for a trial period. And if i don't like it i will loose on p&p to get it to me and sending it back. Not a smart option i'm afraid. Maybe i should look on the second hand market. I think i could get a trial period on the arcam and compare both. If i would like the arcam better then put the Audia Flight on the second hand market again.

Speakers i use are Dynaudio Heritage Specials.
some very fine speakers you have there
 

RCduck7

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some very fine speakers you have there
I know, rightnow i'm running them on class d amps. I was happy with these amps before, they are powerfull but it's not doing it for me on these speakers. I had a Cambridge CXA81 over the holydays that was better, had more of the lows presented in my music and wasn't as boring. But ultimately just not enough power and current to drive these on higher volumes. A bit to harsh on some voices to, as with Billy Idol for example. At least for my setup. The cxa81 is good for the price i must say.

So, the cxa81 is also reference point for me...
So, experiences, comparisons with this amp to amps 2 or max 3 times the price of the cxa81 are also welcome.
 

amormusic

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Feb 24, 2016
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The SA30 is without a doubt the most complete and for less money then the FL3S. But which will sound better?? Anyone have experience with both? I live in Belgium and can't seem to find a dealer for the Audia Flight. This means i could buy one from an other country but without auditioning it first.
I do not know the answer. However, on another forum is a person with the handle of TheFlash who is a self-confessed Arcam fanboy and who also owns Audio Flight amps. Look on the Wam.
 

RCduck7

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Agreed, but any help is welcome. At the moment there is no distributor to dealers in the benelux for these audia flight amps but i have contact with a new distributor that are taking the first steps to get these to dealers. And they will order a few demo models to convince the dealers. But it will take some time. For the meantime my best bet is 2nd hand and resell it if it's not my cup of tea. In the meantime i can register to Wigwam.😉
 

nopiano

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I can understand why you are attracted to the AudiaFlight. I’ve only heard the huge model 10, and it was superb. What attracts you to the Arcam SA30? Which class D amp are you using?

If you like Arcam and can find a used A49 then that would be an excellent choice.
 
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RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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I can understand why you are attracted to the AudiaFlight. I’ve only heard the huge model 10, and it was superb. What attracts you to the Arcam SA30? Which class D amp are you using?

If you like Arcam and can find a used A49 then that would be an excellent choice.
Well, as i said the SA30 with dirac on board is a very complete amplifier and also at a nice price buying new.In my younger days i heard arcam many times with dealers. It is a sound that didn't grab my attention initially but did grow on me over the years when my taste in music began to change.

My class D amps are the Cherry Maraschino amps from Digital Amp Company in the US. These are mono block amps and i drive these with a digital volume control as recommended by the company. But some users of these amps rather have a dedicated (tube) preamp on these. Maybe i should have done that to. Was very happy with these on my previous speakers but as they say these Dynaudio heritage speakers are not a good match for class d. It might be true.
 

RoA

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I can only recommend the latest Arcam Class G amplifiers (based on my use of an SA20).

The only thing I would say is they have quite full and obvious bass but with Dirac on board and neutral speakers that shouldn't be an issue. Quite the opposite probably for some.
 

RCduck7

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The only thing I would say is they have quite full and obvious bass but with Dirac on board and neutral speakers that shouldn't be an issue. Quite the opposite probably for some.
That dirac is what makes this amp so attractive. Rightnow my speakers are on the attic and the sound is a bit bass shy there with my digital amp (CXA81 was better). But when i would move the speakers to a smaller room it could be an other story. And there is a limit to what you can do with speaker placement. Dirac is like a tone control but better realised in a lot of ways. I heard at a friends house what an "anti mode" could do, but it's not cheap and it is again an other device in the hifi chain. To have something like this on board of an amp is a positive to say the least.
 

CheshirePete

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Oct 12, 2020
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That dirac is what makes this amp so attractive. Rightnow my speakers are on the attic and the sound is a bit bass shy there with my digital amp (CXA81 was better). But when i would move the speakers to a smaller room it could be an other story. And there is a limit to what you can do with speaker placement. Dirac is like a tone control but better realised in a lot of ways. I heard at a friends house what an "anti mode" could do, but it's not cheap and it is again an other device in the hifi chain. To have something like this on board of an amp is a positive to say the least.
What about the NAD C 658, it has Dirac and bluos .... although it is only a preamplifier, you would have the ability to change/update the power amplifier at a later date?

I recently bought one and am currently using a used Kandy K2 power amplifier (from ebay £280) until I can afford an upgrade, the dirac is a game changer btw.

I have also there are problems with the SA30.

Good luck.
 
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rainsoothe

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What about the NAD C 658, it has Dirac and bluos .... although it is only a preamplifier, you would have the ability to change/update the power amplifier at a later date?

I recently bought one and am currently using a used Kandy K2 power amplifier (from ebay £280) until I can afford an upgrade, the dirac is a game changer btw.

I have also there are problems with the SA30.

Good luck.
The NAD is on the bright side of neutral, Arcam SA 30 is slightly to the warm side, and Audia Flight are even more so. If you're looking for that type of sound, Audia Flight should totally outclass the Arcam.
 

Romulus

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It is unfortunate that whatever someone else, however familiar they may be with an amplifier, isn't really going to help you with you ears or set-up.
Yet it can be a useful indication as to any info as to the two amps as are reviews of components otherwise why do reviews exist...?
 
Yet it can be a useful indication as to any info as to the two amps as are reviews of components otherwise why do reviews exist...?
you'll learn. Reviews highlight failings or the reviewers own preferences. He certainly isn't listening to it through your speakers in your listening room. Take reviews with a very large punch of salt....
Yes they can be a guide but that's about all. Anyone who buys something of this value based purely on someone else's review is an idiot.
 
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Romulus

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Nov 21, 2014
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you'll learn. Reviews highlight failings or the reviewers own preferences. He certainly isn't listening to it through your speakers in your listening room. Take reviews with a very large punch of salt....
Yes they can be a guide but that's about all. Anyone who buys something of this value based purely on someone else's review is an idiot.
Absolutely agree home audition is best, however reviews can give indications even confirm the various features and specs of the component, more importantly the benefits of such features and specs, such information that the manual book nor the HiFi dealer would offer. Also reviews tend to have a certain consensus as to specific components; either the reviewers approximately agree eg on certain characteristic of sound by their own individual tests or they simply copy from the previous reviews....? But at the end of the day its you who wants to live with the component not them....
 

RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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The last days i was talking to a distributor of the Audia Flight FL3s demo model he got for sale for 1900 euros. It didn't have the phono board included that i wanted but i presented him 2000 euro to get one installed (only 100 euro more while the price is 350 euro for the board). That day when he didn't mail back to me i couldn't get sleep that night and was thinking of buying an Arcam A38 just to try one at home because you can get these nowadays for about 600 to 700 euro and it still is one of the latest a/b amps of that generation at Arcam i believe (there are mixed reviews on the class G models).
Can't go bad for that price i was thinking. Today the guy of the Audia Flight mailed me back and he excepted the offer. Now he will contact Audia Flight how long it will take to send the phono board to be fitted in. So i put in a deposit and will keep you up to date how things work out. 😀No going back now. Still curious about the Arcam A38 as i set my mind up to take one home though. Didn't expect to get the AF for that price including phono board.
 

RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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The NAD is on the bright side of neutral, Arcam SA 30 is slightly to the warm side, and Audia Flight are even more so. If you're looking for that type of sound, Audia Flight should totally outclass the Arcam.
That's what i like, analogue, almost tube side of warmth.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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The last days i was talking to a distributor of the Audia Flight FL3s demo model he got for sale for 1900 euros. It didn't have the phono board included that i wanted but i presented him 2000 euro to get one installed (only 100 euro more while the price is 350 euro for the board). That day when he didn't mail back to me i couldn't get sleep that night and was thinking of buying an Arcam A38 just to try one at home because you can get these nowadays for about 600 to 700 euro and it still is one of the latest a/b amps of that generation at Arcam i believe (there are mixed reviews on the class G models).
Can't go bad for that price i was thinking. Today the guy of the Audia Flight mailed me back and he excepted the offer. Now he will contact Audia Flight how long it will take to send the phono board to be fitted in. So i put in a deposit and will keep you up to date how things work out. 😀No going back now. Still curious about the Arcam A38 as i set my mind up to take one home though. Didn't expect to get the AF for that price including phono board.
Killer price, hope you'll like it. For the record, I did have an A38 on home demo, and I liked it a lot, but it had a weird sheen in the treble (or whatever, I don't know how to describe it, but it was bugging me).
 

RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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Killer price, hope you'll like it. For the record, I did have an A38 on home demo, and I liked it a lot, but it had a weird sheen in the treble (or whatever, I don't know how to describe it, but it was bugging me).
Maybe a mismatch with your speakers. I Read a dutch review from the year 2011 of the A38 and Dynaudio Contour speakers saying it was a match made in heaven.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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The last days i was talking to a distributor of the Audia Flight FL3s demo model he got for sale for 1900 euros. It didn't have the phono board included that i wanted but i presented him 2000 euro to get one installed (only 100 euro more while the price is 350 euro for the board). That day when he didn't mail back to me i couldn't get sleep that night and was thinking of buying an Arcam A38 just to try one at home because you can get these nowadays for about 600 to 700 euro and it still is one of the latest a/b amps of that generation at Arcam i believe (there are mixed reviews on the class G models).
Can't go bad for that price i was thinking. Today the guy of the Audia Flight mailed me back and he excepted the offer. Now he will contact Audia Flight how long it will take to send the phono board to be fitted in. So i put in a deposit and will keep you up to date how things work out. 😀No going back now. Still curious about the Arcam A38 as i set my mind up to take one home though. Didn't expect to get the AF for that price including phono board.
Good on you. Never liked Arcam's (non-Class G amplifiers). Enjoy
 

RCduck7

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Aug 18, 2007
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I got my Audia Flight Three S this week. I hope to listen to it this weekend. Earlier to that things went wrong. I wanted to play music from my (older) streamer. I use it for usb hdd playback only nowadays. I'm used that once and a while it lost connection. But now i lost it within minutes. When trying most of the things i came up to fix it, it was to no avail. The Audia Flight was sitting next to the streamer. It turns out it that connection was lost sitting next to it. 2 days of misery to realise that.
Early impressions are very good. It's organic sounding not sterile. Clarity is very good without being harsh. Songs i listened to before i know well are different for the better way. Trumpets came more to the front. The whole picture sounds more real life, i can hear more or it has more ambience that reveals. CXA81 was good, this is better. Baselines have more impact, very musical. That's it so far. More listening to do. I'm excited.:)
 

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