Question Replacement amp (dead Arcam A85) for B&W CDM 1NT speakers - AXA35?

NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
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5
25
My beloved Arcam A85 of 20 years died at the weekend. I have CDM 1NT speakers (the ones with the protruding tweeter, on stands, 80hm, 120w), in the living room, listen to mostly rock but also anything else. Not worried about streaming and only use phono inputs. The CA AXA35 gets good reviews - I know it's only 35w and the Arcam was 85w but it doesn't need to be very loud. I looked at the Marantz PM6006 UK edition but have been advised it could be too bright with my speakers.
Any suggestions or comments gratefully received
Nick
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
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I feel for you! I love my (still working) A85.

Have you considered contacting Arcam to see if a repair is possible/cost effective? Depends what's actually died in it. (And there is an active market in 2nd hand A85s...)
 

NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
6
5
25
I feel for you! I love my (still working) A85.

Have you considered contacting Arcam to see if a repair is possible/cost effective? Depends what's actually died in it. (And there is an active market in 2nd hand A85s...)
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't actually, just because I can't really face the whole packing up thing, and (on the basis of no information at all) the difference between the cost of a fix and an AXA35 probably wouldn't be great (including shipping). I'll have a look on eBay at second hand. Is there a better place to look?
thanks
Nick
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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My beloved Arcam A85 of 20 years died at the weekend. I have CDM 1NT speakers (the ones with the protruding tweeter, on stands, 80hm, 120w), in the living room, listen to mostly rock but also anything else. Not worried about streaming and only use phono inputs. The CA AXA35 gets good reviews - I know it's only 35w and the Arcam was 85w but it doesn't need to be very loud. I looked at the Marantz PM6006 UK edition but have been advised it could be too bright with my speakers.
Any suggestions or comments gratefully received
Nick
I had the CDM1-NT for quite a while.
When fed by a Marantz PM66KI amp, the sound wasn't too bright (for me).
I haven't heard the PM6006, but I very much doubt it would be too bright.

What is the fault symptom on your A85 Nick?
 

NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
6
5
25
I had the CDM1-NT for quite a while.
When fed by a Marantz PM66KI amp, the sound wasn't too bright (for me).
I haven't heard the PM6006, but I very much doubt it would be too bright.

What is the fault symptom on your A85 Nick?
The fault - when it's on and I press a button to switch source, other of the lights come on and go off. When I turn it off it won't come on again unless I unplug it (and on one occasion removed all input and speaker wires) and plug in again. Then it looked like it was going to work but no sound came out, then the lights against the front buttons started to behave randomly again. It feels like the tone button is pushed in, so I don't know if it had a bash at some point.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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18,870
If you end up getting another amp, I'd look at used Arcam A19 or Roksan Kandy K2 if it's not over budget. The CA is still on the brighter side, and pretty underpowered for B&W. For what it's worth, I don't consider Marantz to be necessarily bright, but Arcam is a better match, imo.
 

NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
6
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25
I was going to say the Rotel RA1062 currently on eBay...... then I noticed it's just sold for £230, doh!
I had a Rotel some years ago and it was really really bright. Has the Rotel sound changed over the years?
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
753
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19,070
The fault - when it's on and I press a button to switch source, other of the lights come on and go off. When I turn it off it won't come on again unless I unplug it (and on one occasion removed all input and speaker wires) and plug in again. Then it looked like it was going to work but no sound came out, then the lights against the front buttons started to behave randomly again. It feels like the tone button is pushed in, so I don't know if it had a bash at some point.
Have you got the optional phono board? If so, it can be a source of internals shorts (known issue) - certain versions short against the chassis.

Actually - you mention the tone button is pushed in. That reminds me of an issue from ages I remember reading about (when my AVR250 was kaput) about someone with one of the buttons on an A85 being trapped behind the fascia, causing the amp to not work...

Found it! (or similar) here and this is what they said (about fixing it):
"I had the amp tilted forward with the facia resting on my knee whilst I made the connections to the amp from the top (with the shelf above the amp in the rack removed) and one of the source selector buttons (which are 'momentary contact' type switches) must have been pressed against my knee and got pushed in and trapped behind the facia
Removing the facia allowed it to 'pop out' and, on re-assembly it all powered up normally."

Wondering if your issue similar
 
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NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
6
5
25
Have you got the optional phono board? If so, it can be a source of internals shorts (known issue) - certain versions short against the chassis.

Actually - you mention the tone button is pushed in. That reminds me of an issue from ages I remember reading about (when my AVR250 was kaput) about someone with one of the buttons on an A85 being trapped behind the fascia, causing the amp to not work...

Found it! (or similar) here and this is what they said (about fixing it):
"I had the amp tilted forward with the facia resting on my knee whilst I made the connections to the amp from the top (with the shelf above the amp in the rack removed) and one of the source selector buttons (which are 'momentary contact' type switches) must have been pressed against my knee and got pushed in and trapped behind the facia
Removing the facia allowed it to 'pop out' and, on re-assembly it all powered up normally."

Wondering if your issue similar
Hmmm I did have a look to see if I could free up the button and took the lid off but couldn't see how to remove the front plate. I'll have another go. It would be brilliant if it worked. Thanks for the idea.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
753
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Hmmm I did have a look to see if I could free up the button and took the lid off but couldn't see how to remove the front plate. I'll have another go. It would be brilliant if it worked. Thanks for the idea.
There's probably A85 service manuals on the web.

BTW: Please be careful, make sure it's unplugged and be careful even then, there are some large caps on the main board, avoid touching them...
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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Hmmm I did have a look to see if I could free up the button and took the lid off but couldn't see how to remove the front plate. I'll have another go. It would be brilliant if it worked. Thanks for the idea.
I'm no optimist but I think you're going to be in luck. The stuck in button must be contacting.
Do whatever it takes to free it up!
You and Scene love your A85s but I must admit I had one on home loan when they first came out.....not for me, but each to their own in this game. (The right headphone output was dead on the loan unit, not why I didn't buy though).
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
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I'm no optimist but I think you're going to be in luck. The stuck in button must be contacting.
Do whatever it takes to free it up!
You and Scene love your A85s but I must admit I had one on home loan when they first came out.....not for me, but each to their own in this game. (The right headphone output was dead on the loan unit, not why I didn't buy though).
Yes, I do love my A85 (and Nick seems to as well) - though I loved it a lot less when I had it paired with the AE1 compacts, rather than the original MA Silver 8is, or the current Q3020is. Just goes to prove that pairing of amp to speaker is important. Also, I've got a phono amp on my one and it's done sterling service with my ProJect TT. And as I've said on other posts, how systems sound is a very personal choice...

Yes, removing the case and fascia of the amp is going to need phillips + torque screw drivers. And removing the nut hidden under the volume knob. I had the cover of my AVR250 when it died, to check there wasn't a blown internal fuse and being in the DiVA range, had similar case construction. Didn't stretch to removing the fascia though - didn't need to, and would worry about replacing with all those buttons. I had a bad experience with a keyboard once...
 
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MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
I had a Rotel some years ago and it was really really bright. Has the Rotel sound changed over the years?
The RA-1062 is a very special amp. Followed on from the RA-1060. Rotel and B&W spent a lot of time on fine tuning the design.

CDM 1NT's were the first speakers we used with the RA-1062 in August 2003. A first class match. Great synergy between the two that the CDM1 NT's became our go to speakers for the RA-1062 and vice versa over the next few months.
 
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NickG

Active member
Jun 2, 2020
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Yes, I do love my A85 (and Nick seems to as well) - though I loved it a lot less when I had it paired with the AE1 compacts, rather than the original MA Silver 8is, or the current Q3020is. Just goes to prove that pairing of amp to speaker is important. Also, I've got a phono amp on my one and it's done sterling service with my ProJect TT. And as I've said on other posts, how systems sound is a very personal choice...

Yes, removing the case and fascia of the amp is going to need phillips + torque screw drivers. And removing the nut hidden under the volume knob. I had the cover of my AVR250 when it died, to check there wasn't a blown internal fuse and being in the DiVA range, had similar case construction. Didn't stretch to removing the fascia though - didn't need to, and would worry about replacing with all those buttons. I had a bad experience with a keyboard once...
OMG IT WORKED. We're back in business. It wasn't too hard to remove a few screws (I had the right tools) and move the faceplate enough for the button to pop out and that was it! Thank you so much to Scene for the push and to everyone else who contributed suggestions and comments.
Nick
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
753
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19,070
OMG IT WORKED. We're back in business. It wasn't too hard to remove a few screws (I had the right tools) and move the faceplate enough for the button to pop out and that was it! Thank you so much to Scene for the push and to everyone else who contributed suggestions and comments.
Nick
I'm really pleased to hear it! Glad that you've got your A85 working again, and you saved some money!
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
663
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OMG IT WORKED. We're back in business. It wasn't too hard to remove a few screws (I had the right tools) and move the faceplate enough for the button to pop out and that was it! Thank you so much to Scene for the push and to everyone else who contributed suggestions and comments.
Nick
Good for you Nick.
Keep the basher at bay and there's no reason why you shouldn't get another 20+ years.
 

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