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Your lack of bass disturbs me - Arcam Alpha 7

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
I posted a few weeks ago about an alternate amp as I thought my Alpha 7 was dying. Well the good news is it didnt die and started working, but the bad news is Im completely underwhelmed with it these days.

The bass dial on it is constantly at 10 and most of the time I wish it was a Spinal Tap dial that would go up to 11. There is never a time I think "I need to turn the bass down on that".

My floor standing Sony SS176E speakers are capable of decent bass, but if Im listening to a CD or record it it always seems the Arcam needs to be givingmore.

If I put an ipod through it and boost the bass on the ipod there it does give me more bass and sounds better from the bass side, but seems to lack it when just playing direct from the other sources.

Im not after thundering room shacking bass just want the sound Im getting to carry more weight than it does currently.

I dont listen at particularly loud volumes as I have neighours to worry about these days.

Im wondering if the Yamaha amplifiers around the 300-350 with Loudness controls would give me what Im after?. Would be nice to be able to get one on loan though so I can try one before I buy but guess a visit to a hifi store and a listenting room is going to be my only option.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
281
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11,070
Loudness controls won't give you what your after at all, they're supposed to fill out the sound at lower levels (like listen at night) if it's well implemented (many aren't) it will scale with the volume control.

What is actually wrong, is there actually a technical problem or is it taste and you just want more.

I find things like this are normally a room setup problem and dont require any money to actually fix unless the arcam has seen better days. It a pretty old design now.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Unless there is a definite fault with the Arcam but you require more bass then I suggest it's the speakers you need to be looking at.
Can you borrow a different amplifier to try?
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
Loudness controls won't give you what your after at all, they're supposed to fill out the sound at lower levels (like listen at night) if it's well implemented (many aren't) it will scale with the volume control.

What is actually wrong, is there actually a technical problem or is it taste and you just want more.

I find things like this are normally a room setup problem and dont require any money to actually fix unless the arcam has seen better days. It a pretty old design now.
Like I said, if I put on an ipod where I can use an EQ to boost the bass it sounds a lot better than a turntable or CD player where the only bass control I have is the arcams bass knob.

Its like the arcam can output the bass as long as the input deviced provides it, but its default settings cant.

In my car I cant have the bass up to full, but on the Arcam I cant have it at any other setting than max, and even thats lacking.

I did wonder if it was a room thing and have tried moving speakers etc, but I can get bass from the ipod so if the room is a problem its not a problem with ipods :)

To be honest even though the Arcam is 25 years old Ive always found it underwhelming bass wise and the bass knob has always had to be full on.
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
Unless there is a definite fault with the Arcam but you require more bass then I suggest it's the speakers you need to be looking at.
That maybe the case, but if I put the ipod through the arcam it sounds ok.

I did wonder whether I should add a subwoofer to give it all a boost.
 

Al ears

Moderator
That maybe the case, but if I put the ipod through the arcam it sounds ok.

I did wonder whether I should add a subwoofer to give it all a boost.
The Arcam should provide sufficient bass with all settings flat and no equalization on your ipod. The bass and treble controls are usually subtle. The equalizer on your iPod obviously has a greater range.
The amp is old and isn't going to last forever. If it doesn't do it for you sell it on and audition others
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
The Arcam should provide sufficient bass with all settings flat and no equalization on your ipod. The bass and treble controls are usually subtle. The equalizer on your iPod obviously has a greater range.
The amp is old and isn't going to last forever. If it doesn't do it for you sell it on and audition others
Even from when I bought it back in the mid 90's I have never been able to listen to it flat and whilst its subtly the bass control always made a difference, but just not enough.

Does sound like I need to think about hitting the hifi stores.
 

12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
502
255
5,270
If you are only listening at low levels, a sub should be completely unnecessary.

Did the amp/speaker combo used to deliver enough bass - has it changed?
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
281
106
11,070
Even new it was never bass heavy and Ive always had to have the bass knob turned to maximum.

So it's a taste thing rather than anything actually wrong. Really the only thing you can do is try a few amps out and see if others are more to your liking. But i think you really should be looking at the speakers

If you're looking vintage and want BASS! look no further than mission 703's pretty rare but do come up from time to time and I had a friend use B&W 604 s3's ( with your amp) with great resaults, but their real monsters physically and sound-wise. Harder to find though in good condition tweeters normally pressed in and so on

New try q acoustics maybe B&W and KEF but i find newer speakers alot leaner theses days
 
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jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
You're special Jam Man, there's not many people that would have put up with that for 25 years.
To be honest I bought the gear in around 1995/6 and then in 2003 kids came along and my hifi got used a lot less and I've barely used it in the last 10 years.

It always sounded good but just lacked that bit of oompfh.
 
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,567
33
19,720
I posted a few weeks ago about an alternate amp as I thought my Alpha 7 was dying. Well the good news is it didnt die and started working, but the bad news is Im completely underwhelmed with it these days.

The bass dial on it is constantly at 10 and most of the time I wish it was a Spinal Tap dial that would go up to 11. There is never a time I think "I need to turn the bass down on that".

My floor standing Sony SS176E speakers are capable of decent bass, but if Im listening to a CD or record it it always seems the Arcam needs to be givingmore.

If I put an ipod through it and boost the bass on the ipod there it does give me more bass and sounds better from the bass side, but seems to lack it when just playing direct from the other sources.

Im not after thundering room shacking bass just want the sound Im getting to carry more weight than it does currently.

I dont listen at particularly loud volumes as I have neighours to worry about these days.

Im wondering if the Yamaha amplifiers around the 300-350 with Loudness controls would give me what Im after?. Would be nice to be able to get one on loan though so I can try one before I buy but guess a visit to a hifi store and a listenting room is going to be my only option.
Okay, let me put a little perspective on the Alpha 7R. I've owned one since 1997, the little critter is relegated to the attic as a spare, and I've never noticed any shortfall in bass. There is a couple of caveats: First one being its not the gutsiest of amps at 40 watts. The second your speakers are 6 ohms and 88db which could explain some aspects. That said, I've used my old RS6s with 6 ohms but 91db, and had no issues at low to medium levels. Once you go over 10 o'clock on the dial, it can, with certain tracks, clip.

Before splashing out money I would suggest experimenting with speaker positioning -- it's also possible the speakers aren't a great match for the little Arcam.

*EDIT* I know this sounds like I'm showing you how to suck eggs, but is it cabled up correctly? If they are out of phase the bass will sound thin.
 
Last edited:

12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
502
255
5,270
There's definitely something amiss. It's been decades since I had an amp with tone controls, but with the bass turned up all the way it should sound unlistenably thumpy.
 
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jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
18
3
18,525
Okay, let me put a little perspective on the Alpha 7R. I've owned one since 1997, the little critter is relegated to the attic as a spare, and I've never noticed any shortfall in bass. There is a couple of caveats: First one being its not the gutsiest of amps at 40 watts. The second your speakers are 6 ohms and 88db which could explain some aspects. That said, I've used my old RS6s with 6 ohms but 91db, and had no issues at low to medium levels. Once you go over 10 o'clock on the dial, it can, with certain tracks, clip.

Before splashing out money I would suggest experimenting with speaker positioning -- it's also possible the speakers aren't a great match for the little Arcam.

*EDIT* I know this sounds like I'm showing you how to suck eggs, but is it cabled up correctly? If they are out of phase the bass will sound thin.
Negative and positive are both the right way round on each speaker if thats what you mean. The only thing Im not sure of is the terminals on the speakers, they have a high and low set of terminals connected with a plate, not sure if theres and difference in which set you connect to.

As I said before, I can get bass out of the system if I use my ipod so its capable of doing it as long as the input is producing it. Its just underwhelming at default settings.

Once lockdown is over and we can visit shops again easily think Ill visit a hifi shope and have a listen.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
753
154
19,070
Negative and positive are both the right way round on each speaker if thats what you mean. The only thing Im not sure of is the terminals on the speakers, they have a high and low set of terminals connected with a plate, not sure if theres and difference in which set you connect to.

As I said before, I can get bass out of the system if I use my ipod so its capable of doing it as long as the input is producing it. Its just underwhelming at default settings.

Once lockdown is over and we can visit shops again easily think Ill visit a hifi shope and have a listen.
No. With the plate in place, and secure (one plate per terminal pair) the high and low are bound, so you can use either terminal (still positive to +ve and negative to -ve). Without the plate you'd need to bi-wire or bi-amp the speakers.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
753
154
19,070
No. With the plate in place, and secure (one plate per terminal pair) the high and low are bound, so you can use either terminal (still positive to +ve and negative to -ve). Without the plate you'd need to bi-wire or bi-amp the speakers.
Actually one thing you could try (assuming you've got spare speaker cables). You could use the sp2 binding posts on the back of the Arcam to bi-wire the speakers. You MUST remove the plates on the back of the speakers if you do this, and wire (say) sp1 to the low pairs of posts on the speakers, and sp2 to the high pairs of posts.

If this improves the bass, it might mean the crossovers in the speakers have failed.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,567
33
19,720
Negative and positive are both the right way round on each speaker if thats what you mean. The only thing Im not sure of is the terminals on the speakers, they have a high and low set of terminals connected with a plate, not sure if theres and difference in which set you connect to.

As I said before, I can get bass out of the system if I use my ipod so its capable of doing it as long as the input is producing it. Its just underwhelming at default settings.

Once lockdown is over and we can visit shops again easily think Ill visit a hifi shope and have a listen.
Shouldn't make any difference as long as you put black on black and red on red.

I've not heard of an amp losing bass or any frequency because of age. I would double check all the cables to make sure they connected properly.
 

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