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Arcam A85 0r A90


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Hi guys.

I’ve just got an AVR400 set up for movies and am looking at a good value 2nd 2 channel integrated that can shove some welly up my contour S1.4s. I have found a mint condition A85 or an A90 for $400 & $600 respectively. How would one of these fair in the short to mid term where I could add some Powers/monos later on?

Thanks is for thoughts!

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2 hours ago, Mister R said:

Hi guys.

I’ve just got an AVR400 set up for movies and am looking at a good value 2nd 2 channel integrated that can shove some welly up my contour S1.4s. I have found a mint condition A85 or an A90 for $400 & $600 respectively. How would one of these fair in the short to mid term where I could add some Powers/monos later on?

Thanks is for thoughts!

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If you're looking for a amp with grunt to get the best out of the Contours, neither Arcams will achieve this. The A85 is the choice for cohesive sound over the A90. IIRC the A90 was meant to have the P90 power amp which could be upgraded with a multi-channel module.

Both these amps will be okay but I don't think they have the balls to really achieve what you're looking for. These Contour S1.4 are so demanding. Are they around 4 ohms with something like 84 or 85 dbs? I know I sound like a stuck record but a Tucana would be my choice. You can pick MK1 versions up for around £1000. 

How does the AVR 400 drive the Contours? This should be a good indicator given the 400 is around 130 watts with 2-channel.

Hope this has helped a little.

Edited by plasticpenguin
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TBH there are nowhere close to well driven with the AVR400. I’m just using them for a bit of YouTube electronica DJ mix music in the background. I know you’ve been plugging the Tucana so I’m going to keep an eye out for one at a good price. Did the mk1 or 2 have an onboard DAC?

Thanks!


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16 minutes ago, Mister R said:

TBH there are nowhere close to well driven with the AVR400. I’m just using them for a bit of YouTube electronica DJ mix music in the background. I know you’ve been plugging the Tucana so I’m going to keep an eye out for one at a good price. Did the mk1 or 2 have an onboard DAC?

Thanks!


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The Tucanas don't have on-board Dac or phono stage. The MKIII Pulse, along with the MKIV and the Quasar have the on-board Dacs.

Also when I heard Dynaudio Audience with an Arcam A80 the combo sounded mismatched... quite flat and uninteresting.

Edited by plasticpenguin
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Speaking as an Arcam deserter with Dynaudio Emits, I don’t think they were a great match. The Creek Evolution 50 that I replaced it with kicks them up the arse a treat

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OK guys it was just a thought. Now I have the AV sorted, I need to get my late night listening sorted out. I had a Moon 340i before which was great as it drove the Dyns effortlessly, had a very good DAC and a very good headphone amp built in. I had the Sonos Connect hooked to it digitally. I might just get another one unless there are any other second hand options that you thing I should consider around the $2-$3k mark?


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1 hour ago, Mister R said:

OK guys it was just a thought. Now I have the AV sorted, I need to get my late night listening sorted out. I had a Moon 340i before which was great as it drove the Dyns effortlessly, had a very good DAC and a very good headphone amp built in. I had the Sonos Connect hooked to it digitally. I might just get another one unless there are any other second hand options that you thing I should consider around the $2-$3k mark?


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Firstly, the Dyns you have will never be great at low volumes. They are not efficient enough. 

Why did you get rid of the Moon, if it was so good?

Please stop pussy-footing around and get a Tucana. It doesn't have a Dac or any digital inputs. What it does have is stunning sound, and will match the Dyns beautifully. To coin a Sugden phrase, it's the only amp you'll ever need.   

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Loving the directness PurpleP! I sold the 340 as moved from Bucks to the US last year and at the time needed the funds for the move however kept the Dyns. The Moon made them sing at low levels. With the DAC/headphone inbuilt it was a great 1 box solution with a streamer. A Tucana with a Chord Qutest or something like that would be nice right enough. There are some interesting options over here in the States to consider too. I’ve not heard Krell or Mackintosh amps yet but I’m going to. If a Tucana appears like that one for $1800 a few weeks back I’ll consider it


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Certainly the a85 I use with 93db speakers is very good ,but  as folks have said it may or may not be the best but at 400 dollars it's not a bad stop gap. Depends what's available sh over the pond. May well be worth looking out for something better perhaps. 

As you know I use the a85 as a power amp with a dc blocker which improves it's snap and attack , using it with a better pre amp is excellent.  But this is with high sensitivity speakers .

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I would grab the ps audio m700 at 2k on audiogon which will make the contours sing , you could actually use the a85 as a pre amp I think if you wanted 

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What's a deformed sale?? That does sound a great option.everyone loves krell !! I am sure they would really sing  

Edited by hifinutt
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13 hours ago, Mister R said:

Thanks hifinutt. What I’m realising is it isn’t worth cutting corners particularly with these speakers. There’s a KRELL 400xi deformed sale in mint condition at about $1100. I think some have mixed feelings over these in my time here. Musical? Would it do a nice job?


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Krell certainly come with a good reputation, although I've not heard one.

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13 hours ago, hifinutt said:

I would grab the ps audio m700 at 2k on audiogon which will make the contours sing , you could actually use the a85 as a pre amp I think if you wanted 

That's a lot of money if you can't demo. My suggestion of a MK1 Tucana you can pick up for around £1000-1200 and no need for a separate preamp.

Even though I'm a huge Arcam fan, one of the traits they don't exhibit is a clean enough current as a standalone integrated, which is a pity because the treble, midrange and tonal balance is spot on -- amongst some of the best at that price bracket.

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