michaelharvey

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About michaelharvey

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  1. I missed your post. I would say, attempted fix, but user reports are still not very good. Buy the Arcam at your own risk.
  2. I thought I was having some tech issues but a binding post was just a bit loose. Thank goodness.
  3. Hi Dylan, I was pretty sure a 88a needs an external power amp, at least based on their diagrams. If not, how does it work?
  4. Ah great - are you getting the 88A? 1 or 2? In the case of the Anthem, I guess you could just get the MRX720 and use it as a processor (and a zone 2 amp). I felt in that situation, the Yamaha CX5100 or the Marantz 7702 would be very worthy choices too.
  5. You don't have any flexibility to change the ARC target curves, so if you want that flexibility I don't think the Anthem is right for you. With my experience with all of this, I would agree a manual eq would be the best way to get the absolute best performance. I don't know what is the best product for that though.
  6. I used ARC in manual mode. So easy to use and set all the speaker crossovers where they make most sense. There is still a null there, but it isn't that huge anymore. Using ARC quick measure, I moved my speakers around slightly, as well as tested them with port bungs half in, fully in, and out. This helped take away some boominess the fronts were doing, due to from I'd say the weakness with Onkyo is their current room EQ. Having said that, I never looked or considered Onkyo in my search. The only thing I can say about the Anthem is it scared the absolute s*** out of me during War of the Worlds!
  7. I've posted a review of both products here:
  8. Well, a bit of background to kick things off. I upgraded my speakers to Kef Rs about 2 years ago, and had intended to buy a new AVR once Atmos came out. Between that, my wife and I had our first child, so it was a bit pointless upgrading for the sake of it! We now find we are able to sneak in the odd movie and I thought we may as well upgrade to Atmos too! The shortlist was always the Anthem 1120, then came along Arcam with the 550 and Dirac, so it got added to the shortlist too. After demoing both, they were both very similar in sound quality with the Arcam having a slight edge. Considering it had Dirac, that ended up being my choice (despite effectively being $2k more once you get extra amps for Atmos). At home with the Arcam...... Once I got it home, that is where all the problems started. The idiots at Arcam put out a dodgy version of the Dirac software on the website, which failed to work with my calibrated Umik-1. Additionally, the rubbish microphone Arcam provide failed to work too. I wasn't too happy. After some sleep, I was kindly sent the previous version of the Dirac software. This at least worked with my Umik-1, although it isn't the easiest software to get running. Basic TV viewing was sounding great, so it was time to get onto some demo material. I immediately got out the Dolby Atmos demo disc and played a few clips which went well, until I got to the Horizon Demo. This is where the next round of trouble started. The Arcam kept shutting down at the same point in the demo clip at reference volume. I was a bit puzzled, surely the Arcam would have enough grunt for this? Well, the answer is a bit more complicated. Checking the Dirac filter, it applies a 10db boost around 150hz, about the same spot my 8ohm rated speakers drop to around 3.2ohm on their impedance curve. Basically, the Arcam (550 at least) cannot handle difficult loads very well, which is why it was shutting down. Testing with Dirac off it passed this same test, and it also passed with Dirac on at 10db less volume. Ok, well I figured that would be solved by a power amp, so I could live with it for the time being. Some more viewing (via Plex on XboxOne), saw the Arcam flick between a 5.1PCM and 7.1PCM source, despite the XboxOne being set on 5.1PCM. This was something minor that I could live with, but Arcam just dismissed this blaming the source. I also had been reading all the issues with Dirac on AVS, which seemed to blow up during my period of ownership. Testing on my end using REW, easily replicated the same issue. Basically, the correction filter for one speaker (i.e. Left Front), was still being applied on content sent to the sub. Playing a few more familiar clips, the bass disappeared from my room (7db reduction between 35hz to 65hz), so much so even my wife noticed. Arcam technically firstly dismissed this complaint, then commented that the filter at a certain frequency is correcting the room, so it shouldn't matter what speaker it was sent to. Obviously this is total BS! I said to Arcam technical, that if they were intending to solve the issues I would be happy to keep the product, otherwise I would seek a full refund. Anyway, they maintained there was no problem so I got a refund. Arcam Summary + Great sound quality (just ahead on Anthem) + Great build quality + Dirac very effective above the crossover, especially at low listening levels - Dirac implementation is (currently) incorrect (unless you have genuine full range speakers) - AMP cannot handle difficult loads - Some HDMI issues - Rubbish included microphone - Very expensive in Australia, even more expensive once you had amps for Atmos - Likely needs power amps with difficult speakers At home with the Anthem...... Well, with the Arcam gone I could immediately notice the difference going back to the Denon, but thankfully it was only for a few days. Setting the Anthem up was extremely easy, it was all just very logical. First impressions are good. I quickly had everything plugged in, all the inputs renamed and was ready to run ARC (although not at midnight). Waiting until the next morning, I was very impressed with ARC. The microphone is very impressive, and the software is also very impressive. This is a very polished product! A minor issue with running ARC, it was misinterpreting the 150hz null in my room as the speaker roll-off, so I just manually adjusted that, which was again very simple! Ok, straight into it. Can it handle the Dolby Horizon demo clip? Yes, it certainly could, and it was even louder than when the Arcam shut down! I was impressed, but how did it handle bass? Straight onto a few demo clips and the room came alive. I was a very happy camper! Just to double check, I measured with REW and the hole the incorrect Dirac implementation created was virtually gone. A few tweaks with ARC quick measure improved things even further, so I did another calibration which improved things a little further. Anthem Summary + Great sound quality (just behind Arcam) + Good build quality + Excellent amplification, it seems effortless and no need for power amps + Quality included microphone + ARC is a very polished product and very simple to use + 11amp channels on board + Great pricing in Australia - Looks a bit cheap - Display not the easiest to read (I'm nitpicking) Overall Well, to be honest they are both outstanding products, but the Arcam is particularly let down by their incorrect implementation of Dirac (which they are only now starting to investigate). I would give Anthem the win, but (ignoring cost) if Arcam do fix Dirac, I would give it the edge overall.
  9. Arcam has been returned this morning (great service from the distributor and retailer - they both have my thanks and future business). I've since ordered an Anthem MRX1120 and it is on the way. Looking forward to receiving it, hopefully tomorrow!
  10. That is really good to hear. Each time I have heard an Anthem I have been impressed. I'm in a non dedicated room so AV equipment space is limited. When I finally build a new home, I'll keep the Anthem in a family room setup. I only thought the Arcam was marginally better in raw sound quality. The majority of the Dirac correction for me is speaker eq, it isn't doing much on the reflections (probably as I have heavy linen curtains on about 65% of side walls and 50% of the rear walls). So it will be interesting once I get it to my room to hear the difference.
  11. CWT is right on my reasons considering the Yamaha. I've ruled that out though. I'm in a non dedicated room, so by the time I add all the power amps and 2 ddrc-88as, I am way out of space! I definitely need a dedicated room and a rack Yep - I'm all over AVS. My measurements with REW clearly show the same error. I only measured the speaker response, not the line out as those on AVS have done. FYI - just to make sure no issue with Anthem, I contacted their tech support to ask how they applied bass management. They do it the right way and said, "It wouldn't make sense to do it any other way." Also, have to point out that the distributor has been very helpful. I hope they don't have too many more lying about.
  12. Who are the right people?
  13. Just a quick update. A few more issues with this, without going into detail how Arcam have implemented Dirac is very poor. Basically, whatever correction filters you have on the main channels, are also applied on re-directed content to the subwoofer. Why would you apply a correction filter for one speaker on content sent to another speaker is beyond me. I'm still awaiting Arcam's final response (in hope they will correct this), but have asked the distributor to make the necessary arrangements for a refund from the retailer. Very disappointed, the raw sound quality of the amp is fantastic, and with Dirac (above say 200hz everything is amazing). Not sure where to go from here. Thinking Anthem 720, 1120, AVM60 or Yamaha 5100 + minidsp.
  14. Well I originally thought about getting an 850 to be honest, but I thought the extra benefit would be negligible, and it was hard enough to demo a 550! A few products I've barely heard of have Dirac too. I expect the implementations will continue to improve as more and more volumes gets out into the wild.
  15. Actually there are some slight differences between the 3. Only the 550 and 850 have a toroidal PSU, and the 850 has gold plated binding posts! As for other options, well I'm optimistic of a good outcome with the Arcam but if not I'll just grab the Anthem MRX1120. That had no trouble driving the clip I mentioned! Time for me to chase up support, they are being a little slow.