Turntable Basics will get you there quickly.
How to set up and use a Music Server that can hold your entire music collection.
How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system
This year ARCAM is pushing back the frontiers of home theater, analog, and digital music playback performance with a new AV receiver, the AVR390, at $2500, a new 12-channel AV preamplifier/processor, the AV860, at $5500, a phono preamplifier, the rPhono, at $599, a headphone amplifier, the rHead, at $650, and a music streamer, the rPlay, at $599.
The AVR390 is very similar to the AVR550 discussed in our last issue. The main differences are that the price is lower and that the AVR390 does not use a toroidal power transformer as does the AVR550. Thus, the power output of the AVR550 is slightly higher and achieves somewhat more impact than the AVR390. The remaining features are very similar. Thus, the AVR390 is Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 and video 4K compatible, has built-in Dirac Live room correction, has Spotify Connect already enabled, can access worldwide Internet radio stations via its Ethernet ports, and can be remotely controlled via these same Ethernet ports using the free MusicLife iOS control app. The AVR390 delivers 60 watts/channel in Class-AB mode with all seven channels driven (as compared to 90 watts/channel for the AVR550). Higher output levels are obtained when fewer channels are being used.
The AV860 preamplifier/processor is essentially the same as the top-of-the-line AVR860 receiver (also discussed in our last newsletter) without the power amplifier channels. Some improvements in internal componentry and balanced XLR output connectors have been added. The feature set is identical to the AVR850, and the AV860 represents the best-sounding preamplifier/processor that ARCAM has ever made.
The rPhono benefits from ARCAM's more than forty years of analogue audio expertise and uses the finest quality parts in a layout that is optimized for low noise and minimum distortion. Its multi-layer printed circuit board allowed the designers to maximize the quality of the ground plane so that interference between components is reduced. The use of multiple, low-noise, individually-regulated power supplies ensures that the rPhono delivers the cleanest signal to the audiophile-quality output stage. Featuring a wealth of features specifically designed for optimal matching to your turntable's cartridge, the rPhono is the perfect solution for the vinyl lover. Moving coil users benefit from precision impedance matching using continuously-variable trimmers instead of controls with discrete steps, while moving magnet users have a wide variety of capacitance options. A selectable, low-frequency rumble filter eliminates the effects of warping or pressing irregularities present on some vinyl. Precision components give excellent RIAA response and class-leading performance figures. The rPhono is a simple way to improve your phono performance and brings ARCAM quality sound to any system.
ARCAM has always been known for producing class-leading integrated amplifiers, all of which featured excellent headphone stages. The rHead continues that tradition in a small, solidly- and beautifully-built, stand-alone unit designed to complement the audio system of any headphone lover. The rHead is a true, linear, class-A design which results in absolutely no crossover distortion for the purest sound. Extensive care has been taken to optimize the circuit layout while attention to areas like multiple, ultra-low-noise power supplies and a direct coupled signal path significantly improve performance. The volume control is an ultra-linear, analogue, stepped resistor device, (as used in the flagship A49 integrated amplifier) and eliminates the tracking errors which can be found in normal potentiometer-based volume controls. Comprehensive protection systems prevent damage to the rHead without interfering in any way with the ultimate reproduction of the sound. The rHead sounds amazingly natural and completely engaging and reveals the true character of any music that is played through it. The rHead is more than capable of driving the most demanding headphones. Both RCA and XLR inputs are available, as well as both 3.5 and 6.35mm output sockets, yielding total headphone listening flexibility.
The rPlay allows you to add network audio streaming services and Internet radio to any system using DTS PlayFi, Apple Airplay, or UPnP-enabled music sources. It also features an SPDIF output that can be connected to an A-V receiver or a Digital-to-Analog Converter for optimal sound. The rPlay benefits from ARCAM's more than twenty years of digital audio expertise and uses the finest quality parts in a layout that is optimized for low noise and minimum distortion. The four-layer PCB allowed the designers to maximize the quality of the ground plane to reduce interference between components. The use of multiple, low-noise, individually-regulated power supplies ensures the rPlay delivers the cleanest possible signal to the audiophile-quality output stage. As well as having a fixed line-level analogue output, the rPlay also features a variable analogue output which uses the same volume control as the A49 flagship integrated amplifier. The rPlay has both Wi-Fi for maximum convenience and wired Ethernet connectivity for the most reliable results from your network. The rPlay is one of the simplest ways to enjoy streaming audio services regardless of platform and brings ARCAM quality sound to a whole new generation of music lovers.
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