Arcam AVR30 AV Receiver Review & Comments

Thanks for the review Steve. Would you say it’s the best amp up to £5000 currently? And is it better than the Arcam 850 in terms of sound quality? Thanks. Also Steve what’s best in terms of sound for 7.1 the Arcam or the Denon? Cheers!
 

Bobby86

Member
"There's no HDMI 2.1 at the moment, but like the Arcam and Demo there is eARC, which helps. There will be a full review of this receiver coming soon."

I'm assuming you meant Denon, would you know if the Denon AVC-A110 110th anniversary model will be reviewed at some point when it's released next month?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Thanks for the review Steve. Would you say it’s the best amp up to £5000 currently? And is it better than the Arcam 850 in terms of sound quality? Thanks. Also Steve what’s best in terms of sound for 7.1 the Arcam or the Denon? Cheers!
I can say that based on the AV receivers I've heard, the AVR30 is the best sounding, but having used an AVR850 for nearly two years I can also say that there isn't any real difference in terms for sound quality between the two. The obvious advantages of the AVR30 are 16-channel processing, eARC, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Denon is a superb all-in-one solution, but for 7.1 I'd go for the Arcam and its Class G amps.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
"There's no HDMI 2.1 at the moment, but like the Arcam and Demo there is eARC, which helps. There will be a full review of this receiver coming soon."

I'm assuming you meant Denon, would you know if the Denon AVC-A110 110th anniversary model will be reviewed at some point when it's released next month?
Yes I meant Denon, I'll correct that typo.

I don't know about the AVC-A110, I guess we'll have to wait and see.
 
I can say that based on the AV receivers I've heard, the AVR30 is the best sounding, but having used an AVR850 for nearly two years I can also say that there isn't any real difference in terms for sound quality between the two. The obvious advantages of the AVR30 are 16-channel processing, eARC, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Denon is a superb all-in-one solution, but for 7.1 I'd go for the Arcam and its Class G amps.
Thanks Steve! :thumbsup:
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
Inability to reassign channels in a (£5000) AVR where the headline feature is the quality of the amplification is simply moronic :/
 

dun_buyin

Active Member
Yes I meant Denon, I'll correct that typo.

I don't know about the AVC-A110, I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Speaking of typos,

"I then moved on to Atomic Blonde, which sports a bone-crunching DTS:X soundtrack. The film is full of 80s poop classics, which the Arcam delivered with musical flair."

Only saw Atomic Blonde on TV so may have been cut but don't recall any musical toilet scenes.
 

Doc

Active Member
Thanks Steve - really interesting.

What do you think about ‘matching’ speakers with a high-end Arcam amp like this?
Is this important, or myth?
A decade ago, there was much chat about this, and in particular how speakers like PMC were a superior ‘match’ for Arcam, compared with other similarly priced speakers.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Speaking of typos,

"I then moved on to Atomic Blonde, which sports a bone-crunching DTS:X soundtrack. The film is full of 80s poop classics, which the Arcam delivered with musical flair."

Only saw Atomic Blonde on TV so may have been cut but don't recall any musical toilet scenes.
I've just stuck the proof reader's head down a toilet!
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Thanks Steve - really interesting.

What do you think about ‘matching’ speakers with a high-end Arcam amp like this?
Is this important, or myth?
A decade ago, there was much chat about this, and in particular how speakers like PMC were a superior ‘match’ for Arcam, compared with other similarly priced speakers.
Personally I don't buy into that philosophy, the Arcam will be a good match for any decent speaker. I used the AVR850 with numerous speaker packages in testing for the for review, and they all sounded great with the Arcam.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Inability to reassign channels in a (£5000) AVR where the headline feature is the quality of the amplification is simply moronic :/
I asked Arcam to add channel reassignment after my review of the AVR850, but they didn't listen to me. Arcam will say the reason is because they don't think you need to reassign the built-in Class G amplification, and if you need more channels just buy their 4-channel Class G power amp or 7-channel Class A/B power amp. However, if you're running a full 15.1-channel system you need eight additional channels, and the Class A/B amp doesn't have enough and two 4-channel Class G amps seems overkill for the width and overhead channels.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Hi Steve

How did you find the streo performance?
I thought the stereo performance was excellent, but as I say in the review my focus was on multi-channel.
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
I asked Arcam to add channel reassignment after my review of the AVR850, but they didn't listen to me. Arcam will say the reason is because they don't think you need to reassign the built-in Class G amplification, and if you need more channels just buy their 4-channel Class G power amp or 7-channel Class A/B power amp. However, if you're running a full 15.1-channel system you need eight additional channels, and the Class A/B amp doesn't have enough and two 4-channel Class G amps seems overkill for the width and overhead channels.
Agreed - there's just not a particularly cohesive way to get the full complement of channels.

At the price point, I would expect just as many owners would consider throwing higher end amps at their front/floors, e.g. PA240, P349, as would fill in the surr/heights with lesser amps.

I'm sure Arcam's answer for that is "then get an AV40" - once again a case of "do it our way" rather than "do it your way".
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
@Steve Withers Might be worth updating the negative on the OSD to be clearer, eg. "No Setup OSD" because it does have a status/runtime OSD.

Auro Native is also limited to 11.1 currently as Auro 13.1 does not detect at all (Pixels is Auro 11.1 which is why it works).

Have you heard anything from Arcam about a DTS:X Pro being added by firmware? The DSPs are capable of it and at Cedia Arcam/JBL were saying it would get DTS:X Pro.
 
Last edited:

Steve Withers

Reviewer
@Steve Withers Might be worth updating the negative on the OSD to be clearer, eg. "No Setup OSD" because it does have a status/runtime OSD.
Yes, I'll make that clearer. My Lyngdorf MP-60 is the opposite, no status OSD but there is a setup OSD.
Auro Native is also limited to 11.1 currently as Auro 13.1 does not detect at all (Pixels is Auro 11.1 which is why it works).
OK, I didn't realise it was limited to 11.1 for Auro-3D. Let's be honest, it doesn't really matter given the paucity of Auro-3D content and the completely different speaker layout.
Have you heard anything from Arcam about a DTS:X Pro being added by firmware? The DSPs are capable of it and at Cedia Arcam/JBL were saying it would get DTS:X Pro.
I asked Arcam about this, and they said it was a possibility. But they sounded a bit vague, so I wouldn't bet on it. I appreciate that DTS:X Pro has been delayed (I'm still waiting for MP-60 update), but you'd think if Arcam were planning to add it via a firmware update, they would mention DTS:X Pro in their marketing.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
Yes, I'll make that clearer. My Lyngdorf MP-60 is the opposite, no status OSD but there is a setup OSD.

OK, I didn't realise it was limited to 11.1 for Auro-3D. Let's be honest, it doesn't really matter given the paucity of Auro-3D content and the completely different speaker layout.

I asked Arcam about this, and they said it was a possibility. But they sounded a bit vague, so I wouldn't bet on it. I appreciate that DTS:X Pro has been delayed (I'm still waiting for MP-60 update), but you'd think if Arcam were planning to add it via a firmware update, they would mention DTS:X Pro in their marketing.
Nice review by the way, I think you got the balance of information about right. In theory Dirac BC should improve the sound further (Once they fix the Atmos + Dirac BC bug in the current firmware).

For Auro I think it is worth mentioning as this long running bug means even Auro's press release for the AV40 is inaccurate :confused:

Thanks for sharing on the DTS:X Pro front, Arcam did not share anything about anything about Auro until it was added but companies who have products based on the same platform (JBL and Audiocontrol) said Auro and DTS:X Pro was coming in September last year so not sure if they have changed their mind on DTS:X pro or just want to avoid customer expectations for it.
 

AdamAttewell

Well-known Member
I currently have an AVR30 for demo & am running the latest firmware using Bass Control with a 7.4.4 setup & cannot watch any Atmos content due to distortion through all my speakers.

If you guys are wondering what this "distortion" sounds like here is an audio clip.


This issue has been confirmed by Arcam from other owners reporting it but we are now coming up to three weeks since they confirmed it as a bug & still no fix.

After over a week since reporting this myself & other bugs I have not even received a reply from Arcam.

To rub salt in the wound this issue was not present in the previous firmware so it is a regression due to poor testing before releasing new updates.

I could revert back to the previous firmware but then I would be faced with no bass at all due to a bug in that firmware build that pegs the LFE channel 10dB lower than it should be.

From my experience over the last couple of weeks I would strongly suggest anyone thinking of buying any of the HDA range & plans on using all the features to consider waiting another few months at least as there is still quite a few bugs to be worked out before I would call this range fully functional and Arcam's handling of new updates is slow & is like playing Russian roulette as the next revision could fix current bugs but cause others.

They have had over 8 months to iron out the bugs & we still have plenty.
 

DLxP

Well-known Member
Nice review. I liked the fact it expressly addresses the bugs. It's good to see the review AV30 didn't have any issues. I bought the AV40 and returned it as the bugs made it essentially unusable.

Hopefully Arcam will learn their lesson with this range and won't in future release beta products to consumers. For my part, I'd take a lot of persuading ever to buy an Arcam again - especially when a Denon comprehensively outperforms it. Which is a shame, because feature-wise and with Dirac included the new range is really well-specced.
 

fallinlight

Well-known Member
I currently have an AVR30 for demo & am running the latest firmware using Bass Control with a 7.4.4 setup & cannot watch any Atmos content due to distortion through all my speakers.

If you guys are wondering what this "distortion" sounds like here is an audio clip.


This issue has been confirmed by Arcam from other owners reporting it but we are now coming up to three weeks since they confirmed it as a bug & still no fix.

After over a week since reporting this myself & other bugs I have not even received a reply from Arcam.

To rub salt in the wound this issue was not present in the previous firmware so it is a regression due to poor testing before releasing new updates.

I could revert back to the previous firmware but then I would be faced with no bass at all due to a bug in that firmware build that pegs the LFE channel 10dB lower than it should be.

From my experience over the last couple of weeks I would strongly suggest anyone thinking of buying any of the HDA range & plans on using all the features to consider waiting another few months at least as there is still quite a few bugs to be worked out before I would call this range fully functional and Arcam's handling of new updates is slow & is like playing Russian roulette as the next revision could fix current bugs but cause others.

They have had over 8 months to iron out the bugs & we still have plenty.
Agreed. @Steve Withers, you are extremely fortunate to not have experienced any bugs with your unit in your setup and are the first person I know not to have experienced any bugs. My unit is half broken/ half works. 3 weeks plus of time wasted, stress, frustration and sleep lost. My AVR30 has been the worst product I have ever owned in my life. Yet, I am struggling to make the call to send it back, for a few reasons which I will explain later.

From first power on, it has given me stress and hardship: the very first thing I was greeted with was a blinking screen on the unit, with a ticking noise, forcing me to cold power off, at which ear deafening bangs from my speakers and subs were made, damaging my ears. I had to force power off like this a few times, each with the same ear deafening bangs. My dealer was prepared to file a report with Arcam at the time. And I was about to return my unit after just 30 minutes or so. But with the support of the owners thread, I sought to give it another go, which I did. It has been an utter frustration, upset and inconvenience since. I am only sticking with it for now due to the the sound of it being the best I have had from an AVR and feeling that I have exhausted most options out there. If I go back to a Yamaha A3070, it would likely feel like a major regression sound wise, but I would have peace of mind and no stress. That said, the A3070 is now hard to come by and I have since sold my unit. So, I feel stuck between a hard rock and a hard place at the moment. Yes, @AdamAttewell, I strongly feel that my unit is a pure Russian roulette, too.

The only benefit for me so far has been the stella sound when it works. And even when it does, there is always a bug or two present. Not one day has gone by to date, where I have ever had smooth operation. My last Dirac calibration took over 5 hours due to distorted measurement tones, which after week 2 - 3, have for some reason become very frequent dangers and hinders to my speakers and basic operation.

I have 5 pages of bugs, reported to Arcam and only one meagre response asking me what software they can use to open the EDID bin files I shared with them about a 3D issue I thought was a bug but is not (I previously informed them of the setting I changed to fix the issue). I have had my ears damaged by frequent loud pops and bangs - just had some, in fact from speakers and subwoofer playing a DTS-HD track - which, along with Atmos/ Atmos based setups, are an utter nightmare and danger to people's equipment and ears.

Overall, I am extremely disappointed and severely ashamed of Arcam for releasing a broken range of products. It is an abuse of long standing customer's and new customer's good-will, hopes and expectations - I feel embarrassed for the latter, and I myself am a little embarrassed when asked by inquisitive forum members, 'how are you getting on with your AVR30?', or, 'how are you finding your AVR30'. So, I tell them like how it is, the best sound I have had but very bad overall, or I tell them to read the owner's thread, or this post. It is simply inexcusable.

I purchased the AVR30 on a hunch that it would be good for me. I did not get on fully well with the AVR550 and reverted back to my Yamaha A3070 at the time. After realising again the limitations of my A3070 and YPAO, and finding out that the HDA range share the same ESS Sabre Pro DAC as the A3070, which I absolutely love and think the best DAC I have heard, I felt it could be the perfect balance and AVR for me. My hunch proved correct: it truly is, from a sound perspective the AVR30 is my dream AVR, combining the energy, wide soundstage and clarity my A3070 had (I think a large part of this is the same DAC used) with the magic of Dirac. But everything else about it has dashed my hopes - not even hopes, but normal and fair expectations of a working product, this was not even a major thought, because I really thought that the soon to be released version 1.36 firmware at the time I purchased my unit, would fix most of the bugs and I would be OK. This has not been the case. But I am sticking things out for now as I am hoping for a new FW soon. But given the regression of the current FW, I have little hope. Still, I will wait and see. For me, time is now the keeper of these machines. And that will determine if I will be the keeper of the AVR30.
 
Last edited:

AdamAttewell

Well-known Member
Nice review. I liked the fact it expressly addresses the bugs. It's good to see the review AV30 didn't have any issues. I bought the AV40 and returned it as the bugs made it essentially unusable.

Hopefully Arcam will learn their lesson with this range and won't in future release beta products to consumers. For my part, I'd take a lot of persuading ever to buy an Arcam again - especially when a Denon comprehensively outperforms it. Which is a shame, because feature-wise and with Dirac included the new range is really well-specced.
I had hoped that Arcam would have learned from the FMJ range as an 850 owner but it seems history is repeating itself with their customer base acting as unofficial beta testers & them sending the units out at launch to dealers which sold them to customers with many features missing or broken.

Saying that the FMJ range has been left with broken firmware for over a year now & most owners are currently having to use an older firmware build only available to them only because owners backed up the older firmware & have hosted it online for owners to download. This is due to the latest firmware having DTS sound steering issues & when you power cycle the AVR the height crossover is reset to default.

I guess its business as usual for Arcam, heck even the acquisition by Harman A.K.A Samsung has not changed anything.
 

fallinlight

Well-known Member
Saying that the FMJ range has been left with broken firmware for over a year now & most owners are currently having to use an older firmware build only available to them only because owners backed up the older firmware & have hosted it online for owners to download.
I remember something at the back of mind about owners opting to/ having to use an older firmware but I did not know the only way to get it was through community support. This is horrifying and totally anti-consumer. I did not know this, thank you for sharing the information.

I guess its business as usual for Arcam, heck even the acquisition by Harman A.K.A Samsung has not changed anything.
I agree, and yes, it certainly seems that the acquisition has not changed anything at all.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Thanks for sharing on the DTS:X Pro front, Arcam did not share anything about anything about Auro until it was added but companies who have products based on the same platform (JBL and Audiocontrol) said Auro and DTS:X Pro was coming in September last year so not sure if they have changed their mind on DTS:X pro or just want to avoid customer expectations for it.
Has anyone actually released a working version of DTS:X Pro yet? Maybe Trinnov?
 

SuperSkunk

Active Member
What is going on with all these new items forgoing HDMI 2.1?

I am in the market for both a TV and AV receiver but refuse to buy one without HDMI 2.1 being present.
 

Similar threads

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: TCL C815 TV, Denon & Huawei wireless speaker reviews, New Sony 4K PJ's and more

Trending threads

Latest News

Mulan rumoured to net $260M in US after Disney+ premiere
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Denon DHT-S416 soundbar its first with Chromecast built-in
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
PS5 launches 19th Nov in UK for £450
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 16th September 2020
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Top Bottom