AVR300 - nearing the end - but what next ?

RobertBentley

Standard Member
OK so let me tell you the full story, because I feel it is worth telling.

So in approx. 2007, a friend upgrades to a LINN system, and drops his old AVR300 off to me, and says "you gotta buy this from me, it's stunning".

And for 30 mins, it did sound stunning. I run a set of KEF EGGS and I moved from a midrange Harman Kardon amp (3500??) to the AVR300, and it sounded like a blanket had been removed from the eggs.

But after 30 mins, the Arcam switched off, and wouldn't come back on again.

So we agreed that I would send the unit to Arcam (via my local dealer) and £300 later it was fixed. By this time, my good friend said I could keep the amp for free - what a guy.

So for the next ten years it runs great, and I move from a HK DVD player to a DVD79 (from ebay), and the Pioneer 435XDE TV keeps on going, as do the KEF EGGS. The Kev Sub failed, but KEF fixed and upgraded that for fifty quid, job done. (it was the amp inside the sub box)

So after enjoying this stunning amp for ten years, it suddenly starts to fail. I get crackling on any digital input. I read up on the internet about failures of the Digital board, and I fear the worst. A new Arcam is not a possibility currently, as kids are expensive creatures, and sending it to Arcam with another £300 feels crazy, given that I have read that these amps are not reliable, and are old now.

But then I read of a guy in Jerusalem, who did a huge refurb on an amp (condor audio) and I drop him a line, as a last resort. He explains that I need to replace all the power chips and Electrolytic Capacitors, and he sells a kit on ebay for about £85 delivered. I remeniss about my degree in electronics, and give it a whirl.

Taking the amp apart, and getting to the lowest board at the bottom of the chassis was way out of my comfort zone. I documented every part of the disassembly, and finally took the main power supply board to the bench. I replaced 12 voltage regulators and around 35 capacitors, this took nearly a week of evenings. I re-solder every spot on the board (there were hundreds) and I fixed a couple of wobbly solder joints that may have contributed to my fault.

And damn me - it fixed it.

For a couple of months, all was well, and I had a big smug grin every time I used it.

Then it starts playing up again.

This time, after an hours use, it goes silent. Let it cool, and all is well again. The fans never come on, or if they do-they are silent. The amp will even turn off if you mess with the volume, when it is silent. It's clearly a bad connection somewhere, but I'm not sure I have the heart to fix it. It's a days work to strip it down, and re-solder the board, and a local repair shop has had a look twice, and has responded "no fault found" as they played it for 12h straight. (probably quietly, I must assume).

So I doubt I can fix it, the local hifi repair shop cant, and Arcam want £385 (approx.) these days.

Finally - my question to you, dear reader : WHAT do I replace it with?

I will be buying from this site or from ebay, as I believe that if I buy something via ebay that is listed as WORKING, I can run it for a few weeks and return it if I find a fault, for a refund. Clearly I want something reliable.

I do love the ARCAM sound, but am open to suggestions of alternatives, if I can maintain or improve the sound by trying another manufacturer. Is there a newer ARCAM receiver that is bulletproof, or do they all suffer from reliability issues ?

I have no plans to buy a BluRay, but a couple of HDMI ports on the next amp would be nice.

I have a DVD player, a TV with freeview, and an Apple TV. A simple setup.

All comments are appreciated !

Many Thanks,
Rob Bentley
 

larkone

Member
I have a mate who has an AVR300 that was repaired by Arcam a couple of years ago - new digital board. He would probably let it go for around £100 if you are interested as he is not using it due to a change of kit.
 

RobertBentley

Standard Member
@larkone - thanks for the info, but given the hastle I have had with the current AVR300 I would have to decline - I get the impression that they can have multiple issues, as I have experienced !

@Arcam_boy - I guess that when the time comes, I will be looking to spend around £400 on a new receiver. I'm not ready to buy yet, as the current amp works for an hour as-is, and I can cope for a while like that, but I'm just trying to start the process to decide what to buy next, then I can start keeping an eye out for one.

Yes I still run the kef eggs.

Thanks all , Rob
 

Arcam_boy

Distinguished Member
I don’t think you’ll get anything worth considering for your budget from Arcam.

They went through a rough patch with the AVR 500 etc which was very unreliable with overheating issues etc and I certainly wouldn’t risk one second hand. The newer stuff 390/550 etc is stunning but the 390 has a RRP of £2k and would be total overkill for some keg eggs.

If I was in your position with your speakers I would just opt for something like this Denon AVR2400

Denon AVR-X2400H

Which comes with a 5 year warranty for £300. It’ll power your eggs with ease and with the room EQ, which the AVR300 doesn’t feature, should give you a very good sound still.

It sounds like your Arcam is overheating and shutting down. Probably helped by the eggs being quite an easy load but I’d certainly use it with caution. If you’ve had 10 years service out of it then I’d certainly look at retiring it!
 

RobertBentley

Standard Member
@Arcam_boy - thank you for the suggestion.

I quite like the sound of a new amp, with a 5 year warrantee, for £300. That sounds like a bargain.

How will it sound compared to my AVR300?

I had planned to buy a used AVR400 or similar from ebay. I have my eye on an AVR400 which is £275 currently, and didnt sell (hence was relisted) - so I'm sure I could get it for around that price, BUT everywhere I read about arcam recievers, I read about faults - and I have had enough of faults - thank you very much !

I was quite set on another Arcam, as I adore the arcam sound, but if the Denon amp is somewhere close to the current AVR300 then I will grab one while stocks last.

Thanks again for your help.

Rob
 

Arcam_boy

Distinguished Member
@Arcam_boy - thank you for the suggestion.

I quite like the sound of a new amp, with a 5 year warrantee, for £300. That sounds like a bargain.

How will it sound compared to my AVR300?

I had planned to buy a used AVR400 or similar from ebay. I have my eye on an AVR400 which is £275 currently, and didnt sell (hence was relisted) - so I'm sure I could get it for around that price, BUT everywhere I read about arcam recievers, I read about faults - and I have had enough of faults - thank you very much !

I was quite set on another Arcam, as I adore the arcam sound, but if the Denon amp is somewhere close to the current AVR300 then I will grab one while stocks last.

Thanks again for your help.

Rob
I’ve just purchased one of the Denons myself so hopefully will find out shortly!!

What I have found in the past with the oldie reference amps vs newer ones which may not be quite as good per se they do sound better with room EQ as they can set up the speakers much better than you or I can unless you’ve got all the proper equipment to measure levels/distances etc.
 

RobertBentley

Standard Member
Hi all
Well I am still pondering. I saw an AVR400 for £400 on ebay, and I have my eye on an AVR500 which is available for £300 near me. My AVR300 still soldiers on, and seems to be behaving recently, so it has not forced me into action - yet. I get the impression that the AVR400 is more reliable than the AVR500 and AVR600, as I have not read a bad word on the AVR400.
@Arcam_boy - how is the new Denon ? What is your view as to how an Arcam owner would think of it's sound ??

Thanks,
Rob
 

Vincentvg

Novice Member
OK so let me tell you the full story, because I feel it is worth telling.

So in approx. 2007, a friend upgrades to a LINN system, and drops his old AVR300 off to me, and says "you gotta buy this from me, it's stunning".

And for 30 mins, it did sound stunning. I run a set of KEF EGGS and I moved from a midrange Harman Kardon amp (3500??) to the AVR300, and it sounded like a blanket had been removed from the eggs.

But after 30 mins, the Arcam switched off, and wouldn't come back on again.

So we agreed that I would send the unit to Arcam (via my local dealer) and £300 later it was fixed. By this time, my good friend said I could keep the amp for free - what a guy.

So for the next ten years it runs great, and I move from a HK DVD player to a DVD79 (from ebay), and the Pioneer 435XDE TV keeps on going, as do the KEF EGGS. The Kev Sub failed, but KEF fixed and upgraded that for fifty quid, job done. (it was the amp inside the sub box)

So after enjoying this stunning amp for ten years, it suddenly starts to fail. I get crackling on any digital input. I read up on the internet about failures of the Digital board, and I fear the worst. A new Arcam is not a possibility currently, as kids are expensive creatures, and sending it to Arcam with another £300 feels crazy, given that I have read that these amps are not reliable, and are old now.

But then I read of a guy in Jerusalem, who did a huge refurb on an amp (condor audio) and I drop him a line, as a last resort. He explains that I need to replace all the power chips and Electrolytic Capacitors, and he sells a kit on ebay for about £85 delivered. I remeniss about my degree in electronics, and give it a whirl.

Taking the amp apart, and getting to the lowest board at the bottom of the chassis was way out of my comfort zone. I documented every part of the disassembly, and finally took the main power supply board to the bench. I replaced 12 voltage regulators and around 35 capacitors, this took nearly a week of evenings. I re-solder every spot on the board (there were hundreds) and I fixed a couple of wobbly solder joints that may have contributed to my fault.

And damn me - it fixed it.

For a couple of months, all was well, and I had a big smug grin every time I used it.

Then it starts playing up again.

This time, after an hours use, it goes silent. Let it cool, and all is well again. The fans never come on, or if they do-they are silent. The amp will even turn off if you mess with the volume, when it is silent. It's clearly a bad connection somewhere, but I'm not sure I have the heart to fix it. It's a days work to strip it down, and re-solder the board, and a local repair shop has had a look twice, and has responded "no fault found" as they played it for 12h straight. (probably quietly, I must assume).

So I doubt I can fix it, the local hifi repair shop cant, and Arcam want £385 (approx.) these days.

Finally - my question to you, dear reader : WHAT do I replace it with?

I will be buying from this site or from ebay, as I believe that if I buy something via ebay that is listed as WORKING, I can run it for a few weeks and return it if I find a fault, for a refund. Clearly I want something reliable.

I do love the ARCAM sound, but am open to suggestions of alternatives, if I can maintain or improve the sound by trying another manufacturer. Is there a newer ARCAM receiver that is bulletproof, or do they all suffer from reliability issues ?

I have no plans to buy a BluRay, but a couple of HDMI ports on the next amp would be nice.

I have a DVD player, a TV with freeview, and an Apple TV. A simple setup.

All comments are appreciated !

Many Thanks,
Rob Bentley
 

Arcam_boy

Distinguished Member
Hi all
Well I am still pondering. I saw an AVR400 for £400 on ebay, and I have my eye on an AVR500 which is available for £300 near me. My AVR300 still soldiers on, and seems to be behaving recently, so it has not forced me into action - yet. I get the impression that the AVR400 is more reliable than the AVR500 and AVR600, as I have not read a bad word on the AVR400.
@Arcam_boy - how is the new Denon ? What is your view as to how an Arcam owner would think of it's sound ??

Thanks,
Rob
Hi Rob,

The Denons pretty good - certainly for £300 with a 5 year warranty.

I guess I’ve had a big jump in sound as it now processes Atmos / HD audio and it’s also got quite a decent room EQ system as opposed to the Arcam stuff (older gen) which obviously helps in pretty much any system.

It’s not quite as warm / cinematic as the Arcam and for pure amplification I’d say the Arcams are still a tough act to beat but I’ve found that with all the old kit. The old Denons AV1 etc are still head and shoulders above most modern amps for amplification but obviously lack massively behind for processing.

If you can find a good priced Arcam then it’s certainly worth considering but if you want peace of mind I’d probably go for the Denon with its 5 year warranty. The older Arcam kit isn’t worth fixing unless you can find a reasonable specialist as it’ll cost over £400 for Arcam to bring it back to life! Even a nice AVR 400 wouldn’t be worth getting fixed at that cost!!

Sorry for rambling on...
Cheers
Mark
 

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