“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Arcam Launches 4 New 8K-Ready AV Receivers for 2022

By
Arcams 2022 AV Lineup

Arcam's 2022 AV Lineup

Summary

  • Product Name: AVR11, AVR21, AVR31 Receivers, AV41 Processor
  • Manufacturer: Arcam
  • Review Date: August 17, 2022 00:15
  • MSRP: $3,050 - AVR11, $4,700 - AVR21, $6,900 - AVR31, AV41 AV Processor - $5,250
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

The late Bob Reina was one of my favorite audio reviewers, in part because he — along with fellow Stereophile writer Stephen Mejias — got genuinely excited about affordable gear that delivered true listening pleasure. Back in 2014, I was visiting friends in the San Francisco Bay Area when I read Bob’s review of the Revel Performa3 M106 bookshelf speaker. The Revels had debuted a year or two prior, and I had already read good things about them, but Bob’s enthusiasm made me want to hear them for myself. I called my favorite audio store, Music Lovers Audio in Berkeley, and asked for an in-store demo. The accommodating folks at Music Lovers asked if I had any particular electronics in mind that I wanted to hear with the Revels, but I didn’t. I just asked to hear the speakers at their best. When I arrived at the store, I was somewhat surprised to see the attractive little M106 speakers connected to an Arcam integrated amp (alas, the exact model escapes my memory). Music Lovers sells expensive separates from the likes of Audio Research, Luxman, Boulder, and Spectral. Why go with the relatively inexpensive Arcam? I was told that it was simply a great-sounding combination (and indeed, it was). Plus, it allowed people to hear that you didn’t have to spend huge sums to get certifiably satisfying music playback. I remember being pleased that, although Arcam had fully embraced the home theater market some years earlier, the brand hadn’t lost sight of its Hi-Fi roots. Fast-forward a few years, and Arcam is now (since 2017) part of the Harman Luxury Audio Group, still comfortably straddling the line between traditional 2-channel gear and the world of home theater. Arcam’s AV products are usually priced higher than more mainstream offerings from Denon, Marantz, and Onkyo, but they’re less expensive than competing products from some audiophile brands, such as McIntosh, and some home theater specialty brands, such as Trinnov. And to the company’s credit, Arcam has never been afraid to embrace new technology. (The first time I experienced Dirac Live room correction in an AVR, it was in an Arcam. Ditto for class G amplification.) Now for 2022, the company has launched a trio of new AV receivers, plus a new preamp/processor, all packed with the latest features. The new receiver lineup includes the AVR11 ($3,050), the AVR21 ($4,700), and the flagship AVR31 ($6,900). The 16-channel AV41 processor can be yours for $5,250. Arcam calls this collection of products its “most comprehensively equipped AV models to date, enabling users to fully experience the latest audio-visual technologies while reveling in the thrilling musicality for which Arcam designs are renowned.”

Arcam 2022 AV Receivers Overview by Audio Advice

Arcam AVR11

All of the new models boast HDMI 2.1 with HDCP2.3 support, accepting 4K/120fps and 8K/60fps signals on all HDMI inputs. (These are passthrough only; no video upscaling or processing is performed.) HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are supported, along with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, and IMAX Enhanced. Audiophiles who are into streaming music will be pleased to learn that all four models are Roon Ready and support MQA for Tidal. Tidal Connect is on board for non-Roon users, as is Spotify Connect. Apple’s AirPlay2 and Google’s Chromecast are both supported, further expanding the new Arcams’ streaming abilities to include pretty much every internet content provider. Bluetooth connectivity with support for aptX HD makes it easy for guests to stream tunes from their phones. To ensure high sound quality, all of the new models employ dual ESS Sabre DAC chips (ESS9026PRO) to handle digital-to-analog conversion, working in tandem with ESS reference voltage regulators. Of course, high-quality components won’t do much good if challenging room acoustics are wreaking havoc on the intended frequency response of your loudspeakers. With that in mind, the new Arcam products all offer Dirac Live, the advanced room correction software from Sweden’s Dirac Research.

While no software solution can completely cure all of a room’s potential issues (excess reflectivity can be a real pain), no software solution that I’ve experienced does a better job than Dirac Live. Arcam says that Dirac enables its new models to deliver “a larger sweet spot, accurate staging, clarity, and voice intelligibility… (all) fully tunable to the listener’s preference.” Dirac Live addresses frequency and timing issues across all of your loudspeakers, but what about the subwoofer(s)? In many cases, subwoofers are left to do their own thing, or they’re crudely adjusted for basic parameters such as distance and volume level. According to Dirac, the result is that “sound waves from speakers and subwoofers bounce throughout a space, colliding with one another to produce an uneven bass distribution throughout a room – good bass in certain areas, poor bass in others, and no bass in others. This uneven bass distribution results in a suboptimal listening experience that varies based on one’s position in the room.” That clearly won’t do. With all of the new Arcam models, the user has the option to add (at an additional cost via the Dirac website) Dirac Live Bass Control, which aggregates measurement and location data from subwoofers (as well as the main speakers) to determine how bass is being distributed throughout the listening room. The app then automatically maximizes low-frequency performance from the system as a whole. It’s worth pointing out that the AVR11 receiver only supports the single-subwoofer version of Dirac Live Bass Control, which can be downloaded from the Dirac website for $349. The AVR21, AVR 31, and AV41 all support both the single-sub and multiple-sub ($499) versions of the program. The multi-subwoofer version supports an unlimited number of subwoofers, and incorporates phase co-optimization powered by machine learning. Very cool stuff.

The audio and video performance of the new AVR range is simply spectacular. Combine that thrilling performance with a best-in-class feature set, including fully uncompressed 8K HDMI video capability and the latest immersive audio decoding, and you have a real value that is unmatched in the market.

— Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Harman Luxury Audio

The Arcam 2022 8K Receiver Product Details

Sitting above Arcam’s existing entry-level AVR5 receiver ($2K), the AVR11 features native 12-channel decoding, though onboard power is limited to 7 channels of Class AB amplification, rated at 85 watts per channel (all channels driven). Should you wish to avail yourself of those remaining channels of decoding, Arcam will happily sell you the 4-channel, 50-watt/channel PA410 power amplifier for an additional $1,650. But you won’t need to shell out extra for standard Dirac Live processing — nor for a calibration mic — both of which are included with the AVR11. (The less expensive AVR5 does not include either of these in its asking price.) Moving up to the AVR21 increases the power output to 7 x 110 watts (all channels driven), and the number of native decoding channels increases from 12 to 16. The AVR21 also offers 3 HDMI outputs, while the AVR11 has only 2. Keep that in mind if you’re planning a Zone 2 setup.

 Arcam AVR31

The AVR31 ups the ante by including seven channels of Class G amplification — a topology that Arcam refers to as “the ultimate amplifier technology.” (See below for Arcam’s explanation of Class G.) In a nut shell, the amp uses multiple power supplies. Under low demand conditions, the system utilizes a lower rail voltage than a comparable Class A/B amplifier, increasing efficiency while allowing the amp to operate in pure Class A up to a certain point (up to 20 watts in Arcam amps). When the signal demands it, more power is provided by a second supply. The AVR31 offers 7 x 100 watts of Class G power with all channels driven into an 8 ohm load. That number climbs to 180 watts into 4 ohms. Finally, the AV41 is a high-performance 16-channel AV processor with all of the capabilities of the receivers described above, sans on-board amplification. Instead, the AV41 offers balanced XLR outputs for all 16 channels.

For power amplification, Arcam recommends some combination of the following options:

  • The PA720 7-channel power amp ($3,300) with 7 x 100 watts of Class G amplification
  • The PA240 stereo power amp ($2,750) with 2 x 225 watts of Class G amplification
  • The aforementioned PA410 4-channel power amp ($1,650) with 4 x 50 watts of Class AB amplification

What exactly is Class G? Like a hybrid car engine, Class G implements multiple power supplies rather than just a single supply. If a dynamic signal is received that goes beyond the capability of this first power supply, the secondary supply is gradually brought in up to full rated power output as required. This gives a very efficient design as additional power is only used when required, much like a turbo-charger. Modern high-speed silicon allows us to make this switch faster than would ever be required, even way beyond the audio bandwidth, so there is no ‘turbo lag.’ The first power supply is of lower power and within this region we run in pure Class A, which has no crossover distortion. As the secondary supply is only used when required, extreme levels of power are possible because very little energy is wasted in the amplifier as heat when it is not being used. Without control, this power would be ill-used, so like high performance car tires, multiple output devices within the amplifier keep a tight grip on the loudspeaker at all times, ensuring your listening experience never leaves the road.

— Arcam

The AVR11, AVR21, AVR31, and AV41 are all shipping now from authorized Arcam dealers, such as Audio Advice in my home state of North Carolina. For more information, check out this informative video from the folks at Audio Advice.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
author portrait

Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

View full profile

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

CreoleDC posts on August 30, 2022 21:36
Danzilla31, post: 1570906, member: 85700
Hey guys Audio Advice got back with me. According to Harman inputs 13 and 14 are for the front independent subs and inputs 15 and 16 are for the independent rear subs. Plus you have the sub input 1 & 2 although parallel one sub can
be independent there as well.

They got this straight from Harman themselves. Ohhhhhhhhh this has got my curiosity going big time!!!!!

For $5000 with Dirac that's the best budget in that price range! Also Audio Advice says they don't have all the bugs in these that they did when the 40 series initially rolled out. They are working smooth when they ran them through there paces!

Woo woo! Sounds pretty cool guys!
Sure hope they sell enough of them.
I'm 20% about ARC and 80% on actual sound quality. Even better if it's free or less coin. got to run toodaloo!

Edit: just a note, anyone interested in fairly new RX-A4A? still have box and all accessories taking very good care of.

Low one time special upcoming fall price of 700.00. plus who ever may want this very fine nice sounding Yamaha AVR just inbox me a message we can discuss options.

Still have All paperwork on it and the last update not the newest one of 1.73. Jump man! won't get a better deal. Lowballers will be ignored.
Danzilla31 posts on August 30, 2022 00:58
ryanosaur, post: 1570908, member: 86393
When I look at the XLR outs, they have a dedicated Sub1, then CHs- 13, 14, 15, 16 (all assignable). So it sounds like you can do 6 overhead with the dedicated H1-4 outputs, and 2 of the assignable channels, then run 3 discreet Sub Out from the other assignable? ( …or 9.3.4 for those that seem to be sold on Fr Wides )
Thanks to my room size I'd be using it for the subs just a simple 7.4.4
ryanosaur posts on August 29, 2022 13:55
Danzilla31, post: 1570906, member: 85700
Hey guys Audio Advice got back with me. According to Harman inputs 13 and 14 are for the front independent subs and inputs 15 and 16 are for the independent rear subs. Plus you have the sub input 1 & 2 although parallel one sub can
be independent there as well.

They got this straight from Harman themselves. Ohhhhhhhhh this has got my curiosity going big time!!!!!

For $5000 with Dirac that's the best budget in that price range! Also Audio Advice says they don't have all the bugs in these that they did when the 40 series initially rolled out. They are working smooth when they ran them through there paces!

Woo woo! Sounds pretty cool guys!
When I look at the XLR outs, they have a dedicated Sub1, then CHs- 13, 14, 15, 16 (all assignable). So it sounds like you can do 6 overhead with the dedicated H1-4 outputs, and 2 of the assignable channels, then run 3 discreet Sub Out from the other assignable? ( …or 9.3.4 for those that seem to be sold on Fr Wides )
Danzilla31 posts on August 29, 2022 13:17
Hey guys Audio Advice got back with me. According to Harman inputs 13 and 14 are for the front independent subs and inputs 15 and 16 are for the independent rear subs. Plus you have the sub input 1 & 2 although parallel one sub can
be independent there as well.

They got this straight from Harman themselves. Ohhhhhhhhh this has got my curiosity going big time!!!!!

For $5000 with Dirac that's the best budget in that price range! Also Audio Advice says they don't have all the bugs in these that they did when the 40 series initially rolled out. They are working smooth when they ran them through there paces!

Woo woo! Sounds pretty cool guys!
Trell posts on August 28, 2022 09:22
PENG, post: 1570679, member: 6097
Audyssey Sub EQ's:

1) Audyssey would require you to group the 4 subs into pairs of 2 based on pairing 2 that are equidistance to your mlp.
2) Audyssey sub EQ HT would time aligned the two pairs of 2 subs that are equidistance to mlp.
3) Audyssey XT32 would EQ all 4 as one.

Audyssey supports more than two independent (level/distance) subwoofer outputs but the manufactures have chosen to support only two. This from the former Audyssey CTO a number of years ago
Post Reply