Brian, I replied to your email with pertinent information which I hope is helpful. They are scheduled to ship this month, now that the correct parts have been received. Darren at Avatar Acoustics has kindly offered to ship one of their demo units here for the open house on April 28th.
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The updates are to these pre-production units ('beta' versions) which were built late last year, to bring them up to date with the production units. The updates are related to the OptiMains unit and a couple of other small items. The production units are not affected at all, and there is no need to be concerned. The designs are very mature, certainly not a work in progress. AMR is taking a very conservative approach and making sure everything is fully addressed. They burn in every unit for 48 hours, taking measurements all along the way to ensure specified performance and utter reliability. I was told the first production run will ship this week.
Essentialaudio thanks for the info. I almost bought a cd-77 in Jan. but something told me to hold off because I felt the unit was just too new and changes would be made. With the info that you have relayed only confirms that I was right and would have purchased a (beta version) version that would have needed to be updated, is AMR offering to do the updates at no cost including picking up the tab for the shipping?
This unit weights allot so shipping back and forth would be costly not alone dealing with the risk of it getting damaged or even worse lost in shipping going back and forth so many times which I don't like to do.
With this info. I defiantly will be waiting for the dust to settle and give the unit some time before I invest in it, not a inexpensive venture with it listing at $8500.00.
This updating kind off worries me.
I know of another new model player that was released around 6 months or so ago that has already gone through quite off few updates and they were all addressing certain problems with the player.
Why would they have not updated the players prior to them being shipped to you??
Updating them and shipping from the factory would make more sense then them coming to you for a week then sending them back to be updated and then back to you??
Dont mean to sound skeptical but this doesnt make sense.
You address the sound question with (As for the sound, it speaks for itself.) What does that mean??
Dev, you are very misinformed. You would not have been able to purchase a 'beta' unit. The design is complete, and as such no upgrades are planned nor will be needed. The AMR components are just becoming available, and any units purchased prior to release (this week) are the production units which are just now beginning to ship.
Service in and out of warranty on units sold in North America will be handled through the North American distributor, not sent to England. The warranty is five years, six months on tubes.
I recommend doing your homework before trying to find fault.
I visited Essential Audio for a demonstration of the AMR units, so as a potential customer I can speak for the sound of the CD player. It really was everything you would want in sound - detailed, smooth, deep. Don't want to get out my dictionary of audiophile terms, but it was very nice - recognizing that it was put through extremely high end amplification and speakers. Brian, you can fill in the accompanying equipment.
Other highlights included changing the 6 different sampling modes, allowing for optimizing the experience for different recordings, and the outstanding performance of the USB DAC port. On the spot, I ripped a cd to my laptop, attached a USB cable and it played through at a quality as good as you could hope. The DAC was not quite the same as using the CD-77's own transport, but not far off (using a lossless file).
To the issues: The amplifier never worked. There is an ambitious feature to protect the machine from voltages out of range. That feature was being over-protective and would not let the amp boot up (Srajan's review of the cd player in 6moons talks about this issue as well, although he got it working by using UK voltage).
The cd player had issues recognizing new discs. The sliding door to the transport had to be opened and closed several times and sometimes the cd player had to be rebooted in order to recognize a new disc. It also skipped on several tracks on different CD's.
Still, the promise of these machines has me on the fence. I consider these issues to be associated with well traveled, pre-production units that need to get the updates that will be in the production units.
I was impressed with Brian's ability to get Thorsten on the phone to troubleshoot (at an hour that would have been very late UK time), but I wish I would have been notified of the issues prior to traveling out of state for the demo.
Those are the highlights and lowlights - AMR's stuff will be great I think. How quickly they will be great is the question that has me on the fence.
The issues mentioned by Jim affect only the pre-production units. The matter of the amplifier voltage sensing is related to an older OptiMains unit which Thorsten explained on the phone will be updated - the CD player has the updated OptiMains (the same as used in both production components) and has performed flawlessly. As for the CD player drawer, recognizing new discs, etc. they are all related to the door sensor which is being updated this weekend as well. I am confident that AMR has these concerns well behind them as they understand and have squarely addressed all of them.
The 6moons review can be viewed here.
The associated equipment used here for the demo and open house included an Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamplifier, Atma-Sphere MA-1 amplifiers, Sound Lab Ultimate-1 loudspeakers, line conditioning and cabling by Isoclean and Creative Cable Concepts, and other various accessories.
I think AMR has a chance to redefine the market space, at least to some extent, in terms of value for money. And even with my experience in the above demonstration, I have a feeling that the issues will be/have been addressed with the production units that they will be selling. But, as homage to the value that I've personally received from various forums I thought an honest and balanced perspective was fair.
I also had the pleasure of participating in the AMR demo at Essential Audio last weekend. I had very high expectations for this player. Minor operating quirks aside, I can confidently say that my expectations were met. This player has an absolutely stunning bass reproduction with plenty of weight and real slam. Very, very wide soundstage with nice layering, lots of detail and very palpable images. The top end was very airy, perhaps a just a touch too ethereal and dry for my taste (and compared to Brian's state of the art analog), but I am sure this can be easily tweaked with simple tube rolling.
To sum it up, my first impressions were very positive, now I'd love to hear it in my own system side by side with my reference (Exemplar 5910).
There are posts in this thread by people speculating about products they have neither seen nor heard, nor are they informed about the history of the company and products except by what they have read here and perhaps in the 6moons review.
I suppose my sincerity may be called into question by some due to my dealer status. In view of the ensuing responses to my post mentioning the updates affecting a small handful of preproduction units, perhaps my posting anything at all was unwise. Surely I didn't expect that, considering I was trying to post clarifying information. Maybe it was too much information for the skeptics eager to raise doubts. However, I stand by my statements and challenge the doubting Thomases to audition the products before commenting.
AMR's products just now being released in final production form have gone through a far more thorough gestation period than other products do - five years, to be precise. Thorsten Loesch's active participation in the DIY community is known to many, and his involvement in this way has enabled him to consider and audition far more things than what designers typically do. He and Pat Wayne (one of the other partners in AMR who have personally invested in the company, in addition to outside investors) share about the same amount of involvement in the products' design, and they have been committed firmly to releasing the products only when all issues, no matter how small, have been addressed. Because they have been so diligent about these matters and have been so intent on getting the products working perfectly and reliably before releasing them, the product ship date has been delayed till now. Being familiar with what happened with other companies' products (Audio Aero, for example) which exhibited problems and being intensely driven not to allow such things to occur with their products, they have taken great pains to ensure tight quality control. 'Get it right the first time' clearly is their mission, and a Mk 2 version would neither be necessary nor acceptable to them. Having spoken with Thorsten, their dedication to perfection is very evident.
With the aforementioned issues resolved, the results will be clear very soon. Other reviews are coming, and soon owners will be sharing their experiences with the CD player and amplifier. Having been into high end audio since the mid 70s and having a sense of what makes successful high performance products sparked my keen interest in AMR. Based upon people's reactions at last week's open house it would seem my instincts were right on, perhaps conservative. Only by experiencing them for one's self can one make valid judgments.
Once again essentialaudio, every time you open your mouth you do AMR a HUGE disservice. Rather than having to read your defensive ramblings, the product should speak for itself. The fact that you have to continue to "sell" a product doesn't speak well for such product. If it's really that fantastic and issue free we'll hear about from end users, your credibility given your dealer status makes all your posts in this thread highly suspect.
I have no doubt that the Cd-77 player sounded very well but were you able to test it on other gear??
That would be allot more helpful than 50,000 plus gear, NOT including cables and all in that price.
I believe the Sound labs themselves cost around 30,000?
I would think you could make most anything sound good on that system!
Dont take this the wrong way, I would just like to know if you have put it in a more real world system, That would be allot more useful to me.
Essentialaudio if the cd-77 is actually any good along with being reliable time will tell but so far I'm not impressed with the reliability issues.
You got caught up trying to market something but it has back fired, you weren't exspecting to get all of this negative feedback. You being a business man and a dealer for the product why wouldn't you have one of these so called cd-77 players brand new especially when you are having an open house. This just does not make any sense to get all of this negative press.
This is a $8500.00 player so firstly it must be reliable.
Wow, AMR defense force mobilize! Let's go over your nasty post:
(1) How does the length of my registration have any relevance to the discussion? Right, it doesn't.
(2) Please, what's my "transparant charade"? Trying to make sure a product doesn't break down after someone spends thousands on it. Calling out a dealer with an obvious heavy bias. Questioning a product you like. If so, I have been exposed.
Not to dredge up old posts/matters, but essentialaudio has been anything but honest and straightforward. He was, for quite some time, heavily pushing AMR without disclosing his dealer status. So much so in fact, that AMR had to tell him to back off. When the company you are a dealer for has to reprimand you, there's really not much more to be said.
You are right, how long you have been a member has no relevance to your posts or your erroneous comments.
First, you take credit for "Calling our a dealer with an obvious heavy bias." If you read the entire thread before your first post to it, you would have seen that it was clear to all that Essentialaudio was a dealer.
Second, in case there was any doubt about his status, on 5-2-07 Essentialaudio posted: "Regarding the sound, you will find out when you hear it. As an AMR dealer I am trying to avoid posting subjective impressions which could be viewed as self promotion." In fact this posting lead to the following post by Btstrg: "Okay, I know you are a dealer and am asking you with that knowledge what are YOUR impressions of the player...I am asking you so be subjective all you want, I would like to know your initial impressions." A comment, I agree with by the way. I don't mind dealers commenting in constructive ways as long as their is full disclosure. I can then use my own judgment.
Third, Essentialaudio was not the dealer called out for his earlier comments. You need to re-read the thread you are talking about. I'm very familiar with it. It is quite clear who was "called out" by the distributor and it was not Essentialaudio.
So while the time you have been a member of this community is not relevant, the way you conduct yourself is. Essentialaudio appears to have conducted himself appropriately. Moreover, he disclosed that there were updates, which then lead to a whole discussion about the updates including comments by individuals who were in attendance about the specific issues with the player. All very helpful to those considering a purchase.
For the community to function for the benefit of all, you need to make sure your comments are accurate and your "attacks" well founded. Too much of this, IMO, goes on here and it is detrimental to this community as a whole.
And, like this posting, takes us off topic.
And, in case you are curious, I have no connection with AMR (including not owning any of their products) or Essentialaudio (never met him, never talked to him, do not know who he is other than a dealer who posts to this forum). I'm just an audiophile like the rest of us.
My apologies to Essentialaudio, but with all the AMR pimping going on around here with nary a unit in sight at retail, the AMR dealers started to blend together. Nevertheless, the other dealer was reprimanded and the account was otherwise accurate.
Further, irrespective of your comments Cuwill or those of the rest of the AMR defense force, there is absolutely a need to be concerned where an $8,500 piece of electronics is going back for fixes at the last minute. In any case, whether the last minute fixes are the last of the AMR issues will be answered by retail purchasers and not at demos, shows or by dealers or reviewers or the like. However, the fact that AMR has been working on the unit for three years and apparently still haven't gotten it right should be extremely disconcerting to all of "us" audiophiles.
Finally, take your own advice regarding personal attacks.
>>but with all the AMR pimping going on around here with nary a unit in sight at retail, the AMR dealers started to blend together<<
Not if you took the time to read the threads carefully. Others knew this and you didn't. That is your mistake; don't blow it off as anything else.
>>there is absolutely a need to be concerned where an $8,500 piece of electronics is going back for fixes at the last minute.<<
Better the problem is discovered and corrected before release. The best laid plans of mice and men you know....
>>In any case, whether the last minute fixes are the last of the AMR issues will be answered by retail purchasers and not at demos, shows or by dealers or reviewers or the like.<<
Irrelevant. That's true of any product.
>>However, the fact that AMR has been working on the unit for three years and apparently still haven't gotten it right should be extremely disconcerting to all of "us" audiophiles.<<
Be careful including yourself; it may not be appropriate.
>>Finally, take your own advice regarding personal attacks<<
You reap what you sow Sparky.
I've just received the AMR-77 for a home audition. I'm comparing the CDP with my trusty Accuphase DP-90/DC-91 combo. I'm not going to review this CDP, because it is too preliminary and I'm not very good at reviewing audio components. The only thing I can say is albeit this CDP sounds very good, compared to the Accuphase it sounds rather different than better. It might be a 15 year leap in technology, but not a 15 year leap in sound. I know it's only nitpicking, but it is a bit strange that the balanced out is in fact a fake single ended output. It doesn't even use transformers to get pseudo-balanced. Why did the designer do such a thing?
Yes, if the Accuphase was contemporary digital gear, but it is in fact oldskool (15 year old design) and the AMR is one of the current SOTA CDP with the latest digital know how being implemented, so it should be superior to the Accuphase. Didn't I hear audiophiles saying that digital technology is moving so fast that there is a risk that your latest CDP purchase is already becoming outdated? I'm affraid newer technology doesn't essentially mean better sound. Btw, the AMR-77 is a wonderful CDP though.
why would you even compare a fully burned in cdp to one that needs 400-1000hrs before it is also burned in ? I am always amazed that audiophiles jump to conclusions before the product has barely enough time to warm up ( 3days for my Wadia separates). Audiofeil correctly pointed out that the AMR sells for a fraction of what your Accuphase combo retailed at.This AMR cdp is supposed to be very well voiced
and the fact that you are not blown away, leads me to suspect that you like HiFi type sound.Another consideration may be that your cabling is also suspect and that you are in need of new technologically advanced cables that require no burn in ( lest we jump to conclusions yet again!).Dazzdax, please consider what the gentlemen after you have said,maybe,being the first one on the block carries a certain responsibility before one speaks Prematurely !!Please let us know what you think after 400hrs.Take care Dennis
Let me explain first that I'm not critizicing the AMR with regard to it's sound, not at all. It sounds wonderful as I stated earlier. I'm only saying that the first impressions are that of a SOTA CDP with a different presentation than the Accuphase, which is not necessarily better. But you are right though, I have to give the unit proper burn in time and eventually it will smoke the Accuphase for sure!
"But you are right though, I have to give the unit proper burn in time and eventually it will smoke the Accuphase for sure!"
dazzdax, c'mon, i hope you are joking. don't let these guys push you around. this is a very interesting unit on paper, and i am certainly interested in hearing people's firsthand experience. don't be intimidated! keep us updated.
What kind of comments are these? I could gtell you but then this wouldn't get posted.
(The fact that you are not blown away, leads me to suspect that you like HiFi type sound. Another consideration may be that your cabling is also suspect and that you are in need of new technologically advanced cables that require no burn in)
Are you saying if people dont like it they only like HIFI sound?? Have you heard or are you basing that comment on what others have said.
And what about his cables?? Just because we all dont have the VD cables you have been preaching about for months now, does that make all of our cables inferior to yours? I dont think so!
I am always amazed by people making comments of things they have never heard or at least heard in there system. if people, dont like the comments its always easy to blame it on there system instead of, in this case the AMR CD-77.
Not everyone is going to like this player people.
you should read more carefully what people post. You started this whole negative thng about amr when yoo posted that they should have updated all their equipment before they shipped it out. Well that is the farthest thing from accurate. They shipped out a beta version to a few dealers. All and every piece that is being shipped currently is the finished product. There is no person who has a cd77 that needs an update. Beta versions are just that and every company has a beta before the finished product hits the streets. It's called product development. If you read more carefully you would save every one a lot of time.
"'As you have an XLR connector, is the CD-77 balanced?'
The CD-77 uses a completely signal-ended signal path as we have found this to give a more realistic reproduction of music. However, in terms of sound quality, we found the XLR connector preferable to the RCA connector, even when used with un-balanced signals.
Consequently, we have offered the XLR output in a manner that is fully compatible with balanced equipment: takes full advantage of balanced connections yet retains the desirable single ended signal circuit." From AMR's website. There's more interesting stuff on their about why they have made certain choices - the amp's 4-output-stage-design springs to mind.
BTW Dazzdax, what's the rest of your system?
I also have been waiting for the cd-77 for a couple of months now.(I live in the Netherlands) Sold my CDP ( Accphase dp67) in the meantime and listened to a 15 year old Marantz cd 40. An audiofriend ( also waiting for the cd-77 and am77) had the ARC cd7 Ref at home for a demo. He offered me to take a good listening to it also. So he brought the player over to me and he said I good have it a for almost a week. Now we both had an extended demo at home with the AMR cd-77 and am-77. We liked it so much that we both wanted the cd77. But then the ARC CD7 came in to my life. To make a long story short. We both bought the ARC CD7. No matter what disc you play with it it does it so nice. It's a miracle. You just have to here it to believe it. Maybe in the future I can compare the cd7 with the cd77 direct. ( confusing or not AMR ARC CD7 CD77?). For now I am more then happy with the ARC and I hope that AMR can live up to the expectations.