Anyone heard Arcam A85?

Any opinions will be appreciate.
Yes, I had one at home on loan, and compared it directly with a combo of Rotel amp and pre-amp. The Rotel amp and pre-amp sounded significantly better to me, and were, surprisingly, cheaper. I ended up deciding that separates were the way to go, although in the end I bought a more expensive pre-amp than the Rotel.

The Arcam had sounded good to me in the store. I think the difference was that my room is bigger than the store's listening room, and the Arcam couldn't really "fill" the room. My speakers (Celestion S300s) may be less efficient and harder to drive than the speakers I used at the store. So your results may vary -- it may do well in a smallish room with efficient speakers.

I also compared the two setups with a loaner pair of B&W speakers in the $1500 range (I forget the model). I found that both with those speakers and with mine that the Arcam didn't image very well, it sounded like "just a stereo" to me.

In stores, I demoed a few other integrateds in the same $1000 or so price range -- Audio Refinement (which I compared directly to the Arcam and found perhaps slightly preferable, but close), Myryad, Marantz.

I think in the end if I were to buy an integrated, I would step up to a higher price point, $2500 or so. I haven't listened to these (because I decided to go with separates), but I would consider the NAD silver series, Classe, Bryston, and Mark Levinson. People who have the latter rave about it, but it's a lot more money. Most of these options offer more power (100WPC or more) than the run-of-the-mill integrateds, which run around 60WPC.

Feature-wise, there is a lot to like about the Arcam. Very nice dimmable display, good-looking, decent full-featured remote (though a little plasticy), supports two sets of speakers, phono input (as an option), plenty of line inputs, separate recording path (I believe), headphone output, and the like. I gave up most of that in the pre-amp I bought, but gained better sound.

It goes against prevailing wisdom in this price range, but if you have the space and need the power, you may want to consider separates. There are more "deals" out there on separates, and you can buy one of the pieces better than the other, then upgrade the other piece when you can afford it.

- Eric
I heard the A85 and have a different take than Eric. With the right speakers (Proac 1SC) and source components, this unit really shines. It is clean and clear. I have never liked Arcam's CD players, but their amps have always been great value for the money. And the phono on the A85 is way better than a $150 add-on phono section should be. You should of course listen for yourself.
Interestingly, I auditioned the A85 in the store with Proac speakers (top-end, I forget the model), and it sounded better there. Perhaps Kforton is right about the need to match speakers carefully.

- Eric