Arcam partial buyback

An FYI for all of the people burned by Arcam AVR 2xx and 300/350 series receivers which have had a number of problems, including overheating leading to capacitor replacement, diode replacement and eventually motherboard replacement. The Arcam rep, Mike Marko, admitted to me last January there were design/build problems with those series of receivers, but at the time Arcam only offered a 20% discount towards new purchases. I purchased an Anthem MRX 500, which, to be honest, did not deliver the sort of sound I was used to. I even sold off my beloved Triangle Celius ES speakers in an effort to get a more balanced sound with the Anthem.

Since we are adding a second sysetm to the house, I decided to use the Anthem on the second system and upgrade the primary. Separates were too much money for my budget, so I listened to a number of AVRs, but decided to try Arcam again. I spoke with Mr. Marko today, and he indicated there is a partial buyback of all 2xx and 300/350 AVR receivers. Bring them to your Arcam dealer and you can purchase a new AVR 400 for $1500. This is less than the price of the new AVR 360 ($1800). The discount does not apply to the AVR 600 (the AVR 500 was apparently discontinued almost a year ago). The offer is only good until the end of this year. The old receivers have to be turned in an cannot be resold (in other words if you are buying a used AVR 2xx or 300/350 to get $1000 off an AVR 400, make sure the discount has not already been claimed by someone else by checking the serial number with Arcam). If you are dumping your AVR 2xx or 300/350 you may want to rethink this as it has a value of $1000 off a new Arcam model with HDMI 1.4.

I don't think Arcam has done a good job of letting either owners or dealers know about this program, so I hope this helps others out.
So, how reliable are Arcam AVRs now? I have been considering the AVR 360. BTW, I do not have an older Arcam AVR to trade in. They seem to be priced a little high compared to equivalently equipped receivers of other brands. I would be inclined to pay additional for reliability in an AVR but am wondering if there is a brand out there who has managed to keep up with the new technology, pack all those features into a single box, AND make it more reliable?
According to Mike Marko, the Arcam rep for American Audio and Video (the American distributor for Arcam), the return rate for the AVR 400 is 1.5%. I checked with 3 different retailers who sold NAD and Arcam, and all thought the Arcam AVR 400 was more reliable than the NAD 775HD2.

The thing that gives me pause is that the AVR 400 is made in China, just like the AVR 2xx and the 300/350. Moreover Arcam pulled production of the AVR 600 from China to England in September of 2010 due to quality control issues. Since the AVR 600 has been made in England it has been more reliable.

Fundamental to the reliability issue is that any AV receiver is likely to be inherently more prone to problems than a 2 channel system as there are more electronic circuits and more "firmware" (i.e. software programs for signal processing) that can become problemmatic.

So why buy Arcam? If you like the Arcam "sound", a fairly neutral sonic field that allows the music to come through as it has been recorded and that doesn't sound overly bright or boomy with bass, it is tough to find anything similar at that price point. Even a used Mcintosh system would run close to $6000 (assuming you picked up a used MX 120 for $2900 and a MC 205 for $3000). For $1500 with the discount program the AVR 400 is a good value. If my budget was closer to $20,000 then I would buy new Mcintosh. Unfortunately I am not going to be buying new Mcintosh.

I was fairly peeved at how Arcam handled my receiver problems a year ago, but after a year of listening to other highly rated receivers at this price point, and 10 months of living with the Anthem, I am going back to Arcam and hope they have gotten the bugs worked out. Their partial buyback program is a step in the right direction.
I've owned Arcam gear in the past, so can appreciate what sonics you are likely seeking. I presently am using Ayre amplification with Triangle ESW's and highly recommend the combination as an alternative to consider.
Oops - I just noticed that you are probably running multichannel, so Ayre would be an entirely different cost point. Hope Arcam comes through for you, please post your results.