Matching Speakers to an Arcam A75 Plus

Category: Amplifiers

I am a neophyte in the world of hi-fi systems, and I am seeking the advice and wisdom of the learned.

I recently bought an Arcam A75 Plus integrated amplifier, on the basis of reviews and my budget, to start my new system. Now I need to match them to a pair of speakers and the right cables. I can't afford to pay more than about $1,600-1,800 dollars for a pair of speakers. (I shudder to think what the cables are going to cost!)

I spend a great deal of time listening to music*, in the following order of preference: Classical music (the full gamut, from chamber music to opera, and baroque to modern), jazz and pop. [*I should say, "I used to spend..."; now that I have two young children, it's gotten harder....] I also attend concerts (I used to be one of the directors of a chamber music ensemble), so I'm aware of what the real thing sounds like.

I did listen to a pair of B&W CDM 9NTs in a store not long ago and liked the accuracy of the sound. But I have not been able to find any place in the Washington, DC, area that sells the Arcam as well, so that I can listen to them together. From everything I've read, however, the 9NTs sound as if they would work well. They are at the high end of my budget, but I think I can get demos at that price.

But this is all theoretical and, as I say, my experience is very limited.

Does anyone have similar listening tastes to mine and own an Arcam A75/A85 Plus and found speakers they are happy with? I am looking for any suggestions, and would be very greatful for anyone's thoughts on the matter.

FYI. The room I have my system set up in has 12-foot ceilings, and is approximately 30 feet long by 10 feet wide, opening up to 20 feet wide. The room has trees, wall hangings and furniture to break up the room, though the room is by no means cluttered.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this request.
Ag insider logo xs@2xlistener1
I own Jm Labs Chorus 706's with an Arcam A65 plus amp. The sound is detailed and a bit bright. Its gotten great reviews from stereophile. Take a look on AudioAdvisor for the larger 710 on closeout sale for around $400. You should also think about replacing the powercord on the amp and getting decent speaker cable. What is the rest of your system like?
IMO, you need to find an efficient floorstander whose impedence doesn't dip too low. Not familiar w/newer Arcam int. amps, but owned the Alpha 10 which I felt was very smooth sounding sounding but felt very weak in relation to it's stated power output. I was using B&W Dm 640's w/the Arcam. I'm not a big fan of new B&W's. However, they just might be the ticket for you, your tastes and associated equipment. The only way to be sure is to arrange a home-trial. My local B&W dealer wouldn't hesitate for a moment on such a request. Find a dealer whom will work w/you. As far as spk. cables, I'm pleased w/my Cardas Quadlinks 5c's. Try to arrange an audition w/various ones to see what works for you. Good Luck!
Well, it's not 100% apples to apples, but I recently picked up an Arcam FMJ A22 which I am using with a pair of ProAc Tablette Reference 8 Signatures, and I find the Arcam/ProAc matchup to work very well.

Thanks for your comments and the suggestions for the JM Labs Chorus. The 706 certainly got a phenomenal review from Stereophile, so on the strength of your and their recommendations, I'll see if I can find the larger Choruses for a test run.
I had not thought about a power cord: Anything I should look for in particular or any suggestions?
The rest of my components are decades old, not very good and on their way out: HPM 100 speakers (the big boxes of 20 years ago), "speaker wire" that comes on a roll," a mainstream Sony CD player (cost me about $200 a couple of years ago), and a Technics direct drive turntable (cost about $200 about 12 years ago).
My one other recent purchase is a Marantz ST-6000 upgraded and configured by the renowned tuner expert Don Scott, former Stereophile tuner reviewer. He made this one specifically for me. It has excellent characteristics, but without decent speakers or cables I have not yet benefited from their true quality.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I'll also look into Cardas Quadlinks cables.

Thanks for the suggestion of ProAc Tablette Reference 8 Signatures. I'm not familiar with them but I'll look into them.

Has anyone tried the CASTLE HARLECH speaker, a Hi-Fi Choice Best Buy? The review praises them very highly.

Thank you again for your comments.
I have seen those Castles you mentioned in a magazine as a good pair with the Arcam. I dont remember which magazine though. I bought Chris Venhaus' power cords for around $100. The results were immediately audible. The first thing you notice is the bass! Then the lowered background noise. Some other changes werent as dramatic or were probably due to the lowered background noise. Check for feedback on Chris Venhaus stuff. Have you thought of selling some of your older gear to fund your new purchases? I would keep the TT as its hard to get a decent table under $300 nowadays.
Thanks, Bundee1. I plan to dispose of the bad stuff as funds allow and upgrade bit by bit. I'll look at the Venhaus stuff.
I just put together a system with DALI floorstanders and an A75 plus... a really nice match ..very deep and wide presentation. I'd caution against a "bright" front end, but if you have a clean, neutral source component(s) (which I'm sure you do), the DALI speaker line mates very well with the Arcam.
I finally bought a pair of speakers: Triangle Celius. I've listened to them a couple of times and find that they are good in the middle and lower registers, but violins sound very squeaky and harsh. Very disappointing.

I attribute the problem to lousy ICs, power cords, speaker wires and CD player, all of which I am slowly working on fixing.

I just bought a Marantz SA-8260 CD Player, Harmonic Technology Pro AC-11 power cord, and PS Audio Ultimate Outlet High Current. All purchased used through Audiogon, of course.

I haven't installed any of these yet, so I don't know how they will affect the sound. I'm very curious to see how they work together.

Still looking for good interconnects and speaker cables I can afford.
Hi, whenever I hear arcams, I have the feel that they have too extended treble, which in wrong pairing could be very annoying. The BW would be even worse in this sense. But unfortunately, triangle also tend to 'contructed' to have extended treble and fast voice at the expense of bass. So, I would select interconnects and speaker cables which have warm and darkening effect. Cardas and harmonic technology would be good match. If you already have HT pcs, I would go for all HT cabling.
I have Arcam 65+ - little brother of 75+ - I initially had B&W 603 - sold them and replaced them with Vonschweikert VR1 standmounters with VR-sub. VR1 has the detail but not the brightness (to my ears) of B&W. They compete with speakers $2000 to $3000 range including B&W 805 - which look great and sound goo with Arcam warmish. You can get them used or new well within your budget. The components drivers, crossover, technology etc. used on the VR1 are the same as in their higher range and they partner and benefit from going up the chain in electronics and they reward you with upgrades elsewhere in the system.

Here are some reviews: