Need Advise On Upgrading My System


My current sound system includes an ARCAM AVR 550 receiver, Paradigm Prestige 85F tower speakers, Paradigm Prestige center channel, two REL S2 subwoofers, OPPO Blue Ray player and a BlueSound Node 2i streamer.  I wanted a system that could play TV and Movies through a sound system as well as to listen to 2 channel.  

My question is to find out if I could achieve better sound quality by upgrading to an ARCAM 30 receiver.  This receiver has G amplification where the first 50 watts produces pure A Class amplification.  The ARCAM 30 sells for $6,000 vs my ARCAM AVR 550 which sold for $3,000.  Since the ARCAM 30 costs twice as much as the ARCAM AVR 550, would this be a worthwhile investment to take sound quality to the next level?  Also, will I be able to hear the sound difference?
C8ae46d2 13a8 4a9e 9672 691de36f1fddlarry5729
i briefly owned the arcam 450--it was okay for 2 channel when unamped, but really improved when i amped the front channels with a good power amp (i believe it was the proceed amp2)--i'd try something similar before trading in your 550.
The AVR30 is about 5.5 lbs heavier than your AVR550, which would indicate a slightly larger/beefier power supply.  However, the output isn't significantly better, so ultimately you might get a very small amount of improvement, but I don't know that it would be $3,000 better, lol.  I would look at really nice external amplifier.  Just keep in mind that the sound may be different because the Arcam Class G has a very unique sound.
My question is to find out if I could achieve better sound quality by upgrading to an ARCAM 30 receiver.
NO!!! Frankly, I got to compare this AVR directly to a comparable Yamaha AVR, and the Yammy Aventage was better. That said, NO!!! Do the right thing by your nice speakers and just get a dedicated stereo integrated amp that mates well with your speakers. Route the front L/R preouts from your AVR into the integrated and you’ll be SO much better off (and likely for less $$$) than upgrading your AVR. AVRs are fatally compromised for 2-channel from the power supply on down, so going with a dedicated stereo preamp will be light years better than an AVR, and you won’t be sinking $$$ into better surround circuitry, etc. you probably aren’t looking for anyway. Just do it. Your speakers are too good to be compromised by an AVR. Just my $0.02 FWIW.

Sonic,

if I add a 2 channel amp to the ARCAM will I still be able to hear my TV when needed through my towers, center channel and 2 REL’s?  I have a 65” Sony on top of the entertainment cabinet so I can watch TV and movies.  We decided to turn the museum (living room) into a entertainment and music room.

if I were to add a 2 channel amp what would you recommend?  I was looking at Moon.  Also, would the ARCAM produce too much noise.?  The reason why I was looking at the ARCAM 3 is because it has their G Class amplification with a lot more power.  I viewed a video by Paul Mc Gowan with PS Audio and he talked about the importance of head room.  Since the ARCAM 3 already has built in surround and plenty of power I wonder if this extra power and headroom would make my Paradigm’s sound better.  A dealer in town told me to upgrade my speakers first because my ARCAM AVR 550 has plenty of power and it sound great.  I listened to a pair of Revel Performa’s and they sounded good.  Not sure how much better than my Paradigm’s.
if I add a 2 channel amp to the ARCAM will I still be able to hear my TV when needed through my towers, center channel and 2 REL’s?
Absolutely yes.  When you select the input on the stereo integrated (optimally the HT Bypass input if it has one) that the front L/R preouts from the AVR are connected to and that’s it — HT as normal.  Simple!  But obviously you want to hook your better stereo sources to the integrated (which is also the only amp connected to your front L/R speakers), and by doing it this way the AVR is completely out of the chain when playing more critical 2-channel music.  
if I were to add a 2 channel amp what would you recommend?  I was looking at Moon.  Also, would the ARCAM produce too much noise.?
I couldn’t say without knowing what sound characteristics you’re looking for.  Moon could be great if it has enough power and matches with your sonic preferences/tastes.  As mentioned above, the Arcam is completely out of the loop for 2-channel in this setup so its noise is a non issue.  Hope this helps clarify. 


Soix4,

Will I lose the surround sound when playing TV and movies.  Will the two channel amp just play the left & right front speakers plus the 2 REL S2"s when selecting this mode on my ARCAM remote.  When streaming using my BlueSound Node 2i, I select the CD mode to play my front right and left speakers plus the REL's.  Sounds a bit complicated.  

Does hooking things up the way you are suggest by pass my ARCAM entirely when playing 2 channel?  I must say I do like the sound of my ARCAM and the dealer also feels the sound is way above average.  This said, what integrated amplifiers would you recommend?  Do you still feel this would sound better than the $6,000 ARCAM 30 with the G Class amplification.

When I viewed Paul Mc Gowan's at PS Audio discussing head room that made sense to me.  Thus the thought I had of upgrading the power of my ARCAM receiver.  Kind of like driving a 400 HP car at 80 mph VS driving a 200 HP at the same speed.  I was thinking a more powerful receiver would produce sound effortlessly and as a result make my Paradigm's sound better.

I did like the sound of the REVEL Performas.  They sounded very punchy and the Beryliuum tweeter brought out the symbols better.  That is the only thing I am missing at this point.

Thanks for your reply.
I did like the sound of the REVEL Performas. They sounded very punchy and the Beryliuum tweeter brought out the symbols better. That is the only thing I am missing at this point.
The Arcam Class G is more of a smoothed over colored type of sound.  This may actually be removing some of that "cymbol" sound that you're looking for.  Putting an external amp could help bring out that type of sound you're looking for.  That being said, the new Revel PerformaBe series is absolutely excellent.

soix's recommendation of putting an "integrated amp" on the left/right pre-outs is meant to use the integrated amp for 2-channel sources.  Just keep in mind that if hook up a source to this integrated, you will not be using the REL subs.
Why would I lose my he REL subs)
I suppose it depends on how you hooked up the REL subs.  If you used the "subwoofer" output on the Arcam, then the REL subs would only work when you are playing something through the Arcam.

Audi put.

I hooked up my REL’s using the Speak On connection.  I twist the yellow and red wires together and attach them to the positive left and right front speaker posts.  That is what the dealer told me to do.
Yeah the subs throw a wrinkle in the setup using a stereo integrated if you need to use subs both for HT and critical 2-channel listening.  You could use one sub for HT and one for stereo, which might be a worthwhile compromise to consider.  Always trade offs...