I've listened to some of the ARCAM CD players with MAC and Tannoys and for the money ARCAM is a steel.
10 responses Add your response
I think you should demo them, because Quad and Arcam used to differently voiced for different audiences, and this may still be the case. Quad is somewhat more laid back sounding than arcam. Arcam is more upbeat. It's personal taste.
I remember demoing some speakers nearly 10 yrs ago. A full quad CD/pre/power setup was driving them. I was not very impressed. It sounded utterly lifeless. The sales guy asked what amp I had at home. I answer a Mission/Cyrus 2. He swapped to a Cyrus CD/DAC/integrated and the speakers suddenly sounded great. Dynamics detail rhythm all there. Arcam amps were typically a bit less dynamic than the Cyrus, but more dynamic than Quads.
I'm not saying that Quad is worse than Cyrus or Arcam, but last time I heard it's very very different gear.
Just a quick comment regarding Quads & Amplification. I have Quad 21Ls myself and will be powering them with an Monarchy SM-70 within the next few months, moving away from a NAD C350.
Regarding SOURCES and the Quad becomes a bit more interesting. You can look through my post history to find my Player roundup (Rega Planet 2000, Arcam 73t, Cary 308, Creek CD50mkI, Roksan Kandy MkIII, and the Cambridge Audio Azur 640c).
Cary and the Creek were the best of the bunch, Arcam third (more similar to the Cary than the Creek) - and the Arcam had real issues with rhythm regarding higher frequencies. I know that sounds vague but the roundup describes it pretty well and the track I was using to examine the high end had a lot of synth / wind chimes and it was very clear to everyone in the room that the Arcam wasn't pulling the detail nor the proper placement nor the proper order (and speed etc hence rhythm comment). Either way read the more detailed post in my history.
If you can do try the new Creek CD50 mkII its supposed to be about as good as the old one but more tolerant of copy protected CDs. The Cary is a great player as well, with more slam than the Creek so it really comes down to 'taste'.
Amplification my tests have been fairly limited but I have thrown the Sophia Baby (10wpc Tube Amp) at it and was quite impressed - Dynamics were still sufficient at normal to slightly louder listening levels. The Monarchy I'm going to is quite wonderful and I simply love its tone, and PRAT. 25wpc x 2 Class A.
Either way there is a lot of flexibility with regards to amplification in these speakers. I've heard other people say good things about Tripath amps (eg Bel Canto) being used with the Quad L-Series, McCormack, Monarchy, and Tubes.
The Quads are very detailed and can easily be fatiguing if you have poor upstream equipment (a problem my setup had for quite some time until a poorer source & speaker cable were taken out of the system). I find the Quads perfer Copper based interconnect/speaker wire to that of Silver Plated Copper, or Pure Silver. That's a personal preference though.
Hope this helps, if you have any more specific questions please feel free to e-mail me.
I've owned the following CD players over the last few years:
Arcam Alpha 9
Theta Miles (balanced version)(built-in volume control)
Cary CD-308 (built-in volume control
Resolution Audio Opus 21 (built-in volume control
Granite Audio CD-650
Musical Fidelity CD/Pre-24 (pre-amp,transport,DAC and Digital swithcer in one box)
Quad 99 CD-P (built-in volume control and digital inputs)
As you can see, most had a built-in volume control or a pre-amp included because I have a single source system. If you only have CD as a source, I highly recommend using a player with built-in volume control or pre-amp because you can get rid of an expensive pre-amp. If you have additional digital sources, the Resolution Audio is KILLER and the Quad 99 CD-P is really good for the price. The MF CD/pre-24 is great if you want to simplify your system and have additional digital or analog components that you want to control/switch.
All of the above players are very good, and some are tremendous values at their used prices. However, at MSRP list price, I think the Resolution Audio Opus 21 ($3500) and the Quad 99 CD-P ($1499) are the best bargains.
Thanks for all the great feedback.
This will be my first separates system so not a real audiophile and unlikely to upgrade much in future just want really nice hifi to get the best out of my music for once, and prefer matching amp/cd ideally. Budget is circa $1500 (+stands and cables) so option with QUAD 11L is:
Arcam A65+ with CD73T
Rotel RA-02 and RCD-02
CD-P 99 and 99 power amp (second hand)
Heard NAD and Rotel to date with B&W 603's and Quads; prefer Quads. Both sounded great but erring to Rotel or Arcam as aesthetically better for my wife !!.
Plan to listen more next week but any other thoughts ladies and gentlemen ??
Ideally, in your price range, I would get a used Arcam FMJ A22 and the Rotel RCD-1072. The FMJ A22 is simple, elegant, and sounds very natural and musical. Many have sung the praises of the RCD-1072, and I heard one with some Audio Research gear, and can vouch for it as a great bargain. If you could swing it price-wise, the FMJ A22 with an FMJ CD23T is a beautiful looking and sonically wonderful combo (I have both, as well as an FMJ T22 tuner in my office system).
But, while I have not heard it myself, TAS did rave about the RA-1062 and really liked the combo. I have not heard the A65 or CD73T, but I presume that they will sound great, also.
Good luck, Tom.
I have quad 11L's. The system that drives them is the QUAD CD-P, 99 PREAMP AND 909 POWER AMP. I get amazing sound, especially for the cost compared to many other brands.
The remote functions, system flexibility and build quality are very good. Best of all is the sound. I have heard sound systems that cost more than triple, and do not sound as good.
I hope this helps. QUAD products are superb and worth every penny. Someday I'll get my ESL's too!