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Vol. 10, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2007



NEW PRODUCTS

ARCAM

ARCAM DV139 DVD playerARCAM continues to take the lead in advancing performance in both stereo and home theater. Following the great success of their DV137 universal disk player, discussed in issue 9, they have released both lower and higher price/performance models. As with the DV137, the DV135 ($1499) and DV139 ($3499) are able to play conventional DVD movies and high-resolution DV-Audio disks, they can also play back the highest of all resolution digital audio formats, SACD. The DV135 has stereo SACD outputs while the DV137 and DV139 have stereo and multi-channel, surround sound SACD capability. Both new models have on-board video processing and scaling that can, through their HDMI outputs, upsample conventional DVDs to 720p and 1080i (or even 1080p for the DV139) resolutions and can do so with far better overall quality than the scalers included in other players. While all three models use the very latest Zoran Vaddis 888s core processor, the video upsampling in the DV139 is even more sophisticated than the DV137 and yields the best video performance of any DVD player ARCAM has ever made. It uses the renowned ABT 1010 video scaling engine, the best in the industry. The upsampling and de-interlacing of the DV135 are slightly less cutting edge than the DV139 but are still way ahead of most other players on the market. The DV139 has one other very exciting feature which, we believe, is unique to ARCAM. While playing music disks, you can completely turn off the video processing circuitry and, thus, greatly improve CD playback quality. When coupled with the superb video quality, this machine is the best choice for those who want optimal performance for both DVD and CD playback. Both new machines also have the same video setup wizard as the DV 137, a feature which allows the user to optimize his or her TV's setup parameters for an optimal interface with the DVD player. ARCAM is one of the very few specialty manufacturers that builds its DVD players from the ground up, rather than remanufacturing someone else's machine, a factor which plays no small part in the total performance of their machines.

ARCAM's latest home theater receiver, the 7-channel AVR280 ($1999) is a slightly scaled down version of their flagship model, the AVR350. (The AVR350 was discussed in detail in issue 9.) The AVR280 has virtually all of the performance features and quality of the AVR350 (such as HDMI switching and audio/video circuit design) at a slightly lower power level of 80 watts/channel. ARCAM receivers have always offered the best quality sound reproduction on the market, so if you want this level of performance and don't need the extra power of the AVR350, you can save $750 with this new model.

ARCAM Solo MovieSo, what do you do if you want this kind of audio and video performance but don't have room for these, admittedly, physically large receivers? Or, maybe you just want high performance in a compact and attractive package. Then the Solo Movie could be just the product for you. This unit is the logical Dolby 5.1 surround sound counterpart to the highly-successful Solo Music, a model which combines a 2-channel receiver and a CD player in one chassis. The Solo Movie ($3499) combines a 5-channel home theater receiver of 50 watts/channel and a DVD player into a single, very pretty package. Audio and video quality are superb, offering performance similar to that obtainable with a combination of the AVR280 and DV135. Just add a set of loudspeakers, and you have a complete home theater setup. The Solo Movie is also a 2-zone device, allowing different program material to be played in remote rooms. Also, if you're not using any rear channel loudspeakers, the rear channel amplifiers can be redirected to run the loudspeakers in the second zone, at the same time as different program material is being played in the main room. Want to use your iPod as a program source? Just add the ARCAM RDOC, and you'll be able to control the iPod using the Solo's own remote. The Solo Movie offers performance and convenience in a very attractive package.

ARCAM A70 integrated amplifierOn the stereo front, ARCAM has replaced the venerable A65 and A80 integrated amplifiers with a single new model, the A70. The A70 ($999) offers sonic performance that is better than either prior model and does so at the same price as the A80. We can point to two specific design features that account for such a high level of performance in an entry level product. First, the A70 fully implements electronic controls with their lower distortion and shorter signal paths than can be obtained with physical controls such as volume potentiometers. ARCAM has used this approach in their more expensive models, but this is a first in their lowest price amplifier. Second, the A70 makes use of both the "Mask of Silence" and "Stealth Mat" technologies to minimize the deleterious effects of vibration and electromagnetic interference. Again, this is ARCAM's first use of these techniques in an entry level integrated amplifier. ARCAM has been designing and selling integrated amplifiers for over 30 years and is the United Kingdom's largest manufacturer in this product category. You get the benefit of all this expertise and advanced design in the new A70.


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