Arcam’s new HDA range
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Arcam’s reputation was built on its amplifiers, and particularly this breed of high-quality midrange integrated amplifier. They remain instantly recognisable in this new HDA range, which was previewed back at CES in January as a replacement for the current A19 and A29 integrated amplifiers, and is now available in Australia. The range has had a pleasing spruce-up to update the aesthetics, alongside the continuity required for brand recognition.
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, there has been significant change, this new range coming a year after the company’s acquisition by Harman, itself only then recently acquired by Samsung, and under Harman the UK-based Arcam brand sits alongside the likes of Mark Levinson, Revel, and JBL Synthesis. Not that there’s a need here to mourn the international ownership of another classic UK brand, since Arcam was previously owned by the Canadian JAM Industries. And talking recently with US-based Harman staff, they seem delighted with the acquisition and the complementarities, seeing Arcam as not only providing Harman with a useful midrange electronics brand below the relative heights of Lexicon and Mark Levinson, but also bringing access to Arcam’s expertise and technologies, including the Class-G hybrid amplification championed by the company’s John Dawson.
That Class-G power is used here in the $1995 SA20 integrated amplifier, rated at 2 × 80W into 8 ohms, both channels driven, of which the hybrid Class G allows a little under 20W to be delivered in pure Class A, before bringing in more efficient amplification to provide significant power reserves for peaks and/or the most demanding of loudspeakers.
The $1695 SA10 integrated (pictured below) goes with more traditional Class-AB amplification, for which Arcam can be considered truly tried-and-tested back to the ‘alpha’ classics of the 1990s.
The new range includes also the matching CDS50 SACD/CD and network player ($1495). But Arcam does not, like some manufacturers, use the CD/network player as the repository of all digital inputs. Perhaps aware that many people will want just the amplifier, there are digital inputs on both the SA10 and SA20 — optical and coaxial, though no USB-B input for your computer, even on the CDS50. In addition there are five analogue inputs (one is line/mm phono switchable) on each amplifier, and the SA20 also comes with a brand new learning backlit infra-red handset and can be controlled over IP by Arcam’s iOS app, Musiclife or by RS232.
Arcam is distributed in Australia by Advance Audio: www.advanceaudio.com.au