|Arcam Spends $1,000,000 Developing New AV Preamp|
|Home Theater News Preamplifier News|
|Written by AVRev.com|
|Tuesday, 14 May 2002|
When the first AV8 rolls off the production line in June, it will have cost Arcam just over one million dollars in parts, tooling, licensing fees, and research & development. Built by a talented team of 23 Arcam analog, digital, software, and broadcast video engineers, the AV8 represents Arcam’s view of the ultimate home entertainment processor.
This apparent extravagance shouldn’t come as a shock to those who know Arcam. In the ‘80s, when most specialty audio "manufacturers" where simply tweaking Japanese CD players, Arcam invested in designing and building their own standard-setting players from the ground up. And at the turn of the millennium, when most DVD players were being cranked out of Chinese factories, Arcam again designed and built their own players using synchronized switched-mode power supplies, independent audio and video clocking, and other innovative techniques.
The AV8 processor and P7 amplifier continue Arcam’s tradition of technological leadership. The AV8 is one of the first stand-alone high-end processors to receive THX’s new Ultra II certification, which insures that all 7.1 channels are utilized to achieve the best results with 5.1 and 6.1 formats. In addition to Dolby Digital (including EX) and DTS (including 6.1 ES matrix & discrete), the AV8 supports Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo and, of course, all versions of THX post processing. The number crunching is done by twin Crystal Semiconductor DSPs operating in 24-bit double precision mode.
A special "direct" mode not only provides full analog pass-thru but also shuts down most of the AV8’s digital circuitry, virtually eliminating digital noise. As a result, the AV8 delivers the audio performance of a true high-end stereo analog preamplifier. A direct 8-channel input is available for use with DVD-Audio or SACD. A very high quality MM / MC phono stage is an option.
Video switching is done to broadcast standards and includes composite, S-video, and component with an ultra-wide bandwidth capable of supporting 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. RGB sync-on-composite and RBG sync-on-green are also supported.
A second zone, complete with its own dedicated on-screen graphics, can supply independent audio and composite video feeds for use in another room, or for distribution throughout the home.
A comprehensive set-up menu steps the user through initial systems adjustments, including such innovative features as individual tone control settings for each speaker, to compensate for unusual room placements or unmatched speakers.
The AV8 is supplied with a backlit learning remote. A wide variety of discrete and direct mode access IR commands are available for use with programmable remotes and control systems. RS232 facilities are provided for both software upgrades and control.
The matching Arcam P7 power amplifier is currently awaiting THX Ultra II certification. Delivering over one thousand watts of continuous power (150 x 7 into 8 ohms, all channels driven), the P7 features modular construction with seven fully independent amplifier channels. The twin 1.5 kilowatt toroidal transformers have independent secondary windings for each channel.
The AV8 and P7 will be available in Silver or Black.