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Arcam Alpha 8

Stereo Integrated Amplifier (1998)

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Arcam Alpha 8

Specifications

Power output: 50 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.01%

Input sensitivity: 3mV (MM), 275mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 77dB (MM), 96dB (line)

Output: 0.5V (Pre out)

Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω

Dimensions: 430 x 330 x 85mm

Weight: 4.5kg

Accessories: remote control

Year: 1998

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rating
Reviewed Dec 06th, 2017 by JoeM374

First off, I'm not an audiophile by any means. I'm more of the techie type.
In the early 80's I was in the Air Force stationed in Japan. You literally went broke saving money on high end audio gear at the BX. Definitely had a setup to be envied. But as the family grew and we moved from assignment to assignment my gear stayed in the moving boxes.
With the dawn of Napster, I downsized all of my audio gear. Either gave it to the kids as they went off to college or sold it on eBay. I was happy as a clam with my Bose Sound Dock and iPod. Forgot what quality sound is like.
The kids are on their own now. It's just my wife and me with a big house and time to appreciate a simpler life.
A bit ago I went to a vintage audio/record store and my appreciation for music returned. Most of the models of my now 'vintage' gear were there. At about double what I paid for it. Regret set in. Modern audio gear, within my price tolerance, was unimpressive.
Just as I was about to pick up a vintage receiver, my son-in-law, who's a music director at a private school upgraded his components to a system costing more than my first sports car.
Received this Arcam a8, an Arcam CD player, and a pair of Triangle Titus EX (book shelf) speakers on my last visit. He had more but I wanted to start small. My appreciation for real audio has returned. At least to my recollection, the sound from this system rivals my 1980's Pioneer setup.
My son found my Boston Acoustics T930's down his basement. After some cleaning and doing a re-foam on the woofers I now have a system that is fantastic.
The Arcam's 50 watts has more than enough power to drive the T930's hard enough to shake the house with no clipping on Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' but still deliver detailed vocals on songs such as Lennon's 'Imagine'.
Also, I'm into collecting vinyl from artists that recorded at Sound City Studios. Sound City, in its heyday was regarded as the best analog studio for what we now refer to as 'classic rock', especially by drummers. Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors' and Nirvana's 'Nevermind' being prime examples. The sound reproduced is extremely detailed with the driving beat and decay of the drums that made Sound City so well regarded in terms of sonic quality.
The Arcam's controls and features are all I could want, there's more than enough selectors on the amp to hook up all of my equipment. A TV, CD deck, an iPad, and turntable (you will need a preamp for the phono input). A Logitech Harmony remote was easily programmed to control the volume. I really don't miss having a tuner. The iPad could be used for internet radio.
The only thing that is lacking is the ability to disengage both sets of speaker terminals to hook up headphones. The speaker '1' terminals are always on. The only way to use headphones is to install speakers on only the switched speaker '2' terminal.
At times I do miss the pulsing lights coming from the Pioneer's plasma power display, but I'm more into just listening now.

 

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