If one word describes Arcam Audio’s models, it’s ”assured”. From time immemorial, this UK based specialist brand has delivered beautifully built, freshly styled and musically satisfying audio gear that’s moreover nicely priced as well.
The two latest products to grace the racks of audio stores
are the groundbreaking $1999 CDS27 CD/SACD Streaming Audio player and the
sumptuous sounding, well equipped, neatly styled FMJ A49 $7999 high-end amplifier.
Both simply enhance the brand’s well-established reputation
and the pair’s musical progress is such that we would unhesitatingly recommend
either or both to friends.
Music lovers will form a conga line for this player that is
adept at playing CDs and the higher spec SACD discs and offers both wired and
wireless audio streaming.
Combining a sumptuous, detailed and always smooth sound on
discs thanks in part to the players use of a high quality 24-bit/192kHz TI/Burr Brown PCM1794 equipped Delta Sigma DAC,
the CDS27 was equally adroit streaming our favourite tracks from our iPad using
the free Songbook app which is also available for Android devices.
While ”obsessaphiles” will hard wire the CDS27 using an
Ethernet cable to wring the last bit of performance, we preferred the freedom allowed
by wireless connectivity.
Wired or wireless, we auditioned track after track of our
FLAC files, but got really excited hearing how detailed and smooth our 24-bit
music flowed from the Arcam.
Integration with networks is a breeze thanks to the player’s
UPnP and CIFS compatibility. Also worth having was the onboard USB 2.0
Arcam FMJ A49 Integrated Amplifier
Music lovers have a pile of mid-priced integrated stereo
amplifiers to choose from. Arcam makes some great models as well. But high-end,
elite models are thin on the ground.
The FMJ A49 at $7999 delivered a jaw-dropping performance,
after which we concurred it could compete with elite amplifiers of twice its
price, with consummate ease.
This superbly styled and equipped model clearly represents
what Arcam can achieve at this price point with technology similar to the
brands prestigious C49 preamplifier and matching P49 power amplifier.
In our listening room, the FMJA49’s 200 watts/8ohms per
channel output drove our resident Wilson Watt Puppy/8 speakers with what seemed
like arrogant ease. We also used it to power a pair of 65th
Anniversary Rogers LS3/5A speakers to conjure up some magical musical moments.
The new amp offers balanced and RCA inputs and outputs which
we employed for QED’s Reference Audio 40 RCA and Reference Audio Evolution XLR
interconnects, with the CDS27 player as the source.
Vinyl lovers can also take note: the FMJ A49 has a phono
input that accepts moving magnet cartridges and of course, moving coil step up
This was a synergistic combination with the player far from
outclassed matched to an amplifier four times its price.
Our conclusion: Arcam’s CDS27 CD/SACD streaming player and
FMJ A49 stereo amplifier are confident, assured, long term music makers that
will provide their lucky owners years of reliable, joyful service.
For more info: en-au.sennheiser.com