Arcam Audio Components

To Roger Kanno,

I have read, with great interest, your review of the Arcam FMJ CD37 CD player. I presently own an older Harman Kardon CD player, which has a very warm and clean sound. Unfortunately, I am having trouble with the drawer and don’t want to put any money into it. About a month ago, I purchased an Arcam FMJ CD17 CD player and am in the process of auditioning it. I also purchased an Arcam FMJ A19 integrated amplifier. However, I am considering switching it to the FMJ A28 amplifier so I can run a second pair of speakers. I would be very curious to hear your thoughts about the two CD players and the two amps I have mentioned above. I have been told that the CD37 will sound much better than the CD17 and am wondering if you would agree with that assessment. Also, I have been told that an amplifier that supports two sets of speakers may not sound as good as an amp that runs only one set of speakers. I would love to know your thoughts about that as well. By the way, I listen primarily to classical music and I own a pair of floorstanding Monitor Audio speakers that are about 12 years old. It is also important for me to have an amplifier that has a phono input as I have a very large collection of LPs.

With best wishes,
Robert Levin

As much as I liked the Arcam FMJ CD37, it was almost five years ago when I reviewed it and the quality of digital playback systems has been progressing at an amazing rate, so I would be hesitant to recommend spending a lot of money on any CD or CD/SACD player that is more than a few years old, especially one that does not have a digital input so that it can be used in a computer-based audio system. But if streaming music to your system is not important to you, I am sure that the CD37 is superior to the CD17, which has also been in production for some time. An amplifier like the FMJ A28 that has a second set of speaker outputs should not sound inherently worse than one that does not, provided you don’t try to drive both sets of speakers simultaneously. It will presumably have a switch in the output path to allow switching of the speaker outputs, but that should have little effect on the sound quality (although some might not agree). The FMJ A38 that I reviewed had two sets of speaker outputs and sounded excellent.

Also, there are many integrated amplifiers these days that have DACs built into them that perform at a very high level. And an external phono stage will add the ability to connect your turntable to any integrated amplifier or preamplifier, but at an added cost, if it doesn’t already have a built-in phono section. . . . Roger Kanno