ARCAM AV40 Home Cinema Processor Test
What is the Arcam AV40?
The Arcam AV40 is the latest state-of-the-art AV processor from the UK audio manufacturer, boasting 16-channel surround sound processing using the latest codecs, as well as Dirac Live 16-channel room optimization. The new processor is part of a series of entry-level AVR10, mid-range AVR20 and AVR30 AV receivers. As you would expect from a multi-channel product line, the AV40 can decode Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D formats, but DTS: X Pro is not currently available.
processing. The latest version of Dirac Live 3.0 room correction software is also available, including additional support for optional Bass Management. Other multi-channel formats are also supported, such as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Digital; and DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-ES 6.1 Discrete / Matrix, DTS 96/24, DTS 5.1 and DTS Virtual: X.
The AV40 can handle 4K / 60p 4: 4: 4 signals with HDR format support, making HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), HDR10 + and Dolby Vision available.
There are seven HDMI 2.0b inputs and three outputs on the back of the device. The only disappointment was the lack of HDMI 2.1 inputs and features, although the AV40 can handle eARC, so it’s not such a big deal, but for a new market
In the case of a bypassable product, the lack of modern gaming features on HDMI 2.1 may deter many users from purchasing the product.
Key product features
• Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, IMAX Enhanced & DTS: X 9.1.6 decoding
• 4K (UHD) HDMI2.0b with HDCP2.2 support
• 7 HDMI inputs, 3 HDMI outputs, eARC compatibility
• Dirac Live® for Arcam room acoustics correction
• ESS 9026PRO audiophile DAC
• 16-channel professional XLR outputs
• 16 channel RCA outputs
• Any of the PA240, PA720 or PA410 power amplifiers can be fitted
• Ethernet, Wi-Fi and RS232 as well as IP based control
• Google Cast / UPnP compatibility to access music providers
• Free MusicLife for iOS and Android UPnP resp. control application
The look is simple and minimalist, not really different from other Arcam amps. The front panel features two 3.5mm jack headphones and an Aux input and a high-quality brushed silver volume button. The large, easy-to-read color display has other menu selection and control buttons, as well as a power button. On the dark gray housing, the controls and
buttons are silver, so there is a significant difference between them all.
The top and sides of the receiver are made of solid aluminum with no vents (AVRs have vents on the top side that allow the amplifiers to cool), the workmanship is high quality, expensive and high quality components were used in the manufacture. The connections are located on the back.
The back panel is logically arranged, with 7 HDMI 2.0b inputs and 3 outputs on the top of the device. It also has two Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth antenna, as well as a LAN and USB port. The receiver was also equipped with 6 RCA audio inputs, lineout and Zone out, as well as four coaxial digital audio inputs, two optical digital audio inputs and one optical digital audio output. Two zone outputs and an RS-232 control port were also discovered on the processor.
All of the HDMI inputs and outputs are HDMI 2.0b, not HDMI 2.1, which is a little weird for a new processor that we think will still be a new device in the next 4-5 years. Arcam didn’t promise upgrades to HDMI 2.1, so if someone wants to use newer game consoles, this processor probably won’t be the best choice. The eARC function
while it can help solve most of the problems that occur, it does not solve the problem of players.
The HDMI ports support HDCP 2.2 and 4K 4: 4: 4 60p videos with HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), HDR10 + and Dolby Vision HDR formats.
The included large plastic remote control has well placed buttons and an elegant design that matches the exterior of the processor, and is also backlit for use in dedicated movie theaters. We found that using the remote control was not always smooth because it happened that the remote control did not work at all when the processor was turned on or during settings.
If you want to use a cell phone or tablet to control the AV40, you can use Arcam Control, which gives you access to processor and zone settings, or you can even choose MusicLife. I repeat, the use of these applications was smooth in most cases, but there were some problems at times when I could not communicate or find the AV processor on the network. Control and settings on laptop or it can be done on a computer and, of course, the menu system on the display can also be used by the processor.
Arcam AV40 testing
The testing was performed in a smaller cinema room, where the owner had already started the acoustic treatment of the room after the acoustic measurement performed by our company. Deep sound-absorbing membrane panels and diffuser front panels were placed on the walls and ceiling. For a smoother sound, you will also need a few wooden cube diffusers as well as acoustic curtains in front of the windows. Arcam AV40 is easy to install and does not require much effort. We associated the AV40 with the Arcam PA720 with seven-channel receiver. We tested the amplifier together with the Klipsch Forte III speakers and the Polk Audio PSW10 subwoofer.
The Dirac Live software has a microphone and cable, but you must download the EQ filter file for the microphone from Arcam, and the Harman filters can also be downloaded.
Arcam’s performance has always been stable and adequate. The AV40 produced an accurate and stunning performance ranging from electronic, classical orchestral music to classical pop and rock music. Thanks to the precise filtering done by Dirac, we managed to create a truly optimal sound. Equalizer room correction programs are not enough to make the sound perfect. The room acoustics significantly affect the sound of audio and hi-fi devices. But the Arcam AV40 didn’t just perform well in music. The movies and TV shows also sounded great, the surround sound, dynamics and detail were also excellent. The AV40 is able to create a large and extensive sound field that fills the room. No distortion was observed We heard a powerful, extensive mid-range and intense depths. As a two-channel and multi-channel device, it provided an impressive, precise, sharp, detailed and nuanced product without experiencing distortion.
The AV40 provides balanced XLR outputs for all channels, providing the highest level of analog connectivity to amplifiers. It is capable of detailed, powerful, clear sounds
receiver. It fills the space, it performed great in music and while watching movies.
What I didn’t like so much is that there is no HDMI 2.1 input, and with DTS: X Pro, it’s not very beneficial for game console users. The remote control did not always work properly, but it has a backlight. But aside from these not-so-serious shortcomings, it’s an ideal buy for anyone can be the Arcam receiver.
Written by Róbert Polgár