ARC: audio interruptions are noticeable, ref#92

I have literally emailed Arcam about this because I have rolled back to V521 as it performs better than the latest firmware. I had disabled the OTA update and all was well until I went to the web client and ran through the configuration wizard only for it to detect the firmware was out of date and automatically update it without asking. So unless Arcam get back to me with a solution, you can roll back the firmware but you can no longer use the web client.

I have now installed the latest firmware (Host v1.33, net v705) for the SA30 and done system and net reset. Now the sporadic distortion problem I had when playing an analogue source through the ADC/DSP/DAC chain seems to be fixed. That’s when not using DIRAC in my case.

But, now there’s another problem after the firmware update. When playing an analogue source (my two CD players, a cassette deck or a turntable) there’s a short sporadic ”clip/break” (sounds like a quick/fast ”jump”) that hasn’t been there before the firmware update! I have also checked it by listening with headphones. Hear the sporadic ”sound clips” clearly. That appears when playing through the ADC/DSP/DAC. I’m not using any DIRAC room correction, it’s OFF… The way to come around this is to switch to ”DIRECT” mode that bypass the ADC/DSP/DAC.

Anyone have this problem?

Hi bvm, Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you facing the next issue. This issue contains some audio recordings too. Maybe you can have a look and listen for yourself if they sound similar. If possible please confirm it’s the same issue.

I have sent a ticket about the interruptions to ARCAM about a week ago. We may see…

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Got this answer today from ARCAM about the interruptions/blips…

Good morning

This seems to be a side effect of the changes to the DSP that fixed the distortion. It got to a stage where we had to push out some software to solve the distortion and figured that this periodic audio blip was less problematic than the sum total of the other bugs that were in the unit and the total loss of audio /distortion that would inevitably happen. While it is not ideal, it was the lesser of two evils and is already well on the way to being resolved in the software roadmap.

I apologise for any further disruption but it does look to be reaching a conclusion.

Kind regards

Field Support Engineer
ARCAM, JBL Synthesis, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Revel

I found a way to block SA30 firmware upgrades, refer to post below.

I am getting brief ‘dropouts’ from a Sky box via optical and an Arcam tuner via analogue. These have definitely appeared since the update to v705 a couple of weeks ago. The occasional pop or crackle is also present.

Hi Derek, welcome to the forum! Thank you for your input. I’ll make sure all info is fed back.

The latest status update is: they are working on a proper fix which includes no dropouts and no lip sync issues over ARC.

Yes, I tried ARC this morning (LG B6) and experienced interruptions. I have to do the reverse: switch on TV them switch on SA30 from cold.

Just adding my +1 on this

I haven’t yet downgraded the software as I plan to, but decided after much debate with myself to pick up a CDS50 to go with my SA30. Seemed OK at first listen to a Dire Straits SACD (Money for Nothing sounded better than I’ve ever heard it in my life!!) and now sat listening to Eric Clapton SACD (analogue CD input) and there are little blips and stutters every now and again that I am getting, almost like a jumping record.

Interestingly I’ve not noticed this until now, I mainly use streaming and play Vinyl. I have had the Tidal distortion issue, don’t know if any of these things are related. Deffo going back to 5.21 firmware

Those small gaps in the music when playing from an analog or digital source are a problem that Arcam knows about. They are working on a solution to this according to them. If you want to solve the problem, you can set it direct on and when the new software comes, hope that they have solved it…

I have had the intermittent short scraping, distorted sound (or what to call it) on analogue CD-input since february when I bought the amp (also with v 521) and the only way to solve the problem for me was to use the analogue direct function or to connect the CDS50 via dig coax…

Nearly one month alter and still no news from a solution to this issue.

Maybe a good surprise for Christmas with a new firmware solving this issue ?

I regret so much to have bought this unit…

Hi alex, welcome the the forum!

A swift update about the issue in the topic start. The issue has improved since build 705, however I noticed that the interruptions (little ticks or drop outs) are still present in build 867 (v1.41). The duration is small in time (less then 1 second) but are still noticeable. I can hear these interruptions over ARC, I do not hear these while listening to:

  • flac files from my NAS;
  • listening to radio streams.

Thanks you actually informed me that there was a new firmware.

I just did the update and it indeed does not improve the situation.

It’s incredible that after all these months we still can’t benefit of a sound without cuts.

I have a deal with my hifi provider that I can return the amp if not solved by the end of the year. Too bad the unit had all the specs I wanted… on paper only.

In reality it took ages to have terrible issues corrected and still to this day I would definitely not recommend it.

Hmmm, that interesting. I’m using Panasonic CX700 series TV and have never had this issue.
Wonder is ARC is a bit like HDMI CEC, where in theory there is a standard, and in reality every manufacturer has own, little bit different, implementation, which is causing lots of compatibility issues?
@alex_otb what terrible issues are you referring to? I only know annoying ones :wink:

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Hello Felix,

When an sound amplifier has sound cuts, to me it’s already terrible… A good (qualitative and uninterrupted) sound is the first thing we expect from an amplifier don’t we ?

Other examples of poor performance are distorsion or ARC compatibility.

I never dedicated so much budget to an amplifier and never have been so frustrated.

I’m glad that you don’t face issue with Panasonic. It proves that i’s possible on paper with the onboard hardware of the unit.

I know ARC can be a lossy standard but Samsung is the #1 TV brand in the world and Arcam belongs to it ! Facing theses issue is therefore even more a pity.

I’m testing a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 and I have none of the above listedissues… I would have kept it if I did not preferred the warmer sound of the Arcam…

Well, as said I don’t have sound cuts, so who is right? :wink:

You don’t know really if it’s Arcam or Samsung that is not following the standard and causing the issue. And samsung being no. 1 in TV sales doesn’t mean it can freely change the standards because of that, does it?
With Panasonic it’s OK not on paper, but in reality, so draw your own conclusions…
Distortion is annoying, that’s what it is for me.
I said it already - I’m not defending Arcam. In fact I’m also pissed off. Those issues should not be there in the first place, but since they are present, should’ve been fixed long time ago.
But on the other hand if I didn’t have this amp and was looking for info on it, I would’ve thought it’s expensive door stop, based on some comments. And in fact it’s far from it. It’s really nice piece of gear with some annoying issues, that will be fixed.
As for Lyngdorf - try voicing. By using those you should be able to add some warmth to the sound. I think in case of 1120 you can create own voicings to match your taste. That was not possible with 2170 as far as i know.

Just thought I’d add my experiences here. I’m hearing audio dropouts really frequently - as often as once per minute.

In my case, I’m listening to the output of my PC through TOSLINK rather than ARC (@a_muz_ed also seemed to have the same issues with optical). I’m not doing anything particularly challenging in this case - just 48kHz streaming in pretty average quality, but I do have Dirac enabled. I’m running with NET v867. You can hear 4 dropouts below from a single play of a 5:30 length track. I have to say that the constant interruptions to the audio really spoil the experience for me.

Is this kind of experience typically/representative of what other people are hearing? I saw @Pierre_Sahlin mentioned that Arcam are aware of the issue and are trying to fix it, but that was back in October 2020 and I can’t see any update since then - does anyone know if/when it will be fixed?