Building Software Releases For Modern Amplifiers And Streamers

How it’s done…

they should get their s*** together instead of posting articles like that


total wasted space on the internet… what the article means to say is : " We release broken hardware to the public to generate funds to pay to software “engineers” to fix the crap. Totally unacceptable. And let’s not forget the SA 30 was advertised as Roon Ready when I bought it, although it had failed certification and continues to fail. Mercy.


The ‘number of different teams’ is where I suspect their problems lie.

This applies to a lot of things in our modern world - complex electronics and cars alike.

Products are far too often released that are full of bugs or do not confirm to the intended specification.

However, in the instance of the distortion problem in firmware 867 on the SA30, this is not a minor issue and falls into the biggest failing I have ever come across in any premium product.

I would never buy a car in its first year of release. However, the Arcam SA30 is over a year old, so would have definitely expected all major issues to have been resolved.

The SA30 has received awards from EISA (best amp in 2020) and AVForums, Hifi News provided a glowing 85% review… and when it works, I feel these commendations are truly justified.

I feel this is too much technology crammed into one box for a little hifi company in Cambridge.

It can’t think of anything else I would ever wish for in its specification.

However, I do feel the need to say:


Nah, i disagree. This is annoying, but not major issue. It’s a major bug from SW point view however. But it’s a niche product from, in theory, small company.
Big failings are when I.e. Apple is bricking the devices with SW update or when VAG is making school mistakes with SW for emergency calls. Not to mention SW issues with VW ID series.

Let’s face it - “when it works” means 98% of the time. At least for me. Don’t know why, but some make it look like it would be other way around.

And here we go back to why I said “in theory” in the first point. This is no longer a small company from Cambridge. It’s now part of Samsung empire. This all comes down to “modern” ways o managing, meaning stupid savings and outsourcing. Outsourcing is good in some cases, but in others it causes a lot of issues, and in the end it works only on paper (when looking at only one excel cell).

It could actually have USB DAC input. Not that I need, but for some this is a must. I think it was you who was looking for a way to connect it to a PC for REW :slight_smile:

I can only say aye aye to that! :slight_smile:

Boy I wish mine worked 98% of the time!!! Well it does if I just run tape all day, in Direct mode. But if I use Dirac, or Roon the distortion bug is just waiting to start at any moment.

I agree. When it works, it works wonderfully.

I agree. I have been in the high end audio hobby for 30 years. I have never ever bought any high end gear that was so messed up right out of the box. Never. But I have never bought such a complex piece before either. But I have an Arcam AVR 390 with Dirac, it sounds wonderful and has never failed even once to do everything properly.

I have a AVR-850 (previously had the AVR-600) and think it is amazing.

I would say the probability of the SA30 going into distortion is probably around 20%, i.e. every 1 in 5 songs.

I typically have music on the SA30 for around 30 minutes a day and it will always go into distortion during this period.

Hmmmm, that’s interesting. I’m also using Roon and Dirac, yet in my case distortion is rare. Today been listening for several hours without distortion. The same yesterday. I think last time I had it in the middle of the week. During my whole time with this amp I only had one case, where distortion happened twice on the same day. And using it several hours per day, almost daily.
Now I understand why you are more pissed at them than I am.
Wonder what makes such a huge difference?
I’m mostly streaming tidal, as Qobuz is not officially available in Poland. Listening mostly to rock and some metal when kids aren’t home. Occasionally classical music and jazz. Using mostly Roon radio, so it’s a mix of songs and formats at the same time, so SA30 has to re-sync to the format all the time.
Only thing I did was set re-sync delay to 500ms of I remember correctly.
I’m saying that, as maybe by sharing experiences/ use cases we can find some pattern here?
Is it about particular songs/ files? If so then why? Is it about re-sync issues? What the… is it?
Also many people are reporting those drops on hdmi. Just watched 2hr movie with no single drop. The same yesterday.
Can it have anything to do with I.e. version of Dirac that was used for calibration?
Why those differences are so big between our experiences?

I use

I use Tidal too - probably about 90% of listening via Tidal and MConnect app but am also testing Musiclife and the distortion is still the same frequency.

I will set re-sync delay to 500ms and see if that makes a difference. Thanks! Also when did you receive your sa 30? What firmware did it ship from the factory with? Just curious if you have a later model with maybe different hardware. My Dirac is Dirac Live 3.0.4 build 476-6fe246a8.


My unit was delivered in June, and as far as I know it was from second production batch, after initial COVID shutdown in China.
Factory installed FW was v403.
Using DL 3.0.13 now.
I get the feeling, that distortion was happening more often in the past, but I updated FW and Dirac in more or less same time.
Also did new set of calibrations with new DL.

interesting… I took ownership in August and it shipped with 521, I think that was the number. The version before 705. I am not sure the Dirac filters are working properly. I have only loaded one of the three that I made back in August. I will probably rerun the Dirac program after Arcam sorts out the firmware. But reading about volume jumps, no way am I going to do it now.

I had 4xx (unsure of number) but I was one of the early adopters back at the very start of 2020 having ordered tail end of 2019. I don’t recall paying much attention to it at first and applied the 521 update pretty quickly as soon as I became available. At that point in time all the previews saying how great the amp sounded must have been on a 4xx version I assume.