Firmware Beta Programme Information

Hi folks

We are looking at the feasibility of releasing our internal SA30 beta firmware builds to a small group of community users.

We know a few users are particularly keen on this idea, but it’s important to understand what these builds are, and the impact participation in the programme may have.

Build pipeline

The builds we are considering sharing will have passed our internal QA process, but will not have gone through the more stringent QA process that public builds have. As a result, we feel it is important to limit the release of these builds to only participants who understand and accept the implication of this.

The builds are generally not suitable for public use

While we make every effort to ensure a fix for a particular issue doesn’t affect unrelated areas of the firmware, it is impossible to guarantee this. The builds will have passed an internal ‘smoke test’ to ensure that a unit can always be downgraded to the latest public release. Additionally, the builds will have passed internal testing by our R&D, QA and Customer Service teams.

Should an issue arise with the SA30 due to the authorised use of specifically designated beta software, we will support / repair the SA30 under warranty. Should anyone install builds that are not public release software, or the authorised builds within the beta programme, this will NOT be covered under warranty.

What to expect

By participating in the beta build process, you understand that using beta builds may have unpredictable side-effects, such as device reboots, or a feature not working as expected. If this is in any way critical to you, we advise you stick with the current public release, which is always available on the SA30 product page.

You may have to power-cycle or factory-reset your SA30 more frequently, so we advise you keep a note of any custom settings you have applied.

Upon entry to the programme, you will be granted access to a separate private section of the forum, which is only accessible to other programme participants, and ourselves.

What we expect

There are a few things we expect from participants, as listed below:

  • Unexpected behaviour will be reported within the private forum, using the supplied template. By using the template, we can prompt you on the sort of information we need to quickly identify the cause of issues, and how to reproduce it.

  • We ask that these issues are only reported through the private forum, to give us the opportunity to fix issues before public release.

  • Participants will not share beta builds with customers outside of the internal build programme.

  • In the event builds are shared outside the programme, we will terminate the programme.

  • Participants understand that there is a small risk of unintended behaviour, and there may be the need to downgrade to public firmware, or factory reset more frequently.

What this is not…

This is not simply an opportunity to gain access to public releases early. While it is likely we will share release candidates to programme participants before general release, the more common situation is the builds should be considered not release candidates.

Next steps

Initially, we will want to run the programme as a small trial, with perhaps 2-3 members. If the initial trial is a success, then we will expand the limit further.

We encourage you to carefully read the above statement before signing up. If you want to proceed, please leave a comment down below. Once accepted into the programme, you will be granted access to a private group that contains the necessary information.

If you have any questions, let me know.

@arcam_paul thank you. Seems to be a good move.
One question, just to clarify. Except for above statement, are there any requirements, like that we have to test all beta builds? Asking, as that might not always be possible due to different reasons.
If there is no such requirement, please sign me in.

Hi Arcam-paul.

I would be happy to participate in the trial, which should help to solve the problems that we have.

I should add that I am a more traditional user, mainly using an Arcam tuner and CD player. I won’t have come across some of the problems discussed in the forum as regards streaming, although I do sometimes stream from an Ipad over Airplay.
I have plenty of experience of HDMI Arc problems, and dropouts especially when using DIRAC.

Derek Clements

Hi Paul,

I am retired and have time available to test the SA 30 with a beta release. As long as I can downgrade back to the latest public release, then I would be happy to help out.
And thanks for the opening this up.

Ken Kirkpatrick

I am interested in helping test new firmware versions. I’m able to verify probably all observed problems (sound distortion, sound drops with ARC). Also with Roon - I have developer status and thanks to that I have Roon Ready function sort of working (with glitches) even though the certification hasn’t been finished yet.

Good question @Felix!

No, it’s not a requirement. It’s important to realise this isn’t an attempt for us to expand our QA team. We fully expect some participants may come and go, and they are absolutely free to do this.

We did a similar setup with some of our ‘power users’ on our AVR platform and it has worked well. We have a limited number of test scenarios we can perform in the office, as there are so many variables with TV manufacturers, Blu-Ray players, games consoles etc.

Any build we share will have been tested internally to ensure you can always revert back to the current public release of software. For best results, we would recommend you factory reset the unit after downgrading, so as I mentioned, it is worth writing down any custom settings you use.

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Hi Paul,

Tx for the initiative.
Being finally heard, is kind of a relief.

If needed, you can count me in, with a focus on the ARC testing (main ongoing issues: TV not powering the amp, no sound after standby, sound drops).

Best regards,

Hi all,

First let me precise that this is not meant to be rant, rather a critical view on the beta programme initiative.

I think all you guys who are volunteering to act as beta testers should be praised for your great spirit of collaboration and willingness to put your technical expertise at Arcam’s disposal. Arcam should also be grateful to you for your brand loyalty and resilience.

For multiple reasons I cannot be one of the team. First, although I have a genuine curiosity for hi fi and electronics my background is in medical science, and I don’t have much to say when it comes to DACs and DSPs. Second, I lack time. Third, and more important, reading the “conditions” Arcam has proposed left me incredulous.

Just to recapitulate: in December I bought an amplifier costing me >2.5k Eur. I took it home assuming it would provide myself and my family with hours and hours of enjoyable music listening. Instead, it all turned out to be endless sessions of music zapping and track switching from res to res and format to format. Rather than digging into my favourite music to find details and nuances I transformed myself into a distortion hunter. And rather than using my free time to read tips and tricks to make my system sound better and better, I used it to look for a way to make it sound normal. This is how l landed to this forum.

And yes, I am one of those who sent the amp back. I have never been an Arcam customer so I cannot speak about brand loyalty. But what I can say is that it took me extra efforts and money to find an alternative that satisfies me like the SA30 had promised he would do when I first listened to it. What a pity…

Now, Paul is proposing that few keen and generous guys spend additional time playing with a flowed machine to help the manufacturer put a patch on a questionable commercial practice, that is launching a product before appropriate quality control. Not surprisingly, this proposal cames after hundreds of negative posts and complaints, and probably a fair amount of amplifiers returned for a refund. In such a situation I would expect a serious company to start a transparent communication campaign and possibly a product recall, to then invest the needed amount of resources to fix the issue. Instead, an Arcam employee (nothing personal Paul, you have all my respect) is directly liaising only with the few customers who reported their negative experience in this forum. What about the other ones who most likely are similarly struggling with their faulty device but are unaware of this community? In addition, Arcam offer the same few customers the privilege to work for them as quality control freelancers in the time they should dedicate to their hobby. What do you get in exchange? Apparently only the honour to belong to the restricted elite of the Arcam secret keepers. And if you help them find a solution but infringe the “confidentiality agreement“ you might be charged the cost to repair your amp if something goes wrong.

Sorry guys, it was not meant to be a rant but it ended up being. It is just that I have found so much knowledge, passion and dedication in this forum that I feel indignant to see that Arcam is so shamelessly talking advantage of that all. This bothers me almost as much as the frustrating user experience I had with their product.

Latins used to say “do ut des”, that is “I give you, so that you can give me”. What is you “do”? It is your help to save a severely flawed product, that you will provide for the genuine pleasure and the proudness to support a community of people who share your same passion. This is great and I sincerely admire you. What I still miss is their “des”… but I am sure it is just forgetfulness, a slip in the list of conditions. Right Arcam?

Good luck guys, in the end I hope one way or another you will enjoy your SA30, a great piece of technology with a huge potential wasted by a terrible commercial approach.


Hi Paul, do you think you guys can solve the problem with the distortion Tidal/MQA this time??!! This is the last turn before i give the unit back to the dealer. It is a shame to take peoples money for this unit. Thanks for the answer. Jaro

Hi all

Thanks to all the volunteers. You’ve now been added to the relevant group, where you will find additional information about the build. Feel free to post there if you need to provide feedback or have further issues.

Hi @JaroDro MQA distortion is no longer present in this beta build. I’ve tried various playlists and approaches over the past few days trying to reproduce it, but I’m confident this is fixed.


This sounds GREAT!!! Can i also try the beta please?

thats the main issue with the amp from my pov. hope you release a non beta with just that fix.

I am interested in participating in the firmware beta programme. Not that I have issues with the amp, I am more interested in improving Music Life, but I guess that Tidal connect will be part of the SA30 firmware, which may also be important for me depending on how Music Life evolves. And maybe a faster startup of the amp. It takes longer than my previous Arcam amps which I guess is software rather than hardware warn up related.

I guess none of your previous amps had computer and DSP inside, unless those were AVRs. This is basically whole operating system booting up, just like in case of your phone or PC. In regular amps it’s just a simple microcontroller, that is controlling basic functions. Those things boot up almost instantaneously.

I don’t think Tidal Connect has been mentioned at all, or did I miss that? I would have thought Arcam would be more concerned about resolving current issues and getting things more stable for vast majority of users before adding new capabilities.

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If it’s still possible can I be added to the Beta group so as to verify the various issues I have?
Mainly sporadic jitter / glitches with ARC / external DAC inputs and wake up from standby.

I’m happy to beta test releases as soon as my own amp arrives (I’m testing using a loaner from a dealer). In fact, because I’m testing this makes trying betas more interesting as there are quite a few things that I am ready to test.

The first group of testers are in, and we’re just testing the waters before inviting more. I’ll update you all soon.

Just a side note: If you activate “the wake up by lan”-option the start up time of the Amp is much improved.

Yes - this can be found by pressing MENU > Network Settings > Net Standby *On