Getting the sa30


I’m in a for a new integrated amp. After listening i found the hegel h190 a bit too analytic. It felt a bit cold and too airy. It can present the extremes beter than the sa30 in my ears, but is less enjoyable on a more broad range of genres. It brings out things i dont wanna hear on a bit worse mastered tracks.

It felt more like a listening experience (picking out details, while the sa30 was more of a party mode, kick back and enjoy and sounded more forgiving on more genres and still sounding extremely extremely well. Dont get me wrong both absolutely floored me! The hegel plus the neutral kefs pushes it into one direction too much imo, while the arcam sa30’s warmth was more enjoyable to me.

Also listened to a marantz and atoll in the same price range, both didnt leave a mark on me.
I’ve listened to the kef reference 1 and all the amps mentioned.

Question is can the sa30 or even the hegel h190 power my kef r11’s enough? I guess so, since both have been featured together on shows? Or do you think i need more power? Also how’s the software these days? i usually only stream through spotify and tidal and connect to my tv.

How are some of you’s experience with the sa30 over a longer period?


Hey Ser, welcome to the forum!

Regarding your question about power, I see your R11’s drop to about 3.5 Ohms (per these measurements) but KEF recommends amps starting at 15W, and it is generally considered a relatively easy load for amps. My guess is the SA30 will have no problem driving them, based on its measurements here. I use it with a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 10’s, which presents a slightly more benign load than the R11’s (4.5 Ohms minimum) and has only two bass drivers instead of four. In this combo, it sounds very powerful and dynamic (and can get REALLY loud).

Regarding its software, I’ve only experienced annoying hiccups with Spotify/Tidal Connect (relating to difficulty and drops of connection, not sound artefacts or distortion that other users have reported). My solution was to only use Chromecast when listening to Spotify/Tidal, which is no big deal if you dont listen to continuous mixes or classical symphonies. Everything else works a treat in my case, and has done so from the start.

I’ve had mine since Jan 5th has been a lot of fun. Setup went flawless and the sound beats my Marantz Ruby integrated. It really is a fabulous sounding integrated. I Also have a PrimaLuna Evo 300i, if I had to choose between the two it would be the Arcam it’s that good

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Sound is great. Never would I want to go on a journey to search for sound to my liking. Two quirks - some delay on digital section if you use internal DAC, needs to be placed outside any confined places to control the heat.

Otherwise, had it for almost 2 years, and as I said - sound is absolutely perfect.

hi there, I also have a marantz ki ruby. Digital is fed through the maratbz sacd30n.

great sound but I want dirac… Have ordered the arcam sa30 but now having second thoughts as there seems to be too may issues.

What are your thoughts on which areas the Sacd30n is better than the Marantz Ki Ruby?

Also how would you rate the DAC?

Because for me the alternate is to use minidsp flex or studio.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Dirac is definitely worth having. Question is, in what form? :slight_smile:
DAC in SA30 is good as for a built-in DAC, but there are better ones.
If you’re not planning to use SA30 as power amp, than it makes more sense to get miniDSP (according to measurements it has better DAC) or NAD C658 as a streaming pre-amp with DL.
If you’re gonna use it as power amp, than it’s a good choice, as long as you use Roon for streaming, or have external streamer. You might also consider NAD C399, which seems to be very nice device.

Thanks Feliz I was thinking on the same lines - sound signature wise I prefer arcam but it seems it is like a lottery with respect to quality with the Sa30

I think it all depends on your needs and, if I may add, the country you live in.

I myself would probably go the MiniDSP/power amp way IF I didn’t also need a phono stage or the NAD C399 way IF I didn’t previously have the C390DD that suddenly bricked and now serves as a coffe table, partly because I live in Greece where NAD support is almost non-existent.

It’s also worth pointing out that Arcam offers full-range Dirac, whereas the C399 covers only low frequencies, and that NAD phono stages are crap, playing multiple times worse than the other inputs of their devices (it’s the only thing that really bothered me on the C390DD, which had made me abandon vinyl playback altogether --that is, before it broke).

The only other amp I would personally consider, if my speakers and my room were smaller, would be the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120.

BUT, if you don’t care about the phono stage and NAD support is solid where you live, then the C399 is also a valid option.

Actually hardware is very good and solid. Only quastionable thing is software, with almost non-existent support.
From your previous post i wasn’t sure if you’re planning to keep Marantz and just add streaming and Dirac to your setup, hence the choice of devices. If you’re keeping Marantz, power amp section of SA30 will be redundant, so why pay for it? Better to go with pre with DL, and i know only 2 - miniDSP and Nad C658.
If you’re replacing Marantz, than SA30 with it’s software flaws on streaming side, or NAD C399. If you don’t care for Dirac, only good room correction, than Lyngdorf mentioned by eyebee i also very good option. And Lyngdorf support is top notch.

You can always buy full DL for 100$. Depending on the market, it’s more or less price difference between SA30 and C399.
Also heard that phono stage in C399 is actually very much ok, but missing MC.

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Well, I had the supposedly “hi-end” analog MDC on the C390DD and it was thin-sounding and lifeless, completely lacking in body and dynamics. And this fits with various reviews of newer NAD amps I’ve read that all find their phono stages mediocre.

I think you sum it up pretty nicely here. I would also argue that its class G output stage will drive a wider variety of speakers better than class D power amps, even if the latter have more power on paper. I’ve auditioned the SA30 side-by-side with the Cambridge Audio EVO150 and the Arcam sounded more powerful and dynamic (and detailed!) with every speaker we tried on them regardless of volume.

As for the streaming part which is indeed the Arcam’s weak spot, the Wiim Pro you suggest in the other thread is a great solution, and IMO a better one than BluOS since it has Chromecast as well (and therefore Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Mixcloud that I find indespensible).

To be honest haven’t tested it. I’m not really into vinyl for convenience reasons :slight_smile:
Just saying what i read in the reviews of C399.

WiiM has all you can throw at it.
Wonder if BlueSound will cut the prices now. If not, they might have issues with selling Node quite soon :slight_smile:

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HI Felix your right , Arcam is wonderful to sound , I actually ordered and then cancelled .

I agree, no point it having two amps . Lyngdorf 3400 would be more suited to my room and speakers but its expensive . Not sure on the C399 as my marantz ruby has been by Ken Ishiwata , and its sounds very analog like though its class.

Can I ask you something ? How bad are the software issues ? If I just use the Sa30 as integrated app with dirac and feed it from my ifi Zen streamer , would that be a workaround the software issues . Or are the issues to cumbersome to overcome .

Yeah, Lyngdorf 3400 is very, very good, but too expensive, confidering it doesn’t bring major changes over 1120, except for more power and a display (in short).
With SA30 software issues are not really that bad anymore. With latest software it’s somewhat stable and ok, but all depends on use case.
If one is using Roon, Chromecast, AirPlay or Spotify Connect it’s ok, no (at least major) issues here.
But Tiday Connect is not stable, and MusicCast is lacking. I want to use Amazon Music, and there’s no way to use it with HiRes on SA30. It’s partially Amazon’s fault (not supporting HiRes over Chromecast), and partially Arcam’s (Airable, which they are using, supports Amazon Music in HiRes, however Arcam is not updating SA30 anymore, so it doesn’t support it).
If you’re going to use it with external streamer, than there should be no issues at all. If you just use it as amp with DSP it’s perfectly ok and stable.
I’m just frustrated with lack of support by Arcam, and not living up to the promises in a way, when it comes to streaming capabilities.
Question is, if you prefer sound of SA30 or you Marantz. If you prefer SA30 and will use external streamer, go for it. If you prefer Marantz, go with NAD C658 and miniDSP SHD as preamp with Dirac Live (and very good streamer in case of NAD).

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pleased to say that I pulled the trigger and got the SA30 … new unit… fingers crossed …so far no issues .

Still getting used to the sound. Coming from the maratnz ruby , sound sees more tonally dense , but the ruby may be more clear…still eariler hrs . Will post my Views.

@Felix, @eyebee , @Norway1982sa30 and others , thanks for the help.

@Norway1982sa30 , what was the biggest difference that you sound between the SA30 and Maratnz KI ruby .

Happy Friday everyone! Want to keep this unit , so praying to music gods that there wont be any issues :slight_smile:


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Ruby is class D amp, based on Hypex NCore NC500 modules. They are exceptionally “clear” if not broken by poor pre-amp. Well, in case of Ruby it’s HDAM modules tuned by Ken (R.I.P. :frowning: ) - now wonder it sounds good and clean :slight_smile:
SA30’s biggest advantage is Dirac. Try it, and there’s no turning back :wink:

Congrats Sanjay,

I wish you many years of musical enjoyment with your new SA30. “Thick” and “dense” are two adjectives I too would use to describe the sound of the Arcam, obviously not in terms of soundstage but in terms of timbre or tone colour, like each sound has a stronger presence in the room, almost material rather than spectral. Needless to say I love this characteristic of the amp, IMO it’s what sets it apart from the competition.

Now Dirac is next. Please be careful to upload the calibration file of the mic found on the amp’s page, if you don’t then the measurements will be off. Secondly, make sure to match the speakers’ levels - it’s quite possible they will be different if the room is not strictly symmetrical. Then you can experiment all you want with different curves.

Happy listening!

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Hi eyebee , thanks a lot for the wishes :slight_smile: … Will follow your advice

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Agreed!! Dirac is a game changer!

agree - now no way i am turning back :wink: