SA30 build 867, version 1.41

Hi all, i hade a felling last week as i was listening my Marantz PM7000N coaxinput + Node2i there is some distortion but was not so obvious because on the Marantz there are not so clear Highs as on Arcam. Was not sure what is going on. Also i figured i m getting mutch more distortion mconnect + arcam and Node2i+Coax+Arcam as on musiclife + arcam. Maybe it has something to do with double unfolding or so. I dont know.

Thanks a lot i appreciate your opinion.
I stay with the arcam and hope for a working software.

I am also trialling Roon at the moment and have found that the frequency of the distortion occurrence is worst with Roon.

I order from best to worst:

  • Musiclife (~20%)

  • MConnect

  • Roon (>75%)

I still think that the issue is to do with DAC and the sampling frequency being provided from the DSP being mis-matched with the source file.

When you sample a digital file at a non-integer multiple of its source sampling frequency, it sounds distorted, just like we are experiencing.

A question that I have is whether anybody has experienced many hours of listening music using any source (external analogue in for instance).

If we don’t use Dirac, use an analogue input and apply source direct, we should theoretically bypass all digital circuits and code, thus have no distortion (I haven’t tried this but will at the weekend).

I now since 867 mostly listen to my Basis turntable, which feeds a new Teac PE 505 phono stage connected to the PVR analog input, Arcam in Direct mode, have never heard distortion. It actually sounds very very good. When I switch in Dirac, its only a matter of time before I will start to notice what sounds like loose snares on a snare drum, on transients. Switch back to Direct, all is good. Now I have streamed via Roon to the SA 30 for hours with no distortion. And Roon is picking songs, called Roon Radio, mixing all formats from Red Book to MQA 352, 192, 96, and my HD tracks from my hard drive which are red book to 24/192, so the full mix.Roon upsamples red book. So I am not sure what triggers the distortion. When it can play a mix of formats for hours perfectly , then start out of no where the distortion bug, which is only solved by a hard reboot or sometimes switching to analog Direct and then restart Roon. I have begun to to switch off the Arcam at night and let it sit, then start fresh the next day. Very frustrating.

So the distortion is definitely happening in the digital domain, which is easier to fix (shouldn’t require replacement hardware).

So, there is a failing in the ADC conversion (to allow Dirac to work in the digital domain) and then back to analogue via the DAC.

I believe internally the Arcam works at fs = 96Khz with Dirac, so somehow the clocking of the data samples are being mis aligned (I think via an incorrect sampling frequency).

Has anybody ever heard ‘no distortion’ for a long period of time without Dirac enabled via streaming or connecting digitally to the SA30?

I never heard any distortion while:

  • streaming 16 bit 44k1 Hz flac files from my nas, I don’t use Dirac nor Roon. Until I streamed 24 bit 88k1 Hz flac file from my nas the distortion kicked in, for more details refer to Distortion on 24 bit 82.2 kHz track, ref#109. I believe fixing this issue is a prerequisite for distortion free listening with Dirac enabled and/or Roon.
  • listening to TV audio through ARC

Furthermore I think there must be a reason why the SA30 isn’t fully Roon certified, the distortion might be part of that reason. As long as the Roon integration isn’t finished completely (certification is part of it) we might encounter bugs related to this integration.

Ok, but why does it work perfeckt after switching inputs?

When I get the distortion I switch to a different input and then back again.

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good question.I wonder if it has something to do with memory buffer, which gets cleared switching it to analog direct, or switching it off and back on. Maybe a memory leak in the DSP firmware. But this is all speculation. But since the distortion bug didn’t start till 705, it must be a software issue. Since JBL is releasing a amp that appears to be identical to the sa30 inside, I am confident this will be sorted out soon. And when it is sorted out, I bet it gets Roon Ready certification as well. I did notice JBL is claiming the new amp is Roon Ready so they must expect to get this all fixed. Fingers crossed!!!

They released SA30 probably too soon, with bugs (as they did other equipment) and there are still bugs now. What makes anyone think JBL will be different? Does it really grow the user base considerably by them doing this and does that warrant any more of an investment on Samsung/HK’s part? I’m not so sure, but suppose we will find out soon enough!

They have form in the roon certification too. No guarantee the JBL amp will be in any a different situation than the SA30. I don’t think officially saying something is “roon ready” means a jot, other than technically it’s possible if they pull their fingers out!

Sorry, having a glass half empty day!

My new piece of equipment arrived today.

I have been able to achieve distortion using the CD analogue input on the SA30.

To remove the distortion, I have to switch the analogue direct on.

This shows that with the direct off (even with Dirac disabled), the SA30 is still working in the digital domain.

Tested file: Dire Straits - Your Latest Trick: 24 bit, 44.1 KHz from NAS

  • SA30 streaming from NAS: distortion occurs

  • New equipment streaming from NAS using CD analogue in on SA30 (analogue direct = off): distortion occurs

  • New equipment streaming from NAS using CD analogue in on SA30 (analogue direct = on): no distortion

I’m not entirely sure that I have heard the distortion with any 16 bit, 44.1 kHz files…so far.

There is clearly something very fundamental here and I have already been in contact with the supplier of the SA30.

At this point, I want to help Arcam fix the SA30 but there is likely to be only one outcome from this story.

It’s hard to be positive about this situation…

Ok, I’ll bite. What’s the new equipment then? Should we have gear envy? :grin:

I’m hoping that they have some project manager, who told them what “lessons learned” means to the organization :slight_smile:

Arcam did actually advertise SA30 as Roon Ready before Roon changed the rules.
And that’s one of the reasons they changed the rules. Many (most of? ) manufacturers were advertising something as Roon Ready just cause it was able to use RAAT. NAD did exactly same thing with M10, C658 and some others.
They will get certification once bugs are sorted.

Been saying this for a while.

miniDSP SHD - bought based on objective measurements.

Clearly need a power amp to go with it.

Taking a different tact with audio after this experience, as I would normally stick with Arcam. It will be a power amp based on Purifi or Hypex NC400 - again objective measurement.

My Oppo BDP-105 measures great objectively and I think its the best electronic piece of equipment I’ve ever bought.

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I own an OPPO BDP 105 and concur with you on that. My biggest regret is I never upgraded to the UDP 205 before OPPO stopped manufacturing. The 205’s regularly go for between £2500 and £3000 now on eBay. However, the one thing I do like with the 105 is the ability to rip SACD’s.

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I bought Arcam SA30 around Christmas. If it was not for this forum and the AVR forum, I would have returned the item already as I would have thought the distorsion is harware related. Anyway, the information on this forum gave me some hope that this issue will be solved in time via a software update. I do believe that the distorsion was not present on the v521 that mine came with, however it updated over night on its own despite setting the automatic update to off.

Now to answer your question, this morning I just did another system reset and net reset hoping that by removing my Dirac profiles maybe this time the distorsion will go away. However, it took only 5 minutes for the problem to show up afterwards. I kind of triggered it to show up by switching between MQA songs of different khz (44.1 khz and 192 khz). So this was only 5 minutes after a complete reset and with no dirac profiles installed. I am using Tidal through the Music Life app (UPNP renderer option) as the google chrome cast option does not stream MQA.
I think the issue occurs more rare when my partner uses Deezer which does not provide MQA songs and she also does not the Music Life app as the application is hard to navigate.

I am also using the ARCAM SA30 though the PVR input in Processor Mode with the analog direct option enabled while connected to the fronts preouts (L+R) of a YAMAHA AVR for a 5.1.2 system. The distorsion in the fronts shows up in movies, randomly every couple of hours with this option as well.
I am mentioning this because I had echo issues and random popping sounds until I realised I have to set PVR input to analog direct when in processor mode. They should have really mentioned this in the manual as I was so worried I might have caused some damage to the unit.

I purchased this item after many reviews indicated that it is Roon ready. I was very disapointed to find out after purchase that I can’t use Roon on it…hopefully just for now pending software updates that will help it receive certification.

I still thought about returning it, however I am too happy with the sound when it works and 80% of the time it does work great. I just have to quickly switch between inputs for the distorsion to disapear.

Apologies, for the long reply. I just write the extra information in case somebody else finds it helpful down the road as did when I scoured the forums for a solution.

Kind Regards,


My thinking is the DAC isn’t adjusting to different sample rates correctly.

I use PVR with my processor the same as you. The reason for the echo is because if you set PVR to go through the DAC it adds a delay so the sound from your centre and rears will earlier than the fronts. There is a delay setting though although I use direct the same as you.

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If you want to use the amp without distortions, i think for now you just have to play tidal hifi or other streaming services without highres files.

The distortion didn’t start with v705 it has been there since release - I bought mine back in early feb 20 and it had random distortion on all analog inputs from the very beginning (when not using direct function) …;(