Strongly considering ordering the SA30 today, would you buy one again?

Hello Arcam owners. This is my first post here and I am looking for any feedback on the SA30 unit. I’m wanting to order one but wanted to know of any reasons that I shouldn’t…or why I should.

For starters I would mostly be using the Arcam to stream. I have Quboz and Amazon subs, I just cancelled my Tidal and if I go thru with the SA30 I plan on seeing how ROON works for me. Roon is my goal. Roon feedback would be appreciated

The Arcam will be in my living room, not sure if I will bring my vintage JVC QL-A7 turntable in there although I’ve read the SA30 has a nice phono input. What do y’all think?

I have dismantled my 5.1 system so I would like to be able the hook the Arcam to my TV with the eArc HDMI. Is the HDMI an issue on these units? I do like to watch YouTube from my TV from time to time.

For right now I will be using the mains from my past AVP set-up, the Polk Reserve 200’s on stands and a single SVS 2000Pro subwoofer. I am really looking forward to better integrating my Speakers/Sub together with Dirac Live. This is a huge interest of mine.

Any advice about the Arcam, any tips, any warnings will be greatly appreciated and thoroughly welcomed. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and sharing any thoughts.

Maybe this was the wrong website to ask these questions, I spent some time reading over some things here and I get the feeling this site is for owners with issues. It seems like this unit has had a TON of issues. I’ll assume this is why the prices for these units are not what they once were. I literally spent a few hours reading up on this unit yesterday and it’s enough to add caution to purchasing one. Truly is a shame cause for an All in One system this Arcam really checks all the boxes.

If you had asked this question in 2020/21 I would have said no not at the moment because there are many issues but the latest firmware that has been out a while now seems to solve most problems, certainly in my case. I mainly stream my own music from my NAS and use it in PVR mode as the amp for the front channel#
I don’t use Dirac but I think those that do say it works well.

I would recommend the SA30. However, I have no problem updating firmware, etc. If you’re comfortable configuring the unit, etc. Then there are bargains to be had.

Pluses from my perspective…1(features) a} there is a fixed gain mode whereby you can use, e.g. an AV receiver along with the SA30. The SA30 driving the two main L/R channels with the AV receiver driving the rest. In fixed gain mode, the receiver does all the volume controlling, etc. b} DIRAC live is a great feature…helps tame low mid/bass room modes. The more uniform frequency response makes the system have a fast, weighty bass as opposed to bloated resonances.

I have my own, home brewed music server and the SA30 integrates well with that. Can’t comment on Roon integration, sorry.

I mainly use the SA30 with analog. I have used the phono stage and it is quite nice. However, I normally use an outboard phono stage (Linn Linto) for my moving coil cartridge.

Lastly, the sound…I find the SA30 quite neutral. It is driving a pair of Alta Alyssa speakers in a 14’x20’ room. The sound is open, 3D and very musical from low to high volumes. Great soundstaging with the Alyssa speakers. Lots of detail but not a high frequency emphasis in response. I can listen for long periods of time without fatigue.

If you’re undaunted by setup, measurements, etc. Then I suggest this integrated as they are becoming a bargain for what you’re getting. However, if that scares you, then you have your answer :wink:

I use the SA 30 with Roon and Tidal connect. Works perfectly with Roon. Tidal connect captures the input connection and requires turning off the SA 30 and back on to release the input so I can go back to Roon.Other than that, the streaming connections work great for me. Phono input is excellent. The amp is wonderful. I love Class G. It can drive my Sonus Faber Extremas very well. They can be difficult speakers to drive. I have not use the digital inputs. Dirac is the bomb. It is a game changer. I bought the UMIK-1 mic to do my room measurements. If you like to mess with computers, doing Firmware updates over a web page etc, this is a wonderful piece of musical technology. I have had its while now. First 6 months was hell as Arcam released it before the firmware was stable. Hope this helps!!

Ken

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Y’all’s comments were what I was hoping to hear. I don’t mind having to do updates when and if they happen. I definitely want to learn how to incorporate Dirac into the system, to help me tighten up my low to low mid bass better…better than I’m currently able to do now with my RME dac and SVS sub PEQ’s. Mind you I’m doing this with a tone generator and my ears lol.

Seems that no matter what issues previous owners of this unit have had they all speak highly of the amplifier sound quality. Neutral and transparent is what I like…and even though initially I’ll have to use my cheaper Polk R200 for speakers they are a pretty balanced speaker with no resonance that is audible to me. If the quality of the Arcam’s amp is as good as owners have said then I’m sure it will have me wanting to upgrade to speakers a little more refined.

Again I just want to say thanks for the insight and opinions y’all shared. I think I will go ahead and give the Arcam an in home trial, if I run into any issues I’m sure to come back here and share what’s going on. Have a great day

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Absolutely. With latest firmware. Powerful, clean, punchy, and has top notch DACs and filters.
This is the problem forum, so would always have a strong bias. Take comfort that problems were solved.

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I’ve never had any of the reported issues with mine, I use the MM Phono stage, digital inputs from a CD player and MD player, ARC input from a TV, and streaming with Tidal Connect. Fabulous amplifier, I would recommend it strongly. The only slight bugbear is the small audio delay on ARC with my LG OLED TV.

ETA - Dirac is absolutely fantastic and no bother at all to take the measurements and set up. I couldn’t be bothered for ages but when I did it made an enormous improvement.

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I have had mine now about 6 months and added the Arcam CD player as well.
Extremely happy with both purchases.

I mostly using it for Roon and CD playing and the Wife uses Tidal connect.
Was concerned before I bought it as read nothing but complaints, but besides buying a second had CD player that had never had an update installed on it and was so far behind the norm I needed a special USB update file, everything has been perfect with both devices.

At the price it is compared to NAIM Unity Atom and NAD M10 V2 it is a bargain.

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Yes the NAD M10v2 was also on my radar but it is a bit more expensive compared to the sale prices of the Arcam. From what I have read and seen thru videos the NAD might be a little better but the value deal goes to the Arcam I believe. I did end up ordering the Arcam, I should have it in a couple days. I’m definitely excited and looking forward to it’s arrival…hope that it gives me listening pleasure for many years. We will see…

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Only thing that’s better in NAD is native application and looks :slight_smile:

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My SA30 came in today. The manual doesn’t have much in it lol. I need to update it with the newest firmware. Guess I’ll look online for that info. Had a question about using the preouts with a subwoofer.

Can I use the left and right preouts to the sub or do I need to use just one single preout? Like an LFE or a Mono output? I’ll deal with that after I try to get this beauty up and running first though.

So I hooked up the Arcam SA30 last night. First thing I did was go into settings and turned the Auto Standby from 20 mins to off. I had already downloaded the latest firmware to my Apple computer. I plugged my Ethernet wire into the back of the Arcam, went back onto the computer and typed my IP address into Chrome search. That took me to the Arcam boot up site where I followed the instructions on line to load the latest firmware. Pretty painless and quick. After I loaded the latest firmware thru Ethernet I reset the Arcam. Everything working fine so far. All I’ve done so far is hooked the TV thru toslink. No issues, no lip sync problems. Tidal connect is the other way I’ve listened to it so far. I pressed NET on the Arcam remote and then linked Tidal to the Arcam thru my phone. No issues.

I did hook up a subwoofer and still felt overall that the SA30 was lacking bass. Today it seems a little better. Today I will try out the HDMI and analog inputs. By tomorrow I think it will be ready to try out Dirac. I’ve never used Dirac so it will be a learning experience.

I find the sound of the amp to be very clean, neutral and detailed. Wish it had a little more weight to it, but we will see how it goes as I play with it more. I’m going to hook up a Zen Stream with an external dac, the RME ADI-2 and compare the sound to the Arcam streamer/dac. Overall the SA30 is pretty nice.

Run the Dirac, then adjust the bass up on one of your filters to please your bass expectations. I have one called Bass Boost. I use it for Rock. I have my subs hooked up through the high level inputs directly to the speaker outs. Anyway, the SA30 has a great Class G amp. Plenty of power for most situations.

Ken

Thanks for the tip. Hopefully I can run the Dirac a little later today after the wife and kid go to get there hair done…otherwise there is just too much noise in the house.

Unfortunately with the SVS sub I’m using it only has the RCA inputs, so I’m running the left/right preouts of the Arcam into the Sub. Nice thing with the SVS Pro models is they have 3 PEQ filters and a Room Gain frequency Compensation switch for if you have a certain frequency with a huge room gain you need to tame. I’m hoping between the Subs adjustable filters and Dirac I can really dial in the Bass.

The amp on this SA30 is very capable of driving most speakers I would think. It’s a pretty nice unit. If I turn the volume dial past 21-22 the music is loud. I’ve run separate amps with higher wattage on paper than the SA30 but this Arcam is just as powerful. I’ve already noticed a slight difference in sound from this amp from when I initially turned it on to just a few hours run on it. The speakers have a better bass response than initially and I had to turn the Subs volume back a few db’s.

I’ll try out the Phono input on the unit when I can but I did hook up the Chromecast which is a huge bonus. I can use Amazon, YouTube, Quboz with no issues. With the IFI Zen Stream I was basically limited to Tidal. I liked the Zen Stream for sound quality compared to the others I’ve tried…Node, Cambridge CXN2, and the WiiM. I have not critically compared the Arcam vs the Zen Stream yet but from the small samples I’ve tried the Arcam is definitely on par with the Zen (better I dk yet) and doesn’t have the sound quality issues I personally thought the 3 other streamers I mentioned were lacking.

So I wanted to share something. As much as I wanted to love this amp I wasn’t very impressed with the sound. It sounded almost like the music was in Cathedral or Hall mode off of a cheap phone EQ setting. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, I kept thinking this can’t be right…there is no way so many people like this sound. I was literally getting ready to box it up.

Last night I decided I would reboot the Firmware. I’ve never used the USB for updates, only thru the Ethernet. So I reset the net and system and went back online to reboot. Initially it said the unit is not in need of an update. I forced it to reboot anyway. It took a little longe

Longer to reboot than the first time. After reboot I reset the system and then the net. Now the amp sounds different. Not so 2 dimensional and veiled. More like a proper amp. So this is a good thing…but why is this like this? According to the system nothing was changed…but the sound has certainly woken up.

My microphone stand came in yesterday so hopefully I’ll play with Dirac today. But I’m a little put off with how the firmware effects the amp so much.

I guess if I had a question it would be…Does your Arcam still sound like it did when you first hooked it up? Does your SA30 sound better after all the past firmware updates?