Which replacement AV Receiver?

Well, it’s been a very eventful week. I started to wear hearing aids about 2 months ago (I’m 75), and have just got used to them. Alas, we went for our Covid jabs on Friday, and I must have pulled off the aids with the face mask elastic. Searched everywhere for them - no joy. Thankfully they’re insured so I’ll be receiving a new pair soon (sigh)

Anyway, back to the point …

My Arcam AVR 850 has been a little unreliable of late, and has had 2 visits back to them for various faults. As background I have connected it via AV bypass to use my Naim 300DR for the front channels, and the speakers are Naim n-System (it’s in a 13ft by 9ft room). I have 5 devices hooked up to the HDMI inputs on the Arcam : PS5, XBox X, WiiU, Humax PVR, Oppo 103D. The Arcam is connected via its eARC output to an LG OLED48C2 TV.

All was trundling along reasonably well, although the screen display when using XBOX X or PS5 would occasionally go black for a second for no apparent reason. Also navigating menus to close games on these machines was slow, with the same screen blank and hesitation when scrolling through menus to close games. On the XBox X a couple of games would not let me past the opening screens before sticking on a black screen.

So, today I set out to try to cure these problems. Went on t’interweb and tried various solutions (not involving changing leads, as the ones there are all recently purchased to HDMI Ultra HD standards. Gave up after a while, but now the TV screen can’t find the devices even though correct HDMI input is set.

Next, I climbed into the loft and got a bunch of spare leads, came back down, changed the eARC lead. No joy. So just tried connecting the PS5, XBox, Oppo, PVR directly to the TV HDMI inputs. All worked perfectly, with no lagging black screens or slow game switch off menus.

My conclusion is that my Arcam is f**ked and that I need a newer generation AVR. I suppose I’ll have to get the Arcam repaired (again!) if I ever want to sell it on FleaBay. So, what should I buy? I’ve always been happy with the sound quality from the Arcam/Naim with DVDs, BluRay, Games, PVR. I do own quite a few music DVD/Blurays which I like to play occasionally (Apocalyptic Plays Metallic live is very good!).

I will whatever I get must have a plethora of 2.1 HDMI sockets for my devices, and eARC so that I can get sound from the TV to the AVR when watching live TV or using a streaming service such as Prime Video or Netflix etc (one of the things I have done today is to set up the aforementioned on the TV itself, as the Arcam is currently unusable .It doesn’t have to be mega-powerful (small room!), but I would like to maintain audio quality

I did debate getting a newer Arcam AVR, but now I feel that the higher range AVRs might not be any more reliable than my current one. So … Anthem? Denon etc?

Personally I’d just get a denon. There will be a model for your preferred budget. Mine was under £600 and it’s great for movies. And no issues with a ps5. I wonder if it’s 4k signals that are tripping up your arcam?

I think that’s part of the problem. I was just putting up with the slowness for a time, but, as I say, it just had a catastrophic failure with video. Funnily enough the sound (if any) from the attached source was still present! Eventually it just stopped working and back to Arcam it went.

Earlier failures for which it went back to Arcam include suddenly losing audio output. It was easy to get back by switching to another input on the Arcam and then back again, but was VERY annoying. The other failure which I recall was not responding to the remote (yes - I did press the AMP button on the remote!)

Funny that you should mention Denon. Many years ago I bought a Denon CD player for one of my daughters. It’s now still doing sterling service for our youngest granddaughter (aged 10) using AV2/175/Royd speakers.

Another vote for Denon. Good sq and mine has been rock solid.

I would also recommend Denon, my last AV Amp lasted 25 years and was perfect until the centre channel failed last year, so I bought another new Denon (my original Denon AV Amp from 1994 is still going good too with my nephew), as sound quality is excellent and I use AV Bypass all the time too.
Build quality and reliability is excellent and a few models to choose from to suit your spec and budget.

Another long history Denon user. But rather than say, “I use Denon, so I recommend Denon,” I will say to see if your dealer can give you a Denon and Marantz demo at a similar level. They are the same company for a long while now but have a very different house sound. You’re likely to have in instant preference for one style over the other. Pioneer AV amps are also seriously good quality.

The style of Marantz is a bit darker and fuller sounding. Denon, a bit more neutral and airy.

I used Yamaha AV amps for about 15 years and they were also very good but to my ears the Denon left it in the dust. Generally speaking, Yamaha have the best processing because they make most of the chips for surround processing and keep the current generation for themselves. But others often have better amplification stages.


I bought my first Denon surround amp in 1993, then another in 2003 and another in 2012, all three at or near the top of the line. I am a Denon fan.

In 2011 I started integrating the Denons with NAP/NAC with notably improved results.

I moved in 2013 and never got 5.1 fully set up until a couple months ago, with a new Sony STR-AZ7000ES. The in-store demo I had in an excellent room supported/confirmed the reviews I found on the web versus current Denon, Marantz, Anthem and McIntosh amps and pres in the same league.

I am surprised I bought an amp; I was planning on getting an AV-pre by Anthem (since Denon does not currently make an AV-pre), and using Naim amps. Then I home demoed a used/nearly-new McIntosh MHT-300 at a fantastic half-price. I returned it and “exchanged-down” to the Sony because I liked the processing better, and wanted more inputs. I am thrilled with the results. The $300 I saved versus the McIntosh was irrelevant. The Sony felt more impactful without seeming to sacrifice realism.

I will eventually run it through my Naim system, but am in no hurry. The Sony onboard amps get the job done extremely well!

Good luck with your project.


Firstly, can I just say it is awesome to hear a 75 year old using a PS5 and XboxX regularly! I will need need to tell my wife there’s no reason I can’t get a PS5 (again) :grin:

Secondly, all may not be lost with the Arcam.

It’s likely (and obvious) that the Arcam is not processing the video output from the the X and PS5 correctly. I have an elder Pioneer SC-LX57 which is still taking a daily beating with all and sundry so here are a couple of things to consider/try.

  1. Does the Arcam have a video passthrough mode you can enable? My Pioneer will pass through any video by input without processing.

  2. As you have already done, direct video connection of the X, PS5 and BR to the LG with audio to the Arcam either directly or via the EARC. Actually better video quality wise for the video source and individual picture settings in the LG for each input.

Hope that helps.


Auditioned Arcam recently, returned. Lack of app, issues with reliability and better alternates.
Anthem on order - two reasons:

A few Naim dealers who also offer AV kit, believe Anthem sits well with Naim NAPs.
Anthem Room Correction (ARC) is considered excellent - vids on you-tube.

Anthem offer both AVR and AVM, with the latter matched with either two, three or five channel amp.
Looks like 7 HDMI inputs available.
If you watch Amazon and Netflix, consider an Apple tv box, connected to your AV directly, with video out to tv, works very well.

The LG TV has Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV apps on it. I was thinking of just using that as a source but use the AVR for sound.

When (not if), I replace it then I will connect the Arcam up to my old Sony TV in one of the spare bedrooms and see if it works OK with that and a Sony DVD/HD recorder.



Firstly, can I just say it is awesome to hear a 75 year old using a PS5 and XboxX regularly! I will need need to tell my wife there’s no reason I can’t get a PS5 (again) :grin:

Got the PS5 because there were a few games not available for the PS4. Finished up installing extra internal memory (2TB) and have attached a 2TB SSD to hold the “rip” of my old PS4 discs. The PS4 Pro which I was using before is now the proud possession of my eldest grandson, who uses it alongside his Gaming PC.

The XBox X is a recent purchase. I’ve had 3 XBox360s, and the third one was dying. I noted the backwards of the XBox X so it was a bit of a no-brainer to get one of those. Already added a plug in 1TB memory card to it.

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