Product Type: Arcam CD Players
Newest Review: ... the sacrifice. In addition, as the years (over a decade of them) have gone by, and my Arcam has failed to let me down even once, I've ... more
A "sound" investment............ .... (sorry)!
Arcam Alpha 8
Member Name: Ellendel
Arcam Alpha 8
Advantages: Glorious audiophile sound at a lower price than many "disposable' systems from the highstreet
Disadvantages: The front is made of plastic, not as cosmetically appealing as other systems
I can't rightly recall what I originally paid for my Arcam Alpha 8 - I have the Integrated (Power) Amp - but a quick Dooyoo search revealed that they are now available for around £150 pounds, and can be had for much less, which as far as I'm concerned is a bargain.
I have mine hooked up to a huge array of equipment, ranging from my P.C and T.V, to a full home studio, and a dedicated CD player. The Alpha is powering a pair of 4ft by 1.5ft B&W speakers from the sixties, and a smaller, more modern pair of Technics speakers, which essentially play the role of tweeters, filling out the high end. This set up provides spectacular sound for every device in my house, for only the cost of these basic audio components, and a variety of cheap basic cables.
You can switch between your devices and separates on the front on the power amp, and the main volume along with the treble and the bass can also be altered. The Alpha has a bypass switch, which removes the EQ at a press, and provides you with a pure unaltered sound. This is extremely helpful for my needs, as I sometimes use it for monitoring direct input recording/productions.
The sound from this unit has a very warm quality at it's neutral setting. Boosting the treble adds clarity where necessary, and boosting the bass provides a natural increase in the impact and low down rumble available. Listening to the Alpha's bass sound is more akin to taking in an orchestra, or a marching band, than a sub-woofer. The 'booms' and beats are less abrasive and 'pumpy', but do not lose any of their capacity to shake and stir you. I find that I can listen for music for hours on this system, whereas even good quality headphones, car stereo's, and the like, can begin to irritate me and grate after a shorter period. My friends, with their dolby 5.1, and 7.1, systems have often admitted their envy.
Cosmetically, I have to concede that the Alpha is probably far from pretty, but I feel the interior content is worth the sacrifice. In addition, as the years (over a decade of them) have gone by, and my Arcam has failed to let me down even once, I've actually come to quite like it's boxy plastic-y looks. They represent durability and reliability to me, and underneath my widescreen Samsung monitor, it manages to reflect just a tiny bit of the retro chic afforded to old Amstrad's and industrial control units.
My life would be worse without it. It's not for sale, and it never will be, but luckily, clever shoppers can get hold of one anyway, at a snip!
Summary: Arcam's ugly duckling is a swan...inside.
|Ease of use:|