Test Bench: Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 DVD Receiver

DOLBY DIGITAL PERFORMANCE

All data were obtained from test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is -20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was 63. All level trims at zero, except for subwoofer-related tests, and all speakers were set to "large," subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz) 1 channel driven (8/4 ohms): 107/113 watts (20.3/20.5 dBW) 5 channels driven (8 ohms): 71 watts (18.5 dBW) Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz) 8/4 ohms: 0.02/0.03% Noise level (A-weighted): -75.3 dB Excess noise (with sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 0.3 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -0.4 dB

STEREO PERFORMANCE, ANALOG INPUT Stereo Direct mode. Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was 63. Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.01% Noise level (A-weighted.): -86.1 Frequency response: 10 Hz to 196 kHz +0, -3 dB

STEREO PERFORMANCE, DIGITAL INPUT Reference level is -20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was 64. Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 93/114 watts (19.7/20.6 dBW) Distortion at reference level: 0.02% Linearity error (at -90 dBFS): 0.4 dB Noise level (A-weighted): -75.3 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: -75.6 dB Excess noise (with/without sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 0.4/0.3 dB quasi-20-bit (EN20): 12.2/13.1 dB Noise modulation: 0.5 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -0.4 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: 20 Hz to 44.3 kHz +0, -2.3 dB

BASS-MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals. Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave above -6 dB rolloff point of 132 Hz (-3 dB at 95 Hz) High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below -3 dB rolloff point of 99 Hz Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 4.0 volts Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.04% Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats Signal-format consistency: consistent for all applicable formats Speaker size selection: all channels can be set to "small" Speaker-distance compensation: available for all main channels.

Arcam's combo player/receiver displayed excellent performance in almost all regards. Power was generous for a 50-watts-per-channel design, and the Solo Movie 5.1 had no difficulty exceeding its all-channels-driven rating, producing 71 watts into all five channels simultaneously (8 ohms, 1 kHz) before clipping. The comparatively small increase in power output with 4-ohm loads is not surprising, in that the Solo Movie employs Class G power-supply circuitry - a more efficient, more load-insensitive approach than that used most conventional amplifiers.

Noise and distortion performance were excellent on the digital-input tests (stereo PCM and Dolby Digital) but did not improve to any meaningful degree with 96-kHz/24-bit PCM sources; combined with the Arcam's merely average analog-input (stereo) noise performance, this suggests that its analog output circuits are the limiting factor here.

Arcam employs a less steep, 12 dB/octave low-pass filter for its subwoofer output than is typical; most A/V receivers approach 24 dB/octave. This can make sub/satellite integration subtly different but objectively is not necessarily better or worse.

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