Arcam AV8 Pre/Pro Page 2

When I switched over to movies, I expected no problems—and I found none. I led off with our newly acquired Superbit version of Dracula (the Coppola version). I'd forgotten what a sonic experience this movie is. Music, dialogue, and the wide array of sound effects are critical thematic and emotional elements to the film. You need accuracy, detail, and impeccable timing to fully exploit them, and the AV8 delivered all three. Here, I naturally wanted the AV8 in its more-aggressive, immediate guise, and I got what I asked for. Between the all-too-real (and seemingly constant) splattering of blood, the guttural outbursts of all manner of beasts, and the delightful crunching of neckbones as our hero replenishes himself, I found myself feeling more than a bit uneasy. Mission accomplished for the AV8. Once again, midrange performance was top-notch on both the MartinLogans and the Energys. The absolutely haunting sound of the cellos that provide the foundation of the movie's main musical theme hit me like a ton of bricks. They took on a deep, rich, and almost primal character that attacked with passion and decayed with naturalness and powerful melancholy.

However you like to watch your movies, the AV8 has you covered. It's got just about every processing mode currently available. Even your old VHS movies get an audio jump-start from Pro Logic II or Neo:6. For DVD, I ultimately favored the AV8's Ultra 2 Cinema treatment of Dolby Digital 5.1. I certainly wouldn't run out and buy a processor for Ultra 2; but, if you're already looking, you should consider one that has it. On the surface, the difference between Ultra 2 and standard 5.1 is minor, but it has a creeper effect. Once you go back to straight 5.1, you'll realize that there's a little something missing in back.

As for video, the AV8 passed these signals through as cleanly as it had analog audio. Both progressive and interlaced feeds went through without a hitch.

So here it is: The AV8 sounds great, looks great, is loaded with features, and is easy to use. And it's going to need all of these attributes to compete in the space it occupies. Arcam knows as well as anyone how tough the competition is in the high-end pre/pro game. After all, they didn't spend all of this time and money on the AV8 for nothing. Past a certain point, the margin in sound performance begins to shrink rapidly, and personal preference starts

to be the single most important factor. How do you like the way a particular pre/pro sounds with your amps, your speakers, and in your room? If your wallet will oblige, I'd put the AV8 on your short audition list. I can't guarantee that it will be the right choice for you, but I can guarantee that you won't find many more audio products that have more effort, more knowledge, and more attention to detail put into them than this one.


• Top-shelf audio performance
• Virtually every processing mode available
• Flexible and easy to use

AV8 Pre/Pro
Dealer Locator Code ARC
(317) 849-5880