Review: Arcam FMJ AVR400 A/V Receiver Page 4


Test Bench


All data were obtained from various 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 78. All level trims at zero; except for subwoofer-related tests, all speakers were set to “large,” subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms)

1 channel driven: 151/231 W (21.8/23.6 dBW)
5 channels driven (8 ohms): 114 W (20.6 dBW)
7 channels driven (8 ohms): 98 W (19.9 dBW)

Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz), 8/4 ohms: 0.02/0.04%

Noise level (A-wtd): –75.7 dB

Excess noise (with sine tone), 16-bit (EN16): 0.3 dB

Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.1 dB


Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was 78.

Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.015%

Noise level (A-wtd): –87.2

Frequency response: <10 Hz to 190 kHz +0, –3 dB


Reference level is –20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was 78.

Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 140/202 W (21.5/23.1 dBW)

Distortion at reference level: 0.02%

Linearity error (at –90 dBFS): –0.06 dB (see notes)

Noise level (A-wtd): –75.6 dB (see notes)

? with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: –88.9 dB

Excess noise (with/without sine tone)

? 16-bit (EN16): 0.8/0.8 dB
? quasi-20-bit (EN20): 10.8/10.0 dB

Noise modulation: 0.3 dB

Frequency response: <10 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.1 dB

? with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: +0, -2.6 dB at 44.1 kHz


Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals.

Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 18 dB/octave above –3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz

High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below –3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz

Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 7.3v

Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.03%

Crossover consistency: Bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats.

Speaker size selection: All channels can be set to “small.”

Speaker distance compensation: available for all main channels


Arcam’s FMJ AVR400 yielded a Top 10 set of test bench numbers for A/V receivers, with noise, D/A linearity, and frequency response all essentially perfect and nearly spot-on the theoretical minimums for our real-world performance tests based upon “dithered silence.” Power was just as impressive, especially considering the Arcam’s 90-watts-per-channel rating. It bested spec by a good 2 dB in most tests and still produced 98 watts, steady-state, with all 7 channels driven to the clip point, without offering to spark, smoke, or shut down, though it did get plenty hot after a few such runs. This is substantially more than all but a few receivers I’ve encountered, including those rated for 150 watts per channel and more.

The only asterisk required is in regard to the AVR400’s crossovers, the low-pass (subwoofer) side of which displayed a response of 12 dB per octave rather than the de facto 18 dB per octave. This might suggest a slightly different subwoofer level, placement, or crossover-frequency selections — all items that most experienced users will in any case fine-tune by ear through the final setup stages (or, in many of our cases, OCD-like at every playback).