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Arcam HDA AVR20 (All version)

SCORE:
91
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Highlights

  • 7.2 channels
  • 15.2 channel processing
  • 110 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, Auro 3D capable
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, 4K Passthrough
  • AirPlay 2, Chromecast
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB input

Disclosure: We earn money from the affiliate links to products associated with content in this article.

Content

In The Box

  • Receiver
  • Mains lead
  • Remote control with 2 x AAA batteries
  • Manual
  • DAB/FM aerial
  • 3 x Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antennas
  • Calibration microphone
  • USB cable

Overview

Arcam HDA AVR20 was introduced in 2019. It is equipped with 7 channel amplifier with 110 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 15.2 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, passes 4K/60Hz video signal.

We evaluated the a/v receiver and gave 91 overall score out of 100. Our ranking system is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

AMPLIFIER
91
VIDEO FEATURES
95
AUDIO FEATURES
94
CONNECTIVITY
89
MULTIZONE
85
MISCELLANEOUS
84
RADIO
86
OVERALL
91

Pros and Cons

In this section we present pros and cons of Arcam HDA AVR20.

PROS
  Front Wide Channel Support
  15.2 Channel Processing
  Dolby Atmos
  Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
  DTS:X
  IMAX Enhanced
  Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
  MQA Decoding
  DSD via HDMI
  Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
  eARC
  New HDCP Version
  HDR10
  Dolby Vision
  4K or 8K Video Passthrough
  Chromecast Built-In
  Google assistant
  Ethernet
  Wi-Fi
  Bluetooth
  Many HDMI Inputs
  Many HDMI Outputs
  USB Input
  Many Analog Audio Line Inputs
  Analog Pre-Outs
  Zones
  Analog Tuner
  Digital Radio
  Pandora
  Spotify
  Tidal
  Toroidal Transformer
  New Bluetooth Version
CONS
  No HDR10+
  Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
  Few 8K Inputs
  No Phono Input
  No Composite Video Inputs

Audio Section

7 channel Class A/B Amplifier

Arcam HDA AVR20 features 7 channel power amplifier with Class A/B design. It is rated at 110 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) and is able to drive 4 ohm speakers.

  • Toroidal Transformer: Arcam HDA AVR20 has a toroidal transformer which in general costs several times more than a regular C-core transformer and radiates less electromagnetic noise outside its donut shaped core.

Speaker Configurations

Arcam HDA AVR20's 7 channel amplifier can be assigned for different speaker configurations.

  • Dolby Atmos Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for Dolby Atmos:
  • 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
  • 5.2.4, 7.2.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
  • 5.2.6, 7.2.4, 9.2.2 with addition of external 4 channel amplifier.
  • 7.2.6, 9.2.4 with addition of external 6 channel amplifier.
  • 9.2.6 with addition of external 8 channel amplifier.
  • DTS:X Configurations: DTS:X is limited with 11 channel processing, so some of the speaker configurations for Dolby Atmos are not supported here:
  • 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
  • 5.2.4, 7.2.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
  • 5.2.6, 7.2.4, 9.2.2 with addition of external 4 channel amplifier.
  • Configurations without height channels: There are also other speaker configurations available which do not include height channels:
  • 5.2, 7.2 with internal amplifier.
  • 9.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
  • Front Wide Channel support: Arcam HDA AVR20 supports front wide channels. With the presence of two front wide speakers you can enhance the front surround stage. The following speaker configurations are available for front wide channels - 9.2, 9.2.2, 9.2.4, 9.2.6.
  • Bi-Amp: You can bi-amp front left and right speakers. During bi-amplification two amplifiers are used for one speaker. One amplifier powers the midrange and tweeter section of the speaker and another amplifier powers the low frequency woofers. Each amplifier is less loaded and performs better. In order to use this feature speakers must have 2 pairs of connectors.

Dolby Atmos

Arcam HDA AVR20 supports Dolby Atmos. It is a cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space. Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. The format supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound. It recreates the director's original concept through descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for home theater and delivers sounds above you through overhead speakers, special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

  • Dolby Surround Upmixer: If the content is not mixed in Dolby Atmos then the Dolby surround upmixer will expand the audio to all channels including ceiling speakers. The upmixer has replaced the Dolby Pro Logic II family with improved upmixing algorithms.
  • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization: Dolby Atmos height virtualization is a digital signal processing solution that leverages Dolby's deep understanding of human audio perception to create the sensation of overhead sound from the listener-level speakers.

DTS:X

Arcam HDA AVR20 supports DTS:X. A technique used in DTS:X is similar to the one used in Dolby Atmos. Instead of a fixed number of channels, DTS:X defines object locations from the listener in polar coordinates. An a/v receiver then dynamically renders sound according to the current speaker configuration. The speaker layout employed by DTS:X is the sum of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. It has standard 7.1 channel base layer, a 5 channel height layer above the base layer on the front and side walls, and 3 rows of speakers on the ceiling.

  • No support of DTS:X Pro: Arcam HDA AVR20 does not support DTS:X Pro. So even though the receiver is capable of 15.2 channel processing it will be limited with 11.2.
  • DTS Neural:X: DTS Neural:X is an advanced upmixer that can take non DTS:X content and upmix it to the DTS:X speaker layout. It has replaced the DTS Neo family with improved flexibility.
  • DTS Virtual:X: DTS Virtual:X bridges the gap between DTS:X codec and the reality of so many consumers' homes, allowing you to enjoy multi-dimensional sound regardless of room size, layout, or speaker configuration. If you have a limited speaker setup you will miss a full immersive potential of your entertainment system. DTS Virtual:X adds height and surround audio effect to your system without adding height speakers. It works with multiple configurations and delivers immersive sound experience out of 5.1 or even 2.1 speaker layouts.
  • DTS Dialog Control: This function adjusts the dialog levels during playback of the DTS:X stream. It allows you to separately increase the dialog levels in contrast with the background sound and hear dialog easily even under noisy circumstances.

Auro-3D

Arcam HDA AVR20 supports Auro-3D. It is an immersive 3D audio format developed by the Belgium-based company Auro Technologies. It consists of three layers of sound - surround, height and overhead ceiling. The base horizontal layer uses 5.1 or 7.1 format, the height layer is on top of the base layer and its information is extracted from the standard 5.1 surround PCM carrier. The a/v receiver decoder then extracts this information during playback. In home cinema Auro-3D comes with different listening formats - Auro 9.1, Auro 10.1 with added Top Ceiling channel ("Voice of God"), Auro 11.1 with added Front Height Center channel, and Auro 13.1 with added Left Rear Surround & Right Rear Surround channel.

  • Auro-Matic upmixer: Auro-Matic upmixer takes non Auro-3D sound and upmixes to the current speaker configuration.

Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature allows the compatible TV to send audio signal to the a/v receiver through the same HDMI cable which is used to send audio and video signals to the TV. So one HDMI cable is used to transfer audio signal in both directions. New Enhanced ARC will support uncompressed audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio whereas the previous ARC could support only Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, DTS HD, and PCM.


Sound Processing

    Room Calibration

    Arcam HDA AVR20 comes with Dirac Live™ room correction system and includes the calibration microphone.

    • Dirac Live: The interaction between your sound system and the physical layout of your room has a huge impact on sound quality. Dirac Live™ Room Correction applies state-of-the-art, patented algorithms to analyze and digitally reduce room impact and enhance speaker performance. Dirac Live delivers a larger sweet spot, accurate staging, clarity, voice intelligibility, and a deeper, tighter bass not otherwise possible. Fully tunable to your preference.

    Video Section

    HDMI 2.0b

    Arcam HDA AVR20 features 7 HDMI inputs. It has 3 outputs: 2 for MAIN and 1 for ZONE2.

    • 4K/60Hz Passthrough: All inputs pass up to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4 video signal.
    • BT.2020 Color Space: BT.2020 or Rec. 2020 is a color standard which delivers a wider color gamut compared to Rec. 709. It covers approximately 75% of the total visual spectrum while the Rec. 709 covers only 35%.
    • HDCP 2.2 Copy Protection: All inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.2 compliant which is a requirement for 4K/HDR copy-protected content transmission.
    • 3D Ready: Arcam HDA AVR20 is able to pass 3D video through HDMI.

    HDR (High Dynamic Range)

    Arcam HDA AVR20 supports HDR (high dynamic range) video formats such as HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma. High dynamic range video has greater dynamic range than standard dynamic range (SDR) video with brighter whites and deeper blacks. The result is greater contrast and more details in dark and bright areas, better color and depth.

    • HDR10: HDR10 uses the wide-gamut Rec. 2020 color space. It sends static metadata via video stream to the TV which calibrates its screen brightness and color according to that. HDR10 supports 10-bit color which corresponds to 1024 shades of the primary RGB colors. It is technically limited to a maximum of 10,000 nits peak brightness, however common HDR10 contents are mastered with peak brightness from 1,000 to 4,000 nits.
    • Dolby Vision: Dolby Vision is a set of technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories for high dynamic range (HDR) video. It covers content creation, distribution, and playback. Like HDR10+, it includes dynamic metadata that are used to adjust and optimize each frame of the HDR video to the consumer display's capabilities in a way specified by the content creator. Dolby Vision allows for a maximum resolution of 8K up to 12-bit color depth, maximum peak brightness of 10,000 nits and a color gamut up to Rec. 2020. It uses Dolby's proprietary dynamic metadata defined in SMPTE ST 2094-10.
    • Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG): The Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) is a transfer function developed mainly for HDR live video feed and over-the-air broadcasts. It is an HDR format that uses BT.2020 color primaries and a bitdepth of 10-bit. It is backward compatible with the transfer function of SDR and is designed to be better-suited for television broadcasting, where the metadata required for other HDR formats is not backward compatible with non-HDR displays. HLG defines a non-linear optical-electro transfer function, in which the lower half of the signal values use a gamma curve and the upper half of the signal values use a logarithmic curve.

    IMAX Enhanced

    Arcam HDA AVR20 is IMAX Enhanced certified. To qualify for IMAX Enhanced certification, 4K HDR televisions, projectors, sound bars, a/v receivers, loudspeakers, powered subwoofers and other premium home entertainment devices must meet carefully prescribed performance requirements established by IMAX, DTS and Hollywood's leading experts.

    • What makes an IMAX Enhanced A/V receiver different from an A/V receiver with DTS:X technology? DTS:X technology is commonly found in most multi-channel A/V receivers on the market today. All IMAX Enhanced A/V receivers include DTS:X technology and deliver additional features, such as auto-sensing of IMAX Enhanced content, via IMAX Mode. IMAX Mode indicates that your A/V receiver supports fully immersive IMAX signature sound.
    • IMAX Enhanced Content: IMAX Enhanced studio partners have announced IMAX Enhanced versions of movies that exclusively feature IMAX's signature picture, sound and scale.
    • Picture: Stunning, ultra-vivid 4K HDR picture that utilizes the newest, proprietary Digital Media Remastering technology (DMR) developed by IMAX. DMR accurately reduces noise and grain under the filmmaker’s guidance to best optimize the content for a much higher-quality, higher-brightness display. Without this technology, high-dynamic range content can actually look worse than what was originally seen and intended by the filmmaker.
    • Sound: IMAX and DTS have partnered with award-winning Hollywood sound mixers leveraging DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment and select televisions to deliver an IMAX signature sound experience with deeper bass and more dynamic range.
    • Scale: Select IMAX Enhanced titles that were shot with IMAX-certified cameras or specially formatted for IMAX theatres feature its exclusive expanded aspect ratio, enabling viewers to see the full scale and scope of the picture on 4K HDR TVs.
    • Streaming Services: IMAX Enhanced is now available on the world’s biggest streaming services, including Disney+, BRAVIA CORE, Tencent, iQiyi and more.

    Multi-zone Playback

    Arcam HDA AVR20 offers multi-zone playback which allows you to play different input sources in 2 different rooms.


    Zone 2

    • Powered Zone 2: You can use the unit's 2 amplifier channels by connecting Zone 2 speakers directly to the speaker terminals. The remaining 5 channels will be left for main zone amplification.
    • HDMI Output: Arcam HDA AVR20 offers HDMI output for Zone 2. This means that it can send two different HDMI signals to two displays.
    • Audio Pre Output: If you have a dedicated power amplifier for Zone 2 you can connect it to the a/v receiver via pre outs and control volume from the a/v receiver.

    Inputs and Outputs

    Audio

    • Analog Pre-Outs: Arcam HDA AVR20 has 15.2 preamplifier outputs which allow you to connect the a/v receiver to the external power amplifier. You may want to use a high quality external amplifier for certain channels, usually for front L/R and center, and use the a/v receiver to power the rest. Also, Arcam HDA AVR20 has 15 channel processing but has only 7 channel amplifier, so it needs the external amplifier connected to the analog pre-outs in order to reach the maximum speaker configuration.
    • Analog Line Inputs and Outputs: There are 7 line inputs and 1 line output for analog audio connection.
    • Digital Inputs and Outputs: 2 optical inputs, 1 optical output and 4 coaxial inputs are available for digital audio connection.
    • Headphone Output: There is a 3.5 mm (1/8") headphone output jack on the front panel.

    Video

    • HDMI:
    • Inputs: 7   Outputs: 3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for ZONE2)
      8K Inputs: 0
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    Specifications

    Here we list all the available features and specifications of Arcam HDA AVR20.

    BASICS
    BrandArcam
    SeriesHDA
    ModelAVR20
    TypeA/V Receiver
    CountryAll
    Release Year2019
    AMPLIFIER
    Channels7.2
    Front Wide Channel Support
    AmplifierClass A/B
    THX™ Certification
    Continuous 6 Ω Rated
    Certified 4 Ω Performance
    Bi-amp Capability
    AUDIO
    DACESS 9026PRO
    DAC Specs192 kHz/24 Bit
    Maximum Channel Processing15.2
    Dolby Atmos up to 9.1.6 with external amp
    Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
    Dolby Atmos Music
    Dolby TrueHD
    Dolby Digital Plus
    Dolby Surround Upmixer
    Dolby Pro Logic
    Dolby Digital EX
    DTS:X Pro up to 9.1.6 with external amp
    DTS Neural:X
    DTS Virtual:X
    DTS Neo
    DTS-HD Master Audio
    DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
    DTS 96/24
    DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
    IMAX Enhanced
    Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer 13.1-ch (Built-In)
    MQA Decoding
    PCM 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
    Music Playback via USB
    High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Network up to 192 kHz
    Gapless Playback
    DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
    DSD via USB
    DSD to PCM Converter
    USB DAC
    DTS Dialog Control
    Dialog Normalization
    Dialogue Lift
    Audyssey Dynamic EQ
    Audyssey Dynamic Volume
    Audyssey LFC
    Audyssey Sub EQ HT
    Audyssey DSX
    Direct Mode Stereo Direct, CD Direct
    Independent Subwoofer Outputs
    CALIBRATION
    Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic. Dirac Live™
    VIDEO
    HDMI Version2.0b
    Enhanced ARC
    HDCP Version2.2
    HDR10
    HDR10+
    Dynamic HDR
    Dolby Vision
    HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
    BT.2020 color space
    QMS (Quick Media Switching)
    ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
    VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
    QFT (Quick Frame transport)
    DSC (Display Stream Compression)
    3-D Ready
    Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4
    CONNECTIVITY
    Chromecast Built-In
    DTS Play-Fi
    Works with Amazon Alexa
    Google assistant
    Apple Siri
    Works with SONOS
    AirPlay AirPlay 2
    Apple Product Connection iPod, iPhone and iPad
    Remote App Arcam control app
    Ethernet
    Ethernet Switch
    Wi-Fi
    Bluetooth aptX HD
    HDMI Inputs7
    HDMI Outputs3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for ZONE2)
    8K Inputs
    USB Input for factory service
    USB DC Out Port
    Analog Audio Line Input7 (1 front)
    Analog Audio Line Output1
    Phono Input
    Optical Inputs2
    Optical Outputs1
    Coaxial Inputs4
    Composite Video Input
    Composite Video Output
    S-Video Input
    S-Video Output
    Component Video Input
    Component Video Output
    PC In
    Multi-Channel Input
    Analog Pre-Outs15.2
    XLR Inputs
    XLR Pre-outs
    Front A/V InputsAUX (3.5 mm Audio)
    Headphone Out3.5 mm (1/8")
    ZONES
    Zones2
    Powered Zones 2
    Zone 2 OutsHDMI, Pre Out
    RS-232C Interface
    +12V Trigger Output2
    Remote (IR) Input/Output2 / 0
    MISC
    IP Control for CI
    PreAmp Mode
    DisplayLarge front-panel LCD display
    Detachable Power Cord
    RADIO
    Analog Tuner FM with RDS
    Presets50
    Digital Radio DAB/DAB+
    Internet Radio TuneIn
    Pandora
    Spotify
    Tidal
    Deezer
    Napster
    SiriusXM Internet Radio
    CONSTRUCTION
    Speaker Terminals7
    Large Speaker Terminals7
    POWER
    Power SupplyAC 110-120 V or 220-240 V, 50/60 Hz via switch
    Toroidal Transformer
    Power Consumption1500 W
    Standby Power0.5 W
    GENERAL
    Dimensions (W x H x D)433 mm x 171 mm x 425 mm
    17.06" x 6.69" x 18.56"
    Weight16.6 kg (36.4 lbs)
    Weight of Package19.9 kg
    Warranty5 Years
    SPECS
    Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2110 W (0.02% THD)
    Power Output (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2125 W (0.2% THD)
    Power Output (4 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2175 W (0.2% THD)
    Power Output (4 Ω, 1 kHz, 2190 W (0.2% THD)
    Multi Channel Simultaneous Drive (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)90 W (7 channels driven, 1kHz, 8 Ω, 0.2% THD)
    110 W (7 channels driven, 1kHz, 4 Ω, 0.2% THD)
    Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)1V, 2V, 4V (user adjustable)/47 kΩ
    Maximum Input Sensitivity (Line)4.5 Vrms
    Rated Preout Level and Impedance1 Vrms/560 Ω
    Maximum Preout Level and Impedance5 Vrms/560 Ω
    Rated Headphone Jack Output Level and Impedance5 Vrms/100 Ω
    S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)93 dB (normal)
    110 dB (stereo direct)
    Frequency Response (Analog In)±0.2 dB (20 Hz to 20 kHz)
    Residual Noise (IHF-A Network)0.15 mV
    DSD Sampling Rates via HDMI2.8 MHz
    Wi-Fi StandardIEEE 802.11 ac
    Wi-Fi Terminal Frequency5 GHz, 2.4 GHz
    Bluetooth Version5․0

    * - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
    ** - 480i/576i only
    *** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
    **** - 1080p signal is not converted

    Successor

    In 2022 Arcam HDA AVR20 was replaced by AVR21. Let us now have a look at some important changes that the successor brought.


    UPGRADES Arcam HDA AVR21 vs Arcam HDA AVR20
    Newer HDMI Version 2.1 vs 2.0b
    Newer HDCP Version 2.3 vs 2.2
    HDR10+ vs
    Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through vs
    VRR vs
    Video Signal Passthrough up to 8K 50/60Hz and 4K 100/120Hz 4:4:4 vs up to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4
    More 8K Inputs 7 vs

    For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Arcam HDA AVR20 vs Arcam HDA AVR21.

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