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Arcam FMJ D33

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

New sighting, couldn't find it on HF so I wanted to post it here.

 

Seems to be a 192/24 Dac with 2 USB inputs (V1.1 isolated and V2 class 2 high speed), as well as other digital inputs. 3 outputs (2x RCA and 1x XLR)

 

Price is said to be around €2500.

 

I'm not really familiar with the brand, how is Arcam's reputation?

 

 

D33

 

D33

 

 

 

Quote:
With the market now full of new-generation digital audio devices and sources, Arcam is proud to introduce its latest and highest performing DAC to date, the D33 SuperDAC. Using state of the art dual Burr Brown PCM1792, 24bit / 192kHz converters (one per channel), twin toroidal transformers in the power supply and state-of-the-art 4-layer printed circuit boards, the D33 offers music lovers a level of performance that involves, enthrals and engages from the first note to the last encore.
 

The D33 features an asynchronous USB input offering the convenience of computer-based music (PC or MAC) and the ability to enjoy the very latest 192kHz ultra high-resolution recordings with stunning quality. Two coaxial and two optical inputs plus a professional grade AES/EBU connection complete the line-up so everyone can take advantage of the D33’s clear performance upgrade.

Arcam’s thirty five years of audio engineering experience is all wrapped up in the D33, which benefits from critically damped, low resonance casework, massive power regulation plus extensive low-noise sub-regulation. The Arcam team’s attention to detail has even delivered an incredibly low 0.5w standby power consumption and duplex RS232 control interface for custom installation. We believe the performance of the D33 SuperDAC will set a new benchmark.

 

Analogue Audio Output

  • Conversion 2x Burr Brown 24-bit 192kHz Advanced Segment Delta-Sigma
  • Signal to noise ratio > 110dB CCIR (unweighted)
  • Harmonic distortion (1kHz) 0.0008% (20Hz — 20kHz, unweighted)
  • Frequency response (+0.1dB, -0.5dB) 10Hz–20kHz
  • Filtering User selectable, fast or slow roll-off
  • Output level (0dB) 2.2Vrms
  • Output impedance 47Ω
  • Minimum load 5kΩ

Digital interfaces

  • USB Class 1 electrically-isolated USB 1.1
  • Class 2 USB 2.0 High Speed (480 Mbit/s)
  • AES/EBU Up to 192kHz sample rate
  • Coaxial S/PDIF x 2 Up to 192kHz sample rate
  • Optical S/PDIF (TOSLINK) x 2 Up to 96kHz sample rate
  • Computer compatibility
  • PC Windows 7, Vista & XP (driver required for 24/192 material)
  • MAC OSX (no driver required)

Physical

  • Dimensions W433 x D370 x H110mm
  • Weight 6.2kg nett/10.0kg packed
  • Power consumption 30W maximum
  • Analogue output connection RCA Phono x 2, Balanced XLR x2

Supplied accessories

  • Included Mains lead, CR107 remote control, 2 x AAA batteries

 


Edited by AppleheadMay - 2/6/12 at 12:51pm
post #2 of 15

I borrowed the D33 over the weekend (it has to go back to the dealer tomorrow for another demo sadly) and it sounds very nice indeed.  I'm using it via USB mainly (from a PC) and an ipod using the Wadia 170.  The USB cable is some patch lead I had lying around and the Wadia is using the digital cable it came with.  The D33 is then connected to a Musical Fidelity M1 HPA with Cardas golden reference and that in turn is driving Cardas cabled HD800s.

 

I don't know how much time the D33 has spent running in, so treat my comments below with a pinch of salt - my Musical Fidelity stuff changed in character completely over the first 150 hours.

 

The good:

Incredibly musical and beguiling, very easy to listen to, and no fatigue from the HD800s whatsoever.  That makes a nice change :-)

It has a rounded sound, rich and deep, with detail that doesn't force itself on you but is there all the same.

It sounds good with everything I'm playing through it, classical, pop, rock, metal, trance, you name it.

 

The bad:

It lacks airiness.  The treble is all there and detailed, but it doesn't breathe in a way I know the HD800s can.

The bass is big and easy going, but it could be better defined.  The word 'rounded' works both ways...

It looks like it costs £200 not £2000.  It feels really solid and weighty when I pick it up, but on the rack it looks very average.  The tactile sensation of the buttons isn't wonderful either.

The direct ipod input on this one doesn't work, either with a 4th gen ipod or a 1st gen ipad.  It may be faulty, or the design may be hyper-sensitive - a sample of one makes it hard to tell.

When I switched to the Wadia to listen and subsequently ejected the CD whilst Foobar was still playing it the D33 had a bit of a wobbly with the music (from the Wadia) stuttering for a couple of seconds.  I briefly wondered if I'd failed to switch inputs on the D33.  I don't know if that's a Wadia issue (coincidence), or if the D33 got confused for a moment.

 

Overall:

I put a pan on the stove yesterday and decided to listen to a couple of tracks whilst I waited for the water to boil.  I've no idea how long I left it, but by the time I remembered the pan it had boiled dry and wasn't looking too good...  I've never done that before, which says something!  I really like the D33; its supremely easy to listen too, makes everything sound interesting, and works well with most of my music collection, whilst being more detailed than I sometimes realise.  But its not perfect, the lack of airiness being my biggest issue (it's why I bought the HD800s even though they sounded way too bright in the demo), and at £2k I'm going to be hyper-critical.  I'll try it again in a few weeks, hopefully for longer in case it opens up after prolonged use.

 

post #3 of 15

Just a quick follow-up to say the unit hadn't been run-in at all; the dealer had only just received it when I phoned.  I'll be trying it again in a few weeks, hopefully for longer, as it clearly has potential.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your impressions. Maybe the lack of airiness will change with some burn in.

How's the soundsatge by the way? Do you get the kind of soundstage the HD800 is known for with this unit?

As for the buttons and looks, from what I remember when I saw some Arcam gear their whole range has the same look and it didn't appeal to me much as well.

 

The Eximus I have is still on another level I suppose. Detail, trasparency, extension, control and an incredible soundstage.

It is very neutral, so any coloration you want needs to come from your amp or phones. That's a good trait in a source IMO.

And the build quality is how it should be, minimalist, compact, solid and very beautiful casework in a pearly aluminum I would call it.

It simply breathes quality. The price is a little higher though, about €500 more.

post #5 of 15

The D33 excelled in musicality, but its such a subtle performer I can't really comment on the soundstage as I didn't notice it.  Its actually quite hard to put the D33 into words...  On the HD800s everything sounds expansive anyway :-)

 

I've now found an Eximus DP1 for evaluation and will be trying it on Thursday - I'd never even heard of it before, so thanks for the heads-up.  I'm not sure it will be run in either, so can I ask how long have you had yours, and how did the sound change as it ran in?  Also, do you know how it works with the HD800?

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

The DP1 improves a bit in the high with burn-in, it removes the slight hint of sibilance you get in the beginning. It needs about 100 hours. I have mine for more than a month now.

 

It does great with the HD800, even the headphone out. It is rather powerfull and can drive pretty much anything apart for a K1000.

You could get more refinement with a good separate headphone amp, but that's about it.

post #7 of 15
Thanks, it sounds like a minor refinement. My main concern was that the overall balance of sound would shift over time and the unit would end up brighter than when I demo it, as with my MF stuff. The HD800s tread the line so closely that they can easily go from greatness to fatiguing with a subtle shift.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

What are you amping the HD800 with?

It sounds pretty good out of my P-1u and heavenly out of the Yamamoto HA-02. I always thought the HD800 should be driven with SS amps but since I had the Yammy my mind has changed.

 

If it's the MF M1 HPA, I never heard it but if it's anything like their speaker amps I'm not really a fan. Their speaker amps do have a lot of power and are pretty accurate but I feel they miss any hint of warmth and can indeed sound bright. I have the same thing with Rotel. I love the sound of Marantz and Classe though.

post #9 of 15

Yep, I'm using the M1 HPA.  I swapped it out and hooked up my 10 year old Earmax with the M1 DAC after you mentioned the Yamamoto (not the same, but valves nonetheless).  The Earmax has had a hard life and has a dodgy power connector so needs replacing, but it still works.  The presentation between the two HPAs is different but the overall balance of the system is the same with the M1 DAC; it errs on the bright side, detailed but fatiguing.  Swapping out the M1 DAC for the D33 and using it with the M1 HPA corrected that and produced what I would call a neutral sound, if anything erring on the warm side. 

 

The HPA is certainly powerful, and not at all rose-tinted, but I think the overall balance is pretty well judged.  It straddles the line like the HD800s, which is perhaps why the changes in DAC are having such a profound effect.

 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think the Eximus + M1 HPA will be neutral to bright then. The Eximus is certainly not going to give you any warnth, it's as clean and detailed as I heard them.

IMO that's what the source should be. I would prefer coloration coming from the amps.

post #11 of 15

I'll treat the Eximus as an all-in-one and sell the M1 HPA if I get it, as I don't like redundancy (it's just messy).  It would replace my ProPassion as well, so would really tidy up a bunch of cables.  If it turns out on the bright side of neutral though I'm back to the D33 as that did almost everything I wanted (and may do everything when run in), or I'll try the Grace m903 now I've found someone who sells it.  I got the impression the Eximus was sweet as well as neutral, which made me interested.  I'll find out tomorrow anyway, all being well. :-)

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

All will depend on how you find the Eximus sounds indeed.

 

If I would make a setup based on what you have in mind, I would take the Eximus with its SS HP out, add a tube amp to the SE outputs (a Yammy for example) to have the variation and a power amp to the balanced output to drive spaekers, or some active monitors staight on the balanced outputs. Nice desk setup!  ^^

Sorry, just dreaming a bit out loud here.  ;)

post #13 of 15

There is a very positive review of the D33 in this month's issue of Stereophile.

post #14 of 15

Is this the great new hope?

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zackzack View Post
 

Is this the great new hope?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormfriend View Post
 

I borrowed the D33 over the weekend (it has to go back to the dealer tomorrow for another demo sadly) and it sounds very nice indeed.  I'm using it via USB mainly (from a PC) and an ipod using the Wadia 170.  The USB cable is some patch lead I had lying around and the Wadia is using the digital cable it came with.  The D33 is then connected to a Musical Fidelity M1 HPA with Cardas golden reference and that in turn is driving Cardas cabled HD800s.

 

I don't know how much time the D33 has spent running in, so treat my comments below with a pinch of salt - my Musical Fidelity stuff changed in character completely over the first 150 hours.

 

The good:

Incredibly musical and beguiling, very easy to listen to, and no fatigue from the HD800s whatsoever.  That makes a nice change :-)

It has a rounded sound, rich and deep, with detail that doesn't force itself on you but is there all the same.

It sounds good with everything I'm playing through it, classical, pop, rock, metal, trance, you name it.

 

The bad:

It lacks airiness.  The treble is all there and detailed, but it doesn't breathe in a way I know the HD800s can.

The bass is big and easy going, but it could be better defined.  The word 'rounded' works both ways...

It looks like it costs £200 not £2000.  It feels really solid and weighty when I pick it up, but on the rack it looks very average.  The tactile sensation of the buttons isn't wonderful either.

The direct ipod input on this one doesn't work, either with a 4th gen ipod or a 1st gen ipad.  It may be faulty, or the design may be hyper-sensitive - a sample of one makes it hard to tell.

When I switched to the Wadia to listen and subsequently ejected the CD whilst Foobar was still playing it the D33 had a bit of a wobbly with the music (from the Wadia) stuttering for a couple of seconds.  I briefly wondered if I'd failed to switch inputs on the D33.  I don't know if that's a Wadia issue (coincidence), or if the D33 got confused for a moment.

 

Overall:

I put a pan on the stove yesterday and decided to listen to a couple of tracks whilst I waited for the water to boil.  I've no idea how long I left it, but by the time I remembered the pan it had boiled dry and wasn't looking too good...  I've never done that before, which says something!  I really like the D33; its supremely easy to listen too, makes everything sound interesting, and works well with most of my music collection, whilst being more detailed than I sometimes realise.  But its not perfect, the lack of airiness being my biggest issue (it's why I bought the HD800s even though they sounded way too bright in the demo), and at £2k I'm going to be hyper-critical.  I'll try it again in a few weeks, hopefully for longer in case it opens up after prolonged use.

 

 

 

 

Hi did you ever get to compare the FMJ 33 with the Eximus DP1? Which one is the better dac? 

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