Arcam AVR20 vs. Denon AVR-a110 anniversary edition...

As the title suggests, I am looking for feedback on these two specific AVR’s... I currently have the Arcam, and I love it’s musicality in my setup, which is mostly used for two channel audio. I have had Pass Labs preamps in my rig with Carver Raven 350 power amps in the past, but having a family means trying to get the most out of my rig while taking up less space.

The Arcam is a great piece for that purpose, but I am currently on my 4th one in just a year. Reliability has been their downfall. I have an opportunity to trade for the Denon pretty much even on the dollar side of things, and was hoping someone here might be able to offer e bit of insight as to what the anniversary Denon sounds like. I know they are highly regarded in HT, but I am curious as th how they compare to the Arcam in stereo operation. My speakers are Polk Audio L800’s and sources are Yamaha CDS2100, streaming audio from computer, and soon a Pro-Ject P6.1 turntable that I am restoring....


If 2-channel and reliability are important I’d go with Anthem, but if that’s out of the budget Yamaha Aventage line would be my next choice. I got to compare Yammy directly with Arcam, Denon, and Marantz driving B&W 804 D3s in stereo and the Yamaha was the clear winner and also very reliable. It was the only one that displayed the characteristics of my much more expensive separate amp and preamp. Best of luck.

if you love the arcam but want reliability look at audio control


audio control builds  in the usa but shares parts and design with arcam


audio control is sold primarily through custom Installers and so reliability is paramount


we have been selling their products for years very rarely ever any issues


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect nj

Audio control dealers



I don’t know it will be exactly the same, but I’d take Anthem over a lot of mass market designs.

If you are looking at 2 channel integrateds I’d strongly suggest hte Parasound as a close match, as well as Ayre on the higher price side.

I can't speak to every brand out there, but in the past I had a Theta casanova and thought I could substitute an Onkyo or Emotiva with the (then) new HDMI connectors.  I was very wrong.  They sucked at the time.  Point is, you really should listen cause the Arcam is a very sweet sounding piece of kit and you are not going to be happy with a generic AVR.

Two AVR30's... which Arcam told my dealer to simply destroy and they would re-imburse them, and an AVR20, which went back to Arcam. I have another AVR20 in my rig now and it has been rock solid now ever since it was installed.

Arcam definitely had some real issues rolling out the AV line, mostly software bugs that ranged from annoying to unusable. I went through that but after latest software updates, mine has been flawless for pure AV use.

Good luck with those Arcams dudes!  Hope they’re worth it down the road.  Shoulda gone with Yamaha or Anthem that are both bulletproof and sound better than Arcam.  

I compared the Yamaha to the Arcam for two-channel listening and the Arcam was far superior. I was in a spot where my system needed to be downsized significantly due to having two young kids in the house. The Arcam is very nearly as good as the Pass X0.2 it replaced. Also replaced was a TOTL Pioneer Elite AVR, and for HT the Arcam beats that as well. 

One day I will go back to a separate preamp, but for my needs, the AVR20 exceeds my expectations by a long shot.

I compared the Arcam to the Yamaha driving a pair of B&W 804 D3s extensively in the in the same system with audiophile-level recordings and it wasn’t even close. The Arcam sounded just like the Denon and Onkyo while the Marantz sounded like mush. The Yammy sounded a lot like like my $10k separates while the others sounded like, well, AVRs. What we’re you listening to with the Arcam? Hope it doesn’t fail on you out of warranty. Again, good luck with that.

I cannot find any way to enjoy the sound from B&W... never heard a pair I liked.


Me neither, but they are very neutral and transparent (probably why they’re used in recording studios) so were very good at clearly revealing the differences between the AVRs I compared. 

@nooshinjohn how would you compare the sound of the AVR20 to the 30 in to two channels?  Curious, because will need to replace my AVR400 someday.

@soix we will just have to disagree on Arcam versus Yamaha AVRs for two channel listening.  I listened to both through multiple speakers and found the Arcam sounded like music to me while the Yamaha sounded like hifi.  YMMV


I would not know really... I never used either one for powering my main speakers, as I have a set of tube amps I use for my mains. That said, there is no difference in the preamp sections of the AVR20 and AVR30. They sound exactly the same. If you intend on using the amplification, I would go with the class G that the AVR30 provides. If you want to use just the preamp portions and run your own amps, then I would go with an AV40 or AV41.