Upgrading with the Arcam SA30

Hi Roger,

I was very interested in your review of the Arcam SA30 integrated amplifier-DAC. I live in Australia and it’s much cheaper here than the Anthem STR or NAD Masters M33 [integrated amps].

The SA30 could potentially replace three pieces of equipment I currently use:

1) Anthem MCA 225 stereo power amplifier
2) NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
3) DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core DSP (used for room correction)

Would it be reasonable to assume that the Arcam SA30 would be a significant upgrade?

Also, my speakers are PSB Speakers Synchrony One towers, which can be a tough load. Your review suggests that the Arcam SA30 should have no problem driving them—would you agree?


Hello Pradeep,

Of the three components you are looking to replace, I have only had the Anthem power amplifier in my system. And although it has been quite some time since I’ve heard that amp, I am confident that the SA30 would better it in terms of sound quality, based on what I remember of it and what I heard more recently from the Arcam.

Also, all of your components are at least several years old, so I would surmise that the DAC and DSP in the newer Arcam are superior. They also work wonderfully together in this fantastic-sounding and cost-effective integrated amplifier-DAC.

You also mention that your PSB Synchrony One speakers are a little hard to drive, something Doug Schneider likewise noted in his review of them. However, our measurements showed that the SA30 can output 200Wpc continuously into 4 ohms. It comfortably drove my MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9s—which require a fair amount of power—with a sound quality that was almost the equal of the NAD M33 or my reference separates (Anthem’s STR Preamplifier and 1000W Statement M1 monoblock amplifiers). The Arcam SA30 should be fine with your PSBs.

The SA30 is an absolute bargain at $3300 (in USD). So if you are looking for a high-powered, fully featured integrated amplifier with the same functionality as your current system of separates but with improved performance, the SA30 would be an excellent choice.

Roger Kanno