Arcam AV860 ups their AV Game!

After a years absence, the AV860 hails the return of the legendary Arcam Pre-Pro 

Sometimes you need to start fresh to improve your game, and that was precisely what Arcam did in 2016. The launch of the AVR850 and it's younger brothers added hallmark technology to the proverbial bench and seriously improved overall usability and convenience. The only thing missing was an AV preamp-processor of superior quality for the most demanding enthusiast.

You didn't really need to hold your breath, though. Released at CES 2017, the new 12-channel AV860 audio video processor ($5500 US Retail) is undeniably the most advanced model that Arcam has produced, and that's really saying something. Based on the same platform as AVR850 and handmade in the UK, its significantly uprated power supplies and a pro-grade balanced output section supersedes onboard amplification, elevating performance to new heights. This, in conjunction with Arcam's recent series of Class G 2-, 3-, and 4-channel power amplifiers, makes the AV860 a showstopper.

Frequency Response with Dirac Live

Familiar now is Dirac Live, Arcam's chosen room correction system. Unfamiliar to many, though, is the outrageous improvement to sound that Dirac brings. Correcting not only full-band frequency response, Dirac looks at how to improve phase accuracy across the full-band and the all important impulse response. Dirac's credo is "first do no harm", and you can hear that it in the remarkable transparency this system has.  When implemented with proprietary Arcam technology, Dirac Live's unparalleled ability to overcome your room's significant acoustic issues must be heard to be believed.

It's one thing to include all kinds of add-ons, but another to get the basics right. This is where Arcam's 40 years of experience in amplifier design come in. It starts by ensuring the incoming digital audio signal is as clean as possible using proprietary re-clocking that reduces jitter to almost unmeasurable levels. Then state of the art DSP-based processing and digital-to-analog conversion is applied. The processed signal is then fed through properly engineered analog circuits that minimize noise, all controlled by a discreet resistive ladder volume control for ultimate clarity. Each step in the signal path is discrete and every circuit is fed by individual high-performance power supplies that ensure stability and maximize sound quality. Nothing beats old-school engineering if you are building the best.

Of course, all these performance goodness would be nothing without solid connectivity and operation. The AV860 features a plethora of 4K & HDR HDMI 2.0a inputs and outputs with HDCP 2.2, as well as digital coax, optical and analog audio connections. Second zone operation now includes HDMI with audio video transcoding. The USB input can be used to play back audio files on thumb drives and portable hard drives, as well as easy firmware updates. Access Spotify Connect, UPnP/DLNA music and internet radio streaming over your home network via Ethernet.

AV860 rear panel

The AV860 offers many options for you to control its operation. There is a free Arcam app for iOS that lets you use your iPhone or iPad to select inputs, choose music and adjust volume. For more advanced systems, the AV860 is easily integrated into almost any home automation platform using IP, RS-232, IR and 12V triggers. Arcam has even constructed drivers for Crestron and Control4, making it very easy to get the best from this unit and your system


The AV860 has the latest surround sound formats, including object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, for scintillating cinema sound up to 7.1.4. These new codecs are changing the game in film sound in the same way the 4K changed image quality. The addition of height channels allows audio engineers to place objects in space and move them around in any of the three dimensions. Teamed with high-quality electronics from Arcam, the sound is so immersive that you immediately lose yourself in the scenes of your favorite movie.

While the AV860 was in design, Arcam was hard at work expanding its amplifier selection to offer up compelling solutions for your installation. From the flagship 49-series, you can choose from the 2-channel P49 ($5000 US Retail) and 3-channel P349 ($5750 US Retail) power amplifiers, and from the 29-series you can choose the 4-channel P429 ($2500 US Retail) power amplifier. These units deliver jaw-dropping power output, control, stability, incredible delicacy and ultra low distortion making them ideal for top flight home theater systems. Imagine twelve P49s strapped to mono for the ultimate Clarke Griswold moment when you turn on your system. 12KW will certainly dim the lights! For the less insane of us, we'd recommend the P349 to drive your front three channels and P429 for the surround channels for a conventional 7.1 system. If you want to expand to Atmos/DTS-X 7.1.4, just add a second P429.

Available now from Arcam dealers nationwide.

P349 rear panel

P429 rear panel

Technical Specifications:


  • Dolby Atmos & DTS-X object-based DSP
  • Dirac Live automatic room correction system
  • HDMI 2.0 (UHD) w/ HDCP 2.2 (incl. Zone 2)
  • advanced re-clocking of HDMI and digital inputs 
  • 12 channel pro-grade XLR outputs 
  • 12 channel single-ended RCA outputs
  • pairs with P49, P349, and P429 power amplifiers
  • high performance resistive-ladder volume control
  • analog, digital, and video circuits are carefully isolated to reduce noise and interference 
  • toroidal transformer with separate outputs for digital, analog, video and power amps
  • acoustically dampened chassis
  • automation via IP, RS232, IR & 12V trigger
  • certified Control4 and Crestron modules
  • Dolby Volume dynamic volume limiting
  • Spotify Connect onboard 
  • UPnP/DLNA capability for streaming audio 
  • USB input (updates and thumbdrive playback)
  • Ethernet input (streaming and control)
  • 7x HDMI AV inputs (1 MHL compatible)
  • 3x HDMI AV outputs(incl. 1x ARC, 1x Zone 2) 
  • 4x coax, 2x TOSLINK, 6x RCA audio inputs 
  • Zone 2 RCA output 
  • FM/DAB/Internet Radio tuner onboard
  • weight: 33.4 lb. (15.2Kg.),  41.4 lb. (18.8Kg.) packed
  • dimensions (including feet and speaker outputs): 17” (433mm) W x 16.7” (425mm) D x 6.7” (171mm) H
  • $5500 US Retail


  • two- and three-channel class-G amplifier w/ pure class-A operation to 50WPC
  • acoustically damped chassis
  • fully balanced
  • toroidal transformer
  • 12V trigger control
  • 200 WPC @ 8Ω (P49)
  • 180 WPC @ 8Ω (P349)
  • bridged: 1100 WPC @ 4Ω (P49)
  • stable to 2 ohms (stable to 3 ohms bridged)
  • singled ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs
  • RCA pre-outs for daisy chaining
  • 5 way WBT speaker binding posts
  • weight: 39.6 lb. (18 Kg.), 43.3 lb. (19.7 Kg.) packed
  • dimensions (including feet and speaker outputs): 17.05” (433mm) W x 16.73” (425mm) D x 6.73” (171mm) H
  • $5000 (P49), $5750 (P349) US Retail


  • 4 channel class-G power amplifier w/ class-A operation to 23WPC
  • suitable for multi-channel and multi-zone applications
  • acoustically dampened chassis
  • toroidal transformer
  • trimmable channel gain
  • IP/RS232/12V trigger control 
  • 90WPC @ 8Ω, all channels
  • 130WPC @4Ω, all channels
  • 270WPC @ 8Ω, two channels driven (bridged)
  • 320W @ 8 ohm, one channel driven (bridged, mono)
  • RCA inputs and outputs
  • weight: 20.2 lb. (9.2 Kg.), 23.5 lb. (10.7 Kg.) packed
  • dimensions (including feet and speaker outputs): 17” (433mm) W x 10.8” (275mm) D x 3.4” (85mm)
  • $2500 US Retail