Arcam A49 amplifier | Absolute Sound


Neil Gader reviews the powerful Arcam A49 integrated for TAS

Unassuming casework hides a beast of an amplifier, capable of driving any speaker with grace and control. The Arcam A49 features Class G amplification, a technology perfected by Arcam's founder John Dawson. It's balanced design ensures quiet backgrounds. It reveal your music's inner beauty. For analog and headphone lovers, it also has a very capable MM phono input and outstanding headphone output. $5750 US Retail. Find a Retailer near you to experience Arcam.

Arcam A49 amplifier front
Arcam A49 amplifier front

Excerpts from the review:

For decades the British brand has represented sonic sophistication fit for nobility at commoner prices... Arcam tends toward modesty, flying a little under the high-end radar. Historically, it has eschewed trendier bells and whistles for the cleaner design and shorter signal paths that lead to a purer, more authentically musical presentation.

The A49’s calling card is power and lots of it. It outputs a hefty 200Wpc into 8 ohms (400Wpc into 4 ohms) and, significantly, fifty of those watts in pure Class A mode. This is all thanks to Arcam’s latest-generation Class G topology.

The A49 embodies the big amp sound that cruises through large orchestral music with a swagger and authority that only come with deep power reserves. The kind of reserves that physicalize the heavies of wind and brass and fill a room with the trailing resonances of acoustic bass and kettledrum.

The A49 can generate a big rocking sound, too, with a heavy dynamic energy that conveys the weight and ambient immersive-ness of Dire Straits’ “Telegraph Road,” and the hammering rhythms and ebullience of a live track like Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty”... the A49 kept toe-tapping rhythmic pace with the best of them.

The A49 revels in reproducing depth and dimensionality. A favorite example is the “roots” chamber trio of Yo Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, and Edgar Meyer from Appalachian Journey. The amp produced a sense of dimension and image focus that was remarkable for a track that has often sounded smeared and even a bit scrambled through lesser amplification. 

The Arcam A49 is one rock-solid, fully featured performer, able to do the heavy lifting and satisfyingly drive almost any loudspeaker (including the portable variety), and to perform with a level of musicality that’s certain to please. A classy product from a company that knows that class in and of itself is not strictly reserved for the elite. Highly recommended.

Read the full review here.