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Arcam SA20 Integrated Amplifier

The Arcam SA20 is an Integrated Amplifier that improves upon the performance of the previous Arcam A29. Class G amplification and 80W of power per channel contribute to impeccable sound and efficiency.

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SKU
SA20HDA
Special Price £975.00 Regular Price £1,099.00
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The Arcam SA20 is an Integrated Amplifier that improves upon the performance of the previous Arcam A29. Class G amplification and 80W of power per channel contribute to impeccable sound and efficiency.

Key Features

  • Class G amplification for impeccable sound and efficiency
  • 80W of power per channel
  • 5 analogue inputs including phono
  • 3 digital inputs
  • 32-bit DAC,Sabre ESS9038K2M
  • Full I/P control
  • Total harmonic distortion + noise = 0.003%


The design of the HDA range draws upon all of Arcam’s experience as one of the UK’s most respected audio companies, to produce Arcam’s best performing range of audio products yet – using the best quality components and engineering practices, the HDA range is designed and built to give you years of listening enjoyment.

 There are two frequent problems with hi-fi amplifiers. Class A, the traditional audiophile’s choice, uses a single power supply constantly running at full capacity, even when there’s no signal coming through. Great for reproducing those subtle details at low levels however struggles to provide extreme power when needed.

Class A/B, the most common amp class, switches between the two internal amplifiers, one for each half of the waveform. Far more efficient but often a recipe for crossover distortion, since those low-level details we crave can get lost within any mis-match between the two switching over.

Class G is essentially a hybrid amplifier, utilising Class A specifically for low-level signals, but when required switching in an additional power supply to power those larger sections of the waveform.

Hybrid Amplifier
The SA20 is rated at 80wpc into 8 ohms (both channels driven). It delivers just under 20wpc in pure Class A, while allowing for huge extra power reserves for the most demanding of loudspeakers. This groundbreaking amplifier is an absolute must for those seeking true excellence in an amplifier at an incredibly affordable price.

Connectivity
As with the SA10 this amplifier has 5x analogue inputs (1x line/MM switchable) but the 3x digital inputs (2x SPDIF and 1x optical) are supplied by the ESS Sabre 9038 reference DAC (as employed in the irDAC2).

Compatibility
The SA20 also comes with a brand new learning backlit infra-red handset and can be controlled over IP by ARCAM’s IOS app, Musiclife or by RS232. This amplifier is the direct replacement to the A29.

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The SA10 and SA20 allow the listener to choose between a number of digital filters for use with the coaxial and optical SPDIF inputs. There are three options available on the SA10 and seven on the SA20. Digital filters are required to minimise unwanted antialiasing distortion in the audio band but no digital filter is perfect, all are a compromise between various parameters.

These include:

Frequency response
Audio level with respect to frequency. Ideally this should not vary significantly between 20Hz and 20kHz.

Phase
The time delay introduced between reproducing different frequencies within the pass band of the filter. Ideally this would be as low as possible (linear phase).

Pre ringing
Additional audio artefacts that precede the original audio impulse. These are sometimes thought to be bad as this phenomenon does not exist in the natural world, so ideally this should be as low level and last for as short a time as possible.

Post ringing
Additional audio artefacts that follow the original audio impulse. Ideally these should be as low in level and last for as short a time as possible.

Aliasing
Additional audio artefacts introduced into the audio band from high frequency signals.We have chosen our default filters through a combination of careful measurement and listening tests and we believe they are the best compromise to achieve the best listening experience. However, all of the filters sacrifice
performance of one parameter to improve another. Therefore, dependant on your choice of listening material and personal preference,
you may wish to choose one of the other options.

Note that any audible differences are most likely to be heard with sample rates of 48kHz and below.

Filters - SA20

Brick Wall (B Wall)
No phase shift, but introduces both pre and post ringing artefacts.

Corrected Minimum Phase Fast Roll Off (Corr MinP)
Low pre-ringing and the phase response varies at higher frequencies. There is more post ringing compared with linear phase and apodizing filters.

Apodizing (SA20 default)
A compromise between phase, frequency response and ringing. Its main advantage is that it removes most of the ringing that has been introduced upstream in the recording process when the original material was recorded and mastered.

Minimum Phase Slow Roll Off (MinP Slow)
No pre-ringing artefacts but can introduce phase shifts at higher frequencies. It has less post ringing than the Minimum Phase Fast Roll Off, but this is still higher than the linear phase filter options. Very high frequencies in the last half octave of the filter pass band will be slightly attenuated.

Minimum Phase Fast Roll Off (MinP Fast)
No pre-ringing and the phase response varies at higher frequencies. There are significantly higher amounts of post ringing compared with the linear phase filter
options.

Linear Phase Slow Roll Off (LinP Slow) – Low and equal levels of pre and post ringing. No phase shifts but can introduce high frequency aliasing at a higher level than linear phase fast roll off. Very high frequencies will be slightly attenuated.

Linear Phase Fast Roll Off (LinP Fast) (SA10 default)
Higher and equal levels of pre and post ringing compared with linear phase slow roll off. No phase shifts and with minimal high frequency aliasing compared with slow roll off.

SA20 Specifications
Continuous power output
(20Hz—20kHz at 0.5% THD), per channel
 
Both channels, 8Ω, 20Hz—20kHz 90W
Single channel, 4Ω, at 1kHz 180W
Harmonic distortion, 80% power, 8Ω at 1kHz 0.002%
Analogue Inputs  
Phono (MM) cartridge  
Input sensitivity at 1kHz 5mV
Input impedance 47kΩ + 100pF
Frequency response (ref. RIAA curve) 20Hz – 20kHz ± 1dB
Signal/Noise ratio (A-wtd) 50W, ref. 5mV input 80dB
Overload margin, ref. 5mV at 1kHz 21dB
Line Inputs  
Nominal Sensitivity 1V
Input impedance 10kΩ
Maximum input 6Vrms
Frequency response 20Hz – 20kHz ± 0.2dB
Signal/Noise ratio (A-wtd) 50W, ref. 1V input 106dB
Digital Inputs  
DAC ESS9038K2M
Frequency response 20Hz - 20kHz ± 0.05dB
Total harmonics distortion + Noise 0.0007%
Signal/Noise ratio (A-wtd) 115dB
Supported Sample Rates (Optical) 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
Supported Sample Rates (Coaxial) 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
Bit depth 16-bit – 24-bit
Pre-amplifier output  
Nominal output level 630mV
Output impedance 230Ω
Headphone output  
Maximum output level into 600Ω 5Vrms
Output impedance
Load range 16Ω – 2kΩ
General  
Mains voltage 110–120V or 220–240V, 50–60Hz
Maximum power consumption 500W
Dimensions W x H x D (including feet, control knob and speaker terminals) 433 x 87 x 323mm
Weight (net) 9.2kg
Weight (gross) 11.1kg
Supplied accessories Mains leads
Remote control
2 x AAA batteries