Arcam is one of Britain’s most beloved audio brands and the AVR450 is one of three AV receivers in its latest range, sandwiched between the top-end AVR750 and ‘entry-level’ AVR380.
With a price tag of over £2k, it’s a strictly high-end affair that places the emphasis on performance over eye-catching gimmicks – that’s why you won’t find stuff like Spotify or AirPlay. Instead, Arcam has ploughed all the money into construction and high-grade audio components in a bid to deliver truly audiophile sound quality.
As you’d expect for the money, the AVR450’s build quality is staggeringly good. The all-metal dark grey bodywork has the sort of strength and rigidity that budget and midrange models can only dream of, and it weighs a ton (well, 15.5kg to be precise). It’s well ventilated on top and underneath.
It’s stylish too, but not in a fancy Marantz sort of way – the AVR450 has a harder, more esoteric look with a sparse fascia (just a single row of buttons, no dials) and a wide LED display. The display is clear, stripping it down to the core information (input, audio format and volume) in large, bright letters. It’s a striking and superbly made receiver from top to bottom, worth every penny of its price tag.
Only two inputs adorn the front panel – 3.5mm input for portable audio devices and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a USB port to play music from pen drives and iPods/iPhones on the back, which makes on-the-fly connection very awkward – front placement would have been more convenient.
Also found on the busy rear panel are seven HDMI inputs (all ready for 4K and 3D passthrough) and two outputs (both ARC compatible), six digital audio inputs (four coaxial and two optical); six analogue stereo inputs; three component video inputs; three composite video inputs and four composite inputs; plus analogue stereo and composite video outputs for multiroom use.
You’ll also find a set of 7.1-channel pre-outs for an external power amplifier and seven-channel speaker binding posts, two of which can be used to drive a second zone.
A cluster of custom install connections is provided too, including RS232, 12V trigger outputs to spark external electronics into life and connections for external infrared receivers (should the built-in receiver be obstructed) for Zones 1 and 2. A 6V output powers Arcam rSeries peripherals.
Completing the line-up is an Ethernet port for connection to your home network (more on that later) and aerial socket for the built-in DAB radio tuner. It’s a little surprising not to find multichannel analogue inputs given that potential buyers may want to connect legacy disc players.