Arcam may not be a well known brand to the average consumer, but that isn't to say it doesn't produce some great kit. The FMJ AVR600 is conclusive proof of that, offering as it does not only a comprehensive set of specs, for a reasonable price, but also wrapping it up an extremely attractive package.
As impressive as the specs of systems such as the Onkyo TX-SR876 sound, they do have a growing tendency to look like the control system for a nuclear power station on the front - which can be off-putting. The FMJ AVR600 bucks the trend offering a minimalist front facia, with a single row of controls, the power button, and everything else hidden under a flip-up panel. It's a simple design statement, but equally effective.
Of course an attractive chassis is nothing if it isn't coupled with impressive technical capabilities, which the FMJ AVR600 also has. The full details aren't available yet, but what Arcam has revealed gives a good indication of what they haven't - if you see what I mean. One important feature is Dolby Volume, which ensures that volume level is maintained at a constant level across all sources.
All 7.1-channels of sound the AVR600 can output can push 120W of power, and codec support cover the four important bases: DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. If you happen to want to plug an iPod, or any other MP3 player for that matter, into the system, it can handle that too.
Video-wise Arcam hasn't yet specified any exact details, but up-scaling to 1080p is sported, as well as post-processing in the form of video enhancements: edge enhancement, mosquito noise reduction, Random noise reduction and block noise reduction.
On the connectivity front five HDMI inputs and a pair of outputs are present, matching rival offerings, and there is an upgrade option to add networking capabilities to the system. A slew of Component and Composite inputs are also present, for connecting older equipment.
The Arcam FMJ AVR600 is set to be available from November, for some £2,300 (£2,600 networking ready) which is a fair bit of cash, but if you can afford one, why not?
And in case you're wondering, FMJ stands for Full Metal Jacket, an internal nickname ascribed to the ranges 'battleship' built quality.