DiVA A85 Integrated Amplifier (Discontinued)

The A85 is among a long line of successful Arcam amplifier designs and represents a combination of technical excellence, flexibility, ease of use and superb sound quality that should deliver classic status in the future.


The A85 included the introduction of totally new circuit designs in both the pre-amplifier and power amplifier sections. The levels of distortion and noise are significantly lower than before. The sound is more precise and open and the whole design is ready to reproduce the latest high definition audio sources, such as DVD-Audio and SACD, to the highest standards. The large toroidal transformer and heavy duty power supply ensure the amplifier has more than enough drive for a wide range of speakers.

Although the A85's roots are in purist audio design, we have used sophisticated microprocessor-based control systems to provide a host of thoughtful features which enhance flexibility and ease of use. For example, the front panel provides access to a menu driven system which can preset the sensitivity and even tone controls settings for each input. Switching between CD and radio sources, for instance, doesn't result in the level differences you can get in less advanced designs.

The dot matrix fluorescent display can show the volume level in graphic or numerical form and, for those who use the equipment far away from the listening position, we have included double height volume display characters. The amplifier offers full remote switching for two pairs of speakers and a high quality feed for use with headphones.

Many music lovers still cherish their vinyl record collections; indeed this is still the preferred form for much of today's dance music. Although the A85's design looks to future formats with confidence, we have also designed our best ever phono module to match the amplifier. This can be added to the A85 by your dealer as an optional extra. The amplifier platform is designed to accommodate an additional future module which could, for example, extend its capability to multi-channel audio applications such as DVD-Audio when used with a suitable matching Arcam power amplifier.

A phono stage for the A85 comes as an optional extra - this is of very high quality and may be switched to work with either MM or low output MC pickup cartridges.

Technical spec

Design Details

Arcam's new DiVA amplifier range represents a major and radical revision of Arcam's amplifier design philosophy. We have developed three completely new integrated models; the A65, A75 and A85 which, together with matching power amplifiers, transform the performance of our amplifier range. Lower noise and distortion, together with a wider audio bandwidth mean they are DVD-Audio ready; dynamic range on the A85 is over 105dB. All three amplifiers feature electronic input switching for ease of use and consistent performance over time.

The flagship A85 is unquestionably a class leading integrated amplifier. Its circuit design is elegant and innovative and uses plated through circuit boards with surface mounted components. The whole amplifier is dc coupled from input to output with absolutely no capacitors in the signal path. The power supply is built around a substantial toroidal transformer, giving a continuous output power of more than 85 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 130 watts into 4 ohms. The power amplifiers incorporate fully symmetrical high current output stages and novel current feedback loops which dramatically reduce harmonic distortion. Put simply, the A85's technical specification is state of the art and the clever control electronics give it a supremely versatile user interface.

Each of the A85's seven inputs has adjustable sensitivity and can be assigned its own bypassable tone control settings. The precision electronic volume control has three modes, labeled normal, fine (with more sensitive adjustments for late night listening) and reference, the latter offering a 72 dB range in 0.5 dB steps. The volume setting may be displayed on the A85's easy-to-read fluorescent display either numerically or as a bar graph.

The modular design allows for a degree of expansion in the future to help address the issues of product obsolescence in this fast moving, ever-changing world. An optional phono pre-amplifier board is available which suits both MM and MC cartridges and a DVD-Audio multi-channel input module is already in the planning stages.

The A85 has a headphones socket and twin speaker outlets, plus a remote control bus in its rear panel for receiving and passing through RC-5 commands. The speakers are switchable from the front panel or by remote control. Pre-amp outputs are available for bi-amping with the P85 power amplifier, which additionally can be supplied in a 3 channel version for multi-channel use. The A85 includes Arcam's latest and beautifully styled "Handi Remote" handset which also incorporates the main command buttons for Arcam's CD players and tuners.

The A65 and A75 also feature all new electronic circuitry. Lower distortion and noise performance ensures compatibility with new sources such as DVD-Audio. More sophisticated protection circuits and improved audiophile quality capacitors also improve the sound quality of these new designs which include MM phono stages, bypassable limited range tone controls and pre-amp outputs for bi-amping. Remote input selection using studio quality electronic switching ensures long term consistency of operation compared with commonly used mechanical switches. All inputs are protected against static damage. The A75 has more output power than the A65 and additionally comes with a processor switch on the front panel to fix the gain of the front channels when used with an external home cinema processor.

The A85 was designed and manufactured in the UK and was available in a black or silver finish.

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