There is a lot of strong competition at this price but the mix of digital and analogue inputs, multiple filtering options for the former and the high quality execution of the SA20 bode well for the brand’s return to the forefront of British audio electronics. HiFi+
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Arcam’s pioneering Class-G amplifier technology gives the SA20 the best possible sound in all circumstances.
The first quarter of its potential power (80 watts) is delivered in pure Class-A. Class-A is renowned for a rich, smooth sound that makes instruments and vocals sound incredibly life-like.
Once you go beyond this point, efficient digital amplification kicks in – delivering plenty of power without the huge reserves of power and inefficiency that Pure Class-A all the way would demand. Sweet and refined yet a beast when unleased – the Arcam SA20 gives you the best of all worlds.
While Class-G tech handles the amplifier side of business, a superior quality ESS Sabre 9038 DAC (Digital to Analogue) makes the most of your digital sources.
By going direct and using the Arcam’s built-in DAC you get superb clarity and a much more ‘open’ sound with strong dynamics.
Two coaxial digital inputs and one optical let you connect up to three sources – perfect for a CD/DVD/Blu-ray player, streamer and even your TV!
Great with digital, the Arcam SA20 also makes the most of vinyl. The dedicated phono input (Moving Magnet) built into the SA20 is a high quality device, designed to get the best from your vinyl.
Unlike many integral phono stages that are simply there to make up the spec, the Arcam’s has been carefully developed to provide low noise and high levels of detail within the music.
If you don’t plan to use a record deck, simply switch the input to line level and you can use it for another source.
As well as the three digital inputs and phono stage, the SA20 is also equipped with three analogue RCA inputs and a front-mounted 3.5mm AUX input.
The socket at the front is perfect for portables or even your smartphone, with the rear inputs ideal for permanent sources such as a CD player and tuner.
If you’re a headphones fan, the high quality, built-in headphone amp is punchy enough to get the best out of a wide range of designs.
As standard, the Arcam SA20 is supplied with a backlit, learning remote control. This makes it easier to use in low light levels and it will control other handy functions – such as your amp’s volume control.
If you’d rather operate the amp via your iPhone or iPad, simply connect to your network and download Arcam’s Musiclife app for seamless control.
For effortless operation as part of a home automation system, the SA20 also features Net, RS232 and USB (for charging only) interfaces.
Powerful when it needs to be but subtle when it doesn’t, the Arcam SA20 is a great musical all-rounder.