Test of Arcam FMJ CD17 CD player

Article content
  1. Features
  2. Sound
  3. Price

The device prefers complex multi-faceted music with an abundance of midrange sound. I like the jazz and classical pieces most of all, rock music sounds a little unusual, and many electronic compositions sound too technical in our opinion.

Arcam FMJ CD17


FMJ line components are Arcam’s positioning for those audiophiles who place high priority on sound quality. This turntable uses ingenious techniques to improve the sound. For example, the Mask of Silence technology is used to suppress the electromagnetic interference EMI that reduces the detail of the sound. A unique Stealth Mat metallic fiber surface treatment is also used to further reduce the effects of EMI.

Analog audio is processed by a Wolfson 8741 24-bit audio DAC. The player is powered by a large toroidal transformer. Yet, in order to reduce noise and ensure the stability of the overall electrical system, the analog and digital sound reproduction circuits, as well as the auxiliary signal circuits, are powered from separate current sources. To reduce replaying errors, the disc is read from the drive with three lasers.

All coaxial connectors are gold plated for better electrical contact. The information display is based on VFD Vacuum Fluorescent Display technology. Its bright green characters are clearly visible in all conditions. The display shows a lot of information, of which the track number is the most readable. Remote control is universal, and can be used to control other components of Arcam company – DVD-player, AV-receiver, FM/AM-tuner, vinyl disk player, and other devices. Comes in silver or black.


Pop, electronic music. The sound of electronic music is very technical, the stereo path underlines the artificial origin of electronic sounds. For example there is much more metal in the sound of synthesized stringed instruments than in the same sound of natural instruments. Male and female voices sound open and liberated, but the highest notes of the vocals are not lost without losing their naturalness.

I like the clarity and transparency of the sound in the wide range of mid and high frequencies. In addition, the midrange and the top are the most noticeable parts of the sound, where you can put significantly more energy than in the bass. Sounds below the upper bass are slightly subdued, which slightly reduces the warmth of music reproduction in general. On the other hand, the heightened sharpness of the top sometimes gives the composition a harsh sounding character. Too loud overhead noise makes you reluctant to turn up the volume until the bass is strong enough.

Polyphonic compositions are detailed, the secondary layers of the music are well conveyed, so such works, on the one hand, sound large-scale, and on the other hand, the atmosphere of the composition is well conveyed. Rock. The bass in all songs sounds clean, but more than any other genre, rock music shows a slight lack of power in the bass register. The bass response is not always enough to create a palpable sound field in the room.

And the tops for rock were a little bit too high – sometimes there are too much metal crashing and hissing sounds of vocals, though in general the sound of the voice, especially the low one, is very beautiful. The most detailed ranges are in the upper midrange and top, but in the bass and lower midrange the stereo range doesn’t show everything. The sound is delivered cleanly from the low end of perceivable bass to the high end of the treble. All of the percussion and pulse sounds are very distinct, nuanced, and despite emphasizing the upper components of the middle beat, the beat as a whole does not sound harsh.

We found the sound of rock ambiguous: the music of this genre captivates in some moments, but it does not keep us in suspense from the beginning to the end. Classics. When playing classical music Arcam FMJ CD17 makes you want to listen not to separate fragments of the test, but to listen to well-known compositions in full.

The quiet midrange is very rich in detail, and the violin parts sound polyphonic and expansive even in their quietest moments. Fine mosquito trills of solo violins and violas are drawn in filigree threads in all moments of the work – both in intros and climaxes. The middle part sounds very natural and in those rare moments when the metal drums are involved the music delights by the sound of the large cymbals and the triangles. Even when in the background, the bells and cymbals are very noticeable and intelligible.

The upper bass sounds detailed, just missing in some places a quieter layer of the lowest brass sounds, especially in the preludes. At such moments, the bass is conveyed by a soft hint, as if peeking out from under the midrange part of the musical canvas. In the climaxes the big brass instruments rumble with distant but tangible thunder, the midwinds play powerfully, the fanfares and trumpets give off a great solemn sound.

The unit displays a wide stage with well defined far-end echelons of sound, but only if the sounds are above the bass register. To tell the truth, there is a slight mismatch with the localization: the loud medium wind instruments sometimes “put” before the violins. Arguably, complex multi-dimensional music with an abundance of mid-range sounds is what this turntable does best. For the fullest sound of classical symphonies the power in the bass is slightly missing, but the lightness, polyphonicity and transparency of sound in the rest of the range, in our opinion, more than compensate for this feature.


. Jazz pieces sound very uninhibited with this player. The voices of the various instruments are drawn with ease and detail, their well-crafted parts clearly visible in a balanced incendiary flow of sound, making the music extraordinarily polyphonic.

The sound of jazz compositions is balanced in general, only in the brightest moments the middle section wind instruments in particular is slightly emphasized. Surprising but true, the bass was enough to make the lower jazz wind instruments trombone, for example sound very rich and the contrabass pulses were audible not only in the lower part but also in the upper bass.

Collected and clear throughout the range sound of piano pulses and metal drums, the transparent sound of all jazz brooms, cymbals, triangles and keys magnificently conveys the richness of rhythmic patterns. The player plays jazz music no less interesting than classical music. In a word – I liked it.


Average price for New York – around 40 000 Dollars.

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