Arcam were one of the first audiophile Hi-Fi companies to enter the digital to analogue converter market with the introduction of the Delta Black Box in 1987. This enabled people to significantly improve the performance of their CD players by connecting the SPDIF output of the CD player and allowing the Black Box to do the digital to analogue conversion before sending the signal to the amplifier via the high quality analogue outputs.
With the emergence of many digital audio products such as network streamers, computers, TVs, etc it has become apparent the the in built digital to analogue conversion and analogue outputs are not up to the standard that can be achieved.
Enter the new Arcam irDAC II
The irDAC II is a small stand alone digital to analogue converter (DAC) enabling the digital outputs a products such as network streamers, computers, TVs, etc to be connected. The irDAC will then do the the digital to analogue conversion and via the high quality analogue outputs will send a significantly improved signal to the amplifier, dramatically improving the sound quality that can be achieved.
The Arcam irDAC II uses the outstanding ESS Sabre DAC offering unmatched performance at the price. Areas that have been addressed in the design of the Arcam DAC include attention to the isolation between the the digital and analogue stages, ultra low noise power supplies and direct coupled signal paths. All of his has resulted in unrivalled performance for a DAC at this price.
The irDAC II also has full Bluetooth connectivity allowing music to be streamed wirelessly from Bluetooth enabled products such as phones and tablets.
Arcam have even provided an exceptionally high quality headphone output. This has been taken directly from the flagship FMJ A49 amplifier (£4K) and offers performance that will enhance the quality of the most demanding headphones.
The irDAC II has both fixed and variable analogue outputs allowing easy connection to integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, etc.
Available Digital inputs are as follows:
USB (Asynchronous) - 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
Optical Digital In - 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
Coaxial Digital In - 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
Blue Tooth APTX
On listening we have found the irDAC II to offer exceptionally good performance no matter what components we have connected it to. We have used it to dramatically improve the performance of a Sonos Connect steamer on our wireless system. When connected it offered an overall improvement from the musical performance with greater space around the instruments, improved detail, better sound stage, etc.
We have even connected it to the digital output of a Panasonic TV with great results. Playing a Live Muse recording from the analogue outputs of the TV gave great results. However when we took the digital out and played it via the Arcam to the analogue in on the amplifier there was a much bigger sound stage, vastly improved bass and greater retrieval of detail. Overall it sounded more like Muse sound live!
All in all this has to be the best value DAC we have come across. We would seriously recommend you have an audition to see how it can dramatically improve the products in your system.
Jon and Farid
Arcam Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Manchester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon