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How to set up and use a Music Server that can hold your entire music collection.

How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system

Vol. 13, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2010



NEW PRODUCTS

ARCAM

ARCAM Has released three very exciting new products for 2010, A USB DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) called the rDAC ($479), a new version of their famous all-in-one music system called the Solo Neo ($1999), and a more affordable home theater receiver, the AVR500 ($3499).

ARCAM rDAC USP D/A converterARCAM produced the world's first Digital to Analog Converter in 1989 and has enjoyed a world wide reputation for excellence in digital audio ever since. The rDAC is the latest in a long line of products that have enabled music lovers to increase the levels of performance from a variety of digital audio sources. The most important application of the rDAC concerns its use with computer audio USB outputs to turn your computer into a music server. Most USB DACs suffer from a high level of noise and jitter because they allow the computer to remain responsible for the timing of the digital playback stream. The rDAC eliminates this problem as ARCAM has licensed for its use specially developed Asynchronous USB Technology from one of the world's leading high-end audio companies, Data Conversion Systems Ltd. This technology allows a precision clock in the rDAC to take over control of the digital playback stream. This drastically reduces the level of jitter from USB music sources and delivers a massive improvement in sound quality over the USB system that is commonly used in other DACs. The rDAC will get the best out of sources like DVD, Blu-ray, and CD players, which don't have an internal DAC of the reference quality provided by the Wolfson Microelectronics world-class 8741 D/A chips it uses. The rDAC can also transform the sound quality of sources like set top boxes, delivering high quality radio station streams as well as other popular streaming products. Finally, the rDAC has an optional, wireless USB dongle that can stream a digital signal from a remote desktop or laptop computer with the same low jitter technology that is in the rDAC itself. Thus, you can now stream audiophile level sound from a remotely-located computer without any loss of fidelity.

ARCAM Solo Neo CD player/network receiverARCAM has started shipping the Solo Neo, a music system with superb music performance and network audio capabilities that allow it to play stored music in a multitude of formats or viaits internal CD player and radio tuner. With the excellent audio quality provided by its advanced pre- and power amplifier stages, the stylish Solo Neo offers a high-performance and easy-to-use package that delivers music convenience and quality belied by its compact size.

When ARCAM introduced the original Solo music system in 2004, it heralded a new generation of high quality all-in-one music systems. Using more than thirty years of experience in audio design, ARCAM went on to deliver a complete range of all-in-one audio and home theater systems. The new Solo Neo now replaces the original Solo and delivers the improved performance described above along with the following new features:

  • Built-in CD player, FM/AM radio tuner, and network audio player
  • Music streaming capability from wired or wireless networks
  • 50 watt/channel amplifier capable of driving high quality speakers
  • iPod playback and control via optional irDock
  • multiple file format capabilities
  • Full remote control from included handset

The on-board network music player delivers superb performance from music stored on local network devices such as personal computers and NAS drives. It also allows access to the thousands of Internet radio stations available when its local network is connected to the Internet. In addition, its USB port can play music from local devices such as memory sticks or hard drives, and it offers playback and control of iPods via the optional irDock. Finally, the Solo Neo doesn't sacrifice audio quality for convenience. The internal 50 watt/channel amplifiers have superb audio quality in addition to their capability of driving very demanding speakers in large rooms.

ARCAM AVR500 home theater receiverIn our last issue, Vol. 12 No. 1, we reported that ARCAM introduced a new flagship receiver, the AVR600, at $4999. This is the most complex product ARCAM has ever designed and is the most advanced AV receiver in the world. In an effort to make the advanced performance of this receiver more affordable, ARCAM has now released the AVR500 at $3499. This receiver has the same cutting edge performance of the AVR600 but achieves its lower price by the elimination of some features and by making other features optional. So, for example, the AVR500 is rated at 100 watts for all of its 7 channels rather than the 120 watts of the AVR600. Features which have been removed include the phono input, the preamplifier output, one of the extra zones (making the AVR500 a 2-zone unit), the satellite radio capability, and the digital audio output. Both the network interface card and the Internet radio features have become optional on the AVR500. So, if you've been wanting the performance of the AVR600 at a substantially lower price, and the deleted features are something you can live without, you now have an excellent way to achieve that goal. The August 2010 issue of Home Theater magazine gave the AVR500 an excellent review and 5 stars for performance.

 

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