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How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system

Vol. 15, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2012



NEW PRODUCTS

ARCAM

This year ARCAM has been very active in the digital music area with the release of five new Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs) and iPod docks. These are the rPAC ($249), the rLINK ($249), the rBLINK ($249), the FMJ D33 ($3199), and the drDOCK ($299). There are also a new AV receiver, the AVR360 ($1799) and a new Blu-ray player, the BDP300, at $1499.

ARCAM rPAK DACThe rPAC is a combination USB DAC and headphone amplifier designed to improve dramatically the sonic performance of PC and MAC computers. Using an asynchronous digital to analog converter of a quality normally found in very high end Hi Fi components along with carefully-designed audio circuitry, the rPAC takes audio files and converts them into beautiful music with stunning clarity and precision. Its USB power system means no “wall wart” is needed. In addition, it has both a headphone output for private listening and standard audio outputs for connection to your music system.

ARCAM rLINK DACThe rLINK is a standard DAC with optical and coaxial digital inputs (no USB input). It is an affordable and easy way to upgrade the sound quality of almost any digital audio source such as CD players or an Apple TV. When the rLINK is connected between the digital output of an audio device and a high quality audio system, your music benefits from ARCAM's superior digital-to-analog conversion, thus bringing improvements in resolution and realism. The result is greater musical enjoyment. Simply connect either an optical or coaxial cable from the digital output of your device to the rLINK and a pair of analog cables from the rLINK to your Hi Fi system. Then switch on and enjoy.

ARCAM rBLINK DACThe rBLINK will be a "must have" for anyone who wants to stream music from their Bluetooth audio device to their audio system. Just plug it into your system with a pair of standard audio cables, pair it with your Bluetooth device, and you'll be ready to stream your music content wirelessly. The rBLINK uses the same level of high quality DACs and audio circuitry which you'd expect from ARCAM, so your streamed audio will sound better than you've ever heard it before.

ARCAM drDOCK iPod dockThe drDOCK is a digital dock for use with iPods, iPhones, and iPads. It is remote-controllable using the included hand held remote. The drDOCK is improved over its predecessor, the rDOCK, because it transfers the music using a digital stream and, thus, bypasses the inferior DAC and audio circuitry found in all portable devices. The drDOCK then converts the digital stream to analog using ARCAM's high quality DAC and audio circuitry. The audio is then passed on to your music system with a standard audio cable. There's also an HDMI cable for transmitting video to your home theater system. In addition to control by its own remote, the drDOCK can also be controlled by the remote control of either an ARCAM Solo Neo music system or by an ARCAM AV receiver. Once again, the highest quality DAC and audio circuitry yield impressive audio performance.

The FMJ D33 is ARCAM's statement DAC and is, by far, the best they've ever made. From the moment that the first CD players emerged in the early 1980s ARCAM set out to improve their mediocre sound quality. They did this with their first outboard DAC and, thus, created the whole concept of outboard DACs for improved sound quality. Using dual 24bit /192kHz converters (one per channel), a twin toroid power supply, and state of the art 4 layer PCB boards, the D33 offers music lovers a truly impressive level of performance. The D33 features a low-jitter asynchronous USB input that offers the convenience of computer-based music and the ability to enjoy the very latest 192kHz ultra high-resolution recordings with stunning quality. Two coaxial and two optical inputs plus a professional grade AES/EBU connection complete the line-up so any source device can be used.

ARCAM FMJ D33 DAC

ARCAM's thirty years of audio engineering experience have allowed them to include their most advanced engineering concepts such as a critically-damped, low-resonance aluminum casework, massive power regulation, and extensive low-noise sub-regulation. These, combined with the superb DAC and audio circuitry of the D33, yield state-of-the-art performance for your music file playback.

ARCAM BDP300 Blu-ray player

ARCAM introduced their world class Blu-ray player, the BDP100, last year, and we reported on it in detail in our last issue. This model has now been updated to the BDP300 with the addition of several improvements and refinements. The most important of these is the inclusion of 3D processing that will get the best possible performance from any 3D-capable video display. To support this and improve video quality, the power of the video processor has been increased in the new model. Also, there is a new and improved disk transport. All of the superb design features and superior performance of the BDP100 carry through to this new model. Best of all, there's no increase in price. There will be an upgrade program for BDP100 owners who wish to add 3D to their player.

In our last issue, we also reported on the AVR400 receiver and described its features and performance in detail. This was their lowest cost receiver at that time. To get the price of their entry-level receiver even lower, ARCAM has now introduced the AVR360.

ARCAM AVR360 AV receiver

The only differences in the two units are a slight decrease in power (75 watts/channel for the AVR360 vs. 90 watts/channel for the AVR400) and a change from the toroidal transformer of the AVR400 to a conventional one in the AVR360. All of the other features of the AVR400 remain in place. This new model represents a significant cost saving for consumers with only a very small decrease in performance.

 

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