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How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system
This year ARCAM has continued to be very active in the digital music area with the release of three new Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs) and iPod docks to supplement the five models they introduced last year. These are the irDAC ($700), the airDAC ($700), and the sonLINK ($300). There are also a new AV receiver, the AVR750 ($5999) and a new integrated amplifier, the FMJ A19, at $999.
The goal of the irDAC was to make a significant improvement in the sound quality of its predecessor, the rDAC and, at the same time, to make the irDAC more flexible and convenient to use. The improved sound quality was made possible by incorporating many of the knowledge and design advances developed for ARCAM's cutting edge FMJ D33 DAC, as discussed in our last issue. These advances, including improved power supplies and lower jitter, have given the irDAC a huge improvement in sound quality. If fact, the irDAC uses the same high-quality Burr Brown chip as the flagship P33. As its name implies, the irDAC comes with its own remote control. This remote controls not just the irDAC itself but can also control your PC, MAC, iPhone, or iPAD, making the entire system tremendously convenient to use. Finally, the irDAC has a direct digital iPod input for use with Apple devices. This digital input bypasses the inferior sonics of the DACs built into those devices and yields an appreciable improvement in sound quality.
The airDAC is a very simple way to add Airplay capability to any audio or video system and is the only audiophile-grade Airplay-capable DAC on the market. Once connected to your system, you can stream music from your Airplay device using your network via WiFi or a hard-wired Ethernet connection. The airDAC also has SPDIF and optical digital inputs that allow you to hook up other digital components to your audio system while achieving the superior sound quality of the airDACs audiophile-grade DAC. As with all R-series products, ARCAM has used their advancements in digital technology to make this a superb sounding DAC.
The ARCAM SONLINK is a DAC which is specially-designed to improve the sound quality of Sonos brand products. By connecting the digital output of a Sonos component into the SONLINK and employing its Digital-to-Analog converter (instead of the one built into the Sonos product) you can achieve a substantial performance enhancement.
The AVR750 is the best-sounding AV receiver ARCAM has ever made. In addition to its superb sound, the AVR750 has many new features. These include:
The FMJ A19 is the best-sounding ARCAM integrated amplifier we have ever heard. The sonic improvement over previous models from this company are very noticeable and clearly make it not only the best sounding integrated amplifier we've ever experienced from ARCAM but simply the best sounding solid-state model under $1000 we know of from any company. At $999, there's just no serious competitor for this product. The A19 also has a very nice feature that can improve the performance of any of the R-Series products (like those discussed above). The A19 has a power supply jack that can power the R-Series products directly from the A19's own power supply. This not only eliminates the need to use the "wall wart" power supplies that come with the R-Series components, but results in the improved performance one would expect from using a better power supply.
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