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Arcam rDac KW

Stereo digital-to-analog converter with wireless compatibility

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Item #: 776RDACKW
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Arcam rDac KW

by Dave Bar
Arcam

Turn 1s and 0s into sweet sounding music

Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.

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Help your digital music sound more real

From CD players and game consoles to computer-based music and Internet radio, digital audio is a big part of our lives these days. And a big part of how good these audio sources sound depends on the performance of the digital-to-analog converters tucked away inside them. A high-quality DAC converts all the digital bits back into sound with a high degree of accuracy, delivering dynamic, multi-layered music with a thrilling sense of realism. All too often, though, the DACs and sound cards found in many audio components and PCs simply aren't up to the task. That's where Arcam's rDac KW steps in. This sleek, cast aluminum box offers a simple but elegant solution to the problem of subpar digital sound. If you've never heard your music through a first-class DAC like the Arcam, you're in for a real treat.


wireless_back_view

The rDac KW sports multiple inputs, including wireless, to handle your digital sources.

Versatile connections for your system

The rDac KW gives you four ways to connect your digital source components to your home audio system:

  • wireless is the way to go when you want super-convenient playback from your PC, iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad® using Arcam's optional rWave and rWand adapters. Thanks to proprietary Kleer® wireless technology, the rDac KW receives a CD-quality audio signal with plenty of detail.
  • coaxial digital input is ideal for connecting a CD or DVD player, Logitech Squeezebox™ Touch, Sonos® ZonePlayer™ 90, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the rDac KW's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • optical digital is ready to take on almost any HDTV, set-top box, game console, or other digital source with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
  • Type B USB jack feeds the output of your computer into the rDac KW's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much higher quality sound with stored music files and Internet radio.

A pair of gold-plated RCA outputs lets you connect the rDac KW to your home audio system's amp or receiver, or a set of amplified speakers for a high-end, compact desktop stereo.


commputer_connection

The rDac KW provides a superior way to enjoy computer-based music on your home audio system.

Positively boffo musical performance from your PC

If you store your music on a computer, Arcam's optional rWave USB dongle lets you stream CD quality sound wirelessly to the rDac KW, then on to your stereo system. No complicated networks, no fuss. Ditto for the rWand and music stored on your iPod. The rDac KW's sophisticated Wolfson processor also accepts digital music files from your PC via a USB cable connection — bypassing your computer's built-in sound card for a far more exciting listening experience. You'll enjoy sweet, nuanced sound previously obscured by the noisy environment inside your PC — delicate reverberations echoing in a concert hall, or the natural decay of an acoustic guitar chord. On good recordings, every instrument and vocal will stand out clearly and distinctly in its own separate space, allowing you to follow each one note-for-note.

To achieve this high level of performance, Arcam also took great care to ensure your USB music sources aren't plagued by "jitter" — errors in the timing of the data stream that adversely affect sound quality. Jitter can make music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details. To reduce jitter to the vanishing point, Arcam employed special re-clocking technology from Data Conversion Systems, makers of ultra high-end products for audio professionals and audiophiles. This proprietary dCS circuitry provides a precision timing clock to drastically reduce the level of jitter from USB music sources, delivering a stunning improvement in sound quality over standard USB systems.


See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • Wolfson Microelectronics 8741 24-bit multilevel Delta-Sigma DAC
  • high-end dCS (Data Conversion Systems) Asynchronous USB Technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • supports wireless playback from a computer, iPod, iPhone, or iPad equipped with optional Arcam rWave USB dongle or rWand iPod dongle (not included)
  • uses Kleer® wireless transmitter technology for high quality audio signal
  • 4 digital audio inputs — optical, coaxial, and USB (Type B)
  • RCA outputs
  • supported sample rates:
    • USB: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz
    • optical: 44.1kHz and 48kHz
    • coaxial: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz
    • wireless: 44.1 kHz
  • bit depth: 16-bit to 24-bit (except wireless)
  • built-in driver for USB connection
  • frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz (+0 -0.2 dB)
  • THD + Noise: 0.003%
  • signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted): 104 dB
  • antenna and external power supply included
  • weight: 1.59 lbs.
  • 6-5/16"W x 1-5/8"H x 5-1/16"D (not including antenna)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC is not compatible with Dolby® Digital signals.

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • External DAC
  • AC power adapter (with attached 5' DC cord)
  • 3 AC plugs (US/UK/EU)
  • Antenna
  • Connections/Quickstart Guide (Eng/Fre/Ger/Dut)
  • Thank You/Online Product Registration card

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The Arcam rDac-KW is an external audiophile-grade DAC with state-of-the-art digital-to-analog conversion technology. The rDac-KW offers supreme audio quality for the most demanding music lover. Housed in a slender, precision-cast case the rDac-KW offers an ideal upgrade for conventional sources and network audio products alike. Offering coaxial, optical, and USB digital inputs - the rDac-KW renders music with stunning accuracy. The rDac-KW also includes an antenna for wireless music streaming from your iPod/iPhone or computer (required wireless transmitters sold separately).

24-Bit DAC: The Arcam rDac-KW is equipped with a Wolfson 8741 24-bit multilevel Delta-Sigma DAC (digital-to-analog converter). The rDac-KW will get the best audio sound out of your sources, such as your Blu-ray player, DVD player, CD player, and your Computer - which don't have an internal DAC of this reference quality, provided by the Wolfson Microelectronics world class 8741.

USB Port: The Arcam rDac-KW is equipped with a rear-panel USB (type-B) port. Windows PCs (XP/Vista/7) and Mac (OS X) computers running music programs such as iTunes or Windows Media Player can feed the rDac-KW via its USB input. Special re-clocking circuitry has been deployed almost eliminating the jitter (timing inaccuracies) and noise usually associated with music in a computer environment.

Note: Supported sample rates include 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz.

Asynchronous USB Technology: The Arcam rDac-KW is equipped with dCS (Data Conversion Systems) Asynchronous USB Technology. This unique system is usually reserved for ultra high-end HiFi and professional audio applications. Asynchronous USB technology allows a precision clock to drastically reduce the level of jitter from USB music sources and delivers a massive improvement in sound quality over the standard USB 'adaptive' system. The result is audiophile-grade sound, regardless of the digital audio signal.

Digital Inputs: The Arcam rDac-KW is equipped with a coaxial and optical digital input on its rear-panel. CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray players, and Game systems can be connected via coaxial or optical leads to receive a dramatic increase in sound.

  • Optical: Supported sample rates include 44.1 and 48 kHz.
  • Coaxial: Supported sample rates included 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, and 192 kHz.
Note: If connecting to a television set's optical output, please make sure that you are able to select PCM as the default optical out audio format from your television's Audio menu. This DAC is not compatible with multi-channel audio signals and will not work with televisions that do not output PCM.

Wireless Streaming: The Arcam rDac-KW includes a wireless antenna and features proprietary Kleer Technology lossless streaming. This allows wireless audio streaming between the rDac-KW and your iPod/iPhone or computer. Optional wireless transmitters are required (sold separately). Kleer lossless technology offers full-bandwidth "CD-quality" music streaming with no drop outs, while the rDac-KW provides 16-bit digital-to-analog conversion.

  • iPod Streaming: The Arcam rWand wireless Apple-compatible transmitter (776RWAND, sold separately) lets you wirelessly stream music from Apple iPod, iPhone, or iPad to the Arcam rDac-KW. The rWand wireless Apple-compatible transmitter simply plugs into your iPod's, iPhone's, or iPad's dock connector. Once connection is made, you can wirelessly stream music from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad to the Arcam rDac-KW
  • Computer Streaming: The Arcam rWave wireless USB transmitter (776RWAVE, sold separately) lets you send music wirelessly from your computer (PC or Mac) to the rDac-KW. The rWave wireless USB transmitter simply plugs into a free USB (type-A) port on your computer. Your computer will then recognize the transmitter as a sound device. Once this connection is made, you can wirelessly send music stored on your PC or Mac computer to the Arcam rDac-KW.

Note: Supported sample rates include 44.1 kHz.

Analog Output: The Arcam rDac-KW is equipped with a rear-panel stereo RCA output to connect your to your stereo amplifier or HiFi receiver.

Power Requirements: The Arcam rDac-KW includes an external 6V switching power supply (100-240V). The rDac-KW also includes three interchangeable AC plugs (US/UK/EU).

 
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Arcam rDac KW Reviews

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5 out of 5

Arcam rDac KW

Written By paul, tokyo, japan on Friday, August 24, 2012
 
liquid bliss. i paired it with my few years old arcam amp. somehow, it made it young again. i wish it would do the same for me. but, really. itunes plus here i come. the sound difference between 128k mp3s and 320kb is obvious now. so much so, anything less than 320kb bitrate sounds like junk. i am sold. on top of that, my favorite ps3 game gained in steroscopic spectrum. schwing! yes, this review is dumb.
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5 out of 5

Works fantasic

Written By Beaverone, Torrington, CT on Monday, July 16, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The sound quality is fantastic when used with my receiver. I also got the dongle for the computer, (rwave), and I was able to go out on my deck, about 40 feet away from the unit with 2 walls in between, and I didn't have any problems with it working correctly.
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