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Arcam rLink

Stereo digital-to-analog converter

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  • Arcam rLink

    Front

  • Arcam rLink

    Audio outputs

  • Arcam rLink

    Inputs

Item #: 776RLINK
 

Review Summary

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Original price $249.99
 
 
 
 

Our take on the Arcam rLink

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.

An easy "plug-and-play" upgrade for your digital sound sources


High-res audio

Use Arcam's rLink to breathe new life into the the sound of your old CD player, network music streamer, set-top box, game console, or almost any other audio device with an optical or coaxial digital output. Simply connect this compact DAC in-line between your player's digital output and your hi-fi system's analog input to enjoy true high-fidelity sound. The rLink's audiophile-grade processor bypasses your source component's electronics to deliver impressive levels of realism and detail from your favorite sound sources.

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Highlights:

  • TI PCM5102 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter for high-fidelity stereo sound
  • compact design for portability
  • 1 optical digital (Toslink) audio input
  • 1 coaxial digital (RCA) audio input
  • 1 pair RCA analog audio outputs
  • supported sample rates: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176kHz, and 192kHz
  • input bit depth: 16-bit, 24-bit
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 106 dB (24-bit)
  • frequency response: 10-20,000 Hz (± 0.1 dB)
  • THD: 0.002%
  • line-level output: 2.15Vrms
  • AC power adapter included
  • 6-1/8"W x 1-1/16"H x 2-15/16"D
  • weight: 12.4 ounces
  • 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 SPDIF DAC
  • AC power adapter (with attached 5' DC cord)
  • 3 AC plugs (US/UK/EU)
  • 43" Stereo RCA audio cable
  • 42" Coaxial digital audio cable
  • 40" Optical digital audio cable
  • Connections/Quick Start Guide
  • "Thank You" letter

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 rLink is an external audiophile-grade SPDIF DAC with state-of-the-art digital-to-analog conversion technology. The rLink offers supreme audio quality for the most demanding music lover. Housed in a high-quality cast aluminum case, the rLink offers an ideal upgrade for digital audio sources; offering coaxial & optical digital audio inputs with an analog stereo RCA output.

16/24-Bit DAC: The Arcam rLink employs a Texas Instrument PCM5102 16/24-bit digital-to-analog converter with a frequency response of 10Hz-20kHz (+/-0.1dB), a total-harmonic-distortion of 0.002%, and a Signal-to-Noise Ratio of 106dB.

Supported Sample Rates: Supported sample rates include 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, and 192 kHz.

Digital Audio Inputs: The Arcam rLink is fitted with a coaxial (RCA) and optical (toslink) digital audio input. 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.

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.

Analog Audio Outputs: The Arcam rLink is equipped with a stereo RCA output to connect your to your stereo amplifier or HiFi receiver.

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

 
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Arcam rLink Reviews

Average Customer Review:

6 people say:

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5 out of 5

Excellent

Written By Jim, Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I got this to hook up to what I considered the weakest link in my system, which was a Sony 400 disc CD player. It is connected to a Nad M3 and a pair of Paradigm studio 100s ( and a few subs). It sounded good before adding the Rlink, but the depth just wasn't there and it sounded a little "thin". I connected the Rlink via the optical out from the CD player and WOW! From the very first note, the difference was apparent. The increased sound stage, the fullness and quality of the sound- it's all there. It was the cure for a CD player that just didn't compare to the equipment that it was connected to, and has saved the Sony from the trash heap. I have been listening to this DAC for about two months now, and I am absolutely happy with this investment. Well worth the price. An excellent way to upgrade an old component !
Pros:
Good, quality sound, price.
Cons:
None so far.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Nice and Clear

Written By Ernie, Star, NC on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This DAC connected between my AppleTV and a good stereo. Played a song from an iPad over Air Play, played the same song from a directly connected iPod Classic. Pressed play on both devices at the same time, so that I could switch from one device to the other mid song. Sounds great, the Arcam DAC sounds slightly clearer and cleaner than the iPod Classic DAC. Some reviewers warn that compressed songs sound harsh. This might be true for severely compressed songs, but I hear no artifacts in Apple's AAC codec. Some full quality songs ring at certain frequencies because of recording and mixing methods, for example country songs, and this stands out more on a cleaner DAC or cleaner system. For best sound, turn your digital source volume all the way up (pre DAC) and use the analog volume of your stereo (post DAC) to adjust your volume level. Reducing the volume before the DAC is digital and you lose bit depth.
Pros:
Simple to use, sounds perfect.
Cons:
None.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Arcam rlink

Written By Larry, St.Petersburg,Fl on Monday, July 15, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Got this mainly to hook up my TV 's optical output to my stereo (which lacks a optical input). Does its job well. Great sound now with my TV including any internet content such as YouTube videos. Also, wanted to gives props to Ziggy who took the time to do some research that made sure this equipment would work with my TV and stereo equipment.
Pros:
Great sound, small size, very easy hook-up
Cons:
none I can think of
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Impressed

Written By B Run, Austin, TX on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I'm using this dac from an Apple Airport Express to a Nad integrated, and it improved the sound quite a bit from the built in dac in the Airport. The sound is much more natural and clear, it takes some edge off of digital recordings.
Pros:
Clean sound, simple to use, good upgrade for the price.
Cons:
None. I don't need any extra features that some other dacs use, but it could be a negative to some.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Arcam rLink

Written By GaryF, Roman Forest, TX on Saturday, September 15, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was looking for a way to get better sound from my plasma-screen TV than the built-in speaker, but the only audio output was digital optical and I needed RCA connectors. Not wanting to buy a new stereo, I was pleased to find the Arcam rLink. The Arcam website describes the rLink as an "easy way to upgrade the sound quality of almost any digital audio source". The unit was shipped with everything needed to hook it up, including coaxial cable, fiber optic cable, and stereo RCA cables. However, when I hooked it up, the indicator light did not change from red to green to indicate the presence of a digital signal and there was no sound coming from the stereo. I called Crutchfield technical support, while courteous and trying to help, none of the suggestions made any difference. Ultimately he suggested contacting Arcam. Basically, my lack of knowledge of digital audio was the problem. It turns out that my TV's digital optical output is Dolby 5.1 on most of the channels, which is not compatible with the rLink that requires PCM. Fortunately, I ordered the rLink from Crutchfield, so returning it is not a problem. My rating is low simply because it did not work with my system. The quality of the unit seemed quite good, but a bit more explanation on digital audio signal formats in layman's terms would have been useful.
Pros:
Simple to hook up, all cables provided.
Cons:
Does not work with Dolby 5.1 digital audio signal.
8 out of 24 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

arcam dac

Written By richard, florencd sc on Friday, August 24, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased the arcam dac to tie my led tv into my analog 2 channel stereo. I does what I want it to do. I now have very clear and vibrant sound coming from youtube and other sound sources. It is an A-1 system and was very easy to set up
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Arcam rLink, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_776RLINK/Arcam-rLink.html ).