There's a review over at Computer Audiophile
There was a full review of the Arcam in the latest hifi+ magazine.
Got a positive review. Soundwise it was compared to a HRT Streamer II+.
The reviewer felt the HRT was more vibrant and dynamic, and the Arcam was softer and warmer.
So it's horses for courses soundwise, but functionally the HRT is a one trick pony, whereas the Arcam has various input options.
I thought I'd post a quick impression. I finally got around to listen to the rDac for the first time at home since buying it.
I started listening a few hours ago when I was actually very drunk. The drunkenness has worn off now though and I'm literally posting impressions from the last half-hour using only 1 CD track and listening to it 3 times now (that is, 3 comparisons, so actually 6 times) - so my impressions aren't very reliable. I typically re-listen to CD tracks on the order of 10 times (comparisons) or more to confirm & re-confirm my impressions (whether or not I'm writing a review - and in this case I will NOT be writing one), but haven't yet had time to do that of course.
I'm using my Arcam FMJ CD36 as a CD transport and the rDac slaved to it through the coaxial output with a Blue Jeans coaxial cable. Headphone amp is the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite and the headphones are my Audio-Technica AD2000, and the music I just used was Helloween's "Who is Mr. Madman?" from 7 Sinners.
The best thing I can say about the rDac is that it sounds a lot like the FMJ CD36. As well it should, since the FMJ CD36 uses the previous-gen WM8740 and the rDac has the WM8741, and both are made by Arcam. Sonically they're closer than what I was expecting too, considering the rDac is $480 and the FMJ CD36 was $2.5K when it was in production. It's hard to be critical at this point as I haven't used my standard battery of music for the AD2K yet but probably the most "deficient" aspect of the rDac in comparison was keeping multiple layers clear-sounding as the music got more complex. I'm not very familiar with metal music terminology, but the accelerated drumming (I'm pretty sure there's a "metal" word that refers to this, right?) also sounded more accelerated and incisive on the FMJ CD36. Other than that, right now I'm surprised how close the FMJ CD36 and rDac are. My opinion could change later though.
I don't know if I'll be writing anything more about the rDac so please do not ask for more impressions. I will definitely not be writing a review of it - full, mini, or otherwise.
I've done some more listening comparing the rDac against the CD36 with more music and other headphones (HD800, Qualia).
I can easily hear areas in which the CD36 is better than the rDac but I think it'd be a better approach to say that the rDac sounds pretty good, and I really can't think of a single reason that someone might not like how it sounds. Well aside from bass, at least - it doesn't have as much bass depth as the CD36 but I'd kinda expect that from a device using an external PSU. Overall though, my earlier impression of a general similarity to the CD36 still holds - the two are pretty close to each other, with only minor differences.
I could be really critical and pick apart the rDac if I wanted to, but IMO, the fact that I'd need to do some really critical listening speaks to the quality of the rDac. Sure it could be better, but at $480 for the sound that it outputs, it's not bad at all - in fact, I'd call it a pretty good source component for the money. As a fan of Arcam equipment in general, I'd say they came up with yet another solid product here and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for an all-in-one basic source.
I've tested the USB input but none of my recent listening was done through it. I've also verified that the rDac correctly handles 24/96 files, so no issues there.
I don't plan on keeping the rDac though, but not for anything relating to its sound. Originally I got it to combine it with the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite for a small laptop PC setup but now I intend to get the future HeadAmp Gilmore X2 to replace both - I'd prefer to reduce the number of components to make my laptop PC setup as simple & compact as possible.
This is the last post I'll make about the rDac, as I won't have anything to add at any point in the future.
I own the rDac for two weeks now and I have to say: it's simply amazing. The bass is so much better (deeper, harder, fuller, more colorfull) than what I was used to before, the stereo-image has opened up and to my impression I gained an extra meter of soundscape on each side of my setup. Much more detail in the high and mid ranges, more depth etc. One remark soundwise may be that it's not as 'quiet' as my previous setup.
Because I own the wireless version I have a warning to issue: there are serious problems using the dongle and wireless internet at the same time! If your source is a laptop/desktop and you use wifi-internet and the KLEER dongle at the same time, your internet will be extremely weak, up to the point that simply checking your email will not be possible.
The problem is due to the KLEER technology using the same bandwith as most wifi routers: 2,4Ghz. The KLEER dongle is so strong that somehow it pushes away your wifi signal, no matter how you tweak your router (I tried every setting possible)
The solution would be to set your router to 5Ghz. Beware though that most computers or routers are not capable of sending/receiving this frequency. I even bought a 5Ghz router and a dongle (cisco linksys stuff) to receive it, but I can't get this system to work. Also you have to ask yourself how many usb-ports you want to sacrifice just to be able to surf and listen in the same time.
If your router is already set at 5Ghz and your pc has no trouble getting this signal, there will be no issue with the KLEER dongle, however if you're not sure the first thing you need to do is find out if the wireless rDac will not interfere with your current system.
That said, the wireless sound is truly amazing and I can hardly (really hardly!) hear a difference between wireless and cable. The rDac really upgraded my home setup and I just love this little box, even though I now have to choose between wireless sound and internet.
Just bought this DAC, should arrive within the next couple of days.
Ive gone through a xonar STX, and a Emotiva XDA-1 completely unsatisfied. Hoping this will change my mind, because right now, to my ears, my el cheapo sony cd player still sounds the best..
Thank god for 30 day refunds, ill keep you all updated, really hoping I can get rid of the cd transport.
For those of you using the Arcam rDAC and would like an improvement in sonic performance without changing the DAC itself, I'm selling my Bakoon BPS-02. You can click the link below (classifieds) to see how this gear works, and if you'd like to purchase it.