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Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options
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Recently purchased some PRC db1i's and during the demo tried out the arcam rdac via usb from my macbook pro as I have never been happy with a direct connection to amp. I am very impressed with the rdac results (its performance is surprisingly near to my cd player). Unfortunatley hifi shop didnt have the arcam wireless functionality (arcam usb dongle + antenna upgrade for rdac).

 My question is: What would be the best way to send music from macbook (i use itunes) to the rdac.

My options are

1) an already purchased airport express can carry signal from macbook and usb out to rdac. 

2) Airport express can also 3.5 mini jack out to digital optical toslink (as can macbook directly) (3.5 to toslink cable to purchase).

3) Or if the results are better pay out £70 for the arcam dongle and extra £75 for wireless antenna upgrade to rdac (the downside besides expense is I have usb dongle hanging out my mac).

 The arcam website refers to some "kleer" technology but what are they really adding wireless technology wise?

The other hardware option mooted by hifi shop is the chordette gem but the APT-X bluetooth signal from macbook provokes another debate to be had at a later date.

My kit for reference:

Exposure 2010 amp, exposure 2010 cd player, chord odyssey cables, chord chorus interconnect, prc db1i speakers, macbook pro 13".  

   

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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options
seaninbristol:My question is: What would be the best way to send music from macbook (i use itunes) to the rdac.

My options are

1) an already purchased airport express can carry signal from macbook and usb out to rdac.

Nope, can't do this I'm afraid - the USB port on the Airport Express doesn't output audio. It's main use is to share a printer or USB disk on the wireless network.

seaninbristol:2) Airport express can also 3.5 mini jack out to digital optical toslink (as can macbook directly) (3.5 to toslink cable to purchase).

This you can do!

seaninbristol:3) Or if the results are better pay out £70 for the arcam dongle and extra £75 for wireless antenna upgrade to rdac (the downside besides expense is I have usb dongle hanging out my mac).

The arcam website refers to some "kleer" technology but what are they really adding wireless technology wise?

My understanding of the Kleer technology is it offers the transmission of uncompressed CD quality music. Compared to technology like Bluetooth, this is good since Bluetooth has to compress audio to work, whereas Kleer doesn't. However, the Airport Express also doesn't compress music as it's transmitted, so I can't see any benefit of it over the AE in this instance.

There may be other factors at work I'm not aware of though, but if you already have the AE, this seems like the most sensible route to me.

 

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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

Thanks for the detailed reply.


Bad news on the USB front airport wise, rubbish assumption on my part. I have seen on some reviews that the USB connectionon the rdac is better than the optical one; the main reason given is the "dCS Asynchronous USB Technology" handling audio more proficiently.  So I am worried the optical connection wont perform as well as the usb connection i demoed.


It would just be easier if the arcam accepted APT-X bluetooth connections as it now appears software upgrades mean the macbook is bluetooth APT-X enabled (though its difficult to get this clarified through apple docs online). This bluetooth is a different channel to the rubbish one we use for normal bluetooth and it can carry HD-audio. I should point out Im yet to actually see a macbook transfer audio this way.


"The apt-X Bluetooth audio codec is available for HD-Audio over Bluetooth. When incorporated in Bluetooth A2DP Stereo products, apt-X Bluetooth audio coding delivers full 'wired' audio quality.  With apt-X Bluetooth source material is transparently delivered over the Bluetooth link, whether it is stored uncompressed or in an alternative compression (MP3, AAC, FLAC) format"


looks like im going to have to trial of the chordette gem against the arcam rdac to see which sounds better. Would be great to see a comparison of this kit carried out by what hifi.


 

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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

Out of interest, if you already have an Airport Express, why not just try this i.e. just take your AE and Macbook with you and give it a demo?

 

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Anonymous
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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

I will demo with AE and arcam combo and report back. Will see if I can get chordette gem too as they are both offered from same shop.


I will have to investigate mystery of bluetooth APT-X and airplay topics another time.

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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

Worth checking if the demo rDAC has been run-in, it really does need 100 hours.

When my rDAC was new it was a gloopy, bass-heavy plodder. I then gave it 70 hours, during which time I didn't listen to it, so that my hearing didn't merely become accustomed to the rDAC's sound.

After 70 hours, its sound was much improved - more snap, drive, separation, detail, tighter bass etc, etc. And after 100 hours it was even better.

Are you going to demo at Audio T Bristol? When I was last there, mid-Dec, they weren't aware that rDACs need running in...

Anonymous
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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

 


I didnt dicuss run in with Bristol sevenoaks but I believe the rdac had been on demo for a while and it sounded very good to me so Im assuming it had been run in. 


Sevenoaks have the chordette gem for trial also. At similar price points but different array of connections.


Chordette Gem £399


Arcam rdac £279 basic add wireless antenna £75 plus arcam dongle £75 = £429


Looking at online reviews chordette needs a lot of running in too.


 

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Re: Arcam rdac and macbook wireless options

Can't remember precisely why, but IIRC the rDAC's optional-extra wireless antenna can't deal with as much bandwidth/resolution as an Airport Express (AE) with an optical cable/TOSlink.

AEs can be had for c. £55 from the 'Apple Refurbished' section of Apple's online store.

FWIW, I'm coming round to the idea that an AE + optical/TOSlink is best for wireless (CD quality), with a hiFace USB interface + coax for 192kHz/24bit and 96kHz/24bit material.

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