We first saw a prototype of the Arcam MusicBoost back in November, but now we've got our hands on the real thing which has just gone on sale in the UK for £120.

Hidden in the protective casework designed to fit around an iPhone 6, and weighing just 100g, the device is a combined headphone amp, DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and battery pack.

Arcam says it delivers three times the power output of the standard iPhone 6, doubles its battery life and will enhance the sound quality whether you are listening to music stored on the phone or streaming from the likes of Apple Music, Spotify or Tidal.

MusicBoost extracts the digital audio signal from the iPhone's Lightning port, feeds it via a high-performance Texas Instruments DAC to the built-in amp and then out to headphones of your choice. It can play FLAC and WAV files using third-party software such as VOX and Flac Player+.

Charlie Brennan, Arcam's managing director, says: "With the MusicBoost, we have applied our serious audio engineering talents to the iPhone. The improved sound quality will make you want to listen to more and more music, and you get the added advantage of doubling your phone's battery life."

The rechargeable internal Lithium Polymer battery powers the amp and DAC as well as recharging the phone itself. Arcam claims you'll get up to 120 hours music replay in Airplane mode (ie with Bluetooth, wi-fi and 3G/4G switched off). Recharging of the MusicBoost is via micro USB using the supplied lead.

Arcam says it has no plans to make a MusicBoost for the larger iPhone 6 Plus. We will be testing the Arcam MusicBoost soon.

MORE: Arcam unveils third-generation Solo Movie and Music systems


Graham Luke's picture

Can you hear the difference...?

Given the already excellent SQ of the phone, this device must be stratospherically superior to be worthwhile.

I only say this because I could not discern ANY improvement in SQ when I attached an Oppo HA-2 to my iPhone 5.

I guess it's a subjective thing, right...?


Gez Ball's picture

Arcam musicboost

Bought one of these last week. Three times the power? Someone is being extremely optimistic. Slight boost in volume sound is no better than  that you get from your phone....£120? Much better and cheaper options. Got my money back!

lpv's picture

so lets say apple will change

so lets say apple will change dimessions of next iphone..  will this arcam device adjust itself automatically? or it become useless...

robfol's picture

MusicBOOST and new iPhones

That's not a real-life problem, Most people don't change phones every year. There are many millions of 6/6s in circulation, the price is low and will have a secondhand value. Arcam will make a new version when relevant. iPhone 7 not due until Sept 16 anyway. 

gurjitsidhu's picture


Am I right in thinking we would still need to charge the phone using the light by cable then another micro USB to charge the music boost part or does the whole phone now get charged via micro SD?

Andy Clough's picture


You can charge the MusicBoost battery via the micro USB, then press the Boost button (bottom left) to charge the iPhone. If you want to charge the iPhone independently of the MusicBoost then you would need to remove it from the case and charge using a standard lightning connector. 

Ashley Taylor's picture


I've just bought one and it sounds sensational with B&W P7 headphones.

With regards to charging, I have found simply plug a Micro USB charger in and it charges both iPhone and Musicboost at the same time. This was a USB port with a 2.1A power supply mind.

Very simple to use, SQ has to be heard to believe. I thought the iPhone 6S was a huge improvement over the 5S, but this is an even bigger improvement.



motley's picture


Pity they ditched the lightning connector in favour of mini USB as that kills functionality with car kits