The only downside is the absence of integrated AptX bluetooth receiver (you need to buy the additional rBlink).
Tried the USB 2.0 input. Through USB it sounds still more confident, may be due to asynchronous streaming. Arcam's own usb 2.0 driver shows up as arcam asio driver in foobar, so no need to install asio4all or any other paid asio driver.
Great dac, replaced my rdac with irdac a week back. I would say the review is every bit right. It takes around 75 to 100 hours for proper runing in. Initially it is too polite, then a bit brash and finally has very detailed yet clean and smooth highs. Timing is much better than rdac, bass is deeper and tighter and that slight extra bass punch of rdac is gone. Soundstage is wider and better focussed. Placement of instrumments seems to be more solid. Sounds emanate more distinctly and 'surprisingly'. 12 volt supply means it can be operated with a battery if someone finds a proper connector. I have not tried battery option but sound should improve further IMHO with little more investment. It's a perfect match for my exposure 2010s2 amp. All in all a great dac at a very good price.
When I listened on store (and compared with other DAC's) the irDAC sounded fantastic. But when I brought one home (new one in box) I can't hear the difference anymore (???)
Before I had a V-DAC v.1 for about three years. What I mean is that e.g. the cd-player sounds 5% better with the irDAC, when with the V-DAC it sounded about 30% better. Same speakers, amp, and cables. I'm testing by switching the inputs on the amp, with and without the irDAC in realtime (the cd-player has multiple outputs). I'm also testing with FLAC files (24bit) through the USB input via my Macbook.
Can the reason be a) that the irDAC hasn't been "run in" properly (have had it playing 2 hours now) b) the device is broken, c) the V-DAC matched better my speakers, or d) I should go and check my ears...
Over-excited reviews like this almost always turn me off a product. I don't want a DAC that has that sort of excitable effect on sound. I want the DAC to be a transparent and neutral representation of the original sound, and to leave any bells and whistles to my amp + speakers. Otherwise it's just a recipe for poor matching, which is a difficult enough minefield with the amp and speakers alone.
I just bought the irDAC after following the release of this unit quite closely. Not so long time ago, I tried both the HRT streamer and the audioquest dragonfly and ended up returning both of them since I found absolutely no difference on soundstage and frequency response. I figured, it must be because you get for what you pay, so I concluded that a bigger investment will proportionately deliver a more noticeable and pleasant sound. So I went for the irDAC and after hours, literally hours of listening (including a blind test) I conclude that the very little difference, and little is an overstatement, differences are almost to the subconscious level. It has a bit more punchy bass and smaller soundstage, sounds more like "stereo rather than 3D", and warmer high frequencies. I have a pair of dynaudio DM 2/7 and Marantz PM6004 as well as studio monitors that I use on my desktop computer. Even my studio monitors that reveal pretty much everything, did not pick up any noticeable difference. My source are from 24 bit 96khz files to day to day high bitrate Spotify songs.
I'm sure a lot of you will disagree with me, but if you really think about it, better electronics and better jitteriness is likely an unnoticeable difference to the human ear, and whomever says they can pick up differences I challenge them to take a blind test...
I ended up returning the irDAC, although I really, really wanted them to improve my sound, completely disappointed. That's it for DACs for me, investing that same money into speakers and amps will probably be the best thing to do.
I have been in the market for a DAC to partner my ZP80 and CD6003 for some time now and initially settled on an Audiolab 8200CD and use the Digital inputs for the ZP80. Until I heard this!
Truly a great product. It is very very good.
I actually vowed never to buy Arcam again after having owned a Solo Movie 5.1. I actually owned three due to blown HDMI boards and finally a knackered transport.
I am glad I put that behind me put it that way!
Does this DAC support Direct & Interger mode via USB with Audirvana Plus and Pure Music on the Mac?
In answer to my own question for those that need, yes it does support Direct and Interger mode... and it's a fantastic bit of kit, sounding better than my old M2Tech Young DAC in my system! Time to sell the M2Tech!
It can't handle DSD then?
No, it can not.
In the interest of balance I felt compelled to comment here. I trialled the irDAC and QDAC together with/as and upgrade to my 10 year old Marantz CD6000 OSE LE. This was over 48 hrs, warmed through and using audiolab/tag amplification with XTZ 99.36 speakers. There were very very subtle differences between the CD / CD + audiolab, and CD + Arcam. The Arcam was slightly warmer with female vocals but had much less texture in the bass compared to the QDAC and a smaller soundstage and less dynamics than the CD on its own. If I had ended up buying I would have had the Audiolab as I preferred it in my system but it got dropouts using an Apple Airport Express and Audiolab have not answered my technical enquiry regarding this. The Arcam streamed very well. Now my beef here is that while the Arcam is a nice product it is not in a different league to the QDAC and I am waiting to try the M1DAC, which I doubt it is streets ahead of either. My experience is that differences in external DACs are VERY subtle and I achieved more sonic difference by moving the speakers 6 inches. Unfortunately I am moving towards ignoring reviews as the effusive praise heaped on some products really doesn't quite translate in the real world!
Are your sure the issue does not lie with the Airport Express? Both myself and my father have one and both are hugely unreliable.
Apple really dropped the ball with Airplay, apple made it's reputation on 'it just works', unfortunately the airport express 'just does not work'!
I've have my irDAC for about a month now and it is absolutely the best upgrade I've ever added to my system. I've not been this impressed about anything since I bought an rPAC to use at work, Arcam know their way around a DAC.
One thing though, the review says you can use the accessory port on the back of an A19 to power it. This is not true. The accessory power only outputs 6V/1A and the irDAC takes 12V/1.5A, unless of course Arcam have changed the A19 in the last few months...
As I am in the market for a DAC to add to my Mac Mini, I would like to see a comparative test/review between the Arcam irDAC and the recently released Meridian Director (and whether or not the apodising filter on the Meridian makes any descernable difference on its overall sound compared to the Arcam).
Rega has got 2x Wolfson WM8742 chipset on board, while irDAC is equipped with 1x Burr Brown 1796. I am also curious about sonic differences between those two and rDAC itself, which I have got with the external, linear power supply unit from polish manufacturer Tomanek.
If irDAC is indeed more cohesive, powerful and dynamic than rDAC, I would sell the latter immediately and buy the irDAC even though I will lose wireless capability of my rDACkw.
One of the advantage irDAC has over Rega DAC is support for 24bit/88kHz up to 192kHz over USB class II.
will it be an upgrade over the Rega Dac, the rega is also very cohesive and rhythmic with good timing?
I had the Rega DAC and recently changed to the Arcam irDAC, I'm using it with a Rega Brio R for now. For me its brilliant, Spacious sounding and open. The remote operates the volume and mute buttons on the Brio. the only negative thing I would say Is the on/off switch at the back which as I have mine enclosed in a unit. I'm really enjoying my music again, makes the Rega sound a little thick in my opinion.
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A hugely talented amp and a real comeback for Marantz
This versatile all-in-one solution has plenty of features to root for, but sound quality isn’t one of them
As exciting and flamboyant as it is, the 2010S2 has too many caveats when it comes to dynamics and cohesiveness for us to recommend it over rivals<
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