Respected Cambridge-based purveyors of quality audio, Arcam, enter the world of streaming networked audio with the rPlay.
It seems, rather like the proverbial buses, that one waits an age for an affordable networked streaming box to come along, and then two come at once! Just this week on The Audio Affair Blog, we’ve looked at Yamaha’s WXAD-10 network streaming box, and today we look at The Arcam rPlay.
Many of us have spent a considerable amount of time, and money, building our ‘ideal’ Hi-Fi system, and yet, the convenience offered by the new world of Streaming Audio is highly attractive. Thankfully, as we’ll see, the Arcam rPlay is a great way to integrate Streaming Audio with your existing Hi-Fi system.
Arcam Quality – Streaming Convenience
The world of audio streaming has seen massive growth recently, with streaming music having overtaken both digital downloads and CD sales recently, to become the primary means of music consumption. Now, thanks to Hi-Res streaming services such as Tidal, Audiophiles can enjoy the streaming revolution too.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate streaming into your existing Hi-Fi system is by purchasing a dedicated “streaming box”, allowing for streamed audio to be integrated directly with your tried and trusted Hi-Fi separates; the Arcam rPlay is just a device!
Arcam has been designing and manufacturing quality, respected Hi-Fi equipment since 1976. You can be assured, therefore, that the Arcam rPlay has been designed from the perspective of audio fidelity, first and foremost.
The rPlay forms part of Arcam’s ‘r series’ of high-performance audio and hi-fi accessories, which includes everything from headphone amplifiers to USB DAC’s
When it comes to controlling the Arcam rPlay, Arcam has chosen to use the dts Play-fi app; an excellent app which allows the user to stream audio to various Play-fi supported units individually or simultaneously. Additionally, Play-fi supports common streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal, as well as internet radio.
The options for networked audio don’t start and end with Play-fi, however; the Arcam rPlay also supports Apple Airplay and UPnP enabled music sources. As it should now be clear, the Arcam rPlay is a highly accommodating and well thought out network streaming device.
The Arcam rPlay – Quality comes as Standard
Taking a look at the Arcam rPlay, one is greeted by a high quality, die cast, aluminium enclosure; there are no cheap plastics here! Around the back of the unit, one will find two pairs of RCA stereo outputs (more on those in a moment), a coaxial SPDIF digital output, a network connector (for hardwired network connection), the connection for the included Wi-Fi antenna, plus a power switch and the power inlet. Finally, there are USB ports to enable future upgrades, and buttons to control network connections.
Remember those RCA connections I mentioned? One pair is a standard, fixed level analogue pair; ideal for adding streaming functionality to an existing Hi-Fi. The other pair of analogue connections allow for the volume level to be adjusted from the Play-fi app; extremely convenient if one wishes to couple the rPlay with a pair of powered speakers, for example, to create a self-contained streaming setup.
Finally, the news you were all waiting for, the Arcam rPlay supports genuine, Hi-Res Audio. Hooray! True, 24bit/192kHz PCM audio is supported by the rPlay; Play-fi additionally features a ‘critical listening’ mode, which will stream audio free from additional downsampling.
Couple the Hi-Res specification with an equally impressive 117db Signal/Noise ratio, and it’s clear that the Arcam rPlay delivers high quality streaming audio in an affordable, easily integrated unit, which will breathe new functionality and life into any Hi-Fi system.