I haven't heard of it being in distribution yet. My local dealer says it's several weeks away from hitting the stores.
I asked my dealer about it today. They called the distributor, who said it was supposed to be here already, but won't be here for a few more weeks. They also said that Arcam is contemplating launching it at CEDIA before they'll allow it to go to dealers. I don't know when CEDIA is, but that may delay it more.
I saw a British forum where a few guys had it already. They said it's better than the CD17 and pretty much on par with the CD37, which is Arcam's top CDP.
The CD37 is an excellent CDP to my ears, so I guess waiting a little longer will be worth it. I'd have pre-ordered the rDAC today, but my wise dealer didn't want to take my money without a definite date and me hearing it.
They're ordering one for me to demo. When that happens or they get official dates, I'll post here.
Thank you for the reply. A dealer told me the same (CEDIA). I thought that was just a escape goat to get rid of me. ANyways, if you sampled it in your system it would be nice if you can comment on the sound.
I am most interested on the sound thru USB as that's where am I heading to implement on mine.
When it comes in, I'll demo it in the store with my Apple TV (optical only), which will be my main use. They have a laptop with lossless files, so I'm pretty sure I'll demo it with that too. Once I get it home, I'll throw everything at it.
I looked at CEDIA's website, and it takes place at the end of September. I'd rather get my hands on one sooner, but I guess patience is a virtue. I've been waiting forever for a Rega DAC, but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon, regardless of what people tell me.
I'm a huge Rega fan. My Apollo sounds perfect in my system. I bough an Apple TV to use as a music server around April/May last year. My intent was to make it sound as good or better than my Apollo. If I can acheive that, I'd be done for a long time.
When I was contemplating the idea, my dealer (who also sells Naim, Linn, and Arcam) told me Naim was developing a DAC that may or may not be entry level. Everyone thought it would be 5i level (like the Nait 5i and CD5i), but he was pretty confident it would be higher end due to his long time dealings with Naim and knowing how they operate. He was right. He said Rega was reportedly developing a DAC on the Apollo level (price wise). He thought that would be a long way off even though word on the street was it would come out around the same time as the Naim DAC. He was right again. A year and a half later, no official mention of anything from Rega.
I started a thread a few months back (under the name Stu Pitt, which is what I go by on a few other forums) on Pink Fish Media, which is pre-dominantly UK guys and several dealers. A bunch of guys said Rega plans on release a DAC in the $1k range by the end of the summer/early fall. It reminds me of what I heard last year from my dealer, almost verbatum.
While I don't think those guys are lying, I doubt it'll happen any time soon for several reasons:
The DAC market is probably the hottest segment right now. Why wouldn't they formally announce something that's a few months away?
I'm pretty sure they'd announce or show a non-working display at a show before the DAC debuts to generate a buzz.
People say Rega is very tight lipped. I doubt that - They announced the Isis and Osiris and debuted non-working prototypes that hadn't even had the visual stuff finalized about 9 months before they confirmed the release date. The Apollo was announced at least 6 months before it finally replaced the Planet 2000.
If they're as close as people think, why wouldn't Rega mention it? Do you really think they'll just ship it to dealers without anyone knowing about it?
I'm pretty confidant that they are developing one. They'd be very stupid not to. But as my dealer said - don't hold your breath. I've been waiting a year and a half. I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if it'll be another year and a half.
Arcam is a pretty safe bet IMO. They make great stuff (I'd still rather a Rega DAC). The DAC will be $479, which isn't cheap to me, but not a huge risk either. I'm pretty sure if Rega comes out with a DAC next year that I have to have, I'll be able to sell the rDAC for not much loss. Or I can keep it around for a second system or as a second DAC improve video sound to my system if the Rega DAC doesn't have enough inputs. I think the rDAC will be too good to let go of for the money.
The Pink Fish Media thread I started is called "Anyone know if Rega has a DAC on the horizon" if you're interested.
I just followed up with the Pink Fish thread. A gentleman said Rega informed their dealers and Rega has a prototype. The same person prevoiusly stated August or September release for 500 GBP (about $1k?).
If it arrives in UK shops in September or October, it'll probably take a month or so longer to get here. Maybe more?
I hate guessing games. Just formally announce it.
I have one. I sourced it from the UK; I don't know if it's available in the US yet. The wall wart is universal, so I think we'll get the same unit here in the US when it does arrive.
I got it in anticipation of a Red Wine Audio-based setup, but right now have it feeding an April Aura Note via the Note's AUX input, into Omega single-driver speakers. The Note has its own USB input, and I've also messed around with driving it with a NuForce uDAC and a Centrance DACport. The rDAC is better than any of them. Most noticeable to me is a large, really well-defined soundstage and a really crisp presentation. I'm not noticing any particular coloration, it just sounds really good.
Talking with others who have more experience than I do, it seems that you need to get up to, say, the PS Audio DL 3 level to do better than the DACport, and the rDAC is better, so I think it's in that neigbhorhood anyway.
I got it because it's small and well-specced - good components and asynchronous USB, at a relatively low price. I'm very happy with it.
Hope that helps.
I have had my rDac for 2 weeks now and have 50 hrs on it.
I use it soley USB from various computer set up's (Mac/W7/Linux) all running 4Gb Ram and SSD's and lossless files of varying descriptions.
I like this dac. It has an ease via usb that I have not experienced before. Bass is tight and controlled. Highs are extended. It is hyper detailed. Accurate. Overall very impressive kit. You see deep into a recording. Is best with simple music. Falls apart a little on orchestral. But hey - what does one expect for $400 or so.
It improves with burn in. Or my ears get used to it the more I listen. One or the other.
I would be interested to hear it against the QB9.
I haven't heard an Arcam CP player, sorry. There's a guy on one of the other forums who says using the rDAC moved his CD17 to CD37 levels, and also that Arcam's John Dawson preferred the CD37 feeding this DAC to the CD37's native DAC. I'm not sure what the rules are here about crossposting, so I won't, but you should be able to find it.
I can't comment on the relative highs, either. It doesn't sound "polite" to my ears, though.
Can't understand the term "polite". Sorry! I have never owned an arcam product before.
@Tricka, what is your definition of a simple music (vocals/jazz/bluegrass)? Seems sound on the bright side eh? Hyperdetailed? Whats your equipment?
ALso, do you have preference on the USB cable used?
You got the rDAC on your local arcam dealer?
I posted this over at CA. Cut and pasted here. I would be interested if any other rDac owners have had the same experience.
I thought to update this thread after a mini GTG with some fellow audio buddies last night at a mate's house where we compared the rDac to a Havana and Lavry DA10.
Ok time for an update - the ugly phase appears to be passing somewhat. Massed strings - while still suffering confusion - at least do not offend as they did. I would still describe the rDac as fairly... ahem...forward. Another 30 hrs to go before I get to the 200 mark. Lets see what happens then.
I had hoped the rDac would benefit from the dCS tech to raise it beyond budget Dac status. Unless something radical happens I can't see that occurring.
This is going to sound like I don't believe you. Please don't take it that way; I don't doubt you heard what you heard...
What you're describing sounds very odd to me. I've heard a ton of Arcam stuff - not the rDAC - and never heard what you're describing. When I asked if the rDAC had "polite highs" I asked it because every Arcam piece I've ever heard sounds a bit mellow and easy on the ears in that region. Never heard an Arcam sound harsh or distorted in the highs.
To my ears, Arcam has always sounded well balanced and a bit laid back.
Are you sure something wasn't amiss with either the rest of the system or the rDAC itself? If it sounds that bad, maybe something's wrong with it? I'm not saying Arcam is perfect, but their gear has always sounded very good to my ears. It's never sounded out-classed by more expensive gear to me. Maybe not as good, but not to the extent you're describing.
Again, I haven't heard the rDAC. I can't say you're wrong or right. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't something off here.
I should also disclose that I'm not the biggest believer of burn in for stuff that doesn't move. Digital gear needs a good amount of warm up time, but burn in is another matter. Every time I turn off my Theta DAC or Rega Apollo for a while, it takes a good 2 hours or so of playing music before everything sounds right. Interestingly enough, the highs are always most effected by it. My Theta sounds shrill, harsh and distorted when it's cold. The Apollo does too, but not to the same extent. Maybe this was part of it?
I'm with you - Arcam gear has always sounded pretty balanced to me. They are a large company with great R&D. I do not expect them to release a poor product even if it is aimed at the budget end of life.
Nope - not my system. That I do know.
I too am a burn in sceptic. But is something that I regularly observe... Even Charlie Hansen talks of burn in with his QB9. He is unsure why but supposes it may be the particular resin used on the pcb....go figure.
I don't turn digital gear off - it is always on. No warming up to deal with.
I have to say that initially it sounded a lot better than it currently does - see my earlier impressions and the thread I started at CA.
You are quite correct - I'm only reporting what I hear - the good and and the bad.
Disclaimer: these are just my personal musings and accordingly you should attribute no weight to my views beyond the usual internet tittle tattle.
And you are quite correct I may well have a faulty unit. As I privately imported it from the UK warranty is out of the question - I'm not that enamoured with it to be bothered sending it back. If it doesn't improve in the bin it goes.
I'm more interested in other rDac owners telling me if they have had a similar experience. If they have not then it is an issue unique to me and most likely a fault in the unit. If they have then I know it is not a unique issue.
Mate - pop out and buy one - they are cheap as chips. If you hear nothing but sweet sounds then I know it's my unit.
No need for the disclaimer IMO. Everyone's honest observations should be taken at face value. Too many people get too worked up about things. I'm going to hear an rDAC when my dealer gets one in. $479 is cheap, but not throw away cheap to my wallet.
Unless that's the way it's supposed to sound, maybe something came loose internally on it's way over here?
I've never known Arcam to make a crap product, like you said. Their stuff isn't the be all, end all but it's always been great for the money. It would be a real shame if it changed.
Not to start a race war, but did you know the rDAC is made in China? I think their other rSeries stuff and a few other things are made there too. Hate to say it, but maybe their strict quality control failed?
I'm still interested in it. I'm more interested in a Rega DAC. Finally saw something official from a dealer in the UK about it. They have a picture and a tech sheet. I'd rather spend $1k on the DAC I've been waiting for than half that for a DAC that's something I'd settle for.
My Rega dealer is the Arcam dealer I spoke of earlier.
Oh I nearly always type disclaimers...I hope it makes people realise it is just my (rather faulty) middle aged ears at work and not to take it all too seriously.
And in fairness it is opening up quite alot the last 25 hrs or so. I wouldn't say it is entirely resolved but certainly alot of the unpleasantness has passed.
You have minded me I must pop the hood and have a look underneath. I don't even know what op amps are in it.
Lots of great dacs out there. I reckon the Lavry Da10/11 takes alot of beating at $800-900 second hand.
The rDac is beginning to settle nicely and produce some good sound with strings. I am listening to Sinfonia Concertante in B Minor KV 364, Violin Concertos, The 5 - Kremer, Harmoncourt as I type and the ease and fluidity I spoke of earlier is present. Violin appears timbre accurate and without distortion. Orchestra is still a little confused - but I don't expect that to go away anytime soon.
This is a good dac for the money. Let's hope it continues to develop and the burn in issue (if that is what it was) I reported is nothing of note.
Here is (most of) a post I made over at head fi. Talk about shouting from the rooftops. Sigh.....
Righto - I have hit the 230hr mark. i think it is where it is going to get to.
Having said all that I would be delighted to hear others views and reviews. Happy to be completely contradicted and told I have cotton wool for ears. Probably true.
It's great that you are having such good success with this unit.
Having looked over description and specs of the rDAC and having owned several Arcam sources, I am wondering if this unit might not benefit from:
- a better DC power source (e.g., a battery) than the relatively inferior switching pwr supply provided;
- isolation and vibration damping.
Wondering if by chance you might have tried either of these in achieving your good results.
I just hit around 245 hours running it full time. Been an interesting trip.
0-3 hours start-up, VERY warm sound, My helicon 300 MKII's never sounded better. Highs were a hair overly crisp. The detail was good.
70-100 hour point, extension of the bass is gone. High end seems a little distorted. The detail was still present. Listened in 30-45 minute segments a few times during this burn-in time.
157 hour point, the distortion at the high end seems to settle down, imaging was fair.
210 hours, same as 157 with the exception, detail is better.
235 hours, the overly warm sound when I opened the box, is gone. Now the low end is detailed and tight. While its tight, I would love to know what it measures. Im not sure how to write this, I wonder if the output at around 200hz and under, is low under-performing? How do you do a sine wave and measure it?
The mid-range and highs seem detailed and clear. Imaging is good, but, I believe it excels in detail of the music.
I do get the sense that the out of the box wow factor is not as good. With great material, the Dac does a pretty good job. With poor material, obviously not that well.
Most music listening is done with electronic, jazz, rock and classical.
Just got off the phone with my dealer. I have some low freq music. I'm thinking of hitting the Dac with 20+ hours of it and see what the response is.
I picked one up last week. Really surprised by how good the thing sounds for under $500.
I've blathered on before about various DACs that I've owned such as Red Wine, MHDT Havana, Tube Audio Design's TADAC and the Empirical Audio Turbo-3 which was paired to these DACs with very spendy digital cabling, both USB and SPDIF. I've also owned the Bel Canto DAC3 and Benchmark DAC1. Anyway....as small/unassuming as the RDAC is, the sound is incredibly clean/clear and non fatiguing. That's with a 12' cheap USB cable.
I'm running it through a Classe SSP pre/pro, into a tube amp and then into a $6k+ pair of Living Voice Speakers. Macbook and a demo of Amarra Junior (also very nice software so far). I know, the Classe is not ideal, but.....
I just purchased the rDac and rWave combo. Not being overly pleased as the sound was very shallow I searched the forums for help and discovered that the power supply is a huge weak point with the rDac. I have recently purchased a Paul Hynes Designs SR3-06 power supply and OHG the difference is night and day. The music is balanced and almost equal to a straight digital playback from CD. I digitized all my music to FLAC and play back from my PC. I also get a kick out of bringing my computer outside during parties and mixing up the music depending on what is going on! Very happy with Arcam products.