Want to rev your Mac's audio? The rPAC is for you
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Want to rev your Mac's audio? The rPAC is for you


The built-in speakers on Macs are serviceable but certainly don't provide audiophile-pleasing sound. If you want to enhance your Mac's audio, the US$249.99 Arcam rPAC (http://macte.ch/28EZW) offers an excellent way to do so.

It's an USB, bus-powered DAC and headphone amplifier designed to improve the audio performance of both Apple and Windows computers. Compact enough to be transportable -- and it comes with a carrying case -- the Arcam rPAC provides high-end sound via its use of a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC).

It boasts a minimalist design. The only buttons are for volume. One button is for raising the volume, the other is for lowering it. Press both together and you mute the audio.

According to the folks at Arcam, the rPAC takes the signal from the computer via USB, re-clocks and de-jitters the signal, then delivers it through a low noise output stage directly to your computer's amp analogue input or via its own headphone amplifier. The rPAC also sports enhanced RF suppression for noisy digital environments. In other words, it can boost all your computer audio -- from music to gaming to movies.

When it comes to specs, the rPAC has a maximum sample rate of 96kHz and a bit depth of up to 24-bit -- though, like me, you’ll probably spend most of your time playing audio files recorded at 44.1kHz and 16-bit (the specification of the CD audio standard). The device has a frequency response of 10Hz to 20,000Hz and a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 106dB (the dedicated headphone amp has an SNR of 98dB).

It's easy to set up. Just connect the rPAC to your Mac with the supplied USB cable, then either onto an audio system via a standard RCA lead (also included), or out to headphones. No batteries or mains are necessary. However, if you need to connect to regular speakers that lack RCA inputs, you'll need an RCA-to-minijack converter. Also, since the device is USB powered, the volume level is a bit limited -- though you won't notice unless you plan on literally raising the roof.

One of the nice features of the rPAC is its rubberized base, which does a reasonably good job of preventing slippage. Although not heavy, it has enough heft (300g) that is won't slid around helter skelter on a desktop.

We tested the rPAC with Shure and Sennheiser headphones and Bose and Audioengine speakers. In all cases the sound quality was definitely enhanced. We tested it with DVDs, CDs, music (country, rock and classical) and movies bought at iTunes, and games -- and all sounded better than ever on our iMac. Sound was clean, warm and detailed.

What the rPAC doesn't do is provide surround sound (that's not it's job). Nor can it overcome the inherent limitations of cheap headphones or speakers. If you're going to spring for the DAC, you'll need to own -- or budget for -- high-end speakers and headphones -- and rip your music/videos at the highest quality possible.

Rating: 9 out of 10

 
AAPL
$96.10
Apple Inc.
-2.05
GOOG
$573.72
Google Inc.
-13.70
MSFT
$43.46
Microsoft Corpora
-0.12
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Dawn of the Immortals Review
Dawn of the Immortals Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESPECTABLE EXPLORATIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dawn of the Immortals might not re-invent the wheel, but it does tweak it a little bit when it comes to MMO gaming.   | Read more »
80 Days Review
80 Days Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: EPIC ADVENTUREUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A fantastic and fascinating re-envisioning of the classic novel by Jules Verne, 80 Days is a delightful piece of interactive fiction.   | Read more »
Battleheart Legacy Guide
The world of Battleheart Legacy is fun and deep; full of wizards, warriors, and witches. Here are some tips and tactics to help you get the most enjoyment out of this great game. | Read more »
Puzzle Roo Review
Puzzle Roo Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLE-BASED TWISTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A different take on the usual block dropping puzzle game, Puzzle Roo is quite pleasant.   | Read more »
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfi...
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfighter Coming Soon, Other Radiangames Titles Go 50% Off Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ | Read more »
Hexiled Review
Hexiled Review By Rob Thomas on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: HEX SELLSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad In space, no one can hear you… spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn’t go too far beyond the basic premise.   | Read more »
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Milli...
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Million Installs! Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Deep Loot Review
Deep Loot Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIVE DEEPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dive deep in this fun explore-em-up that’s a little grind heavy but ultimately quite entertaining.   | Read more »
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year O...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year Old, Gets its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Fish & Shark Review
Fish & Shark Review By Jordan Minor on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAPPY FISHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fish & Shark’s beauty is only scale deep.   | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.