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
$524.75
Apple Inc.
-6.95
GOOG
$526.94
Google Inc.
-7.87
MSFT
$39.69
Microsoft Corpora
-0.30
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

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

iOOTP Baseball 2014 Edition Review
iOOTP Baseball 2014 Edition Review By Carter Dotson on April 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SOLID CONTRACTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The long-running baseball simulator returns to mobile with a much-improved entry in the series.   | Read more »
148Apps Live on Twitch: Soccer Rally 2 w...
Soccer Rally 2 from IceFlame Games officially releases on Thursday, bringing perhaps the most realistic car soccer action to the App Store since the original released. David Deacon of IceFlame Games will join us on our Twitch channel to talk about the game, how they tried to improve it over the original, and perhaps playing their game in real life... | Read more »
NightCap Pro Review
NightCap Pro Review By Jennifer Allen on April 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: NIGHT TIME SNAPPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Taking photos in low light conditions has always been tricky, but NightCap Pro has just made it easier.   | Read more »
Plague Inc. has Mutated Yet Again – We’r...
Plague Inc. has Mutated Yet Again – We’re All Doomed Even More than Usual Posted by Rob Rich on April 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Intake from Cipher Prime Coming to iPad...
Cipher Prime’s Inake is coming to iPad on May 1, as exclusively revealed yesterday on our Twitch channel. | Read more »
Gusto Email App Review
Gusto Email App Review By Jennifer Allen on April 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: POWERFUL SEARCHINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Focusing on making it easy to browse files and photos attached to your email, Gusto is a powerful solution.   | Read more »
New Update Adds Two More Cars to Fishlab...
New Update Adds Two More Cars to Fishlabs’ Sports Car Challenge 2 Posted by Rob Rich on April 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
What’s Up with Readdle? – The Verge Exam...
What’s Up with Readdle? | Read more »
Knight Saves Queen Review
Knight Saves Queen Review By Jennifer Allen on April 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLING MASH UPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mixing up puzzle elements with Chess-based sensibilities is a fun move for this simplistic looking puzzle game.   | Read more »
Scrap Squad Review
Scrap Squad Review By Jennifer Allen on April 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE TRASH COLLECTIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It turns out that dividing up trash can be quite fun in a chaotic kind of way.   | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.