Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter – It’s beginning to grow on me :-)

But it should also support airplay.

But even if the mike jack is plugged, the line out is still working.

Good clarity and soundstage but lacks dynamics. Here are the specifications for the Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter:

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  • 6 Digital inputs: 2x Coax, 2x Optical, USB and Bluetooth
  • ESS ES9016 Sabre DAC
  • Fixed & variable analogue output
  • Headphone output
  • Stylish cast aluminium chassis

Tried head to head against a 5* rated (what hifi 2017) cd player. The arcam with cambridge cxc transport was significantly better all round – clarity, sound stage, dynamics.

Unique british designed product. Great sound quality – big improvement over using the in-device dacs. I play all my digital audio devices through it so multiple input options very useful – i use them all. Two outputs also good – i connect the fixed output to my main tv/sound system, and the variable output to my active computer speakers.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Lovely DAC, less sure about the headphone amp
  • Upgrade your hi-fi.
  • Good DAC, not so sure about the headphone amplifier

Good dac, not so sure about the headphone amplifier. I am using this in combination with an rplay and another headphone amplifuer as the built in one does not do it for me. Mind you the amplifier cost as much as this dac amplifier so you pay your money and take your choice.

Good dac, not so sure about the headphone amplifier. I am using this in combination with an rplay and another headphone amplifuer as the built in one does not do it for me. Mind you the amplifier cost as much as this dac amplifier so you pay your money and take your choice.

Lovely dac, less sure about the headphone amp. As another reviewer has noted, the headphone amp is not really on a par with the rest of the contents. To my ears, it sounded harsh and over-analytical. *however* this could be down to the rest of my equipment and personal taste. I got a valve headphone amp and fed the signal from the arcam into that and my system now sounds stellar in its quality. I cannot really fault the irdac-ii – it does a superb job. I’m sure (as with all hi-fi) that if i spent more money i could get something better, but i would think i’d have to spend a *lot* more to get a significant improvement. I can only judge this from listening to components from a (richer) friend’s system, which cost a lot more, but frankly didn’t offer any improvements on the dac front. I would say that this is a safe bet to buy. If the headphone thing is an issue, then there’s your excuse for your next spending spree.

Unique british designed product. Great sound quality – big improvement over using the in-device dacs. I play all my digital audio devices through it so multiple input options very useful – i use them all. Two outputs also good – i connect the fixed output to my main tv/sound system, and the variable output to my active computer speakers.

Deceptively good value, audiophile grade plenty of inputs and remote. More substantial than you might expect from the photographs. Sound quality is superb and triumphs over the well specified pro audio interfaces i use. My front end monitoring is pretty revealing, jm lab speakers and primare amps. I don’t expect much difference between dacs. But was immediately impressed by the extra clarity, noticeably smooth cymbals and reverb tails, which i suspect are due to the extremely low jitter. There’s more low end weight, but it’s not forced. The stereo image seems much better defined and wider.

Lovely dac, less sure about the headphone amp. As another reviewer has noted, the headphone amp is not really on a par with the rest of the contents. To my ears, it sounded harsh and over-analytical. *however* this could be down to the rest of my equipment and personal taste. I got a valve headphone amp and fed the signal from the arcam into that and my system now sounds stellar in its quality. I cannot really fault the irdac-ii – it does a superb job. I’m sure (as with all hi-fi) that if i spent more money i could get something better, but i would think i’d have to spend a *lot* more to get a significant improvement. I can only judge this from listening to components from a (richer) friend’s system, which cost a lot more, but frankly didn’t offer any improvements on the dac front. I would say that this is a safe bet to buy. If the headphone thing is an issue, then there’s your excuse for your next spending spree.

Excellent playing into a supernait 2 using flac rips from. Excellent playing into a supernait 2 using flac rips from my vinyl – i use a low spec (fanless, silent) laptop connected to a nas server and into the irdac2 via usb, all in all, am very pleased.

Good clarity and soundstage but lacks dynamics.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s beginning to grow on me :-). I purchased my arcam rplay nearly a week ago now and it’s not been without a few teething problems. Fist of all if you are a apple mac/itunes fan this unit has some shortcomings. It will play from your itunes library but it will be standard mp3 qualit,y not apple looss less, the rplay does not have the software to resolve this particular format. If you are a windows person then it holds a greater initial promise as its designed for flac and mp3. The 3rd part app arcam recommend is very basic and it is a shame that arcam did not develop their own. I ended up downloading the apple ‘remote’ app for my ipad as this works really well with my imac/itunes, very little delay better than the arcam recommended app. Spotify premium works really well from the ipad communicating with the mac really well over wi-fi. Selecting the higher quality download on spotify is much improved over the itunes mp3 quality. The dealer who demonstarted the rplay had no real hi-res to play, in fact once i said i’d take one they had not one to sell me.
  2. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    It’s beginning to grow on me :-). I purchased my arcam rplay nearly a week ago now and it’s not been without a few teething problems. Fist of all if you are a apple mac/itunes fan this unit has some shortcomings. It will play from your itunes library but it will be standard mp3 qualit,y not apple looss less, the rplay does not have the software to resolve this particular format. If you are a windows person then it holds a greater initial promise as its designed for flac and mp3. The 3rd part app arcam recommend is very basic and it is a shame that arcam did not develop their own. I ended up downloading the apple ‘remote’ app for my ipad as this works really well with my imac/itunes, very little delay better than the arcam recommended app. Spotify premium works really well from the ipad communicating with the mac really well over wi-fi. Selecting the higher quality download on spotify is much improved over the itunes mp3 quality. The dealer who demonstarted the rplay had no real hi-res to play, in fact once i said i’d take one they had not one to sell me.
  3. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    Very pleased, big beautiful rounded sound, when used with arcam rhead and senn hd650.
  4. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    A little fussy my feeling arcam took too much on with this dac too soon. Not a bad dac although in typical arcam style it doesn’t work smoothly universally with all devices. I plugged a popular android box into this for usb audio and was very frustrated to hear crackles and all i can describe as ‘digital noise’ in and amongst the sounds. So i thought perhaps instead i should use the optical output instead. This time the music, whilst more tolerable would drop out every 5 seconds or so and then come back. Lots of research later i updated the firmware on the box to 1. 92 which essentially improved the defects to a more tolerable level but i couldn’t believe it. So i get my trust ir dac (older version) and plugged that in and usb audio worked flawlessly. I then connected this dac to another leading android box and usb audio worked flawlessly.
    1. A little fussy my feeling arcam took too much on with this dac too soon. Not a bad dac although in typical arcam style it doesn’t work smoothly universally with all devices. I plugged a popular android box into this for usb audio and was very frustrated to hear crackles and all i can describe as ‘digital noise’ in and amongst the sounds. So i thought perhaps instead i should use the optical output instead. This time the music, whilst more tolerable would drop out every 5 seconds or so and then come back. Lots of research later i updated the firmware on the box to 1. 92 which essentially improved the defects to a more tolerable level but i couldn’t believe it. So i get my trust ir dac (older version) and plugged that in and usb audio worked flawlessly. I then connected this dac to another leading android box and usb audio worked flawlessly.
      1. Return of a rounded sound. . This unit has brought back the whole rounded sound we remembered from pre digital era. The difference is subtle but to try to explain in my words. It gives a mellow sound with more depth?.It picks up those small percussion sounds with more clarity in orchestral music. It gives a complete rounded sound. It knocks of the harsh edges and produces a beautiful rounded sound.
  5. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    Return of a rounded sound. . This unit has brought back the whole rounded sound we remembered from pre digital era. The difference is subtle but to try to explain in my words. It gives a mellow sound with more depth?.It picks up those small percussion sounds with more clarity in orchestral music. It gives a complete rounded sound. It knocks of the harsh edges and produces a beautiful rounded sound.
    1. At the current price of £399, tremendous value. Includes an optical cable for your cd player (provided the latter has an optical output). Bluetooth easy to set up with ipad and then set streaming to best quality.
  6. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    At the current price of £399, tremendous value. Includes an optical cable for your cd player (provided the latter has an optical output). Bluetooth easy to set up with ipad and then set streaming to best quality.
    1. Totally transforms my i tunes library👍 it’s. Totally transforms my i tunes library👍it’s as if it’s playing from another source it really is that good.
  7. This review is from : Arcam irDAC-II Digital to Analogue Converter

    Totally transforms my i tunes library👍 it’s. Totally transforms my i tunes library👍it’s as if it’s playing from another source it really is that good.