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The second paragraph was absolute gobble-de-gouk. It might as well have been in Spanish! What the £$%! does this thing do?!
Dear Williamn, it is actually very clearly stated - especially for the audiophile audience for which it is intended.
Let me explain with an example. Rather than connect your Xbox, TV, etc directly to your HiFi system you connect it to the rLink and the rLink connects to your HiFi/speaker system.
Audio coming from the source (Xbox, TV, etc) is therefore decoded and cleaned up by the rLink before it reaches the speakers.
As a result we found audio was markedly improved and significant enough for many to save a larger investment on a new HiFi/speaker system.
@Gordon394: Nope - still not getting it. Why would a DIGITAL signal need to be 'cleaned up'? What's to clean? It's digital! Also, how is this product any better than a £40 DAC from Maplin?
Well you *do* get it, you just don't get why you'd need one.
In short: DACs are as variable in quality as speakers. A digital track may be 'clean' in the sense that it is digital, but the audio itself - the bitrate, the information missing from a compressed track - is far from perfect and a DAC works to improve this, much like upscaling fills in missing information with standard definition video. Some are good, others not and all have their own particular sound signature: deeper bass, a focus on midrange, etc.
Bought one last week and used it to upgrade my old Cyrus CD6. Really good improvement in sound, more open, smoother and more detail, quite a bargain for the end result. Plan to try on my Logitech Squeezebox next.
PS nanite2000, Craplin is cheap as chips audio, Arcam is a serious audiophile product
Wait, what? You connected this thing to a (pretty well regarded) £700 CD player and it improved the output? I'm not sure if that's an endorsement of the DAC or a strike against the Cyrus, but it's pretty impressive nonetheless.
The Squeezebox should have a Wolfson or Burr-Brown 24-bit DAC, so I'd be interested to hear if you discover any improvement.
The problem with "Audiophile" products is that sometimes the claims of improvement are imagined, rather than actual. It doesn't help that many of these claims are not supported by any actual evidence. As is the case here. Arcam say their rLink product improves digital audio quality - where's the evidence? How did they test it? What standards were they measuring against? Where are the test results? Where are the comparison charts showing the improved signal compared to a budget DAC?
When TrustedReviews reviews graphics cards, CPUs and systems, you use benchmarks. What are the benchmarks here?
I'm not suggesting all audio products are equal, but this product and review is light on details, and doesn't demonstrate how it is better than a budget model.
@nanite2000 - I'm afraid the trouble with ALL audio products is quality is based on taste rather than benchmarks. Not even all the TR team can agree which is there favourite speaker system, dock, pair of earphones, etc. I even have a friend who prefers the sound of 128Kbps MP3s over lossless audio.
As such all we can do is explain why we like a particular audio product and what we find the results to be - much like a film critic. We could post signal graphs, but that tells you nothing about whether the sound signature it is aspiring to will be to your liking.
The first one I bought kept powering down every hour or so, so I took it back to the shop. The replacement is very crackly, and also occasionally powers down (and the only way to restart it is to unplug the thing). Complete waste of time as far as I'm concerend, won't buy an Arcam product again.
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