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

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Gordon Ramsay DASH: Guide to upgrading a...
If we've learned anything about celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay over the years, it's that you don't want him angry and breathing down your neck. He's not above calling you out on TV, making a mockery of your efforts in the kitchen in front of... | Read more »
Galaxy of Trian (Games)
Galaxy of Trian 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: Galaxy of Trian is an exciting, fast paced digital board game based on the highly acclaimed tabletop title. | Read more »
Dead In Bermuda (Games)
Dead In Bermuda 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Little Fox (Games)
The Little Fox 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: The Little Fox is an alternative perspective on the world-renowned ‘fairy tale for adults', The Little Prince by Antoine de... | Read more »
5 popular free fertility apps
There was a good article this week in The Independent about how more women are using fertility appsas a de facto form of contraception. It's apparently not working too well, leading to numerous unwanted pregnancies. [Read more] | Read more »
How to get more cars in CSR Racing 2
NaturalMotion and Zynga brought a lot of real life cars to the table for CSR Racing 2. From souped up everyday rides made by Nissan and Hyundai to supercars produced by the likes of McLaren and Pagani, there really is something for everyone. [... | Read more »
Crypt of the NecroDancer Pocket Edition...
Crypt of the NecroDancer Pocket Edition 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Crypt of the NecroDancer is an award winning hardcore roguelike rhythm game. Move to the music and... | Read more »
Gear-grinding puzzle title Inner Circle...
If you saw our post earlier this month announcing the imminent release of ZPlay’s new creation, Inner Circle, you’ll be happy to know that it’s now available on the App Store. Established in 2010, developer and publisher ZPlay have taken the... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Your guide to what's...
CSR Racing 2, or CSR2, as it likes to call itself, has finally arrived. The follow-up to the immensely popular drag racing game CSR Racing is the first release from NaturalMotion since the studio's acquisition by Zynga in early 2014. [Read more] | Read more »
Nanuleu (Games)
Nanuleu 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Nanuleu is a strategy game where you take control of ancient magical trees that protect the land from an invading dark force. A... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

July 4th sale: $100 off 13-inch MacBook Airs
Amazon has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $899.99 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
Swiftpoint Launches Advanced Pivot, Tilt And...
Christchurch, New Zealand based Swiftpoint has announced the launch of its new generation computer mouse, The Z, on the crowdfunding website kickstarter.com. The company’s previous device, the... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
12-inch MacBooks available with free bundles...
Adorama has 12″ Retina MacBooks available including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. For a limited time, Adorama will include a free Apple USB-C to USB Adapter, free 4-Port USB Hub, and... Read more
Das Keyboard Unveils First Cloud-Connected Ke...
Austin, Texas based Das Keyboard has unveiled the newest addition to its family of high-performance mechanical keyboards with the introduction of the Das Keyboard 5Q on Kickstarter. Built with... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale fo...
Adorama has 13″ 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1169 $130 off -... Read more
New App Reminds Us to Put Down Our Phones and...
Mode, a new smartphone app that makes us more mindful of how we use our devices, debuts in the app stores today. The Mode app tracks time spent in different modes of day-to-day life without... Read more
ZuumSpeed Personalized Speedometer + HUD For...
RMKapps has announced the release and immediate availability of ZuumSpeed 1.0, its personalized speedometer plus heads up display for iOS devices. ZuumSpeed gives users over 18 custom fonts available... Read more
Apple refurbished clearance 15-inch Retina Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have refurbished 15... Read more
9-inch 128GB Silver iPad Pro on sale for $50...
B&H Photo has the 9.7″ 128GB Silver Apple iPad Pro on sale for $699 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Fort Wo...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* iPhone 6s and New Products Tester Ne...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.