Arcam re-entered the audio DAC market with the introduction of the rDAC a few years ago. This concept was not new to Arcam as we were the first company to launch an outboard DAC way back in 1987. Building on the rDAC’s success and incorporating feedback from enthusiastic rDAC owners it was clear that our engineering team could produce an enhanced design that would raise the performance bar and improve ease of use by a significant margin over the rDAC. This was followed and further improved upon with the irDAC.
The new irDAC-II continues the story adding Bluetooth connectivity, headphone output and DSD128 support. The irDAC-II comes packed with cutting edge technology and features that will benefit the most demanding user. We have gained a lot of knowledge developing class leading DACs. Areas like isolation of the digital and analogue stages, ultralow noise power supplies and a direct coupled signal path make a big difference. We use the outstanding ESS Sabre DAC to obtain performance that we believe will be unmatched in this price category. Jitter reduction is an obsession within our engineering team. They have applied their experience in the irDAC-II to produce a signal that is almost jitter free. The headphone output stage has been taken from the flagship A49 amplifier and is capable of driving the most demanding of headphones. Both fixed and variable line outputs are also available, allowing for ultimate system building flexibility.
The irDAC-II is designed to be the heart of a digital system and can be connected to a host of different types of digital sources and connections. This includes asynchronous USB and Bluetooth. All of the inputs can be controlled through an IR remote that will also give you transport control of a PC or Mac USB source via the HID (Human Interface Device) control.
- DAC:ESS ES9016K2M
- Input: USB, SPDIF, optical, Bluetooth
- Frequency Response: 20Hz:20kHz, +/:0.1dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise: 0.0007%
- Signal-to-noise ratio (A:weighted): 117dB (24:bit)
- Maximum output level: 2.1V RMS
Supported sample rates:
- USB: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 384kHz
- Optical: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
- Coaxial: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
- Bluetooth: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX:LL
- Bit Depth : 16:bit, 24:bit
- Headphone : 30Ω : 600Ω, 3.5mm plug
- Power requirements: 18W max
- Dimensions: W194 x H44 x D124mm
- Weight: 1.1kg
What can I plug into my DAC?
DAC's will usually have a number of inputs. Coaxial and Toslink Optical are the most common, while USB is still also very common.
The Optical and Coaxial connections can have a CD player, network streamer, television, dvd/blu-ray disc player, game console, and some computers.
The USB input can handle pretty much any kind of computer, or a phone with the appropriate adapter (OTG for android, Camera Connect Kit for iOS devices).
What is a DAC?
Every digital device with an analog output has a Digital to Analog Converter of some kind. In the case of phones, televisions, and computers, they are usually stuck on as an afterthought, or just to do the job of creating analog sound to be amplified and played through speakers.
Having a standalone DAC is a worthwhile investment in any modern Hi-Fi system, essentially all the circuitry involved in creating that signal you can hear from the 1's and 0's is housed in its own box, with usually a much better design than what you would find in your television or computer.
A DAC can be useful to connect digital devices to an analog amplifier if the amplifier doesn't have digital inputs. Or if you are after a cleaner, more refined sound.
Things to listen for in higher quality DAC's are separation of sounds (how well you can hear a single voice or instrument in the mix of all the others), "textures" of sounds (raspyness of a bow being drawn across the strings of a double bass), or the clarity of echo's and quiet noises among loud instruments.