Arcam rPac

Sound investment?


Accessory of the Week Arcam’s rPac is a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) and headphone amp designed for anyone who listens to music on a computer.

Or, more accurately, anyone who does so and cares about audio quality.

Arcam rPac

Relying on the computer to perform the digital to analogue conversion usually results in noisy tracks and jitter, thanks to the proximity of the DAC to the rest of the motherboard components and the inaccuracy of its timing.

The rPac, a solid chunk of aluminium about the size of a pack of ciggies, uses its own high-end DAC - a TI Burr-Brown PCM5102, since you ask - to convert the 1s and 0s from your computer’s USB port to a clean, jitter-free analogue signal which can then be pumped out through the 3.5mm headphone jack on the front, or the RCA phono outputs on the rear.

Arcam rPac

Spend some time comparing the audio directly from a laptop with that from the rPac, and the difference is clear. Acoustic tracks like Gretchen Peters’ The Matador have much more detail, and the fuzzbox guitar on the Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti track Butt-House Blondies is transformed from a mushy mess to electrifying excitement.

The 100 x 62 x 25mm rPac is beautifully constructed, and its weight and rubber feet mean it won’t move about on your desk. It comes with USB and RCA cables, and a carry-pouch. Pair it with a decent set of headphones or hi-fi amp, and it’s well worth £150. ®

90%
Arcam rPac

Arcam rPac

Compact digital-to-audio converter to spruce up your computer's sound output.
Price: £150 RRP

Other stories you might like

  • India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge

    And a National Blockchain Strategy that calls for gov to host BaaS

    India's government has revealed a home-grown server design that is unlikely to threaten the pacesetters of high tech, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help to kickstart the nation's hardware industry.

    The "Rudra" design is a two-socket server that can run Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons. The machines are offered in 1U or 2U form factors, each at half-width. A pair of GPUs can be equipped, as can DDR4 RAM.

    Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been superseded by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is off the pace, and said a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works with a reveal planned for June 2022.

    Continue reading
  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021