Arcam rLink Coax and Optical DACs

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Arcam rLink Coax and Optical DACs 


Coax and Optical DAC TI PCM5102 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter for high-fidelity stereo sound,optical and coaxial digital audio inputs


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[Nov 20, 2014]
Audio Enthusiast

Build Quality
Positive: Applesque build. Feels and looks substantial in person.

Negative: Optical Toslink sleeps and does not wake up when the source sleeps. You have to unplug and plug to power again to wake it up. Quite annoying since there is no power button and this was intended to be tucked away behind your hifi system.

Sound Quality
Positive: Smooth and clean sound. Wonderful with vocals. Consistent to the sound of Arcam amp that I had in the past.

Negative: sometimes too smooth for my taste. Rock and fast-paced jazz can be boring. Also consistent to my previous Arcam amplifier.

Modification Tip
Run it with 6V battery. Then it is a transformed beast. You will realize how far the modern DACs have gone since the 80s. Still sounds smooth, but now more alive and musical with every type of music. One should not underestimate the noise pollution in the electrical system of every house. Batteries are far more quiet. And since DACs are operating in milli-volt range, every noise reduction count. The rLink can now unearth details that I did not notice before (maybe heard of them, but are too fuzzy/distorted to be noticed). My speakers now sounds glorious. But most importantly, I am now enjoying music tremendously. Before, I was often pressing next track on every CD or Spotify playlist. But now it is difficult to skip a track because the music makes sense and I am hearing a performance and not just sound. The upgrade to Chord Hugo can now wait ;-)

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