Streaming trends and technologies are constantly changing in todays world, and even if you spend a good chunk of money on a top of the line audio system, that doesn’t mean it can keep up. The rPlay, the latest in the rSeries line-up from Arcam wants to fix this issue.
At its heart the rPlay is simply just a wireless audio receiver and allows you to add network audio streaming services and internet radio to any system using DTS PlayFi, Apple Airplay or UPnP enabled music sources.
As mentioned above the rPlay supports PlayFi. Simply put PlayFi allows you to stream music room to room through a large number of wireless speakers and soundbars – and it isn’t tied to a specific brand. So if you have a range of different speaker brands in different rooms around the house which support PlayFi, then the rPlay will allow you to stream to each even though they are manufactured by different brands.
Supported services include Amazon Music, Tidal, Qobuz, Napster and Deezer.
As well as PlayFi, the rPlay is an AirPlay receiver so you can stream media from your iPhone or iPad. Spotify Connect is supported too, so you should see the rPlay appear in the list of devices within Spotify.
One fantastic thing about the PlayFi app is that it will allow you to create a group of devices which when in Spotify will appear as a single speaker. This is a clever workaround for the limitation of only being able to stream to one speaker at a time through Spotify Connect.
Bluetooth, however, has been left of the rPlays feature list.
Overall I’ve found the streaming experience very satisfying, and didn’t run into any drop-outs or noticeable lag when changing songs within Spotify or other streaming services.
Ease Of Use & Performance
Arcam have fitted the rPlay with a whole host of ports to ensure maximum connectivity options. The most convenient way to connect, and what most people will opt for is to use WiFi (802.11b/g/n compatible), although ethernet is also a choice and will provide more stable streaming/results.
Included are two line-level outputs, one fixed and one variable (which uses the same volume control as Arcams A49 flagship amplifier, as well as a single coaxial output . Any of these can be used to connect an external DAC or amplifier.
Arcam has more than 20 years of digital audio expertise and have designed the product so it’s optimised for low noise and minimum distortion. The four layer circuit board helps to further reduce interference between components.
Overall the rPlay performs solidly and produces an even sound. The most attractive part of the audio produced I found was the bass. It was prominent, but not overpowering.
Arcam has always produced high quality audio products at affordable prices to expand any systems functionality, and this product does just that.
This all-round network streamer combines great functionality with good performance and is easy to use. A big thumbs up from me and I’ll definitely be keeping this plugged into my audio system for the foreseeable future.
You can pick up the Arcam rPlay yourself, or read more about it over on Amazon using the link below.