We recently reviewed the tiny Arcam miniBlink DAC and today we’ve got another Arcam DAC. The airDAC is priced at £400 which is exactly the same as their hugely successful irDAC. We put the airDAC through its paces to see how it performed.
The device itself looks hugely similar to that of the irDAC and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that they were the same device. One main difference is that the airDAC offers Apple’s AirPlay technology meaning you can quickly and easily stream your music wirelessly.
On the rear of the black box you’ll find an array of different ports including coaxial and optical digital inputs as well as digital and analogue outputs. Also located on the back of the device is the ethernet port, power switch and power input.
Setting up the device is relatively easy and you’ve two different ways of doing so. Firstly you can hard-wire the airDAC via the Ethernet port to your router or you can access the device via an easy to use web interface. Instructions on how to carry out both of these are included in the box.
Another handy feature is the Access Point Mode. This allows you to create your own access point which you can then connect your device to as you would a normal WiFi network. Audio will then be streamed straight to the airDAC from the connected device.
As the name suggests you can steam audio from your Apple device to the DAC via AirPlay. However the playback here is restricted to 16bit, whereas all other inputs can play files up to 24bit.
In terms of performance the Arcam device stands strong and does exactly as its supposed to. Whether your playing a modern pop song or an older classic the airDAC reproduces the sound with great clarity and detail ensuring you can hear every single instrument being played. If you do choose to stream your music which if you’ve chosen this DAC probably will do, then the sound quality is slightly reduced and you will lose a little clarity and detail. Overall though the sound produced by the airDAC is of greater quality than if you weren’t passing it through the device.
One thing you’ll notice is that the DAC doesn’t come with a remote and inputs are automatically selected using a pre-set priority order. This makes the device so simple to use and this ease of use makes it one of the most appealing things about the Arcam airDAC.
Arcam also have their very own UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) music player that can be downloaded completely free on iOS devices from the App Store. This music player can be used with the airDAC to stream your music directly to the device. As mentioned on the Arcam website Android users can use a vareity of UPnP music players such as PlugPlayer and Bubble.
Overall the Arcam airDAC is a brilliant device and one that is so so simple to use. Simply take it out of the packaging, plug it in, quickly go through the simple setup process and you’re ready to start streaming your music through it.
One drawback is that gapless playback isn’t supported for some files which may or may not be a big deal for some of you.
If you’d like to check out the Arcam airDAC you can do so by heading over to their website using the link below.Order from Amazon