Arcam rBlink Opinions?

mikey1987mikey1987 Posts: 68
edited August 2014 in Going Digital
Hey guys,

Anyone using the Arcam rBlink Bluetooth DAC?

Since upgrading my speakers and replacing my receiver with separates, I can detect the impurities in the stream I'm getting with my cheap Logitech Bluetooth DAC. It sounds okay with most music, but on more detailed pieces, the highs are very distorted. If I hook up my PC directly to the preamp, it sounds much better.

It looks like the Arcam unit uses APT-X for lossless streaming whereas the Logitech device uses the lossy codecs to transmit.

The Arcam looks like it has good reviews and I am thrilled that it has digital out so I can keep the Bluetooth streaming and upgrade to a better DAC down the road.

Anyone using this model or equivalent from out brands? Looks like NAD has a competing device.

As always, your input would be much appreciated.
Speakers: Polk RTi10
Preamp: Parasound PL/D-1100
Amplifier: Parasound HCA-1500A
Neighbors: pissed off
Post edited by mikey1987 on

Comments

  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,701
    edited August 2014
    So you are wanting to stream music from your pc to your pre-amp correct? And do it wirelessly?
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mikey1987mikey1987 Posts: 68
    edited August 2014
    So you are wanting to stream music from your pc to your pre-amp correct? And do it wirelessly?

    Correct. And as losslessy as possible if possible.

    I work from home and music helps me get through the work day, but I can't really work effectively with a USB or Audio out cord hanging out of my ultrabook as I lay down on the couch so I opted for Bluetooth functionality.

    Right now I'm using the logitech box, which sounds OK for more mellow music, but when the highs start to become more busy and detailed, the quality goes down significantly. :(
    Speakers: Polk RTi10
    Preamp: Parasound PL/D-1100
    Amplifier: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Neighbors: pissed off
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,701
    edited August 2014
    mikey1987 wrote: »
    Correct. And as losslessy as possible if possible.

    I work from home and music helps me get through the work day, but I can't really work effectively with a USB or Audio out cord hanging out of my ultrabook as I lay down on the couch so I opted for Bluetooth functionality.

    Right now I'm using the logitech box, which sounds OK for more mellow music, but when the highs start to become more busy and detailed, the quality goes down significantly. :(

    If it was me, I'd suggest a Squeezebox Touch or Sono's device, so your using your wireless network which has a larger bandwidth. Both devices can be controlled from your computer (Squeezebox I know can, 99% sure the Sonos can) and both provide lossless playback and dont require any cords.

    I am also assuming the music your listening to resides on the computer your using as well? Otherwise both devices do have access to internet radio, and apps like Pandora.

    Obviously the squeezebox touch is no longer supported, but they still work just fine. The Sonos is a bit better but has a bandwidth limitation of I think 16/44.1 but dont quote me on that...

    Personally those two would be my choices over using bluetooth.

    I have no experience with any of the Arcam stuff.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mikey1987mikey1987 Posts: 68
    edited August 2014
    If it was me, I'd suggest a Squeezebox Touch or Sono's device, so your using your wireless network which has a larger bandwidth. Both devices can be controlled from your computer (Squeezebox I know can, 99% sure the Sonos can) and both provide lossless playback and dont require any cords.

    I am also assuming the music your listening to resides on the computer your using as well? Otherwise both devices do have access to internet radio, and apps like Pandora.

    Obviously the squeezebox touch is no longer supported, but they still work just fine. The Sonos is a bit better but has a bandwidth limitation of I think 16/44.1 but dont quote me on that...

    Personally those two would be my choices over using bluetooth.

    I have no experience with any of the Arcam stuff.

    I was actually thinking of using the Sonos, but I've become accustomed to Foobar :p

    My music actually resides on my NAS device, and Foobar reads it off the network before streaming it to my preamp.

    I believe you're correct about the Sonos spec of 16/44.1, but that's OK w/ me. All my music is FLAC rips from redbook CDs, so I wouldn't be losing any data. I've never been able to hear the difference in higher sampled and higher bitrate audio to be honest.

    At an extra $100, I might just consider the Sonos instead at this point. It seems like Bluetooth quality is still kinda up in the air at this point. And there aren't a ton of reviews out there either which makes me skeptical.

    With wireless and wired ethernet, it's very clear that the transports are entirely lossless, and at higher speeds, and entire file can be read into the buffer in a matter of seconds. With Bluetooth, who really knows what is going on "behind the scenes", right?
    Speakers: Polk RTi10
    Preamp: Parasound PL/D-1100
    Amplifier: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Neighbors: pissed off
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,701
    edited August 2014
    mikey1987 wrote: »
    I was actually thinking of using the Sonos, but I've become accustomed to Foobar :p

    My music actually resides on my NAS device, and Foobar reads it off the network before streaming it to my preamp.

    I believe you're correct about the Sonos spec of 16/44.1, but that's OK w/ me. All my music is FLAC rips from redbook CDs, so I wouldn't be losing any data. I've never been able to hear the difference in higher sampled and higher bitrate audio to be honest.

    At an extra $100, I might just consider the Sonos instead at this point. It seems like Bluetooth quality is still kinda up in the air at this point. And there aren't a ton of reviews out there either which makes me skeptical.

    With wireless and wired ethernet, it's very clear that the transports are entirely lossless, and at higher speeds, and entire file can be read into the buffer in a matter of seconds. With Bluetooth, who really knows what is going on "behind the scenes", right?

    Yup, I'd go with the Sonos... plus if you ever want to expand where you listen, your just another sonos away and you can use the same app, etc.

    Good call on the NAS. I will get there someday myself but for now I have my music on my PC w enough storage to house it, and my movies directly connected to my HT area since I dont watch them elsewhere (yet).
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mikey1987mikey1987 Posts: 68
    edited August 2014
    Yup, I'd go with the Sonos... plus if you ever want to expand where you listen, your just another sonos away and you can use the same app, etc.

    Good call on the NAS. I will get there someday myself but for now I have my music on my PC w enough storage to house it, and my movies directly connected to my HT area since I dont watch them elsewhere (yet).

    I was also thinking to get that Cambridge DacMagic once I have a solid streaming solution in place. Both the Arcam and Sonos offer digital out, which is ideal for adding an external DAC in the mix later.

    If you want to build a NAS, it's pretty easy and you can do it for around $500. The redundancy is worth the peace of mind. But in addition to the two or more disks you can load, many NAS devices offer functionality to backup to either an external USB drive, another remote NAS, or the Amazon S3 cloud platform. I'm doing a combination of both.

    The slight chance I could lose all my rips at this point terrifies me.

    My favorite NAS line is from QNAP. Just don't upgrade the firmware LOL
    Speakers: Polk RTi10
    Preamp: Parasound PL/D-1100
    Amplifier: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Neighbors: pissed off
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,701
    edited August 2014
    I'm a BIG fan of the DacMagic myself...

    Although Cambridge does make this thing called the StreamMagic 6 which is basically the Sonos + DacMagic.... its a bit pricey, but tophatjohnny just got one and cant stop telling me how awesome it is.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • OllierulzOllierulz Posts: 1
    edited August 2014
    If you want to stick with Bluetooth for convenience, Crutchfield sells a similarly priced but prettier and well reviewed Bluetooth DAC by Mass Fidelity. Includes Apt-X and AAC for lossless decoding as well as a clever dual use pair of outputs which can function in both analog output or digital output.
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