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Customer Review

on December 22, 2012
A comment on the above title. Apart from owning an old high-end HiFi system - not used so much these days due to it's less than ideal location - I listen to my mainly classical music collection thro' my Lenovo Z570 Laptop. As you can imagine, I do miss the audio quality of the dedicated HiFi. However, my 75 years remind me not to now expect great sonic things. Nevertheless, I am still able to appreciate good sound reproduction and whatever system I use, I really want to get the best from it. The Laptop is of course less than ideal but with a few tweaks here and there can be made more enjoyable.

In this regard I set out to transform my listening experience thro' a Laptop/Headphone combination. I've read a number of reviews of Headphone amp/DAC units currently available although as a pensioner I'm not in a position to spend silly money on esoteric audio bits and pieces - especially as I would not be able to hear all the subtleties anyway. I went for the ARCAM rPAC on the premise that having a minimalist approach the audio would probably offer something better. At this point I confess that I do not have good headphones. Currently I listen thro' a pair of old Senn. HD480's and a newer pair of Creative Aurvana's both of which can only be classed as 'reasonable'. Well, connecting everything can only be described as a revelation. Although only a humble setup, the difference the rPAC made was immediate and impressive. The HD480's now produce a clear soundstage with a totally different bass to treble response. These are 20 year old 'phones which were well regarded in their time but are 'old technology'. The Aurvana's performed even better. They always had a slightly bass heavy output but a nice and articulate mid to upper range. With the rPAC, these were tranformed into seriously good headphones.

I feel that I'm now on my way, so to speak. My next step is to upgrade the headphones and I'm currently looking at the Sennheiser HD 600/650's or AKG 701's - funds permitting. However, I can honestly say that even if I remain with my present set-up, I have made some progress and now have a much more enjoyable listening experience. Thanks rPAC, recommended.
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Product Details

3.3 out of 5 stars