Arcam Releases 2nd Generation irDAC

Posted on 30th November, 2016

Arcam Releases 2nd Generation irDAC

Arcam's evolution of DACs has earned massive success for the company by budget conscious, discerning enthusiasts. From the original rDAC released back in 1989, they were the first company to launch an affordable outboard DAC. The irDAC followed just a few years ago (2013) based on the Burr Brown 1796 DAC chipset and 8 seperately regulated power supplies and has been nothing less than a best-seller according to Arcam's local distributor, Advance Audio.

Trawl the forums and you'll often find Arcam recommended to those seeking a high-performance DAC without breaking the bank. It's a reputation well-earned and deserved.

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Arcam have worked hard to release a replacement to the irDAC as the irDAC-II.

Arcam irDAC-II

Visually, not much has changed. It's just bit wider than the irDAC. Dig deeper however and you'll find it has completely new internals now uses the ES9016 Sabre DAC chipset, and now offers aptX Bluetooth connectivity and an impressive headphone amplifier.

We have gained a lot of knowledge developing class leading DACs. Areas like isolation of the digital and analogue stages, ultralow noise power supplies and a direct coupled signal path make a big difference.

Jitter reduction is an obsession within our engineering team. They have applied their experience in the irDAC-II to produce a signal that is almost jitter free.

Arcam's irDAC-II is designed to be the heart of a digital audio system and can be connected to a number of different types of digital sources and connections via asynchronous USB and Bluetooth. With the supplied IR remote, all of the inputs can be controlled or selected, or you can opt to use the top mounted source and volume buttons.

The headphone output stage comes thanks to Arcam's flagship A49 headphone amplifier, evident on irDAC-II by the front mounted 3.5mm headphone jack. A handy addition for desktop audio enthusiasts.

Arcam IRDAC-II Rear

Finally, Arcam's irDAC-II now supports DSD128 via the USB input and PCM support up to 24bit/384kHz.

Only time will tell if Arcam have managed to fill the big shoes left by little brother irDAC. We hope so.

The irDAC-II is available now for $1195 RRP.

Arcam is distributed in Australia by Advance Audio.


  • Supported sample rates:
  • USB: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 384kHz
  • Optical: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
  • Coaxial: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
  • Bluetooth: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX:LL
  • Bit Depth : 16:bit, 24:bit
  • Headphone : 30Ω : 600Ω, 3.5mm plug
  • Power requirements: 18W max
  • Dimensions: W194 x H44 x D124mm
  • Weight: 1.1kg
  • DAC:ESS ES9016K2M
  • Input: USB, SPDIF, optical, Bluetooth
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz:20kHz, +/:0.1dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise: 0.0007%
  • Signal-to-noise ratio (A:weighted): 117dB (24:bit)
  • Maximum output level: 2.1V RMS
Marc Rushton's avatar

Marc Rushton

StereoNET’s Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.

Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: arcam  advance audio 

Get the latest.

Sign up to discover the best news and review from StereoNET in our FREE Newsletter.

Commercial Interests Disclosure

In accordance with the ACCC Guidelines for online Reviews, StereoNET advises readers that we may have commercial marketing relationships with some of the brands featured within our reviews and editorial. These relationships may include display advertising and other promotions, but do not in any way influence the outcome of our independent product reviews.