ARUA1 DAC and head­phone amp

An amp that comes to life when you play high-res­o­lu­tion mu­sic

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT - £399 Man­u­fac­turer Acous­tic Re­search, acous­tic-re­search.com

Re­quires OS X 10.6.8 or higher Codecs DSD, FLAC and DXD

If you’re a devo­tee of high def­i­ni­tion dig­i­tal mu­sic, you’ll al­ready know that iTunes and your Mac’s on­board dig­i­tal to ana­logue con­ver­sion just won’t cut it. You need an ex­ter­nal DAC.

A few DAC/head­phone amp com­bos have been re­leased in re­cent months, in­clud­ing mod­els from Onkyo and TEAC, and while the ARUA1 looks sim­i­lar to com­pet­ing DACs it dif­fers in key ar­eas. Rather than be­ing de­signed to work with iOS de­vices and sport­ing a recharge­able bat­tery, the ARUA1 is de­signed for your Mac. It con­nects and is pow­ered over USB, and has been de­signed specif­i­cally for high im­ped­ance head­phones.

From the gold RCA con­nec­tors on the back to the sturdy vol­ume knob on the front, it’s an im­pres­sively solid unit. We tested it with hi-res mu­sic and B&W P7 head­phones, and the re­sult was hugely im­pres­sive. Mu­sic is sim­ply more en­gag­ing, more de­tailed and more im­mer­sive when you can hear it in such fine de­tail.

The ARUA1 comes with a li­cence for JRiver Me­dia Cen­ter, one of a hand­ful of apps which sup­ports hi-res au­dio on the Mac and which has an in­ter­face that makes iTunes look like a work of art – but it does the job. At £399, the ARUA1 is more ex­pen­sive than some other DAC/head­phone amps, but it’s built bet­ter and sup­ports higher-res­o­lu­tion out­put. Kenny Hemphill

If you al­ready have a good pair of head­phones for your Mac, the ARUA1 should be next on your list.

The ARUA1 won’t take up much

room on your desk, but it will com­pletely change the way you

lis­ten to mu­sic on your Mac.

Very solidly built

In­cludes JRiver Me­dia Cen­ter

Many out­puts

No recharge­able bat­tery

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