In line with its speaker design ethic, the rCube does without a built-in DAC – it simply utilises the analogue feed from the iPod. Arcam takes the view that it's better for a dock to do its primary jobs of amplification and projection properly, rather than try to complicate matters by treating your iPod as a file server and having to house all the electronics that such entails.
Careful positioning is required to get the best out of this dock
If there is a downside to the rCube's design, it's that you have to position the unit carefully to get the best results. Arcam reckons the ideal is a few feet out from a room corner at 45 degrees. That’s one of the main reasons why the bass boost is fitted – the idea being that you turn it off if you have to put it in a tight space.
The optional rWand fits onto an iPod to allow wireless audio streaming to the rCube
If you prefer to keep your iPhone in your hands when playing back through the rCube – or if you have your music on an iPad – Arcam will sell you the rWand adapter, which plugs into your handset and lets it connect to the rCube from the built-in, proprietary 2.4GHz 16bit/44.1kHz receiver, that relies on Kleer wireless audio technology.
Portable, with a built-in rechargeable battery pack, but weighs 5kg
Buy an rWave USB dongle and you can also stream music from your laptop. Buy both adapters and you can use your iPhone as a remote control when you stream your iTunes library to the rCube. The rWand only has a range of around 10m but the rWave can reach up to 100m. Be warned though, these dongles don't come cheap - the rWand will set you back around £70, the rWave £80.
Tea plantation workers have a great amplifier
I visited a tea plantation last year and out in the fields you could hear the feint tones of the local music.
On closer investigation, many leaf pickers had their own personal, non-fruit, music reproducers. Not being loud enough to be heard un-aided, they placed their devices in buckets which made the music loud enough for them to enjoy.
Very 'Green', too, no power needed.
Indeed - I have made a few 'speakers myself in my time and they're all MDF. I read an interesting article recently by a pro designer who does his own DIY projects and made his own MDF/chipboard sandwich material to get the low density/high absorption benefits of chipboard plus the high density/low-resonance benefits of MDF - IIRC it was 12mm chip + 18mm MDF - going to give it a try one of these days.
Another thing too... there's every likelihood that, at the rCube's dimensions, 12mm is just fine. Wouldn't be my choice, but then I have to make allowances for the fact that I don't have even a fraction of the skill undoubtedly possessed by Arcam's designers!
guess it might have to late to include Airplay in their design, let's hope it get's in on the next version.
I think that MDF Construction rather than molded plastic is the aping of traditional high end speakers rather than the thickness. MDF is usually the best material for speaker cabinets without going super high end - concrete, carbon fiber etc.
I am not doing any throat jumping I am just saying.
My thoughts exactly
I'm beginning to think an Airport Express of Apple TV hooked up to a decent set of active speakers is the best solution. Hell, get one of the none wireless (but with aux input) iPod docs if you need somewhere convenient to charge your iDevice from time to time.