Arcam MusicBoost S DAC Review

When it comes to headphone amplifiers, none are quite as unusual as the Arcam MusicBoost S DAC. This is because it is a device that does not just one job, but several of them. It also features a built-in DAC and battery pack, while also having a design that fits the iPhone like a glove, protecting it from damage.

Usually, for a device to have so many features, it would mean sacrificing the quality of each individual feature, but this particular product is different.

Arcam is a well-respected leader when it comes to the world of high-end audio, having launched their first DAC all the way back in 1988. This means that they have almost three decades of experience when it comes to creating high-quality products.

The device itself looks similar to a standard phone case, connecting to the iPhone via the Lightning Port. You can then put your own earphones or headphones into the headphone jack that can be found on the Arcam MusicBoost S DAC. This keeps the design of the product snug and secure, working as a protective case around your mobile device.

*It should be noted that this product has been designed for use specifically with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s.

Product Overview & Key Features

Battery Life For Days

One thing that people worry about in particular when things are connected to their phones, is how much battery life the thing will draw. The MusicBoost is different, as it has its own separate built-in battery, so it does not affect the battery life of your phone. This separate battery can be charged using the micro USB slot on the bottom of the MusicBoost.

The battery itself is a 2800mAh lithium-ion battery, meaning that it has a longer life than that of smaller batteries. It has approximately 1.5x the general battery capacity of the iPhone 6, meaning that it won’t be likely to run out of power while you are using your phone!

Audiophile-level Sound Quality

You have to remember that this product is a combined headphone amplifier, DAC, and phone case. This all guarantees that the Arcam MusicBoost S DAC has the ability to create an exceptional level of audio quality. It was designed specifically to improve the output of your headphones when you listen to music.

The DAC that is present in the MusicBoost is a Texas Instruments PCM1502 DAC, a product that intentionally bypasses the internal DAC in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s. This produces a higher level of audio quality and it enables the device to deliver 15% more volume than a standard iPhone, with no audible distortion.

Physical Phone Protection

The case itself has been ergonomically designed so that your iPhone simply has to slip into it. This means that the case can offer your iPhone protection while also offering you a range of other features.

The build quality of the case itself is exceptional, as it is both strong and durable. It is safe to say that the case would be unlikely to break if it was dropped. The case also has a soft touch finish, making it incredibly comfortable to hold.

It is worth noting that the case will make your iPhone feel quite a bit bigger than you might be used to, but it is much easier to have all of the features in one case, as opposed to requiring several different attachments.

Additional Unique Features

  • Streaming Applications: The Arcam MusicBoost S DAC is compatible with a large range of streaming applications that can all be easily accessed on the iOS platform. These applications include everything from iTunes to Spotify.
  • Light Indicators: A set of LED lights on the MusicBoost case alerts you to how much charge is left on the Arcam. You won’t have to worry about it running out of charge before your phone does, as it has a much longer battery life.
  • Headphone Compatibility: The MusicBoost has the ability and the power required to drive even the most demanding of headphones at either high or low impedance.
  • Apple MFi Certification: This device has been officially certified by Apple. This means that Apple has done rigorous testing and determined that it is safe to use with their products. Using a product that has not been certified in this way can be dangerous, as it has the potential to result in a fire or a completely broken iPhone.

Lightning Cans Verdict

Sprucing up the audio quality of your iPhone can be a difficult task, yet the Arcam MusicBoost S DAC seems to be able to do it all, without ever really getting in the way. It does add some size to your iPhone, but not enough for it to be considered to be overly bulky.

Most of the time, you would have to carry another device or a cable to improve the overall audio quality of your iPhone, but this device gets rid of the need for messy cables and loose devices. It isn’t a perfect device, but the audio quality that comes with it is amazing when compared to the audio quality that would normally come out of your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s.

Generally speaking, the audio that comes out of an iPhone, or any other type of phone for that matter, sounds rather flat. The MusicBoost makes the music sound much more alive and bright, adding a layer of richness and detail to the way that the sound is presented and heard. This makes music sound much more like the real thing, even adding precision to the sound that occurs at the very edge of a note.

This product has the ability to handle a range of different file formats, ranging from FLAC to WAV. Most people also have to enlist the help of a 3rd party application to do this, although there are plenty of those to be found in the iOS store.

All in all, the Arcam MusicBoost S would be ideal for anyone who enjoys listening to music, as long as they still own an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6s. Remember that you cannot use a case with this product, as it acts as a case itself.

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