I feature plenty of music-streaming products here that will play the high-quality likes of Tidal, Deezer and many other services direct from your WiFi. But if you have a much-loved older hifi –which may be fantastic, or simply put out a sound you like – and want to feed it wirelessly, you will probably be looking at a Bluetooth adaptor. These can be had for less than £50 and, in my experience, are very good. Bluetooth is not the ultimate, however, and increasingly, in apartment blocks in particular, is subject to dropout and interference because there are just so many Bluetooth devices in a small area.
Arcam, up in Cambridge, deliberately does not include Bluetooth in this new top-level streamer, which does a great job of being a universal, stream-anything-to-anything box. The last thing you want with a streamer is to discover it’s not configured for Amazon Music, Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, Napster and Deezer (or whatever) – and that’s unlikely to happen with the rPlay. It doesn’t have a remote for the dog to eat, but is controlled via your phone, tablet or laptop running a fine app, DTS Play-Fi, which offers access to all conceivable streaming services. You can run as many as eight rPlays in one home. And in what’s called its “critical listening” mode, this modest-looking, quite solid and chunky box will also deliver 24-bit/192kHz, should the source material, and your cranky old hifi, be up to it.