The Arcam rCube iPod Dock and Much More

We need to get this out of the way: the rCube is not an expensive boombox. It's a reasonable priced, high-quality, portable, wireless, audio sound source. If you're looking for a boombox, don't look at the rCube, it's way to expensive for that.

If, however, you understand the price and value of quality sound and are interested in a cool audio tool, read on.

The Arcam rCube ($799), rWand ($99), and rWave ($99)
Good tools cost good money. You can buy a lawn mower for $199, but you better not have much of a lawn. Really good gear, gear that's well engineered, gear that uses quality components, gear that will satisfy and not be taking up space in a landfill a few years later, will be expensive and that's just the way it is. But pay the price and cry once, and you'll be smiling for a long time to come.

What It Is
The Arcam rCube is a portable iPod dock. It's a black (or white) cube that's about 8" on a side, and has a tweeter and woofer on each side powered by 90Watts of amplification. It runs on AC, but has an internal Li-ion battery that will run for about 8 hours. It has a KLEER high-quality wireless digital audio send/receive chip, and can send audio signals to other rCubes, or receive audio wirelessly from the rWand mounted to your iPod/iPhone/iPad, or from a computer using the rWave USB dongle.

What It Does
Flip the little lid open on top, plug your iPod in, and listen to music. Simple. The rCube plugs into the wall or, once charged, you can carry it outside (it has a handle) and it will run off its internal battery. It can be set to charge your iPod, or not, and it has a remote control so you can control the iPod from across the room. It also has an auxiliary analog input on an 1/8" miniplug, and component and composite video outputs for watching video from your I device on a big screen with the rCube as a sound bar.

Also ...

With the optional rWand plugged into your iPhone/iPad/iDevice, you can wirelessly attach to the rCube using KLEER, and play your tunes from your pocket.

Or ...

You can wirelessly attach your computer to the rCube via KLEER with the optional rWave USB dongle, and control your tunes from your keyboard.

And ...

You can stream from one rCube, rWand, or rWave, to up to four other rCubes to create a networked distributed sound system in your home ... patio ... conference room ... anywhere!

Also ...

If you want to use the system to distribute audio around your home and wish to include your main stereo in the network, you can purchase an rDAC from Arcam which will participate in the KLEER audio network, and use it as a source in your main stereo.

Wait ...

You thought we were just talking about a boombox, didn't you? No, this little gadget does lots of stuff.

Where To Use One
Let's start simple: you're having a party in the back yard. Drop an rCube or two here and there; plug the rWand in the bottom of your iPhone; and control the music for the rest evening from your shirt pocket. Ooops! It starts to rain. Simply pick them up, bring them into the billiard room, and carry on.

Or ...

You're traveling across country in your RV. You like to play music from your laptop. Sometimes you're on the picnic table, sometimes in the coach, sometimes you're cooking outside but the laptop is inside, it matters not. Put the rCube where you can hear it, and the computer where ever you'd like, and the rCube maintains the wireless connection and keeps playing tunes.

Or ...

You're a wedding or party planner, you want to provide a mix of background music for an event. You place four rCubes in the corners of the room and an rWand in your iPod, and you're done. No wires, no fuss, no muss, and you're in total control of the music.

Last one ...

You do professional presentations. You connect your projector to one USB slot, your rWave to the other, and you put the rCube in the middle of the conference table, or sprinkle a few around the classroom. Done. Great sound from your computer, delivered to your audience with clarity, with minimal set-up.

Wow! All these features, and great for well-healed home owners, RVers, and some light industrial applications. But how's it sound?

Pembroke Avenue
Cambridge CB25 9QR

AncientWisdom's picture

Sounds really nice, too bad it's only for an iPod... That's actually really bothering me how so much now days is released specifically for iPods without any thought given to the rest of us (Droid/Sansa users for example). I understand the business reasoning, but is it really that hard to include a normal headphone jack with the product?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
FWIW, it does have a line-in on the back, so you could plug your Droid in it.
deckeda's picture

... you just wanted to show off the 'bikes.

Kidding. Thanks for the informative perspective. I just saw the rCube on or some worthless place and they ran away right after the supplied-PR photo and price. I had no idea what it "really" was until reading what you have here.

HammerSandwich's picture

(Hi, Tyll. Haven't talked with you since the Pittsburgh stop during your van tour in 2005 or so. Still have the t-shirt. And the Melos...)

Anyhow, you wrote that this box is not "audiophile quality" but sounds "terrific." I find this a little confusing. Are its faults strictly limited bass & the lack of imaging? If not, what else would it need to reach audiophile approval?

mward's picture

@AncientWisdom: I wonder if there's a Kleer adapter for Android? I suspect that would work with the rCube.

JIGF's picture

Great article. The video was very unexpected.

You should get your hands on the Zeppelin too, which is much cheaper than the rCube.