Arcam ST60
Arcam ST60
Arcam ST60

Arcam ST60: More than capable network audio streamer

Arcam ST60 is a network audio streamer. The capabilities of this model may not be too impressive on paper, but in reality it has everything you need. PCM is supported with parameters up to 24 bit / 192 kHz in common Lossless formats. If you want higher (and much less common) PCM sample rates or DSD support, you won’t find it here. Arcam has included MQA support in the Arcam ST60, which is sure to please Tidal users. There are services Qobuz, Deezer, Napster and Internet radio. Spotify Connect isn’t supported, but that’s because Arcam has both AirPlay2 and Google Cast (meaning it’s treated as a Cast connection option in the Spotify app). There is no Bluetooth, which, in my opinion, is also completely correct in the context of the presence of both AirPlay and Cast.

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The platform that does this job is built using traditional solutions rather than the latest technology. The Arcam ST60 has an ESS9038K2M DAC and has unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs. There are also four digital inputs, two optical and two coaxial. This ensures that the ST60 can handle the TV signal, but for this connection the best option would be HDMI with ARC Audio Return Channel. The Arcam ST60 allows you to choose digital filter settings (however, if you’re expecting a radical change in sound, you’ll be disappointed). You can also use the 99-step volume control if you decide to use the ST60 as a preamp. Since the HDA line, to which the ST60 belongs, also includes a pair of stereo power amplifiers, this option for building a system is quite possible.

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One of the reasons I’m willing to put up with the somewhat limited specs of the Arcam ST60 is that the overall feature set of this model is very well thought out. On the front panel of the device there is a color display, which, together with a fairly decent remote control, ensures that using the Arcam ST60 is quite simple, even without launching the application. When you use the MusicLife app, it leaves a good impression. MusicLife is, in a sense, a digital avatar of the Arcam ST-60. It is just as discreet, it has very few functions and, on the whole, it does not cause surprise or delight. However, it works stably and is convenient and easy to use.

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It is also important to emphasize that Arcam is compatible with many technologies. It can work as a Roon endpoint (with volume control) and can also be used in installed systems. Arcam ST60 is equipped with an RS232 interface and you will find various control protocols on the company’s website. In short, you can make the Arcam ST60 work in situations that many competitors would simply refuse to handle. Some of these additional features may not be more useful for everyday use than support for exotic audio formats, but at least they are present in this model.

Characteristics of Arcam ST60

DAC ESS9038K2M
Harmonic distortion + noise 0.0008%
Audio support 32 bit / 192 kHz
Outputs analog (XLR, RCA), optical, coaxial
Output signal level 4.5 V (XLR)
Inputs 2 optical, 2 coaxial
Optional Ethernet, USB, RS232
Network connection Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Services Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Napster, Deezer
Support MQA
Roon Ready
Network protocol UPnP
Technologies AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Dimensions W x H x D (including legs and control handle): 433 x 102 x 306 mm
Weight (net): 5.5 kg

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