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difference between ARQ1 & ARQ2

1024 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jeroen020
Hoping that someone can answer this question for me.

What is the difference between Audio Request ARQ1 and ARQ2.


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ARQ1 was the original MP3 server product from Request Multimedia ( http://www.request.com ), released almost 2-1/2 years ago. Something like $899 retail, sold mostly direct online from Request. It had a nice TV/video interface, and you could easily add a bigger hard disk yourself. Sonically, though, the ARQ1 was a piece of crap. Inside it's just a generic ATX/Celeron motherboard, using its cheap onboard AC97 sound chip. It was ok for background music, but not for any critical listening.

But then after a year, Request decided they made a mistake selling to "normal" consumers. They switched gears, discontinued the ARQ1, jacked up the price 300%, and called it the ARQ2. They now sell only thru high-end, high-margin "custom A/V installers". The ARQ2 product line claims to have better sound, including digital output.

Looks like a nice solution, if you have an unlimited budget, and need a multi-zone MP3 system for your million-dollar yacht. I think their current product line starts at $2500 and goes up to $25,000.
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Worth mentioning with regards to the ARQ is that Request has proven to be very supportive of existing ARQ1 users - the software is updated all the time and available free of charge to all users. Examples include two-way PocketPC control through (wireless) LAN, FLAC support and album artwork. There's a discussion forum in which Request managers and engineers participate and where users' suggestions are taken seriously.

I have an ARQ1 which I bought through eBay one year ago for about $500; I recently bought a second one at eBay for less than $200, which will allow my to play my entire MP3 collection in my bedroom to and to have a fully synchronised backup of everything without any hassle. The $200 was really lucky, average price is about 500$ - but they're hard to find.

The ARQ1 is easily upgradeable using standard PC components. Getting a speedier CPU (e.g. Celeron 700), 128MB of RAM and a quiet, larger capacity HD really make it more useful. By upgrading like this, you're basically up to ARQ2 specs - with the lack of digital audio output as the main thing missing, but at a fraction of the cost.

Request sees the ARQ1 user community as an interesting testbed for their high end products, an attitute which I really appreciate - for $1000 for two ARQ1's including all upgrades I have a multizone MP3 audio system that's very easy to use and control, regularly gains new features and lets me listen to music (again) I somehow wouldn't bother to load in my CD player.

IMO, if you don't mind opening a PC up and can handle a HD upgrade, the ARQ1 is great value - if you find one, that is. If you want a no-hassle solution and optimal sound quality, Requests current products will be more appropriate - at a price.
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Don't know if it matters, but I talked to the techies at Request. They said it is pretty easy to swap out hard disks. I think one of the advantages of the ARQ1 is it is easier to do. As I recall the pricing is HD size based.

Also doesn't the ARQ2 come with the loseless reqcording?

Personally, I never bought either of these because it would be so much cheaper just to build one yourself.


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In the ARQ1, swapping the hard disk is similar to a standard PC. I was able to swap the original 20 GB disk for a 80 GB one. I believe the ARQ2 has a hard disk mount optimized for swapping, so that should be very easy indeed, as the ARQ guys told you.

The ARQ2 runs the ARQ OS, like any other device by Request. If you buy it new from Request, I assume the latest version of their OS will be installed and it will support FLAC. Otherwise, you can always upgrade yourself. It's a hassle free affair, I've upgraded my ARQ OS half a dozen times or so.
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