Acoustic Research - HiFi : AR-M2
MSRP: $999.99
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Now you can experience the full impact of recorded files with the AR-M2 High Fidelity Hi-Res music player that features the state of the art audio engine based on Acoustic Research's proprietary M1 Music player. It enhances the accuracy in music playback by containing a flagship class Burr-Brown PCM1794 differential current output DAC and dual crystal oscillators.

AR Music Player runs on Android OS 4.3 and is equipped with Qualcomm MSM8926 processor, providing excellent playback stability. Additionally, AR has its own audio path application music player that gives the impact of AR's unique circuit "AR M-Class engine" realization. AR-M2 supports the audio framework of Android which allows for the use of third-party apps.

  • DISPLAY: 5" Touch Screen, 720x1280 HD image quality

  • SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Windows 10/ XP SP3/Vista/7/8 or newer / MAC OS X 10.6 or later
  • PLAY TIME: Up to 8.5 hours (PCM) / 6.5 hours (DSD) (Note: Updated based on 2.5.6 firmware with gapless playback)
  • BODY SIZE: 2.76in x 5.35in x .59in

Key Components


Media Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 - Quad Core Cortex- A7 1.2GHz


Dual Voltage Controlled Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (VCTCXO)

High-performance 44.1kHz system (44.1 / 88.2 / 176.4kHz) dedicated, 48kHz system (48/96 / 192kHz) allows you to switch to full clock synchronization.


Audio-Centric Architecture

Audio sub-system acts as the clock master to the system. With audio data aligned at the audio sub-system, jitter is reduced.


Dual Operational Amplifiers

Burr-Brown OPA2134, functions as a preamplifier and a low-pass filter.


Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC)

Equipped with a Burr-Brown PCM1794A with the excellent performance of the flagship class. S / N: 129dB and the series best high-speed performance.


Headphone Amplifier

Equipped with a Texas Instruments TPA6120A2 configured to class A operation with 10.6Vpp output.

volume control

Volume Control

To respond to the high quality and powerful drive of headphone amplifier "TPA6120A2," independent of the OS, it adopts high-quality analog potentiometers for audio made of ALPS.

heat spreading

Heat Spreading Shields

Equipped with high-quality copper spreader shield thermal conductivity. For more efficiency, it removes the heat from the circuit allowing for longer playback time.



Headphone Output (3.5mm Standard Stereo Mini Plug) X 1

Line Output ( 3.5 Standard Stereo Mini Plug ) X 1

Headphone Amplifier

Class A configuration

Up to 3.6Vrms / 10.6Vpp unbalanced output

16 tp 600ohms

THD + N (total harmonic distortion plus noise) <0.001% at maximum output

AR-M2 output


Micro-SD XC slot : Up to 256GB

Expansion through USB flash memory is supported (FAT32 / exFAT file system; 5V 100mA power or lower)

AR-M2-External Storage


Internal battery capacity


Play time

Up to 8.5 hours (PCM) / 6.5 hours (DSD)
(Note: Updated based on 2.5.6 firmware with gapless playback)

Charging time

4 hours (AC adapter, USB connection to the computer, USB (micro-B) connector can be connected Smartphone Charger.)

AR-M2 Battery
AR-M2 Sound Effects


AR supplies this player with its own sound effects in high resolution precision.


Allows your sound to have a customized effect setting according the style genre you are listening to. (Music Genre: Normal, Classic, Dance, Flat, Folk, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Jazz, Pop, Rock, User)

Bass boost


Output voltage

Allows sound the extra added strengthening of bass

3D Effect

Allows sound to strengthen when played in any three-dimensional space

Verified and recommended Micro SD Cards:

Lexar 633x (Up to 200GB)

Patriot LX Series (Up to 200GB)

Samsung Evo, Evo+, Pro, Pro+ (Up to 256GB)

Toshiba Exceria UHS-I (Up to 128GB)

Dimensions    Width: 2.76 In x Height: 5.35 In x Depth: .59 In
Weight (Kg/lb)    About 8.5 oz
Battery Type    4200 mAh, Up to 8.5 hours (PCM) / 6.5 hours (DSD)
Maximum Memory Expansion    Micro SDXC card (Up to 200GB), USB-OTG
CPU    Qualcomm MSM8926
Digital audio transceiver/clock master    Cirrus Logic CS8422
Pre-Amp (Voltage Amplification)    2 x OPA2134
Crystal clock sources for audio    Dual VCTCXO
Compatible Format Supported    FLAC/ALAC/DSD64/DSD128/WAV/DXD/APE/AIFF
USB Reader    Micro-USB (Data / Power / OTG*) *Support USB storage requiring less than 5V, 100mA power
DAC    Burr-Brown PCM1794a
Headphone Amplifier    TI TPA6120A2 / Class A Configuration / Up to 3.7Vrms Output
Volume Control    ALPS potentiometer (step-less full analogue)
Internal Memory    64GB
Wireless Network    802.11B/G/N
Audio Output    Line Out (3.5mm) Headphone Out (3.5mm)

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What's so special about the AR-M2 Player compared to other Hi-Res players?

    The AR-M2 player has an operating system customized to support bit-accurate Hi-Res playback, premium digital-to-analogue conversion, a powerful headphone amplifier able to drive premium high impedance headphones, and optimized power supplies.

    Thanks to its quad-core processor (many competitors only use single- or dual-core), M2 is not only designed to deliver significantly better audio performance, but it supports third party audio apps for wireless/internet streaming as well.

    Finally, the large 5in IPS capacitive touchscreen provides responsive and accurate control, not available on rival players.

  • How does the sound of the AR-M2 compared to the competitors?

    Many mobile audio products have been designed for power-efficiency, and as a result can lack bass extension and overall smoothness: the resulting overly 'sharp' sound is often mistaken for a 'high resolution' sound, simply because it is a common characteristic of many newer mobile products.

    Users can try to compensate for this lack of bass with weighty-sound boosting headphones, but these can lack fidelity.

    Acoustic Research High-Res products such as the AR-M2 have been designed to deliver the full Hi-Res Hi-Fi experience, with a smooth delivery, detailed, and integrated presentation of music, and exceptional accuracy, power, and fidelity in the bass. This 'truth in listening' sound has been inherited from AR's tradition of outstanding loudspeakers.

    The M2 has been voted best in its category by the UK magazine Hi-Fi Choice and acclaimed by several reviewers as having the best sound they've ever heard from a portable high-resolution audio player.

  • Why buy a Hi-Res Player when I can listen to Hi-Res music on my smartphone or tablet?

    Due to its audiophile design, and an operating system customized to support bit-accurate Hi-Res playback, the AR-M2 aims to deliver much better acoustic performance than mobile phones, which are compromised in audio terms by the requirement for them to be multifunction devices. The AR-M2 is dedicated to a single purpose: playing music to the highest possible standard.

  • Do I need to use high-resolution headphones with the AR-M2 to enjoy Hi-Res audio, or does the technology work with standard headphones?

    Although the AR-M2 is a 'Hi-Res AUDIO' certified product, headphones specifically claimed to support 'Hi-Res AUDIO' are NOT required to enjoy it. Rather you should just choose high-quality headphones for use with the AR-M2, preferably by listening to a variety of headphone designs with your new player.

    The design of the AR-M2 headphone amplifier section means it is fully able to drive premium headphones, which tend to have quite high impedance. Lower-powered players can struggle to drive such headphones, giving a distorted sound or limited volume level.

    However, some 'bass enhancing' headphones are tuned to compensate for the low output at lower frequencies of some mobile products: as the AR-M2 doesn't have this weakness, such headphones aren't recommended. If you do use 'bass enhancing' headphones, you may need to use the AR-M2's built-in EQ to tune down the bass.

  • How do I adjust the equalizer on the AR-M2?

    In the AR Music Player interface, tap on the gear icon and select Sound Effects. Enable the equalizer by switching OFF/ON to ON, then adjust the equalizer.

  • Why can't I adjust the volume on the AR-M2 when using the line output into an amplifier or active speakers?

    The volume knob only manages the output level of the headphone output. The line output is fixed level.

  • Is there a mute feature on the AR-M2?

    When using headphones, the only way to mute the sound is to tune down the volume with the volume knob. When using the line out use the mute option or turn down the volume on the receiver/amplifier/speaker.

  • Does the AR-M2 have Digital Out?

    No, there is no digital audio output on the AR-M2.

  • Why isn't Google Play pre-installed on the AR-M2? Can I install Google Play?

    The proprietary customization of the Android operating system used in the AR-M2 is designed for the best possible audio performance and is thus not able sufficiently support the Google Play service. For that reason, Google Play can't be installed on the AR-M2.

  • Where can I find Apps to download onto the AR-M2?

    Apps may be available through the following sources:

    1. Third party app such as Amazon Appstore at
    2. Direct download from website (for example, the Amazon Appstore APK is available on its official website)
    3. APK archives on the Internet
    4. APKs extracted from other Android devices

    See the FAQ section on Apps for more on adding Apps and services to the AR-M2

  • How many Hi-Res files can I store in the built-in memory of the AR-M2?

    The internal memory of the AR-M2 is 64GB, of which about 4GB has been reserved for the firmware and recovery, operating system, the file system, and database. The actual usable area for music storage is about 55GB.

    Based on 24-bit 96kHz files with and an average length of 4 minutes and compressed in lossless FLAC, the internal storage can store about 850 files. Of course Hi-Res file sizes vary significantly depending on sample rate and compression, and of course, lower-resolution files (e.g., CD-quality 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC) will allow a much greater number of tracks to be stored.

    The storage capacity of AR-M2 can expand through the use of the Micro SD card slot, and it can play music files stored on USB flash memory.

  • How many Hi-Res files can I store on a micro SD card?

    Same with an SD Card it depends on the capacity of the memory card and the size of individual files. Based on 24-bit 96kHz Hi-Res with an average length of 4 minutes per song, and stored in lossless FLAC, a formatted 128GB (of which about 118GB is usable capacity) can store about 1830 files.

    What is the maximum capacity of Micro SD card I can use with the AR-M2?

    Micro SD-HC (4GB to 32GB) and Micro SD-XC (64GB to 128GB) have been validated on the AR-M2. While higher capacity memory cards are theoretically supported, we can't guarantee full compatibility with any memory card that has not been validated: we will check compatibility with higher capacity cards as they become more widely commercially available.

  • How many music files are recognized by the AR-M2?

    AR-M2 has been validated to support 20,000 music files: although the system can theoretically support more, we can't guarantee correct operation with more than 20,000 files.

  • How do I buy and load Hi-Res music to my AR-M2 from my computer?

    Hi-Res music can be purchased from online music stores, such as  Please refer to the online music stores for the instructions regarding purchasing and downloading.  Make sure a compatible format is selected for the purchase.

  • How do I connect the AR-M2 to my Windows computer?

    AR-M2 is natively supported by Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10. Once the music files are downloaded to your computer, copy them to the AR-M2 using File Explorer.

  • How do I connect the AR-M2 to my Apple Mac computer?

    The AR-M2 is supported by Mac OS X 10.5 or above. Once the music files are downloaded to your Mac, copy them to the AR-M2 using Android File Transfer for Mac, available from

  • How do I edit the tag info of my music files?

    Third party music management software may be used to modify the tag information for each music file.

  • Why doesn't the album art display correctly?

    Please verify whether the album art is shown on music players on your Windows or Mac computer. If the album art is visible on those players, please report the case to your distributor.

    In general terms, it's best to ensure that the cover art image is placed in the same folder as the music to which it refers, is named as folder.jpg, and isn't excessively large. A file size of around 600'600 pixels at 72dpi, and with any color profiles removed from the image using image-editing software, should ensure it works correctly.

  • How do I delete a file from the AR-M2?

    By using the AR Music Player app, press and hold the items to have the options menu pop up, then you can remove an item (e.g. a song, an album, a folder).

    Files may be deleted by using a USB connection to a Windows or Mac computer, using File Explorer in Windows, or Android File Transfer for Mac.

  • How do I add or delete a playlist?

    On the playlist screen, tap and hold the playlist, select 'delete' after the options menu pops up.

  • Why is my Wifi connection to the AR-M2 weak, or losing signal?

    Wi-Fi signals can be interfered with, or reduced in strength, for several reasons, such as obstacles between the router and your AR-M2 or, in public areas, multiple Wi-Fi signals jamming each other. You can install a third-party app, such as Wi-Fi Analyzer, on your AR-M2 to show the signal strength of the nearby Wi-Fi services. This will identify whether the Wi-Fi signal is too weak, or being affected by other nearby Wifi signals.

  • My AR-M2 gets hot after extended use - is this safe?

    The AR-M2 is perfectly safe as it delivers its superb sound quality by adopting audio components having higher power consumption and lower power efficiency, and these generate heat. In typical use, AR-M2 may reach 35℃ / 95℃ in a pocket, but the hottest spot remains less than 40℃ / 104℃ - significantly lower than smartphones after active gaming or internet surfing.

  • Can I use a 3rd Party USB Adapter to charge my AR-M2?

    Any 3rd party USB adapter conforming with USB Charging Specifications 1.1 or above can be used to charge the AR-M2.

  • How can I tell if the AR-M2's power is switched on/off?

    Press the power button once.  If the AR-M2 is on but the display is 'sleeping', it will 'wake up' and the unlock screen will appear.  If it is off, the unlock screen will not pop up: to switch on the player, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds.  There should be a vibration from the player when it switches on.

  • My player has frozen and/or stopped responding. What do I do?

    Perform a force reboot by pressing and holding the power button for 10 seconds for a force shutdown. After that, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds to switch the AR-M2 on again.

    To perform a factory reset, use the 'Factory data reset' option under Settings > Backup & reset.

  • Is there a Case available for the AR-M2?

    There's an official accessory Folio Case Kit available model AR CCM2: please contact your local distributor for details.

  • Where is the serial/model number on my device?

    The model number and serial number are engraved on the back of the device.

  • Where can I download the user manual?

    The user manual is available right below the section: Manuals

  • Why is there no warranty card supplied with my Player?

    The product warranty is supported by your local distributor, which may or may not issue its own warranty card. In case of any questions, contact your local distributor directly.


  • Why isn't Google Play pre-installed on the AR-M2?

    To ensure the best audio quality from the AR-M2, we have extensively modified the Android OS to deliver better sound quality. Those modifications mean the AR-M2 doesn't support Google Play.

  • Can I install Google Play on the AR-M2?

    No, for the reasons stated above. However, see below for solutions using other music apps.

  • Can I install any Android app on the AR M2?

    Yes, it's possible to install most apps, but we recommend you don't do this: the M2 is designed as a pure Hi-res music player, and every added app has the potential to reduce sound quality. We suggest you stick with the key Streaming Music apps outlined below.

  • Where can I find Android Music Apps for the AR-M2?

    Android Music Apps, such as Spotify, can be downloaded directly via the M2's web browser, or you can download them on your computer and install them via USB.

    The easiest way is to use the M2 browser to download the Amazon 'Appstore' app from

    Follow the instruction on Amazon's website and install the app

    APPLE MAC Note - to install apps and music when using a Mac OS computer, you'll need the free Android File Transfer app from:

  • How do I install Qobuz on my AR-M2?

    Using the Amazon Appstore App: as with Spotify, the Qobuz

    APK is official, supporting auto-update.

  • How do I install Tidal on my AR-M2?

    Go to and search for 'Tidal' to download and install the Tidal APK (while we have had good experience with this website, we cannot guarantee the results, and you will have to check manually on a regular basis for app updates)

  • What about other Music Streaming apps like Deezer and SoundCloud?

    Again you will find these apps on the Amazon Appstore, or on

  • How do I delete an App?

    In the AR-M2's Apps menu, press and hold the icon of the app to be deleted, then drag it to Uninstall.

    This procedure only works when you press and hold icons in the Apps menu, not the shortcuts created on the AR-M2's desktop.

  • How do I install Spotify on my AR-M2?

    First, install the Amazon Appstore App: the Spotify app is then available for install. This APK (Android application package) is official, and supports automatic updates.




by Daryl Horler, on 2016-Apr-08

I've had this unit for a week & am beyond thrilled with the sound quality! I'm pairing it with Sennheiser IE 800's for a sound that rivals center stage at some of my favorite clubs. Wattage stated honestly in the specs, no issues dragging CD rips onto SD card, sounds epic!! :)


by Tom Albrecht, on 2016-Apr-07

It may seem like a lot of money to spend for a portable music player, but make no mistake this is a piece of audiophile equipment. There arent enough adjectives to describe the exquisite sound of this player, extremely accurate, full sound with a low frequency sound that is beyond sublime