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Quad’s Artera Solus Play amplifier streams, plays CDs

  • Layer cake. Quad’s Artera Solus Play is an all-in-one music playback system housed in a 32cm x 32cm chassis with side-mounted heatsinks. Just add loudspeakers.

    Pop the glass top and we see a 300VA toroidal transformer connected to a pair of isolated power supplies that in turn feed a dual-mono Class A/B amplifier capable of delivering 75wpc into 8 Ohms.

    From the press release:

    “The discrete power amp circuits’ output stage uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with conventional emitter follower circuitry. The CFB stage offers superior linearity and ensures excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. Using an emitter follower in combination with the CFB stage is an efficient way of increasing the current ability of the amplifier without compromising the advantages of the CFB circuit.”

    “Having the emitter follower deliver additional current only when needed allows for a simpler current- limiting arrangement, which can be voltage-independent. Current limiting is under microprocessor control and programmed to allow the amplifier to supply high currents (+/- 15A) into complex loads, surpassing amplifiers that are bigger and more powerful on paper.”

    A pre-amplifier circuit and ‘four-channel’ volume control bring the Artera Solus Play into integrated amplifier territory where it will accept either single-ended or balanced analogue inputs.

    At the heart of the Artera Solus Play’s digital connectivity sits an ESS 9018 DAC chip that can be fed via coaxial, TOSLINK and (up to 32bit/384kHz and DSD256) over USB.

    Putting the Play in this Quad’s model name is the inclusion of a DTS Play-Fi streaming circuit that will talk to network streams (of up to 24bit/192kHz) received over wi-fi or Ethernet. Play-Fi integrates Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, HDtracks, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM and enables UPnP streaming. Spotify is handled via Spotify Connect. Bluetooth adds convenience.

    The twist? Instead of a front panel display, we find a slot-loading CD mechanism that keeps the shiny silver discs in play. Directly beneath that, a 6.4mm headphone output.

    Pricing? £1699 in the UK and €1999 in the EU.

    Further information: Quad

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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