Quad continues to mark its 79th year with the arrival of Artera, their new range of high-performance audio electronics. First to arrive are the Artera Play and Artera Stereo; the Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single chassis, while the Stereo is a power amplifier sporting Quad’s famous Current Dumping technology.4158_Artera_Play_and_Stereo_(black)

Quad gave its team of designers and engineers a specific brief for Artera: “combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hifi marques for many decades with fresh industrial design and the very latest high-performance audio technologies”. To this end, Quad enlisted the help of Rodney Mead, the man responsible for the styling of many classic Quad products in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, to brainstorm design concepts that would lead to Artera.

Artera have a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The housing provides a rugged structure that resists interference from external vibrations, and the Artera Play’s fascia incorporates a touch-sensitive control.

Quad Artera Play 

At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC. This is Quad’s first component to utilise the ESS Sabre DAC, and external digital sources can benefit from it via a range of digital inputs. These include USB, with support for PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz and also DSD64/128/256.4162_Artera_Play_(black)

For CD replay, a new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously (in order to minimise ‘jitter’) to the DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound, with both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.4161_Artera_Play_(rear)

The Artera Play’s preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage. Two coaxial and two optical inputs cater for external digital sources alongside the USB input, with a pair of RCA phono inputs handling analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties; a pair of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.

Quad Artera Stereo 

This compact yet potent power amp sports the latest iteration of Quad’s famous Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the Quad 405 – one of the most lauded British audio components of all time and still the only amp design to have earned a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.

Current Dumping is essentially a method of marrying Class A amplification with the greater efficiency of Class AB. A high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a high-power current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. These two amp circuits are combined via a network to impose the finesse of the Class A output onto the power of the current dumper.4171_Artera_Stereo_(black)

The Artera Stereo’s power output is conservatively rated at 140W per channel into eight ohms and 250W into four ohms, ensuring any speakers – including Quad’s classic ESL electrostatic designs – can be driven with ease. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts.4168_Artera_Stereo_(rear)

Speaking about the inspiration behind Quad’s new Artera range, Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Quad’s parent company IAG, commented:

“The traditional spirit of Quad has always been to cater for the latest developments in music storage and playback, whilst continually striving to meet the standards inherent in the company’s motto, ‘the closest approach to the original sound’. Thus, the Artera series of components includes full digital and analogue playback capabilities with the resolution and accuracy to replay all current and future high-resolution audio sources with the most musical presentation.

“However, today’s consumers are often bewildered and confused by the multiplicity of inputs and controls on modern hi-fi equipment. At Quad, we have never believed that you have to be a ‘hi-fi geek’ to be able to play music at the highest performance level. Artera therefore simplifies the user interface, leaving an uncluttered appearance that is welcoming to all users as well as looking beautiful in the home.”

The Artera Play and Artera Stereo are available now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and RRPs of £1,399.95 and £1,499.95 respectively.

 

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