Now in its 81st year, Quad has been making valve amplifiers for home use since the late 1940s. The company’s latest model, the VA-One, brings the concept bang up to date; a compact integrated amplifier that fuses Quad’s traditional valve-based audio expertise with modern digital audio streaming.
With a footprint measuring just 18x33cm, the VA-One is very compact for a stereo valve amp – sufficiently small to sit comfortably on a desk.
Three digital audio inputs – optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB – support data up to 24-bit/192kHz, and an RCA-phono input gives the option to connect an analogue source like a CD player or a turntable (when used with a suitable phono stage). In addition, those who enjoy the freedom of wireless connectivity can pair smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth, with support for the sonically superior aptX codec.
The preamp section incorporates an ECC83 high-impedance triode, feeding an ECC82 twin triode driver and phase splitter stage. The output stage uses two EL84 pentodes per channel in push-pull configuration, delivering 2x15W.
External styling is classically Quad, finished in traditional ‘Lancaster Grey’. The amp’s front panel sports a smooth-acting volume control incorporating a motorised potentiometer, allowing adjustment via the supplied remote control, together with a headphone output and controls for input selection and Bluetooth pairing.
The Quad VA-One integrated valve amplifier is available from mid-August, priced at £1299.95 (RRP). It joins the similarly styled PA-One headphone amp in Quad’s expanding ‘One’ range of valve-based amplifiers with integrated DAC circuitry.