Quad, the British audio brand, is launching a new version of the Artera Solus ‘just add speakers’ single-chassis hifi system, adding network streaming to the multi-tasking mix.

The new Artera Solus Play offers hi-res streaming via Wi-Fi and Ethernet cable, the ability to form part of a synchronised wireless multi-room system, Bluetooth reception, CD playback, full DAC and preamp facilities to hook up other audio devices and powerful stereo amplification, all packed into a single, elegant chassis.

From listening to internet radio and online streaming services to playing your CD collection, to connecting external sources via digital and analogue inputs, the Artera Solus Play offers a compact system solution coupling versatility with sound quality.

Streaming

The Artera Solus Play’s Wi-Fi networking is powered by DTS Play-Fi: an app-controlled platform enabling high-quality, whole-home wireless audio, capable of streaming hi-res music up to 24-bit/192kHz and supported by a greater range of established audio brands than any other wireless platform.

The free Play-Fi app (available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices, Windows PCs and Apple and Android smartwatches) is an intuitive gateway to a wealth of music services, including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, HDtracks, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM. It is also able to serve up a streaming library stored on any DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server on the same home network. Favourite playlists and radio stations can be assigned as shortcut ‘presets’ within the app, while Works With Alexa support enables voice-controlled playback when the Artera Solus Play is paired with any Amazon Alexa-equipped device.

Play-Fi supports a wide variety of file formats, including MP3, MP4A, AAC, FLAC, WAV and AIFF. In standard mode, which is optimised for multi-room bandwidth, audio is streamed at up to 16-bit/48kHz – akin to CD-quality. By engaging Play-Fi’s Critical Listening Mode, hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz may be streamed to the Artera Solus Play over Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable, without transcoding or down-sampling.

There are other ways to stream music wirelessly to the Artera Solus Play, other than via the Play-Fi app.Users can hook up directly to the Spotify app thanks to Spotify Connect, and stream from smartphones and tablets without connecting to the local Wi-Fi network using aptX Bluetooth.

DAC

Despite its simplicity, the Artera Solus Play sports the ES9018 Sabre32 Reference, the eminent 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multibit Delta-Sigma DAC chip, implemented by Quad’s renowned electronics engineers. External sources benefit from this DAC’s exceptional quality via a range of digital inputs, handling PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz as well as DSD64/128/256. This ensures the Artera Solus Play is equipped to make the most of today’s hi-res music formats, as well as future advances in ultra-high-definition digital sound.

For CD replay, a slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it to the asynchronous DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the sound from both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.

Pre And Power Amp

The Artera Solus Play’s preamp and power amp stages incorporate balanced circuitry, short and direct signal paths and high-quality components. Volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control, outputting directly to the dual-mono Class AB power amp stage which delivers 2x75W into eight ohms. To minimise distortion, the power supplies for the left and right channels are isolated from each other as well as from the rest of the system.

The discrete power amp circuits’ output stage uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with conventional emitter follower circuitry. The CFB stage offers 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 300VA toroidal transformer supplies the two mono amplifiers using separate secondary windings, followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity per channel (60000uF in total).

Connections

Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the Artera Solus Play’s circuitry, with independent low-noise power supplies feeding all critical stages to keep interference to a minimum.

Cable connectivity options are plentiful. Six digital inputs – two coaxial, two optical, USB Type B and Ethernet – cater for external digital sources (there’s also a USB Type A socket for software updates) while a pair of RCA inputs handle analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties, with the four-channel volume control preserving the balanced signal path from the DAC to the XLR output. A pair of high-quality speaker binding posts, optical and coaxial digital outputs, a 12V trigger output and a front-mounted jack coupled to a dedicated headphone amp circuit complete a comprehensive connectivity array.

Stylish Design

Available with a black or silver front panel, the Artera Solus Play’s exterior is embellished with an inlaid glass top. Despite its versatility, the Artera Solus Play shares the same compact 32x32cm footprint as every Quad Artera Series component, sporting a crisp, clean aesthetic that both evokes Quad’s past and looks forward to the future. The housing provides a rigid structure that exudes quality and resists interference from external vibrations, with a textured aluminium front panel, inlaid glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The sleek appeal of Artera Series components is further enhanced by intuitive touch-sensitive controls built into their circular OLED displays; a fully-featured remote control is also provided.

The original Artera Solus launched in late 2018 and was a great test of ingenuity for Quad’s design team, as lead electronics engineer Jan Ertner recalled. “I’ve been involved with the design of Quad electronics for more than 25 years and was determined that our first all-in-one system should not be a compromise. It was a real challenge to make the individual parts – CD transport, DAC, analogue preamp and power amp – perform to the level of a full separates system in keeping with Quad’s high standards, all packed into a single Artera Series chassis.” Ertner continued: “We have revisited this challenge to create the Artera Solus Play, adding full network streaming to an already comprehensive list of premium-quality ingredients. Placement of circuit components has been especially critical, together with careful routing of the four-layer printed circuit board, use of balanced circuitry to minimise interference and extensive power supply isolation.”

Price & Availability

The new Artera Solus Play is available from July, with a choice of black or silver front panels and an RRP of £1,699. The original Artera Solus, without Wi-Fi/Ethernet network streaming, continues at £1,499.

Specifications – Quad Artera Solus Play

Digital Section

DAC Chip ESS Technology ES9018 Sabre32 Reference

CD player Slot-loading transport with read-ahead digital buffer

Wireless Streaming Wi-Fi (Play-Fi, Spotify Connect) and Bluetooth

Digital Inputs 1x USB Type B / 2x optical / 2x coaxial / 1x Ethernet

Max Sampling Frequency – USB input PCM 384kHz / DSD256

Max Sampling Frequency – Wi-Fi, S/PDIF PCM 192kHz

Preamplifier Section

Analogue Inputs 2x line-level RCA

Analogue Outputs 2x RCA; 2x balanced XLR; 6.3mm headphone jack

Analogue Output Level RCA 0-2.3 Vrms / XLR 0-4.6 Vrms

Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz (+/- 0.2dB)

Total Harmonic Distorion (THD) < 0.002% (@1kHz, BW=20Hz-20kHz)

Signal-to-Noise > 110dB (A-weighted, ref. 1V)

Power Amplifier Section

Power Output 2x 75W RMS (8Ω)

Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz (+/- 0.5dB)

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) < 0.003% (@1kHz, 50W/8Ω, BW=20Hz-20kHz)

Signal-to-Noise > 108dB (A-weighted, ref. 75W)

Size and Weight

Dimensions 320x320x105mm

Net weight 11.5kg

Get all the latest Hifi News with Hifi Pig here!

 

You must be logged in to leave a reply.

Real Time Web Analytics