The new Artera Pre from Quad is the first dedicated analogue preamplifier to join Quad’s Artera Series, the company’s flagship range of solid-state audio electronics, the Artera Pre also reintroduces Quads Tilt control feature.

First available in 1982 on the classic Quad 34 preamplifier, the Tilt control was created by Quad founder Peter Walker as an audiophile-quality answer to tone adjustment. He believed that in the real world, the ability to adjust tonal balance on an amplifier was useful to cater for different rooms and recordings, but that typical tone and EQ controls were clumsy and inadequate in their effect.

Quad Tilt Control

While many tone controls adjust bass or treble individually, the Tilt control adjusts both ends of the frequency spectrum together either attenuating the bass and lifting the treble, or lifting the bass and attenuating the treble, in steps of 1dB. In effect, it rotates, or tilts, the audible frequency range on a 700Hz axis, adjusting the overall balance of the sound to make it ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’ without affecting the apparent volume or ‘colouring’ the sound. The Tilt control is unique to Quad and it hasn’t featured on a new Quad product for a decade. The new Artera preamp adds further analogue bass filters to the Tilt function for additional sound tailoring. The Tilt and bass filters can be combined to create individual EQ profiles to assign to each source input.

In this way, each input can be configured to suit the connected component, be it a turntable, a CD player, a tuner, a DAC or streamer, or any other playback device with an analogue output. Individual adjustment may also be made in real time, to suit whichever recording is being played.

Classic Quad For The Modern Age

While the inclusion of these facilities echoes the classic Quad 34 preamp, the Artera Pre is otherwise a very different beast both inside and out. The Artera Pre’s electronics design team was led by Jan Ertner, the architect of many acclaimed audio components. His goal was to create a preamplifier that exemplifies ”state-of-the-art design, transparency of sound and fidelity to the source”, whilst also providing those sound tailoring options.

The circuitry includes a low-noise toroidal transformer, numerous reservoir/smoothing capacitors and a number of regulators. The power supply incorporates 11 regulated supply rails including multiple ultra-low-noise regulators, with extensive measures against contamination and cross-coupling. The core signal path is short and direct to preserve signal purity, and volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control.

Vinyl & Headphones

Vinyl lovers and headphone users are well catered for. The Artera Pre’s low-noise, Class A phono stage is configurable for both MM and MC cartridges, while an integrated headphone amplifier features a discrete, Class A output stage with low output impedance. Four stereo RCA inputs are provided, three line-level and one phono, plus one balanced XLR. All inputs can run in direct mode if preferred, bypassing all other circuitry to provide the shortest possible signal path from input to output. The Artera Pre’s four-channel volume control enables the audio signal to remain fully balanced throughout.

The gain (sensitivity) of each input can be controlled in 0.5dB steps between -8dB and +8dB, enabling users to precisely match levels between different sources. To add further flexibility, one of the line-level RCA inputs can be configured in AV bypass mode, enabling it to be used with an external AV processor.

Preamp outputs are provided in both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA flavours, together with a fixed-level RCA output. A pair of 12v trigger outputs are also included, to switch connected equipment on/off in line with the preamp.

Quad Artera Series

The Artera Pre joins the Artera Play+ CD player/DAC/preamp, Artera Stereo power amp and Artera Solus all-in-one system in Quad’s flagship range of solid-stage audio electronics. All Artera Series components share the same compact 32x32cm footprint, with a crisp, clean aesthetic that both evokes Quad’s past and looks forward to the future. The housing provides a rigid structure with a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The minimalist appeal of Artera components is further enhanced by touch-sensitive controls built into their circular OLED displays. A fully featured remote control is also provided.

Pricing  & Availability

The Quad Artera Pre is available from October, priced at £999 with a black or silver front panel.

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