Quad is launching a new version of the Vena integrated amplifier. The new Vena II builds upon the strengths of its predecessor – compact design and a useful range of facilities by adding new features.

The original Vena offered hi-res USB, optical and coaxial digital inputs in addition to wireless streaming via aptX Bluetooth. Just 313mm wide, Vena II maintains the aesthetic of its predecessor.  The same impressive range of digital and analogue inputs is provided, with the addition of a phono stage to allow the direct connection of a turntable.

Beneath the hood, the Vena II sports significant upgrades say Quad. The digital audio circuitry has been improved, the Cirrus Logic DAC chip found in the original Vena replaced by an ES9018K2M from the Sabre32 Reference family. This enables the Vena II to benefit from ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator.

In terms of hi-res file compatibility, the original Vena maxed out at 24-bit/192kHz PCM via USB. The Vena II stretches this to 32-bit/384kHz, alongside DSD (up to DSD256).

Significant improvements have also been made to the Vena II’s analogue stages. Like the original model, the new amp sports a Class AB power amp section that draws on Quad’s many decades of design experience. Here, though, the power supply has been upgraded, a new 200VA toroidal transformer lying at its heart. This is followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity (30000uF in total).

The original Vena included a headphone output, but this was connected to the amp’s main output stage rather than to a specialised headphone amp circuit. The Vena II incorporates a dedicated headphone amp with current-feedback circuitry

The preamp section is kept as simple as possible, with line input signals passing to an analogue volume stage controlled by a motorised ALPS potentiometer. Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the Vena II’s circuitry, protecting the sensitive preamp section from noise interference.

Quad’s design team selected Bluetooth wireless streaming, with support for aptX and AAC codecs, to ensure easy pairing with all manner of smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs.

Copious cable connections enhance the amp’s flexibility. Inputs for digital sources comprise asynchronous USB and three S/PDIF sockets (one coaxial and two optical), while digital outputs are provided in optical and coaxial flavours. Analogue signals are catered for by three stereo RCA inputs – two line-level plus the new MM phono input for turntables – while pre-out sockets permit the addition of an external power amplifier.

The amp is available in four finishes: Quad’s classic Lancaster Grey is the standard option, while three premium finishes – Sapele Mahogany, Gloss Black and Gloss White – wrap the Vena II’s aluminium housing in veneered or lacquered wood.

The Lancaster Grey finish has an RRP of £649, while the three premium finish options add £100 to the price tag.

Quad is also offering a specially priced system pack, which combines the company’s S-1 compact speakers in Black Oak with the Vena II in Lancaster Grey, for an RRP of £999 – a £150 saving compared to the individual RRPs.

 

 

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