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Quad Artera Solus one-box hi-fi system - Just add speakers.
The Artera Solus combines a CD transport, DAC, preamplifier and 75W power amplifier in a single compact chassis, with extensive connectivity options including Bluetooth wireless streaming.
Alongside the conventional CD playback, the Solus has 2 analogue inputs and five digital inputs including USB, capable of handling PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz, as well as DSD64/128/256.
The Artera Solus combines a CD transport, DAC, preamplifier and power amplifier in a single compact chassis, with extensive connectivity options including Bluetooth wireless streaming. Despite its attractive simplicity, the Artera Solus sports cutting-edge sophistication beneath the skin. At its heart nestles the ES9018 Sabre32 Reference, the eminent 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC chipset, expertly 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 is fully 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.
The Artera Solus’s preamp and power amp sections mix Minimalist Design with high-quality components to ensure short, direct signal paths that preserve sonic purity. Volume is digitally controlled in the analogue domain, outputting directly to the dual-mono Class AB power amp section. This delivers 2x75W into 8 ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 15 Amps into difficult loads. 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 superior 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). Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the Artera Solus’s circuitry, with independent low-noise power supplies feeding all critical stages to keep interference to a minimum. The result is a performance on par with much more expensive multi-component hi-fi systems – detailed, natural, expansive and dynamic – in line with Quad’s continuing quest to deliver the "closest approach to the original sound".
Cable connectivity options are plentiful. Five digital inputs – two coaxial, two optical and one USB Type B – cater for external digital sources (there’s also a USB Type A socket for software updates) while a pair of RCA phono 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