Quad Artera Solus Integrated Amp

Joseph Parvey Blog

Quad is an interesting company. In the Hi-Fi world, it is easy to get distracted with the shiny and new, so it is great to find a venerable brand like Quad has been steadily working (while our attention was elsewhere)  on creating amazing audiophile level components for one of today’s most important market segments: the newcomers. Ask any Brit, and Quad never went away. They have been listening through Quad gear all along, and passing their gear down the generations as they upgrade. We decided to bring Quad back to Jacksonville after seeing and hearing some great demonstrations at audio shows, and seeing the attention to detail that Quad puts into their S and Z series speakers. Likewise, after seeing what Quad was able to do with the $999 Vena II amp – Bluetooth connectivity, DSD DAC, Phono Stage and great sound, we decided to take a look at what they could do with their next step: the Artera Solus integrated at $2000. Out of the box, our first thought was, “This is just $2000?” Like our Quad Z3 speakers, the Solus looks and feels (and weighs) like a much more expensive component.
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Van Den Hul – Crimson XGW Stradivarius Cartridge

Joseph Parvey Blog

Van Den Hul – Crimson XGW Stradivarius  Moving Coil Cartridge

The recent arrival of the Van Den Hul Stradivarius Crimson Phono cartridge came as quite a pleasant surprise. You have to understand that I have auditioned scores of cartridges over the years. Most of them are quite good to varying degrees.

 There have been essentially three times in my fervent audio career that I have been gobsmacked by an exemplary cartridge.  As a budding audio nerd in my early twenties I was stunned by the transparent clarity and focus of the Decca London series of cartridges.  Although they had other issues, they were peerless in terms of speed, snap, and focus, and simply exciting to listen to.  In my early thirties the timbral beauty and seductive nature of the Koetsu range of cartridges ruled the day.  They were the most “musical” cartridge I had ever heard.  The mid bass was a bit “over ripe” for my taste, but overall an amazing sound.
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