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.
Setting the system up, we connected via Bluetooth (a very handy feature) to stream Qobuz from our phones to the Solus. The power increase from the Vena was immediately apparent, as was the soundstage and imaging that we’d never have expected from Bluetooth streaming. Moving through the inputs had to wait, as our first Artera Solus sold about 7 minutes after we unboxed it. A gentleman was looking for an integrated for his son, whose birthday was days away. This was a Friday, and a new Solus would not arrive in time, so we gave him ours. It was our second go with the replacement Solus that got us really excited and cemented our conviction that this is a breakthrough device. Quad’s Solus amplifier stage is rock solid: a dual mono 75W Class AB design, fed by a large central 300VA toroidal transformer. Also included in the package is a CD Player, a USB DSD DAC, aptX Bluetooth, two TOSLINK optical inputs, two digital RCA inputs and two analog RCA’s. On the ouput side is a 6.2mm headphone jack, a pair each of single-ended RCA’s, Balanced XLR’s and speaker terminals.
The Artera Solus is often the first system we demonstrate for people visiting the shop for the first time. Using the Quad S2 and the KEF Q Series speakers, it is fun for us to see eyes light up and the smiles spread. Even the initiated are surprised at how much you can do and how far you can get with a $2k integrated. For a person just coming in (or back) to audiophile world, this is a perfect device that deserves your attention.
Type: CD playing integrated amplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth connectivity
Inputs: 2×pair RCA single-ended line inputs, 2×TOSlink digital, 2×coaxial RCA digital, 1×USB A (for updates), 1×USB B (PC/Mac connection), Bluetooth aerial socket
Outputs: 1×pair RCA single-ended, 1×pair XLR balanced, 1×6.3mm headphone jack, 1×pair loudspeaker binding post terminals
Audio file formats supported: ALAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3, AAC-HE, AAC+, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
Sample rate: 44.1kHz-192kHz (digital inputs/outputs), 44.1–384kHz (USB B)
Rated Power: 2×75W into eight ohms
Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz (±0.5dB at 1kHz)
THD: < 0.009% (10W, 20Hz–20kHz)
Signal to noise ratio: >100dB (A Weighted, ref 75W)
Available in: Black or silver front panel
Dimensions (W×D×H): 32 ×32 ×10.5cm
Weight: 11.84kg (26.1 Lbs)
Manufactured by: IAG Ltd
Read More on the Artera Solus here: