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Quad Artera
2015-10-19

Classics for the modern age

Quad launches its new Artera audio component range with the Artera Play and Artera Stereo, fusing 79 years of sonic experience with cutting-edge technology

 

Cambridgeshire, England -- Quad, the distinguished British audio brand, continues to mark its 79th year with the arrival of Artera, a new range of high-performance audio electronics. First to arrive are the Artera Play and Artera Stereo; the Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single elegant chassis, while the Stereo is a power amplifier sporting Quad’s famous Current Dumping technology.

 

Quad gave its team of designers and engineers a specific brief for Artera: combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hi-fi marques for many decades with fresh industrial design and the very latest high-performance audio technologies. To this end, Quad enlisted the help of Rodney Mead, the man responsible for the styling of many classic Quad products in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, to brainstorm design concepts that would lead to Artera – a Quad component range fit for 2015 and beyond.

 

Artera’s crisp, clean aesthetic both evokes Quad’s past and looks forward to the future, with a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The housing provides a rugged structure that resists interference from external vibrations, and the Artera Play’s fascia incorporates an intuitive touch-sensitive control that contributes greatly to its sleek design.

Quad Artera Play

 

Despite their attractive simplicity, both Artera components deliver exceptional sophistication beneath the skin. At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC considered by many to be the finest D/A converter chip available for stereo sound. This is Quad’s first component to utilise the ESS Sabre DAC, and external digital sources can benefit from its exceptional quality via a range of digital inputs. These include USB, with support for PCM data up to
32-bit/384kHz and also DSD64/128/256, ensuring the Artera Play 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 new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously (in order to minimise time domain errors known as ‘jitter’) to the DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound, with both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.

 

The Artera Play’s preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage. Two coaxial and two optical inputs cater for external digital sources alongside the USB input, with a pair of RCA phono inputs handling analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties; a pair of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.

 

 

Quad Artera Stereo

 

The inclusion of full analogue/digital preamp functionality means the Artera Play can be connected directly to a power amplifier, and its perfect partner in this regard is the Artera Stereo. This compact yet potent power amp sports the latest iteration of Quad’s famous Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the legendary Quad 405 – one of the most lauded British audio components of all time and still the only amp design to have earned a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.

 

Current Dumping is essentially a method of marrying the superior sonic purity of Class A amplification with the greater efficiency of Class AB. An extremely high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a high-power current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. These two amp circuits are combined via a precision network to perfectly impose the finesse of the Class A output onto the power of the current dumper. The result is a relatively compact and cool-running power amp capable of delivering a captivating combination of dynamic power, vice-like grip and sumptuous sonic detail.

 

The Artera Stereo’s power output is conservatively rated at 140W per channel into eight ohms and 250W into four ohms, ensuring any speakers – including Quad’s classic ESL electrostatic designs – can be driven with ease. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts. Simple, solid and classy on the outside and devilishly clever within, the Artera Stereo maintains Quad’s traditional place at the forefront of modern amplifier design.

 

 

 

Speaking about the inspiration behind Quad’s new Artera range, Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Quad’s parent company IAG, commented:

 

“The traditional spirit of Quad has always been to cater for the latest developments in music storage and playback, whilst continually striving to meet the standards inherent in the company’s motto, ‘the closest approach to the original sound’. Thus, the Artera series of components includes full digital and analogue playback capabilities with the resolution and accuracy to replay all current and future high-resolution audio sources with the most musical presentation.

 

“However, today’s consumers are often bewildered and confused by the multiplicity of inputs and controls on modern hi-fi equipment. At Quad, we have never believed that you have to be a ‘hi-fi geek’ to be able to play music at the highest performance level. Artera therefore simplifies the user interface, leaving an uncluttered appearance that is welcoming to all users as well as looking beautiful in the home.”

 

Combining the assurance of tradition with the buzz of innovation, Quad Artera is the lifeblood of high-performance audio entertainment for modern music lovers. The Artera Play and Artera Stereo are available now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and RRPs of £1,399.95 and £1,499.95 respectively.

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