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Artera Play+

Artera Play+

CD, Dac, Pre-amp

The Artera Play+ is the latest addition to the Artera range. The Artera Play+ Combines the sleek user interface with the latest high definition audio technology. The CD player and DAC is the perfect match for the high power drive of Artera Stereo, while you enjoy your music with ultra-high resolution playback up to 32bit/384kHz in addition to DSD64/128/256 files through the USB input.
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The Artera Play+ is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single compact chassis. But while its form is familiar, the ‘plus’ suffix denotes a range of improvements that broadens functionality and enhances sound quality.

The first addition is the inclusion of aptX Bluetooth, enabling users to pair smartphones, tablets and computers and stream music wirelessly. Also new is a front-mounted headphone output, positioned discreetly beneath the fascia and coupled to dedicated circuitry that is designed to do justice to even the most capable of headphones.

But the Play+ isn’t just about adding convenience for music streamers and headphone users. It also enhances the overall sonic performance of the already highly regarded Artera Play.

Despite its attractive simplicity, the Artera Play+ sports cutting-edge sophistication beneath the skin. At its heart nestles an ESS 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.

In comparison to the original Play, the Play+ improves the post-DAC analogue filter circuit with a refined topology and superior op-amps that were carefully selected for their synergy with the ESS Sabre32 DAC. The power supply circuitry has also been redesigned, with a larger toroidal transformer and independent low-noise power supplies feeding all critical stages to keep interference to a minimum. These changes contribute to greater sonic clarity and expression, with increased dynamic headroom and crisp, engaging musicality.

The Play+ preamp section mixes minimalist design with high-quality components to ensure short, direct signal paths that preserve sonic purity. Volume is digitally controlled in the analogue domain, feeding single-ended RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs. The signal path between the DAC and XLR output is a further improvement over the original Play, the four-channel volume control and fully symmetrical topology ensuring the Play+ makes the most of the performance advantages that balanced XLR connection to a power amp can bring.

Other 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. Two digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output complete a comprehensive connectivity array.

All Artera Series components share the same compact 32x32cm footprint, with a crisp, clean aesthetic that both evokes Quad’s past and looks forward to the future. The housing provides a rigid structure that exudes quality and resists interference from external vibrations, with a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The sleek appeal of the Artera components is further enhanced by intuitive touch-sensitive controls built into their circular OLED displays; a fully featured remote control is also provided.

Specifications

Model Artera Play+
General Description CD Player & DAC
D/A Converter ESS ES9018 32bit DAC
Output Level (1kHz) 0 - 2.5 Vrms (PRE Outputs)
0 - 5 Vrms (Balanced Outputs)
L/R Channel Difference ±0.02dB (1kHz)
Frequency Response -0.2dB (20Hz-20kHz, 1kHz)
Total Harmonic Distortion <0.001% (20Hz-20kHz)
Linearity ±0.01dB (20Hz-20kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio (S/N) >110dB (1kHz)
>118dB (Weighted, 1kHz)
Channel Separation >100dB (1kHz)
USB Input 1 _ USB (Support HID)
USB Input Sampling Rates 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 384kHz
USB DSD DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
Digital Audio Inputs 2 _ Optical TOSlink
2 _ RCA (DIG1, DIG2)
Digital Audio Outputs 1 _ Optical TOSlink
1 _RCA (DIG)
Digital Inputs & outputs Sampling Rates 44.1 - 192kHz
Analogue Inputs 2 _ RCA(AUX1, AUX2)
Analogue Outputs 2 x XLR, RCA (PRE)
Dimension (W x D x H) 320 x 320 x 105mm
Weight 8.5 kg