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Arcam Solo Mini

Compact stereo receiver with AM/FM/CD

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Item #: 776SOLMINI
 
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Our take on the Arcam Solo Mini

by Marshall Chase
Arcam

The sound solution for the less-is-more movement

On one hand, you want something that sounds much better than an iPod® or Bluetooth® speaker. On the other hand, you want something less complex than a surround sound system. You'll find your sweet spot in a stereo receiver. In addition to being easy to set up and use, many now offer Internet radio and other network music options. Add your music source and two speakers, and you're ready to relax and enjoy your tunes. You might even connect your TV for improved sound with movies and shows.

wireless_back_view

The Solo Mini's carefully designed aluminum chassis includes handy top-mounted controls.

Take your next sonic adventure in a British compact

The quest for a superior sound system used to end at the foot of a bulky metal mountain. The astonishingly compact Solo Mini stereo receiver turns that journey on its ear. But Arcam has had the ear of audiophiles for over 30 years. Add a pair of your favorite speakers and you'll soon know what the buzz is all about.


Compact design

Your tall order is filled in under 3-1/2 inches

The Solo Mini packs a lot into its short frame. Start with an independently powered preamplifier section. Move to the toroidal transformer that makes 25 watts per channel sound like you bought the beast, not the beauty. Now let's talk finesse. The Mini is loaded with a highly sensitive and selective tuner that will have your favorite stations locked in tight. Follow this with the built-in CD player that coaxes pristine sound from your CDs and CD-Rs along with any MP3 and WMA music files you've burned to discs. Plus the Solo Mini shares its high-performance 24-bit Wolfson® digital-to-analog converter between the CD player and its front-panel USB slot, so it delivers all your music as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar.


wireless_back_view

Pick up Arcam's optional irDock for stellar iPod sound.

iPod® control and more

Add Arcam's Solo irDock and you'll have full control of your iPod's music and video capabilities via this receiver's remote. The Solo Mini has plenty of inputs available for nearly anything you have that comes in two channels. Plus there are extras like preamp output for a second zone or a recording tape deck (yes, we said "tape deck"). And if your old-school love of hi-fi equipment merged with your new-school adoration of technology, there's even an IR jack for adding a remote repeater system, and an RS-232 port for connecting a home automation system.


What we heard

The Solo Mini exceeded all of our expectations when Arcam treated us to a demo in the Crutchfield Training Room. One cut we heard was by the Fairfield Four singing gospel a capella. There is something about vocal harmony that reveals the truth of a system. Like a tapestry, each thread should be plainly discernible, but the overall mix should be warm, vibrant and cohesive. We heard the full depth and breadth of the music through small 4-ohm-rated bookshelf speakers. The Mini filled a room the size of a three car garage, briefly transforming the space into a music venue.


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Highlights:

  • 25 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20 kHz) at 0.10% THD
  • iPod® integration with optional Arcam Solo irDock)
  • AM/FM radio with 60 station presets
  • 5 analog audio inputs (including front minijack)
  • no phono input — to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
  • built-in CD player plays CDs, CD-R/RW, MP3 and WMA
  • 24-bit Wolfson digital-to-analog converter
  • front-panel USB port for thumb drive playback
  • top-mounted controls for power, volume source selection, and CD playback
  • binding post speaker connectors
  • headphone minijack
  • IR input for remote repeater system
  • RS-232 port
  • sleep timer
  • remote control
  • detachable power cord
  • 9-1/16"W x 3-5/8"H x 14-7/8"D
  • weight: 11.7 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Stereo RMS Power (watts)
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25
THD in Stereo
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0.1 %
Frequency Bandwidth (stereo)
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20-20k Hz
FM Sensitivity
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Not Given
Signal To Noise Ratio
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Not Given
Phono Signal to Noise Ratio
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Not Given
iPod Controls
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iPod DAC Bypass
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AirPlay Compatible
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Internet Ready
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Wired or Wireless Network
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DLNA Certified
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HD Radio Tuner
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No
Satellite Radio Ready
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No
Multi-Room
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---
Total Number of Zones
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1
Audio Dubbing
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---
Multibrand Remote Control
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No
Learning Remote
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No
On-Screen Display
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No
Width (inches)
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9-1/16
Height (inches)
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3-5/8
Depth (inches)
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14-7/8
Weight (pounds)
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11.7
Parts Warranty
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2 Years
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Inputs & Outputs
Headphone Output
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1
USB Connections
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Yes
Phono Input
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No
Video Inputs
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---
Total Audio Inputs
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Digital Audio Inputs
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Preamp Outputs
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Speaker Output Pairs
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1
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Integrated CD Player/Receiver
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • IR remote control
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • FM adapter
  • FM wire antenna
  • AM loop antenna
  • Handbook (Eng/Fre/Ger/Dut)
  • Thank You/Online Product Registration sheet

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Overview: The Arcam Solo Mini is an audiophile-grade all-in-one music system (minus speakers). The Solo Mini features a two-channel amplifier, CD player, AM/FM tuner, and USB port all in one chassis. The Solo Mini also supports iPod/iPhone playback (via optional add-on dock, sold separately). The Solo Mini all-in-one music system features a full dot-matrix display with east-to-read text, top-panel push-button controls, and a wireless remote control for simple, easy-to-use operation.

Amplifier Section
AM/FM Tuner
CD Player
Audio Connections
USB/iPod Functions
Remote Control

Amplifier Section

Two-Channel Amplifier: The Arcam Solo Mini all-in-one music system features an integrated two-channel amplifier designed to drive a single pair of speakers, rated at 8 ohms. The amplifier is rated at 25 watts x 2 channels (at 1kHz, in 8-ohm, with 0.1% THD).

Torroid Based Power Supply: A Torroid based power supply ensures even demanding bass lines are delivered without compromise to other instruments or vocals.

Independent Regulated Power Supplies: The Solo Mini is equipped with independently regulated power supplies for audiophile-grade sound quality.

Bass & Treble Controls: The Arcam Solo Mini features independent Bass & Treble controls.

  • Bass: This setting changes the relative volume of the lower frequency components of your music.
  • Treble: This setting changes the relative volume of the higher frequency component of your music.

Note: The bass and treble controls are inactive when headphones are connected.

Balance: This setting allows you to increase the volume of one channel (left or right) relative to the other channel.

Cooling System: The Solo Mini utilizes a passive fanless cooling system to keep the all-in-one music system operating at a normal temperature.

Sleep Timer: This timer allows you to specify a listening period, after which the Solo Mini will switch automatically into stand-by mode. The timer can be set in 5-minute intervals, up to 120 minutes (2-hours).

AM/FM Tuner

Built-in Tuner: The Solo Mini is equipped with a built-in AM/FM tuner with manual, seek, and preset tuning.

Preset Tuning: The Solo Mini provides up to 30 preset FM radio stations and 30 preset AM radio stations. Your presets are retained even if the Solo Mini is disconnected from the power supply.

Mono Mode: In some weak signal areas it can be beneficial to force the FM tuner to mono output, as mono requires a much lower signal strength to produce acceptable results.

Indoor Antennas: The Solo Mini comes with an indoor FM wire antenna and indoor AM loop antenna.

CD Player

Disc Compatibility: The Arcam Solo Mini features a silent slot-loading ("inhaler-type") CD mechanism. The built-in CD player supports playback of CD-Audio and CD-Text discs, as well as finalized CD-R/RW discs with MP or WMA music files.

24-Bit Wolfson DAC: The Solo Neo's built-in CD player features a Wolfson 24-bit multilevel Delta-Sigma DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for audiophile-grade sound from your CD collection.

Low Jitter Clock: The built-in CD player features a low-jitter, high-precision crystal clock to improve timing accuracy and eliminate jitter.

CD Auto Play: When this feature is enabled, the inserted CD plays immediately. If disabled, the CD waits for a command from the remote or top-panel controls. This function only applies if source is CD.

Display Modes: The Solo Mini provides four different display modes when listening to a CD.

  • Current Track Time: Display of track number with track time.
  • Remaining Track Time: Display of track number with the track time remaining.
  • CD Text: Song title and Artist name from a CD-Text disc is displayed.

Search Modes: The unit's built-in CD player offer various search functions to find your music.

  • Fast-Forward/Reverse: You can scan forward or backwards within a track.
  • Skip (Next/Previous): You can skip to the next or previous track on a disc.
  • Direct Search: Direct access may be gained to tracks on a disc by using the numeric keys on the included IR remote control.

Playback Modes: The built-in CD player offer Repeat, Shuffle, and Program playback modes.

  • Repeat: An entire disc can be repeated or a single track can be played back repeatedly.
  • Shuffle: The tracks on a disc are played back in random order (can be combined with repeat function).
  • Programming: The order in which tracks on a CD are played can be programmed.

Audio Connections

Auxiliary Input: The Solo Mini is equipped with a front-panel 3.5mm auxiliary input for quick, temporary connection of your portable digital audio player.

Analog Inputs: The Solo Mini provides four rear-panel analog audio inputs (Game, AV, Tape/iPod, TV) for permanent connection of an external audio source, such as your Satellite/Cable box, Blu-ray/DVD player, Tape Deck, TV, or Game System.

Note: The Solo Mini is not equipped with a phono pre-amplifier. If you wish to connect a turntable, then you will need an external pre-amplifier.

Pre Out: To improve the sound quality, or if you require more than 50W/channel, you can connect the Solo Mini to an external power amplifier. The Unit's Pre Out can also be used to connect a powered subwoofer.

Tape Out: The unit's stereo RCA-type Tape Output can be connected a cassette recorder (or other recording device). The source being listened to is routed directly to the Tape Out, before the volume control.

Note: Under no circumstances should this output be connected to a power amplifier.

Binding Posts: The Neo Solo is fitted with four binding post speaker terminals that can accept either bare wire, pin-connectors, spade terminals, and banana plugs (single only).  The speaker terminals are clearly marked left or right and positive or negative.

Headphone Output: The Solo Mini is equipped with a front-panel 3.5mm headphone output for connecting a set of headphones. When headphones are plugged into the unit's headphone jack, the main speaker output and the pre-amp output are muted automatically. The headphone jack is always active, except when the Solo Mini is muted.

Note: The unit's headphone jack accepts headphones with an impedance rating between 32-600 ohm, fitted with a 3.5mm stereo connector.

USB/iPod Functions

USB Port: The Solo Mini is equipped with a front-panel USB (type-A) port to connect a USB flash memory device or MP3 player (that appears as a single 'Removable Disk" when connected). USB hard disk drives can also be connected, but must have a separate power supply. The connected USB device must be formatted in FAT32. Once your USB is properly connected, you can playback stored MP3/WMA music file. The Solo Mini will display song title and artist name. The following playback modes are offered.

  • Normal: Tracks are played back in sequential order.
  • Repeat: All (all tracks on a USB are played in order and then repeated), Folder (all tracks in a folder are played in order and then repeated), Track (playback of current track is repeated).
  • Shuffle: All (all tracks on the USB device are played in random order), Folder (track sin current folder are played in random order).
  • Repeat + Shuffle: All tracks on the USB device are played in a random order and then repeated.

Optional iPod Dock: The Arcam irDock (776IRDOCK, sold separately) is an external add-on iPod dock which can be connected the Arcam Solo Mini via its Tape (RCA) input and RS-232 Port. The irDock supports audio playback, video output, metadata display, remote control, and charging of your docked iPod/iPhone.

Remote Control

Wireless Remote Control: The Arcam Solo Mini comes with an IR remote control (CR50) for wireless operation of the all-in-on music system. The remote operates off of two "AAA" batteries (included).

Remote Out: This 3.5mm output carries all command signals from the front-panel remote control IR receiver. This can be used to route remote control commands to other equipment, which feature an 3.5mm remote input.

RS-232 Port: The Solo Mini is equipped with a RS-232 serial port that allows remote control from a PC, or similar device.

 
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