About the Quad Artera Solus
The centerpiece of an excellent 2-channel system
The centerpiece of an excellent 2-channel system
When I unboxed the Quad Artera Solus, I had to pause for a moment, step back, and admire it. The solid, vibration resistant chassis with textured aluminum front panel and thick glass top was elegant enough to catch my eye, but that's just the beginning. There's an array of inputs and outputs in neat rows on the back of this sleek component, and a built-in CD transport on the front. A beefy toroidal transformer inside provides the foundation for 75 watts of clean power, suitable for driving a pair of high-quality speakers.
My fellow Crutchfield writer Dave D. coordinates audio demos here at our Charlottesville HQ. He took the Quad Artera Solus home for a weekend, and used it to power a pair of Monitor Audio Gold 100 speakers. "It's simply a beautiful piece," he reported back. "What really struck me was the instrumental definition I heard at low volumes. Many components will lose that when volume is down, but not this guy."
Pristine digital sound
The Quad Artera Solus has a superb ESS digital-to-analog converter (DAC) inside, which offers high-resolution digital playback up to 32-bit/384kHz. And if you have a prized collection of compact discs like I do, you'll get a lot of use out of the unit's built-in CD transport. The slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it to the DAC to reduce timing jitter, and there are four digital filter settings that let you tweak the sound to suit your ears.
The user-friendly back panel of the Quad Artera Solus features multiple inputs and outputs in an orderly layout.
Connections for components
I mentioned it above, but it's worth saying again: I really like the layout of the inputs and outputs on the back of this amp. There are two optical digital inputs with a single output, and two coaxial digital inputs with a corresponding output in a discrete digital bus on one side. Analog inputs and outputs are similarly grouped on the other side, with two sets of RCA inputs, an RCA preamp output, and balanced XLR outputs all together in one place. Even the speaker binding posts follow a practical design, spaced as far to the left and right as possible for wiring up a pair of speakers.
A USB Type-B port for connecting a computer and a Type-A port for firmware updates fill out the panel.
Bluetooth for wireless streaming
Quad obviously put a lot of work into the wired connections on this amp, but they didn't forget about the growing popularity of wireless streaming. The Solus features built-in Bluetooth with aptX audio coding for a better-sounding connection to compatible devices.
- class AB amplifier
- 75 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.002% THD
- built-in Bluetooth® with aptX audio coding for a better-sounding connection to compatible devices
- high-resolution ESS ES9018 DAC supports hi-res digital files up to 32-bit/384kHz
- compatible file types: ALAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3, AAC, AACHE, AAC+, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
- four digital filter settings: Smooth, Wide, Narrow and Fast
- front-panel touchscreen OLED display
- textured aluminum front panel and thick glass top
- playback modes: random, repeat track and repeat all
- program mode lets you play tracks in any order
- slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it to the DAC, to reduce jitter
- digital inputs: 2 Toslink optical, 2 coaxial
- digital outputs: 2 Toslink optical, 2 coaxial
- USB Type-B input for connecting to a computer
- 2 sets of stereo RCA inputs
- 1 set of unbalanced stereo RCA outputs
- 1 set of balanced stereo XLR outputs
- 1/4" headphone jack on front panel
- one pair of binding post speaker terminals
- USB Type-A input for software updates
- 12-volt trigger output
Dimensions and warranty:
- 12-5/8"W x 4-3/16"H x 12-5/8"D
- weight: 26.1 lbs.
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # QUADARTERASOLUSAB
What's in the box:
- Integrated amplifier
- Glass top-plate
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- Bluetooth antenna
- Pair of white gloves
- USB 2.0 Audio Driver Install Disc
- Owner's Manual
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More details on the Quad Artera Solus
Features & specs
|Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms)||75|
|Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms)||Not given|
|Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms)||Not given|
|Minimum Impedance||8 ohms|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||103|
|Digital Music Features|
|Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)||Yes|
|High-resolution Audio Playback||FLAC, DSD|
|Total Analog Inputs||2|
|Optical Digital Inputs||2|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||2|
|Preamp Outputs||2 (RCA), 2 (XLR)|
|Dimensions and Warranty|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Dual-Mono Class AB Power Amplifier: The Quad Artera Solus features a dual-mono Class AB power amplifier that delivers 75 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 15 Amps into difficult loads. A 300VA toroidal transformer supplies the two mono amplifiers using separate secondary windings, followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity per channel (60000uF in total). To minimize distortion, the power supplies for the left and right channels are isolated from each other as well as from the rest of the system. The discrete power amp circuits' output stage uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with conventional emitter follower circuitry. The CFB stage offers superior linearity and ensures excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. Using an emitter follower in combination with the CFB stage is an efficient way of increasing the current ability of the amplifier without compromising the advantages of the CFB circuit.
ESS Sabre DAC: At the heart of the Artera Solus is an ESS Sabre32 9018 DAC (digital-to-analog converter). This 32-bit, 8-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC is considered by many in the industry to be the finest D/A converter chip available for stereo sound. The ESS Sabre32 9018 DAC supports 2ch PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to 11.2MHz) music files.4 Digital Filters: The Quad Artera Solus incorporates four digital filter options to let you tailor the Artera Solus sound, including CDs and external digital sources, to suit your personal taste and the nature of the source material. You can choose between Smooth, Wide, Narrow, or Fast.
- Smooth: The Smooth filter is suited for simpler acoustic recordings as it sounds more natural. The filter has a slightly lower bandwidth, but superior rejection to noise. The result is very clear, smooth, and open sound.
- Wide: The Wide filter is suited for high resolution audio files of 96kHz and above. It has a very clean sound with a gentle rate of attenuation, minimum "time-domain" ringing", and minimal noise output.
- Narrow: The Narrow filter has a high jitter tolerance and typifies industrial standard characteristics (-6dB @ 1/2 Fs with significant time-domain ringing).
- Fast: The Fast filter preserves the fast transient nature of the musical dynamics without "ringing" .This filter has a purity and "naturalness" sound quality.
Disc Compatibility: The Quad Artera Solus is equipped with a built-in CD player and supports playback of CD-Audio discs only (not compatible with "ripped" CD-R and CD-RW discs). For CD playback, a new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously in order to minimize time domain errors known as "jitter" to the DAC section. The unit offers a variety of playback controls including Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, Fast Forward/Rewind, Random/Repeat, and Program. The player does not support CD-Text or the display of any song/artist/album information.
Bluetooth Audio Streaming: Built-in Bluetooth A2DP gives you the freedom of wireless connectivity for your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You'll be able to wirelessly stream audio from your Bluetooth source device to the Artera Solus. The Quad Artera Solus also supports the aptX codec for higher quality wireless audio for select Bluetooth-enabled source devices.
USB-B Port: The integrated amplifier's USB-B port (1.1/2.0 compliant) allows you to listen to digital music files stored on your Windows PC (7/8/10) or Mac (OS X) computer through the Artera Solus. The unit supports PCM (44.1-384kHz) and DSD (2.8/5.6/11.2MHz) stereo music files. A Windows PC will require a separate USB driver that can be downloaded onto your PC using the included USB 2.0 Audio Driver Install Disc.
Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs/Outputs: The Quad Artera Solus is also outfitted with two optical (toslink) digital inputs and two coaxial (RCA) digital inputs that support 2ch PCM audio files (44.1-192kHz). The digital inputs do not support multichannel audio formats such as Dolby Digital and DTS. There is an optical and coaxial digital output for connecting the Artera Solus to a high quality external DAC.
Analog Inputs/Outputs: The Quad Artera Solus features two unbalanced stereo RCA inputs for connecting external line-level audio source devices. If you want to connect a turntable, you'll need an external Phono preamp (sold separately - see Accessories Tab) or a turntable with a built-in phono preamp. The Artera Solus also features an unbalanced stereo RCA output and a balanced XLR stereo RCA output that can be used as preamp outputs to connect an external power amplifier.
Binging Post Speaker Terminals: The Quad Artera Solus provides binding post terminals to connect your speaker wire and speakers. The binding post terminals will accept bare wire (up to 12AWG), pin-connectors, spade-lugs, and banana plugs (single only).
1/4" Headphone Jack: The Quad Artera Solus features a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack for connecting a set of headphones. The unit's speaker outputs will be muted while headphones are connected.
Simple Controls: The front-panel of the Quad Artera Solus incorporates an intuitive touch-sensitive control and display that is highly intuitive. The display indicates source and volume level (song/artist/album info display is not supported). An IR remote is also included for wireless operation of the integrated amplifier. The remote provides Power, Source, Volume/Mute, and Playback/Search (CD/USB only) control functions.
12V Trigger Output: The Quad Artera Solus is outfitted with a 12V trigger output (3.5mm) that can used to automatically turn on a connected source device that has a 12V trigger input (3.5mm). When the Artera Solus is powered on it will trigger the connected component to power on at the same time.
Auto Standby: The Quad Artera Solus will automatically go into "standby" mode when there is no audio signal input or operation for approximately 20 or 60 minutes.
Rugged Housing: The Quad Artera Solus features a textured aluminum 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.