Quad Artera Play+ Announced
More features at a lower price
Quad has replaced the original Artera Play source component with a new version called the Artera Play+.
Like its predecessor, which launched in 2015, the 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 beneath the fascia and coupled to dedicated circuitry that is designed to do justice to even the most capable of cans.
At its heart nestles an ESS Sabre32 Reference – the eminent 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit DeltaSigma DAC chipset – implemented by Quad’s electronics engineers. External sources benefit from this DAC’s 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
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 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, says Quad.
The Play+’s 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 is designed so that the Play+ can make the most of the performance advantages that balanced XLR connection to a power amp can bring.
Other cable connectivity options include 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 the connectivity array.
The new Play+ joins the Stereo power amplifier and Solus all-in-one system in Quad’s Artera Series. All Artera Series components share the same compact 32x32cm footprint. The housing features a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side.
In 2015, the original Play launched at an RRP of £1,399.95. Thanks to increased production efficiencies, Quad has been able to deliver this enhanced component at a significantly reduced RRP –of £1,199.95.
The Quad Artera Play+ is available from late August, with a choice of black or silver front panels.
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