Quad Artera Solus adds DTS Play-Fi upgrade

Just add speakers

by Andy Bassett
SRP: £1,699.00

Renowned British Hi-Fi manufacturer Quad has announced the Artera Solus Play, an upgraded version of its all-in-one Artera Solus which will now open up a whole new world of streaming and multi-room possibilities with the addition of DT Play-Fi support.

Much as the company did when it announced the addition of the DT Play-Fi platform to its Vena II stereo amp last year, Quad are unleashing a new lease of life for its Artera Solus all-in-one device by adding Hi-Res streaming up to 24-bit/192kHz via Wi-Fi and Ethernet, Bluetooth reception, and the ability to be part of a multi-room streaming setup, all along side the existing CD playback, full DAC and preamp facilities.

And just as Quad did when it upgraded the Vena II with Play-Fi capabilities, the Artera Solus gets the Play suffix too, creating the upgraded Quad Artera Solus Play.

The DTS Play-Fi wireless audio platform is brand agnostic and allows seamless streaming interoperability between hardware from a wide variety of manufacturers including Arcam, Klipsch, Quad, Polk Audio, Anthem, Pioneer, Wharfedale and Philips, meaning products from any and all of these manufacturers can be incorporated in a whole-home entertainment experience.

Quad Artera Solus Play
Quad Artera Solus Play

Controlled by the free Play-Fi app (available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices, Windows PCs and Apple), the Quad Artera Solus Play has access to music services, including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, HDtracks, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM as well as streaming libraries stored on any DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server on the same home network. A wide variety of file formats, including MP3, MP4A, AAC, FLAC, WAV and AIFF are all supported. Even beyond the app, music can be accessed via Spotify Connect, and also directly from smartphones and tablets using aptX Bluetooth. 

Within the 32cm 32cm footprint of the chassis lies the ES9018 Sabre32 Reference 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multibit Delta-Sigma DAC chip, meaning the digital inputs can handling PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz as well as DSD64/128/256.

The preamp and power amp stages incorporate balanced circuitry, short and direct signal paths and high-quality components with a total power output of 2x75W into eight ohms from the dual-mono Class AB power amp stage. The power supplies for the left and right channels are isolated from each other, as well as from the rest of the system, to minimise distortion. In fact, all the critical stages are fed by independent low noise power supplies to keep interference to a minimum.

When not using the streaming capabilities, the physical inputs on hand include, six digital inputs – two coaxial, two optical, USB Type B and Ethernet -  and a pair of RCA inputs for analogue sources. 

Quad Artera Solus Play
Quad Artera Solus Play - rear

Analogue outputs include single-ended RCA and balanced XLRs while there are also optical and coaxial digital outputs as well as a 12V trigger output and a front-mounted jack coupled to a dedicated headphone amp.

Lead electronics engineer Jan Ertner explained, “It was a real challenge to make the individual parts – CD transport, DAC, analogue preamp and power amp – perform to the level of a full separates system in keeping with Quad’s high standards, all packed into a single Artera Series chassis.” 

He continued, “We have revisited this challenge to create the Artera Solus Play, adding full network streaming to an already comprehensive list of premium-quality ingredients. Placement of circuit components has been especially critical.” 


Digital Section 

DAC Chip:  ESS Technology ES9018 Sabre32 Reference 
CD player: Slot-loading transport with read-ahead digital buffer 
Wireless Streaming: Wi-Fi (Play-Fi, Spotify Connect) and Bluetooth 
Digital Inputs:  1x USB Type B / 2x optical / 2x coaxial / 1x Ethernet 
Max Sampling Frequency – USB input:  PCM 384kHz / DSD256 
Max Sampling Frequency – Wi-Fi, S/PDIF:  PCM 192kHz 

Preamplifier Section 
Analogue Inputs: 2x line-level RCA 
Analogue Outputs: 2x RCA; 2x balanced XLR; 6.3mm headphone jack 
Analogue Output Level: RCA 0-2.3 Vrms / XLR 0-4.6 Vrms 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz (+/- 0.2dB) 
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.002% (@1kHz, BW=20Hz-20kHz) 
Signal-to-Noise: > 110dB (A-weighted, ref. 1V) 

Power Amplifier Section 

Power Output: 2x 75W RMS (8Ω) 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz (+/- 0.5dB) 
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.003% (@1kHz, 50W/8Ω, BW=20Hz-20kHz) 
Signal-to-Noise: > 108dB (A-weighted, ref. 75W)

Size and Weight 

Dimensions: 320x320x105mm 
Net weight: 11.5kg

Available with a black or silver front panel, the new Artera Solus Play is available from July, at an RRP of £1,699. The original Artera Solus, without Wi-Fi/Ethernet network streaming, continues at £1,499. 

Source: Press release
Image Source: Quad Hi-Fi

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