Quad continues to mark its 79th year with the arrival of Artera, a new range of audio electronics. Artera Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single chassis, while Artera Stereo is a power amplifier sporting Quad’s Current Dumping technology. Quad’s design brief for Artera was to combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hi-fi marques with fresh industrial design and the very latest audio technologies. They enlisted the help of Rodney Mead, the man responsible for the styling of many classic Quad products in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, to brainstorm design concepts that would lead to Artera.
With a textured aluminium 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. Artera Play’s fascia incorporates a touch-sensitive control panel which avoids the need for buttons and knobs.
Quad Artera Play
At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC. This is Quad’s first component to utilise the ESS Sabre DAC, and external digital sources can benefit from its exceptional quality via a range of digital inputs. These include USB, with support for PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz and also DSD64/128/256, ensuring the Artera Play 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 asynchronously to the DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound. Its preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage and two coaxial and two optical inputs cater for external digital sources alongside the USB input, with a pair of RCA phono inputs handling analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties; a pair of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output completes the connectivity options.
Quad Artera Stereo
The Artera Stereo is described as a compact yet potent power amp that sports the latest iteration of Quad’s Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the Quad 405 over thirty years ago and still the only amp design to have earned a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.
Current Dumping is essentially a method of marrying the purity of Class A amplification with the efficiency of Class AB. An extremely high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a high-power current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. The Artera Stereo’s power output is rated at 140W per channel into eight Ohms and 250W into four Ohms. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts. Simple. The Artera Play and Artera Stereo are available now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and RRPs of £1,399.95 and £1,499.95 respectively.