Quad gave its team of designers and engineers a specific brief for Artera: combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hi-fi marques for many decades with fresh industrial design and the very latest high- performance audio technologies.
To this end, Quad 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 – a Quad component range fit for 2015 and beyond.
Artera’s crisp, clean aesthetic both evokes Quad’s past and looks forward to the future, 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, and the Artera Play’s fascia incorporates an intuitive touch-sensitive control that contributes greatly to its sleek design.
For CD replay, a new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously (in order to minimise time domain errors known as ‘jitter’) to the DAC section.
Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound, with both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.
The Artera Play’s preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage. 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 complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.
“Lush, gorgeous – choose whatever adjectives you like: The Artera duet respects the music.”
Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News (November 2015)
Despite their attractive simplicity, both Artera components deliver exceptional sophistication beneath the skin. At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC considered by many to be the finest D/A converter chip available for stereo sound.
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- highdefinition digital sound.