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.
The Artera Stereo’s power output is conservatively rated at 140W per channel into eight ohms and 250W into four ohms, ensuring any speakers – including Quad’s classic ESL electrostatic designs – can be driven with ease. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts. Simple, solid and classy on the outside and devilishly clever within, the Artera Stereo maintains Quad’s traditional place at the forefront of modern amplifier design.
“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.
The inclusion of full analogue/digital preamp functionality means the Artera Play can be connected directly to a power amplifier, and its perfect partner in this regard is the Artera Stereo.
This compact yet potent power amp sports the latest iteration of Quad’s famous Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the legendary Quad 405 – one of the most lauded British audio components of all time 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 superior sonic purity of Class A amplification with the greater efficiency of Class AB. An extremely high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a highpower current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. These two amp circuits are combined via a precision network to perfectly impose the finesse of the Class A output onto the power of the current dumper.
The result is a relatively compact and cool-running power amp capable of delivering a captivating combination of dynamic power, vice-like grip and sumptuous sonic detail.
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