The Quad Artera Solus combines a CD transport, DAC, preamp and power amplifier into one package. The ESS9018 Sabre32 chip is responsible for digital signal processing, thanks to which the device can work with data in PCM format up to 32 bit/384 kHz and DSD64/128/256. A slot drive is provided for the disks, and the data is buffered before entering the DAC.
At the heart of the basic Quad Artera Solus is the ESS ES9018, a 32-bit eight-channel Delta-Sigma hybrid D/A converter that supports data transfer up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD64/128/256. The connectivity options here can be described as “comprehensive”: dual optical and coaxial digital inputs, a pair of analogue RCA inputs, a separate USB-B port for connecting a PC or laptop, and even a USB-A input specifically for downloading the latest firmware. The available outputs are also in perfect order: XLR and RCA outputs are provided for using an external amplifier, as well as the ability to connect a separate DAC via a coaxial or optical connection.
The developers have provided four digital filters for processing signals from both CDs and external digital sources. The volume control is analog, but with digital control. The class AB power amplifier is built according to the “dual mono” circuit and produces 75 W per channel with a maximum current of up to 15 A. To reduce distortion, separate power circuits are used for the right and left channels. The amplifier’s output stage is based on the CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with an emitter follower. This design, according to the developers, makes it possible to achieve high linearity and temperature stability. Two mono amplifiers in one housing are supported by a 300 VA toroidal transformer, and each channel has a pair of capacitors with a capacity of 15,000 μF each.
The ESS chip used in Quad Artera Solus is quite demanding and difficult to configure. The manufacturer, in turn, offers us a set of four ready-made presets: Fast, Smooth, Narrow and Wide. As you might have already guessed, Fast is the default set of settings, and if you decide to use any external components, first of all try to run the system with this preset. However, the actual result here may depend on many factors, so be prepared for the fact that in the fight for perfectly optimized sound you will have to experiment a little with the available settings.
Quad Artera Solus is capable of connecting to sources via Bluetooth with support for the aptX codec. The developers promise that a premium version of Solus will be released in the fall, equipped with a module with network streamer functionality. Owners of the Bluetooth version will be able to upgrade their devices to the Wi-Fi version.
Specifications Quad Artera Solus
Type CD player, DAC, preamp, power amplifier
DAC ESS ES9018, 32 bit
Input sampling rate PCM 32 bit / 384 kHz, DSD256
Output power 2 x 75 W (8 ohms)
Harmonic distortion less than 0.009% (amplifier power), less than 0.002% (preamplifier)
Frequency response 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio 100 dB (power amplifier), 103 dB (preamplifier)
Stereo separation more than 82 dB (power amplifier), more than 100 dB (preamplifier)
USB inputs , 2 optical, 2 coaxial, 2 analog RCA, USB (for iPod/iPhone)
Outputs optical, coaxial, 2 analog RCA, 2 analog XLR, for headphones, for speakers
Bluetooth 3.0, with aptX support
Dimensions (WxHxD) 320 x 105 x 320 mm
Weight 11.8 kg