Arcam Solo Neo review

The Neo has a more agile sound and extra functionality over the original Arcam Solo Tested at £1350

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The original Solo was good. The Solo Neo is even better, and that alone makes it a great buy


  • +

    Improved transparency

  • +

    can now stream music from a computer network

  • +

    excellent tuner section

  • +

    fine build


  • -

    Can be a little slow to react to commands

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The original Solo was introduced back in 2004 and was a great success for Arcam. It created a whole new market for the brand and for many years remained the all-in-one music system to beat.

This upgraded Neo version doesn't mess too much with the original's recipe. The outward appearance hasn't changed; instead, the new model expands the feature count while taking performance up a notch too.

The biggest change on the features front is a newly gained ability to play music files from a USB stick or streamed over a computer network, wired or wireless.

The unit will play WAV, MP3, AAC, WMA and FLAC files, so should be compatible with most people's music collections. It'll handle files streamed up to 48kHz/24bit.

New media and old favourites
Internet radio and DAB+ compatibility is added alongside FM and DAB. Compact disc fans need not worry, a CD drive is still included.

The Solo Neo has a great tuner section. With DAB (no DAB+ transmissions in the UK at the moment) it sounds smooth and listenable, totally avoiding the thin, bright and hard quality we hear from most DAB products.

Watch our Solo Neo video review

Listen to FM and the good news continues with full-bodied smoothness and expressive dynamics, though you'll need a decent signal for hiss-free results. We can't recommend a good-quality external aerial too highly if FM performance is a priority.

Only Internet radio gives rise to some concern, but here the innate poor quality of the broadcasts are to blame rather than the Arcam.

Impressive CD performance
Switch to CD and the performance is impressive. It's clear and detailed producing good results with everything from Lady Gaga's Poker Face to a 1959 mono recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4.

The Neo sounds more neutral than the original Solo, and delivers greater agility, punch and dynamic expression than before.

The original may have sounded cosier, but the new version is more capable. It's a fine cut-price alternative to Naim's mighty Uniti.

See all our style system Best Buys

Follow on Twitter

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test