Arcam is back, back, back. You could argue the British hi-fi company never really went away, but the hi-fi separates output from the Cambridge-based outfit has been fairly muted as of late, shall we say.
That's all about to change with the launch of its five-strong range of components. We're glad that Arcam has taken its time, though, as the all-new Radia family is – both in looks and its rather aggressive pricing – incredibly tempting.
There are five products in the range: the A5, A15 and A25 integrated stereo amplifiers, the CD5 CD player and the ST5 network music player.
All five sport a very sleek, all-black design with subtle yellow accents throughout for a 'contemporary' look. Matching black and yellow remote controls come with each model, too. It's a rather strong visual statement and a departure from the Arcam products we've tested previously.
Arcam states that this new look will "define Arcam's image for years to come" and that "with the Radia family, we've renewed our focus on intimate performance and embraced the very latest audio technologies" says Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Harman Luxury Audio. "For today's audio enthusiasts, especially younger ones looking to get into a luxury audio system at a reasonable cost, the resulting solutions surpass not only our past offerings, but any product that's come before."
Let's start with the amplifiers. The A5 and A15 are Class A/B designs with 50 watts and 100 watts per channel respectively, while the flagship A25 ups the ante with a Class G design and 100 watts per channel (all into 8 ohms).
All three amplifiers share key family features, starting with the new aluminium shell, the distinctive vents cut into the top, and a 'cowl' that hangs over the back panel to hide the connections. They each have a "high-quality" moving magnet phono stage built-in, with improved pre-amp stages that feature upgraded and fine-tuned components. A neat addition is that all three feature two-way aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, which lets you stream music wirelessly to the amp from your smartphone and simultaneously listen back on compatible, connected Bluetooth headphones.
The A5 and A15's digital circuitry is based on the ESS ES9018 DAC, while the A25 steps up to the ESS ES9280AQ DAC. All amps feature analogue line-level and digital (coaxial and optical) inputs, while the A25 adds a USB-C input to the list. While the rest of the family has frosted, simplified TFT displays, the A25 sports an OLED screen. As an added design flourish for the flagship amp, it has illuminated highlights around the volume dial that mimic the yellow paint of its siblings.
The CD5 CD player supports CD/CD-R/CD-RW disc formats and there's a USB port for playing tracks (FLAC, WAV, MP3) from a flash drive. Along with the ST5 music streamer, both support playback of up to 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution files.
The ST5 is furnished with all the features that a modern network audio streamer needs, including support for wi-fi, AirPlay 2, Chromecast built-in, as well as Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect. Through the redesigned Arcam App, you get further access to Amazon Music, Qobuz and global internet radio stations. There's also support for MQA files and the streamer is Roon certified.
The Arcam Radia series of hi-fi products will be available from October, and the official prices are below:
Arcam A5: £749 / $699 / €849
Arcam A15: £1,099 / $999 / €1,249
Arcam A25: £1,499 / $1,499 / €1,799
Arcam CD5: £699 / $699 / €799
Arcam ST5: £799 / $799 / €949
That means the new Arcam range will compete against some heavy hitters in the hi-fi world, from Cambridge Audio's Award-winning CXA61 and CXA81 amplifiers and the five-star Rega Elex Mk4, not to mention Cambridge Audio's excellent CXN (V2) streamer. For those who still favour physical media, it's great to see a new CD player on the scene at this reasonable price, too.
We've been lucky enough to have early review samples of a majority of the new Radia range, so you can read our Arcam A5 review and Arcam A15 review now for our official verdict on Arcam's two new amplifiers.
Here's our guide to the best stereo amplifiers for all budgets