Quad reveals Artera Play and Artera Stereo: "Classics for the modern age"

The Quad Artera range was first unveiled in a sneak preview at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show earlier this year, but two new products have now been revealed in full.

The Artera Play is a CD player, DAC and preamp, while the Artera Stereo is a power amplifier. The two components are billed as "the first to arrive", suggesting more Artera products are already in the pipeline.

Priced at £1400 and £1500 respectively, the two components are naturally designed to work in tandem, and aim to combine Quad's classic design with cutting-edge functionality. As a result, Rodney Mead, the man behind many of Quad's classic hi-fi products from the 70s right through to the 90s, was involved in the design.

Quad Artera Play

Quad Artera Play

And you can certainly see the Quad lineage - see the Quad 99 and QSP - in the style of the Artera products, which feature textured aluminium front panels, thick glass tops and heat sinks on either side.

The Artera Play sports a new slot-loading CD deck, which claims to buffer data from the disk before sending it asynchronously to the DAC. This aims to reduce errors and ultimately make for a better sound.

The DAC section comes in the form of the ESS Sabre DAC, which supports music files including PCM and DSD right up to 32-bit/384kHz. So hi-res audio is more than covered.

The preamp has a Class A output stage, and connectivity comes in the form of USB and twin coaxial and twin optical digital inputs. There are RCA phono analogue inputs, too. Single-ended RCA and XLR outputs, plus optical and coaxial digital outs complete the spec sheet.

Quad Artera Stereo

Quad Artera Stereo

The Artera Stereo power amp keeps Quad's familiar compact dimensions but packs out, Quad conservatively estimates, around 140W per channel into 8 ohms (250W into 4 ohms).

It uses Quad's Current Dumping topology - the only amp design to have earned a Queen's Award for Technological Achievement - marries Class A and Class AB amplification for power and efficiency.

There are single-ended RCA and XLR inputs, a 12V trigger, plus the all-important speaker terminals.

Artera system with S2 speakers

Artera system with S2 speakers

Peter Comeau, director of acoustic design at Quad’s parent company IAG, said: "Today’s consumers are often bewildered and confused by the multiplicity of inputs and controls on modern hi-fi equipment. At Quad, we have never believed that you have to be a ‘hi-fi geek’ to be able to play music at the highest performance level. Artera therefore simplifies the user interface, leaving an uncluttered appearance that is welcoming to all users as well as looking beautiful in the home."

The Artera Play and Artera Stereo (pictured above alongside the Quad S2 speakers) are on sale now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and priced at £1400 and £1500 respectively.

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).