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How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system
This year Quad is tantalizing us with a varied selection of exciting new products including their ERA-1 planar magnetic headphones at $799, two new integrated amplifiers, the Artera Solus at $1999 and the Vena II at $999, and a new center channel loudspeaker for the Z-Series, the Z-C at $1599. In addition, they have been able to reduce the pricing significantly on the entire Z-series, making it much more reachable for those (like almost everyone!) on a limited budget.
As many of you may know, Quad earned its unparalleled reputation many decades ago with its holographically pure electrostatic loudspeakers. What is less well known is that, before their electrostatic designs, the folks at Quad had also designed a very early ribbon model called the Corner Ribbon. As we reported in issue 19, they used their planar magnetic/ribbon expertise to design the S-Series and Z-Series loudspeakers, both of which have ribbon tweeters. Now they've employed that knowledge to create their first planar magnetic headphones, the ERA-1. The ERA-1 has high efficiency and low impedance, making it easy to drive directly from your phone or portable music player. Of course, things get really exciting when they're partnered with quality headphone amplifiers such as QUAD's VA-One or PA-One tube headphone amplifiers. The ERA-1 has a smooth and transparent sound, is comfortable and fatigue free, and comes with a hard travel case, a three meter cable, and two sets of ear pads.
The Artera Solus is an attractive and uncompromising all-in-one CD source-preamp-DAC-amplifier that makes it easy to enjoy high fidelity sound by just adding a pair of loudspeakers. At its heart lies a massive toroidal transformer (not your typical noisy switching supply) and a 75 watt-per-channel Class A/B amplifier that is rich in tone and powerful enough to drive most loudspeakers. The CD transport and ESS Sabre DAC have superior specifications and make it simple to enjoy spinning silver discs while the digital connectivity provides a path for the simple addition of outboard streamers and computers. There's also a great-sounding headphone output where you can plug in your ERA-1 or other fine headphones, making the Artera Solus the beautiful centerpiece of a very well-equipped HiFi with a minimal number of boxes.
QUAD's top-selling integrated amplifier just got a whole lot better. The VENA II has three new key features; a moving magnet phono stage, a 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC, and a beefed up headphone amplifier as compared to the original Vena. Unlike the competition at this price point, VENA II still uses a beefy toroidal transformer and a 45 watt/channel Class A/B amplifier. This is the only way to maintain that smooth, open, and detailed sound that has been the hallmark of Quad amplifiers for many, many decades. Finally, you can now order the VENA II System Pack which bundles the amp with a pair of Quad's wonderful S-1 loudspeakers for $1499, a savings of $299 over the individual prices.
Finally, QUAD has significantly lowered pricing on all Z-Series models, making these already-great values even better. Expanding the lineup is the new Z-C, a welcome addition that allows one to build a timbre-matched Z-Series home theatre system. There aren't very many (any?) other center channel loudspeakers that use a true ribbon tweeter!
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