Arcam Solo - CD player / Tuner / Amplifier. Elegant Simplicity. Manual and remote included. Price : $695.00
Arcam's new Solo is the rare audiophile product that combines simplicity, convergence, and a small footprint. Now you can have a perfectionist-quality integrated amplifier that doubles as a CD player and a tuner. Looking at the Solo gives you the impression that this is a product that has been designed as much as engineered. The metal casing has a pleasing matte silver finish with neatly rounded corners. The front panel is dominated by a blue LCD display with an adjustable brightness setting. Two 1/8" mini-stereo jacks are also located on the front panel, one for headphone output, and one as an auxiliary input for a portable music player
The Solo is a music system with superb music performance delivered from its internal CD player and radio tuner. With high quality audio from highly developed amplifier stages the Solo offers a high performance, stylish and easy to use package that delivers music in a way that will thrill any listener.
To say the Solo is musically capable and expressive is an understatement. It's one of the best small system ever.
The Arcam Solo is a breeze to install. Rugged speaker connectors allow spade terminals, banana plugs, or bare wire, and there's an RS-232 input for those who wish to let their computers boss their audio systems around. There are gold-plated phono jacks on the back for a tape loop, plus three pairs of line-level inputs (labeled AV, TV, and Game on the remote handset) and an iPod minijack input on the front (labeled Front). There's also a threaded F-style connector on the back, so broadcast enthusiasts can easily connect a flexible dipole, which is included, or some other outboard antenna.
Another nice feature, which I imagine will strike a chord with nonaudiophiles, is the inclusion of a pair of Zone 2 preamp-out jacks: These can be used to drive a separate power amplifier in another room, the volume of which can be adjusted, or muted altogether, separately from the main pair, using the remote handset. Neat.
In typical contemporary fashion, only the most basic user controls are available on the front panel, while the attractive handset offers the whole gamut. Volume, balance, and even treble and bass (!) were easy to adjust, and tuning and storing FM stations was simplicity itself. There's an alarm clock function, too, something lacked by my first integrated amplifier. Come to think of it, none of my amplifiers has ever had an alarm clock.
And the Solo is nothing if not stylish. My first thought upon opening the box was: If Apple made amps and CD players, this is what they'd look like. This is what they'd feel like, too, right down to the Audi-esque curves of the cast-alloy front panel and the decidedly noncheap feel of the soft-touch buttons. The Arcam Solo was also one of the most ergonomically intuitive products I've reviewed: I don't know why, but without having to look at the sparsely labeled controls I simply knew that the button to the left of the slim CD drawer was for eject, the one to the right was for play, and the pair on the far right were for volume up and down.
50 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (1 kHz) at 0.01% THD7
75 wpc into 4 ohms
FM radio with 30 station presets
5 analog audio inputs (including front-panel minijack)
1 optical digital output
CD player plays CDs, CD-R/RW, MP3, WMA and FLAC files
detachable power cord
16-15/16"W x 3-1/8"H x 13-15/16"D
weight: 17 lbs.
MSRP was 1600 new.