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Arcam Solo
2 Reviews
rating  4 of 5
MSRP  1599.00
Description: All in one CD receiver featuring iPod Integration and Digital Radio (DAB)


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by garyswift a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I previously owned an Arcam CD73 with a Rega Amp with Rega FM Tuner along with a pair of Mission 780's, (keeping it English!) ....but needed to scale down a bit due to a house move. When I heard that Arcam was basing the Solo on the CD73 and incorporating a DAB radio I jumped at the chance to audition it and was not disapointed. I ended up taking it home that day, as to be honest there is no other all in one system that can match it for sound and looks at the price.
I use it with the Mission 780s and it sounds superb. The only real drawback is not with the player itself but more with DAB..... you do need a better arial than the one that comes with it if you wish to listen to perfect DAB sound. .....and I would agree with the previous reviewer that the buttons on the unit itself are a little loose to the touch considering how sturdy the unit itself is... but overall it looks and sounds superb and I would recomend this for any medium sized living room where you are looking to save a bit of space and still get that audiophile sound.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Audio-T Brentwood Es

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jtshaw a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2007

Bottom Line:   
After several years of enjoying a reasonably good home theater (NAD AV receiver and Energy speakers), I decided to return to a two-channel system when I reorganized my basement listening/viewing area. I now have a 32' Sharp LCD television, Motorola cable box, and Toshiba DVD player working in tandem with an Arcam Solo and Arcam Alto speakers. The equipment all fits neatly in a corner, sitting in and on a Salamander Designs television cabinet and Sanus speaker stands.

The Arcam Solo, paired with Arcam Alto speakers, provides excellent amplification and CD playback with very good AM/FM performance. The amplifier section, rated by Arcam at 75 watts continuous into 4 ohms, is voiced just a touch warm, but I do not think it ever departs very far from neutrality. This likely reflects its intended synergy with the Alto speakers, which were specifically designed to match with the Solo. The preamplifier section places a premium on low-noise performance (105 dB SNR), which contributes to excellent clarity and detail. My particular set-up (corner placement) does not lend itself to great soundstaging and imaging, but I still find the stereo image to be better than merely acceptable.

Arcam lifted the well-regarded digital board from its DIVA CD73 for use in the Solo. Built around a very good Wolfson D/A chipset, this circuitry provides a solid foundation for the CD section, and I have been very happy with the clarity and sense-of-ease I hear in the Solo's CD playback. No matter what I play, at any volume, I never sense strain or compression in the sound.

I rarely push the system very hard, so I suppose that others may discover limitations to the Solo's dynamic performance that I have not explored. One should remember that the Solo was designed to be an all-in-one audio solution for small- to medium-sized rooms or "second systems." When I desire music presented with massive power and authority, I march upstairs to where Aragon Palladium 1K monoblocs drive Hales Revelation 3 speakers. This "main system" includes an Arcam FMJ CD33, which may indicate some bias in my appreciation for Arcam components. Even so, by any measure Arcam builds outstanding CD players and the Solo benefits from that experience.

The AM/FM tuner section of the Arcam Solo is very good, and I find it more than sufficient for the 3 or 4 FM stations I listen to in the Clear Channel radio hell of Omaha. If we did not have two reasonably good public radio stations, I would probably abandon FM radio entirely. The AM section is perfectly fine for broadcasts of the exploits of our Triple A baseball team. I recommend a visit to Radio Shack to acquire one of their small amplified antennas, as this really helped my reception. If the antenna adds any noise to the signal, it has not been audible to me.

I have only two complaints about the Arcam Solo, and they are rather minor. First, the CD drawer is slow to open when the Solo is first turned on. Expect to wait 10 to 15 seconds before the drawer responds. Second, the switches on the front panel look very good, but they do not feel solid to the touch. Maybe the word I want here is "mushy." I use the remote control most of the time, so the switches have not proven an annoyance. However, my Solo sits inside a cabinet (well-ventilated, as Arcam recommends), and those who place it in the open and press the switches more often may have reservations about them. The Solo is a very good looking piece of kit, so many will likely want to place it in full view.

The Arcam Alto speakers provide clean, solid (but not "big") bass down to about 60 Hz, and they tail off smoothly below that. Even so, they offer very little response under 50 Hz, and many people may want to try the Solo with speakers which offer deeper bass response. The Solo's amplifier has enough drive for somewhat larger speakers, but a couple of magazine reviews have cautioned against low impedence loads. I am happy with the slightly warm, monitor-like sound I hear from the Arcam Alto, but--as always--your mileage may vary when it comes to speaker preferences.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $1275.00

Purchased At:   Sound Environment, O

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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