QUAD ARTERA PRE-AMPLIFIER REVIVES TILT CONTROL
British hi-fi legend, Quad, has announced its new Artera Pre-amp.
Marking the first dedicated analogue preamplifier to join Quad's Artera Series, the company's flagship range of solid-state audio electronics, the Artera Pre reintroduces the famous Quad Tilt control.
Led by Jan Ertner, the architect of many acclaimed audio components, the Artera Pre's electronics design team's goal was transparency of sound and fidelity to the source. Additionally, they wanted to provide the classic, expertly engineered sound tailoring options for an ideal balance between sonic purity and versatile control.
The circuitry features a low-noise toroidal transformer, many reservoir/smoothing capacitors and an impressive number of regulators.
The power supply incorporates 11 regulated supply rails including multiple ultra-low-noise regulators, with extensive measures against contamination and cross-coupling. The core signal path is short and direct to preserve signal purity, and volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control.
Quad's Tilt control was created by company founder Peter Walker as an audiophile-quality answer to tone adjustment. He believed that having the means to adjust the tonal balance on an amplifier was handy to cater for different rooms and recordings. However, he also felt that typical tone and EQ controls were clumsy and inadequate.
Where Tilt control differs to conventional tone controls is that, instead of merely adjusting bass or treble, it adjusts both ends of the frequency spectrum together. The result is tilting the audible frequency range on a 700Hz axis. So, the control enables you to either attenuate the bass and lift the treble, or lift the bass and attenuate the treble, in steps of 1dB.
The ingenious Quad method adjusts the overall balance of the sound, making it 'warmer' or 'cooler', but without affecting the apparent volume or 'colouring' the sound.
The new Artera preamp adds further analogue bass filters to the Tilt function for additional sound tailoring. For example, optional bass lift (of +4.5dB around 60Hz) may be used to give smaller speakers a little more extension, while bass cut (-4.5dB shelf response) can help to deal with unwanted room resonances.
The Tilt and bass filters can be combined to create individual EQ profiles to assign to each source input. The upshot of this is that each input can be configured to suit the connected component with an analogue output.
Quad Artera Design
The Artera Pre sports the same modern twist on the classic Quad aesthetic as other Artera components. Dressed in a sleek glass top and clean, minimalist front panel in black or silver.
The core signal path is short and direct to preserve signal purity, and volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control.
Vinyl lovers and headphone users are well catered for with dedicated, high-quality circuitry. The Artera Pre's low-noise, Class A phono stage is configurable for both MM and MC cartridges, while an integrated headphone amplifier features a discrete, Class A output stage with low output impedance to drive even the toughest of loads.
Ins and outs
You get four stereo RCA inputs – three line-level and one phono – plus one balanced XLR.
All inputs can run in direct mode if preferred, bypassing all other circuitry to provide the shortest possible signal path from input to output.
Unlike many preamps with balanced inputs, the Artera Pre's four-channel volume control enables the audio signal to remain fully balanced throughout.
The gain (sensitivity) of each input can be controlled in 0.5dB steps between -8dB and +8dB, enabling you to precisely match levels between different sources.
To add further flexibility, one of the line-level RCA inputs can be configured in AV bypass mode, allowing it to be used with an external AV processor.
Preamp outputs are provided in both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA flavours, together with a fixed-level RCA output.
Finally, a pair of 12v trigger outputs are also included, to switch connected equipment on/off in line with the preamp.
Price and availability
The Quad Artera Pre is available from October, priced at £999 with a black or silver front panel.
For more information, visit Quad.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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