Arcam was one of the first hifi companies to make one-box systems that were easy on the eye and didn’t require an engineering degree to use. I remember seeing its slick-looking and rather marvellous Solo model in 2010. As a complication-phobe, I liked it enormously.
Now Arcam has released its latest Solo and, in spite of its even sleeker look, it’s a veritable muscle car among the domesticated “lifestyle” sound systems that represent the competition. The G-class amplifiers it sports are, I gather, almost identical to those in much more expensive Arcam gear. It produces a full, red-blooded 75 watts per channel, quite enough to drive huge speakers, and has nothing whatsoever to hide sonically.
The Solo comes in three models, one for music with a CD player, and two DVD/Blu-ray versions, the senior producing five-speaker surround sound. I tried the Solo Music and hooked it up to Kef’s amazing Reference 1 speakers, which were resident at the time, and even they began to distort when the volume hit 55 – far from the Arcam’s most powerful offering.
Along with impressive audiophile-grade hifi, the Solo does all the fancypants connectivity stuff – it is comprehensively equipped – but, equally, you can just connect up some fine speakers, stick in a CD and immediately enjoy the real deal.