We have recently taken on the New Quad Solus from the Artrera range and ATC loudspeakers. We were hugely impressed by the Solus when first we heard it, and likewise with the ATCs.
When both products arrived on the same the same day we thought why not run them in together. One of the first speakers we received from ATC where the SCM11 and we thought they would be a good match for the Quad Solus. We think we were right.
The Solus features a CD player, Bluetooth, accessible DAC including 3 digital coax, 2 optical inputs and an Asynchronous USB. There are 2 analogue RCA inputs as well. You are also spoiled for choice when it comes down to outputs. There are 2 analogue pre-outputs, RCA's and Balanced allowing you to add the Artera Stereo power amp should you wish. Finlay there is also an optical out should you need. A very well spaced product for a one box solution offering some serious upgrade options.
Moving to the other end of the system, the ATC SCM11. A beautifully designed infinite baffle (closed box) two way speaker, offering 4 finish options. Black ash, Cherry (featured) Satin black and white. Made in Britain I might add. We mounted them on the Custom Design FS104 signature stands, as everything seems to work well on them, connected them with Chord Rumour speaker cable, popped in ''Long Road Out of Eden'' by the Eagles and pressed play. Straight out of the box the SCM11s sounded pretty good if not a little restrained as one might expect. We left them to it for a couple of hours and unboxed the rest of the ATC speakers that had arrived. Such as the SCM7 SCM19 and the SCM40.
We sat down for a listen and even after a relatively short running in period they had already opened up and where starting to sound more engaging. As good as they sounded, we knew there was more to come, and to form an opinion then and there would be unfair so we left them running for the rest of the day and over night. Towards the end of the following day we sat down again and put them through their paces. By this time the Solus had plenty of time to sound at its best, and overall performance was vastly improved from the previous day, by that I mean almost a totally different sound. The bass extension was great, dynamic, tight and fun. To let the bottom end show off a little, we played Newton Faulkners version of Massive Attacks “Tear Drop”. Newton’s slightly gravelly vocal characteristic really came through, but the really fun bit happens right at the end. There is a huge bass tone that can sound either flat or overblown on a lot of systems. Not this one. A good test for clarity and separation for vocals is Blood Money by Tom Waits ''Misery is the river of the world'' specifically. With Waits distinctive vocal style, it is not always easy to understand what he is growling on about. Having said that even when every word is crystal clear one can still be left none the wiser. The lyrics were well defined and easy to make out. The overall sound from the system is well detailed without being analytical, well defined in the bottom but most importantly really good fun to listen to. As cliche' as it sounds the Solus SCM11 combo really brought the music to life, it gives spaciousness and real presence allowing you to fully immerse in whatever you are listening to.
We had a quick play with the DAC side of things using the Sonos Connect. We used a Chord Company Clearway Digital coax interconnect and Clearway Analogue so we could switch between them. We simply repeated what we had previously listened to through Spotify. The difference was quite clear. The Solus dac made a really good account of itself improving the Spotify source no end.
To conclude, the Quad Artera Solus is versatile, solid great build quality and is fun and engaging to listen to. A grate value product that punches above its price point. We can't wait to spend more time with the SCM11 and rest of the ATC range. The SCM11 aloud the Solus to really stretch its wings, they are responsive, engaging, fun with great tonal balance. We can't find a bad word to say about them and are really looking forward with more electronics in the future.
Come and hear for yourself.
We look forward to seeing you at Audio T Portsmouth.
Nick Joe and James