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Quad goes mod: Vena streams into view
78 years after the company was established, Quad launches its first hi-fi component with support for wireless music streaming
Quad, the distinguished British audio brand, celebrates 78 years of audio innovation with the launch of Vena: a compact integrated amplifier sporting a wide range of digital and analogue inputs, plus superior-quality wireless streaming over Bluetooth with aptX support.
Just 313mm wide, the diminutive Vena updates the familiar Quad aesthetic, yet remains distinctly ‘Quad’. A neat row of source-selection buttons and a large, smooth-acting volume control adorn its fascia – smartly proportioned and elegantly functional.
Beneath the hood lies thoroughbred Quad engineering. Vena’s built-in DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) incorporates the same high-performance 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in the company’s flagship Platinum CD player and, as one expects of Quad, the Class AB power amp section sports exemplary design and implementation, delivering richer musicality than similarly priced Class D amplifiers can muster. A high-quality headphone source is also built in, accessed via a front-mounted socket.
Simplicity is key to Vena’s design. Quad’s engineers selected Bluetooth wireless transmission to ensure compatibility with the widest possible range of devices, and pairing the amp with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs is easy. Vena feels like a traditional hi-fi amplifier, with its uncomplicated front-mounted controls and neat remote, yet its specification is state-of-the-art.
Copious cable connections enhance the amp’s flexibility. Inputs for digital source components comprise two optical and one coaxial, plus two asynchronous USB sockets: one Type A, the other Type B. The latter is the type most commonly used for connecting PCs/Macs to audio devices like Vena; the former allows Apple iDevices to be docked, charged and played via a cable connection. Digital outputs are also provided, in optical and coaxial flavours. Analogue signals are catered for by two stereo RCA inputs, while pre-out sockets permit the addition of an external power amp. In terms of Bluetooth, support for the aptX codec ensures the best possible audio quality when streaming from suitably equipped devices.
Vena’s sound is richly musical, delivering an effortless, wide-bandwidth performance with free-breathing dynamics. Above all, it lets the music do the talking, imposing little of its own character to ensure the listener hears what the artist intended. It’s all about fidelity to the source – this has always been Quad’s way of doing things, and it’s the reason Quad products are still revered worldwide some eight decades after the company was founded. Quad’s traditional slogan – ‘the closest approach to the original sound’ – still holds true in everything the company makes.
Smart aesthetics and neat design are important to today’s music lovers. Vena’s small footprint (compared to many amps in its class) allows flexible positioning and ensures the amp slips neatly into a range of environments. Vena is finished in Quad’s classic ‘Lancaster Grey’ as standard, augmenting the metalwork’s smoothly curved edges to create an elegantly understated appearance. For those with more exotic tastes, three premium finishes are now also available – Piano Black, Piano White and Rosewood – ensuring Vena complements any domestic setting.
Vena is an exceptionally neat and convenient way to bring true high-fidelity sound to today’s digital music collections and myriad playback devices – from smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs to traditional hi-fi separates. The standard Lancaster Grey finish has an RRP of £599.95, while the three premium finish options add £100 to the price tag.
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