Arcam's Solo Mini

Art Dudley reviewed the original Arcam Solo CD receiver in our July 2005 issue. Art was impressed. He wrote:

Arcam's new Solo is the rare audiophile product that swims with, rather than against, the flow of mainstream consumerism—toward simplicity, convergence, and relative smallness.

With the new Solo Mini ($999), introduced in the US at January's Consumer Electronics Show, it seems as though Arcam is looking to take those values even further.

Simplicity: The Solo Mini is an all-in-one music system, combining a CD player, AM/FM tuner with an alarm clock, and integrated amplifier in a single, good-looking package. For those who don't have the space for separate components, the Solo Mini might prove ideal. Similarly, for those who may be intimidated by all the options and requirements of high end hi-fi, or for those who simply don't want the hassle of separate components, a one-box solution like the Solo Mini can be just the ticket.

Convergence: The Solo Mini works happily with your iPod via Arcam's optional rLead cable or rDock station. On its clean and attractive front panel, the Solo Mini offers a headphone output, mini-jack input, and a convenient USB input. Its dense rear panel offers 5 RCA inputs, a pre out, and RS-232 port. Arcam might've wanted to stuff more ins and outs back there, but they simply wouldn't have fit. There's no wasted space on the Solo Mini's back panel.

Relative Smallness: The Solo Mini measures just 9 x 14 x 3.5 and weighs a little less than nine pounds. Nice. Compare that to some of the enormous, back-breaking pieces of gear in the high end hi-fi world, and you've got something to smile about. Space! Freedom! Independence!

What?

The Solo Mini is said to use technology taken from Arcam's higher priced components. At February's Bristol Sound and Vision show, Arcam celebrated the introduction of the Solo Mini with a special, Arcam-branded Mini Cooper. I believe that's what they call business development, or strategic marketing, or something. Convergence.

I'll be contacting Arcam's US distributor to see if I can get review samples of both the player and the car. I'll let you know how that goes.

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Comments
nathan's picture

Will the USB input accept signals from a computer (like the USB input on the NuForce desktop amp)? That would make this a killer office system.

Wayne's picture

I wonder how it compares to offerings from NAD or Shanling.

Will Lowe's picture

I bought a Solo and accompanying speakers about a year ago for my wife's office. The package was sold as the Arcam Duo and appears to no longer be offered in the U.S. The package cost about $2,000 list, and I must say it gives a very good account of itself. It has a very well-balanced sound with no noticable attributes of its own. Each speaker is about the size of an LS 3/5a, and has no real bass, as one might expect. However, within the limts of its bandwith, it gives some of the megabucks gear a run for the money. The Solo would be a very good value as an intergated amp alone, in my opinion -- adding a CD player and a tuner makes for a sweet deal indeed!

Stephen Mejias's picture

I wonder how it compares to offerings from NAD or Shanling.Yes. I'm wondering the same thing, Wayne. I might have a chance to find out.Each speaker is about the size of an LS 3/5a, and has no real bass, as one might expect. Are those the Arcam Alto loudspeakers, Will, or the Muso, or something else entirely?

Max's picture

Recently purcahsed a TEAC unit (227i?) that includes AM/FM tuner, CD player, 50Wpc amp and have it driving a pair of Epos M5s in a small condo and couldn't be more pleased (well, may the M12.2s would fill out the bottom end a little more, doh, stop that audiophile nervosa!). Total price with Kimber 4PR speaker cable, about $1,100 CAD (about the same in US$ at the moment).

Stephen Mejias's picture

Excellent, Max. Congratulations.

James Shaw's picture

I purchased the Solo and Alto speakers, and they sing wonderfully in bedroom that I converted into a library room. Agree with Mr. Lowe above that "within the limts of its bandwith, it gives some of the megabucks gear a run for the money." Now I'm thinking that the Solo Mini would be a nice addition to my bedroom.

redwine's picture

I just did a subjective A/B between NAD C715 with PSBs and the Arcam Solo Mini with its matched Muso speakers. Comments:- Arcam rated @25Wpc into 8 ohms and has a more open and crisper sound, and responded better when pushed. CD insertion is through a slim slot - access could be a challenge if a disc gets stuck. The silver cabinet looks good.- NAD rated @25Wpc into 6 ohms and was possibly hampered by the PSB speakers which sounded muddy. It would definitely benefit from a relatively efficient set of speakers to achieve reasonable volume. Conventional powered tray for the CD. White labels compensate for the black cabinet.- Both have a rich feature set, cater well for MP3 CDs, and have iPod good capabilities. NAD also records with timer from any input source USB in MP3 (192K max) or WMA (128K max) formats - a rarity.- Overall, Arcam costs 1.5X v/s NAD with PSBs, but sounds better too.

miami's picture

in terms of design i love it...but for me i think its not worth to buy that..without extra cash..

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