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 consumerismtoward 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!
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.