Arcam's Solo Lifestyle

I weeble-wobbled my way upstairs, following the sounds of The White Stripes', "My Doorbell."

I'm thinking about my doorbell
When're you gonna ring it?
When're you gonna ring it?

I entered the room to find a very sleek and modest system, comprised of the wonderfully simple Solo ($1599) mated to Arcam's adorable Alto bookshelf speakers ($599/pair). The Solo and Alto are sold separately or as a Solo System Lifestyle package for $1999.

I'd been wanting to hear the Altos for awhile, as I understood they were built especially for use with the Solo; front ported for placement on a bookshelf or near a rear wall, and made to take advantage of the Solo's bass compensation to fine tune their low-end performance.

What I heard was a good amount of excitement and drive — Meg White's crash cymbals as splashy as ever, her bass kick just as prominent as it should be.

I noticed, however, that the Solo wasn't playing a disc; instead, it was being fed music from an iPod.

Arcam has just introduced their rLead ($85), a direct connection from the iPod to the Solo. Track info from the iPod is displayed on the Solo's front panel, while the listener navigates through the iPod's options using the Solo's remote.

In addition, Arcam plans to release an rDock, tentatively priced at $300, and scheduled for an April release.

There's even talk of introducing a 5.1-video version of the Solo, possibly as early as September.

Sounds like Arcam's ringing my doorbell.