Arcam's Solo Neo and New FMJ A19 integrated amplifier

Arcam’s Solo Neo ($2000), seen here with an iPad source and Grado SR60i headphones, is nothing new—it’s been on the market for a couple of years now—but I mention it for sentimental reasons. I have such fond memories of my time with the original Arcam Solo. The Solo, mated to DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3 loudspeakers, was the heart of my very first hi-fi, and I can still remember the delicious sound of the very first disc we spun: Calexico and Iron & Wine’s fantastic, In the Reins.

The Solo Neo now has networking capabilities and uses an upgraded disc transport. At $2000, it might seem a little pricey to a young or beginning audiophile, but considering that it combines tuner, preamp, power amp, and disc player in a clean, stylish enclosure, the Solo Neo represents great value. Taking for granted that the sound quality is still up to par, I would recommend the Solo Neo to any music lover who wants good sound, good looks, simplicity, and versatility.

However, if all you need is a good integrated amp, you might consider Arcam's new FMJ A19. Rated to deliver 50Wpc into 8 ohms, the A19 integrated amplifier ($999) has six line-level inputs, a MM phono stage, preamp output, front panel mini-jack and headphone jack, and uses the same Texas Instruments PGA2311 volume control found in Arcam’s top-of-the-line FMJ A88 processor.