Posted on 20th August, 2018


Quad's new CD player/DAC/preamp from their Artera Series adds features and improves performance, while also lowering the price.

Quad has replaced the original Artera Play, released in 2015, with the new Artera Play+.  

The Play+ is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier, as was its predecessor; however, the plus hints at improvements that broaden functionality and enhances sound quality.


Quad artera play+Firstly, the addition of aptX Bluetooth means you can pair smartphones, tablets and computers and stream music wirelessly. Also new is a front-mounted headphone output, positioned discreetly beneath the fascia and coupled to dedicated circuitry that is designed to do justice to even the most capable of cans.

Despite its attractive simplicity, the Artera Play+ boasts cutting-edge sophistication under the hood. At its heart nestles an ESS Sabre32 Reference – the eminent 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta- Sigma DAC chipset. External sources benefit from this DAC's exceptional quality via a range of digital inputs, handling PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz as well as DSD64/128/256. Rest assured, then, that you will benefit from today's hi-res music formats, as well as future advances in ultra-high-definition digital sound.

You still feed CDs via a slot-loading mechanism and the player buffers data from the disc before feeding it to the asynchronous DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the sound from both CDs and external digital sources.

Quard Artera Play+ black

Additionally, there are post-DAC improvements too. The Play+ has an improved post-DAC analogue filter circuit with a refined topology and carefully selected superior op-amps, chosen for their synergy with the ESS Sabre32 DAC. Furthermore, the redesigned power supply circuitry now features a more robust toroidal transformer and independent low-noise power supplies feeding all critical stages to keep interference to a minimum.

Regarding the Play+'s preamp section, this mixes minimalist design with high-quality components to ensure short, direct signal paths that preserve sonic purity. Volume is digitally controlled in the analogue domain, feeding single-ended RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs. The signal path between the DAC and XLR output sees yet another improvement over the original Play with the four-channel volume control and fully symmetrical topology ensuring the Play+ makes the most of the performance advantages that balanced XLR connection to a power amp can bring.

While we are talking about connectivity, there are a total of five digital inputs (two coaxial, two optical and one USB Type B), and a pair of RCA phono inputs. A couple of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output completes the list.

Availability and price

As impressive as all those updates are, perhaps the most surprising thing about the Artera Play+ is its price. In 2015, the original Play launched at an RRP of £1,399.95. Thanks to increased production efficiencies, Quad has been able to deliver this enhanced component at a significantly reduced RRP – just £1,199.95.

The Quad Artera Play+ is available from late August, with a choice of black or silver front panels.

For more information visit Quad.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: quad