Seen as one of the most traditional of hi-fi companies, thanks to its roots in Britain, its near-80-year history and its classic electrostatic speakers, Quad has taken onboard the latest trends in audio with the arrival of the compact Vena amplifier, complete with digital inputs and Bluetooth wireless streaming capability.
In the shops in the next week or so following a preview earlier in the year, the Quad Vena is just over 31cm wide and comes in the company’s standard Lancaster Grey finish at £600, with premium finishes – piano black or white, or rosewood veneer – at a £100 premium later in the year.
The 45W per channel amplifier has two analogue inputs, two optical and one coaxial electrical digital in, and both Type A and Type B asynchronous USB connections. The latter allows the direct connection of a computer to Vena, while the former allows charging of, and playback from, Apple iPods, iPads and iPhones. Alternatively, portable devices and computers can be connected using the Bluetooth wireless link, which supports the aptX codec for optimal sound quality.
Vena also has both optical and coaxial digital outputs, as well as stereo analogue outputs to allow it to be used with offboard power amplifiers or active speakers.
Digital to analogue conversion is handled by the Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC, and the Quad can handle content at sample rates up to 192kHz. The company says Vena has been designed to deliver ‘an effortless, wide-bandwidth performance with free-breathing dynamics. Above all, it lets the music do the talking, imposing little of its own character to ensure the listener hears what the artist intended.’
A review sample has been requested, and the Quad Vena will appear in the magazine in the next few months...