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For many, finding the time to listen to music can be declared a bright spot in the day. For us yammering music nerds, high frequencies during particularly active tracks may be described in glowing terms. There are far fewer folks, however, who speak about their actual audio components with extremely colorful descriptions … “sleek” is high praise, but still a very cold adjective. ARCAM, a member of the HARMAN Luxury Audio portfolio, wants to add vivid details to your listening sesh and your setup’s look.
Revealed at an event held Oct. 3 in London’s Vinyl Factory Soho gallery, the new Radia Series introduces an updated aesthetic to ARCAM’s hardware, still backed by a long heritage of British audio architecture. “Radia Yellow” detailing speaks to the energy that the company—founded in 1976 as “Amplification & Recording, Cambridge,” shortened to A&R Cambridge, succinctly branded ARCAM—imbues through a focus on plentiful power and contemporary connectivity.
The initial Radia flagship family centres on five products: the ARCAM A5, A15, and A25 integrated amplifiers; the CD5 CD player; and the ST5 high-resolution streamer. The new amps feature 2x50W (A5) or 2x80W (A15) Class AB amplification plus new digital circuitry based on the ESS ES9018 DAC, stepping up to 2x100W Class G and an ESS ES9280AQ DAC in the A25 (all driven at 8Ω, but stable at 4Ω). All of them have two-way Bluetooth aptX Adaptive receivers with internal antennas (so you can connect wireless headphones or earbuds), as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening solo (RMS into 32Ω/300Ω 2.5V/5V, load range 16Ω – 2kΩ). As for what you can listen to, there are three analog RCA inputs, Coaxial/Optical digital inputs, and an MM phono stage (plus the A25 adds a USB-C, perfect for playing directly off the new iPhone 15). Oh, and the DACs have three selectable digital filters.
The ST5 music streamer supports Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay2, MQA, Roon, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Qobuz, Amazon Music Unlimited, UPnP, and more, with an ESS ES9019 DAC and 24-bit/192 kHz resolution. The CD5, meanwhile, can play physical media, including retail CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs—both Redbook and with FLAC and WAV files (which can also be decoded via USB). A “comms” cable between components (which are stackable) allows them to wake one another and sync volume changes from, say, a streaming app to the ST5 to the amp.
We’ve spoken highly of ARCAM AV receivers and their ability to balance clarity and muscularity throughout home theater’s dynamic transitions, so we expected a similar focus on spacious musicality, midrange accuracy, and smooth highs without losing articulate timing. And our first look and listen showed the company’s two-channel refresh to be punchy above its price point. We’ll have more to say about the Radia Series once we’ve had some hands-on time with the hardware. For now, we can share that pricing begins at $699 for the A5, going up to $1,099 for the A15 and $1,499 for the A25, while the ST5 streamer is $799 and the CD5 is $699. The products will be available at retailers in Q4 2023. In the meantime, you can visit www.arcam.co.uk for more details.