ARCAM Solo Mini
High quality sound with modern conveniences.
- Quality internal amplification, fast and quiet CD player
For an all-in-one music, radio and digital audio receiver, the Solo Mini functions admirably. In all modes it is easy to navigate and control music, and sound quality is fantastic whatever the volume level.
Price$ 1,698.00 (AUD)
Arcam’s Solo Mini music system follows the tide of other hi-fi companies entering the digital age by embracing USB and iPod connectivity. To the Solo Mini’s credit, these additions work well and do not detract from the high standard of CD and radio reproduction.
The British company has existed since 1972 and prides itself on creating the highest quality audio and video components possible, rather than including any gimmicky features.
Arcam’s efforts have not gone to waste on the Solo Mini; a beautifully minimalist front is not broken up by the inclusion of a slot-loading CD drive, 3.5mm input and output jacks and a USB host port. The two-line LCD is not able to display many characters but it does not need to; realistically all the info you will need is CD track number, track time and volume level.
Just above the player’s screen are all the necessary control buttons. Along with a source toggle, the left side is home to track skip and stop buttons. The all-important power button resides in the centre, while volume control and play buttons are on the right side. The controls are well-marked and incredibly simple to use; there are no jog dials or scroll wheels to be found here.
The best thing about the Solo Mini is that all of these features — CD, USB and radio playback and all the associated circuitry, as well as an integrated power amplifier — are stuffed inside a chassis half the width of a standard hi-fi component. This means it will happily fit wherever a stack of DVD cases might; alternatively it is stylish enough to be out on display for all to see.
Despite a few front connectors, the rear of the receiver is where the party gets started. Four pairs of stereo RCA inputs mean other devices can be connected and fed out through the Solo Mini’s amplifier. The binding posts for speaker connections are proper banana plug connectors rather than cheaper spring clips — a sign of quality construction. There is also a set of pre-outs for connecting an active subwoofer or routing the signal out to an external power amplifier and speakers.
The device’s power plug is a standard IEC lead so you can even use your $13,000 "audiophile" power cable if you so desire.
The Solo Mini can output 25 Watts to each channel, so you will be able to connect a wide variety of speakers as long as they are not too power hungry. We found Yamaha’s Soavo 2 a good match, with the efficient speakers’ balanced and measured nature a good match for the detailed qualities of the Arcam unit.
CD playback is quiet and track skipping is very speedy; the experience is utterly trouble-free even with scratched and fingerprint-marred CDs. USB playback is also simple, though there’s no folder navigation; MP3 and WMA files are supported with a wide range of bit-rates.
Sound quality from the integrated amplifier is great; it's definitely up to the quality of Harman Kardon’s HK 3490. Despite the absence of an equaliser, sound is consistently lively and engaging without losing detail. When matched up with the Soavo 2 bookshelf speakers we were able to find a lot of detail within recordings with complex orchestral recordings, benefiting from the high quality components.
If you can justify the price, Arcam’s Solo Mini is a great all-in-one CD and radio playback unit when teamed up with some efficient, high quality speakers.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 2 LED Lenser P7R Professional Torch review
- 3 Aftershokz Wireless Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones review
- 4 Review: Periscope users rejoice with Feiyu’s G4 Plus 3-Axis Gimbal for Smartphone video
- 5 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
Latest News Articles
- 4K Chromecast Ultra details leak ahead of Google event
- Sonos comes to the Apple store, but what does that mean for Beats speakers?
- Plex Cloud lets you say goodbye to your always-on home media server
- Sony's first 4K Blu-ray player reminds you what a steal the Xbox One S truly is
- Google quietly kills its Nexus Player as Chromecast overshadows Android TV
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCSolutions ArchitectACT
- FTDesktop/Application SupportVIC
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security) 160928/JP/653Asia
- FTMDM EngineerNSW
- FTScrum Master | High Profile FintechNSW
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCNetwork Design Specialist - TelecommunicationsNSW
- CCLAN ConsultantWA
- CCSenior Infrastrcture Project ManagerACT
- FTIT Pre-Sales EngineerSA
- CCJava / J2ee ProgrammersACT
- FTEMC Storage ConsultantWA
- CCSecurity Cleared IT Professionals - Expression of InterestSA
- CCBusiness Analyst - Telecom ProjectNSW
- CCInfrastructure Project Manager - DCR ProjectNSW
- CCICT Security AuditorACT
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerACT
- CCIT Security ArchitectACT
- CCBusiness Analyst with change management experienceACT
- CCBI Reporting AnalystACT
- CCProgram Manager - Data InsightVIC
- CCTechnical Architect/DesignerACT
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCData Analyst | Data Feeds | Catalogue and MapNSW