Arcam Solo Mini System

arcam solo miniThe original Arcam Solo has been just about the only product of it's genre for quite a while now, but the new Arcam Solo Mini should open up the joys of multi-media convenience to a wider audience. The original Solo gave people the option of housing all their Hi-Fi and DVD sources in one stylish box, but paying the 1000 + price tag for that convenience was a tough call for many. This new mini version makes a similar case, albeit in a smaller (and I think neater) design and brings the product to a lower price point of around 650, although I expected we'll see some retailers offering it with a sub 600 ticket before long.

The Arcam Solo Mini includes all the expected CD, DAB Radio, FM Radio facilities, together with a nice looking remote control. For your 650 you'd be expecting a very good sound to be produced from this box of tricks and you shouldn't be disappointed as long as you've selected a decent set of speakers. And there's the problem - in order to get reasonable audio sounds from your CD collection you'll be needing more than your average budget speaker. If we weren't worrying about home cinema we'd be recommending some EPOS M5's or one of the excellent Monitor Audio Bronze range (BR2's come in at 200) or the new B&W 686 speakers. But if your a home cinema fan then this box won't help you becasue you'll still need your HD/DVD recorder/player and a multichannel receiver & then you'll need to fill your room with additional Sub-woofer and satellites. So you'll have to look beyond the budget ranges at 500 from people like Q Acoustics. Your first option would probably be the rated 800 Tannoy Mercury F1 5.1 package, but if your budget allows, the Dali Ikon 6 5.2 at 2250 comes highly recommended. As they did with the first Solo offering, we may see a Solo Mini Movie coming out in the future.

If we're looking for faults then Arcam again seem to have omitted the whole aspect of recording. Most audio fans would now appreciate some form of MP3 recording abililty but that's not part of the Solo Mini offering. For that you'll have to look at the NAD C715 we reviewed earlier.

tarcam solo mini closeupSo what exactly does your £650 pounds get you? Arcam say you get the same DAC (Digital Analogue Converter), precision clock and amplification technology that comes with their more expensive Solo products. Here's the technical detail that describes the Solo Mini.

  • AM FM DAB Tuner; Plays CD, MP3 discs
  • Power Output 2 x 25 Watts
  • Size (WxHxD): not available yet
  • USB Digital playback via front panel socket
  • includes remote control
  • 6 analogue stero inputs
  • no Sub Woofer output
  • Timer / Clock / Alarm
  • Front Panel Headphone Output
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