Operation is as simple as it comes, even when browsing iPod contents or scanning for radio stations. This means nothing will get in the way of your music. Available as a package with the Solo Mini are the Arcam Muso speakers, separately worth about £250 a pair.
They're certainly well above average speakers for the price, but we hooked the Solo Mini up to our reference speakers, and were immediately impressed with how well the CD player and amp performed. The system offers a powerful sound, bursting with detail and smooth bass -- and with the right speakers it creates a vivid, deep soundstage with incredibly low distortion. Good going, Arcam!
The toroid-based power supply handled everything we threw at it, highlighting that the small size for which it was chosen hasn't hindered the system's performance -- Metallica's Enter Sandman exploded from the Mini, just as well as the rather more delicate Feist carefully and emotionally flowed from the system.
Interestingly, the audio processor inside the CD player is a 24-bit model from Wolfson -- the Scottish chip-maker that used to make the audio chips inside Apple's iPods. Inside the Solo Mini is the same WM8740 audio chip found inside Arcam's high-end CD and DVD players, the CD73 and FMJ139, further emphasising that the Solo Mini's small stature belies its true audiophile qualities.
If a better combination of value for money and performance exists, we've never seen it. Arcam has crafted a truly admirable all-in-one system, bursting with features and oozing true hi-fi qualities. Only SACD inclusion could've made this even better.
If you thought it was explicitly essential to use separates for creating a hi-fi experience, give the Solo Mini a spin before voicing those opinions to people who know better. It'll save you the embarrassment of standing corrected.
Edited by Marian Smith