What is it? The Arcam Solo Mini is a high-end, hi-fi amplifier, featuring – deep breath – CD player, DAB radio, USB input, mini-jack input, full iPod dock support, remote control and a host of other connections at the rear for all your home devices including TV and console… and breath out.
Why it’s good? Even though it’s a mini at just 250x350mm, you can see from the sexy, minimalist aluminium shell that Cambridge based Arcam haven’t cut corners. It’s crammed with high-end components giving it a satisfying expensive feel at nearly 4kg. The blue light display just adds further futuristic fancy to the block of solid, metal, sex.
Functionality is faultless. The CD drive sucks your disc – be it mp3 or audio – in instantly and plays within seconds, including the most scratched of discs we could find under our desks. Select DAB and you have thousands of radio stations in crystal clarity at your fingertips ready to program in with your remote. Alternatively you can plug in a USB stick with music and play directly from it, or plug a mini-jack in the front and connect to your iPod or any other device with a 3.5mm headphone output. There’s also a host of inputs on the back for connecting your TV or console for such clear, loud guns in Modern Warfare 2, your neighbours will be calling the police.
What’s bad? The price is at the higher end – but then this is something you only need buy once a decade, so why not buy a great British made device? We realised, while testing the Solo Mini, this is one of the few times music has sounded so clear – where else can you listen to your favourite song, at its best, without being kicked out of Hi-Fi City for not buying anything?
The Arcam Muso speakers cost you an extra £300 a pair – but feature ear bleeding clarity – with separation of levels which leaves each instrument as totally individual, like a band jamming right in front of you. So even that ‘bad’ is pretty good.
Extras? There’s an option of the irDock for your iPod/Phone which allows you to access its library via the Mini’s remote. Easy to use and great for big sound (with hi-end gold-plated cables supplied), BUT the screen is so small you can’t hope to navigate albums unless you’re up close. If you have a playlist set, though, it’s ideal for volume and skip controls. That’ll be another £149.99 spent then.
Where and how much? We found THIS SITE to offer a good price at £749.99.