- The new Arcam Radia Series from the traditional English brand Arcam features three amplifier systems, a streaming client and a CD player.
“Discover the new face of HiFi” is how Harman Luxury Audio presents the new Arcam Radia Series and with it the latest product line of the long-established English brand Arcam, which, as is well known, has been part of the Harman International Industries group for years. The new product line is broadly positioned in the proven manner and includes three stereo integrated amplifiers – Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier and Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier – as well as a streaming client and an audio CD player, namely the Arcam ST5 Streamer and Arcam CD5 CD Player.
The products of the new Arcam Radia Series are presented in a very appealing, new design, so that one can even speak of a radical change in the Arcam brand around the market launch of this product line.
Arcam Radia Series – The successor to the Arcam HDA range
The Arcam brand has a good tradition of dedicating itself to classic hi-fi with a product range that is as broad as possible, such as the Arcam HDA range. Here, too, a streaming client and an audio CD player were available alongside a range of stereo integrated amplifiers.
The new Arcam Radia Series is now the successor of the Arcam HDA Range, so it is obvious that the two product lines – old and new – are quite similar. It’s fair to say that essentially every solution from the previous Arcam HDA Series has a direct successor in the new Arcam Radia Series.
For example, the company promised that the development of the Arcam HDA Series had incorporated all of Arcam’s experience as one of the UK’s most renowned hi-fi smiths to create particularly high-performance solutions. This expertise, coupled with the use of high-quality components, should guarantee impeccable sound quality.
The solutions of the new Arcam Radia Series are no different, but the systems have of course been brought up to date in order to equip them for even more flexible use.
Completely new design concept
First and foremost, however, as we have already mentioned, the completely new design concept of the Arcam Radia Series catches the eye. Compared to the previous appearance, it looks very modern indeed, but also has the potential to prove itself as timelessly elegant.
Matte black dominates the plain metal housings of all components, although interestingly, yellow accents around the encoders and on the sides create an extremely attractive contrast. Even in the cooling slots on the top a yellow line shimmers through. All components have a centrally located display that has been seamlessly integrated into the front.
Three amplifier systems – Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier and Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier
The central components of the new Arcam Radia Series are of course the three amplifier systems Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier and Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier.
In the tried and tested manner, the two smaller models, the Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier and the Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier, are designed as Class A/B amplifiers, delivering 50 watts and 100 watts per channel respectively. The Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier, on the other hand, is a Class G amplifier, the amplifier technology for which the Arcam brand has been highly regarded for years, thanks to its particularly appealing sound characteristics combined with high performance. The new Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier is said to be capable of delivering two times 100 watts of power. All power specifications refer to speaker systems with an impedance of 8 ohms.
At first glance, all three amplifier systems look alike in terms of features, but the striking differences become apparent at second glance. All three models have not only three analogue inputs plus a phono preamplifier designed for turntables equipped with MM cartridge systems, but also digital interfaces. In addition to an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface, which all three models have, the Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier model even has a USB-C interface, so that a PC or Mac can be connected directly. The signal processing is done by an ESS ES9280AQ DAC with up to 32 bit and 384 kHz for Linear PCM as well as up to DSD1.024 for DSD, whereas the two smaller brothers also rely on a chip from ESS Technology Inc. but make do with an ESS ES9018 DAC with 24 bit and 192 kHz.
All three amplifier systems are also equipped with Bluetooth, whereby a so-called transceiver is used, thus allowing transmission and reception. This means that not only smartphones can be connected as a source via the bi-directional signal connection, but Bluetooth headphones can also be controlled, whereby aptX and aptX Adaptive are supported in addition to the SBC and AAC codecs.
Speaking of headphones, all three amplifier systems have a headphone connection on the front in the form of a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack.
Arcam CD5 CD Player – Keeping faith with the CD
It is to be welcomed that Harman Luxury Audio continues to trust in the CD as an important source and offers a corresponding drive also within the framework of the new Arcam Radia Series.
The Arcam brand is seen as a Pioneer in the field of audio CD, and the Arcam Delta 70 CD player presented in 1986 is cited as a reference and the basis for a tradition to which the company is still committed today.
Of course, the new Arcam CD5 CD player has no real surprises in store; it is clearly based on the Arcam HDA Series model that has been available up to now. In addition to the playback of audio CDs, there is also a USB port that can be used to play back corresponding storage media as a source for audio files up to and including hi-res audio. In addition to an analogue output, the Arcam CD5 CD player also has a coaxial and optical S/PDIF interface.
Arcam ST5 Streamer – Versatile Streaming Client
The new Arcam ST5 Streamer is supposed to be a particularly flexible streaming client, because it supports all relevant streaming technologies. The new Arcam ST5 Streamer supports Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and TIDAL Connect.
It goes without saying that the Arcam ST5 Streamer will be Roon ready certified by the time it is launched on the market, or at least that is the manufacturer’s plan.
The integration into the network is done either via an RJ45 Ethernet interface or the integrated WiFi module, and the control is primarily done via the corresponding app, which the manufacturer will offer in the proven manner for Apple iOS as well as for Google Android. Via the Arcam app, you can not only access your own content in the network, but also other streaming services on the web, such as Qobuz or Amazon Music, as the manufacturer promises.
The signal processing is done by an ESS ES9018 DAC, but in addition to a pair of RCA sockets for analogue signals, the Arcam ST5 Streamer also has a coaxial and optical S/PDIF interface for digital signals.
Prices and availability
According to the manufacturer, the new Arcam Radia Series will not be too long in coming. The systems will probably be available in specialist shops in the course of this year. The recommended retail price for the Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier is € 849,-, for the Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier € 1.249,- and for the Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier € 1.799,-. The matching CD player is available in the form of the Arcam CD5 CD Player for € 799,- and the Arcam ST5 Streamer Network Media Player for € 949,-.
Getting to the point
First and foremost, of course, it’s a completely new design concept that the Arcam Radia Series solutions come up with as the successor to the Arcam HDA Series. The modern industrial design really represents a radical change in the Arcam brand, and Harman Luxury Audio has adopted a bold strategy with matt black and yellow accents. In addition, the Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier, Arcam CD5 CD Player and Arcam ST5 Streamer are solutions that certainly do not represent a revolution in the field of hi-fi, but which offer sensible upgrades of their respective predecessors.
|PRODUCT||ARCAM RADIA SERIES|
|Price||Arcam A5 Integrated Amplifier € 849,-|
Arcam A15 Integrated Amplifier € 1.249,-
Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier € 1.799,-
Arcam CD5 CD Player € 799,-
Arcam ST5 Streamer € 949,-
|Manufacturer||A & R Cambridge Ltd.|
|Distribution Austria||R.M.S. State of the Art Audiovisual Products|
|Distribution Germany||GP Acoustics GmbH|
|Distribution Switzerland||GP Acoustics GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG|
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