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Product Review: Arcam A5 Radia Series Integrated Amplifier

Product Review: Arcam A5 Radia Series Integrated Amplifier

In the rich tapestry of musical amplification, Arcam has carved a lasting legacy since its inception in 1976, marked by the introduction of the groundbreaking A60 integrated amplifier. Although recent years saw the brand pivot towards the realm of home cinema, a transformative shift is apparent with the unveiling of the Radia range, notably featuring the A5 amplifier. This resurgence hints at Arcam's renewed commitment to delivering affordable and exceptional stereo components.

The Origin: A60 Integrated Amplifier
The journey begins with the A60, a trailblazing integrated amplifier that laid the groundwork for Arcam's evolution. While the company ventured into the home cinema sector, the Radia range, spearheaded by the A5, signals a strategic return to the roots of crafting outstanding stereo equipment.

Radia Range: A Harmonious Ensemble
The Radia series introduces a triumvirate of stereo amplifiers—A5, A15, and the flagship A25—each catering to distinct audiophile preferences. Augmenting this lineup are the CD5 player and ST5 music streamer, forming a symphony of audio components that collectively beckon music enthusiasts.

Craftsmanship: A Visual and Durable Delight

A Sleek Visual Appeal
The A5 captivates with its modern aesthetic, seamlessly blending simplicity with elegance. The clean exterior, adorned with subtle yellow accents, presents a fresh and timeless appearance. Crafted from sturdy aluminum, the amplifier exudes durability, while the strategically placed control dials ensure both functionality and aesthetics.

User-Friendly Design for All
While the front panel's display might lack sharpness, the intuitive setup menus compensate, ensuring straightforward navigation. The remote, though not opulent, aligns with Arcam's commitment to user convenience, fitting comfortably into most hands.

Features: Beyond Aesthetics

Connectivity Redefined
The A5 transcends its visual allure by boasting an extensive set of features. With three line-level inputs, a moving magnet phono stage, and preamplifier outputs, it accommodates a spectrum of audio setups. Digital aficionados will appreciate the inclusion of two coaxial and one optical input, accompanied by Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptive for seamless wireless connections.

DAC Brilliance Unleashed
Armed with an ESS ES9018 DAC chip, the A5 supports music streams up to 24-bit/192kHz. Although lacking USB connectivity, the digital section shines with crisp and punchy sound, complemented by the flexibility of three selectable digital filters.

Sound: The Heartbeat of Performance
A Balancing Act
The A5 masterfully navigates the delicate balance of accommodating both budget and premium audio setups. Its character, described as sweet yet full-bodied, offers a refined and lively sonic presentation.

Versatility in Musicality
From the rhythmic beats of Eminem to the grandeur of Mahler's symphony, the A5 showcases unparalleled versatility. With impressive composure, it handles demanding tracks, delivering well-defined lows, authoritative mids, and pleasingly agile performance.

Phono and DAC Excellence
Surprisingly, the moving magnet phono module exceeds expectations, adding clarity and expressiveness to vinyl playback. The DAC section, with its selectable filters, competes favourably with budget alternatives, offering a compelling audio experience.

Verdict: A Sonic Triumph
In the realm of stereo amplifiers, the Arcam A5 emerges triumphant, achieving high scores in sound quality, build, and features. This return to stereo excellence is marked by a superbly rounded performance, appealing to a diverse audience of music enthusiasts.

The A5's reintroduction signals not just a comeback but a renaissance in stereo amplification. With perfect scores in sound, build, and features, the A5 promises a musical journey free of disappointments. For those seeking an amplifier in this echelon, the Arcam A5 stands tall, inviting you to rediscover the joy of music.

Take a look at the Arcam A5:

Shop Arcam A5

Q: Is the absence of USB connectivity a drawback for the Arcam A5?

A: While USB is absent, the A5 compensates with a wealth of connectivity options, including Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptive.

Q: How does the A5 handle demanding music genres?

A: The A5 handles demanding tracks with impressive composure, delivering well-defined lows and authoritative mids, ensuring an entertaining and versatile performance.

Q: What sets the A5 apart in terms of aesthetics?

A: The A5 boasts a modern aesthetic with clean lines and subtle yellow highlights, providing a fresh, timeless, and visually distinctive appearance.

Q: Can the A5 effortlessly drive high-impedance headphones?

A: Yes, the A5's headphone output, designed for loads between 16 ohms and 2 kOhms, effortlessly drives various headphone models, ensuring versatility and optimal performance.

Q: How does the A5 compare to other amplifiers in its price range?

A: The A5 stands out in its price range, offering a superbly rounded performance that competes favorably with its counterparts.
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