120W per channel
Not everything is desperate to be seen for what it really is. Some go to great lengths to conceal their true identity – speakeasy bars, masked singers, Bruce Wayne – while others, such as this Arcam SA30, simply don’t feel compelled to show it off.
Based on its appearance, the SA30 could well slip into a line-up of Arcam amplifiers from the past few years. But, while there are few aesthetic clues, this Arcam is actually a fully fledged streaming system, a just-add-speakers product in the same vein as the Naim Uniti Atom.
Complementing its widely heralded Class G stereo amplification (120W per channel) with streaming architecture as well as digital and analogue inputs, Arcam has further satisfied the ‘complete stereo system in a box’ concept it first offered in the Arcam Solo Music several years ago.
While the Solo Music revolved around disc playback, the SA30 is more à la mode. Providing it is hooked up to a network via ethernet or wi-fi (once you have screwed in the antennae), AirPlay allows music to be streamed from iOS devices, while Google Chromecast functionality caters for similarly straightforward, one-touch streaming from compatible apps such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer and TuneIn Radio.
There’s also UPNP streaming. so that hi-res networked music from your NAS drive can be accessed through Arcam’s dedicated MusicLife app or, alternatively, any third-party UPnP control app such as mConnect or BubbleUPnP. These are preferable alternatives in our opinion, Arcam’s own software being fairly bare-boned. Roon subscribers will see the Arcam as an endpoint option in the Roon app, too. Not only is hi-res music supported by the Arcam’s 32-bit ESS Sabre ESS9038 DAC, but MQA files, including MQA-formatted Tidal Masters, can also be played.
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