Arcam SA30
What Hi-Fi|September 2020
Arcam SA30
Streaming system - Visually, this modest-looking unit seems to be nothing to get excited about. But this is one book you shouldn’t judge by its cover





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.

Contemporary relevance

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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September 2020