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Arcam Solo Neo combo hi-fi
Audiophile hub gets Internet upgrade
The Solo Neo doesn’t feature a dedicated connection for iPod/iPhone, but Arcam does offer its specialist irDock which, besides analogue interfacing, offers RS232 connectivity to the Solo Neo at the back to show track information on its display as well as controlling the iPod or iPhone with a remote control. It will set you back another £140 though.
Wi-Fi included, but you need to poke around a bit to set it up
Connecting to your home network with Wi-Fi is fairly straightforward, if not especially obvious – you’ll almost certainly have to refer to the manual to find your way through the menus. Once you’re connected you have access to internet radio as well as any UPnP compliant servers on your network.
Web-based radio stations around the world are sensibly arranged by territory, genre etc but unfortunately the narrow LCD display isn’t the best for navigating long lists of tracks or radio stations, and there’s no option for keypad input (either phone or Qwerty style on the remote) so extended scrolling is the order of the day. And while it found tracks on my network easily enough, it won’t identify iTunes playlists for example – which means more scrolling to find the tracks you want.
Other streaming systems get around this issue with touchscreen displays, but without such a thing on the remote, or even a complimentary iPod app, negotiating on-line music from the Neo can be a bit of a chore.
The sound however, is in a different category altogether. As we’ve come to expect from Arcam is detailed and transparent, although it can sound a little clinical on occasion. I wasn’t too enamoured with the Muso speakers which Arcam offers with the Neo when I reviewed the Solo Mini, so this time opted for some Quad 12Ls. To these ears the Neo benefits from being partnered with warmer speakers that will take the edge off, though others will no doubt welcome the precision the system is capable of.