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First Look: ARCAM Radia Series Integrated Amps, CD Player and Streamer Bring HiFi to a New Generation

The storied British HiFi brand is offering components with an updated, modern look, but that refined audiophile-approved ARCAM sound.

ARCAM Radia Series

British HiFi manufacturer ARCAM has been making high-end electronics gear for discerning audiophiles for almost 50 years. The company, whose name comes from “Amplification and Recording Cambridge” was founded in 1976 by two engineering students at Cambridge University with a passion for music and electronics. Today the brand unveiled a new suite of products intended to bring HiFi sound to the next generation of audiophiles and music lovers. The ARCAM Radia series includes three stereo integrated amplifiers, a CD Player and a high-resolution music streamer. We got to check out the new products at an unveiling party at the Vinyl Factory in London today (October 3, 2023).

Arcam Radia Series Launch Presentation at the Vinyl Factory in London
Introducing the ARCAM Radia Series (left to right):
Paul Neville, Director of Engineering, Harman Luxury Audio Group
Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, Harman Luxury Audio Group
Dave Tovissi, Vice President/General Manager, Harman Luxury Audio Group

In a departure from the traditional ARCAM black and silver boxes, the Radia series components include bold new “Radia yellow” accents which allow the components to stand out without looking gaudy or ostentatious. The Radia series is comprised of five components: the A5, A15, and A25 integrated amps, the CD5 CD player and the ST5 high resolution streamer. Pricing for the line starts at $699 for the A5 amp and $799 for the streamer, allowing a customer to bring home a complete system for about $1500 (just add speakers). ARCAM hopes that this more approachable price point will attract younger budget-conscious music-lovers to the brand.

ARCAM A25 Integrated Amplifier Angle
ARCAM A25 Integrated Amplifier

“When we set out to create the Radia Series, there were a number of technical innovations that we wanted to put into the product and we ultimately settled on a design that we think is one of the best sounding amplifiers we have ever created,” said Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio. “In addition to a sleek new design that will define ARCAM’s image for years to come, with the Radia family, we’ve renewed our focus on intimate performance and embraced the very latest audio technologies. For today’s audio enthusiasts, especially younger ones looking to get into a luxury audio system at a reasonable cost, the resulting solutions surpass not only our past offerings, but any product that’s come before.”

ARCAM’s Radia family products feature a smooth matte black surface with subtle yet bold Radia yellow accents. They offer solid aluminum shells, seamless front fascias, redesigned knobs and gentle integrated lighting effects. The intent, according to the company is to create a sense of “power and finesse.” The rear “jack packs” sport a connector cowl, reminiscent of the rear diffusers found in performance cars. This cowl effectively hides connector housings from view. And, to enhance user interaction, the redesigned knobs are elegantly curved, finished in satin black, and textured to mask fingerprints.

ARCAM A25 Integrated Amplifier Front
ARCAM A25 Integrated Amplifier

The new Radia amplifiers feature the latest Bluetooth aptX Adaptive codec support, internal antennas and multiple analog and digital inputs. Vinyl lovers will be happy to see ARCAM’s signature MM (moving magnet) phono stage on board, so you won’t need a separate phono pre-amp. The A5 (50 WPC) and A15 (80 WPC) feature efficient Class AB amplifiers and the ESS ES9018 Sabre DAC (Digital/Analog Converter). The A25 (100 WPC) steps up to a Class G amp and the ESS ES9280AQ DAC. The A25 features a seamless integrated OLED display on the front panel. An ARCAM rep at the event told us the A25 stays in a pure Class A mode up until about 15 watts of output.

Arcam-aficionado-900px
ARCAM’s Radia series components are designed to attract a new audience to the brand, apparently one who has no need for shoes.

Sporting an internal Wi-Fi antenna as well as a hard-wired ethernet port, the ST5 music streamer supports a comprehensive selection of music streaming services, including Amazon Music Unlimited, Qobuz, Internet radio, podcasts, Tidal Connect, and Spotify Connect. In addition, the streamer offers support for MQA, Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay2, and Roon. The CD5 CD player offers support for CD, CD-R, and CD-RW discs, playback from USB mass storage devices, and support for FLAC, WAV, and MP3 file formats. Both the ST5 and CD5 feature an ESS ES9018 DAC on-board with support for high resolution audio music up to 24-bit/192-kHz.

JBL L100 Classic Loudspeaker Black
JBL’s L100 Classic Loudspeaker was used for playback with the ARCAM A25 amp.

First Impressions

A quick listening session followed the product announcement and everything went without a hitch. The company played a few streaming tracks through the gear and into two different pairs of speakers including JBL’s L100 Classic loudspeakers. Bass was tight and tuneful, vocals rock solid and details were impeccable.

Our friend Mark Henninger from Sound and Vision was there too and captured the demo portion pretty well. Check out his video on YouTube for a look (and a listen).

Price & Availability

All of the new ARCAM Radia products are expected to begin shipping in the fourth quarter of 2023 with U.S. pricing as follows:

Arcam Radia Series in rack
Top to bottom: Arcam A25 Integrated Amp, ST5 Streamer, CD5 CD Player
Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier
When the ARCAM Comms link cable is connected between components, the A25 amplifier ‘s OLED screen displays details about the connected source.
Arcam A25 Integrated Amplifier Rear
The ARCAM A25 Integrated Amplifier features a hood or “cowl” in the back that hides the wiring.
Arcam ST5 Streamer Front
Arcam ST5 Streamer
Arcam ST5 Streamer Rear
The ARCAM ST5 Streamer’s rear panel.
Arcam Streaming Player Remote Control
The ARCAM Radia ST5 Streaming Player Remote Control features all the essential controls without being unduly complex.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. ORT

    October 3, 2023 at 10:27 pm

    Thank the Bhuddah!! I can spend mo’ to get less but still pay mo’ to be a certified Roonatic.

    Can I rename everything attached to this as a Roonie spEndPoint? WTF izzat anyhooz? Oh, mayhap (an archaic term used by only the most Ancient of Audio Denizens) way to make something that plays or “streams” (UGH!) noise within the Rooniverse?

    Speaking of that mukiverse? WTF? Are people so weak willed as to require the RooniMuse® help them pway they moosics? I am handicapable and yet still I can hit the Play or “Random Play” button on a CD player. Or select my input on my own. Or choose my “station” from Pandora, again, on my own.

    These last few generations are naught but cuckolds gone mild! Sheer Roonacy. In the year 2023, if man is still alive. If woman can survive they may fiiiindd…Zager & Evans were right.

    Some machine’s doin’ that for you. What a bunch of pussies. And for you sensitive new age guys/gals, “pussies” is short for “PUSILLANIMOUS”. I suggest you look it up now that I have spelled it for you. 😉 Alas that the majority of you feel that “Notre Dame’ is a College Destination featured in your fave episode of “GLEE”.

    I don’t know whether to read “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll or “A Modest Proposal” by Swift.

    The Punchback of nORTre Dumb

  2. Chris Boylan

    October 4, 2023 at 5:19 am

    Hey, ORT,

    Thanks for reading. We can always count on your for color commentary, 😉

    Streamers need access to local digital files on your PCs or local network. They can do this with a uPnP server (if you have one) and there are some free and low cost UPnP servers out there. Roon makes access to local digital files simpler and also integrates all the music metadata so your collection is easier to search and create playlists. These are a couple of reasons that many streaming players are “Roon-ready.” It’s certainly not a requirement but it can make accessing local music easier.

    • ORT

      October 6, 2023 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Chris!

      In many ways I am more “abby normal” than most, believe me. Perhaps my disdain for services such as this one stems from not wanting to appear to be a sheeple. 🙂

      And (fr)Audio is already chock-flocked with both sheeple and shearers. 😉

      ORT

      • Ian White

        October 6, 2023 at 3:01 pm

        ORT,

        I can vouch for that one.

        Not that I can disclose which “HiFi” products were on the CES Innovation List that I just voted on, but Chris just covered them here. *hint

        It’s Friday somewhere.

        IW

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