Venerable hi-fi brand Quad has launched a new integrated amplifier in the Vena II.
When the original Vena amplifier was released in 2014, it ended up becoming one of Quad’s more popular products of recent years. Four years later and the Vena is getting an upgrade.
The Vena II looks similar to the original, retaining the compact design and suite of connections, as well as adding new features and improving the amplifier’s circuitry.
What are those specific improvements? Out goes the original’s Cirrus Logic DAC chip, replaced by the ES9018K2M from the Sabre32 Reference family. Quad says that implementing the Sabre32 Reference DACs can be challenging. To solve this potentially tricky problem, the design team has chosen specific operational amps for their synergy with the ES9018K2M.
Hi-res file compatibility has gone up from the original’s 24-bit/192kHz PCM rate (via USB) to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256. Elsewhere, the Class AB power amp section remains the same, but the power supply has been improved with a new 200VA toroidal transformer.
Analogue connections can now count a phono stage for moving magnet cartridges among its numbers. Quad claims that headphone users are better catered for. The headphone output is now connected to a dedicated headphone amp that, Quad says, delivers a more engaging performance regardless of the headphones used with the Vena II.
The hi-fi manufacturer has emphasized putting the music at the forefront of the Vena experience, aiming for a sound that retains the musicality of the first amp but adds “greater resolution and refinement”.
Connections include Bluetooth (aptX and AAC) for wireless streaming. Inputs for digital sources include asynchronous USB, three S/PDIF sockets (coaxial and two optical), as well as outputs for optical and coaxial. Three stereo RCA inputs (two line level and new MM phono input) and pre-out sockets that allow for an external power amplifier to be added are the analogues connections.
The Vena II comes in four finishes. The Lancaster Grey finish has an RRP of £649, while the three premium finishes (Gloss Black, Sapele Mahogany and Gloss White) will set you back £749. Quad is also offering a special offer. Buy the Lancaster Grey Vena II and S-1 compact speakers together and you can get them for £999. That’s £150 off when bought separately.
The Vena II and the Vena II/S-1 bundle are available to buy from the end of November.
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