The Unassuming Powerhouse
by Venoth Nair
Music has become an integral part of life for many these days and with better knowledge just a click or screen tap away, many have become aware of the merits of superior audio performance when listening to music. A key difference that sets the audiophile apart from the regular music enthusiast however is the music source. Purist will in most cases swear by their CD and vinyl collections with some even going further with cassettes but there is no denying the march of digital content which today has dominated the market when it comes to how we get our audio fix.
To help bridge the gap and provide a proverbial middle ground between the purist and those seeking for superior audio for their digital media, Quad the British Hi-Fi stalwart, has decided to release the Vena. The Vena is an integrated amplifier that comes with a few little added tricks up its sleeve for all those digital junkies out there. The Quad Vena was designed with many considerations in mind which in my opinion make it a rather sweet offering for a variety of different audiophiles.
Before we go into the features on the Vena, let’s study its aesthetics. Knowing fair well that many people these days are trying to maximize space and minimize size, the designers at Quad has taken a slightly off beat approach and given the Vena a smaller sized footprint as opposed to regular Hi-Fi kit. The unit is however a little tall but this height is cleverly masked by incorporating a rounded edge on its sides to soften the look and give it an attractive appearance. The main case comes in a variety of finishes with my review sample coming in a sleek piano black. On the front, the Vena sports a single row of buttons with LED indicators for selecting your input source which ends on the right side with a large powered volume knob.
Speaking of input, the Vena is an amplifier that is definitely not shy when it comes to the number of kits that can be connected to it. For starters, it comes with 2 optical inputs, a coaxial input, a USB type B input, a USB type A input (for Apple products) and two analogue RCA inputs. If all that wasn’t already enough for you, the Vena is also Bluetooth ready with the now Hi-Fi staple AptX codec. The folks at Quad reckoned that if you’re going to have connections, you might as well have it all. All that digital connections available on the Vena is backed by a fantastic design in its digital to analogue converter, the CS4398 24-bit DAC which comes from Cirrus Logic. This makes the Vena an amplifier cum DAC which adds more value to this little gem.
On the amplification side, the Quad Vena comes with a modest 45 watts amplifier rating at 8 ohms. It’s only able to drive a pair of speakers, but considering that its meant for those looking for a leaner style of setup, a pair seems sufficient. The speaker terminals are robust and support both banana plugs as well as bare wire cable terminations. If you feel that 45 watts is too weak for your appetite, the Vena comes with a pair of preouts which can be used to add a power amplifier for more juice. Conversely, if you’re satisfied with the Vena’s power and just want to augment the low end, a subwoofer.
My view?……. Go for the sub?
In use, the Quad Vena reveals itself as a pretty interesting piece of equipment. Connecting it with your smart device is linear and was easy enough to perform. The amp once powered up delivers a surprisingly powerful performance. The modest amplifier was able to drive my bookshelf speaker to surprisingly loud volumes without breaking a sweat. Sound quality was also pretty impressive with great bass and midrange performance. The Vena was also able to reproduce vocals beautifully and delivers a great amount of detail even at high volumes.
The Vena is a great little amplifier from Quad which along with its exhaustive list of connections makes it a highly functional and flexible unit. In fact, if you’re into headphones and looking for a hub to connect all your equipment too for easy listening, then the Quad Vena should be on your shortlist as it comes with a headphone output as well. Its list of features paired with entertaining and detailed sound make this a must listen for those looking for a Hi-Fi sound in a stylish and functional package. The Quad Vena retails for RM5,699 for the standard version while the option with the all wood cabinet retail at RM6,599.
The Vena and other Quad products can be auditioned at the coming KL International AV Show 2017, The Sunway Putra Hotel (opposite PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, July 28-30.
For further information contact:
Double GT Audio Sdn Bhd
C.B. Tan: 012 2366735