I may well end up eating humble here after saying that Quad make inferior Pre amps because I’ve just bought a used Artera which is the very latest Quad Pre to try as always it’s a used unit and so if I sell it on it won’t leave me out of pocket.
It’s an all Analogue preamp, the power supply incorporates 11 regulated supply rails including multiple ultra-low-noise regulators, with extensive measures against contamination and cross-coupling. The core signal path is short and direct to preserve signal purity, and volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control.
Quad have also brought back the Tilt equaliser the following text is from a review on Stereonet which describes the Tilt control better than I ever could.
Quad’s Tilt control was created by company founder Peter Walker as an audiophile-quality answer to tone adjustment. He believed that having the means to adjust the tonal balance on an amplifier was handy to cater for different rooms and recordings. However, he also felt that typical tone and EQ controls were clumsy and inadequate.
Where Tilt control differs to conventional tone controls is that, instead of merely adjusting bass or treble, it adjusts both ends of the frequency spectrum together. The result is tilting the audible frequency range on a 700Hz axis. So, the control enables you to either attenuate the bass and lift the treble, or lift the bass and attenuate the treble, in steps of 1dB.
The ingenious Quad method adjusts the overall balance of the sound, making it ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’, but without affecting the apparent volume or ‘colouring’ the sound.
The new Artera preamp adds further analogue bass filters to the Tilt function for additional sound tailoring. For example, optional bass lift (of +4.5dB around 60Hz) may be used to give smaller speakers a little more extension, while bass cut (-4.5dB shelf response) can help to deal with unwanted room resonances.
The Tilt and bass filters can be combined to create individual EQ profiles to assign to each source input. The upshot of this is that each input can be configured to suit the connected component with an analogue output.
It also features a Class A MM and MC phono stage and apparently has a pretty decent headphone amp too.