If you are seeking to move to a dedicated CD transport you should definitely audition the 6000CDT for its smooth operation, sleek looks, and constantly robust playback. Audiolab’s 6000A is an inclusive amplifier with plenty of analog and digital source connections. The power offered will also be more than sufficient for most situations and most loudspeakers.
The slight degree of warmth in the sound of the 6000A makes the search for a suitable loudspeaker relatively easy. The 6000A invites you to sit back and not think about or listen to a device. If you close your eyes during a listening session, you run the risk of forgetting space and time and floating away to the music.
Introduction to the 6000A Play?
The Audiolab 6000A Play is an integrated amp with a range of additional features.
I’m reaching the point in writing these sections where I’m wondering if it is simpler to start assuming that the integrated amp has bells and whistles on it and start describing the test subjects that don’t as ‘Classic integrated’ or similar.
In the case of the 6000A Play, it is based on an integrated amp, imaginatively titled the 6000A, that is closer to the traditional idea of the breed (although still fitted with digital inputs) that sits a few hundred pounds lower down the price structure than this.
The key detail about the 6000A is that it is good. Very good in fact. I haven’t tested it for AVForums but I have elsewhere as part of a group test where it showed a clean pair of heels to everything else in the test including the Rega Brio of which I remain hugely fond.
At the core of the 6000A is what I believe football managers call ‘good fundamentals.’ Audiolab is starting from a good base with the 6000A
Audiolab 6000A Play Performance
Something that I’ve mentioned in passing before is that taking the ‘traditional Audiolab sound’ from the eighties and nineties as a base for the performance of the new models would not have been a clear-cut route to success.
The original 8000A is frequently described as ‘dry.’ For me, that translated to a device I didn’t want to listen to sober but it might be fair to say that for everyone that liked what the original could do, there were plenty more than didn’t.
The 6000A is a world away from this. It takes fundamental accuracy as a basis for what it does; you’d never really describe it as anything else, but there’s more going on too.
Listening to Nils Wulker’s Go the critical details, not least among them Wulker’s superb trumpet playing, are captured in a way that sounds unfailingly believable.
There is space, tonal realism and scale that, almost regardless of speaker used, is stitched into the performance. But there is also so much more.
You cannot measure emotional content and it’s a thorny area to get too hung up on but everything the Audiolab delivers is done so as a performance, not merely a presentation.
Drilling down into what creates this effect is a challenge but it is ultimately reflected in a presentation that is forgiving without being overly smooth and that is even from top to bottom but ensures that when the recorded material seeks to create emphasis on part of the frequency response, it is effortlessly added
What are the Pros?
- Amplifier and phono section are class-leading
- Attractive and well made
- The streaming section is competitively priced
What are the Cons?
- Streaming section does feel like an add on
- Potentially limited headroom
- Standard caveats over Play Fi
6000A Play Design and Specification
The 6000A Play takes a pattern that we’ve seen IAG, the parent company of Audiolab, and a number of other well-established names, take with some other products here.
That pattern is simple enough. Take a product that is equipped with both an amp and digital inputs and then proceed to add a dose of streaming capability with the addition of DTS Play
This means that the basic 6000A becomes the 6000A Play and the basics of the 6000A stay the same. You get 50 watts into eight ohms, rising to 75 into four.
This power is made available to three line inputs, a moving magnet phono stage, and four digital inputs; two coax two optical, and aptX Bluetooth. There is also a preamp out and a power amp in. There’s also a headphone amp with a 6.35mm connection.
Unlike some of the ‘Play conversions’ we’ve seen, the change to the 6000A Play has no effect on these inputs; it doesn’t sacrifice a digital input for the Play module. This means that you have a good spread of connections for playing other things.
Furthermore, there have been some tweaks between the normal A and the Play.The digital section is the same as before but that isn’t likely to be a bad thing.
I have said before that there are companies that use the ESS Sabre and companies that integrate it. IAG has been working with the ESS platform a long time and the results tend to reflect this
Key Features of Audiolab 6000A
- Full circuitry of the award-winning 6000A with built-in wireless streaming
- Class AB power ampliﬁcation: 2x50W into 8O; 2x75W into 4O
- aptX Bluetooth streaming
- ESS Sabre32 ES9018K2M Reference DAC
- Three user-selectable digital ﬁlters
- Class A post-DAC active ﬁlter
- Low noise JFET MM phono stage
The Audiolab 6000A Play, as its name suggests, takes the circuitry from the 6000A stereo amplifier and joins it with the streaming smarts of the 6000N Play, all in a single chassis.
This hands you hi-res music streaming chops up to 24-bit/192kHz thanks to its ES9018K2M DAC chip from the Sabre32 Reference family.
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The free Play-Fi app is a gateway to a wealth of music services, including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, HDtracks, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM. It will also slurp up your virtual music collection from any DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server on the same home network.
Frequently Asked Question
How do I choose an amplifier?
Pick a higher wattage for a larger room and better sound quality. If you have your speakers in your home, amplifiers with a 100-200 watt output per channel should be enough to fill the room with sound. If you’re hosting parties or entertaining, find an amp as high as 300 watts to make sure your music is loud enough
Which is better amplifier or receiver?
A receiver is definitely the more convenient choice of the two, but that doesn’t mean that it comes without any downsides. Usually, a Lower Quality Amplifier – Though the quality of receiver amps is definitely increasing, you still don’t have a completely dedicated amp with a receiver
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