"The edges of each note are crisp and punctual.
Piano notes land with satisfying weight,
bass is pulled taut, and strings are
bowed with conviction – it’s a wonderfully
'What Hi-Fi September 2018'
5 Star Review.
Integrated Amplifier - Audiolab 6000A
OUR VERDICT - This is a supremely stable, confident-sounding amplifier regardless of the music it’s asked to replay.
Fleetwood Mac: Dreams, shows the Audiolab 6000a Integrated Stereo Amplifier to be something special. The 6000A captures the interplay between instruments brilliantly, and delivers rhythms in a wonderfully surefooted manner. Not only that, it conveys variations of pace beautifully, giving an unusually stark insight into the ebb and flow of the music.
There’s a lovely sense of solidity to the sound, and much of it stems from the amp’s terrifically taut and textured low frequencies. Bass is not only punchy but articulate and subtle too, conveying the texture of low notes really well.
Move onto Adele’s 21 and the Audiolab continues the great work by delivering Rolling In The Deep with real passion. There’s plenty of insight here and ability to render vocal nuances with precision.
Along with delicacy, this integrated amp delivers strong dynamics, conveying contrasts with authority. Despite the particularly talented low end there’s a strong sense of finesse, and a lightness of touch which is a trait we have come to expect from Audiolab. The same qualities are present for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Orff’s Carmina Burana. The 6000A really is a well-rounded amplifier.- THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED
AWARD WINNING HERITAGE
25 years after the launch of the iconic 8000A, Audiolab is set to repeat the feat with the new 6000A, an ideal amp for modern music lovers seeking premium-level performance, build quality and facilities at an affordable price. An amplifier is still the core of any premium audio system, but a really versatile integrated amp must cover many roots.
Outwardly, the 6000A bears a strong resemblance to the 8300A, Audiolab's existing, much-acclaimed integrated amplifier with its rotary controls and large, central OLED display. Unlike the more expensive analogue-only sibling, it features high-quality DAC allowing digital sources to be linked directly without an external DAC. It provides four digital and three line-level analogue inputs, a turntable input, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a keen headphone amp on top of its ability to drive loudspeakers.
Classic Hi-Fi for Modern Age
The 6000A's lead electronics designer is Jan Ertner who was responsible for the 8300A, as well as many other award-winning audio components over the years. When challenged to deliver 6000A at such a low price point, Jan returned to the technologies implemented in the 8300A and painstakingly redeveloped them, whilst adding high-quality digital circuitry to the mix.
The consequence is a next-level amplifier evolved from the build of its sibling, bringing exceptional sound class beside the elastic facilities. The 6000A resonates the concept of the original 8000A from the early 1980s rebooted with the value of Audiolab's latest skills. When considering inflation, it is also the most low-cost amplifier Audiolab has ever manufactured.
Much effort has been made to ensure the 6000A's digital circuitry delivers the level of quality one might expect of a high-performance standalone DAC. As ever, Audiolab has turned to the ES9018 Sabre32 Reference chip family to perform D/A conversion, utilising ESS Technology's 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver ultra-low noise and high dynamic range.
Audiolab knows that if the circuitry surrounding the ES9018 is not adequate, the resulting music can seem a little cold and hard. The 6000A’s brings out a captivating level of musical expression from the digital signal. Audiolab's inventive, universally acclaimed M-DAC was among the first home audio components to comprise an ES9018 chip and Audiolab has been honing its operation ever since.
A vital element is the post-DAC active filter. Great attention was given to this circuit, developing a Class A topology using op-amps specifically chosen for their synergy with the ES9018. The amp's four S/PDIF digital inputs – two coaxial and two optical – handle hi-res PCM data up to 24-bit/192kHz and benefit from three user-selectable digital filters: 'Fast Roll-Off', 'Slow Roll-Off' and 'Minimum Phase'. These settings let the user optimise the response to suit the source and bandwidth of the partnering equipment. Bluetooth connectivity, with support for superior aptX, allows easy wireless streaming from smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. Paired devices also benefit from the DAC quality and three digital filter selections.
The 6000A's discrete Class AB power amp stage delivers 50W per channel into eight ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 9 Amps into difficult loads. The output stage of the discrete power amp circuits uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology, ensuring superior linearity and excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. A substantial 200VA toroidal transformer, followed by 4x15000uF reservoir capacity (60000uF in total), helps the amp to maintain firm control of the music whilst enabling excellent dynamic range.
The preamp section is kept as simple as possible to maintain signal purity, with line input signals passing to a precision analogue volume stage. The latter covers the range from -80dB to +8dB in steps of 2dB and 1dB (step resolution increases with volume position). Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the 6000A's circuitry, protecting the sensitive preamp section from noise interference. This, plus the use of independent low-noise power supplies for critical stages, helps to deliver a performance that rivals significantly more expensive analogue amplifiers, even before taking the 6000A's impressive digital circuitry into account.
Turntables & Headphones
In recognition of the recent vinyl revival, Audiolab has included a phono stage for moving magnet phono cartridges – a high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based circuit with precise RIAA equalisation. Similarly, an increasing number of people are using headphones for music listening, so Audiolab has incorporated a dedicated headphone amp with current- feedback circuitry. Its gain bandwidth and high slew rate ensure a dynamic, detailed and engaging performance with all manner of headphone types –more boxes ticked for this most integrated of integrated amplifiers.
The 6000A's flexibility with digital and analogue sources is not the only thing that makes it so versatile; it also offers three distinct operational modes, reflecting the amp's discrete internal architecture and enabling it to adapt to its user's evolving requirements. The primary mode is 'Integrated'– this combines the pre and power amp stages, for the connection of digital and analogue sources to the amp's inputs and a pair of speakers to its binding posts.
Pre-Power Mode disconnects the pre and power amp stages so 6000A can be used solely as a power amp e.g connected to an AV processor in a home cinema system. It also enables additional signal processing to be added, by connecting the 6000A's 'preamp out' socket to an external processor, then returning the processor's output to the amp's 'power amp in' socket. Finally, 'Pre Mode' disables the power amp stage, turning the 6000A into a standalone preamp. This enables external power amplification to be added, thus providing a possible upgrade path.
Flexibility without Compromise
As for the analogue pre and power amp stages, Audiolab worked long and hard to ensure that the 6000A delivers class-leading sound quality. As a package – a high-quality, affordable integrated amp for the modern age – the 6000A represents excellent value-for-money. The 6000A delivers remarkable sonic consistency, whatever the user connects to it. Its sound is musically engaging, yet also refined. The soundstage it produces is broad and deep, with crisply defined detail revealing the character of voices and instruments.
Impressive dynamic range conveys natural impact, while the ampȇs transient ability keeps feet tapping with rhythmic music. Deep, well-defined bass, expressive midrange and sweet, subtle treble – the 6000A delivers an adroitly balanced performance with all kinds of music, from rock and electronica to classical and jazz. In short, it delivers an open window on the music being played, as all great hi-fi should, engaging the listener with natural, unforced energy that is fully reflective of the source material. Audiolab firmly believes the 6000A is the best-value amplifier the company has ever produced.
|Gain (max.)||+8dB (Line)
+55dB (Phono MM)
|Input Sensitivity||720mV (Line, Volume = 0dB)
3.1mV (Phono MM, Volume=0dB)
|Input Impedance||10K (Line)
47K//100pF (Phono MM)
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.0004% (Line, 1KHz @ 2V, Volume = 0dB)|
|Frequency Response||20Hz-20kHz (+/-0.1dB)|
|Output Voltage||2.3V max. (Volume = 0dB)|
|Output Impedance||120 ohm|
|Signal-to-Noise Ration (S/N)||> 110dB (Line, A-weighted)|
|>76dB (Phono MM, A-weighted)|
|D to A converter||ES9018K2M|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.0006% (1KHz @ 0dBFS)|
|Output level (0dBFS, 1KHz)||2.05V|
|Max. Sampling Frequency||192KHz|
|Signal-to-noise ratio (S/N)||> 112dB (A-weighted)|
|Digital Filters||Fast Roll-off , Slow Roll-off , Minimum Phase|
|Power Amplifier Section|
|Rated Max. Power Output||2 X 50W (8 ohm, THD<1%)
2 X 75W (4 ohm, THD<1%)
|Frequency Response||20Hz-20kHz (+/-0.3dB)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||<0.003% (1kHz @ 40W/8ohm)|
|Signal-to-Noise ratio (S/N)||> 110dB (A-weighted)|
|Max. Output Current||9A|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.01% (1kHz, 50mW)|
|Output Impedance||2.35 ohm|
|Load impedance||20-600 ohm|
|Standby Power Consumption||<0.5W|
|Power Requirements||240V ~ 50 - 60Hz|
|230V ~ 50 - 60Hz|
|115V ~ 50 - 60Hz|
|100V ~ 50 - 60Hz|
|Dimensions (mm) (W x H x D)||445 x 65.5 x 300|
|Carton Size (mm) (W x H x D)||512 x 467 x 146|
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