Audiolab made me love amplifiers because of how they use their technology. For more than 35 years, the company has been making a change in the making, since introducing their 8000A Integrated amp. And the product has survived the taste of time over the years, standing strong even today with bulletproof construction and high-quality sound.
But that is not my interest in this article. I will be reviewing one of the latest releases, the 6000A integrated amplifier.
I am talking about one of the cornerstones of this UK based company. The 6000 series is designed for the budget-concerned market while carrying all the features of a best stereo amplifier you can find out there. There is independent power supplies for critical stages of the circuit and a dedicated headphone power amplifier that uses four digital current circuitry.
This product line includes the new 6000N Play DTS Play-Fi steamer, and the 6000 CDT CD player. In our audiolab 6000cdt reviews, we’ll be going over the audiolab 6000a inluding the construction, features, sound and all of the other digital filters available.
About the Audiolab 6000A
The audiolab 6000a is all about the quality of sound it produces when it comes to getting the best integrated amplifier. And in this case, I have no doubt about the 6000A model by Audiolab.
One thing I love about the brand is that it is dedicated to offering high-end services to the lower market. They use the features reserved for more expensive products in their products, which is the reason they have stayed on the market for this long.
Before we look at this model, I would like to take you back a few years in the history of Audiolab.
The company released its first amp, the 8000A, in 1983. At this time, better companies have already established on the market. And this is why this product was not received very well. It was regarded as everything an audiophile of this period would not like.
And it was not that this amplifier was bad. Perhaps it was just fear for something they did not understand. It was not easy to find a product supposedly fitted with tone controls, a headphone socket, independent source, and tape switching, and, most importantly, balance controls.
The idea in the 1980s was that less-is-more. And this minimalist idea affected many consumers in their decisions.
Nevertheless, it sold like hotcakes during the Christmas seasons when consumers started craving for more. So, it turned out that hi-fi users did actually need a lot of features and 50W channel ratings in their power output needs.
Audiolab proved this fact. In addition, they proved to be highly reliable when not everything was taken for granted.
And for the fifteen years that followed, Audiolab continued improving on the 8000A. They added some subtle additions that began making a lot of sense in the years that followed.
Two decades later, in 2015, the company changed to TAG McLaren Audio and then back to Audiolab before launching the 8300 successors. This product came boasting of better ergonomics, with a digital display and more power. It has since grown strength to strength.
And now we have the 6000A, which is lower-powered and is cheaper than the 8300. It does, also, not come with balanced inputs. However, it does retain the 50W power output of the original 8000A.
I think Audiolab has tried to restore the glory of 8000 in this product. Since the 8300s are more expensive and have more features, the price of the 6000 series is targeted for the lower market.
The construction and features
When I received that package, I was very impressed with the physical appearance of the 6000a. The 6000a looked very professional and knew the contents of the box would not disappoint either.
Upon opening, I met the Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier alongside other useful accessories. Physically, the 6000a looks like the 8300. I saw the rotary controls, and the large, central OLED display and almost thought it was not the right one.
This amp comes with a high-quality D/A conversion, enabling the connection of digital sources directly into the external DAC. This is the biggest difference from its costlier, analog-only brother.
Also, Audiolab has installed it with the ESS ES9018KM2M Sabre32 chip that enables it to perform D/A conversion. This also means it can handle high res files, up to 192khz.
The amplifier features four digital inputs (2 Coax and 2 Optical). Apart from this, you get three line-level analog ins, MM-only phono input for turntables, Bluetooth connectivity, and a dedicated headphone amplifier.
The pre-out function on the 6000A is one of my favorite features. It gives the user enough room to grow and build their system. I used it by adding a 2-ch power amp, and it let me take the rig in any direction desired.
The front panel has been improved too. It comes with a knob you can use to quickly and easily switch between the amp and preamp mode. I believe this is a pretty impressive feature.
There is a discrete Class AB power amp stage for driving the speakers in the 6000A. Its output is 50W per channel into 8 ohms, and 75 W into 4 ohms lets you get the power for a wide range of speakers.
The build quality does not disappoint either. Straight from the box, it is presented as something that will take you for a long time. Its heavy-duty steel chassis is tightened enough to eliminate any seams. You can hardly see any plastic.
Besides, it has three rotary knobs on the front panel that turn to smooth. They are all set on the right size surface for effortless usability.
Another incredible aspect of the 6000A is its OLED display. It is simple and displays in large font, not more than two words at a time. But it sure gets the message home. This is part of the simple design of this amplifier.
Simple and easy to use
The Audiolab A6000 integrated amplifier is a no complications product. For instance, it has a digital filter option that lets you tailor the sound you like by adjusting it through the DAC. It lets you cycle through the filter and switch between transparent sounds, more special sounds, or warmer one depending on your choice.
With the remote-control function, you can use your amplifier from any distance. It is larger than what you find in other brands, and the buttons are big enough quick access. The control dials turn effortlessly and responsively with the sub-medu balance. It contains digital filters, operating models, a fast roll-off and slow roll-off for this class ab headphone amp. If you intend to use the three digital filters option, the you will have the option for a slow roll-off and fast roll-off in the minimum phase. These three phases of fast roll-off, slow roll-off and minimum phase is the trade-off between impulse response, frequency response and distortion.
Overall, I like the design and construction of this amplifier. It is not only its clarity but how easy it is to use that impresses me.
Unfortunately, it does not come with a USB input, which means you cannot connect directly to your laptop. But this is not a big deal for dedicated streamers like myself.
I don’t really mind how much an audio device I buy costs. The only thing that makes sense is the sound, and I am sure you feel the same too – well, other features matter too – but mostly sound.
My first sound was the “Platinum” by Mike Oldfield, of 1979. One thing about these old tunes is that they used real instruments to make their sounds and music. The vocals are also incredible. This is why I love using them to try out new things.
Later I played, “Into the Wonderland,” which carries the voice of Wendy Roberts. I am a vocalist myself, and the melodic, low key ballad with great energy that came out makes me leap with joy.
With such output, I think the 6000A is simply confident. It does not shy or hide from any sound envelope. It is something that will leave a smile on your face and ensure your investment went to the right place.
Audiolab’s 6000A offers both balanced and unbalanced presentation. This means you can hear some bass. This is a very important feature you will not get in most budget equipment. Most products come with sacrificed or trimmed bass, even in some high-end products.
I was glad this never happened with the A6000. Its frequency discipline is quite paramount and will stay put while in action.
Tonal balance is a very important consideration for amplifiers. This is why I believe the A6000 is a market leader in its price range. There is also a phono stage to cater to the vinyl playback and phono inputs as well. The input impedenance is +55dB Phono and input sensitivity MM, 3.1 MV phono. This phono stage provides the connection between the record player and amplifier.
You can hear usable filters on any piece of hi-fi equipment. And this is very important because I never thought it could happen.
Apart from connecting to my speakers, which, by the way, rocked, I also connected my headphones. Listening to Satie, the internal headphone amplifier gave its all. Well, there is some limit to the midrange extension, but its performance envelope is just within the right range.
- Great for clear, refined, and articulate sound.
- High-end features
- three different digital inputs and filters that include minimum phase
- Includes moving magnet phono input and phono stage
- The competition is fierce.
It may not be as incredible as the all-analog Regia Brio, but Audiolab’s A6000 is a useful amplifier. It comes with a range of digital features that are all applicable to modern audio needs. It is an excellent mid-priced amplifier that competes with most class leaders. We hoped that our audiolab 6000a reviews have helped you decide which power amplifier you’d like.