Review on Audiolab 6000A Integrated Amplifier
- Small simple compact design but practical and powerful, little Hi-Fi Bluetooth wireless amplifier exclusively designed for the customers who pursue HiFi sound;
- Bluetooth 5.0 core, up to 50ft connection range guarantees low signal delay. No pop, no audible noise when Bluetooth connection is established;
|Price history for BT20A Bluetooth 5.0 Stereo Audio 2 Channel Amplifier Receiver Mini Hi-Fi Class D Integrated Amp 2.0 CH for Home Speakers 100W x 2 with Bass and Treble Control TPA3116 (with Power Supply)|
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The Review on Audiolab 6000A Integrated Amplifier
Integrated amplifiers come in all shapes and sizes; you can easily spend anywhere from $350 to $10,000 and the vast majority that makes sense to most people work best with bookshelf speakers, digital streamers and turntables alike. Products like the Audiolab 6000A are the future of consumer audio in the home and what makes them more attractive is an extended feature set and affordability. Consumers want fewer boxes.
The changes in digital music streaming have made integrated amplifiers that offer DACs that can support lossless and hi-res streaming much more important and while some audiophiles will forgo products that don’t support MQA or DSD, the reality is that neither format supports the needle for 99% of music listeners and one could always add an external DAC if the two formats are so important to them.
Hi-res music represents less than 10% of the music available on any current platform such as Qobuz or Tidal and with Apple Music and Spotify HiFi offering lossless or 24-bit/48kHz – it’s kinda silly to focus on that. a small amount of music.
Wireless streaming support has also become a standard feature on many integrated amplifiers, including Bluetooth aptX and aptX HD. Both formats are lossy, but sound quality has recently taken a huge leap when streaming from your smart device to an integrated amplifier. Many integrated amplifiers now have USB and Ethernet connectivity for external digital streamers or if you are using your desktop or computer laptop as your digital source.
The 6000A is a level below Audiolab’s 8300A integrated amplifier ($1,299.99) and while it may not offer as much power as its more expensive sibling (50 watts/channel into 8 ohms versus 75 watts/channel into 8 ohms), the 6000A a moving magnet phono stage, headphone amplifier and more impressive ES9018 Sabre32 Reference chip in the internal DAC section. The digital portion of the 6000A accommodates 4 digital sources (2 x Toslink, 2 RCA coaxial) making it compatible with Audiolab’s 6000CDT CD Transport and other digital streamers and CD players.
Build quality is top notch on the 6000A which is offered in matte black or clear silver finishes. The one-piece metal construction is very robust (the 6000A weighs 17.2 pounds) and there is no doubt that the device is designed to last.
The front controls; which are also made of aluminum complete the rather minimalist look of the 6000A, but also serve a large number of purposes. The 6000A works out-of-the-box as an integrated amplifier, but the mode function allows you to use it as a dedicated preamp or power amp, giving the user upgrade options in the long run.
The 6000A also allows you to adjust the channel balance, activate an automatic shutdown timer so that the unit turns itself off after 20 minutes of no signal, and the ability to play with 3 digital filters (Fast Roll-off, Slow Roll-off and Minimum Phase) that do affect the sound.
As I looked through my listening notes, I noticed the remarkable transparency of the 6000A in almost every single shot. The 6000A’s sense of drive and detail retrieval isn’t what you normally expect at this price point and that it achieves such a high level of playback quality without ever sounding too sharp or progressive is a huge positive.
Horns, in particular, have a healthy bite and tone that makes them a lively listener with great jazz recordings such as Hank Mobley’s Workout (Tidal/MQA) and Donald’s Byrd A New Perspective (Tidal/16-bit/44.1 kHz). Byrd’s signature track “Cristo Redentor” can be a brutally revealing track that exposes clear-sounding amps and speakers – the 6000A would sail through this track better than many amps, but it did confirm that the Audiolab sounds a lot better with warmer-sounding speakers.
The 6000A will never be confused with a tube amp and that’s not a bad thing if you’re looking for a powerful and neutral sounding integrated amp paired with something like a pair of Wharfedale EVO4.2, PSB Alpha P5s, Harbeth P3ESR or Q Acoustics 3050i speakers.
Bass response is very tight and well defined; the 6000A is only held back by the speaker in this scenario and proved capable of driving a wide range of speakers and reproducing the lower octaves with ease.
The 6000A sacrifices warmth and color in the midrange for its remarkable clarity and detail; vocals will sound thin with the wrong pair of speakers. As I switched back and forth between Wharfedale, Klipsch, PSB, Quad and Q Acoustics bookshelf speakers, it became clear that long-lasting enjoyment with this amp requires warmer sources and speakers, unless you’re obsessed with an overly neutral-sounding tonal balance that will make any poorly recorded uncover album in your collection. I need a little more color with my music.
The phono stage on the 6000A turned out to be a real surprise; it had more than enough gain to work with my Dynavector 10×5 high output moving coil cartridge, but the real magic came from both a Grado Sonata2 and a Nagaoka MP-200. The 6000A doesn’t change its tonal balance when switching from digital to analog, which worked great with the warmer sounding phono cartridges from Brooklyn and Japan.
There was nothing entry-level about the headphone amp that had more than enough gain for my HiFIMan Sundara flat magnetic headphones that came alive with the 6000A. The Sundara aren’t the heaviest in the world, but they sounded more open and transparent with the 6000A than with other headphone sections I’ve tried recently.
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