Audiolab’s new 6000A Play combines two audio components in a single chassis to create a just-add-speakers streaming amplifier that handles all your analogue requirements, too.

In a single chassis, the 6000A Play takes the circuitry from the 6000A stereo amplifier and marries it with the streaming architecture of the 6000N Play.

Audiolab 6000A Play Streaming

The 6000A Play’s Wi-Fi networking is powered by DTS Play-Fi: an app-controlled platform enabling high-quality, whole-home wireless audio, capable of streaming hi-res music up to 24-bit/192kHz and supported by a greater range of established audio brands than any other wireless platform.

The free Play-Fi app (available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices, Windows PCs and Apple and Android smartwatches) is an intuitive gateway to a wealth of music services, including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, HDtracks, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM. It is also your trusty music butler, able to serve up a streaming library stored on any DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server on the same home network. Play-Fi supports a wide variety of file formats, including MP3, MP4A, AAC, FLAC, WAV and AIFF.

CD & Vinyl

The 6000A Play is not all about streaming, however. Those with physical music collections on CD and vinyl are equally well catered for, thanks to four stereo RCA inputs, three line-level and one MM phono input. The phono stage is a low-noise design with precise RIAA equalisation, engineered especially for the 6000A Play. There are five digital inputs, too – a pair of optical and a pair of coaxial sockets to hook up digital sources without wireless connectivity (Audiolab’s 6000CDT CD transport, for example), as well as an Ethernet port for those who prefer network connection via cable rather than Wi-Fi.

DAC

The 6000A Play’s digital stage incorporates the ES9018K2M DAC chip from the Sabre32 Reference family, applying the benefits of ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver ultra-low noise and high dynamic range.

Audiolab’s original M-DAC was one of the very first home audio components to incorporate an ES9018 chip back in 2011, and the company has been honing its implementation ever since. One particularly critical element is the post-DAC active filter; the Audiolab design team has paid great attention to this circuit, using op-amps selected for their synergy with the ES9018K2M.

Whether received via cable, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, all forms of digital audio benefit from three user-selectable digital filters: ‘Fast Roll-Off’, ‘Slow Roll-Off’ and ‘Minimum Phase’. These settings allow the user to optimise the response to suit the source file and bandwidth of the partnering equipment.

Class AB Power Amp

The 6000A Play’s Class AB power amp sports a discrete circuit design and delivers 50W per channel into eight ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 9 Amps into difficult loads. The output stage 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.

Preamp

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 Play’s circuitry, protecting the sensitive preamp section from noise interference.

Headphone Amp

Anyone who uses headphones, as well as speakers, is catered for by a built-in headphone amp with dedicated current-feedback circuitry.

Specification Summary

  • Hi-res wireless streaming and multiroom connectivity
  • Network connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable
  • aptX Bluetooth streaming
  • ESS Technology Sabre32 Reference DAC
  • Three user-selectable digital filters
  • Class A post-DAC active filter
  • Low-noise MM phono stage
  • Class AB power amplification: 2x50W into 8 ohms; 2x75W into 4 ohms
  • Three operational modes: Integrated Mode; Pre-Power Mode; Pre Mode
  • Dedicated current-feedback headphone amp

Cable inputs

  • 5x digital audio (2x optical; 2x coaxial; 1x Ethernet)
  • 4x analogue audio (3x line level; 1x MM phono)
  • Power amp input
  • USB for firmware updates
  • 12V trigger

Cable outputs

  • Speaker binding posts
  • Headphone output
  • Preamp output
  • 12V trigger

Price & Availability

The 6000A Play is available from late July in a choice of silver or black, at an RRP of £799. The original 6000A, without Wi-Fi/Ethernet network streaming, continues at £599.

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