It may look like a simple silver box, but beneath its hood the Audiolab 6000N Play hides a multitude of abilities. It's a fully fledged wireless music streamer designed to plug into your existing hi-fi system. We first caught a glimpse of it at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show earlier this year.
At its heart is the DTS Play-Fi platform which enables users to stream content from all manner of devices on their wireless network - be that a smartphone, tablet, Mac, PC, music server or NAS drive.
If you want to set up a multi-room audio system, the 6000N Play will sync with other Play-Fi-equipped devices within your home. It's also DLNA and uPnP compliant.
And you won't be short of music to play on it, either: a host of internet music services are accessible via the app, including Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, HDtracks, Amazon Music, Napster and TuneIn - to name just some of them. Spotify Connect comes as standard.
There's plenty more clever tech under the bonnet too. The 6000N Play incorporates a high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter), using the same ES9018 Sabre32 Reference chip found in the five-star Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier. There's also the same isolated power supply with a high-efficiency toroidal transformer as used in the Audiolab 6000CDT CD transport.
Control and configuration is via the Play-Fi app, which is available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices. The only buttons on the streamer itself are the standby button and six ‘preset’ buttons. These presets operate like those on a DAB or FM tuner; simply select an internet radio station, or a playlist from a compatible streaming service, and store it as a preset for speedy access – no app required.
There's support for hi-res audio streaming up to 24-bit/192kHz via wi-fi, or you can hard-wire the unit via ethernet for a more stable connection. Conventional outputs include analogue RCA, plus coaxial and optical digital.
The Audiolab 6000N Play network audio streamer will be available from May in a choice of black or silver, at an RRP of £449.95 ($590).