Never before has music been so accessible. Nowadays, millions of songs can be endlessly streamed and a whole wide world web of digital downloads is available at the click of a mouse. Needless to say there is still plenty of life in the good ol’ vinyl and CD yet, too. Naturally you want to be able to play it all – simply, conveniently and affordably. And the all-new Audiolab 6000A Play has you covered.
The British brand’s just-add-speakers integrated amplifier caters for every music source – from internet radio and streaming over wi-fi and Bluetooth to the hook-up of a turntable, CD player or TV – and delivers it with Audiolab’s quintessential sonic excellence. Want the best of all worlds? Then this is the amp for you.
A heavenly matrimony
The 6000A Play is a jack of all trades, master of every one – guaranteed by its heritage and design DNA. Not only does it belong to Audiolab’s highly acclaimed 6000 range of audio electronics and follow a long line of high-performing yet affordable amplifiers in the company’s four-decade history, it is also the combination of two class-leading, What Hi-Fi? five-star products.
In a single chassis, the 6000A Play takes the circuitry from the 6000A stereo amplifier – an ideal step-up from the budget amps of today, just as the Audiolab’s original 8000A was in the 1980s – and marries it with the streaming architecture of the 2019-launched 6000N Play, What Hi-Fi?’s current Product of the Year in the music streamer category.
The result of such a formidable fusion: a fully integrated, versatile and musically captivating streaming amplifier that delivers everything a modern music lover like yourself could ask for.
Everything but the kitchen sink
Underpinning every streaming component is a streaming platform, and at the heart of the 6000A Play is DTS Play-Fi. The well-established, app-controlled platform enables high-quality, whole-home wireless audio: hi-res streaming up to 24-bit/192kHz to as many as 32 fully synchronised Play-Fi-equipped devices at a time.
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, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. 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.
Favourite playlists and radio stations can be assigned as shortcut ‘presets’ within the app, while Works With Alexa support enables voice-controlled playback when the 6000A Play is paired with any Amazon Alexa-equipped device.
Savvy streamers who aren’t ready to consign their vinyl records or CD collection to the bin are catered for too: any turntable with a moving magnet cartridge can benefit from the 6000A Play’s built-in phono stage, engineered to make the most of the marvellous music nestling within an LP’s grooves. Further analogue, as well as digital, inputs also welcome the connection of CD players and even TVs.
Want some precious alone time with your music? A dedicated headphone amp is onboard to deliver the 6000A Play’s engaging performance through all manner of headphones.
A faithful performer, true to the music
Just as a tick in every feature box speaks of the 6000A Play’s versatility, Audiolab’s ample accolades over the years speaks for its technical wizardry and sonic know-how.
Much effort has gone into both the 6000A Play’s digital and analogue design to produce its crisply detailed, rhythmically engaging and thrillingly dynamic performance – which is sonically consistent, whatever the source.
Audiolab has honed its implementation of the technically excellent Sabre32 Reference DAC chips ever since their appearance in four-time What Hi-Fi? Award-winning M-DAC in 2011 – and hasn’t rested on its laurels here.
Its design team has paid great attention to the post-DAC filter circuit, carefully choosing components that work in perfect synergy with the DAC. Three user-selectable digital filters allow performance to be optimised according to the source and partnering equipment, too.
The 6000A Play’s 50-watt-per-channel Class AB power amplifier sports a discrete circuit design using complementary feedback, delivering excellent linearity and thermal stability. And the presence of a substantial toroidal transformer helps the amplifier maintain firm control over the music.
To maintain signal purity – the fundamental purpose of all hi-fi – the preamp section is kept as simple as possible, the physical layout of the circuitry designed to protect it from noise interference. That each critical stage is driven by its own independent low-noise power supply also helps the 6000A Play deliver a wonderfully balanced, detailed and dynamic performance that rivals considerably more expensive competition.
Meticulously faithful to music, whether it’s playing a Spotify stream or vinyl record, rock and roll or rhythm and blues, the 6000A Play is a does-it-all amplifier that is simple to use and beautiful to hear.
Available in black or silver, the Audiolab 6000A Play is available from July for £799.