Adopting a traditional and solid form factor on the outside, Paul Rigby realises that the magic is occurring under the lid
The thing about the 6000A, when the aesthetics are considered, is that it looks like an integrated amplifier. Don’t dismiss that point. It’s actually critical to target sales. I say again, the 6000A looks like a traditional integrated amplifier. It looks safe. It looks steady and solid. It doesn’t try anything fancy. You would never accuse the chassis of ever emerging from an Italian design studio. There’s no chic fashion sense with this one. If you saw this box in the 80s, it would look rather racy, that’s for sure, but it wouldn’t look too out of place.
For some users, that is all they want. And that’s important. Weird and even slightly off-kilter designs can scare and make certain hi-fi fans feel uncomfortable. Even slightly conservative half-width amplifiers can be an issue for some.
The 6000A – at least on the outside – is the Mother’s Pride processed white loaf of amplifier design. You can see it for what it is at 30 paces. Again, I’m not damning this amp with faint praise when I say that. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a firm design choice.
Before I began the review of this box, I was comforted to know that the designer of the 6000A was also the same designer of the older 8300A. Jan Ertner took the basis of the latter to create the former which meant that hard won knowledge was now being refined and improved upon. There’s nothing worse than a single line of products that feature a host of designers who not only constantly reinvent the wheel but often make the same old mistakes over and over again (it’s happened many times in the past). Not here. So I already had a sense of confidence going into this one.
This is an amplifier but it features other components too. The ES9018 Sabre32 Reference DAC is one of those, featuring 32bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator. Again, this chip is not a foreign component. You’ll find it in the company’s M-DAC. Continuity again.
Connected to the DAC are the 6000A’s four digital inputs – two coaxial and two optical – which handle 24bit/192kHz. Tagged to these are user-selectable digital filters: Fast Roll-Off, Slow Roll-Off and Minimum Phase. I’ll say now that I normally hate these sort of things. Anything that takes me away from a pure, default, flat signal is an experience as near to abhorrent as I’m likely to find. That said, I’ll give them all a test in due course.
Streaming is also possible via Bluetooth (plus the now usual aptX codec).
A Class AB amplifier, that can also be used as a pre-amp and as a power amplifier too, the integrated mode of the design pumps out 50W per channel into 8 Ohms, the output stage of the discrete power amp circuits uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology plus a meaty 200VA toroidal transformer followed by four 15000uF reservoir capacity (60000uF in total). The idea is to reduce the strain upon the amplifier and to maintain a sort of backup of power, ready to use.
Audiolab has included a phono stage for moving magnet phono cartridges – a JFET-based circuit with RIAA equalisation. A dedicated headphone amp with current-feedback circuitry is also included.
Spanning 445 x 65.5 x 300mm and weighing 7.8kg, the 6000A is available in a choice of silver or black.
I started with Mike Oldfield and his Platinum (Virgin) LP from 1979. I played Into the Wonderland, featuring vocals by Wendy Roberts. A sweet, beautifully melodic and slightly melancholic, low key ballad with a high-energy, rocking finish.
I suppose, if I were to describe the 6000A in one word, it would be confident. This amplifier is not shy, it doesn’t try to hide any aspect of its sound envelope. The 6000A will never die wondering. That is, the 6000A gives its all in the cause of making you happy.
The overall presentation from the Audiolab 6000A was balanced and balanced means you get to hear some bass. This is not always the case for mid-placed budget equipment. Bass is often sacrificed or at least trimmed to some extent. Even the best sub-£1,000 amplifiers out there love to trim bass. It’s a cost issue. That doesn’t happen with the 6000A.
The 6000A allows bass into the soundstage. That means that both the percussion and bass guitar were not only able to ground the music and stop it flapping in the wind but also offer a solid, rhythmic pace to the whole arrangement. That is, there was a sense of order here. The music flowed with an added, deeper groove. The structure was both solid and funky.
One of the persistent fears I have as a reviewer, from amplifiers designed at this price point, is frequency discipline. This is another reason that may sub-£1000 amplifiers are rather bass shy. Most of them can’t handle it. Too much of it, at any rate.
That is, there is a danger of allowing too much bass into the soundstage because it may create a warming feeling, leaking into the midrange and creating a sepia-like effect. Again, that never occurred with the 6000A. Frequency discipline was paramount so bass stayed put and never bloomed into the mids.
In fact, let’s pause for a moment here to dwell and emphasise this one feature. If I was going to pin one all-important factor for the success of the 6000A it would be tonal balance. In fact, you could ally tonal balance as being the killer feature of the 6000A. The headline. Tonal balance is the underlying strength of the 6000A. I really haven’t heard anything like it under £1,000.
The upper midrange was delightfully detailed and accurate although fragility and delicacy were not great priorities, I have to say. I never saw reverb tails of filigree lattice flowing from cymbal taps but this is a £599 amplifier we’re talking about here, not a £5,999 design. So no, don’t expect that but do expect to hear everything that a £599 amplifier can provide: complex and chaotic lead guitar with enough precision to make sense, wind instruments that feature a character and lightness of touch and a layered soundstage that revealed even shy instruments lurking at the rear of the mix.
Before I moved from vinyl, note that the built-in phono amplifier is a good one. An external model is better but the internal model will be fine for those of a budget. Buy an external model when you can, though.
I then turned to Bluetooth which I paired to my iPhone 8. Pairing is automatic. That is, you select Bluetooth as a source on the amplifier and the 6000A pops up on your Bluetooth screen on your phone. Painless and easy pairing. I played Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me as a lossy file. Often, playing such a file in this way results in a bright and edgy play response but not here. The 6000A was able to calm any possible issues. So while the midrange was lacking insight, bass was hardly focused and treble was almost a non-entity, none of that was the 6000A’s fault. In fact, the 6000A made the best of a bad job, providing a perfectly listenable track without any nasty sonic responses. What I liked about the 6000A’s take on Bluetooth was the creation of a wide soundstage and, because lots of space was now on offer, the instrumental separation that also followed. Allowing each instrument within the mix to be presented on its own, adding to the complexity of the presentation.
Next up, I plugged in my Astell&Kern AK120 into the rear-mounted optical port and played Dire Straits’ So Far Away from their Brothers in Arms album. I liked the way the 6000A handled this 24bit/88.2kHz track because the track was mastered with excessive peak limiting creating a compressed sound. The low noise aspect of the 6000A, the balanced and controlling nature of the upper frequencies and the solid bass foundation allowed this track to be broadcast in a mature and stable fashion. To such an extent that the compressed element was no longer a real issue.
Playing the restful piano tinklings of Erik Satie at the same resolution was a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The potentially chaotic resonance of the piano was handled well by the 6000A in terms of control while the nuanced nature of the keys and pedals from the Satie piano was transcribed with both ease and insight to give the performance a sense of delicacy alongside that sense of authority.
I then took a quick listen at the range of DAC-related filters available within the unit. In the 6000A’s manual, the Phase filter is talked about as if the resultant sound resembled analogue but I had to disagree. The presentation emerged from cotton wool, sounding overly damped with a lack of precision and midrange insight.
The Slow filter reduced that effect dramatically while Fast was a default flat response. I hold my hands up here. I had to eat my words with these filters because my preference leaned towards the Slow filter which I actually found superior to Fast. The latter is supposed to be default and flat but I found Fast to be a touch edgy.
So, thumbs up to Audiolab. I never thought I would actually hear a usable filter on any piece of hi-fi equipment but, blow me down, Audiolab has created the very thing.
One important thing. Critical if you’re sound testing the 6000A and the DAC is significant to you. Make sure you properly review the amplifier with each and every filter. Cycle through each in turn and give each one time. Punching in any one of these filters will change the inherent character of the 6000A’s DAC. For example, if you talked to me about the 6000A having only listened to the Fast filter and I replied to you having only listened to the Slow filter, we’d effectively be talking about two different amps.
Hence, don’t judge the 6000A until you’ve heard all three filters. Listen to your Uncle Paul on this one.
Finally, I plugged in my reference headphones to listen to Satie via the internal headphone amplifier. While there may have been a limit on midrange extension, within the confines of the head amp’s performance envelope, the sound was admirable indeed offering plenty of refined detail on offer plus light and shade to add interest.
I listened to this amplifier for some time and realised that the basic presentation was supremely balanced in terms of how it delivered music to the ear. Some hi-fi components do one thing very well and if you’re looking at a budget component that can often be a fascinating experience because build budgets often preclude a generally good performance. The 6000A is one of those pieces of kit that does its best to do everything very well indeed.
Of course, it can’t. Not really. Money won’t let it. That doesn’t stop to trying, though.
In terms of ‘can’t’, what the 6000A doesn’t give you an extended dynamic reach. That high ceiling that higher-end amplifiers provide to allow the upper midrange to soar.
Now, some amplifiers in this price range will give you that. But then they will fall over very badly in other areas because too much emphasis has been placed upon that soaring thing for the build budget limits. So, for example, you may come across an amplifier that offers great midrange extension but the bass will be lacking. In other words, you go too far in one direction? You pay for it in another.
The 6000A doesn’t do that either. It never actually falls down. It never leaves you feeling, “Wow, it does this and this amazingly well but I wish it didn’t do that…” You won’t give that response to a 6000A listening session.
In short, the 6000A provides the perfect balance of performance to a build budget. It’s the perfect compromise. Every part of the sound envelope has been looked at and enhanced to the point when the money ran out. Then Audiolab stopped at that point.
Hence the 6000A squeezes every last penny of performance from your £599. If the designers had been told that the price was £649, they would have improved everything a bit more. For £699? Everything would have been improved a bit more still. You see? The 6000A is even handed, offers great sound and is one of the best value amplifiers on the market. If you want to hear how your money has been spent, buy a 6000A.
Bottom line? The Audiolab 6000A is better than you think.
AUDIOLAB 6000A INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER
TO BUY CLICK BELOW:
USA – https://amzn.to/383xoR3
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3mMazW8
GOOD: confident bass, instrumental separation, upper midrange detail, balanced output
[Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Group, The Audiophile Man: Hi-Fi & Music here: www.facebook.com/groups/theaudiophileman for exclusive postings, exclusive editorial and more!]
Pro-Ject RPM3 Turntable
Tellurium Q & QED cabling
Blue Horizon Professional Rack System
Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner
Ronald2nd July 2019 at 11:33 am
Can it be matched with my Monitor Audio Bronze 5 tower series? Currently using an Emotiva TA-100
Paul Rigby2nd July 2019 at 12:55 pm
Don’t see a problem there Ronald.
ido2nd July 2019 at 11:48 am
Paul – what a great review that differs from others I have read on the 6000a – we like not only a warm sound, but also warm words 🙂 If I may, I would like to ask your opinion: I consider buying the 6000a to connect with my Monitor Audio Silver 200, whose sepcs recommends amplifier output in the range of 60-150w. The audiolab output is 50w (with maximum current delivery of 9 Amps into difficult loads). Should I be worried that it may lack some power for my speakers? (I listen in a 14 x 20 ft room, sitting ~10 ft from speakers, and main source is Technics 1200GR)
Paul Rigby2nd July 2019 at 1:01 pm
Thanks ido and a good question. Hmmm. Firstly, if you can, seek a demo to find out. My gut reaction though is that the amp will perform fine BUT I’d still advise you to look at something more powerful to allow the amp to offer reserves of power. Sometimes, when an amp does a decent job but has to strain a bit to do it, you can hear that in the sound. There’s a lack of confidence. I would consider looking at a pre/power combo. What’s your budget?
ido2nd July 2019 at 1:27 pm
Thx Paul. Budget can be stretched as needed. I would like to consider the 6000a as a decent single piece that can connect between the Techincs 1200GR and the MA Silver 200 without being a serious bottleneck, while supporting also cd player and Bluetooth sources. However, if it is, I can spend as much as twice (but still prefer to manage with the less number of pieces as possible)
Paul Rigby2nd July 2019 at 2:10 pm
Hi ido – thinking of your wallet for the moment, do you have an amp that could be used as a pre-amp? Another reason I ask is, to get around 100W or so from £1,000 integrated is a bit of a challenge but its easier from a pre-power combo.
ido2nd July 2019 at 2:53 pm
I do not have… I have the opportunity to demo the 6000a with s200, so I guess I should try that first. The thing is that previously I listened to these speakers with Marantz PM6005 (even a bit less powerful) and I usually got the volume dial to make just a third of the way (though as you say, I understand it is not just a matter of volume, but also confidence)
ido2nd July 2019 at 3:24 pm
I do not have… I guess I should first demo the 6000a + s200 as you suggested
Paul Rigby2nd July 2019 at 4:04 pm
Just to add, this power amp – low in cost, high in sound quality and small in footprint – might be of use to you: https://theaudiophileman.com/edge-a2-300-amplifier-review-xtz/
Adrian9th September 2021 at 4:23 pm
Hi Paul. How this amp fare against the brio?
Am looking to replace my lovely brio, would the roksan k3 or elex-r a better choice?
Jacek Glebocki3rd July 2019 at 6:18 am
Hello, thank you for great review. How would you compare 6000a to rega brio?
Paul Rigby3rd July 2019 at 10:54 am
Thanks Jacek – the Brio is excellent and, if you did plump for that, you wouldn’t be disappointed. That said, I feel that the 6000A offers a better balanced in terms of overall tonality.
Kavin3rd July 2019 at 11:14 am
Hello, in case the 50w of the 6000a are later found to be insufficient (when I move to a larger room and speakers), can I use it in preamp mode, and add a power amp (I see your recommendation for the edge-a2-300 for example) in order to gain more power? In that case I would still be able to utilize all the analog/digital/phone/bluetooth inputs of the 6000a?
Paul Rigby3rd July 2019 at 11:28 am
Hi Kavin – indeed yes you can do that. The Edge is a good option as a power amp too.
Gustavo Anaya5th July 2019 at 11:31 pm
Thanks Paul, great review as usual!!!!
I bought the 6000A a week ago and I can’t be more happy with my decision. It is a great piece of equipment for the money I paid. I have matched the 6000A with the 6000N network streamer and speakers Monitor Audio Bronze 2 and it sounds amazing for me. Highly recommended if you are like me and do not have a lot of money for spending in hi-end equipment. 🙂
Paul Rigby7th July 2019 at 10:02 am
Thanks for your kind word Gustavo and for your thoughts on the amp.
Michael Tartaglia-Kershaw8th July 2019 at 5:48 am
I have just read your interesting review of the Audiolab 600A amp and I wanted to pick up on one comment you made, as extracted below:
”Before I began the review of this box, I was comforted to know that the designer of the 6000A was also the same designer of the older 8300A. Jan Ertner took the basis of the latter to create the former which meant that hard won knowledge was now being refined and improved upon.”
I attach a 1995 review (pdf) of the Quad 77 amp (which I still have in daily use) which states that this was one of Jan Ertner’s first circuit deigns for Quad. So his ‘hard won knowledge’ has been at Quad for more than 20 years, and now of course is available at Audiolab. (PS I always read reviews before I buy. I read the Ivor Humphries 1995 review years before I bought the Quad 77 – and then bought it at a greatly reduced ‘clearance’ price some years later when Quad went through a bad patch and only survived thanks to IAG. Link to 1995 Quad 77 review here, courtesy of Meridian Audio – http://www.meridian-audio.info/public/77int%5B1729%5D.pdf)
Over the years I have purchased several Audiolab items, Q-DAC, M-DAC+, 8300CD, all still in daily use in various systems around the house. I am 67 and I have also been a life long lover of Quad, from the 33/303/ESL63/77CD/77amp, to my current raves, the Vena 1 (used as a pre-amp with) the Artera power amp, and the truly wonderful (for their size) Quad S2 speakers.
I have always thought Audiolab are good at ‘sources’ and Quad are good at ‘amps’. Now that they are in the same group with the same designer I can’t help but wonder how much Quad Vena there is in the Audiolab 6000A?
I also wonder how much Quad 77 DNA is in the Vena? Because the Quad 77 became the Quad 99 and then the Quad Elite. Is it now the basis for the Vena and Vena 2, and even the Audiolab 6000A?
Paul Rigby8th July 2019 at 10:05 am
Thanks for the great detective work, Mike!
Michael Tartaglia-Kershaw9th July 2019 at 6:16 am
The link below is Jan Ertner discussing the design of the 8300A, and he says it is new from the ground up.
Paul Rigby9th July 2019 at 11:00 am
Good stuff – thanks for the link, Mike.
Vlad14th July 2019 at 12:15 am
I really enjoyed reading this review… and a lot of other reviews of yours. Thank you for those!
For last 3 years I own Monitor Audio Silver 2 bookshelf speakers so I am planning an upgrade from my good 15 years old NAD C320BEE that is not getting maximum out of them for sure. 6000A is on the top of my list but I am also considering Creek Evolution 50A v2 (that also has the look of traditional integrated amp 🙂 and Cyrus One. Lets say that DAC is not important to me since I am happy with one in Bluesound Node 2i that I use as a source 95% of the time, so please tell me how they do compare sound quality wise? Is Creek step up or they stand close? Is Cyrus even in a same league with 6000A?
Paul Rigby14th July 2019 at 10:55 am
Thanks for your kind comments, Vlad. Creek offers generally excellent products and has done for many years. The Cyrus One is also excellent – I have a review of it on my site here, have you seen that? I feel that the 6000A scores because of the way it offers tonal balance (bringing in bass as well as high frequencies) but without damaging detail and clarity.
Vlad14th July 2019 at 11:54 pm
Yes, I did read your Cyrus One review.. that’s why I took it in to consideration.
Actually Naim Nait 5si and Rega Elex-R, or even Audiolab 8300A are on the top of my wish list but out of my budget at the moment.. so wanted to know your opinion about these 3 I mentioned.. actually Rega Brio was also on my list but you already gave your comment about how it is compared with 6000A..
Paul Rigby15th July 2019 at 12:12 pm
No problem Vlad 🙂
Vlad25th July 2019 at 3:24 pm
Hi Paul, it’s me again. Turns out that there’s an offer for Audiolab 8300A. Price would be just a little above 6000A. Unfortunately I can’t demo it since it is online store, and there is no Audiolab dealer nearby.. so am asking for your advice – since I don’t need built in dac, do you think that 8300A is a serious step up? Did you have a chance to hear it? Beside its bigger power output, is it superior to 6000A sound quality wise?
Paul Rigby26th July 2019 at 9:26 am
Hi Vlad – The guy who created the 6000A also designed the 8300A – so it has a good pedigree. I have yet to review the 8300A but I would be happy to take a chance if the deal is good.
Ulf15th July 2019 at 6:02 pm
Thanks for a great review, as always 🙂
I’m currently listening through my Q Acoustics Concept 20, and I’m having a hard time deciding which amp to get.
I’ve been running a Marantz SR5011, but since I’m only going for stereo from now on I’m getting a smaller amp.
The trio on top is Audiolab 6000A, Rega Brio or Cambridge CXA60.
Could you help shine a light on this?
Paul Rigby16th July 2019 at 12:59 pm
Thanks for your kind words, Ulf. Both the Cambridge and the Rega are excellent so if you ultimately decided to go with one of those then you won’t be disappointed. I would plump for the 6000A though because of its tonal balance and because it offers low frequency performance without skimping on midrange insight and detail.
Ulf16th July 2019 at 8:29 pm
Thank you so much for the reply.
I’m going for the Audiolab then, it sounds like a winner to med.
I’m assuming that it will work well with my Concept 20’s?
Paul Rigby17th July 2019 at 10:39 am
Hi Ulf – yep, you won’t have an issue there.
Goutom25th July 2019 at 11:57 am
Thanks for a great review.
How to use HT bypass in this amp. How to use Subwoofer. It can handle 50 watts per channel ai 8 ohms, my room is 15:20 sq feet. Is the power sufficient for my room? Currently using Tannoy eclipse 2 floor stand speaker. Thanks in advance.
Paul Rigby25th July 2019 at 12:56 pm
Hi Goutom – yes, the 6000A should be able to drive your floorstanders and provide enough power for your room.
Goutom26th July 2019 at 11:02 am
Thanks for your reply. can I use it with my AVR with HT bypass?
Paul Rigby26th July 2019 at 11:52 am
Let me double check – also I think you can probably use the subwoofer (would you want to connect that to the 6000A?) with the Pre outs but let me talk to Audiolab first.
Paul Rigby26th July 2019 at 1:25 pm
UPDATE: I’ve managed to get your question directly to the designer of the 6000A. Let’s see what he says, eh? 🙂
Goutom26th July 2019 at 3:51 pm
Yes, want to use subwoofer the Amp. Thanks a lot. So nice to you. Waiting for your update.
Paul Rigby29th July 2019 at 11:11 am
Hi Goutom – this is from the designer, “When used in ‘Integrated’ mode, the Pre-Out is active and a subwoofer can indeed be connected. In a AV set-up, the front L/R from a processor can be connected to the Power-IN of the 6000A and the mode should then be set to ‘Pre-Power’.”
Goutom30th July 2019 at 2:09 pm
Thank you so much Paul for the reply.
Another query arrived!! In the case of connecting PC using USB connection, what should be the good and low-cost solution? Which will support 24-bit/192kHz resolution and if possible DSD supported.
Paul Rigby30th July 2019 at 5:05 pm
Hi Goutom – ok, so were looking at an external DAC now? What is your budget on this?
Goutom2nd August 2019 at 7:42 pm
Sorry for the late reply.
As I want to use audiolab’s internal DAC, need to use some kind of USB to Optical / Coaxial converter that only converts the signal in Digital region, therefore, no role played by DAC. Which support up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. Found some in amazon/eBay with very cheap about 21$ to 50$. What is your opinion?
Paul Rigby5th August 2019 at 11:58 am
Can you send me a link please?
Goutom6th August 2019 at 6:06 pm
links can’t be pest here,
Giving you the name:
DOUK Audio Mini USB to Optical Coaxial Converter XMOS 208 Digital Interface DSD DOP 192KHz
X1 USB to SPDIF Converter
Muse Audio HIFI USB PC DAC
Paul Rigby7th August 2019 at 8:19 am
Hi Goutom – so what exactly are you looking to connect the 6000A to?
Goutom7th August 2019 at 8:45 am
I want to connect my Intel NUC computer through USB-Optical link with this amp.
Paul Rigby7th August 2019 at 11:49 am
Hi Goutom – to maintain sound quality and not lower the sonics you’ve gained via the 6000A, I would buy an external DAC with a USB port and attach your computer direct. Separating the DAC will enhance sound quality further.
AK5th August 2019 at 1:58 am
Hi Paul. Thanks of all congrats for another amazing review.
Currently, I have a system driven by a Yamaha A-S501 which drives a pair of KEF Q350s. The source I listen to the most is my turntable, a Pro-ject 1 Xpression Carbon UKX. I’m getting a feeling that my amp is currently confining the rest of my units and I am considering to go for an Audiolab 6000a.
First of all, do you find it a good upgrade? Should I expect an important improvement indeed which should “worth” the money? For example, I was literally shocked when I first listened to my 1 Xpression in comparison to my previous Pro-ject Essential 3A. Should I expect a similar level of an upgrade?
My biggest concern regarding this amp is its wattage, which is a bit low. It’s almost 50% lower than my current Yamaha’s. Should I worry? In case I upgrade my speakers to large_ish floor standers (eg KEF R7, Tannoy XT8F or Fyne Audio F501) would the Audiolab be enough? Would it give decent signals as a decent pre-amp to a power-amp like a Roksan K3 or an Audiolab 8300XP? To be on the safe side regarding the power, should I go for a more powerful amp at this point, eg a Cambridge Audio CXA80 and a phono preamp? Which one would perform better?
Thanks beforehand for your time. Cheers!
Paul Rigby5th August 2019 at 11:57 am
Many thanks for your kind word AK. I would see the 6000A as a good upgrade, yes. You current speakers should perform fine and it depends how quickly you’re looking to upgrade your speakers and the specs of the new models. Floorstandars are often more efficient and easier to run, though and the three models you list should be ok. If you’re looking for more power above the 6000A though, I would seriously consider moving to a separate pre/power system.
AK5th August 2019 at 4:32 pm
Hi Paul, thanks for your response. Wouldn’t the Audiolab 6000a work well as a pre-amp in case I need more juice and go for a power-amp? Should I better go for a pre/power amp combo from scratch? If so, any advice for a specific model which shouldn’t cost much more than the Audiolab? Thanks!
Paul Rigby5th August 2019 at 4:53 pm
Hi AK – sure, the 6000A would work well as a pre but it won’t be as good as a specialist pre. The 6000A is ideal if you use the amp for a good few years and then use it as a pre as part of a low-cost upgrade but if you’re thinking of upgrading a lot sooner then it might be a thought to leap frog the 6000A and go for the pre/power now. It depends on what you think is going to happen in your life over the next 5-10 years, where you want to be and how you see your system developing.
Ionut11th August 2019 at 2:15 am
Hi Paul and thanks for another excellent review. I intend to buy the audiolab 6000A in order to get better sound. I presently have the Yamaha RN-602 driving a pair of of MA bronze 2 and I’m not happy with the result, too bright and not tonally balanced to my ears . What standmount speakers would you recommend with this amp in the 500-600 euro area? I mostly listen to tidal hifi and internet radio but I intend to add a cd player either a marantz cd 6006 or the Audiolab’s 6000CDT since I have a large cd collection and also a streamer the blue sound node 2i to help me with the streaming issue.. What do you think? Your input and opinion would be very much appreciated.Thank you so much
Paul Rigby11th August 2019 at 2:50 pm
Hi Mike – thanks for your question. What’s your budget for the speakers?
Ionut11th August 2019 at 8:37 pm
Hy Paul, 500-600 Euro.
Paul Rigby12th August 2019 at 11:11 am
I would look at these: https://theaudiophileman.com/surf-stand-speakers-review-cabasse/
or these: https://theaudiophileman.com/concept-20/
Others to consider are the Dali Oberon 1, Mission QX2 and KEF 350s although I’ve yet to review the latter 3.
Alexandru21st August 2019 at 1:44 pm
Aren’t the concept 20 (or similarly sized speakers) too small for a 20sqm room?
And a quick side question: for the budget Ionut mentioned before, would you recommend bookshelf/standmount speakers or floor standing ones? To be used in a room as before, listening from the couch, not at the desk.
Paul Rigby21st August 2019 at 3:49 pm
It depends how much volume, bass, etc you wanted but I think the Concepts should perform well. I’d recommend a home demo to make sure in terms of your own expectations, though. Many retailers will allow home demos for with payment of a deposit. Here’s a (relatively) low cost stand-mount alternative: https://theaudiophileman.com/3050i-floorstander-review-q-acoustics/
Ionut12th August 2019 at 10:44 pm
Hello Paul and thank you very much for your suggestions. Do you have any thoughts about the Dynaudio’s Emit 20??..There’s a store here in Bucharest which has always good discounts on those, around 500 euro… Would they also be something to take into account with the audiolab 6000A? Which cd player would you consider between the marantz cd 6006 and the Audiolab’s 6000CDT to better match the Audiolab 6000A? And one more more thing. My listening room is approx 20X16 sq feet. Do you think the audiolab 6000A with it’s 50wpc is sufficient for this room? Thank you so much.
Paul Rigby13th August 2019 at 10:14 am
Hi Ionut – yes, the Emits are recommended and they should work well with the 6000A. Try and listen first, though. Your ears and expectations may be different to mine. I’d go for the 6000CDT. In terms of clarity, low noise and detail. Your room should be fine with this set up.
Alexandru21st August 2019 at 1:37 pm
What store in Bucharest?
Ionut24th August 2019 at 9:20 am
Check Stereoplanet in Cotroceni, they run discounts on these from time to time…kind of obnoxious though not very client oriented
Ionut13th August 2019 at 11:56 am
Thank you very much Paul!
Ross McCartney20th August 2019 at 2:36 pm
Hi Paul, great review. Am mulling between the 6000a & a quad vena 11 mostly for the pre-amp section’s digital inputs – (I have a quad 909 pwr amp) and would appreciate any observations. I was however dismayed that your assessment of Bluetooth quality was with an Apple device which does not have aptX codec & the 6000 would revert to standard sbc with an inferior result. I think your readers with android 8 devices will experience better.
Kind regs. Ross
Paul Rigby20th August 2019 at 3:59 pm
Agreed, that is an issue for Apple. Although I do use AAC – not a solution I know but it helps a bit. I was unable to use an Android phone but I did want to investigate the mechanics of Bluetooth on a phone. I was also able to compare and contrast my known device and the known Bluetooth sound quality from it with this amp and others so I hope that provided a semblance of comparison and at least a guide. The idea being to hear relevant differences/changes.
Ionut24th August 2019 at 9:26 am
Hi Paul, how would you consider audiolab 6000 with regards to highs, warm bright or neutral? Thanks
Paul Rigby25th August 2019 at 3:52 pm
Pretty neutral Ionut – because of the increased tonal balance (i.e. bass plays a larger part in the presentation) some might disagree but I see that as an illusory effect. The actual highs remain informative and open.
Ionut25th August 2019 at 4:51 pm
Thanks very much Paul.
Ionut28th August 2019 at 1:13 am
Hello Paul, I decided to postpone buying a new amp-the audiolab 6000A- for the time being. I’ll do it maybe next year, I’ll stick with the yamaha rn-602 until then. Meanwhile I still have to upgrade replace my standmounters. Presently I have the monitor audio bronze 2 and they sound very bright and tonally unbalanced to my ears in combination with the Yamaha Rn-602 receiver. I listen to a lot of classic rock and this combination really sucks with this type of music. Since you reviewed the yamaha rn-602 which speakers would better match this receiver that tends IMO to be also on the bright side like the MA Bronze 2?? The budget is still around 500-600 euros or a max of 550 pounds i guess. Would the Q Acoustics Concept 20 still be a good option with the rn-602? Or the wharfedale diamond 225, dynaudios emit M20, Klipsch RP-600M-they get rave reviews- PSB Alpha P5??? Any opinion suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much
Paul Rigby28th August 2019 at 1:28 pm
Hi Ionut – I would look at the Yamaha – the probable source of the issue – rather than multiplying the error by buying overly warm speakers which will be no good when you upgrade to the 6000A. Hence, I would keep your cash, save your money and wait for the 6000A.
Ionut28th August 2019 at 11:53 pm
Thanks Paul. Since it seems I can’t help myself and I’m overly tired with the combination of yamaha and MA Bronze 2, I was thinking of selling the MA Bronze and give it a try to either the Acoustics Concept 20 or the Cabasse surf speakers to match the rn-602 till next year when I’ll upgrade to the 6000A. You recommended those to compliment the 6000A anyway. The cabasse are 190 pounds brand new here in bucharest and the concepts 345 pounds:
Or I can just refrain myself stick with the same system for another year and save for even better speakers to match the 6000A. Tough call since I’m kinda fed up with the sound I’ve been getting for almost 2 years. Jazz instrumental even classical is ok tolerable but rock and blues really sucks.
Andy11th December 2019 at 6:45 pm
Hi Ionut. Just read your comments and thought I’d comment.
I have an RN602 paired with Concept 20s (on their dedicated stands). Although the combination is decent (especially for the cost of the RN602 and it’s features), I`ve been feeling that I might not be getting the best out of speakers. I’ve been considering the new Marantz PM7000 to replace the Yamaha, but I`ve also been looking at hooking up an Allo Digione Signature to a new amp, and the 6000A is on my shortlist. The Marantz is fully equipped like the Yamaha, but I’m wondering if the Digione/6000A might give better results for similar cost. It’s hard to decide. I know auditioning is the way to go, but I don’t think any dealer will be able to compare the two options I’m considering. Paul, could you possibly point me in the right direction ?
Paul Rigby12th December 2019 at 2:50 pm
Hi Andy, the 6000A would be my preference, yes.
Andy12th December 2019 at 5:37 pm
Thanks Paul, I am very tempted to go the Digione/6000a route. Looking at reviews, it seems the Digione Signature (with Shanti PSU) is a very good streamer, I assume the DAC in the 6000a will do it a reasonable amount of justice. I’m obviously looking for a kind of “mid range” upgrade to improve on the Yamaha amp that I currently use, and don’t intend to spend a fortune. However, if I want to push the boat out a little further (now or in the future), would an external DAC provide a decent sonic upgrade ? If so, could you suggest something I should consider ?
Paul Rigby13th December 2019 at 12:24 pm
Hi Andy – yep, an external DAC would lift the sonic level even higher. Even something like the low cost iFi DAC I used in the 6000A review would be a good purchase.
Nick2nd September 2019 at 7:24 pm
How does this stack up against the Cyrus One? Torn between the two…
Paul Rigby3rd September 2019 at 9:11 am
Hi Nick – I like the Cyrus, I actually think it’s under-rated by much of the media and I’m not sure why. That said, I think the Audiolab has the edge because it retains a tonal balance but loses nothing in terms of detail and clarity.
Carlos Eguizabal6th September 2019 at 4:28 pm
HI Paul, thank you for 6000A informative review. My seup is as follows: BW 805 (circa 2001 vintage); NAD 7050 integrated Amp.; a Linux nano PC running MinimServer as the source; the room size is 5 x 5 mtrs approx.; and listen mostly classical music.
I’m not satisfied. The bass lacks power and there is not enough detail. I’ve been reading about the 6000A and the Rega Brio. Both get very good reviews, the 6000A considered more accurate and the Brio more musical. You qualify it as balanced.
After reading your review it seems that the 6000A would be better for me. What do you think about the combination Audiolab 6000A / BW 805? Will 50W RMS be enough to control the 805s?
Another issue is that the NAD comes with WiFi, and presentes the NAD to the UPnP controller (BubbleUPnP) as a “D7050…” renderer.
Could you recommend a device that connects to the network and outputs digital audio, to be connected to the 6000A coaxial or optical ports? .
The nano PC is located on the same piece of forniture where the amp would be. This opens the alternative to connect a PC USB port, via a converter, to the 6000A optical or coaxial port. Can you suggest one?
Paul Rigby8th September 2019 at 10:15 pm
Hi Carlos – the 6000a would drive the speakers ok…but only just. I’d probably look at a pre-amp/power amp combo to offer more security in that area and more confidence in terms of presentation.
I wouldn’t recommend connecting a coax to a USB port via any sort of convertor. Doing so would degrade the sound right at that point, negating any sonic benefit you may gain from your quality hifi components. I would look at a specialist streamer.
Carlos Eguizabal10th September 2019 at 2:30 am
Hi Paul. Thanks for the advise. I’ll direct my search in the direction you suggest.
Ionut12th September 2019 at 9:03 am
Hello Paul. Considering that my room is 18×14 sq feet do you think the Q Acoustics 3050i floor standers would be a better option than the different stand mounters mentioned in previous posts? Thank you.
Paul Rigby12th September 2019 at 1:38 pm
Hi ionut – that depends on you, to be honest. The stand-mounters will fill your room but if you want commanding bass at high volumes and all of that then, yes, go for the floor standers. It depends on your expectations and your sonic needs.
Goutom24th September 2019 at 4:43 am
I have a old cd player with RCA output only. Is it fare enough to connect it one of the input or need a DAC for more sound quality. If it is then what will be the solution?
Paul Rigby24th September 2019 at 10:21 am
Hi Goutom – yes, just connect the CD player to one of the Aux inputs on the rear and you’ll be fine.
Goutom24th September 2019 at 2:58 pm
Pete Thompson25th September 2019 at 12:09 am
Hello Paul – I am considering replacing my Audiolab 8000S with the 6000A. I subscribe to Tidal HiFi streaming and would ideally like to take best advantage of the MQA Masters files. I am aware that the 6000A is NOT currently MQA Certified, and so it can play MQA streams up to 24bit/96kHz only (rather than the full MQA rendering at 192kHz) using the Tidal Desktop app. I have a dedicated PC soundcard installed with optical I/O terminal so will use this source to connect to the 6000A to stream Hi-Res from Tidal. Do you see any problems with this?
Paul Rigby25th September 2019 at 5:46 pm
Hi Pete – seems a shame to waste that 192 option. Also, if you did go for that, you’d want the best platform to do it on. Hence, I’d go for a dedicated DAC, an external model and I’d avoid the PC sound card because it will be so full of veiling noise that it will negate going up to 192 in the first place.
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Ben Armine29th September 2019 at 5:09 pm
The Audiolab 6000A is a later design to the 8300A, yet it uses the same DAC chip, the ESS Sabre 9018. It is a missed opportunity as the respected ESS Sabre 9038 was available for inclusion in the 6000A. Although a DAC chip is only part of the digital circuit, the later design is recognised as being superior musically to the 9018. Just a thought that for those who do not want to use an external DAC the upgrade would further improve the sound quality of the 6000A
Paul Rigby29th September 2019 at 7:51 pm
Thanks for your thoughts Ben.
Pete Thompson29th September 2019 at 9:44 pm
Thanks for this Ben: in using the ESS Sabre 9018 (as opposed to the ESS Sabre 9038), do we think this was because Audiolab designers [- same for 6000A and 8300A] wanted to ensure closer soundstage to the renowned (and successful) 8300A, or would it have been a question of cost [- that Paul incidentally refers to in his review as a balancing act for £599]?
How sure are you that ?
Incidentally, I have been in correspondence with Audiolab about the 6000A not having MQA Certification [for hi-res 192kHz streams] as it has the same ESS Sabre DAC as the Audiolab M-DAC; the latter is listed as a MQA-compatible DAC on the MQA website . . . so why is the 6000A “denied” the MQA Certification? Their reply was that .
So, do we conclude that Audiolab 6000A is being “constrained” to fit a certain marketing-range mould such that it cannot have extended hardware and features? Strange, and sad, if this is the case.
Remi30th September 2019 at 8:10 am
Thx Paul for already helping in another post – I decided to break my 6000A into separates (as I lack power), going for the xtz Edge power and one of the Freya/Saga preamps. I would like to kindly ask your opinion regarding a DAC: in case I want it to be just a bit better than the internal 6000A sabre (as for now I mainly concern my analog path, just want to be sure I am not going backwards with the digital), can you suggest an option or a price range where I should look for?
Paul Rigby30th September 2019 at 1:13 pm
Not a problem Remi – re. the DAC, I really need a price range from you, to be honest. Some of the price ranges that I can suggest are very high indeed 🙂 So it might be wise for you to do that.
Remi30th September 2019 at 3:20 pm
At this stage I would be happy to spend just up to 200 EUR for a DAC, but in case it puts me in a risk of a downgrade relative to the 6000A sabre I guess I can stretch it by 50-100. Thank you.
Paul Rigby30th September 2019 at 7:18 pm
Hi Remi – as you like Schiit, I would look there. Another alternative would be iFi. The ONE is excellent for £200.
Bob5th November 2019 at 8:02 am
Thanks for a very clear, helpful and thoughtful review. I may add a Sonos Connect as an input. Do you have a sense of the relative quality of the DAC in the 6000A vs the DAC in the Sonos Connect? I assume the 6000A DAC will be superior?
Paul Rigby5th November 2019 at 9:53 am
Hi Bob – yes, my choice would be the DAC in the Audiolab.
C7th November 2019 at 8:37 pm
Thanks for the review. I’ve just read your reviews for the 6000A, the Edge A2-300, and the Iotavx integrated/amp pair. If each of the three, (the Edge paired with a Schiit preamp or similar), can be attained for within a hundred or so USD of each other, is there one you would recommended over the others?
Also, would the 50w of the 6000A be sufficient for an 8ohm/86db (possibly 85) bookshelf in a medium sized room? This unit appeals to me the most in my current budget but I’m concerned I’ll need more juice (hence considering the Edge).
Paul Rigby8th November 2019 at 1:43 pm
Hi C – An Edge and, say, Freya pre amp, will cost a lot more than a 6000A. It will also provide more power. You could pair the Iotavx with a Saga Plus for a similar price but you’d lose the digital additions from the 6000A. So, it depends! 🙂 If you have your eye on a 6000A then go for that. Techno lust is a strong incentive so run with it. What speakers are you looking at, exactly?
C8th November 2019 at 5:14 pm
I’m currently running elac B6’s on a budget avr – they are clearly starved for power and I need to run them very loud to sound good. I’m planning on building a pair of swan DIY 2.2’s, which are rated 86db (although it’s a home build so who knows) – they are reportedly fairly power hungry as well – which is why the mono’d iotavx ([email protected]) or Edge caught my eye. So I guess a good point of reference for me is – would the audiolab be able to power the 6ohm elacs comfortably?
I’m mostly in the market for a solid amp that will run whatever I throw at it, as I experiment with some DIY designs and various bookshelves to find a sound signature I like. Not going to lie though, the aesthetics of the 6000a is a big part of its appeal – pretty sure if the iotavx stack had the audiolab’s minimal sci fi looks I’d have already bought it :
Paul Rigby8th November 2019 at 5:30 pm
Hi C – if you want to be absolutely sure, to have power to spare and to give your sound that easy, confidence which comes with power in the bank, then a separate pre/power system might be what you need. I reckon that the 6000A should be able to drive the speakers and I would recommend a demo so that you could be sure that the resultant sound gives you what you want. But if you really want to drive the speakers and also cater for (possibly) hard to drive home builds, then the power amp will give you that grunt. As I say, try and grab a demo – some dealers support home demos, which would be even better. Don’t be afraid to ask about that.
C8th November 2019 at 9:32 pm
Excellent. Thanks for the help Paul! Love the site. Cheers.
Paul Rigby10th November 2019 at 2:19 pm
Many thanks C 🙂
Tom Browning9th November 2019 at 6:39 pm
I’m currently building a system for £1,500 or thereabouts, and this review really put to bed questions I had in choosing between the Audiolab and Rega Brio.
The set up I’m leaning towards is now, Rega Planar 3 + Audiolab 6000A + B&W 606. Do you see any pairing issues here or would you have any alternative suggestions? Additionally, is wall mounting shelf speakers likely to result in improved listening? Many thanks, Tom
Paul Rigby10th November 2019 at 2:22 pm
Hi Tom – thanks for your question. There should be no issues with your proposed system so go for it! 🙂 If wall mounting is preferred then you should be fine. I’d personally prefer stand mounting in pure sonic terms but it depends on your personal situation so, in theory, again you should be fine.
Tom10th November 2019 at 2:56 pm
Thanks Paul. Loving the site. Never thought I’d enjoy reading about cables so much!
Paul Rigby11th November 2019 at 12:36 pm
Hehe – thanks Tom!
Ionut12th November 2019 at 9:31 pm
Hello Paul, sorry to annoy you with the same problem again. I decided to postpone upgrading my system for at least another year. So I’ll stick with the yamaha rn-602 for now but I must immediately replace and sell my MA Bronze 2-which sounds bright unbalanced fatiguing and awful with rock and blues combined with the yamaha- with some temporary budget speaker which will better compliment the yamaha. There are some Black Friday deals this week only here in Bucharest but unfortunately I can’t audition any of these speakers so any of your suggestion, recommendation would be highly appreciated. Wharfedale Diamond 225-160 pounds, Cabasse Surf-180 pounds, Kef Q350-305 pounds, Q acoustics concept 20-325 pounds. That’s as far as I can go for a short term interim solution until I’ll upgrade my rig. Which one would you recommend as a better all rounder deal and a better match for the yamaha rn-602?? Thank you very much
Paul Rigby13th November 2019 at 9:25 am
Hi ionut – I like the Cabasse, under-rated designs that never seem to get attention (no idea why). So either those of the Q Acoustics for me.
Ionut12th November 2019 at 11:24 pm
By all rounder I mean the one that does not favor certain types of music. Thanks.
Ionut13th November 2019 at 2:31 pm
Thank you sir.
Ionut14th November 2019 at 9:02 am
The reason I’m asking if the cabasse surf is lacking bass is that I mainly listen to classic rock alongside some jazz and blues, and wondering if they would be ok for this? Thanks
Paul Rigby14th November 2019 at 10:55 am
Hi ionut – what I noted in the review (check it yourself at https://theaudiophileman.com/surf-stand-speakers-review-cabasse/) was that bass was precise and hence nimble and punchy. If you’re looking for major bass impact then you might want to consider floor standers. If your budget is low, second hand might be a possible option. Any stand mounter will only go so far in terms of low frequencies.
Joeri24th November 2019 at 8:51 pm
I’m wondering if this amp will play nice with Elac Uni-Fi BS U5 speakers. Im asking because everybody says they are difficult to drive and require a high power amp. The 6000a ‘only’ delivers 50W (75W 4ohm). .
Paul Rigby25th November 2019 at 12:22 pm
The 6000A should be able to drive it, Joeri but if you want lots of power in reserve then a low cost pre/power system can be had for under £1,000. It depends on your budget.
Joeri27th November 2019 at 5:25 pm
Hi Paul, thanks for the reply. Maybe I will be looking for another amp then. Not sure however in which direction to find a nice amp.
By the way, love your reviews!
Paul Rigby27th November 2019 at 5:38 pm
Thanks Joeri 🙂
Josh Merry27th November 2019 at 5:41 pm
Thank you for all the great content! After reading both your reviews for the Audiolab 6000A, and the IOTAVX SA3 they don’t seem that far apart in overall rating. But in terms of price there is significant difference. Will I feel like I am missing out if I just go for the IOTAVX?
I am looking for an Integrated amp to replace my Denon PMA-50, that is driving the latest version of the Wharfdale Dentons. The Dentons being on the warmer side of things, and spec’d for 20w-100w at 4ohms, what would be a better fit for this style of speaker? No doubt they will both work fine, but is the Audiolab worth the extra premium over the IOTAVX in your opinion? Thanks for your guidance sir!
Paul Rigby27th November 2019 at 5:52 pm
Thanks for your question. It’s impossible to rate all amps in relation to each. Otherwise, I’d have to re-review and compare every single amp whenever I received a new product and the reviews would end up to 10 decimal places 🙂 My ratings are created in relation to direct competition, at a similar price point at the time of the review.
The 6000A is superior to the SA3 but that’s no surprise, really. I’d go for that if you have the cash.
Josh Merry27th November 2019 at 7:16 pm
I suspected as much. Thanks for the nudge in the proper direction.
Alex.28th December 2019 at 5:39 pm
Hi Paul! Which floorstanding speakers in the 600/800£ range would you recommend to go with the amp (as I’m looking to upgrade mine). My shortlist includes Q-Acoustics 3050i, Kef Q550, Dali Oberon 5/7, Tannoy XT6F, and Fyne 303. Or maybe something else? I love the amp so far, trying to bring it to its full potential 🙂 Thanks!
Paul Rigby28th December 2019 at 6:09 pm
Hi Alex – I’d go for the Q Acoustics: https://theaudiophileman.com/3050i-floorstander-review-q-acoustics/
Goutom29th December 2019 at 8:02 am
I ordered the amp with Tannoy XT6F. Is that ok? Want your valuable suggestion.
Paul Rigby29th December 2019 at 1:54 pm
Hi Goutom – as a basic pairing, without knowing the other variables concerned re. your system, room, etc, etc…yes, the two should work fine. Let me know how you get on.
Stucy4th January 2020 at 9:45 am
Hi Paul, thanks for your review. One of the best I have read on Audiolab 6000a. I just bought 6000a and currently reviewing a CD player or transport. I also read your review of 6000CDT which is very positive and was wondering if pairing both sets is the best solution within the GBP 1000 – GBP 1500 range. Clearly, they are designed to work together and would be a nice match but over the net, I haven’t found a good review of both sets working as a combo and would appreciate your thoughts. I am particularly interested in the following aspects:
– is the 6000a DAC a good converter when paired with the 6000 cdt or I should look for a new external DAC? Which one would you recommend in the GPB400 range and will this be a good uplift in the sound quality?
– if it is not the 6000cdt is there another CD player/transport which you would recommend as a good match for the 6000a? Budget up to GBP 500.
– would you still recommend going for the pair if you could choose anything else within the GBP 1500 budget?
Thanks a lot for your advice.
Paul Rigby4th January 2020 at 4:50 pm
Hi Stucy – to begin, the pair would be a good choice but grab an external DAC when you’re able. I’d look at the Schiit Modi Multibit and the Arcm irDAC.
Stucy5th January 2020 at 8:01 am
Thanks, Paul. I was thinking to wait with the DAC and go for Audiolab’s own M-Dac+ later on. It is twice the price of your suggestions but I do hope it will bring a better quality on the table. What would be your suggestion? Thanks
Paul Rigby6th January 2020 at 12:54 pm
I think the CDT can handle expensive DACs with some ease so sure, that sounds like a plan.
Stucy6th January 2020 at 5:22 pm
Thanks Paul. Appreciated.
McVinnie5th January 2020 at 3:02 pm
Hey Paul, thanks for the review! Currently i just can’t decide if i should go with floor standing speakers (q acoustics 3050i or elac debut f6.2) or bookshelf speakers (b&w 607) paired with the audiolab6000a. And after reading more reviews and comments i’m getting more and more confused if the amp can even manage floor standing speakers… i need your help 😉
Paul Rigby6th January 2020 at 12:56 pm
Hi McVinnie – it depends, is the answer 🙂 It depends on how much bass you want, if the room is large enough to handle the extra bass and your budget. The amp can handle floorstanders but, again, it depends on what you’re looking at. Your choices should be fine though.
McVinnie6th January 2020 at 1:54 pm
Hey, thanks for the reply! The room isn’t large (~22m²) and i would use the speakers in a couch/tv setup, mainly for listening to records (folk, jazz, ambient/electronic). Lots of bass isn’t really necessary but clarity would be nice. I’m only considering the floor standing speakers because i would need some speaker stands for the b&w and then i would be in the same price range as the others anyway
Paul Rigby6th January 2020 at 2:54 pm
Hi McVinnie – can you tell me the room dimensions please? That may affect things.
McVinnie6th January 2020 at 5:08 pm
roughly 4×5 m (13×16 ft), but the speakers would be positioned along the lenght, so i guess the space where the speakers would “work” is more like 4×2,5m (13×8 ft). sorry, i don’t know how to explain it properliy, so i made a sketch 😀
Paul Rigby7th January 2020 at 12:13 pm
Hi McVinnie – ok got it, that sketch was very useful. Ta. I’d play safe and go for the stand mounted speakers. I’d be a little concerned about that bottom-left speaker and how it’s exciting bass frequencies in that corner, especially as it performs across the room and not up/down it so I would look to back off on that and reduce the low end a bit to tighten the bass and prevent bass bloom.
Vesper6th January 2020 at 4:16 pm
I’ve seen that you have also reviewed Yamaha N602, which I currently own paired with Indiana Line Tesi 561.
Recently I am thinking to upgrade my audio. I do not use the “smart” functions of Yamaha so much, hence I was thinking to replace it with Audiolab 6000A. I would use Bluetooth and Chromecast for casual listening, and also I would like to take benefit of Audiolab built-in phono amp for dedicated music sessions 🙂
Do you think upgrading N602 with Audiolab 6000A is a good move? Will I gain significant audio improvement?
And finally, do you think Audiolab has other worth consideration competitors in this price range?
Recent Cambridge CXA61 was released. It doesn’t have phono built it but if the sound is higher quality than 6000A then I could buy external phono amp.
All the best in 2020,
Paul Rigby7th January 2020 at 12:23 pm
Hi Vesper – yes, the move is good and sound quality will improve. The internal phono would be fine for now but an external model is a good upgrade when you’re able to afford it.
McVinnie7th January 2020 at 4:22 pm
Thank you so much for your help and all the best to you in the new year! cheers from austria!
Paul Rigby9th January 2020 at 10:45 am
My pleasure and best wishes to you too 🙂
Carwyn Davies11th January 2020 at 8:11 pm
I’m interested in your comment regarding external phono amps. What would you regard as an upgrade from the internal phono amp in the 6000a?
Paul Rigby12th January 2020 at 11:45 am
Hi Carwyn – thanks for your question. That would depend on your budget. Do you have a figure in mind?
Carwyn Davies12th January 2020 at 1:16 pm
Ha! Didn’t think I’d loaded the question… The internal pre-amp is equal if not better than my Rega a2d, so I was just wondering how much more would one need to spend to get an improvement from a stand-alone pre-out.
Paul Rigby12th January 2020 at 5:23 pm
Again, I’d need a price because otherwise you’re talking ‘how long is a piece of string’.
Carwyn Davies12th January 2020 at 7:56 pm
Apologies. Ok, so would the Rega Fono MM at £200 provide a sonic advantage or would I need to spend more?
Paul Rigby13th January 2020 at 11:36 am
Hi Carwyn – indeed, yes. In and around that price point, you might also want to consider the:
Schiit Mani: https://theaudiophileman.com/schitt-mani/ Price is now £140 I think.
also this one from Longdog: https://theaudiophileman.com/ph-1-ha-1-phono-amplifier-longdog-review/
Carwyn Davies13th January 2020 at 9:06 pm
Thank you Paul. I had assumed due to economics that there would be a ceiling where an external phono amp would outperform an internal. Just didn’t know where that ceiling was. And thanks for your page. It’s great stuff, and I’m an avid follower even though this is the first time in be raise my head over the parapet. Car.
Paul Rigby14th January 2020 at 12:45 pm
Hi Car – I would say that all external phono amps (proper phono amps, £60+ in general terms – let’s ignore the cheapo Chinese imports) would out-perform internal models, assuming the rest of the hi-fi chain has been set up properly and that chain is not already infused with high frequency noise. The only internal models that I’ve heard and enjoyed where in an all in one from Moon (£5K) and an integrated amp from AVID (£13k). And thanks for popping your head above the parapet 🙂
Carwyn Davies25th January 2020 at 9:07 pm
The Schiit Mani has arrived. You were indeed correct, the light on the front is capable of retina burning. Some tape as advised has been applied.
Paul Rigby27th January 2020 at 12:05 pm
Nice one 🙂
Gary14th January 2020 at 5:23 am
I am considering the Audiolab 6000A vs the Heed Elixir both of which you rated very highly. Do you have a preference and why?
I generally find mid price solid state to lack rich mids, and add an unnatural edge or brightness in place of real detail. I’m looking for a life like sound, and an amp that can make music beautiful or toe tapping as called for, not just cold analytic detail. I want to be immersed in the beauty and delicacy of sounds. I want a large airey sounstage in all directions. A beautiful performance should bring tears to my eyes. I’m not interested in cold hard facts detailed by a scientist devoid of emotion. But I want detail too, not edge.
Paul Rigby14th January 2020 at 12:42 pm
Hi Gary – indeed, I dislike the those sonic elements you listed too. “Life like” is a big ask, I have to say and one that is often in the ear of the beholder 🙂 That said, the 6000A should provide a tonal balance that appeals. The Heed is superb, I have to say so if you prefer a half-width unit because of space issues, then you won’t be disappointed.
Gary14th January 2020 at 5:01 pm
The shape and style of the unit is secondary to me, so isn’t part of the equation.
Would you be able to tell me if the 6000A is takes a clinical approach to music, and whether the Heed Elixir takes a soft approach but expresses emotion better?
I’m looking for an amplifier that can express emotion, but is still detailed, and not bright or edgy. Which of these 2 amps do you think would fit that description best?
Paul Rigby14th January 2020 at 11:16 pm
Hi Gary – neither are bright. The 6000A is tonally more balanced as it handles bass in a mature fashion.
Gary15th January 2020 at 4:34 am
If you were in search of an amplifier in this price range, which of the 2 amps would you buy for yourself, based strictly on sound?
Audiolab 6000A or Heed Elixir?
Thanks for your input.
Paul Rigby15th January 2020 at 9:46 am
Gary17th January 2020 at 12:51 am
Any opinions on how the the newer Rega Brio (2017), and the Cambridge Audio CXA61 or CXA81 compare soundwise to the Audiolab 6000A?
Paul Rigby17th January 2020 at 9:53 am
All are excellent and if you have a hankering for any of them, then you won’t be disappointed. They all perform well. I like the Audiolab because of its tonal balance and how it handles bass.
Ionut15th January 2020 at 12:01 pm
Hi Paul, how would you compare the Audiolab 6000A against the Iotavx Sa3 with regards to sound? Which one would be your pick? Thanks
Paul Rigby15th January 2020 at 12:19 pm
The 6000A – if you added the Iotvx power amp (also reviewed), then I’m not sure because I haven’t done that comparison. As is, though, the 6000A.
Ionut15th January 2020 at 12:59 pm
Thanks so much.
LouisR19th January 2020 at 12:04 pm
Thank you for your always well-written reviews ! I have a question about the 6000A DAC.
Context : I’m considering getting a 6000A as a replacement for my Audio Analogue Crescendo amp. I was at first leaning toward the Heed Elixir that I tried a few months ago.My two sources are a Pro-Ject turntable and a Bluesound node 2i.
Question : Would I benefit from plugging the Node 2i to the digital input of the 6000A or would it be redundant (rather than, let’s say, to an analog input of the Heed) ?
Paul Rigby19th January 2020 at 12:51 pm
Hi LouisR – thanks for your kind words, the 2i features its own DAC so I plugged straight into my amp’s inputs. I love the Heed as an amplifier although I’d say that the 6000A is tonally more balanced. But if you’re stuck on the Heed, you won’t be disappointed.
Phil28th January 2020 at 10:03 am
Hi Paul, thank you for this review. It has pushed me to purchase the 6000A (arriving today). I love that you take the time to respond to every comment on here!! That’s just superb.
I do have a question if I may. My current set up is a 5.1.2 system for movies with the Monitor Audio Silver 8’s as L+R, Silver 150 as C, Bronze 1’s as surround and KEF T150’s as atmos on the ceiling. They are all powered through my Denon X3500h AVR with the exception of the L+R Silver 8’s that go through my late Grandfathers old Rotel RA-03 (which the Audiolab will replace) via the preout’s. My question is, I’m starting to listen to more and more stereo music via Amazon Music HD that I have currently been sending to the AVR via bluetooth. Will the Audiolab create a better sound than the Rotel? Will sending the music from Amazon straight to the Audiolab via bluetooth create a better sound than going through the Denon AVR? And finally, is there a ‘better’ solution than using bluetooth?
Paul Rigby28th January 2020 at 2:21 pm
Thanks Phil and yes, the Audiolab will be better than the Rotel. You can go further by separating the Bluetooth module and putting that in its own chassis. For example, the Bluesound Streamer which features Bluetooth. There’s a general rule – hi-fi hardware is anti-social. It sounds better alone, separated from each other. When you bundle lots of features inside one chassis, it causes issues such as electrical interference leaks to neighbouring components, veiling sound and lowering sonic quality. Separating those components stops that and improves sound quality. Check out the review here: https://theaudiophileman.com/2i-wireless-streamer-review-bluesound/
Phil28th January 2020 at 7:59 pm
Thank you. I’ll look into the link you sent me. Listening to the new amp now and so far I’m loving it. Just makes me want to spend more on new speakers lol.
Brett4th July 2022 at 11:45 am
Hi Phil, I have the AVR-x3500h like you and am looking forward to home-testing Audiolab’s 6000a this weekend using the pre-outs on the Denon into the 6000a. What does the Bluetooth DAC on the 6000a sound like and did the 6000a improve the front L&R speakers in your setup?
Steve Martin11th February 2020 at 5:45 pm
What a great write up, I have the Audiolab 6000a & 6000n and love them, I’m selling my B&W 602s3 speakers and on the lookout for new, I’ve got KEF R3, Monitor Audio Gold 100, Martin Logan Motion 35xt on my radar, do you have any thoughts on a speaker pairing for me?
Paul Rigby12th February 2020 at 11:55 am
I haven’t tested those Steve but colleagues do praise the KEFs. Thin about the Spendor A1 stand mounts too.
Steve Martin14th February 2020 at 11:52 am
There are some Monitor Audio Platinum 100 inc their stands going for approx £1400 these are the MK1 version, are they worth considering, or is this a bit of a push for the 6000a?
Paul Rigby14th February 2020 at 1:03 pm
Hi Steve – to be honest, I’d go for these instead and they would be ok with the 6000A amp: https://theaudiophileman.com/monitor-audio-silver-300-speakers-review/
Don24th February 2020 at 6:47 pm
I thoroughly enjoyed your writing about the audiolab 6000a as it reaffirms my own impressions. I am currently enjoying the audiolab with a pair of 15 ohm rogers ls35a’s. I enjoyed the rogers previously with my luxman 507 integrated amp, a VAC integrated, and a luxman cl35 pre with a luxkit tube amp. I wanted to try a modern amp for the bt capabilities, remote control, and hopefully the benefits of modern evolved technological advancements.
If I compare the 507 amp there are definitely pros and cons for both, but I’m wondering if you can recommend modern speakers for the audiolab that retain the fun and fatigue-less listening of the rogers.., but with a little more bass and clarity suitable for an orchestra or large chamber ensemble and a slightly more full presentation with the audiolab.
Paul Rigby25th February 2020 at 11:36 am
Thanks Don – how much do you have to spend on the proposed speakers?
Don26th February 2020 at 2:34 pm
Thanks for considering my ambiguous question! Honestly the budget would be low if i want to pull the trigger quickly but it could go up to maybe double the value of the 6000a (optimistically) with the right combination of enthusiasm and peak timing of the spouse approval factor.
Practically speaking the rogers are being used on a bookshelf against a wall in a wide room so small speakers would fit the set-up. If there is a budget pair that could compete or better the rogers that would be great news. If there were a particular set of floor standers or larger bookshelf speakers that were a particularly outstanding pair with the Audiolab though I would consider getting rid of the shelf.
After owning only vintage second hand audio equipment I’m really attracted to the new sounds from the Audiolab, so I’m just wondering if newer speakers can bring the sound even more in that direction.
Paul Rigby26th February 2020 at 3:26 pm
Hi Don – for standmounts, I’d look at these:
and for a lower price point:https://theaudiophileman.com/concept-20/
Also watch out for my Martin Logan speakers review coming soon!
Don26th February 2020 at 5:48 pm
Thank you very much for the suggestions, and I’m looking forward to the Martin Logan review!
Steve Martin25th February 2020 at 12:25 pm
Thanks for your help Paul, I tried Monitor Audio 100 Gold 5g, PMC Twenty5.21, Martin Logan Motion 35xti & KEF R3, all on the Audiolab 6000a, all sounded great and all sounded different but the KEF R3’s won the day, I cannot stop listening to them, and I’m hearing things I’ve not heard in familiar music before.
Paul Rigby25th February 2020 at 3:13 pm
Glad your enjoying yourself, Steve 🙂
Matt25th March 2020 at 2:09 am
Can I use the 6000a to drive the concept 40?
Or should i pair it with a power amp? Anything to recommend for the power amp?
I went to the XZT website but it doesn’t ship to my country Singapore. Any alternative?
Paul Rigby25th March 2020 at 11:59 am
Yes, you should be fine with the 40s.
AK28th March 2020 at 3:17 pm
I hope you are well.
7 months ago I proceeded with purchasing my Audiolab 6000A. Your review and your comments helped to convert my spark to a flirt. After plenty of listening within this period, I have to admit that the Audiolab 6000A is a great piece of gear! The sound quality is amazing across the spectrum. The bass is pleasantly deep and solid, the mids are mellow and the trebles are really nice, sweet and easy to listen. In general, I find the sound well-balanced and pleasant, without being boring at all.
Comparing it to my previous amp, a Yamaha A-S501, the difference is almost chaotic. The Yamaha was making my Kef Q350s sounds very bright and tiring to listen to for a long time. The listening fatigue disappeared in total the moment I installed my Audiolab.
Thank you again for your website and your amazing reviews!
Paul Rigby29th March 2020 at 10:40 am
Thanks for your kind words, AK. Appreciated.
matt4th April 2020 at 6:50 am
If i use the 6000a as a preamp, will the 8300mb be a good fit with it?
Paul Rigby4th April 2020 at 1:35 pm
Hi Matt – if you do, then I wouldn’t settle for the 6000A as a pre. As soon as possible, I would buy yourself a dedicated Pre to enhance sound quality. So I would wait until you had the cash for the Power and were within spitting distance of grabbing a Pre.
Kenneth Netto27th June 2020 at 2:41 pm
Could you recommend a good pre-amplifier in this price range instead of using Audiolab6000A as a pre.
Paul Rigby28th June 2020 at 10:16 am
Hi Kenneth – take a look at Schiit. The Saga Plus, perhaps?
Kenneth Netto29th June 2020 at 9:26 am
Thanks for the quick reply.
Filip12th April 2020 at 10:17 pm
would the 6000A be a good match for the Wharfedale Diamond 10.4 speakers?
Paul Rigby13th April 2020 at 12:59 pm
Yep – shouldn’t be a problem there, Filip.
Kenneth Netto29th June 2020 at 3:25 pm
There are 4 Schiit preamps I read about in the site, except for the Freya +, the others are available at the local dealer. I am really confused which one will suit my needs. My plan is to buy a good power amp, or maybe step it up and buy mono blocks. Any suggestions?
Thanks and Brgds / Kenny
Paul Rigby29th June 2020 at 7:17 pm
Hi Kenneth – for the Schiit DACs, performance follow price so buy the best you can afford. Again, what budget do you have for a power?
Kenneth Netto30th June 2020 at 6:49 am
Thanks for your advice. I figure I could shell out around 1.5 grands or thereabouts for the power. In this price point which one is better – power or monoblocks. Any suggestions and advice.
BTW, I really enjoy watching your reviews, they are informative as well as entertaining. More power to you:)
Warm Regards / Kenny
Paul Rigby30th June 2020 at 2:34 pm
That’s very kind of you, Kenneth. Thanks 🙂
You can use this power amp as monoblocks (or a single amp but monoblocks are preferable): https://theaudiophileman.com/edge-a2-300-amplifier-review-xtz/
Kenneth Netto30th June 2020 at 5:49 pm
I live in India, and the options are fewer than you would like 🙂 The Schiit Audio dealer has informed me that their stocks are exhausted and fresh supplies are hit due to the pandemic. The few dealers who have stock have Parasound NewClassic Pre Stereo Amplifier which goes for around a grand or so. I don’t know if that is up to the mark.
XTZ is difficult to come by here. However, the Audiolab 8300 MonoBlock is available, also the Quad Elite Stereo Amp is available, also the Quad Elite QMP Mono Power Amp, also the Quad Elite Mono Power Amp, Creek Evolution 50P Power Amp, Creek Evolution 100P Power Amp. I could wait till the pandemic stabilizes and stocks are available or buy something which is available out here and hope it works out well.
Thanks again for your invaluable comments/advice.
Paul Rigby1st July 2020 at 9:21 am
I’d lean towards the Audiolab, Kenny.
Luke19th April 2020 at 11:57 pm
Just to say I stumbled upon your review last year when I was trying to work out what to purchase within my price range. The 6000A along with a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2’s have made my life a joy coming from an old Denon Mini hi-fi. I do have one question though. I’m looking at getting some new headphones to do justice to my music and was looking at picking up some Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro’s would the 6000A be able to drive the 250 Ohm version or would you suggest the 80 Ohm?
Once again thanks for a great review that really helped with my purchasing decision.
Paul Rigby20th April 2020 at 10:33 am
Hi Luke – thanks for your comments and yes, the amp will be able to handle your new 770 headphones.
Kenneth Netto7th July 2020 at 3:17 pm
Thanks Paul 🙂
GLEN WHALEY30th April 2020 at 9:13 pm
Hi Paul, really enjoyed your review.
I have a pair of Concept 40s that I purchased last year (thanks in part to your review) and am debating between these following to replace an extremely old Denon 345R receiver with a FS-Audi DAC-X6:
Audiloab 6000a, Creek 50a and Marantz AMP1.
Would appreciate your input very much:
Thanks so Much, and thanks for helping choose my Q-Acoustic Concept 40s. They’re great!!!
Paul Rigby1st May 2020 at 9:48 am
The Creek is nice but I’d lean towards the 6000A which I believe has the edge on the others listed. Glad you’re enjoying your speakers, Glen.
Miguel4th May 2020 at 2:00 pm
HI Paul, I hope this finds you well.
I really enjoyed reading your Audiolab 6000A review, I have always found your write ups very insightful. What are your thoughts on how the 6000A compares to the Cambridge Audio CXA81 particularly in regard to soundstage and bass response? Would the Audiolab be able to drive my NHT 1.5 speakers (22 years old but still love them) as capably as the higher output CA? Thanks!
Paul Rigby4th May 2020 at 6:39 pm
I do hope to grab a selection of Cambridge kit in the future, when I get a bit of time, so cannot provide a direct comparison just yet Miguel. Saying that, the 81 *should* be a lot better, if judged on price and the parts list.
Savan Panchal12th May 2020 at 10:29 pm
I have Q Acoustics 3050i towers along with center channel and 3010 side surround – using it in my living room for everyday tv watching, listening to music while cooking, watching some netflix, playing some youtube videos.
Running it all with Denon AVR. Wondering to purchase this 6000A – connect as home theater bypass and run the front two 3050i speakers for better stereo listening – would they suit well with 3050 – I am fan of warm non fatiguing sound.
Paul Rigby13th May 2020 at 10:56 am
Thank for this – I’ve addressed your question via your YouTube query.
Peter17th May 2020 at 7:20 pm
Please help me-I would upgrade/change marantz pm7005 to audiolab 6000a.
I like the marantz’s deep and full bass sound, clear vocals&midrange, transparent treble.
A real all-rounder, I use it for music and movies too, not need tone or subwoofer, it shakes the room with a pair of Heco Elementa 300 bookshelf loudspeakers.
I am afraid of the audiolab has not as enough “warm” sound as the marantz. The power is okay but the sound..
Good idea to change? Listen music 90% and movies 10%.
Paul Rigby18th May 2020 at 9:25 am
Hi Peter, tonally, the 6000A is very balanced and it handles bass very well as it integrates it into the mix, as it where. I wouldnt say that it emphasises any one frequency so if you want bass emphasis, then this might not be for you.
Peter18th May 2020 at 10:52 am
Thank You for reply, as I read on forums the audiolab sound is precise but dry.. so not as fat in bass as other amps in category.
I not need extra linear-high end or audiophil sound because I listen all kind music not only hi-res or jazz, classical music.
Thanks, your posts are great!
Peter from Hungary
Paul Rigby18th May 2020 at 1:48 pm
Hi Peter – thanks for your kind words.
I wouldn’t call the 6000A dry, balanced and neutral but not dry. And I’d say it handles bass better than any other sub-£1,000 amp out there but there’s no bass emphasis as such. Well, the review explains it properly 🙂
Peter Lawton21st May 2020 at 12:47 am
Hi Paul – Enjoyed the 6000A review and posts. I am debating upgrading my int. amp first vs getting set up for music streaming. I am 64 and hard-wired/programmed to listen to albums one by one – hence vinyl and CD are current source material.
Setup: I listen to broad range from classical – folk – rock; but not at loud levels. My system: NAD 7220PE amp (mid-80s!); Project RPM 5.1 turntable w. Ortofon 2m bronze cart. through a Project Tube Box S; Yamaha CD-S300. Listening room is about 12 x 18 ft with speakers along the long axis. Speakers: 2 driver/2-way Paradigm Studio 20 V3 on stands (Canadian make – 90db sens; 15 – 150W amp range, though specs say 100W max; low freq ext 36Hz). Also have one B&W ASW10 subwoofer connected to NAD via 2nd set of speaker terminals (running as A+B). B&W P7 headphones.
Have between $1000-$1500 CAD/600 – 900 pounds to allocate right now
1. Amp first: Audiolab 6000A is top on my list for a new amp, and thought it would also improve CD playback by connecting Yamaha S300 over digital. In the price range would you suggest any other amps with my existing room/gear? Don’t really need an internal phono amp section.
2. Streamer first: Have been looking at Audiolab 6000N and Blusound Node 2i. Again, any thoughts on these two for a neophyte with streamed music – or another suggestion? Wife has iphone, I have android phone, and ease of use over wifi/bluetooth for my wife is a consideration. Don’t currently have much downloaded digital music, but interested in building a NAS library and can run wired network cable to system location.
Ideally I would purchase both amp and streamer now (eg 6000A and N) but need to think about maximum increase in enjoyment from that first $1000-1500. Do I grill chicken or boil an egg?
Paul Rigby21st May 2020 at 10:06 am
Hi Peter, yep the 6000A would be ideal for you. It’s a real bargain and provides top notch sound and facilities. The 2i is excellent and you won’t be disappointed with that if you go for it. I’d lean a bit towards the 6000N in terms of midrange insight but that’s just me, your ears may say otherwise. The 6000N would fit nicely in aesthetic terms with the 6000A, though. Either are perfect choices.
Andy21st May 2020 at 11:36 am
FWIW, I auditioned a Marantz PM7000N against a Node 2i feeding a 6000A. I bought the PM7000N. It sounded quite a bit better to my ears, worked out slightly cheaper, and is a neat “all in one” solution. Purists might argue that it’s best to keep the digital bits away from the analogue bits, but Marantz have paid attention shielding and power supply design. So far the PM7000N has performed really well, and the HEOS Android app has been 100% reliable (yes, it might be lacking a few facilities compared to some other apps, but it gets the job done quite nicely and is easy to use). My music collection is ripped from CD to FLAC and plays back from a USB memory stick. I also have the music stored on a NAS drive. Obviously there are pros and cons in which way to go. If you choose the Marantz, you are putting all your eggs in their streaming basket. You could attach a new streamer to the amp in the future, but you’d feel that the internal streamer is going to waste. If you went for the Audiolab amp + Node2i or 6000N, you could sell the old streamer if you ever upgrade. If you aren’t too fussed about online streaming, I can’t see any reason to upgrade anytime soon. Even if you are using online streaming services, I suspect the Marantz will be capable for many years to come. It might be worth you taking a look at the PM7000N, as it does seem to meet you requirements.
Paul Rigby21st May 2020 at 12:56 pm
Thanks for you insight, Andy.
Peter21st May 2020 at 10:26 am
Thank You but I not need network player, I had great cd collection so my primary source is the cd player.
I am an old fashioned hi-fi amateur, but maybe in the future I will change my mind 😉
In the moment if I would like play hi-res music I could play from computer via usb on the pm7005.
Peter21st May 2020 at 1:03 pm
Thank You, correct answer!
Peter Lawton22nd May 2020 at 4:33 pm
Hi poster “Peter” in Hungary from “Peter Lawton” in Canada – seems we have similar interests and current thoughts (“old fashioned hi-fi amateurs”)
Paul thanks for your confirmation on the 6000A match with my general system – and yes combo with the 6000N would be an aesthetic match. ease of
Thanks also Andy for your suggestion of the Marantz PM7000N – that is one of the other considerations I also have.
I live in a rural part of Canada with very little opportunity to access in store demos, and in particular to be able to do pair-wise comparisons between products. That why I rely on reviewers like Paul. I found one online supplier of Audiolab so far (other than purchasing from Amazon). I am not too concerned about the “all in one” solution as I don’t think streaming will be a primary source for me – any funds saved would likely be put into purchasing more lps and cds of my favourite artists.
I will look into a few more online review of the Marantz, but thanks for your insight and comments on Heos ease of use.
Peter22nd May 2020 at 8:48 pm
The world is so small, my uncle and his whole family lives in Canada 🙂
The world opened to me from the last year, I got friends cause of hi-fi all around the world via internet, Youtube, Hifiengine, etc.
I hope You will find the perfect system, but for us “perfect” is not exist, amateurs allways looking for it.. sometimes system is good and we enjoy it, but then in time we change components,looking for something new..
Welcome to the club 😉
Peter from Hungary
NJP22nd May 2020 at 5:59 pm
Hi Paul , Thank you for detailed review. Am looking for an Amplifier. Currently my speakers are Elac Debut B6.2 I have shortlisted Audiolab 6000A and Cambridge Audio CXA61. Which one will you suggest? Mostly listening to Blues , country songs, jazz.
Paul Rigby22nd May 2020 at 7:19 pm
I find the 6000A tonally more balanced. It can integrate bass into the mix more naturally, I find.
NJP23rd May 2020 at 7:21 pm
hi Paul , sorry for bothering you again , today i went to shop and they suggested ARCAM SA 10 and Creek Eco 50 over audiolab. Couldn’t hear audiolab since it wasn’t in stock. Whats your suggestion in this?
Paul Rigby25th May 2020 at 9:09 am
Hi NJP – both a decent products and work well but I’d still plump for the 6000A.
NJP22nd May 2020 at 7:23 pm
thank Paul !
Peter Lawton25th May 2020 at 8:40 pm
Hi Paul. I ordered a package deal this weekend for the 6000A and Node 2i from an online supplier in Quebec. Price before tax was equivalent to 910 GBP. Individual costs were 733 GBP for the amp and 381 GBP for the streamer. As I intended to get an amp anyway (and that dealer was the only Canadian one I found for Audiolab), I could say I am getting the Node 2i for only 177 GBP over the amp cost. The 6000N streamer lists 468 GBP, but not offered as a package with the amp. Reading through your 6000A review and the subsequent comments over the past months was instrumental in the purchasing decision so thanks again.
Paul Rigby26th May 2020 at 10:15 am
Happy to help, Peter. Enjoy yourself!
Peter Lawton28th May 2020 at 11:16 pm
Just got my 6000A and on unboxing was surprised to see the iec power socket on amp has only 2 pins (no ground) and the power cord (US) is not only 2 pin, but also non-polarized (can fit wall plate either way). So, the phono input itself has a ground nut, but that would just be to the amp itself and not through to house wiring as with 3 pin plug. Perhaps a naive question but this seems to be quite retro (40’s to 50’s wiring standards) or am I missing some basics on amp wiring?
Paul Rigby29th May 2020 at 12:03 pm
Hi Peter – I’m not an electrician so anyone out there who is? Feel free to jump in. That said, I noted that IOTAVX had the same thing on its amps and I did ask them about that too. This is what they said to me and I assume Audiolab would reply in a similar fashion, “…the reason for not integrating the ground into the unit, is largely because we sell internationally and countries like Germany this would create a humming noise. Our gear complies fully to the international CE standards…” Let me ask Audiolab for their response to this, might be a little while until I get a reply so, if you can wait a bit…?
Peter Lawton29th May 2020 at 8:37 pm
Yes – no problem to wait on Audiolab and thanks for contacting them. Lots to read up on about power cords in meantime 🙂
Paul Rigby1st June 2020 at 11:57 am
Hi Peter – this reply is from Jan Ertner, who led the 6000A design team:
“The Audiolab 6000A is a Class II Double Insulated product, which operates without the need for a mains earth connection. This is normal practice for lots of modern hi-fi products and allows for a uniform design approach enabling the manufacturer to sell the same product in different countries regardless of whether mains earth is present or not. It has no bearing on the audio quality and in many cases make it easier to avoid hum loops.”
Peter Lawton4th June 2020 at 3:08 pm
Thanks Paul. Have seen references to double insulation – Class II protects against shock hazard. Also references to this type of equipment having a “floating ground”. So now curious about phono ground screw on the 6000A. Is it functional within a floating ground, or just there because people would expect one to be? Jan Ertner mentions the 6000A design should make it easier to avoid hum loops. No need to follow back up with them – I will try different ground wire connects when I set up (Project RPM 5.1 and a Tube Box S – had some noise issues with that pairing before). The TT and the phono box each have a ground screw of their own.
Peter Lawton29th May 2020 at 11:41 pm
Fine to wait – am researching coax digital cable options as well as power cord upgrades – lots to keep me busy.
Paul Rigby30th May 2020 at 1:35 pm
Thanks Peter – actually, I’m hoping to contact the guy who actually built the machine, to get the info from the horse’s mouth as it where 🙂
JP1st June 2020 at 8:12 pm
Hi Paul, what a wonderful review! I really appreciate your frank commentary. I’m very happy to have found your site. I am in the process of updating my stereo system after a 40 year hiatus. I have a late ’70’s pair of Celestion Ditton 33 speakers that I would like to couple with a new integrated amp and turntable. (My Kenwood integrated amp is long gone.) My amp decision is between the 6000A, CXA61 and the Peachtree Decco125. I see that you prefer the 6000A to the CXA61. Are you familiar with the Peachtree? Do you think that the 6000A is a good match for my Ditton 33’s?
My current turntable is an equally old Dual 721 that, due to rough moves, has seen better days. I was thinking of getting a Rega 2 or 3. Given the system that I am building, which of these two turntables would be appropriate? Any other suggestions for turntables? I had been considering a Pro-Ject Carbon, but was concerned about motor hum. Any suggestions on cartridges? I heard that the Ngaoka MP-110 is quite nice. Is the Elys 2 a substantial upgrade over the MP-110? It sounds like the Audiolab 6000CDT is a wonderful product and match for the 6000A, so no questions there.
Finally, would you suggest investing in a dedicated streamer or simply using a computer source for streaming media? What do you think of home-building a dedicated streaming source using a Raspberry Pi 4 (https://www.dagogo.com/advancing-audio-streaming-part-1-raspberry-pi-4-usb-network-audio-transport/)? Any thoughts on an appropriate USB to SPDIF converter to connect to the 600A? Thanks much for your help! – JP
Paul Rigby2nd June 2020 at 2:09 pm
Hi JP – yep, I’d go for the 6000A and it’ll work fine with the Dittons. The Rega 3 would be the better bet. The featured cartridge is fine for now. I’d spend any extra cash on an external phono amp and decent cables. A dedicated streamer would be a preferred purchase. Home building is fine and a great project if you’re into that kind of thing, sure. This is a good convertor: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M2Tech-HiFace-High-Digital-Interface/dp/B0081Z8YBI
JP3rd June 2020 at 8:14 am
Hi Paul, thanks much for swift advice. It is much appreciated. Sounds like the 6000A and Rega 3 are the way to go.
Thanks for your recommendation on the USB to SPDIF converter. I found a number of nice conversion units, Peachtree T1, X1 and Schiit Eitr; all of which have been discontinued. I also found the $90 Topping D10 which does the conversion along DAC functionality using an ESS ES9018K2M DAC chip (same as used in the 6000A). The reviews on the D10 look very positive, positioning it above the Schiit Eitr: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-schiit-eitr-usb-to-s-pdif-bridge.3753/ and https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/dac/topping-d10-usb-dac-and-usb-spdif-converter-review/ Do you believe that the M2Tech device will do a noticeably better job? It is over the double the price and doesn’t have a DAC.
As a DIY person, the home build approach opens the door on the box, and poses an interesting challenge to build the best possible system at the lowest possible cost, starting with the under $100 Raspberry Pi 4 and the $90 D10 for streaming. It is startling that the Bryston BDP-Pi Digital Player which retails at $1,495 is also based on the Pi. Given that the D10 has a DAC, analog only amps are fine. So, I looked at integrated amps at a number of different price points. At the low-cost point is a Fosi TB10A for $59: https://fosiaudio.com/products/home-audio-amplifier-receiver-tb10a For the next step up, I found the Yamaha R-S202BL which seems a remarkable value at $129. I enjoyed your article on the topic, https://thevinylfactory.com/features/8-best-budget-amplifiers-vinyl/, but the discontinued models I found were a bit on the expensive side (maybe everyone read your article). I could not find an Onkyo A-9010, but A-9110’s can be found for $299 (backordered until August). The A-9110 is analog only, but with the DAC in the DA10, this is not a real limitation. Finally, a step up from there could be the Denon PMA-600NE for $399.
If you were given the same cost challenge, would you pick the same amps? If I am only listening to streaming music on my Ditton 33’s, would I be able to hear the difference between the A-9110, the MPA-600NE and the 6000A? I realize that this is very subjective, but with social distancing, I am not able to listen to any of these system combinations. Your thoughts on this are much appreciated. – JP
Paul Rigby3rd June 2020 at 8:53 am
Hi JP – I’m not a fan of convertors, I have to say. They add another link to the signal chain and threaten to dull sonics. If a convertor *has* to be introduced, I like to use the best possible.
As for amps? Check out Cambridge Audio: the AXA25 and AXA35.
The 6000A is the best option in terms of sonics but then you do pay for that, of course.
Max17th June 2020 at 2:45 pm
I have an old pair of Mission 760i bookshelves they are 6 ohms, and I really love them! would the 6000a go nice with it or is it overkill and should look somewhere else?
Paul Rigby18th June 2020 at 8:59 am
The 6000A would certainly get the best out of your speakers Max. Even if you’re looking at upgrades, you need to look further up the chain for that upgrade first before you address the speakers. From the source downwards, as it where. So that’s the better option yes.
Max18th June 2020 at 3:39 pm
Hi Paul, Thank you very much for your advice! I’ll be getting the audiolab 6000a
Pete Clark19th June 2020 at 11:50 pm
Hi Paul, Great article, I’ve just purchased the 6000A, picking it up on Monday and am really looking forward to setting up. I’ve have several questions if that’s ok. I don’t currently have any speakers other than my existing setup which is a pair of Dynaudio Xeo2s, which are powered and have built in DACs. Could I use the Audiolab as a preamp with the Dyns? I quite like the sound of Dynaudio as a brand but think the Xeos lack a bit of depth at times. I’ve been offered a really good deal on a pair of Kef R3s. Will the Audiolab be able to drive the R3s. Or would I need a better amp/ power amp later on. What would you recommend (XZT not available at the moment). I’m on a budget at the moment but the R3s are too good pass by or do you think I should go for something more suitable like B&W 606s? I know they are at different ends of the spectrum but would value your thoughts. One final thing (sorry), what speaker cable would you recommend? Thanks Pete
Paul Rigby22nd June 2020 at 9:22 am
Hi Pete – To buy the 6000A and then use it as a preamp would be a complete waste of the design, to be honest. Also, if you want a preamp then I’d recommend a specialist unit (right tools for the job and all that). I would go for passive speakers for the 6000A. Sure, the R3s would be a fine addition and should run ok. For cables, buy the best QED cable you cn afford on Amazon, the price follows performance on these.
Steve Martin22nd June 2020 at 3:00 pm
Hi Pete, I have the 6000a and R3’s, it’s a great pairing and I have QED XT400 cables. I’m also using the 6000n streamer with Amazon Music HD, I’m in love with music again.
Pete Clark23rd June 2020 at 11:01 pm
Hi Steve, that’s good, I’ve just bought the R3’s arriving this week. Can’t wait to get setup. Going to hold off on a streamer for now as counting the pennies but sounds like the audiolab could be a contender.
Paulo21st June 2020 at 9:35 am
Great review, can you share your answer to Savan Panchal on 12th May 2020 at 10:29 pm?
I’m thinking also to use 6000a to power my 3050i fronts with Ht bypass.
Also between 6000a vs ms2i or ms3i if it really a step up.
Thanks in advanced.
Paul Rigby22nd June 2020 at 9:27 am
Hi Paulo – I think Savan posted the same question over multiple platforms and YouTube was the first one I saw, answered that and saw the question here later. If memory serves, I think I said, “Not really Savan, it’s more of a sideways move. Both are nice but the benefits would be questionable. I would save and go for the next level up.” I’d stick with the 6000A re the ms2i but the 3i is a different beast and price point. If you’re looking to go there, that’s a different conversation and we’d need to talk about the whole hifi, budget, etc.
Syed Suhaib25th June 2020 at 7:05 am
Thanks for your review. I currently have B&W 805 matrix bookshelf speakers and a 6ch ADA-6150 Power Amp which will be used as a stereo power amp.
Would you recommend the audiolab’s 6000a using preouts as a good pair with this setup or would you recommend a dedicated preamp instead. Thanks!
Paul Rigby25th June 2020 at 9:12 am
A dedicated preamp, Syed – you’d be buying the 6000A and then only using part of its facilities which would not only be a waste of your money but wouldn’t even sound as good as a dedicated model. You need the right tool for the job.
Syed26th June 2020 at 10:54 am
Thank you for the advice Paul! I appreciate it. Have shortlisted a couple of pre-amps – Emotiva PT100 and Yamaha WXC50. I’m looking for dynamic and immersive sound. Please do share your thoughts on a suitable pre amp ?
Paul Rigby26th June 2020 at 11:00 am
I’d probably lean towards the Yamaha from that list, Syed.
Syed26th June 2020 at 12:19 pm
Thanks for your reply, Paul!
Do you recommend I pair it with an external DAC. If yes I do have a budget of within 500£ for a DAC. Or would you recommend another dedicated preamp with a better DAC.
I did see your Heed abacus review but that’s out of budget.
Paul Rigby26th June 2020 at 5:05 pm
Separating hifi components is always a good thing as it lowers the noise floor so yes. Check out the DACs from Schiit – they offer great value.
Paulo27th June 2020 at 9:22 am
Thanks for your help. Only mention the m3si, because I can get it for approx more 150€ than audiolab and m2si, and it could be an investment for an future upgrade on the speakers, but i’m afraid that the m3si might not be a good match for my current speakers.
Thanks in advance.
Keith7th July 2020 at 1:30 pm
Thanks for the fantastic reviews, really clear and easy to understand advice whilst paying attention to different budgets.
Am looking at the following, can you let me know if its a good match please?
Rega Planar 3 with Elys 2 (upgrade the cartridge later on & Rega Fono MM MK3 or Schit Mani)
Q Acoustics 30201i
Paul Rigby7th July 2020 at 2:09 pm
Sounds good to me, Keith!
PWani26th July 2020 at 9:26 pm
Thank you for your detailed review both here and on YouTube. I love that you respond to so many comments on here too! Your review was part of my thinking in ordering a 6000a Play, which I assume will perform very similar to the 6000a. However I’m having some buyer’s remorse as I’m wondering if the Cxa81 (which lists at the same price as the 6000a Play in the US) would have been a smarter choice. I know at some point in the threads above you mentioned you haven’t spent much time with the Cambridge Audio Cxa61/Cxa81. Is that still the case, or do you have an opinion on how big the difference in music quality is between these? As an additional bonus the CX does have better input / output combination including an A/B switch.
Somewhat related, I would love to connect my 6000a to both my indoor speakers and then switch to the outdoor ones when needed too (they would Not be used at the same time). Is there a simple selector that can accomplish this without impact to audio quality?
Paul Rigby28th July 2020 at 11:16 am
I’m sure you can buy simple switch selectors from the likes of Amazon sure and, in practical terms, there should be any issues with that but I wouldn’t recommend that direction in sonic terms because sound quality would be compromised. Simple and cheap switch units like this introduce lots of noise into the chain.
The Cambridge is much more expensive than the 6000A so the comparison is not wholly fair. That said the 81 is highly regarded so, if you went for that, Im sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.
PWani28th July 2020 at 6:04 pm
Thank you Paul. I appreciate the response. In the US, the price is identical between the 6000A Play ($1299) vs the CXA81 ($1299). The only difference is that the 6AP would also provide a full fledged streamer with Play FI in addition to the integrated Amp, while the CXA81 would require some other source for high quality music. Given the choice (not based on price alone), would you choose the CXA81’s and pair that with a third party streamer (e.g. BlueSound) vs. the integrated AudioLab solution (6000A Play) that is maybe $200-$300 cheaper once the streamer is included?
Other than price difference, I’m trying to figure out how different the audio quality is really. Is it about having a warmer sound profile on the CXA81?
Paul Rigby29th July 2020 at 11:28 am
Well, if you’re open to isolating your components then I would grab a 6000A, a separate Bluesound 2i and spend more cash on the interconnects plus isolation feet to support both. That would provide an excellent sound output.
andrew30th November 2020 at 6:15 pm
how would you hook it up? would you use the Node 2i DAC for MQA streams or would you use the better 6000A DAC but miss out on the MQA?
Paul Rigby4th December 2020 at 10:26 am
Hi Andrew – ultimately, I would aim for a separate DAC and use the 2i for streaming. For now, I’d use the 2i’s DAC but by all means spend an afternoon testing both the 2i and 6000A DAC to see which you prefer.
Bobby11th August 2020 at 12:41 pm
Hi Paul – thanks for the incredibly useful review. I have an 8200CDQ and am looking for a new amp… I can pick up an 8200P used for a good price, but now I’m wondering about the 6000A. I don’t strictly need the preamp part since the CDQ has that covered, except for a phono input (so I’d have to buy a phono stage as well as a power amp, pushing the price up.) And Bluetooth might be handy too! Would you recommend using the 6000A in this way, with a CDQ? Would the older power amp sound much better at low-ish to medium volumes? My room is about 4.5m square and I’m using Tannoy floorstanders – DC6T SE. Thanks!
Paul Rigby12th August 2020 at 10:44 am
Hi Bobby – I’m a big proponent of using the right tools for the job so, if you want to use an integrated amp, then I’d allow the design to its job and supply both pre/power in the manner it was designed to do. If you want a preamp and a power amp, I’d advise buying separately and obtaining specialists which will, again, do a better job in the end. Otherwise, you’ll muddy the sound. I’d only recommend going down your suggested route as a very temporary solution while you’re in the middle of a quick upgrade. Hence, I’d go for the 6000A as your main amp and plug the CD player into the rear of the 6000A as a CD player only.
Sub12th August 2020 at 11:36 am
Hi Paul, hope you are doing well. I have recently purchased the bluesound node2i and this acts as my pre-amp and DAC. Now i am currently upgrading the bookshelf speakers and power amp. My question is regarding choosing the amp. Along with the audiolab 6000a integrated amp, I have also shortlisted the Edwards audio P7 as it is a dedicated stereo amp. Do you have any feedback on the P7 compared to the 6000a. While I am very satisfied with the reviews and suggestions for the 6000a, I am only considering the P7 as they are seperates and from what I hear seperates are still the better option.
For your reference, I am looking at the Q acoustics 3030i or other speakers in the same budget.
Paul Rigby12th August 2020 at 12:03 pm
Hi Sub – I haven’t tested the P7 and don’t know anyone else who has used the P7. That said – and I’m generalising so take this bit with a pinch of salt – I find Edwards amps powerful with a solid bass but not exactly brimming with finesse. Whereas, I know the 6000A is tonally balanced. So I’d go with the 6000A. If you can up the budget then sure, a pre/power separate combo will be superior. But you’ll need to throw more money at that.
Sub14th August 2020 at 8:47 pm
Hi Paul – thanks a lot for your inputs. I am definitely leaning toward the 6000a. However, is there a way to bypass the volume control on the 6000a as the bluesound node2i acts as the preamps. If I use the analog inputs to the 6000a does this do the job in bypassin the volume control on the 6000a? Much appreciate your inputs.
Paul Rigby16th August 2020 at 12:15 pm
I would plug the 2i into the 6000A and let the 6000A be the preamp for the 2i.
Sub17th August 2020 at 10:50 am
Thanks Paul, to do this i would need to use digital out from the 2i?
I’m guessing if i use the rca interconnects the 2i would be the pre amp and volume control in the setup?
Paul Rigby17th August 2020 at 1:30 pm
Coax would be best, yes because the 6000A has some special, low noise, attention given to this port which enhances sound quality.
Mark18th January 2022 at 11:39 pm
Hi Paul, sorry to add to the already massive comments chain! I found your reviews really helpful in deciding to replace my old NAD C350-based setup with an Audiolab 6000a and 6000cdt.
I’m left with my old B&W 601 S3 speakers, which are maybe due for replacement as well after 20-odd years. I’ve noticed that the Spendor A1 speakers that you often partner with the 6000a have quite a low sensitivity – would this imply that they sound good at lower volumes? I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of volume at the upper end if it means that I can enjoy myself without upsetting my neighbours/waking my kids. Any other recommendations for speakers that would work well with the 6000a at lower volumes?
Second question, if I’m allowed… I see you often advocate for an external DAC to make the most of the 6000cdt. Would the Audiolab M-DAC+ be a worthwhile upgrade over the 6000a’s internal DAC? Let’s assume I can find a used one for under £500, should I go for it?
Thanks for a really enjoyable website and YT channel.
Paul Rigby19th January 2022 at 10:19 am
Thanks for your kind words, Mark. The Spendors work well for me in the listening space I have, with the 6000A. I would encourage you to arrange a quick home demo with your dealer to check your listening room and to make sure the volume is sufficient for you. Home demos are more common because of the Covid thing so your dealer (if he’s smart) should be happy to help (if might involve you putting down a deposit or some such). As for the second question? Yes.
Nick Passmore4th September 2020 at 4:43 pm
Hi, Paul, and thanks for the review. My old NAD C340 has finally given up the ghost, and I’m looking for a replacement, and the Audiolab 6000A is one of the options I’m considering. A couple of years back I acquired a pair of Tannoy XT8Fs (probably a bit too big for the C340.) At the risk of asking you to repeat yourself, did you say that the 6000A would work well with the XT8Fs? Or should I consider a different amplifier (or different speakers)? Tbh most of my separates are fairly basic (ProJect Debut turntable, Pioneer PDR609 CD player/recorder..) Any advice would be much appreciated!
Paul Rigby7th September 2020 at 11:35 am
Hi Nick – in techie terms you should have no issues there.
Stephane7th September 2020 at 6:55 am
Thank you for your very detailed reviews.
I have ordered the 6000A and I have so far two preferences in terms of speakers: Spendor A2 and Dali Rubicon 2. Tough question probably, but which one would be the best match with Audiolab? I am mostly a jazz and soul listener (with sometimes classical solo pieces). My room is rather large (8 x 5 meters) but I have neighbors with whom I do not want ro be in trouble. 🙂 Thank you.
Paul Rigby7th September 2020 at 11:33 am
A tough one because of the size differences. The A2s will provide better bass response, the Dalis are nimble, agile and pacey. Either should work well.
Marc18th September 2020 at 6:34 am
Hi Paul. Reading up on 6000A and CDT while waiting for mine to arrive. Currently using Polk S60’s with a 26 yo Pioneer 40 wpc for music and 20 yo Denon 80 wpc AVR for tv via optical. Chose the Audiolab combo as a modern day upgrade. Really enjoy sound of Pioneer vs Denon for music and anticipating the 6000A would at least sound as good, hopefully better. Main source of listening would be iPhone via Bluetooth, cd’s, and lastly tv. Where I live limits me to research only without auditioning gear beforehand. Will this 6000A and CDT combo be a step up or sideways? I also have a SVS PB1000 for movies. Any comments would be appreciated. Cheers!
Paul Rigby18th September 2020 at 10:12 am
Next question 🙂
A further upgrade, when you can, will be an external DAC for the CDT.
Marc18th September 2020 at 1:16 pm
Thanks for the prompt reply and confirmation, Paul! Any DAC in particular you recommend?
Paul Rigby18th September 2020 at 1:26 pm
Got a budget figure, Marc?
Marc18th September 2020 at 11:55 pm
I was assuming that the built in DAC of 6000A was decent enough but if not, probably around $300-$500 range.
Paul Rigby21st September 2020 at 9:05 am
I would look at the DAC range from Schiit and get the best one you can afford.
Marc23rd September 2020 at 10:57 am
Hi Paul. 6000A and CDT arrived… definitely noticed a cleaner/refined difference in highs and overall sound but bass isn’t there anymore. Ended up bi-amping polks using pre out to line in… 6000A for highs and pioneer for lows. Am able to blend using volume and tone controls of pioneer and what a big difference. I finally see some movement on Polk woofers (“,) Haven’t bothered hooking up sub yet as there’s really no need anymore.
Paul Rigby23rd September 2020 at 12:14 pm
Glad to hear that the new additions are working for you, Marc. Thanks for the update.
Graham10th October 2020 at 11:46 am
Thanks for this great review Paul. I’m a bit new to all this and have been really enjoying your channel and FB page. I’m swithering between getting the Audiolab 6000a or Rega Brio to add to my Rega P2, Marantz CD player and Monitor Audio Bronze speakers (looking to upgrade those next). I’ve heard and liked both amps – although not side by side – and can’t decide between a bit more functionality with the Audiolab and the more dedicated phono performance of Brio. It’s mainly vinyl I listen to but would ideally like to play CD’s and stream from laptop too. Will it be better quality all round to add DAC and bluetooth to Brio separately? Any advice very welcome.
Paul Rigby11th October 2020 at 1:38 pm
Both amps are excellent Graham. If you have enjoyed the Brio then, by all means, go for that. That said, an external phono amp (and DAC) will offer superior sonics. I prefer the 6000A for its tonal balance but I could easily live with either.
Sarkar13th October 2020 at 10:03 am
Hello Paul,its a great review, easy to understand even for a newbie like me. I was planning to get a AV receiver of Marantz NR1050 with a subwoofer and Mission LX-2, however I realized my use for music is more than movies therefore considering a good AMP which can last many years and give me better quality sound for music compared to a AVR (plz correct me if I am wrong). Will this combination of 6000A+Mission QX-2 be better compared to the AVR setup?
How would the 6000A pair with a pair Mission QX-2?
Paul Rigby14th October 2020 at 10:37 am
Yes. Is the short answer, Sarkar. The pair will work well together.
Andy13th November 2020 at 3:39 pm
Great review, thanks!
Do you know if it’s possible to connect this amp (or the 6000a play) to a TV and use a universal remote (i.e. the TV remote) to control the volume?
Paul Rigby15th November 2020 at 11:24 am
Hi Andy – you can connect the 6000A via the optical port. That should be fine. I have heard of people configuring the Sky Q remote to control the 6000A’s volume so it should be possible, yes.
David Swan21st November 2020 at 2:45 am
Hi Paul great review I currently have the 6000A and am very happy with it. I’m using Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers and a subwoofer (Subsonic ML2 Aussie made ) however I would like to ditch the subby and return it to my surround system. The Bronze 2 are OK maybe a bit too bright and would like more controlled bass . I am considering the Wdale Evo 4.2 to replace both of them what do you think?
Paul Rigby24th November 2020 at 10:12 am
Hi David – what’s your budget for the speakers please and what sort of source are you using?
Richard Boscha22nd November 2020 at 9:46 pm
Hello, really enjoying your youtube and website.
Odd question… does anyone use this amp with optical out from a TV? Wondering if there’s any problem with syncing of dialogue (lips moving and audio in perfect time) ??
Thanks for any help!
Paul Rigby24th November 2020 at 10:36 am
Thanks Richard – you can use the optical. Don’t see why not. I use an amp and separate DAC with my TV and it’s fine. Only difference here is that the DAC is built into the 6000A. Go for it.
David Swan24th November 2020 at 11:00 am
My speaker budget is around $1500 Australian and my source is mainly classical vinyl on Audio Technica AT-LP5 t/table and also a NAD C542 CD player.
Paul Rigby24th November 2020 at 11:08 am
Hi David – one more 🙂 What cart is on the LP5?
David Swan24th November 2020 at 11:31 am
The cartridge is a AT95EX.
Paul Rigby27th November 2020 at 12:37 pm
OK, thanks for that David, My advice? Before you spend a lot of cash on speakers, I would plough more money into the source first. A turntable upgrade would be a good idea but, if not then an improved cartridge and external phono amplifier would be my first ports of call.
Petar Glodić7th December 2020 at 9:14 am
probably late, but I would have a modest question. Audiolab 6000A, Cambridge CXA 60 or Musical Fidelity M2si? Of course, in the last two cases with the accompanying phono preamplifiers. The turntable is a new and absolutely great sounding Pro-Ject X1, CD player iz Marantz 6005 and the speakers are KEF Q55, a bit old and mostly neutral on the brighter side. I’m cosidering Dali Oberon 5 or Q Acoustics 3050i too.
Thanks for the reply, faithful reader
Paul Rigby7th December 2020 at 11:40 am
It’s never too late Petar 🙂 All three amps are recommended and you’d be happy with either of them but I prefer the 6000A is terms of tonal balance and overall sonic quality.
Petar Glodić7th December 2020 at 2:39 pm
Thanks for the recommendation. You confirmed my first choice.
Here is my recommendation: you’ll be pleased to hear the X1, sounds wonderful.
Gavin9th December 2020 at 4:35 pm
I have this amp hooked up to a set of Kef’s new LS50 Metas. The results at middling volumes are excellent, but at low volume there’s a lack of bass (where’s a loudness button when you want one!) and at high volumes the treble starts to get quite edgy.
The LS50’s are known to be power hungry and I wonder whether the 6000A lacks the grunt to really get the most out of them? If so, where would you look? (Nothing overly bright) I’m not really interested in mucking about with a small upgrade that only gets me half-way there – I’d rather keep my powder dry until the time is right. Or maybe a sub-woofer….?
Any thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.
Paul Rigby11th December 2020 at 9:45 am
Hi Gavin – can I ask what amp you’re currently using? The one that’s not really doing the job?
Gavin11th December 2020 at 11:01 am
Hi Paul, sorry, it’s the Audiolab 6000A that is not quite up to driving the KEF LS50 Metas. Well not to their full potential anyway. Cheers.
Paul Rigby11th December 2020 at 1:07 pm
Gotcha – if you feel that the 6000A is underpowered then a relatively low-cost pre-amp/power might be the direction using something like an Edge: https://theaudiophileman.com/edge-a2-300-amplifier-review-xtz/ and a low-cost pre from someone like Schiit.
Gavin12th December 2020 at 11:03 am
Ooh, that’s a really interesting idea. In terms of a pre-amp, are you recommending something like the Schiit becuase you think it will do a better job than the 6000A in pre-mode, or were you thinking more of the cost angle – ie. sell the 6000A to free up some cash.
On a broader point, I find both your website and your Youtube channel most enjoyable. Thanks for all the effort you put in.
Paul Rigby14th December 2020 at 10:44 am
If you’re looking for power on the cheap then a dedicated low cost pre-amp hooked to a power amp will give you that, sure. And thanks for your kind words 🙂
paulo taborda28th December 2020 at 11:49 pm
please can you detail your observation?
Loren19th January 2021 at 6:11 pm
Gavin, let me know if you decide to the sell your Audiolab. Thanks!
Gavin13th April 2021 at 12:45 pm
Hi Loren, I have decided to sell.
Gavin30th December 2020 at 5:00 pm
Reply to Paulo Taborda:
I’m not sure how much more I can say than in my original comment, but I will try. Please bear in mind these comments relate specfically to the combination of Kef LS50 Meta speakers with the Audiolab 6000A amplifier. I am sure that other combinations don’t have these issues, otherwise neither component would have been so well reviewed by respected sources.
I should also say that this is by no means a bad setup. The results are very good, but I’m looking for something more. Indeed it might be that my expectation of what a £1600 amp/speaker combination can do is unrealistic.
Anyway, here goes:
There seems to be a sweet spot at middle volumes where everything sounds good and there is a reasonable amount of bass. However at low volumes, the bass falls off significantly, so much so, that at volumes consistent with night-time listening in a small house, there is very little bass at all.
Conversely at high volumes, the trebble is a little bit shrill for my taste. This could be a problem with my room, so I won’t say any more about that.
I understand that the LS50 Metas are small speakers, and are never going to produce thunder. However, as a frame of reference, at low volumes my Sonos Play 1’s kick out a lot more bass. I know that is how Sonos tune their speakers, but the point is that the Play 1’s prove that driver size on it’s own cannot be the problem.
I contacted KEF about whether I should look at a different amp, or maybe a subwoofer as the solution. Their response was interesting and helpful:
“The LS50M really do benefit from good levels of power that offer control and grip, the lack of bass weight is probably due to under powering them.
I would invest in a new amp in the first instance before looking to add a subwoofer. We have used the Hegel H Series here at KEF Towers with excellent results (especially when developing the LS50M), so can say with confidence that this is a good place to start – I’m sure the bass weight will be there with plenty of energy and will be sufficient to satisfy your listening tastes.”
Steve Martin14th December 2020 at 12:58 pm
I have Audiolab 6000a, Audiolab 6000n and KEF R3 speakers, I’m happy with it but can’t help but wonder what the XTC Edge A2-300 could do for me,
Andy14th December 2020 at 4:05 pm
Wait for the Edge A2-400 to be released, there are pictures and specs for it available online.
Richard Chapel15th December 2020 at 1:52 pm
Hi Paul. I love my old Audiolab 8000a because of the sound and the fact that it has tone controls which I feel I cannot live without. Would it be possible to connect my Audiolab 8000a to the new Audiolab 6000a and use it as a preamp and still be able to use the tone controls. If so how exactly should I connect the two amps together please.
Paul Rigby16th December 2020 at 10:26 am
Hi Richard – I wouldn’t go there, to be honest. It’s a bit like buying a 2-seater sports car as a runabout and then towing another two-seater sports car behind it to carry all of that newly cut turf you need to lay the garden in the spring. You’re doubling up unnecessarily while both will suffer by being in the same chain. If you love your 8000A then keep that and enjoy it. If you need a pre-amp then buy a specialist pre-amp but then also buy a specialist power amp to hook it too. The 6000A is an integrated amp and should be used as such. I always advise using the right tools for the job.
roata adrian25th December 2020 at 8:27 pm
Hi Paul. What to choose for MA Silver300: Cxa 61, 6000A or Roksan K3?
Paul Rigby30th December 2020 at 4:48 pm
Hi roata – the Roksan but, at around twice the price of the others new, it really *should* be better 🙂
paulo taborda28th December 2020 at 11:47 pm
thanks for your reviews, normally i watch you on youtube, but this time i came to your site, i have a question
for you, which one is sonically better, audiolab 6oooa or rega brio r?
Paul Rigby30th December 2020 at 4:23 pm
Thanks for joining us on the site here and…I like both. You won’t be disappointed with either. Faced with a choice I’d go with the 6000A which, I feel, better integrates bass into the soundstage for a more balanced presentation.
Martin31st December 2020 at 11:28 am
Hi Paul, thank you for your excellent review. I am now seriously considering purchasing a 6000A but I have one concern. I play a lot of vinyl and tone contols have been usful to me. Possibly down to budget amps and inconsistent vinyl, I have always needed to adjust the bass between neutral and full gain. £600 is my budget so is the 6000A the best option or should I be considering other amps with tone controls? Is there a workaround if I am unhappy with the tonal balance such as adding a phono amp with tone controls? Hopefully the better tonal characteristics of the A5000 will mean my concerns are unfounded but this is a leap of faith for me given my lack of exposure to better quality amps. I’d be very grateful for your thoughts.
Paul Rigby31st December 2020 at 1:32 pm
Hi Martin – tone controls are types of EQ. They fundamentally change the nature and personality of the default sound output. So that’s point one and let’s leave that to one side for now.
Secondly, you own a hifi. The components of which have been carefully (one hopes) engineered to perform to the best of its ability, following a sonic envelope dictated by the designer. Within, the designer has aimed for a blend of frequencies that produce the required and intended sonic signature.
The moment you apply tone controls, you change that signature. You move away from the default and you reject the designer’s aim.
For me, the moment you even reach for a tone control is the moment you should admit to yourself that you’re not happy with the hifi component ‘as is’. The solution is not to fiddle with the box but to change the amplifier – or whatever – for a better sounding device.
Tone controls were (are) included because some manufacturers like to add it to the spec list and some believe that their inclusion will add sales.
I see them as sticking plasters that don’t tackle the fundamental issue.
Which is why I recommend a demo to listen to an amp before you buy. So you don’t need tone controls in the first place. If you demo an amp, think it’s the bee’s knees, take it home and then find the sound is poor then at least you know it’s not the amp’s fault. Maybe it’s time to look again at the speakers, turntable, etc.
The 6000A doesn’t have tone controls because it doesn’t need them.
Martin1st January 2021 at 5:35 pm
Many thanks Paul for your reply, I completely understand the point you are making. Although demos are not currently available, my local Audiolab dealer has said if I’m not completely satisfied I can return the amp, so based on the A5000 clearly being excellent I’m going to make the purchase.
Sanad2nd January 2021 at 1:10 am
Fantastic website and YouTube channel. It has helped me immensely. I had a question I thought id run past you. I have the following:
Debut project carbon turntable
Music fidelity MX-VYNL phono
The DAC is connected to my PC and balanced output to HDVA600 which is connected to HD800 headphones balanced. When I need to listen to vinyl, I connect the MX-VYNL to the HDVA600. After reading (and watching) your review of the Audiolab 6000A and Q Audio 3030i speakers, I was wondering if these would fit into my system and somehow bring them all together? Can I combine my computer and vinyl setup through Audiolab 6000A so I don’t need to switch cables? Im happy to spend a bit more money to get an amplifier that does this. Id appreciate your input.
Paul Rigby6th January 2021 at 10:51 am
Hi Sanad – many thanks for your kind words.
Is sound quality a priority here or is convenience what you’re aiming at? No problem either way but I wanted to know how you work. Depending on your budget, for sound quality, I would remove the PC from the chain and go Debut, MF phono, 6000A amp, M-DAC+ and 3030i speakers. That will maximise the sound quality of each component. Connect the Sennheiser to that chain and sound will improve there too. PCs produce excessive high frequency noise so that unit will battle with the audiophile qualities of the otherwise excellent hifi components you own. As it stands, you’re not maximising your kit and the money you’ve spent thus far is not being maximised to its fullest potential.
After that? I would buy a lower cost chain for the PC to ‘do a job’.
That’s how I see it just looking at your email, without any further info on you or how you run your system, day to day.
Josep Lluis26th January 2021 at 12:27 pm
Is the AL 6000a good for my Bowers and Wilkings DM600 S3?
It worth to connect an bt adapter to my Denon PMA 495r or its better to move to an AL 6000a?
Paul Rigby26th January 2021 at 2:47 pm
Hi Josep, yep – your speakers should work fine and the 6000A will be a worthy upgrade.
Paul28th January 2021 at 7:07 pm
hi Paul, I had been wanting to upgrade my amplifier for a long time, and had been looking at something vintage. Instead I bought this amplifier just from your review, received yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier. Bliss. Looking forward to upgrading to the matching CD transport soon. Thank you!
Paul Rigby29th January 2021 at 12:06 pm
Glad I could be of help, Paul.
Rawl Banton2nd February 2021 at 4:10 pm
Hello Paul – thank you for publishing such a thoroughly detailed and insightful review. I was somewhat skeptical at purchasing this integrated but decided to do so based, in no small part, on your expert advice. As an avid listener of reggae, rap as well as R&B, my trepidation was a result of not being convinced that it would be a good match for my Cerwin Vega E-715s’ substantial woofers. But, your lines about tonal balance being the killer feature, allowing bass into the soundstage, as well as frequency discipline, were all very convincing. I have not been disappointed!
I’ve read many reviews that undervalue and underestimate CVs and dismiss them as “frat boys party speakers” and other pejoratives. What are your thoughts on CVs and this pairing in particular.
Thank you in advance.
Paul Rigby2nd February 2021 at 5:42 pm
Many thanks Rawl. I haven’t come across the CV speakers during my travels I have to say but glad that they’re adding to your musical enjoyment. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for them in the future.
Adrian5th February 2021 at 1:15 pm
Paul, if I had £1300 to spend, here in the UK and I wasn’t able to get out’n’about… And issues of “I wouldn’t because technically it’s not the done thing” aside, would I get any benefit in adding the Audiolab 8300XP* to the Audiolab 6000A (in Pre Mode)?
It’s an upgrade path that you’ve hinted at in various ways. Take the 6000A and you could add a-n-other power amp (iotavx PA3 or Shitt or whatever). I’m honestly trying to ascertain whether this combo* would give even better ‘control’ of the lovely sound at lower volume levels. You know the thing, expensive amps costing more than the 6000A/8300XP where the actual power output translates into that wonderful, controlled and beautiful sound even at very low db levels that can be experienced in audio retailers shops up and down the country?
For me, listening at 40db, I get a great understanding about that is trying to be conveyed, musically. At 55db, there’s more power output and greater sound and control but at the expense of more volume. Nobody can tell me if what I suspect is true is actually true. 6000A in Pre + 8300XP == more oomph to your ohms and that same lovely controlled, and beautiful sound, at (also) quieter sound levels. And if you’ve gotten this far, one last thing. Will the DAC of the 6000A be available when putting it in Pre Mode? The literature does not state that this is not so but it doesn’t say it is either.
Even if you feel you can’t reply, thank you for all you do for us :¬) I do so very much enjoy your youtube channel and appreciate your ‘delivery’ :¬)
Paul Rigby8th February 2021 at 1:14 pm
Hi Adrian – I would only use the 6000A as a pre if you intend to upgrade to a specialist pre while you finish collecting a budget for the same. The 6000A was designed as an integrated and works best like that. Sure, use it as a crossover for an upgrade but I wouldn’t live with it that way, long term. I advise using the best tools for the job.
And thank you for your kind words 🙂
Adrian8th February 2021 at 3:58 pm
Okay. I hear you 🙂 Are you able to point me at some likely choices to consider if sticking with Integrated? With just how good the 6000A is, I’d be looking at a proper jump, in the region of £2k +/-.
Paul Rigby9th February 2021 at 6:44 pm
Hi Adrian – the Moon 240i is a good option. The Rega Elicit-R i another useful design.
Vlad5th February 2021 at 7:50 pm
Hi Paul! Fantastic review and very useful advises! Do you think that 6000A would be a perfect fit to my set up: Turntable + Primare R15 + 6000A + KEF LS50M or shall I look into another amplifier (e.g. Marantz PM6007 or Denon something) to avoid the problems described by Gavin up there?
Paul Rigby8th February 2021 at 1:16 pm
The 6000A should work fine in your system Vlad.
Sam14th February 2021 at 9:36 pm
Hi Paul, getting the audiolab 6000a this week and just a quick question. I have a project debut carbon turntable which i have been using with a project phono box s, would the phono stage in the audiolab be better than the phono box s?
Paul Rigby16th February 2021 at 9:17 am
Hi Sam – given the choice, I’d always go external when discussing phono amps so I’d stick with your current kit here.
nickpassmore16th February 2021 at 9:52 am
I have this set-up. The sound from the Pro-Ject Debut with the Phono Box was very distorted. (Mine is the older model of Phono Box, incidentally.) So I’d definitely recommend using the Debut WITHOUT the Phonobox. Hope that helps! You’ve made an excelllent amplifier choice, though, and thanks for your help with that once again, Paul!
Edward Dodd17th February 2021 at 9:22 pm
Hi paul got an unusual potential use for this amp. I’ve been given a pair of aktiv Linn Lk140 power amps and a pair of linn Kelidth speakers. These used to have a linn Akurate preamp but unfortunately I don’t have that, whilst I am pretty sure this amp will work connected to these using the pre outs is there anything better for similar money for this job? Ideally I’d like some digital inputs but can manage without.
Paul Rigby19th February 2021 at 12:11 pm
Hi Edward – a dedicated pre-amp would be preferable, I have to say, although the 6000A would do at a pinch. Schiit offer good value pre-amps at under £1,000. Pro-Ject is another option. Quad too…just under £1k
omar19th February 2021 at 1:40 am
How does this compare to the NAD C368. They are about the same price. I am looking to upgrade from my pioneer vsx 822 AVR and am wondering if either of these will give an improvement in sound quality
Paul Rigby19th February 2021 at 12:20 pm
Check out my review, hopefully that will help: https://theaudiophileman.com/nads-c368/
Joeri18th March 2021 at 9:37 pm
No Focal Chora 806 or Focal Aria 906 lovers here?
I wonder how they would do with the Audiolab 6000a
Daniel C16th April 2021 at 4:51 am
Hi there. Did you end up buying the audiolab? I have some Focal 806s and am looking to upgrade my amp from an AVR receiver. ~$1000 is my budget and I like the AL6000a. Any thoughts?
Joeri18th April 2021 at 10:34 pm
Hi. Yes, I have the Audiolab 6000a. However, because one of my Tannoy Sensys DC1’s broke downs I did not have a decent listening session yet. At Friday I will have a listening session at a dealer, with Dali Oberon 1, 3 and 5. And Focal Aria 806 and Aria 906. And hopefully also WharfeDale Lintons and some Q Acoustic 3050i. … I wonder which fit my hearing and budget the most 🙂
Dan21st April 2021 at 8:41 pm
Pleaase do let me know what you think of the AL with the Chora 806. I am about to pull the trigger, but still hung up between the Audiolab and the Cambridge Audio CXA61.
Joeri28th April 2021 at 10:44 pm
My listening session at the dealer was an interesting experience.
The dealer offered me a blind listening test of 11 bookshelve speakers with the 6000A, just to find out what I was looking for in a speaker. I am not an experienced ‘listener’ of music/hifi. So the dealer first explained a bit about what I should look for when listening to the speakers (e.g. audible seperation of instruments and other qualities, change in sound when not toed in (my room does not allow that) etc. To explain about speaker qualities the dealer took me several listening rooms to listen to (far out of my budget) speakers that he could easily let me identify what was different. Then my blind listening test started… The dealer left me for the rest of the afternoon in a room with only a remote to switch (anonymized) speakers and a CD player to run my music that I brought with me. Sometimes the dealer popped in to see if he could help me out.
The blind test contained speakers like (i cant remember them all): Focal Aria 906, KEF R3, KEF LS50 Meta, Wharfdale Evo 4.2., Dali Oberon 3 & 5(5 was later added), Fyne Audio F500 (because I had Tannoy speakers) before, B&W 606/607, Some Triangle speakers with horn tweaters (cant recall their name) and more. Sadly the Chorus 806 were not in stock, so I did not hear them.
The Aria 906 were nice sounding, but (for me) after a while, the sound did not fit my taste. The mids and highs were good (apart from some singing cymbals and other highs that gave a ring to my ears sometimes), but on the low end It sounded that or the 6000A were not driving them well of it was not a great match to my ears or the amplifier. The low end sounded a bit congested/compressed (i dont know how to say it). It did not seperate the instruments very well when bass was involved. Also I got nervous wile listening to them, it was not relaxing to listen to for me.
Back to the blind listening test… After writing down notes of every (numbered) speaker during the listening test (what i liked and didnt like about them and ranking them), the dealer summed up what I probably was looking for in a speaker, by using my notes.
The dealer then added some extra speakers that he expected to fit my taste.
In the end 4 speakers were left in my selection (and budget): The Dali Oberon 3 and 5, The Triangle Borea BRO3 and the Triangle Borea BRO6 (the floorstanders were added because I did not like low end on some of the bookshelves).
I went home with the Triangle Borea BR03. They just made more of the music audible for me than the Dalis. The Oberon 5 sounded too boomy to my ears with some music (while at the same time making the mids and highs disappear). The Dali’s were by the way much better when listened to off axis. The BRO6 were also very good to my ears. But they were to big for my room.
Paul B21st March 2021 at 9:52 pm
Hi Paul. I’m about to purchase the audiolab 6000a and wondered if you could recommend a small bookshelf speaker to complement the amp. I’m looking in the £500-1000 bracket. Your advice woulb be appreciated.
Paul Rigby22nd March 2021 at 1:40 pm
Hi Paul – these sound great, are midway in your budget range and are small in stature: https://theaudiophileman.com/motion-15i-speakers-review-martin-logan/
Paul B22nd March 2021 at 4:35 pm
Thanks Paul. Just checked and I have a dealer in my town. Will give them a demo. Thanks muchly
Dan11th April 2021 at 6:00 pm
Thank you for your nice reviews !
I hear and read here and there, about Audiolab, that the brand is not really of good quality because the products are made in China.
What do you think about this ?
Paul Rigby12th April 2021 at 10:33 am
I disagree. You’re (they’re) painting an entire industry with the same brush here. Sure, there are poor products from China but I’m reviewed some pretty shoddy products made in the UK, USA and elsewhere too, for example. There’s good and bad to be found in anything, anyone and anywhere. Each product needs to be viewed on a case by case basis and to be given a chance to prove itself. My advice? Keep your mind open and don’t be swayed by the ignorant. That way only leads to the dark side.
Dan12th April 2021 at 10:43 am
I agree with you.
Thank you for your answer
DAN16th April 2021 at 5:22 pm
A (another) question about Audiolab 6000A.
The DAC in the M-DAC is not exactly the same as Audiolab 6000A. Indeed that of M-DAC is a ES9018 Sabre32 and that of Audiolab 6000A is a ES9018K2M Sabre32. I read that the ES9018 Sabre32 was better than the ES9018K2M Sabre32 Have you tested both and if so what is your opinion ?
Besides, what do you think of the Audiolab 6000n ?
Thank you Paul
Paul Rigby19th April 2021 at 10:41 am
Hi Dan – the variables won’t just depend on the chip, either. It will depend on the implementation of the design, how the adjacent components affect it, etc. So yes, you’d need an A-B test to find the solution. I’m afraid I haven’t had the opportunity to do that although I would always go for the external model if you’re taking DACs. The ‘N’ looks like a top quality product although I have not tested it and my colleagues rate it highly.
DAN19th April 2021 at 11:18 am
Hi Paul, thank you
I bought the Audiolab 6000a by following your advice. He is indeed very good. Yes, an external dac would be a good idea. What do you think of the Topping D70s? If you have an idea of an equivalent and cheaper product, I am interested.
In addition, I intend to stream music (via Qobuz in particular). What do you recommend :
1 / An external dac + a transport streamer
2 / A streamer with dac
3 / A transport streamer with the internal dac of the Audiolab 6000a
Lots of questions … Thank you for taking the time
Have a good day
Paul Rigby20th April 2021 at 11:47 am
Topping offers some good hardware, yes but if streaming is in the equation then – budget dependant – a Bluesound 2i might be worth a look: https://theaudiophileman.com/2i-wireless-streamer-review-bluesound/
Steve Martin19th April 2021 at 11:35 am
Speaking of DACs I’ve just treated myself to a Denafrips Ares II r2r ladder DAC and Wow, it’s a major upgrade, so much so I’m already wanting to hopefully try getting the Denafrips Pontus II,
DAN20th April 2021 at 12:55 pm
Thank you Paul,
An advice for a transport streamer ?
Have a nice day
Paul Rigby22nd April 2021 at 11:04 am
There are plenty of all-in-one systems out there that offer that sort CD player and streaming, but I’m not immediately familiar with a pure transport and streamer combo.
DAN22nd April 2021 at 5:05 pm
Thank you Paul
Tom23rd April 2021 at 6:18 pm
Is 720mv line input sensitivity an unusual number? I feel that most integrated amps are around 150-200mv. Had to switch my external preamp into high-gain to get real volume. Would there be a design/performance reason for Audiolab tuning it this way?
Paul Rigby24th April 2021 at 12:28 pm
Let me ask Audiolab about that one, Tom. They should get my query on Monday with luck.
Paul Rigby29th April 2021 at 10:02 am
Hi Tom – this reply is from the actual designer at Audiolab, “When using an external preamp, I assume the 6000A is used via its Power-Input socket – i.e. as a power amplifier?
Audiolab power amplifiers have for many years featured a fixed gain of 29dB (28 times) so that any two amps can be used for bi-amping. In case of the 50W/8ohm 6000A, that gives an input sensitivity of 720mV. 500mV – 1V is quite normal and having a higher output from the preamp and a lower power amp gain will ensure a better signal-to-noise ratio for the overall system.
“However, if this is referring to the line input (AUX) in Integrated mode, then the 720mV is with the volume control set to 0dB. There is, however, an additional 8dB of gain (max. volume=+8dB), so with the volume “flat out” the sensitivity would
be 287mV. We need a bit of clarification to make sure we are answering correctly.”
Tom29th April 2021 at 2:35 pm
Blimey, thanks Paul.
The ‘preamp’ is an NJC phono stage, perhaps I should have specified that. Currently it’s connected to an AUX line input in integrated mode. I hadn’t considered running it as an actual preamp and using Power mode on the Audiolab. My previous Onkyo A-9010 had a 150mV input sensitivity and I could easily run the phono stage in low-gain, so I was curious as to why there might be such a difference in input sensitivity between integrated amps.
The NJC manufacturer said a cartridge with 5.5-6.5mV output would get me to around 720mV in high-gain, so it just narrows down the options a bit.
Thanks again for getting that response from the designer.
Aizat6th May 2021 at 5:45 am
Hi, Great review. I would like to know how does it compare in term of sound between Audiolab 6000A and Musical Fidelity M2si.
Paul Rigby10th May 2021 at 9:35 am
Hi Aizat – I haven’t been able to compare the two, I’m afraid although I’ve heard good things from those who have heard the M2si. Given the option, I would choose the 6000A but I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you can get a good deal on the M2si.
BK16th May 2021 at 4:37 pm
I currently have a marantz pm8006 which is 70 watts @ 8ohms and they don’t seem to control my mission QX5 speakers well. Now have to buy a new amp, will the audiolab 6000a be a good match? Do you think it will drive the missions efficiently?
Paul Rigby19th May 2021 at 9:26 am
There may be other things happening in your hifi system that I’m not privy to but – looking at the evidence in front of me here – yes, the 6000A will do a better job.
BK19th May 2021 at 4:50 pm
Thanks for the reply. As i only have digital audio files (normal flacs) the marantz is connected to a schiit modi 2 uber dac and sometimes dragonfly red, both via PC. Is my source lacking? will upgrading to a more expensive dac be a good solution or do i go for the 6000a or look for a even more powerful amp as the mission QX5 are power hungry speakers.
Paul Rigby19th May 2021 at 4:59 pm
Hi BK – the weak link is your PC. PCs are great things in themselves. Wonderful jacks of all trades machines, of course and obviously a key part to a desktop set up. Problem is, they are full of high-frequency noise because they are not dedicated music makers. They do a million and one things every second. Such as OS house keeping. Your music output is but one of a host of the things your PC addresses.
Because a PC is a general workhorse, specialist sound-based shielding/isolation is minimal to none existent. Mainly because the PC doesn’t have to go to those lengths. That’s not its core mission, as it where. Great for desktop use but compromised for anything else. So, if you’re hearing issues – that’s why.
Depends on how serious you want to take this but if you do want to go that far in sound terms, bin the PC. Otherwise, you’ll need to live with some compromises.
BK19th May 2021 at 5:24 pm
Oh alright then, so all i need to do is buy a new dac?
Some dacs come with a USB input, should i avoid that too?
Paul Rigby20th May 2021 at 9:28 am
USB is fine, coax connections are great too. Running a hi-fi oriented source through a DAC, amp and speakers will up the sound quality. The source can be a CD transport to a DAC or a USB stick in a DAC or even a separate hard disk independently connected to a DAC, a phone/tablet streamed to a DAC. The options are endless. Just taking the PC out of the equation lowers noise. As I say, it depends on your set up and requirements. A desktop system is PC oriented and so the PC is central to that and that’s fine. But if sound is the only priority, then the former option is better.
Gary20th May 2021 at 11:00 pm
You seem to be suggesting that a phone/tablet streamed to a DAC is superior in audio quality to a laptop/computer streamed to a DAC. Does a phone/tablet not have the same limitations as a computer as far as being non-dedicated to audio?
Paul Rigby21st May 2021 at 9:35 am
Hi Gary – is this referring to my comments to BK? If so, I obviously didn’t explain myself properly. The idea, in BK’s case, is to get the PC out of the hi-fi chain (as long as he wanted to and as long as a desktop system was not the priority). Once done, then the resultant DAC-Amp-Speakers chain would be purer and lower in high-frequency noise while retaining a variety of source options.
I didn’t rate those source options but if I did then yes, plugging in a phone/laptop would offer a compromised source signal. But at least the option remains there. That’s why I included it. To show that variety remains, if you wish to later use it/them. A better source would be a CD transport, isolated hard disk (I emphasise isolated), wired Ethernet connection to the Internet and so on.
Dan19th May 2021 at 10:56 pm
With the 6000a, which speaker do you recommend between BRONZE 50 SPEAKERS and 3030I SPEAKERS? Even though these are low budget speakers, do you think they’re worth it or do you think you need to save a bit of money to buy higher end speakers?
Paul Rigby20th May 2021 at 9:30 am
It depends on your budget, Dan but, of the two, the 3030i would be my choice.
Gary21st May 2021 at 6:19 pm
Yes. I was referring to your answer to BK, where you say…Hi BK – the weak link is your PC. You then say…Running a HI-FI ORIENTED SOURCE through a DAC, amp and speakers will up the sound quality. But then you go on to say the source can be a phone/tablet streamed to a DAC, which I can’t imagine being any better than a PC.
Otherwise, I’m in complete agreement with you, Paul.
Paul Rigby22nd May 2021 at 1:52 pm
In my reply, I didn’t mean to include phones, etc as hifi quality. If you think it read that way then apologies. Hopefully you understand what I getting at now 🙂
Dan20th May 2021 at 3:16 pm
Thank you Paul,
So, do the 3030I SPEAKERS perform well with the Audiolab 6000a? In short, is it a good buy? Currently I have old JMLAB DB08, I wonder if the replacement by the 3030I SPEAKERS will be significant and positive. I don’t know if you can give me that information. Moreover, if I invest a hundred euros more, what would you advise me?
Thanks again Paul.
Paul Rigby20th May 2021 at 6:42 pm
Hi Dan – yes, I’d say they are a good buy.
Vinod K P21st May 2021 at 7:02 am
Hi Paul, I am new to your site, you seem to know quit a lot about the subject & I needed your expert advice on selecting between two integrated amps … AL6000A & PM7000N. My source is mostly Classic Vinyl … like Floyd, Knophler, Eric clapton, porcupine trees etc. I have a Maratz T5005 & plan to get a pair of W’daleLinten I liked every thing I have read about the AL6000A but not sure if It can get enough bass & soundstage out of the lintens. the specs of the PM7000N also looks good. just not able to decide which would pair better with the lintens.
Paul Rigby21st May 2021 at 9:40 am
Hi Vinod – I assume you mean the new Heritage speakers? The choice is down to your requirements. If a built-in streaming option is important, go for the Marantz (but also look at similar options available from Audiolab before you decide). If not? The 6000A is my option.
JChan6th June 2021 at 5:07 am
Hi Paul !
I am currently using Audiolab 8000s, see if the 6000a or even the 6000a play is a wise upgrade ?
My current setup :-
Amp : Audiolab 8000s
Speaker : PMC TB2i
Source-1 : Oppo BDP-95 (for CD audio & Bluray) — Oppo 2-channel analog audio to 8000s
Source-2 : PS4 (for playing Netflix & Youtube) — PS4 HDMI to TV —> TV analog audio to 8000s
I would like to improve my musical playback quality, plus adding convenience in streaming audio.
Looking forward for your advice & thanks beforehand !!!
Paul Rigby8th June 2021 at 9:30 am
Things have moved on since the 8000s, even though it remains a fine amplifier. The Play might be more what you’re looking for if streaming is important to you.
JChan9th June 2021 at 12:16 am
Great to see your message !
I have two more questions looking for your help :
(1) whether the 6000A has sufficient power to drive the PMC TB2i decently ?
(2) whether the DAC in 6000A sound better than the one in the OPPO BDP95 ?
Looking for your further advice & thanks again !
Paul Rigby9th June 2021 at 11:02 am
Yes but with not much to spare. It might be wise to look at upgrading to something like a Rega Elicit-R to give yourself more headroom.
I haven’t heard the Oppo’s DAC but would recommend an external model anyway to reduce high-frequency noise and vibration.
JChan9th June 2021 at 3:44 pm
Really Thanks for your advice again !
for (1), Ｉdefinitely will look into the Rega Elicit-R ! But how about the new CAMBRIDGE AUDIO EVO 75 All-in-One ? Seems around the same price range but with extensive input and streaming options ?
for (2), just for your info, the BDP95 uses two 8-channel, 32-bit ESS SABRE32 ES9018 Reference Audio DACs — details could refer here :- https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/oppo-bdp-95-blu-rayuniversal-player-tpv-103
Again, looking for your further advice & many thanks again !
David30th July 2021 at 8:00 pm
Thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with such thoughtful, detailed reviews and answers. I am considering an upgrade to Audiolab 6000A from a Cambridge Audio 340A that had been well-matched to mid-1980s Heybrook HB2s. The speakers did not survive a recent move and I got a deal on B&W 606 S2. I am pleased with my CD player and am streaming via computer w/Topping DAC (which I could use as USB-coax to 6000A). What would you expect to hear differently from this setup if I retire the 340A for the 6000A?
Paul Rigby2nd August 2021 at 9:32 am
A better tonal balance. A superior integration of bass into the soundstage. That kinda thing David.
Dylan Marx27th August 2021 at 2:57 am
Hi Paul, I have a question about connecting the 6000A pre-outs to a subwoofer. I have the 6000A powering two KEF CI4100QL in wall speakers. 50% for TV and 50% for music. I added a KEF Kube 10b to cover the low end but I noticed that the bass response is extremely low. Almost like the pre-out gain is much lower than the speaker gain. I have the x-over set to 80Hz and the volume on the sub at maximum. I tried connecting the sub using speaker level inputs from the 6000A and the difference was huge, at least 50% more bass response. My problem is that I need to run the Kube 10b wirelessly (using the KW1 wireless kit from KEF), so speaker level inputs are not a permanent solution. I know its not the wireless that’s causing the issue – the lack of bass occurs when I use the wireless KW1 setup as well as when RCA cables are hard wired directly to the sub. Only the speaker level input seems to solve it. Any thoughts?
Paul Rigby27th August 2021 at 2:28 pm
Let me ask Audiolab for you, Dylan.
Dylan A Marx27th August 2021 at 7:14 pm
Thanks a lot Paul.
Raj Kum23rd September 2021 at 10:54 pm
Hi I have recently bought KEF Q950 Floor standers …..
am looking for a good power amp to drive them ….. it should have really good bass, clean and punchy and neutral sound signature …. budget around 1000 $ …. which one do you recommend ….
Paul Rigby24th September 2021 at 9:23 am
Hi Raj – when you say that you’re after a power amp, does that mean you have a separate pre-amp already in place?
Raj kum26th September 2021 at 3:58 am
I have Marantz SR 5013 …. I will use it as pre amp for now
shay5th October 2021 at 2:13 pm
great review as always
how do you think audiolab with kef ls50 meta ?
i can get in the same price rotel a11 tribute
Paul Rigby7th October 2021 at 10:38 am
Yes, sounds like a plan.
Thomas15th November 2021 at 1:38 pm
PAUL RIGBY fantastic review and I love your YouTube channel as well which lead me to this web site.
I have a question though as I fail to understand whether this 6000A can be used to stream audio via Bluetooth to a set of wireless headphones. In either case is there a recommended amplifier option for this around the €1000 mark?
I will connect a turntable (built-in pre-amp if needed) and a CD player to the amplifier in case you were wondering.
Thanks in advance.
Paul Rigby19th November 2021 at 3:06 pm
Hi Thomas – the 6000a can receive Bluetooth signals to pass to your speakers but not send it out to headphones. Its one way. If you buy a BLuesound 2i you can do that, though, because its 2 way. Actually, using Bluetooth and streaming from an external component like the 2i (which is connected to the 6000a) offers better sound anyway, so it’s a recommended move for you.
Thomas19th November 2021 at 5:23 pm
So will the Bluesound 2i be able to output sound from all the sources Connected to the Audiolab A6000 – Cd transporter and turntable? It is primarily those two sources I would like to get passes on to my Bluetooth headphones (ATH-M50xBT2 and Fidelio L3).
Thanks again Paul.
Paul Rigby24th November 2021 at 10:56 am
Might be an idea to read my review to see if that answers any of your questions first: https://theaudiophileman.com/2i-wireless-streamer-review-bluesound/
Thomas24th November 2021 at 8:48 pm
Thanks for the link. I understand that the Bluesound 2i (and the new Node N130 from 2021) has two way bluetooth and can output to headphones. However, I still am seeking confirmation that the 2i(Node) can output whatever I plug into the 6000A. I guess I am really asking how do I connect the 6000A to the 2i(Node) to get the bluetooth output to work?
Paul Rigby26th November 2021 at 9:04 am
You would connect the 2i as you would a CD player or DAC or other component. Then you would interact with the 2i direct in terms of Bluetooth or streaming and any sound from that interaction would then move through the 6000A and to your speakers. But it’s the 2i you would talk to.
Aizat22nd November 2021 at 1:43 am
Thank you for your review and because of this review, I bought 6000A recently without any hesitation. But I bought the used one with good price. My main source of music are from turntable Technics SL-1200MK3 connect to IFI Zen Phono, old Technics CD Player SL-PG340, digital input via IFI Zen Dac V1 and now extra source via bluetooh by using 6000A. I am really surprise with 6000A soundstage and it is really impressive me the most. I also read your review on 6000CDT. Looking forward to buy it one day and connect to 6000A. Any way thank you again for your recommendation and great review. Best regards Aizat.
Paul Rigby22nd November 2021 at 1:43 pm
Steve costello22nd November 2021 at 9:44 am
Hello Paul love your YouTube channel and your in-depth review of this integrated amplifier I have a pair
Tekton lore high efficiency speakers 96db what would you think pairing this amplifier with them I really love my speakers will there be any noise or hiss. and what I understand this amplifier will actually sound better because it is not stressed out in order to play loud
Paul Rigby24th November 2021 at 11:11 am
I’m not familiar with the speakers in sound performance terms but I reckon you should be fine – especially with that quoted sensitivity figure. In fact, isn’t that 98db?
Kevin McGuiness28th December 2021 at 2:51 pm
I am very interested in the 6000A but need your advice, please. I already own an Anthem MCA 30 amplifier that puts out 225 wpc (A/B). Would it be a good idea to use that amp with the 6000A or would the sonic attributes of the 6000A that get such high marks be nullified by not using its own amplifier? I ask specifically because the speakers I would like to drive are the JBL HDI-1600 bookshelf speakers which are lower sensitivity (85) and 4-ohm speakers. If not a good idea, what do you think of pairing the 6000A with the Goldenear BRX?
Thanks very much!
Paul Rigby31st December 2021 at 11:36 am
Hi Kevin – I would never recommend using an integrated amplifier to act as a preamp for a specialist power amp. I’m a great believer in using the right tools for the job. Here, I would hunt for a dedicated pre amp. Especially if you enjoy the sound of the Anthem.
On a tech level, the 6000A would work fine with the Goldenear speakers.
Kevin McGuiness31st December 2021 at 12:46 pm
Thank you Paul. Happy New Year!
Tristram4th February 2022 at 6:20 pm
Hi Paul, I bought one of these based partly on your review and I absolutely love it!
I have a question: I’m thinking of adding a seperate phono stage as I mainly listen to vinyl (via a project debut carbon, ortofon 2m red) – Any models you would recommend in the sub-£200-ish category that would provide a significant upgrade on the audiolab’s internal phono stage? Or do I need to go higher end to hear any improvement?
Paul Rigby6th February 2022 at 5:40 pm
The Pro-Ject MM Phono Box and Rega mini Fono are both recommended.
Paul Rigby7th February 2022 at 11:17 am
I should have also added – nearing towards your budget limit, the others I mentioned are more sub-£100 – the Graham Slee Communicator, Pro-Ject Phono Box Ultra S2 and the iFi Zen Phono.
Nick Passmore6th February 2022 at 8:45 pm
Far be it for me to disagree with Paul. However, like you, I bought a 6000A on Paul’s recommendation, and, like you, I was delighted with it. I already had a Pro-Ject Phono Box, albeit rather an old one, and initially set it up between the turntable (also a Pro-Ject Debut with Ortofon Red, though again an older model) and amplifier, and found that I didn’t really need it, in fact the signal was a bit too powerful. It could well be that the 6000A would work better with a newer model of Phono Box, but that was my experience, and I sold the Phono Box, along with an Arcam rBlink that I no longer needed, thanks to the 6000A’s excellent Bluetooth facility. Hope that helps.
Roman Prokes14th February 2022 at 8:43 am
Hi, is a good choice Wharfedale diamond 220 for Audiolab 6000A?
Thank you for yor response.
Paul Rigby14th February 2022 at 5:01 pm
That’s fine, Roman. The 6000A will also take later speaker upgrades too, if/when you’re ready.
Eric A.3rd March 2022 at 1:26 pm
Great review. I’m planning to buy the 6000A as an upgrade to my Marantz CR610. Do you think I would notice an improvement? I have a Technics 1500C and ML Motion 15 speakers.
Paul Rigby4th March 2022 at 10:51 am
Hi Eric – Yes.
Mark10th March 2022 at 11:28 am
Hi Paul – really great review. I’ve been reading a few on your website recently. I’m looking at a vinyl & CD setup with the following parts:
turntable – AT-LP7
CD – likely AudioLab 6000CDT
integrated amp – either AudioLab 6000A OR Vincent SV-500 (this will need a seperate phono)
speakers – either JBL Studio 620 or Wharfedale EVO 4.1
Do you have any thoughts on the best amp choice between the AudioLab & Vincent and also the speakers please? Cheers for your help, Mark.
Paul Rigby11th March 2022 at 11:32 am
Hi Mark – I prefer the Wharfedales in speaker terms. Haven’t reviewed the Vincent although, from what I hear, the 6000A will be better balanced with a tad more midrange insight.
Mark12th March 2022 at 1:22 am
Thanks for your thoughts Paul – much appreciated! Cheers, Mark.
Leo25th April 2022 at 1:01 am
Hi Paul, I really enjoyed reading your review on this amp, I’m looking at it currently as a main contender for the replacement of my NAD C350, which has done a stellar service to me over the years.
Of course your review of the 6000A was done back in 2019 and since then a number of other amps of similar price have been released, some of which have caught my eye, one of which you have also reviewed (Cambridge Audio CXA61).
So I’m curious on your opinion when comparing these as options (current Australian pricing inc):
Audiolab 6000A ($1415 AUD)
Cambridge Audio CXA61 ($1899 AUD)
Marantz PM6007 ($1290 AUD)
Rega Brio ($1549 AUD)
What really grabs me about the 6000A is something I think my NAD has really been lacking, a spacious sound stage and good tonal separation. My NAD seems to have bags of power for such a budget model, and previously drove my Acoustic Energy AE109 speakers very well, but it just seems to have a very flat, warm character to it’s presentation, which makes the music feel restrained/held back to some degree.
I recently upgraded my speakers to DALI Oberon 5s, and then added a Node (N130) streamer which I use for all my digital content, mainly via Spotify and TIDAL (MQA). These two upgrades have made a massive difference to the music, particularly with the Node I found the level of detail in the music went up tremendously.
I don’t have any use for a built in phono stage as no vinyl use and the fact a lot of amps have built in DACs these days is useful, but with the Node handling DAC duties it’s not a top priority for me, but I’d be curious to hear if you think the built in DACs from any of the aforementioned amps would perform better than the Node DAC?
Aesthetically, I’m definitely leaning towards the understated looks of the Audiolab, it has a very similar style to my NAD, especially over the cluttered face of the Marantz. And I’m not convinced on the small form factor look of the Rega (although it still looks cool), then the Cambridge is very neutral in my opinion, just a shame they don’t offer a darker finish.
Thanks and best regards, Leo
Paul Rigby26th April 2022 at 12:18 pm
Hi Leo – of the listed hardware I would lean towards the 6000A. All of the products listed are good, especially the Rega. I also like the 61 but it does have it’s own sonic personality which you may or may not like (see my review for more on that). I feel that the 6000A provides more tonal balance. The Rega might offer slightly better performing mids and treble but I feel that, as a package, as a whole, the 6000A gives you a broader, more balanced picture. It handles bass well. The Rega gives you good quality bass but I don’t hear quite as much bass confidence and exuberance from the Rega as I do with the 6000A.
In short, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed with any of the hardware in your list and I would encourage you to do more research before you finalise you decision (especially live demos) but I’d personally plum for the 6000A.
Leo27th April 2022 at 4:08 am
Thanks Paul, yeah I’ve been doing lots of research, lost count of how many reviews I’ve read etc, on that subject also found a really good site for reviewing the mechanical/electrical performance of amplifiers on https://www.audiosciencereview.com/ worth a look if that side of hi-fi components interests you, in addition to the all important sound of course.
Also started looking at the very minimalist Musical Fidelity M2Si, which is $2200 here in AU, but boasts a fair bit more power than any of the above at 72w into 8Ohms.
However a particular retailer is now selling the 6000A for $1100 & the M2Si for $1800, which has sealed the deal for me on the 6000A I reckon. As at this price its over $400 less than the Brio, which was likely my 2nd choice.
Neil Ingram30th July 2022 at 3:01 pm
Came across your great review while researching a replacement for my old Marantz PM6003. I’ve read, and watched, a lot of good stories about the 6000A and although I’ve always liked the Marantz brand (and a new one would match the aesthetics of their CD player I also own) I am really tempted by this Audiolab.
The one thing that puts me off a little is no USB input to make use of the internal DAC for streaming. I currently stream from a laptop into a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 100, then to the Marantz via coaxial. The CD also goes via the DAC. It seems the 6000A DAC is pretty good so it’s seems a waste not to make use of it, unless you think the Cambridge is superior……I don’t mind continuing to use the Cambridge, and it would definitely resolve the streaming connection problems.
I was also looking at the Marantz PM6007 & 8006, tempted by the Rega Brio though don’t like it’s looks, and the Rotel A11 Tribute…..any thoughts on these compared to the 6000A, or any others I should add to my consideration list?
I’ve just purchased some Q Acoustic Concept 40s that sound absolutely awesome….an amp is the next upgrade planned.
I’m off to watch your YouTube video of this review now.
Neil Ingram30th July 2022 at 3:24 pm
Just realised my typo…..the CD goes to the DAC via coaxial not the DAC to the amp! The laptop is connected to the DAC via USB. I’m not keen on using Bluetooth for streaming.
Paul Rigby1st August 2022 at 11:32 am
I hear you re. the USB. Honestly, as nice as the internal DAC is I would always recommend an external unit to keep the noise floor low. Internals have lots of good reasons for their use but externals are best for sound. I would stick with the Magic and consider an upgrade to a Node (for example) later on when you have the cash.
Apart from that? I’d go for the 6000A for everything else 🙂
Neil Ingram1st August 2022 at 5:17 pm
Thanks Paul……loved the video too 😂
Think I’m sold on the idea of the 6000A and, having watched your video on the accompanying CD transport, might see if I can pick one of those up too.
Conrad16th August 2022 at 7:50 am
Do you think the 6000A is better performer than the 8000A ?
Paul Rigby16th August 2022 at 12:31 pm
I haven’t tested both as an A-B so can’t say. Saying that, the personality should be wholly different because they are products of two different designer minds. From what I hear, the 8000A was very nice indeed and, if you can ketone, especially serviced and as part of a good deal, then I would certainly take a chance.
Alex24th September 2022 at 12:08 am
Good day Paul.
I’ve the 600A. I’m very interested to pair it with the Dynaudio Evoke 10 for my bedroom of 11m2. In you clever opinion, will it drive them properly?
Paul Rigby26th September 2022 at 12:21 pm
Hmmm, the 6000A will probably be fine but maybe on the end of ‘fine’. At 6 Ohms and a low sensitivity, Dynaudio don’t make things easy. Me? I’d look at an amp 80W and up. So a beefy integrated or a pre/power might be an even better bet.
Mark16th November 2022 at 1:03 pm
Hi Paul, I follow you on YouTube and subscribe to your website, both being my go-to for all things hi-fi.
In fact, I just bought the Audiolab 6000A (and the CDT) on the strength of this excellent review, but me being me, I always have to go just that little bit further, and invested in 2 x Audiolab M-Pwr power amps when I read later in your review that the 6000A could be used as a pre-amp (didn’t read the instructions, see?).
The chap who sold me the amps was under the impression that I intended to bi-wire/amp(?) my speakers, although I’d actually like to bridge them using the 6000A as a preamp.
I already have a small amount of experience of this, having done it with a vintage Rotel Control Amp and single Rotel Power Amp, but I’m sensing it might be a different story with the Audiolab gear?
I wonder if you’d be able to advise me about the wisdom (or otherwise) of my undertaking this course of action and, if at all possible, tell me which plugs go in which sockets so that I don’t blow anything up? I feel a bit stupid asking this, having bought the two power amps before finding out if they’ll work with the 6000A – I just hope you can steer me in the right direction.
Kind regards and many thanks,
Paul Rigby18th November 2022 at 10:18 am
Let me double check with Audiolab on this one Mark – I too need a bit of steering 🙂
Mark Atkinson18th November 2022 at 9:23 pm
Thanks ever so much, mate!
Mark20th November 2022 at 9:01 pm
Hey Paul, just letting you know that I bought two RCA splitters, took the bit by the horns and ‘plumbed in’ the two M-PWR power amps, using the 6000A’s Pre-amp mode and it sounds fantastic…and nothing exploded! (always a bonus).
Only thing is that, as I said in the above ramble, there are no more holes in which to plug the subwoofer, and while the power amps do sound incredible, I would like to be able to use it in some capacity other than doorstop.
So, I was wondering if I purchased another splitter, like this…
…along with a little RCA Male to 3.5mm Female Connector, maybe that would allow such an audacious (foolhardy) plan to work…again, without exploding said electronics.
Anyway, I shall leave this brainteaser with you.
Thank you for this, and for convincing me to invest in the fabulous Audiolab family of electronic gear,
Paul Rigby22nd November 2022 at 7:01 pm
Still waiting for Audiolab, Mark so I’ll be interested to see what they say. This time of year though, they’re a mite busy over there so it may take a bit of time.
Graham Eatough18th November 2022 at 11:00 am
Hi Paul. Been very happy with the 6000a that I bought on the back of this review. Thanks! I’m now looking to start upgrading other components to get a bit more out of it. Tricky question I know but… which of current components – cartridge (Bias2 through P2), phonostage (internal) or speakers (MA Bronze 2) – would you look to upgrade first all things being equal? Was thinking about ATVM95 cartridge, Rega Fono, and MA Silver 100’s as replacements eventually but can probably only afford one at a time. Thanks for any advice.
Paul Rigby18th November 2022 at 11:56 am
I’d grab the best phono amp you can afford, Graham. That will be the pivot of your entire vinyl system, providing the link between the turntable and the rest of the system. So any future cart upgrade will be heard to its fullest. Then the speakers last.
Graham Eatough18th November 2022 at 12:13 pm
Great. Thanks Paul. Was looking at the Rega Fono Mk5 but I’ll maybe see if the budget could stretch a bit further.
Brett18th November 2022 at 12:01 pm
Hey Graham, sound advice from Paul. I’ve got Icon Audio’s PS2 PhonoStage and it’s absolutely sublime. If you can afford Icon Audio’s PS3 MkII then you’re bound to experience nirvana! Happy listening!
Mark11th February 2023 at 10:12 pm
Another 6000A (and 6000CDT) owner off the back of your reviews, I’ve been very happy with them for the last two years.
Having also gradually upgraded my turntable, interconnects, phono stage, speaker cables, it’s now time to look at my old B&W 601 S2 speakers. I’ve found a good deal on a set of ProAc DT8s, the specs of which seem to be a reasonable match for the 6000A, although I’m not kidding myself that a £600 amp will fully do them justice.
In your opinion, will this setup work well enough, even for a year or so until I can start looking for a better amp? Thanks.
Paul Rigby13th February 2023 at 9:30 am
Sure Mark – should be fine. The only thing I would pay attention to is ancillaries. Make sure your shelving seem is up to scratch, the cabling, look at grounding technologies, isolate each component with proper vibration-rejecting feet, antistatic technologies, etc, etc. All of these things help a little bit. Add up all the little bits though and you hear a reduction the noise floor.
Mike3rd March 2023 at 10:18 pm
Amazing to see you are still answering questions years after the post! Your 6000A review was helpful to me as I bought one in December of 2021. It’s been great since them.
I’m looking to invest in a tube preamp for my turntable to run with the 6000A. Do you have any suggestions? I have a technics 1500c turntable. I like colored sound. Just want to enjoy my records.
I was looking at the Schiit Freya. I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to combining audio components so any advice is appreciated.
Paul Rigby5th March 2023 at 1:50 pm
Thanks Mike – do you have a budget?
Mike6th March 2023 at 12:29 am
Probably around 1K USD is what I figured.
Paul Rigby6th March 2023 at 7:32 pm
Hi Mike – in my amplifier review section, browse for the Origin Live Discovery 1, there’s the Profono, Vertere, Pure Audio P10 and Gold Note PH-10. All are excellent. Have a study and do a bit of research on those.