An amplifier remains the beating heart of any high-performance audio system, a truly versatile integrated amp needs to cover many bases – digital and analogue sources, wireless connectivity for portable devices, a phono stage to cater for vinyl playback, amplification for headphones as well as speakers… That’s a lot to pack in, whilst keeping performance high and the price tag affordable – and yet, that’s exactly what the 6000A delivers.

Color: Black

Categories: 6000 Series Amplifiers

The Sound of Science

Outwardly, the 6000A bears strong resemblance to the 8300A with its rotary controls and large, central OLED display. Unlike its costlier, analogue-only sibling, it incorporates high-quality D/A conversion, enabling digital sources to be connected directly without an external DAC. It supplies four digital inputs, three line-level analogue inputs, an input for a turntable, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and a dedicated headphone amp, in addition to its ability when driving loudspeakers.

Classic Hi-Fi for the Modern Age

To incorporate all this functionality, there must be compromise under the lid, right? Wrong. The
6000A’s lead electronics designer is Jan Ertner – the same man responsible for the 8300A, as well as
many other award-winning audio components over the years. When challenged to deliver 6000A at
such a low price point, Jan returned to the technologies he implemented in the 8300A and
painstakingly redeveloped them, whilst adding high-quality digital circuitry to the mix. The result is a
new-generation amplifier evolved from the architecture of its pricier sibling, delivering exceptional
sound quality alongside those flexible facilities.

Digital Circuitry

Much effort has been made to ensure the 6000A’s digital circuitry delivers the level of quality one might
expect of a high-performance standalone DAC. As ever, Audiolab has turned to the ES9018 Sabre32
Reference chip family to perform D/A conversion, utilising ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream
architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver ultra-low noise and high dynamic range.

Analogue Circuitry

The 6000A’s discrete Class AB power amp stage delivers 50W per channel into eight ohms, with a
maximum current delivery of 9 Amps into difficult loads. The output stage of the discrete power amp
circuits uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology, ensuring superior linearity and excellent
thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors.
A substantial 200VA toroidal transformer, followed by 4x15000uF reservoir capacity (60000uF in total),
helps the amp to maintain firm control of the music whilst enabling excellent dynamic range.

Turntables and Headphones

In recognition of the recent vinyl revival, Audiolab has included a phono stage for moving magnet
phono cartridges – a high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based circuit with precise RIAA equalisation.

Similarly, an increasing number of people are using headphones for music listening, so Audiolab has
incorporated a dedicated headphone amp with current-feedback circuitry. Its gain bandwidth and high
slew rate ensure a dynamic, detailed and engaging performance with all manner of headphone types
– more boxes ticked for this most integrated of integrated amplifiers.

Operational Modes

The 6000A’s flexibility with digital and analogue sources is not the only thing that makes it so versatile;
it also offers three distinct operational modes, reflecting the amp’s discrete internal architecture and
enabling it to adapt to its user’s evolving requirements.
The primary mode is ‘Integrated’ – this combines the pre and power amp stages, for the connection of
digital and analogue sources to the amp’s inputs and a pair of speakers to its binding posts

Flexibility Without Compromise

Jan Ertner, the project’s lead electronics designer, commented: “The majority of audio components that I design retail for upwards of £1,000, so the 6000A was a tremendous challenge – an integrated amp with a full roster of digital and analogue facilities at a target retail price of just £600. What’s more, it had to deliver the excellent sound quality for which Audiolab is famed, without compromising one aspect of performance in order to accommodate another.

“I’m proud of the results we have attained. On DAC performance alone, the 6000A will match standalone DACs in the £500-£600 range. As for the analogue pre and power amp stages, we’ve worked long and hard to ensure that the 6000A delivers class-leading sound quality. As a package – a high-quality, affordable integrated amp for the modern age – the 6000A represents excellent