Audiolab 6000N Play Streaming Amplifier
The audiolab 6000N Play is a wireless audio streaming player and is the latest member of the acclaimed audiolab 6000 Series of components. Featuring DTS Play-Fi® Technology, music can be streamed over your wireless network in high-resolution format and can be easily expanded to a multi-room system if required. You can stream from any source on your wireless network, including smart-phones, tablets or PCs as well as a NAS Drive.
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.
No company knows more about making the most of this technically excellent, but challenging, DAC technology than Audiolab. If the circuitry that surrounds the ES9018 is not of sufficient standard, the resulting sound can seem a little cold and hard; treat it right, however, and the level of musical expression that this chip digs from the digital signal is captivating. Audiolab’s original, universally acclaimed M-DAC was one of the first home audio components to incorporate an ES9018 chip back in 2011, and the company has been honing its implementation ever since.
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.
The preamp section is kept as simple as possible to maintain signal purity, with line input signals passing to a precision analogue volume stage. The latter covers the range from -80dB to +8dB in steps of 2dB and 1dB (step resolution increases with volume position). Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the 6000A’s circuitry, protecting the sensitive preamp section from noise interference. This, plus the use of independent low-noise power supplies for critical stages, helps to deliver a performance that rivals significantly more expensive analogue amplifiers, even before taking the 6000A’s impressive digital circuitry into account.
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.
The 6000N Play is the ideal way to add high-performance wireless streaming to any home audio system
The 6000N Play combines the versatility of the DTS Play-Fi wireless audio platform with Audiolab’s sonic know-how to deliver a great-sounding Wi-Fi streaming solution that is simple to set up and use. Users can stream from any source on their wireless network - smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs, as well as NAS drives and music servers - utilising the 6000N Play’s dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. It also connects wirelessly with other Play-Fi-equipped devices, enabling a fully synchronised multi-room set-up.
Providing access to a wealth of internet music services: Spotify, Tidal, HDtracks, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Napster, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM, to name a few. Users might choose to browse a radio guide listing thousands of stations and podcasts, or stream from a home media server with DLNA compatibility. The 6000N Play is hi-res audio enabled, capable of receiving data up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution over Wi-Fi - well in excess of CD quality - without transcoding or down-sampling.
The 6000N Play incorporates a high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter), utilising the same ES9018 Sabre32 Reference chip found in the highly acclaimed Audiolab 6000A integrated ampliﬁer. ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, coupled to Audiolab’s own circuitry, delivers ultra-low noise and high dynamic range. The circuit design also draws inspiration from Audiolab’s 6000CDT CD transport, incorporating the same isolated power supply with a high - eﬃciency toroidal transformer for optimum signal purity.
The inclusion of a DAC stage ensures the 6000N Play can be used with any audio system - simply connect the RCA analogue outputs to a regular ampliﬁer, or a pair of active speakers. Alternatively, take a digital feed (optical or coaxial) direct to an external DAC, or an amp with digital inputs such as Audiolab’s 6000A. Naturally, the 6000A is an ideal partner for the 6000N Play; when these two components are paired digitally, an optical or coaxial cable is used to convey the audio signal while a supplied USB control cable enables control of the 6000N Play via the 6000A’s remote handset.
The 6000N Play is conﬁgured and operated via the Play-Fi app, available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire phones and tablets, as well as Apple and Android smartwatches and Windows PCs. It can also stream directly from Spotify via Spotify Connect, and is DLNA and UPnP compliant. There are minimal controls on the component itself - just the standby button and a set of six’ preset’ buttons. These presets operate exactly like those on a DAB or FM tuner; simply select an internet radio station, or a playlist from a compatible streaming service, and store it as a preset for speedy access - no app required.
This operational simplicity, coupled to Play-Fi’s versatility, is key to the 6000N Play’s appeal. For some, it is the perfect way to stream music from the likes of Spotify, Tidal and Deezer, with all the additional functionality of Play-Fi including multi-room audio. For others, it is simply the best way of adding radio to their hi-ﬁ system, with the huge choice of stations available via the internet - the traditional hi-ﬁ’tuner’component, reinvented for the streaming age.