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Audiolab announces Omnia streaming amplifier

  • Omnia. In Latin, it means ‘ready for anything’ — an appropriate name for Audiolab’s first proper entry into the Future-Fi space where one box does everything, just add loudspeakers. The Omnia lays down 50wpc into 8 Ohms (or 75wpc into 4 Ohms) of Class A/B amplification – that draws on Complimentary Feedback (CFB) topology to maximise linearity and thermal stability – inside a compact chassis that’s fronted by a colour 4.3″ 800x480px TFT display.

    The Omnia’s internal DAC circuit is built around an ESS Labs ES9038Q2M chip to support sample rates of up to 768kHz/DSD512 arriving over its Roon Tested and MQA-certified USB input; and up to 192kHz for streams arriving at its coaxial and TOSLINK sockets; or up to 192kHz for streams spilling from the unit’s DTS Play-Fi-enabled network streaming input.

    Regular readers will know that, at the time of writing, streams kicked off by Play-FI’s iOS/Android app will travel through the smartphone (or tablet) before arriving at the streaming endpoint i.e. the Omnia. Moreover, DTS Play-Fi splices 4-5 second gaps of silence between tracks to seriously disturb the hypnotic flow of DJ mixes, classical suites and live albums. Workarounds are few. There’s no Apple AirPlay, Chromecast Built-in or Roon Readiness. But there is Spotify Connect with which gapless playback remains fully intact. The Omnia’s Bluetooth input could also prove a useful stand-in albeit with the slight hit to sound quality introduced by Qualcomm’s lossy aptX codec and/or AAC.

    Thankfully, the Audiolab can also play catch on a third party streamer’s digital and/or analogue output via its (2) coaxial inputs, (2) TOSLINK inputs or its trio of analogue inputs. The Omnia also boasts a “high quality, low noise” MM phono stage, reportedly an evolutionary implementation of that found in the British/Chinese company’s 6000 series of amplifiers.

    The twist in this tale is the presence of a CD drive that according to Audiolab “builds on the class-leading 6000CDT CD transport with a read-ahead digital buffer to reduce disc-reading failures. Omnia is able to play scratched and damaged CDs that are unreadable by conventional mechanisms.”

    A current-feedback and high slew rate circuit provides headphone amplification to the front panel’s 6.4mm socket to drive a broader range of headphones than integrated amplifiers of yore. And like the recently reviewed 6000A Play, the Omnia can be run as a pre-amplifier or power amplifier.

    In a choice of black or silver, this super-duper-integrated will run you €1799 or Β£1599.

    Further information: Audiolab

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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