From the IAG-owned Audiolab comes the first member of its new flagship series: the 9000A integrated amplifier, whose dual-mono layout promises 100wpc into 8 Ohms of Class A/B power (with ‘high-current’ drive). The left and right channels’ four output transistors each enjoy their own separate power supply and are in turn fed by a 320VA toroidal transformer.
Per Audiolab’s 6000A/Play integrateds, the front-panel ‘MODE’ rotary permits three modes of operation: as a standalone pre-amplifier, as a standalone power amplifier or as an integrated amplifier. The neighbouring volume wheel ‘talks’ to a micro-processor which then changes the volume in the analogue domain.
Internal D/A conversion comes by way of a proprietary circuit built around an ESS ES9038PRO chip with, according to the press release, special attention paid by Audiolab’s engineering team to the post-DAC active filter: enjoy full MQA decoding as well as PCM 32bit/768kHz and DSD512 capabilities via the unit’s rear-panel USB input. A pair of TOSLINK and coaxial inputs accommodate additional digital sources but next to those sits a pair of balanced XLR analogue inputs as well as three line-level inputs and an MM phono input that according to Audiolab offers a notable step up in performance from that found in the 6000A Play.
Turning our attention again to the front panel, we note a 6.4mm headphone socket – that pulls on a dedicated headphone amplifier circuit built with “current-feedback design and high slew rate” – and a 4.3″ colour IPS LCD screen that shows the volume level, incoming data format (where applicable) and the active input. It also assists with the options menu’s navigation where digital or analogue VU meter displays can add some visual stimulation to the mix. However, the absence of an internal network streamer means album art display isn’t an option. Audiolab has a separate flagship network streaming box slated for Q1 2023. The aerial protruding from the back of the 9000A? It’s not for wifi but for aptX/AAC Bluetooth.
The 9000A will sell for £1999/€2299 when it goes on sale in mid-November.
Further information: Audiolab