Going back in time to 1983 (!) Audiolab gifted the audiophile world the rather lovely amp that was the original 8000A. It was an iconic design way ahead of its time and sound for pound was not equalled anywhere else. It also cemented Audiolab’s reputation as a maker of great sounding, well built products at affordable prices.
Thirty five (!) years on we have more lovely gifts for modern day music lovers in the shape of the new 6000 series. Here in the Cheltenham branch we have just taken delivery of the 6000CDT and the 6000A.
The 6000CDT is a dedicated compact disc transport with a slot loading mechanism designed to be robust and reliable. It uses a very clever method of reading the disc ahead and buffering it. This way it can very cleverly play scratched and damaged discs that a lot of other players would not be able to.
The 6000A is not only an amp, it also has a built in digital to analogue converter with three filter settings, four digital inputs (two optical and two coaxial). It also sports three line level inputs and a rather good phono input for turntables, a built in headphone amp and it does Bluetooth too!
Of course all of this looks great on paper but the really important bit is how they perform. Do they make sweet music or are they just another hi-fi system!? After a jolly good running in period, we connected the CDT to the A with a good quality optical cable from Audioquest and hooked up a pair of Neat Acoustics SE2 floorstanding loudspeakers.
We sat down with a cup of tea and some cake (as you do) to have a critical listen. First to play through the system was Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead from the great album that is Kid A. A very dense piece of music with multi layered vocals but the Audiolab pair made it sound open and detailed with a big airy soundstage that flows way to the far left and right of the speaker cabinets. This is often a very difficult trick to pull off with this particularly wonderful piece of Radiohead weirdness!
Next we played the title track from Bright Size Life by Pat Metheny. Always a good tester for revealing how good a system is at with all that pitch and timing stuff. Once again they passed with flying colours! Jaco Pastorius sounding soooooooo delicate and nimble amongst Pat Metheny’s guitar cascades. I only intended playing the one track but this system was sounding so good that the whole album passed by really quickly and sounded gorgeous.
After that I fancied something a little different and alighted on the title track of an album called Fossil Scale by Georgia Ruth. Georgia is one of that new breed of folkies who is not afraid to mix in a bit of modern electronicness and distorty guitar to her sound. The track Fossil Scale features a delicate soaring vocal performance with a fascinating and floaty bass line that at times really plumbs the lower depths (you should look her up …she’s good!).
The Audiolab combination was both fast and bulbous (thanks Don) and in combination with the Neat speakers really laid bare the mix and presented the music in a big and open soundstage.
This is one of those combinations that brings true meaning to that phrase “system synergy” It can cope with whatever you play through it and is superbly detailed in its presentation bringing out lots of subtle nuances in the music that you would normally only expect from much more expensive systems.
For what it costs this is one of those set ups that you just have to audition. It will really surprise you and have you going through your music collection so you can hear all those details revealed that you never even knew were there!
For the boring techy stuff it’s probably a good idea to have a look on the Audiolab website……. for the fun stuff come to us at Audio T Cheltenham. There may even be some cake left!
Buy this album now …..its wonderful!