Audiolab 8300CD & 8300A First Listen

The eagerly awaited Audiolab 8300 series has started to arrive. The 8300CD arrived a few days ago and the 8300A amplifer has literally just come through the door. Chris pretended it was Christmas and opened it up in record time and got it straight into the demo room to give it a whirl...

The first thing that is noticeable is the new case work design. Audiolab have produced a blasted aluminium finish that looks great in the flesh, with more rounded and softer looking lines compared to previous ranges. The standby switches are very nice to use as are the selector controls, you can tell that this is a new animal from the ground up yet still maintaining the classic Audiolab look, so new products could easily sit in an older Audiolab system and not look out of place.

Connectivity is also as expected from Audiolab, plenty of inputs on both the CD player and amplifier. As with previous model CDs there are plenty of inputs to make use of the internal DAC. Again, the improvement of the internal DAC means that it is compatible with much higher resolution sources including DSD.

Whilst it's great having all these options to connect external equipment, I always want a CD player to perform primarily as just that - a CD player! So, first of all I set it up with a relatively inexpensive pair of interconnects and used the PMC Twenty 21 speakers as they are one of my favourites. Straight out of the box and stone cold it sounded fantastic. I used a track by Jewel, a folk/country artist with a very distinctive and emotional voice, tremendous vocal detail and presence with a very impressive sound stage. A simple recording with acoustic guitar and a cello was filling the room.

The next thing I tried was using the XLR balanced connection between CD and Amp and wow  - what an improvement! Not losing any of the tonal balance it simply opened up the sound to another level. It's now on repeat in the demo room so I can give it another spin later on once it's warmed up - I'm sure it's only going to get better....

Another very nice thing is the new display panel, very clear and not so bright it can scar your retina like some displays! A very sleek looking set up.

The pair will be set up in the demo room for a few days so feel free to call in with a CD or two and have a listen for yourself.....

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