Audiolab Omnia Covers Streaming, CD and Vinyl All In One Unit
Audiolab's new Omnia just-add-speakers music system boasts streaming smarts, a full-colour screen, phono stage and CD player.
The Audiolab Omnia aims to be your one-stop shop when it comes to music playback. With its swish minimalist aluminium enclosure, the Omnia is just as happy streaming from its dual-band Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection, as it is spinning a CD or amplifying the output from your moving magnet phono cartridge. Furthermore, it can become part of a multi-room system. Just add speakers, and you're good to go.
The Omnia is nothing but flexible. You can even bypass the separate Class AB amp stages, giving you the option to connect an external preamplifier or power amplifier, should you want to expand from the all-in-one starting block.
Front and centre is a 4.3-inch full-colour screen that displays system settings, format data and track details. It can even be set to display a VU meter in 'analogue' or 'digital' form, showing real-time decibel levels for the left and right channels. Who doesn't love watching dancing VU meters?
As streaming is where it's really at right now as far as music consumption goes, Audiolab has ensured that the Omnia has that well and truly covered via DTS Play-Fi. This means you get access to Spotify, TIDAL, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Audacy, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM. In addition, the DTS Play-Fi app will sniff out the music you have stored on your network and create a library of tunes found on your DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server.
In standard mode, which is optimised for multi-room bandwidth, Play-Fi streams at up to 16-bit/48kHz (CD-quality). However, Play-Fi's Critical Listening Mode hands you hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz over Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable, without transcoding or down-sampling.
The Omnia delivers full three unfold decoding of MQA for those using Tidal's upper tier and is Roon tested. Furthermore, the Omnia will play via Spotify Connect. Meanwhile, Bluetooth 5 onboard means wireless streaming compatibility with aptX, aptX LL, AAC and SBC.
If you still have a physical library of digital tunes, the Omnia's CD player will be an added bonus. We're told that the Omnia's transport mechanism incorporates a high-precision optical system and low-friction loading tray, with an electronic data buffer and sturdy aluminium base and chassis to mitigate vibration.
Digital to analogue conversion is taken care of by a 32-bit ES9038Q2M ESS Sabre DAC, partnered by a post-DAC active filter. Audiolab says its design team has paid particular attention to this, utilising op-amps specially selected for their synergy with the Sabre DAC. PCM audio is supported to 32-bit/768kHz, alongside DSD to 22.5MHz (DSD512) with all the usual suspects catered for, including FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV, as well as compressed legacy formats.
As for vinyalistas, the onboard MM phono stage features a high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based circuit with precise RIAA equalisation, so says Audiolab. In addition to the phono stage, the Omnia offers a pair of USB inputs, Type A and Type B, four S/PDIF digital inputs (two coaxial and two optical), three line-level stereo RCA inputs, and an Ethernet port.
Audiolab states that the Omnia's preamp and power amp stages incorporate short, direct signal paths and high-quality components to preserve sonic purity.
Volume is adjusted under microprocessor control, outputting directly to the Class AB output stage at 50W per channel into 8 ohms, with a maximum current of 9 Amps into difficult loads. That should translate to the Omnia being able to power most speakers likely to be paired with it.
Finally, in addition to the set of gold-plated speaker binding posts, head-fi fans will find a front-mounted 6.3mm headphone output fed by a dedicated amp.
The Audiolab Omnia is available from December 2021, in a choice of black or silver, for US$2,299 RRP.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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