Audiolab 7000 Series Plugs The Gap
Audiolab's 7000 Series trio offers the 7000A integrated amp, 7000CDT CD transport and 7000N Play networked streamer.
The 7000 Series from Audiolab slots perfectly between the entry-level 6000 Series and the long-standing 8300 range, with the recently announced 9000 Series reference line sitting pretty up top.
The three-strong 7000 range comprises an amplifier (7000A), CD transport (7000CDT) and music streamer (7000N Play) and offers an attractive mid-range grouping to Audiolab's line-up.
The new series share a 2.8-inch colour display and the sleekly classy minimalist design synonymous with the brand.
The 7000A integrated amplifier borrows from the hugely popular 6000A (£649) and flagship 9000A (£1,999) models to produce a heady cocktail of performance and price-matching, as you might expect.
The strong family DNA is evident in the three line-level RCA inputs as found on the 6000A; however, the 7000A benefits from an upgraded MM phono stage and Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD (up from the 6000A's vanilla aptX). You also get two pairs of optical and coaxial digital sockets, with the added bonus of HDMI ARC and a USB Type-B input, taking file support up to PCM 32-bit/768kHz, DSD512 and full three-unfold MQA. Also, the integrated amp is Roon tested and so will integrate into your Roon eco-system.
Digital to analogue decoding in the 7000A is taken care of by a 32-bit ES9038Q2M Sabre chip, while the post-DAC active filter and Class A circuitry have been lifted from the 9000A. Power is increased over the 6000A thanks to an uprated toroidal transformer offering 250VA. Meanwhile, although the output doesn't quite match the 9000A, it does trump the 6000A with 70W of Class AB power per channel.
Finally, the 7000A also sports Audiolab's handy triple amp option, which allows you to select between using the 7000A as an integrated amplifier, a power amplifier or as a standalone DAC/preamp, whichever suits your needs best.
The 7000CDT matches the new amp with a 2.8-inch colour screen up front and is equipped with a “high-quality, tray-loading mechanism” in place of the 6000CDT's slot-loading offering. We're told this sits in its own electromagnetically shielded enclosure and incorporates a high-precision optical system and low-friction loading tray.
The new CD transport has also been given power supply and output circuitry tweaks, including a more advanced toroidal transformer and a higher level of shielding for the circuits, so we are informed.
Alongside the coaxial and optical outputs, which are fed by a digital stage that's said to “exhibit vanishingly low levels of jitter” thanks to its temperature-compensated crystal oscillator-controlled master clock is a USB Type-A input inherited from the 9000CDT, which allows you to playback from USB devices.
Audiolab 7000N Play
Rounding off the new 7000 series is the 7000N Play streamer which, according to Audiolab, “offers a significant step up from its still-current forebear”.
That said, the 7000N Play remains based around DTS Play-Fi, which is no bad thing as the app-controlled multi-room streaming platform hands you access to a raft of music services, including TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer, as well as supporting DLNA playback, Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2.
The 7000N Play shares the ES9038Q2M DAC chip with the 7000A sending the analogue signal out via RCA to an integrated or preamp, or to some powered speakers. Alternatively, use the optical and coaxial outputs to connect the 7000N Play to an external DAC or an amplifier's digital input. It's all about the options.
Audiolab's 7000A (£1,099), 7000CDT (£549) and 7000N Play (£549) are available in March in a choice of black or silver.
Visit Audiolab for more information
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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