ConclusionWe really did our best to catch the Audiolab 6000a on an error but in vain. This is a very fine integrated amplifier and not only in its price range. For us, the very best components are the ones that inspire you and draw you into the music. Of all the qualities that the Audiolab 6000a possesses, that involvement is the most important. It is therefore the reason why we give this amplifier a well-deserved Alpha Approved award. Congratulations!
Where the sound of the older models could be rather inexorable in lesser recordings (read sharp and analytical), fortunately this is no longer the case. We now hear more refinement without sacrificing detail. This is the perfect amplifier to control monitor speakers in a not too large listening room. Plenty of balls, baking speed and a refinement we’ve never heard before in this price range. Compelling is the most appropriate term we can come up with to describe the sound. The Audiolab 6000a is of course surrounded in this set by very good components but it is never the inferior.
Let’s dissect a few of his characteristics through some delicious music. Starting with the way the 6000a effortlessly follows the rhythm of a song. We can clearly hear that quick signature on the album “Good at Falling” by Japanese House. Our Audio Vectors are also very fast and in combination with the 6000a they break any speed record. We are very impressed and even dare to say that this Audiolab 6000a, what the English call PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing), does better than our Bryston.
A second characteristic is the presence of punch and power which gives the music sufficient foundation in the lowest regions. This provides a solid foundation on which numbers can rely. Here wins the Bryston just on points but the balance with the rest of the sound is almost perfect at the 6000a. On Lambchop’s new electronic album, the beats are given a lot of weight and definition. The reproduction is tight and there is a lot of quality in the bass.
The last element, the refinement, is more difficult to explain. How come we listen with the 6000a mesmerized and it holds our attention. How come we even intuitively prefer the Audiolab to our Bryston? On the one hand because there is no edge and all instruments sound natural. But so does the Bryston. However, unlike the cool Bryston, the Audiolab dares to show its emotions so that the music comes to life and we are carried away by the music.
Furthermore, there is a lot of air between the instruments, which gives each instrument its own place. Guitars reverb long after and the stereo image is right in the middle. We hear detail and sparkle but it is never loud or metallic in sound. The music floats through space and swirls our ears in a decent 3D sound field. But it is mainly the emotional connection with the music with which this amplifier is very popular.