Audiolab 9000A Integrated Amplifier
Audiolab has enjoyed an enviable reputation for amplifier excellence ever since the original 8000A arrived in 1982, establishing itself as the classic step-up model from the ‘budget’ integrated hi-fi amps of the time. This reputation has remained constant through successive product generations, right up to the 6000A and 8300A, both of which have delighted music lovers at their respective price points in recent years.
As we approach the end of 2022 – 40 years after the launch of the 8000A – it’s time to reveal the next generation of Audiolab amplification. The 9000A is the first component in Audiolab’s new flagship range, the 9000 Series. It is also the best-integrated amplifier Audiolab has ever made.
Matching the modern hi-ﬁ enthusiast’s requirements, the 9000A features a full-colour IPS LCD screen, oﬀering clear and informative playback, source and ﬁle information. Not to mention a host of menu options for optimum performance and user-deﬁned settings. Various display options are provided, which also include two VU meter options, allowing the 9000A to be visually informative or, in the case of ‘display oﬀ’ settings, a discreet centrepiece of any audio system.
Flexible and capable
Diﬀerentiating itself from rivals within its category, the audiolab 9000A blends digital capability with an analogue pedigree. Premium level D/A conversion, as one would always expect from audiolab, allows a range of digital sources (over four digital inputs) to be connected directly to this high-power integrated unit. Yet, based on over 40 years of ampliﬁer design pedigree, not to mention a recent history of multi-award-winning audio solutions, the 9000A also caters for analogue device integrations (via three AUX, balanced XLR and a dedicated phono input).
The world of modern audio enjoyment is not limited to wired playback devices though, hence the 9000A also supports wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and digital audio via a PC USB connection.
The 9000A features the latest ESS 9038PRO flagship 32-bit DAC chip. Using the critically acclaimed patented HyperStream® II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the ES9038PRO delivers an unprecedented performance level that will satisfy the needs of the most demanding audio applications – fitting an amplifier of the 9000A’s calibre.
Years of experience and countless ESS-equipped models mean that audiolab is more than familiar with making the most of this technically excellent but challenging DAC technology. Great attention has been paid in developing a system that allows audiolab electronics and ESS DAC technology to offer the best in audiophile performance.
The amp’s four S/PDIF digital inputs – two coaxial and two optical – handle hi-res PCM data up to 24-bit/192kHz and benefit from a host of user-selectable digital filters that allow the user to optimise the response to suit the source file and bandwidth of the partnering equipment.
PCM audio is supported to 32-bit/768kHz, alongside DSD to 22.5MHz (DSD512). Every significant hi-res and lossless audio format is catered for, including FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV, as well as compressed legacy formats.
MQA all the way
The 9000A also delivers full decoding of MQA, the hi-res streaming technology from a custom engineered MQA certified DAC solution. This means that the complete ‘three unfold’ decoding process is performed internally, as opposed to just the final unfold in the manner of an MQA ‘renderer’, which makes the 9000A an excellent system choice for subscribers to Tidal’s ‘HiFi Plus’ tier where Tidal Masters (MQA) content can be found.
As expected for modern audio playback convenience, Bluetooth connectivity is featured as standard with the 9000A stepping up to the aptX HD protocol for sonically superior and easy wireless streaming from smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. Bluetooth-paired devices also benefit from the quality of the amp’s DAC section and filter options.
High-performance Phono stage
With every iteration of integrated amplifier design, audiolab works to improve on the bench-mark, built-in phono stage section. The 9000A is no different; pushing the boundaries of performance of an onboard phono pre-amp section. The all-new phono pre-amp for 9000A offers compatibility for moving magnet – a JFET-based circuit with precise RIAA equalisation offers the best of both worlds for the turntable using audiolab fans.
Similarly, for the headphone output stage employing current-feedback circuitry with wide bandwidth and high slew rate; the 9000A ensures a dynamic, detailed and engaging performance with all manner of headphone types, with that extra added audiolab sparkle from the consistent signal integrity from all inputs.
The audiolab 9000A continues with the theme of flexibility in audio system integration. As is a staple to the audiolab integrated amplifier design, the 9000A offers three variations of operating mode, making it a versatile and essential component in any system.
|General Description||Integrated Amplifier|
|Design Philosophy and Core Technology||2 x 100W (8 ohms) / 2 x 160W (4 ohms) Class AB|
|ES9038Pro 32-bit DAC|
|4.3" (800 x 480mm) Large Size Full View IPS LCD|
|Built-in Certified MQA Full Decoder (PC USB, Coax/Optical)|
|Bluetooth 5.1 (aptX/aptX HD/AAC/LDAC) Support|
|Dedicated High-performance, Low-noise MM Phono Stage|
|Dedicated Current-Feedback Headphone AMP|
|Integrated / PRE-POWER / PRE Only Modes|
|USB Upgrade Support|
|Inputs||3 x Analogue, 1 x XLR, 1 x Phono (MM), 1 x Power Amplifier,|
|2 x SPDIF (Coax), 2 x SPDIF (Optical), 1 x PC USB (USB B),|
|1 x Bluetooth (aptX/aptX HD/LDAC), 1 x 12V Trigger|
|Outputs||1 x PRE Amplifier,1 x Stereo Speaker, 1 x Headphone, 1 x 12V Trigger|
|Sampling Frequency||Optical / Coaxial: 44.1kHz-192kHz;|
|PC USB: 44.1kHz-768kHz (PCM) / DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512|
|Gain (max.)||+6dB (Line), +53dB (Phono MM)|
|Input Sensitivity||1Vrms (Line, Volume = 0dB);|
|2Vrms (XLR, Volume = 0dB), 4.4mV (Phono MM, Volume=0dB)|
|Input Impedance||10K (Line); 47K // 100pF (Phono MM)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.0004% (1kHz @ 2V, Volume = 0dB)|
|Frequency Response||20Hz-20kHz (+/-0.1dB)|
|Output Voltage||2.3V max. (Volume = 0dB)|
|Output Impedance||120 ohms|
|Signal-to-Noise Ratio||> 110dB (Line & XLR, A-weighted); > 80dB (Phono MM, A-weighted)|
|D to A Converter||ES9038Pro|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.001% (1kHz @ 0dBFS)|
|Output Level (0dBFS, 1kHz)||2.1Vrms|
|Max. Sampling Frequency||Optical, Coaxial: 192kHz;|
|PC USB: PCM768kHz, DSD512|
|Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N)||> 117dB (A-weighted)|
|Power Amplifier Section|
|Rated Power Output||2 x 100W (8 ohms, THD<1%);|
|2 x 160W (4 ohms, THD<1%)|
|Frequency Response||20Hz-20kHz (+/-0.3dB)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||<0.002% (1kHz @ 50W / 8 ohms)|
|Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N)||> 110dB (A-weighted)|
|Max. Output Current||15A|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||< 0.01% (1kHz, 50mW )|
|Output Impedance||2.35 ohms|
|Load Impedance||20-600 ohms|
|Standby Power Consumption||<0.5W|
|Dimensions (mm) (W x H x D)||444 x 89 x 342|
|Carton Size (mm) (W x H x D)||514 x 470 x 161|
|Finish||Black / Silver|
|Power Requirements||220-240V ~ 50/60Hz;|
|(depending on region)||100-120V ~ 50/60Hz|
|Standard Accessories||Power Cord, Remote Control, User Manual, Antennas, etc.|