Audiolab 7000A Integrated Amplifier

Audiolab 7000A Integrated Amplifier

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Key info

  • Class AB power amplifier with high-current design for exceptional accuracy and dynamics.
  • Analog RCA and XLR, digital coaxial and optical inputs for easy connectivity to a variety of devices.
  • Direct turntable connection for exceptional clarity and detail in vinyl playback.
  • Simple, intuitive interface for easy adjustment and optimization of listening experience.
  • Sleek, minimalist design and high-quality construction for a visually and sonically impressive addition to any home audio system.

All specifications

Physical characteristics
Weight 8.4kg
Dimensions (HxWxD) 444 x 340 x 78 mm
Technical specifications
Frequency response 20Hz-20kHz (+/-0.1dB)
Input sensitivity 720mV
Output Impedance 4.7 ohms
DAC Type ES9038Q2M
Gain +6dB (Line); +55dB (Phono MM)
Inputs 3 x Analogue, 1 x Phono (MM), 1 x Power Amplifier, 2 x SPDIF (Coax), 2 x SPDIF (Optical), 1 x HDMI ARC, 1 x PC USB (USB B), 1 x Bluetooth (aptX/aptX LL), 1 x 12V Trigger
Outputs 1 x PRE Amplifier, 1 x Stereo Speaker, 1 x Headphone, 1 x 12V Trigger

Versatile connectivity

The 7000A incorporates state-of-the-art digital-to-analogue signal conversion, enabling digital sources toconnect directly without an external DAC. Like the 6000A, there are four S/PDI F inputs – two coaxial and two optical – but the 7000A adds a USB Type B input for PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets and digital storage devices. It also includes an HDMI ARC input for convenient AV system integration – the 7000A is the only Audiolab amplifier to include this facility. Bluetooth reception is included too, with support for multiple codecs including aptX HD, and Bluetooth 5 compliance for optimum range and speed.

For analogue sources there are three line-level RCA inputs, plus one for a turntable. Audiolab has tweaked the 7000A’s MM phono stage to improve performance compared to the 6000A, with precise RIAA equalisation and input filtering to ensure vinyl is treated with as much care as digital sources.

Digital circuitry

Ever since the much-admired M-DAC launched more than a decade ago, Audiolab has been famed for the performance of its DAC circuitry. The M-DAC was one of the first consumer audio products in the world to incorporate ESS Technology’s groundbreaking Sabre32 Reference DAC chips, sharing its use of the ES9018 chip family with other renowned Audiolab components including the 6000A. For the 7000A, Audiolab has switched up to a new generation 32-bit Sabre chip – the ES9038Q2M. This is accompanied by proprietary circuitry to make the most of ESS Technology’s HyperStream II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator for ultra-low noise and high dynamic range.

No company knows more about making the most of Sabre DAC technology than Audiolab, having worked with it for years through several product generations. Although always technically excellent, these DAC chips are also challenging to implement to maximum effect and must be integrated into a product’s circuit design with care to extract their full sonic potential. The post-DAC active filter is a critical element; Audiolab developed a new Class A circuit for its flagship 9000A integrated amp that’s perfectly tailored to make the most of the ES9038 chip family and this same circuit is used in the 7000A.

The 7000A’s hi-res audio support is state-of-the-art, handling PCM to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD to 22.5MHz (DSD512) via USB. The 6000A, in comparison, is limited to 24-bit/192kHz PCM over S/PDIF.

The 7000A amplifier supports full decoding of MQA and can perform the complete three unfold decoding process internally, making it an excellent choice for Tidal’s HiFi Plus tier subscribers. It is also Roon Tested for seamless integration in a Roon audio environment. The 7000A offers upsampling of digital audio signals to 352.8kHz or 383kHz and features five DAC reconstruction filter settings for adjusting the sound to suit the source material. Its exceptional DAC stage ensures high-quality sound from all digital sources, whether connected via USB, S/PDIF, or Bluetooth.

Analogue circuitry

The 6000A’s Class AB amp circuitry has been widely praised for its impressively balanced performance across all critical parameters, at an affordable price. Jan Ertner, Audiolab’s lead electronics designer, took the circuit he designed for the 6000A and considered where the additional budget afforded by the 7000A’s higher price point could best be invested to achieve optimal sonic dividends. His resulting design improves key areas to significant sonic effect, whilst also increasing the amp’s power output.

The 6000A delivers 50W per channel into 8 ohms; the 7000A ramps this up to 70W, with a maximum current delivery of 9 Amps into difficult loads. The output stage of the discrete power amp circuits uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology, ensuring superior linearity and excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. The 6000A’s 200VA toroidal transformer has been uprated to a new 250VA unit, combining with 60000uF reservoir capacitance to maintain firm control of the music whilst enabling excellent dynamic range.

Pre and power operational modes

The 7000A offers three operational modes: Integrated, Pre-Power, and Pre. Integrated mode combines the pre and power amp stages for use with digital and analogue sources, while Pre-Power mode disconnects them for use solely as a power amp or with additional signal processing. Pre Mode disables the power amp stage, turning it into a standalone DAC/preamp for use with external power amplification.

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