Audiolab 6000A Play

Audiolab 6000A Play

This is a look at the Audiolab 6000A Play, an integrated amplifier with a streaming DAC platform that does the lot, basically. I have fond memories of the Audiolab series in the early 90s when it was the period where you were you had either the NAD 3020e or the Audiolab 8000A if you were serious about your early HiFi journey. It must be said, as someone on the NAD side, Audiolab always looked that bit more stylish and this new Audiolab 6000A Play retains those historic good looks in a very contemporary design.


Audiolab 6000A Play

Audiolab 6000A Play with MM Phono input and Bluetooth aptX

The Audiolab 6000A Play is simply the widely acclaimed Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier crossed with the 6000N Play streaming DAC. It does the lot, and it is controlled by the DTS Play-Fi platform that is widely used and it works with Android, Apple, Alexa, Spotify Connect, etc. As well as all the streaming, the Audiolab 6000A Play has a MM phono input as one of the 5 analogue inputs. There are also 2 each of optical and coaxial digital inputs as well as a Bluetooth aptX option. The Audiolab 6000A Play features the ESS Sabre32 ES9018K2M Reference DAC.

The Class A/B amplification is a claimed 50W per channel into an 8 Ohms speaker load and 75W per channel into 4 Ohms. The Audiolab 6000A Play can be used as an integrated amplifier, a preamplifier and even just a straight power amplifier, as in an AV setup for example. This is all programmable in the intuitive menu system or via the remote control.


The Audiolab 6000A Play is a very good looking, slimline, standard width box, I have the fine-textured silver brushed aluminium finish which to me is nicely understated with a contemporary look, though it reminds me of the Audiolab heritage.

The display is similarly minimalistic, functional, and clear and I like it, no need for cluttered displays or artwork here, it’s all on the App of course. You can turn off the display quite easily with the remote.

Audiolab 6000A Play

Audiolab 6000A Play with remote control

The dimensions are 445 x 80 x 330mm (W x H x D) including feet, terminals, and controls, the 6000A Play weighs in at a solid 7.9kg and is available in Black or Silver.

The Audiolab 6000A Play is priced at £849, the straight 6000A integrated amplifier is £649. For the record, the 6000CDT is £399 and the straight 6000N Play streaming DAC is £499.


Review Equipment

I have a pair of floorstanding Kudos Super 20A at the moment that is simply stunning. That’s basically it on the review side as the 6000A Play does everything else! I’m still using the excellent Tellurium Q Ultra Black II speaker cable. I am using a Vertere Redline Power Cable by the way into the 6000A Play because I have it.


I have the Audiolab 6000A Play wired, using Atlas Hyper Ethernet cable, I could be wireless if I wanted it to be but this is a more functional choice for me. The 6000A Play has a standby mode that is useful, and this is managed in the simple menu setup.

There is a remote control which is always nice, though the App is so slick it is rarely needed. There is a mute function, it is a soft mute, which I always prefer.

Pre Output

Familiar tracks like … 2049 … from the Blade Runner 2049 film soundtrack has the scale, depth, and clarity I was listening for

Initially, to get a feel for where the 6000A Play is relative to my listening room, I have chosen the preamplifier output, rather than driving the speakers. You would choose the 6000N Play which has the streaming platform, fewer analogue inputs and is just a preamplifier out if this was to be your main streaming source with an existing system. However, I was wanting to evaluate the Audiolab 6000A Play streaming platform with my own pre and power reference set up, the Moor Amps Angel 6 with the Angel-Pre. The ‘Pre out’ on the 6000A Play disables the speaker output, thus reducing noise, I have the gain turned to unity with this arrangement.

My initial impressions, with my familiar amplification, is of accessibility, and, if I’m honest, surprising detail and accuracy. Familiar tracks like the 2049 opener from the Blade Runner 2049 film soundtrack has the scale, depth, and clarity I was listening for. The open and dominant sound I am used to from the Moor Amps is all here from my Play-Fi source and it is notable.

Kudos Super 20A

With the Audiolab 6000A Play driving these stunning speakers instead I retain a very energetic soundstage that is full and lively. There is enough resolution for me from both Qobuz and Tidal Masters tracks for me to be very happy with the presentation, it is a clean digital performance.

If I put up Paul Simon’s incredibly visceral Homeless collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Tidal 16 bit, 44.1kHz) the wonderful breath in the acapella section near 2’20” is superb and you can feel the warmth and energy from the vocal.

Dynamically, from a track like Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Tin Pan Alley (Tidal 16 bit, 44.1kHz), there is plenty of attack (the power response from silence to loud) from the 6000A.

So, there is plenty of resolution being passed through the streaming platform and the soundstage is comprehensive. Switching to an older pair of B&W CM7s (8 Ohms, 88dB) the output is similarly terrific, the digital output is very clean with plenty of bass on offer from the 6000A Play.

Headphone Output

Using a pair of Planar Magnetic Oppo PM-2s from the front 6.35mm jack, the speaker output (and preamplifier if using) is softly disabled, a nice touch. The resolution is good and the headphone output is working nicely for me.

DTS Play-Fi Highlights

Audiolab’s choice of Play-Fi, one of the biggest and best-supported platforms…. is a good choice

Historically, I’ve had average DTS Play-Fi experiences, however, in the intermediate period I’m pleased to say connectivity and all-around functionality has been very good. I totally get that HiFi companies have to choose a streaming App, Cyrus recently chose BluOS for their platform and Audiolab’s choice of Play-Fi, one of the biggest and best-supported platforms, is a good choice.

On setting up the 6000A, I had to login into Tidal and this was very easy. Similarly, the PC App is pretty easy to set up and works well with the Qobuz and Tidal Desktop.  My experience on the ‘Office iPad’ was probably even better than the Android App.

My experience of DTS Play-Fi has been hugely enhanced by the Server Source management which has hooked up my Naim UnitiServe (which is generally dodgy these days from a connection point of view) and a new, on review, Leema Sirius with no bother at all. I’m super impressed with this and when my internet went down this weekend, my switch to the networked servers was exactly how you would wish it to be, seamless, in other words.

A Play-Fi highlight for me has to be when I received a phone call the Play-Fi App on the phone paused the music playback for me, terrific!

MM Input

The MM input from the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO is a very competent arrangement and resolution is clean enough and offers a good value solution for vinyl users. The Earthing point is next to the Phono inputs, which is thoughtful. I’d put the MM input up there in respect of inbuilt stages and at this price, that is impressive.


Pairing is a breeze with my Pixel 4XL and the Audiolab 6000A Play has a bright, decent enough sound for casual Bluetooth listening, which in my case is more often Podcasts, BBC Sounds and the like. A Tidal Masters Automatic For the People Bluetooth cast has enough guitar resolution as I might want and the vocal is as mournful as ever. The Bluetooth handily disconnects if you wander off, or switch sources.


…this is an amazing price point to start any digital or analogue HiFi journey…

This Audiolab 6000A Play is priced so competitively in the toughest of markets. I’m reminded of the brilliant Leema Pulse IV with this, but that was three times the price, the pricing with this 6000A Play is silly; in terms of integrated amplification, I’m reminded too of the Rega Brio with its lively performance at a similarly crazy price.

For me, I’d certainly be very persuaded to spend my own cash on the straight 6000N Play streaming platform since I have the pre and power setup I want already. If was starting out all over again, this is an amazing price point to start any digital or analogue HiFi journey in the same way Audiolab always was.


At this price, £849, this is ridiculous for all this functionality, and it looks great anywhere, it’s proper HiFi. Solid amplification, a good streaming DAC and it does just about anything you can throw at it, from vinyl to Bluetooth and beyond, and it has the Play-Fi front end.

Value for money
The array of input options
Good looking
Server Management in Play-Fi
MM Phono stage is top drawer
Succinct integrated performance
Preamplifier output
Audiolab styling

At this price, what more do you want?


Full details are on the company’s site.


Add yours
  1. 1

    In your review you mentioned Kudos speakers, there’s the Kudos Cardea C20 and Kudos Super 20A and not Kudos Super C20 as you typed. So am wondering which you have on hand.

    • 2
      Simon Wilce

      Yes, thank you well spotted, they’re Kudos Cardea Super 20A! Thanks, I’m changing the text. The 20As are fantastic, I have done a review of them, there is a REL version with the 20As and an external active crossover coming too (this first week of March 22). In all cases the Super 20As are fantastic.

  2. 3
    Andy L

    Just picked up the 6000a with free delivery to Portugal for 639€ – that’s £536 in my old money from HiFi hut in Ireland! That saving is going to make it sound all the sweeter!

+ Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.