Adding extra prower to the Audiolab 6000A?

OliveRock

Standard Member
Hello to all readers,

I'm new on this forum. I'm a French music enthousiast who getting more and more passionate with hifi systems though I try to stay reasonnable in my choices. And for sure I regularly look into useful tips and advice from AVForum.

I have a question regarding a possible upgrade of my system.

I currently have an Audiolab 6000A, paired with Fyne Audio F303. I'm really happy with the osund and don't have much to say about the overall quality and volume level. Yet, I keep asking myself whether I would happier or not with a bit of extra power, like adding a 8300XP for instance. You know, the hifi bug...

My listening room is a fairly big room (living room + kitchen) of 35 square meters (110 square feet), with two windows, a staircase and tiles on the floor. Though the listening space is probably a square of around 4 to 4 meters.

The thing is that I don't know what extra power can bring. I have the feeling the Fyne could be driven a bit better, though I've never listened to them with another amp than the 6000A. And I keep reading contradictory things on the Internet about power supply, especially because the 6000A is told to offer "quality" watts. So it's not that I'm desappointed with the sound of my current setup, though a bit at low volumes (especially because I like to listen at high volume, listing to rock and soul music).

So, what can extra power bring up? And do I really need extra power? If so, what about buying the Audiolab 8300XP?
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello

Power releases detail in your speakers - it's not about volume as no doubt you're aware, but about being able to deliver a signal with lower levels of distortion at similar or high SPL's.

You will also likely find lower volume levels are slightly more engaging and colourful - the bass will be more pleasant in this scenario than your current.

You'll no doubt hear better, more controlled bass from your drivers .

The 8300XP is a good power amplifier - but the 8300MB's are soooo much better.

8300XP:
Total harmonic distortion (THD)0.004% (20W, ref. 1kHZ)

8300MB:
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)0.00%

You may find that the 8300A is a good unit too for you - depending on your musical sources and if you have a separate dac etc :)
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
Thanks for your reply! SO you defintely think power is better. I was naturally thinking about Audiolab because that's a brand I like, though I might consider buying something else.

My main concern is really to first understand whether I need extra power - meaning that it would make a significant difference to my current setup - or if that would just be a bit overated.
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi

Would it make a significant difference - that depends on your speakers and your room and your ability to hear the differences being made :)

Our experience in running the 6000A vs 8300A vs 8300CDQ + Power amp is clear: the more capable the amplifier, the bigger the gains. The gains I tend to hear are throughout the range i.e. from quiet listening and the fullness of the sound, through to improved performance, lower distortion and quality output in louder settings.

All power amps do the same - I was outlining above that in audiolab's inventory - there are some differences in terms of power output and THD. That said - the XP is a blooming good power amplifier for its money :) But yes, other power amps will do the same job just a little differently.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
If you turn up the volume, then turn it down, over and again, more power may be the answer.

I start my listening sessions quite and build up, only turning it down out of concern for my neighbors.
 

gava

Well-known Member
Thanks for your reply! SO you defintely think power is better. I was naturally thinking about Audiolab because that's a brand I like, though I might consider buying something else.

My main concern is really to first understand whether I need extra power - meaning that it would make a significant difference to my current setup - or if that would just be a bit overated.

Always have more power than you think you need. If you can find someone who will let you return if you don't hear a difference then that would be best. I do find that both my current sets of speakers, although they should be fine at decent volumes with moderately powered amps, definitely benefit from higher power in terms of dynamic control compared to lower powered amps.

The ability to play loud without the music getting noisy and unpleasant is wonderful. I find this is very apparent with my Concept 300s. With a high powered amp they can go very loud with an eerily silent background and dynamics - it's great!

One inexpensive way to test if you will benefit from the extra power is to add a Behringer A800 as the power amp hanging off the 6000A. It's a perfectly competent performer for the money and if you find the power helps then by all means upgrade to the 8300XP.

I would take @Yorkshire AV recommendation. I have never heard a poor report of the the 8300XP, they seem to be universally highly regarded.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
The ability to play loud without the music getting noisy and unpleasant is wonderful. I find this is very apparent with my Concept 300s. With a high powered amp they can go very loud with an eerily silent background and dynamics - it's great!
Thanks for all these replies. Playing loud is completely OK and I have the feeling I actually have enough power when it comes to volume level. Yet, when playing low volume, and sometimes I have to (kids in house), I fin the Fyne being not very revealing though it might also be due to hearing loss. My wife keeps saying I'm deaf - while I thinkl I just don't listen to her enough.

I really need to test a power amp indeed since I've never compared two setups with different power grades. Listening in hifi auditorium is never similar to inhouse experiences. I was indeed considering buying a Behringer though then may come other biases like overall sound quality.

So I might ending buying an 8300XP. I usually read a lot of reviews and tend somehow to trust reviewers and hifi enthousiasts and then take a chance at buying. That's the way I've purchased my complete setup without listeing to it before and I've ended being quite satified with the result.

All of you seem to consider that more power is an answer, and I trust you. Yet, I've read about the 6000A that it was delivering quite serious quality juice apart from the watts and that's why I'm really wondering whether adding extra juice to it is a real answer.

Have some of you such an experience of combo-ing 6000A (or another integer) with the 8300XP and experience real and dramatic change?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
For normal domestic listening on average sensitivity speakers most amps over about 40w can produce enought sustained and peak volume at 10ft (80dB average plus 20dB peaks)


What larger, more powerful amps do is provide both headroom and reserves to better control the speaker motors to start and stop them better and so produce better transients which in turn we interpret as more dynamic sounds. Also, typically distortion occurs the higher the watts from a given amo (up to the point it clips) there for a certain output a larger capacity amp (working at 1/3 capacity) will have less distortion than a smaller one (working close to 100%) And it is distortion and clipping that can kill speakers.

So if you have an amp with 40W+, a strong power supply with capacity (either due to transformer/capacitor size or SMPS capacity) and a good damping factor (ideally 150+) then you are normally good to go.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
Great link! I probably listen to music very loud at 8.2 feet from the speakers (according to the letric system conversion). In between 80 to 95. According to the metrics, my 50w audiolab would allow to reach 106db in my configuration, which is more than enough and that I can bear. My F303 are 91db of sensitivity. Noticeably, the volume knob of the amp is usually at -36db so I still have plenty of power.

To sum it up, yes my amp is fine enough to handle my speakers correctly, but adding extra power would help getting a more refine sound, especially at low volume.

I still don't really get what more refine is, what getting more grit does. I guess I have to try by myself.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
a good damping factor (ideally 150+)
Good morning,

Could you pleasexplqon what the damping factor is? And how can I measure or find the measure for my 6000A? Is it related with the capacitors or the power supply, as he Audiolab is said to have great components for that.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member

This is quite a good explanation, the damping factor is usually quoted in the manufacturers specs.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
The reason I use 12" speaker cables

 

TB Rich

Active Member
Have some of you such an experience of combo-ing 6000A (or another integer) with the 8300XP and experience real and dramatic change?
If it's of any help, I added an 8300XP to my 8300A - running the 8300A in Pre mode.

I was very surprised by the improvement, it wasn't bass authority as many had me to believe adding power would give (perhaps the 8300A was already sufficient there for my speakers/room/listening levels) - but actually the improvements were with soundstage, imaging, and clarity in that mid to top end region.

For sure it provided a noticeable improvement, and I'd presume it to be a double benefit:
1) now operating the integrated as a Pre amp only (Audiolab's Pre mode fully disconnects the internal amps so no doubt generates a lot less noise in this mode).
2) simply better quality amplification with greater channel separation - which explains the improvements to soundstage and imaging no doubt.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
If it's of any help, I added an 8300XP to my 8300A - running the 8300A in Pre mode.

I was very surprised by the improvement, it wasn't bass authority as many had me to believe adding power would give (perhaps the 8300A was already sufficient there for my speakers/room/listening levels) - but actually the improvements were with soundstage, imaging, and clarity in that mid to top end region.

For sure it provided a noticeable improvement, and I'd presume it to be a double benefit:
1) now operating the integrated as a Pre amp only (Audiolab's Pre mode fully disconnects the internal amps so no doubt generates a lot less noise in this mode).
2) simply better quality amplification with greater channel separation - which explains the improvements to soundstage and imaging no doubt.
Thanks for sharing your experience. What is your listening room size and that speakers are you driving?
 

TB Rich

Active Member
Thanks for sharing your experience. What is your listening room size and that speakers are you driving?
Listneing space is also my living room and about 5.5m x 3.5m, driving KEF R5 - which I think are amazing.
(Source is a Node 2i feeding a Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC - which I also think is brilliant!! :D)

Like every audiophile, I have half an eye on what I would love to upgrade to next...but I simply cannot fault in anyway the sound I have achieved now. To upgrade would require mega bucks from here, and I'm not convinced I have the listening skills, room, or taste in music.... to even obtain any benefit!
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
Listneing space is also my living room and about 5.5m x 3.5m, driving KEF R5 - which I think are amazing.
(Source is a Node 2i feeding a Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC - which I also think is brilliant!! :D)

Like every audiophile, I have half an eye on what I would love to upgrade to next...but I simply cannot fault in anyway the sound I have achieved now. To upgrade would require mega bucks from here, and I'm not convinced I have the listening skills, room, or taste in music.... to even obtain any benefit!
Great. I'm not sure I can actually gain that much in soundstage due to the fact that my speakers are quite closed to my walls and only 1,8m apart one from the other. Yet I found it already very good considering the conditions, and that was the huge imporvememnt I got with the Audiolab 6000A.

The wrapup, based on all the feedbacks, is that I'm not sure anymore that upgrading to 8300XP or other power amp would be such an improvement. I might indeed test a t.amp to heare what extra power would add. I have an option to buy a used 8300XP for 1000 euros, but that quite big money for the slight improvement I'm looking for.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
The big changes come from speaker and room eq

Considering there's a big new product from minidsp entering the market I expect to see a few 2nd hand room eq units become available, either with dirac or parametric eq

You could implement an analogue eq between pre out and power in on your 6000a

 

TB Rich

Active Member
Great. I'm not sure I can actually gain that much in soundstage due to the fact that my speakers are quite closed to my walls and only 1,8m apart one from the other. Yet I found it already very good considering the conditions, and that was the huge imporvememnt I got with the Audiolab 6000A.

The wrapup, based on all the feedbacks, is that I'm not sure anymore that upgrading to 8300XP or other power amp would be such an improvement. I might indeed test a t.amp to heare what extra power would add. I have an option to buy a used 8300XP for 1000 euros, but that quite big money for the slight improvement I'm looking for.
It's one of those things, compared to using the money towards speakers for example it's going to yield less of a change no doubt. But on the flip side, you can be sure you're getting the most out of your current speakers and it'll set you up for future upgrades.


You could implement an analogue eq between pre out and power in on your 6000a
I have a miniDSP 2x4 HD, I would not use one between pre/power. You'd be adding in a low quality ADC and DAC stage (not that I'm especially a measurements guy, but it measures not well at all!). - It's fine for bass management hung off the pre or an AVR, but personally I'd not touch it for my main signals.

I think DSP want's to be handled in the digital domain, before any DAC process otherwise it's going to need an ADC prior. The miniDSP Studio to me is ideal here; providing digital DSP, then feed my choice of DAC (i.e multibit or R2R), and finally on to a quality analogue pre/power combo - perfect!
 

3rdignis

Active Member
Upgrade room eq, dac and preamp.

 

TB Rich

Active Member
Upgrade room eq, dac and preamp.

Maybe when the digital version is out, as it's a essentially a Studio minus the streaming side, so nice if you're wedded to another platform for streaming already. I particularly like BluOS so the Flex digital may have some merit to try one day, unless NAD bring something out like an M12 with Dirac + Bass Control.

The analogue versions however out now means I still would not be looking to insert a Flex between pre/power amps, for the added conversion steps as mentioned.
The analogue ones do support USB out mind, but USB out seems finicky at times, but if it plays ball with your DAC then great.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
It's one of those things, compared to using the money towards speakers for example it's going to yield less of a change no doubt. But on the flip side, you can be sure you're getting the most out of your current speakers and it'll set you up for future upgrades.
You definitely recommend upgrading to the 8300XP, right? I've looked at the R5 and though the sensibility if 87 (vs. 91 for the Fynes) the minimum acceptable power is 15w against 30w for the Fynes.
Would you says the improvememnt was a big step up? Or is it part of the hifi quest - which is not a criticism - meaning that it would be one of these slight upgrades that all put together create a better experience (like cables, DC supply and so on....)?
 

TB Rich

Active Member
You definitely recommend upgrading to the 8300XP, right? I've looked at the R5 and though the sensibility if 87 (vs. 91 for the Fynes) the minimum acceptable power is 15w against 30w for the Fynes.
Would you says the improvememnt was a big step up? Or is it part of the hifi quest - which is not a criticism - meaning that it would be one of these slight upgrades that all put together create a better experience (like cables, DC supply and so on....)?
Your second thought is closer to reality, it is not a transformational upgrade and it would be wrong for me to suggest to you that you will install it and be like 'wow this is next level'.
But it was to me a tangible improvement and I was concerned I wouldn't hear any.
(I actually bought a mint used one on eBay for decent money, with a view to selling at little to no loss if I heard no improvement, alas I'm keeping it 100%).

To be clear, the tonal balance of my setup remained the same, nothing became brighter or darker, all was just as before and so my speakers still sounded like my speakers (a good thing!).
But the presentation (soundstage and channel separation) was obviously better, along with a sense of clarity that allowed me to pick out details was for sure better also.

How much that is worth to you, well I'm of the opinion that in this game if you can legitimately hear a difference, and it's a difference clearly for the good - then it is worth it! (as long as you don't get in to debt doing it I guess!)

As said before, the counter argument is you spend it elsewhere on speakers as that will make a bigger difference without a doubt. But if you like your speakers, they work in the room/look nice/haven't had long etc... then maybe just make the most of them with the upgrade.

Another argument is you sell the 6000A and use that money+8300XP money, and look for a higher tier intergated, maybe one with a DAC, the list is endless! (me personally I prefer my pre/power to be fully analogue given the rate of change with digital audio at present).

Lot's of choices to say the least :) I'm not recommending as such any, just offering my experience with adding the 8300XP to my 8300A which was a good one and exceeded my expectations (I would expect similar enough results putting your 6000A in to Pre mode too).
I'm also happy I now have pre/power separates because I can explore say tube pre amps, or DSP, etc, and know that I have a quality power amp behind me.
 

OliveRock

Standard Member
Your second thought is closer to reality, it is not a transformational upgrade and it would be wrong for me to suggest to you that you will install it and be like 'wow this is next level'.
But it was to me a tangible improvement and I was concerned I wouldn't hear any.
(I actually bought a mint used one on eBay for decent money, with a view to selling at little to no loss if I heard no improvement, alas I'm keeping it 100%).

To be clear, the tonal balance of my setup remained the same, nothing became brighter or darker, all was just as before and so my speakers still sounded like my speakers (a good thing!).
But the presentation (soundstage and channel separation) was obviously better, along with a sense of clarity that allowed me to pick out details was for sure better also.

How much that is worth to you, well I'm of the opinion that in this game if you can legitimately hear a difference, and it's a difference clearly for the good - then it is worth it! (as long as you don't get in to debt doing it I guess!)

As said before, the counter argument is you spend it elsewhere on speakers as that will make a bigger difference without a doubt. But if you like your speakers, they work in the room/look nice/haven't had long etc... then maybe just make the most of them with the upgrade.

Another argument is you sell the 6000A and use that money+8300XP money, and look for a higher tier intergated, maybe one with a DAC, the list is endless! (me personally I prefer my pre/power to be fully analogue given the rate of change with digital audio at present).

Lot's of choices to say the least :) I'm not recommending as such any, just offering my experience with adding the 8300XP to my 8300A which was a good one and exceeded my expectations (I would expect similar enough results putting your 6000A in to Pre mode too).
I'm also happy I now have pre/power separates because I can explore say tube pre amps, or DSP, etc, and know that I have a quality power amp behind me.
Thanks for that honest and detailed experience. Believe me, that helps me a lot to make up my own idea. It's always about going for improvements now or waiting to go for it later when the decision process is mature enough or when you know exactly what you need and want.
 

TB Rich

Active Member
Thanks for that honest and detailed experience. Believe me, that helps me a lot to make up my own idea. It's always about going for improvements now or waiting to go for it later when the decision process is mature enough or when you know exactly what you need and want.
No problem, and yeah I get you - if I urged on every impulse and eBay find without proper consideration then I’d be utterly broke!! Only last week was I eyeing up a used Linn Klimax Kontrol pre-amp for example, but really I don’t need it…!!! 😅
 

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