Rega IO or Audiolab 6000A (For vinyl mostly)

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Hello,

I'm in the market for a new amp. I am looking at either the Rega IO or the Audiolab 6000A. I can get either for a decent price (the 6000A currently has a discount and will cost about 100 euro more then the IO)

I'm looking to hook either one of them up to my turntable and either a pair of Klipsch RP-500m or KEF Q150. I already have a DAC (Schiit Bifrost Multibit) which at the moment I have connected to my PC via USB and it's connected to a headphone amp.

I prefer the aesthetics of the Audiolab, however I do also find the all analog approach from the IO appealing. So I am mainly purchasing an amp for my turntable, I do listen to Spotify/Tidal from my PC, but mostly use my headphones doing so. I do like also having the option to play music from my PC to my speakers, but I can use my Bifrost for that (or the integrated dac from the 6000A). I will not use bluetooth.

My vinyl collection consists mostly of rock music and the space I will be using it in is a small office with a large desk + computer (nearfield listening.)

Anyone who tried both and can possibly share some thoughts? Thanks!
 
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Nico72

Active Member
For 100 euro difference I would go with the audiolab which gives you more power and a good built in DAC. You could sell your DAC to cover the difference between the two amps.
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
For 100 euro difference I would go with the audiolab which gives you more power and a good built in DAC. You could sell your DAC to cover the difference between the two amps.
Just out of curiosity, would I be able to hook up a separate headphone amp to the Audiolab's pre out, so I can make use of it's DAC?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Just out of curiosity, would I be able to hook up a separate headphone amp to the Audiolab's pre out, so I can make use of it's DAC?
Yes you can. Unfortunately I think that if you use the pre-outs then you cannot use the amp for your speakers if I read this right.

Pre Mode All signals to and from the power amplifier of the 6000A Play are disconnected. In this mode, the 6000A Play functions as a stand-alone pre-amplifier. The preamplifier section of the 6000A Play can be connected to a stereo power amplifier, or to two mono-block amplifiers.

You can use an amp that has a record loop such as the Rega Brio to connect to a standalone headphone amp. The Rega io doesn't have that function. I use a standalone headphone amp with my Rega Elicit-R.

I would say that the Rega Brio is a better amp than the Audiolab.
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Yes you can. Unfortunately I think that if you use the pre-outs then you cannot use the amp for your speakers if I read this right.

Pre Mode All signals to and from the power amplifier of the 6000A Play are disconnected. In this mode, the 6000A Play functions as a stand-alone pre-amplifier. The preamplifier section of the 6000A Play can be connected to a stereo power amplifier, or to two mono-block amplifiers.

You can use an amp that has a record loop such as the Rega Brio to connect to a standalone headphone amp. The Rega io doesn't have that function. I use a standalone headphone amp with my Rega Elicit-R.

I would say that the Rega Brio is a better amp than the Audiolab.
Interesting, there is a Brio available second hand but in very good condition nearby where I live. Might be worth it if I can get it cheaper then the 6000A.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've not listened to any Klipsch speaker but believe that because of the tweeter design they can produce a somewhat bright and fatiguing treble. The Brio will however drive the KEF Q150s very easy and I can confirm that KEF and Rega do blend well together as I run R300s with my Elicit-R.
 

Nico72

Active Member
Just out of curiosity, would I be able to hook up a separate headphone amp to the Audiolab's pre out, so I can make use of it's DAC?
The audiolab 6000a has its own headphone out. Why would you want to use a separate headphone amp with it?
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
The audiolab 6000a has its own headphone out. Why would you want to use a separate headphone amp with it?
At the moment I am using a Bifrost + Valhalla 2. I am quite fond of this combination and I am not sure if I can part ways with the Valhalla for headphone usage.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The audiolab 6000a has its own headphone out. Why would you want to use a separate headphone amp with it?
Depends on the headphone amp and how good, or not, the headphone section of the stereo amp is. Many amps have headphone jacks as more of an after though. A quality headphone will invariably perform better than that fitted to the stereo amp.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Yes you can. Unfortunately I think that if you use the pre-outs then you cannot use the amp for your speakers if I read this right.

Pre Mode All signals to and from the power amplifier of the 6000A Play are disconnected. In this mode, the 6000A Play functions as a stand-alone pre-amplifier. The preamplifier section of the 6000A Play can be connected to a stereo power amplifier, or to two mono-block amplifiers.
I have the 6000A and the Pre-outs are active or live regardless of the mode the amps in. See below:

Screenshot_20210525-213932_Word.jpg


It's the same with the 6000A Play. As long as @DannyK1987 connects his headphone DAC to the "Pre-outs" on the rear of 6000A Play he can use it in any mode except "Pre" - as the speakers jacks & pre-out jacks are both "Active".
 

Costello

Well-known Member
Io all the way. The phono stage in the Io is the same as in the Brio and it’s excellent. If you’re after a simple amp for vinyl, this is a no-brainier for me. It’s a superb little amp. The 6000A is very good and boasts far more features but, if you don’t need those, the Io is the way forward, in the opinion of a Brio owner, of course.
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Io all the way. The phono stage in the Io is the same as in the Brio and it’s excellent. If you’re after a simple amp for vinyl, this is a no-brainier for me. It’s a superb little amp. The 6000A is very good and boasts far more features but, if you don’t need those, the Io is the way forward, in the opinion of a Brio owner, of course.

So I can buy a Brio 2nd hand, as new in box for 500 euro. The Audiolab (brand new) is priced 599 right now.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
So I can buy a Brio 2nd hand, as new in box for 500 euro. The Audiolab (brand new) is priced 599 right now.
If it were my money I'd buy the (already have) the new 6000A. If nothing else being new it'll come with a warranty. As an.owner of this amp, I can also say it really is built like the proverbial muck-house so to speak. Weighs an absolute ton and hasn't missed a beat. I use mine with Monitor Audio Silver 100's (which admittedly aren't, the most demanding of speakers to drive. The onboard Sabre based DAC is fabulous. Best £599 I've spent. Its bought a new life to my 2 channel listening.

It does however has a lot of features that you may not end up using. Is there any chance you can audition both amps side by side prior to committing on a purchase?
 

Costello

Well-known Member
So I can buy a Brio 2nd hand, as new in box for 500 euro. The Audiolab (brand new) is priced 599 right now.
That’s a good deal. The Brio is 50W compared to the Io’s 30W. The Brio is, in my opinion, superior to the Io though not necessarily vastly better.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I wouldn't worry too much about warranty on the used Brio. Rega have a life time warranty on all parts and is transferable.

KEY FEATURES​

  • Integrated phono stage
  • Headphone socket
  • Mini remote control
  • Custom designed case
  • 50 W into 8 Ω
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacture defects

 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I wouldn't worry too much about warranty on the used Brio. Rega have a life time warranty on all parts and is transferable.

KEY FEATURES​

  • Integrated phono stage
  • Headphone socket
  • Mini remote control
  • Custom designed case
  • 50 W into 8 Ω
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacture defects

Whoops. Forgot about Riga's having this!
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Well it wasn't an easy decision because the Riga was REALLY appealing to me as well, but as you all can see I went with the Audiolab. A couple reasons why I chose this over the Rega:
  • Build in DAC
  • Overall aesthetics
  • It being on sale (200 euro less)
  • 60 day return policy
Had a quick listen with my DT 1990's headphones and first impressions are good. I still need to find a pair of speakers that go well with this amp. Thank you all very much for your kindness and advice. A warm welcome for a newcomer like me, I'll be sure to stick around and who knows, maybe I can help someone else out one day :).

0b97d9dc-8110-4dab-bb31-c55d2b02de9b.jpg
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I still need to find a pair of speakers that go well with this amp. Thank you all very much for your kindness and advice.
Welcome to "Club Lab"!.... 😊

I've paired my Audiolab with Monitor Audio Silver 100's and to my very untrained ears, it sounds awesome. Other brands that pair well are Dali, Kef, Q Acoustics, Fyne Audio. Plus no doubt others will share their opinions. So depending on the budget you have, you should be able to find something that you like speaker wise. Obviously an audition of any speaker is highly recommended prior to committing to purchase.

Have you had a chance to try the different filters that the 6000A offer (fast, slow & phase)? The differences are subtle, but nonetheless audible. At least to my ears!

Happy listening!
 

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Welcome to "Club Lab"!.... 😊

I've paired my Audiolab with Monitor Audio Silver 100's and to my very untrained ears, it sounds awesome. Other brands that pair well are Dali, Kef, Q Acoustics, Fyne Audio. Plus no doubt others will share their opinions. So depending on the budget you have, you should be able to find something that you like speaker wise. Obviously an audition of any speaker is highly recommended prior to committing to purchase.

Have you had a chance to try the different filters that the 6000A offer (fast, slow & phase)? The differences are subtle, but nonetheless audible. At least to my ears!

Happy listening!
Thank you! As for the filters I have not done any extensive listening yet so I have not tried any of them. I do have another question though, today I was chatting to a friend who owns a Audiolab M-ONE amp.

We discussed features and I come to find that the M-one has a dimmable display, can set a fixed volume AND source on startup and does DSD @ 32bit 384 khz via USB. This made me wonder isn't the 6000A a newer model? Why doesn't mine have those features?

Here is the menu tree for the M-one:
1622052005983.png
 
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DannyK1987

Standard Member
That’s a good deal. The Brio is 50W compared to the Io’s 30W. The Brio is, in my opinion, superior to the Io though not necessarily vastly better.

Could you tell me a bit more about the build quality of the BRIO?
Being the indecisive guy that I am, I went out and got an io to compare it with the 6000A (30 day return on both.) My first impressions are as followed:
  • It looks like a toy compared to the 6000A, the build quality feels really cheap.
  • The volume knob has an imbalanced channel on very low volume (right goes almost completely silent) is this normal?
  • Now on to the sound: I think I do like it more then the 6000A, it sounds more gritty. I listen to a lot of rock/metal/punk music, and the IO sounds more raw. The 6000A makes everything sound very clean, when I sometimes just want a raw gritty guitar riff that tears my ears apart. It's like the 6000A always plays it safe compared to the IO. It sometimes sounds artificial even.
The build quality on the IO is a deal breaker for me though, so I am hoping the BRIO is better in that regard.
 

Costello

Well-known Member
Your observations match with mine and are well-founded but I think you’ve answered your own question. Rega make terrific amplifiers which, first and foremost, sound excellent. With the Io, Rega wanted to make a £379 amplifier. Everything went into making it sound good, so build quality is the compromise. They did it with the Elex-R. They built the amp to sound its best and then measured the power. Hence 76W.
The 6000A is a lovely amp but I agree with your conclusion, it can be cold and clinical.
Regas, in my opinion, bring music alive and you clearly felt it, too. Rest assured, the Brio is extremely well-built. Regas are for people who want to say, “hey, .listen to this album”, rather than those who say “hey, listen to this amplifier”
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Regas are for people who want to say, “hey, .listen to this album”, rather than those who say “hey, listen to this amplifier”
What a great way to sum up the Rega sound. Agree with you 100% the music shines through and that's what you talk about.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Plenty of reviews have added to a generally positive review that the Audiolab is a bit dry and non involving.

No one ever says that about the Rega range.

And Rega are vinyl legends in every sense of the word.

You have a good dac already, so, imo, any of the Regas would be preferable.

It’s all about the music, not the casework.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member

DannyK1987

Standard Member
Plenty of reviews have added to a generally positive review that the Audiolab is a bit dry and non involving.

No one ever says that about the Rega range.

And Rega are vinyl legends in every sense of the word.

You have a good dac already, so, imo, any of the Regas would be preferable.

It’s all about the music, not the casework.
Spot on. Yeah I might take a look at a BRIO sold 2nd hand locally at a good price. The IO has to go back because of imbalance at low volume (right channel goes completely silent)
 

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