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Audiolab 8000C

Stereo Preamplifier

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Audiolab 8000C

Specifications

Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.01%

Input sensitivity: 0.11mV (MC), 2mV (MM), 100mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 75dB (MC), 79dB (MM), 90dB (line)

Channel separation: 60dB (MM), 60dB (MC), 60dB (line)

Output: 100mV (line), 0.707V (Pre out)

Dimensions: 445 x 74 x 335mm

Weight: 6kg

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Reviewed Dec 03rd, 2016 by Hawkfum

To put my comments into perspective my sources, power amp and speakers are -

Sources
Alphason Sonata, HRS100mcs/AT-OC7
Roksan Xerxes, Linn Ekos, AT-OC7
Transcriptors/Origin Live modified Hyd Reference/SME3009s2, Ortofon 2M Blue
Audiolab 8200CD
Audiolab 8000T

Power Amp
Audiolab 8000P

Speakers
Tannoy DC3000 Biwired with Linn LK20 6 metre run.


The 8000C has performed admirably in my system for 25 years, I can't think of another pre amp with such flexibility and transparency at anything close to its selling price in its day.

Battleship build, sensible tone controls with full defeat, CD, Tuner, Aux two tape loops, (3 on later versions) and a reasonably good quality MM/MC input, genuine flexibility. All controls feel solid, indeed I feel they are ergonomically and visually preferable to the boring round controls on the later models, it feels as if it should last a lifetime.

The only problem in all that time is that the volume control cuts out at very low levels on one channel, we are talking whisper levels, through very sensitive speakers. Our bedroom is above my listening room and my wife goes to bed early so whisper levels are important, hence the arrival of an as new Audiolab 8000Q to replace it about 6 months ago. I figured the same sound but newer and with a remote control, I figured wrongly.

Before the 8000Q's insertion into my system I would have argued the 8000C was the equal of many so called high end pre amps having compared it to a few over the years, one of my friends even sold his Naim combo after we tried the Audiolabs with his big TDL's.
However the arrival of the 8000Q has educated me somewhat.

The 8000C does indeed sound transparent but is also a little harsh if that makes any sense, it has a slightly dry and clinical edge to it that in a fierce system could lead to it sounding slightly edgy, on the other side it would lend itself to a system that lacks a bit of spite and bite.
Compared to the 8000Q it suffers at low listening levels, where the 8000Q retains the sense of scale at very low volumes the 8000C softens up requiring the use of the tone controls.

If you don't need tone controls, balance adjustment or a phono input the 8000Q is a fantastic option, easily the best pre amp I have ever had in my system, but if your funds won't stretch to that don't overlook the 8000C, with the right equipment it will keep most people very happy indeed.

 

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