The presentation is big-boned too, with a wide stereo sound stage populated with nicely layered, crisply focused instruments. It’s as even as they come, refusing to add unnatural colour or drama to the sound.
We listen to smaller scale recordings from the likes of Eric Bibb and Satie, and are impressed with the way this amp renders tonal textures.
It gives you free access to other users’ profile photos and messaging, and you can pay for a membership to access extra features.
The free app is also easy to use, and our tests resulted in the most matches of any site we tested.
We particularly like the crisp edges on the aluminium panels and the precise feel of the rotary controls.
We like the remote too, it’s a classy system controller that feels good to use.
The 8300A doesn’t communicate the changing momentum of a piece of music as well as we’d like.Nina Simone’s vocals on the haunting doesn’t have the impact we’d expect.The story is much the same through the phono stage.There are also two sets of speaker outputs to make biwiring a little easier.This is the first time one of the brand’s amplifiers has featured a display, which is useful for setting up the amplifier and making adjustments like phono stage gain or the length of standby mode. As usual with Audiolab’s integrated amplifiers, it’s a simple matter to separate the pre and power sections – useful if you want to use a superior external preamp or add more muscle through an outboard power amp.Build quality is as good as we’ve come to expect from Audiolab.The casework feels solid and beautifully finished, in either the black of our review sample or silver.Its presentation is very clean too, as if distortion levels are way lower than the norm.Despite all this obvious talent we’re not totally bowled over with the overall performance.MORE: Best stereo amplifiers 2015 MORE: Best turntables 2015We give the Audiolab a few days of running before we start listening seriously.A claimed output of 75-watts per channel is relatively healthy, but it gives little indication as to how muscular the 8300A actually sounds.