Audiolab 9000N
Audiolab 9000N
Audiolab 9000N

Audiolab 9000N: Reliable network player for audiophiles

Designed as the ideal digital streaming companion to Audiolab’s flagship 9000 series, the new Audiolab 9000N network player is the culmination of more than three years of development and innovation aimed at delivering highly stable wireless (and wired) high-resolution digital music playback.

The Audiolab 9000N’s design reflects the crisp elegance of both the Audiolab 9000A and the corresponding CDT CD transport. Featuring rotary controls and no buttons (except for the power switch), the Audiolab 9000N also features the same 4.3-inch color screen as the rest of the series – the perfect “window” for presenting your digital music files… including full-color album art! The screen displays a variety of information in a more visually appealing way than most other streaming devices, many of which traditionally rely on a software application for instant feedback, user control and interface.

The Audiolab 9000N display offers a full set of menu controls, a variety of options and user settings, including a choice of multiple languages ​​and general display options. Most impressively, the Audiolab 9000N’s display provides detailed information about the data format, playback progress and, as mentioned above, full-color album art. Cover art appears on the playback screen by default, but the image can be expanded to show playback progress with cover art highlighted. The display can even be configured to show the VU meter in either “analogue” or “digital” form, showing real-time decibel levels for the left and right channels – offering a graphical representation of the music being played. For a more minimalistic listening option, the display can be dimmed or turned off completely – at the user’s discretion.

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Developed in conjunction with established digital streaming company Lumin, the 9000N combines Lumin’s incredibly powerful and stable streaming platform with Audiolab’s world-class digital know-how. The Audiolab 9000 Series’ DAC and audio streaming implementation and intuitive overall user interface provide the ideal streaming solution. The familiar Lumin app is enhanced with a custom audiolab look and offers instant access to Qobuz and Tidal, with full access to high-resolution and MQA content, as well as Spotify, TuneIn Internet radio and UPnP music server systems, as well as digital audio files stored on USB HDD devices. The app offers intelligent search functionality and full access, management and even creation of custom playlists, folders and album grouping features.

File information, track details and the app’s search, selection and compilation functions are easily accessible. Qobuz and Tidal users will be pleased to know that, unlike some other apps and platforms, hi-res and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) tracks can be easily identified using icons within the app itself, without the need to switch between service and device apps. to find such content. The Audiolab 9000N is billed as the first Lumin-based device to provide wireless playback that does not rely solely on a wired connection (ethernet, although this is sometimes preferred).

This, along with full album art artwork and the integration of the ESS9038Pro DAC chipset, are a few of the advancements that the Audiolab 9000N boasts. However, the benefits don’t stop with the Lumin/audiolab app; as the Audiolab 9000N also offers playback via Airplay II, Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect – for those who prefer proprietary streaming service apps.

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The Audiolab 9000N hardware is based on a quad-core Arm® Cortex®-A53 microcontroller with a resolution of 1.8 GHz per core. This powerful brain at the heart of the system ensures smooth operation and additional benefits such as caching of album art – for faster loading of accompanying art files, which improves the user experience and visual aesthetics. Ever since the release of the much-admired M-DAC DAC over a decade ago, Audiolab has been renowned for the performance of its DAC circuitry. The Audiolab 9000N integrates the ES9038PRO, an eight-channel DAC chip representing the top of ESS Technology’s current Saber line. This chip is accompanied by a proprietary wiring diagram that allows you to make the most of its capabilities. HyperStream II architecture and time-domain jitter suppression technology deliver unprecedented dynamic range and ultra-low distortion.

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No company knows more than Audiolab about how to get the most out of Saber DAC technology, which we’ve worked with for years and across multiple product generations. Despite their consistently high technical level, these DAC chips are quite complex to implement for maximum effect and must be integrated into the product circuit carefully to realize their full sonic potential. The active filter after the DAC is also a critical element, and Audiolab has developed a new circuit that is perfectly tailored to take maximum advantage of the ES9038PRO. The 9000N also provides full MQA decoding, a high-definition streaming technology. This means that the full MQA “three unfold” decoding process is done internally, as opposed to just the final unfolding in MQA “rendering” mode, making the 9000N a great device for Tidal “HiFi Plus” subscribers to find Tidal Masters Content (MQA). The player is also officially Roon Tested, which guarantees its smooth operation in the Roon audio environment.

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As you’d expect for any audiolab fan, the Audiolab 9000N is equipped with the latest D/A to analog conversion technology. The 9000N allows you to connect devices to it via XLR or RCA analog outputs. As a stand-alone full MQA decoder, it can be used with any amplifier or sub-preamp system that offers analog connections. Further magic is realized using the digital output and the ‘MQA Pass through functionality’ option.

For users who can use an equally powerful DAC (such as 9000A owners), the 9000N can stream a pristine MQA signal (such as from Tidal or Qobuz), which can then be decoded by that secondary DAC. This provides additional functionality and versatility, not to mention a completely clean signal flow – which is a plus for purists. The Audiolab 9000N upsamples digital audio signals to 352.8 kHz or 383 kHz when MQA decoding occurs, i.e. when using the Audiolab 9000N analog output. Otherwise, through menu settings, the MQA signal can be set to “passthrough” status for decoding by the partner DAC stage.

Audiolab 9000N Specifications:

– DAC: 32-bit ESS Saber ES9038Pro
– Processor: Quad Arm® Cortex®-A53 core, 1.8 GHz per LUMIN MUSIC core
– Wi-Fi streaming technology: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5 GHz
– Built-in support for: TIDAL, Spotify Connect, MQA, Qobuz, and TuneIn Radio
– Screen: IPS LCD 4.3″ (800 x 480 pixels)
– Inputs: 1 x Network Streaming, 1 x PC USB (USB Type-B), 1 x Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet
– Outputs: 1 x RCA (pair), 1 x XLR (pair), 1 x Optical, 1 x Coaxial, 1 x 12V Trigger (Link)
– Dimensions (W x H x D): 444 x 89 x 33 mm
– Weight: 6.2 kg

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