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by Jay Garrett

6th February, 2019

2175 readers

The latest addition to Audiolab's top-of-the-range 8300 Series is a new CD player promising flexible facilities and spectacular sound.

Audiolab has added a second CD player to its flagship 8300 component series. The 8300CDQ joins the existing, highly acclaimed 8300CD and with it brings an analogue preamp with three analogue inputs, a dedicated direct-coupled headphone amplifier and full decoding of MQA.

Audiolab 8300CDQ

The existing 8300CD already offers digital preamplification, with six inputs allowing external digital sources to benefit from the player's DAC circuitry, alongside digital volume control. Thus, as well as performing as a traditional CD player, the 8300CD can function as an external DAC/preamp.

However, the new 8300CDQ adds in a high-quality analogue preamp coupled to three stereo pairs of line-level RCA inputs for your analogue sources. Those inputs join five digital inputs comprising of 1x asynchronous USB and 4x S/PDIF (2x coaxial and 2x optical). Hi-res digital audio is supported up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256, and USB HID compatibility enables driverless control of a connected PC, Mac or media player. Digital audio passes through a 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC before hitting the amplifier.

Audiolab 8300CDQ

The preamp circuitry is kept as simple as possible using high-quality components to maintain signal purity, with line input signals passing to a precision analogue volume stage. Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the 8300CDQ's circuitry, protecting the sensitive preamp section from noise interference.

The 8300CDQ's analogue output stages and power supply are exceptionally well specified. The circuitry includes a low-noise toroidal transformer, a plethora of reservoir/smoothing capacitors, an impressive number of regulator chips and discrete transistor analogue stages (instead of op-amps) at the output, with ultra-low impedance to drive any cable and any load. The power supply incorporates 29 regulated supply rails including multiple ultra- low-noise regulators, with extensive measures against contamination and cross-coupling.

Audiolab 8300CDQ

The slot-loading 8300CDQ adds further flexibility by incorporating a dedicated direct-coupled headphone amp with current-feedback circuitry. Accessed via a front-mounted 6.35mm socket, its gain bandwidth and high slew rate ensure a dynamic, detailed and engaging performance with all manner of headphone types.

The final key feature introduced in the 8300CDQ is decoding of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). The 8300CDQ unpacks MQA data – received via the USB input – at the original file's full resolution and passes the signal through its DAC and preamp stages, ready to feed a power amp or active speakers.

Price and availability

The Audiolab 8300CDQ is available from February in a choice of silver or classic Audiolab black, with an RRP of £1099.95.

For more information, go to Audiolab.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Written by:

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: audiolab