The new 8300CDQ player from Audiolab is packed to the brim with features
The 8300CDQ joins Audiolab’s flagship 8300 Series, lining up alongside the brand’s existing 8300CD player. While the 8300CD already offered digital preamplification and could function as an external DAC/preamp, the 8300CDQ adds plenty more on top.
The new unit adds high-quality analogue preamp circuitry, making use of first-rate components to maintain signal purity. The physical layout of the 8300CDQ’s circuitry has been adapted to protect the preamp section from any noise interference.
For headphone users there’s now a dedicated headphone amp accessible through a front-facing 6.35mm port. Audiolab say that due to its gain bandwidth and high slew rate, it can offer a “detailed and engaging performance with all manner of headphone types.”
Also included in the 8300CDQ’s specs is MQA decoding. MQA or Master Quality Authenticated, is a high-resolution digital audio format for music streaming that’s available via a number of sites including Tidal’s Master streaming service. With MQA, the idea is that you hear the original recording’s full resolution in a way that’s adapted and maximised for the highest quality playback on your device.
Related: What is MQA?
Like the 8300CD, the 8300CDQ uses a slot-loading mechanism and features both analogue and digital connections. The CD player is blessed with five digital inputs made up of an asynchronous USB, two coaxial S/PDIF and two optical S/PDIF. For analogue inputs there are three stereo RCA connections.
On the output front you have a digital optical and coaxial for connections to an external DAC or AV processor and one balanced stereo XLR and single-ended stereo RCA to feed stereo amps, active speakers et al.
Hi-res audio is supported up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256 and 8300CDQ has the same 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC utilised in the 8200CD and 8200CDQ. Measures have also been put in place to reduce jitter (digital distortion) for a better audio presentation.
The 8300CDQ is available this month (February) in a choice of silver or classic Audiolab black finishes. It retails for £1099.95.
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