I had the Audiolab 8000S, 8000A and 8000DAC for several yrs before entering the world of ultimate high end gears.
Audiolab 8000S and 8000A have a surprising control over speakers and sound very powerful, rich and with a tight bass.
The company did not go out of business, but was purchased by Tag MacLaren. Today, the 8000S is sold under TagMclaren name. For more info, Go to http://www.audioreview.com/PRD_116281_2717crx.aspx
My guess is that the audiolab 8000s will be rather more precise than the NAD equipment. Lall is correct that the company was taken over and renamed ... you'll find that TagMclaren still support the audiolab products. Have a look on their website.
I own an 8000C preamp and have used an 8000A and they're very fine amps ... at the artech price they will not be beaten. However it is not by any means a warm sounding amp, so you'll have to pick speakers that have reasonable bass response to avoid a thin sound. I used to own a NAD 3020 ... the audiolab 8000A was a much better amp, but in the end I got a Cyrus2, which had a bit more dynamics than the 8000A.
I have several Audiolab products, they are all fine pieces of equipment. The 8000S is a very good integrated, but be warned it runs hot!. Needs some air around it. It has a very neutral response, and is a very flexible amp in set up options, I am currently running it as control to front left/right in an HT set up.
Thanks for the info. I know TagMclaren absorbed Audiolab, but I wasn't aware how close their products are to the Audiolab originals. As for the warmth issue, I'm considering a Njoe Tjoeb 4000 for a CD. Would the tubes in that player warm the Audiolab's sound?
Audiolab amps have received universally poor reviews in the US audiophile press when compared to other British names such as Creek, Naim, Arcam, Musical Fidelity. I was Unimpressed when I listened to it. Do yourself a favor and ckeck out these other brands and also include NAD & Rotel. You will save much money and get a better amp if you buy used here on audiogon.
Infinitebaffle ... perhaps you could direct us to the poor reviews, because I could only find glowing reviews.
And the closeout price at artech is the same as buying used on audiogon. I really think you need to back up your strong assertions with some examples. For example, have you ever heard an Audiolab amp ?
Anyone have opinions on the 8000Q? There's one on Audiogon and also new at artech. One seller once described it as "the most lush tubelike SS pre there is", but that doesn't sound like the majority opinion.
I feel that only those who have owned an Audiolab gear for some time can give a precise and honest answer. I owned the whole of 8000 series for several yrs and can find not many gears to come closer on a price-value ratio. Good, clean and enjoyable music at very low prices and, further, no reliability problems.
All reviews (well, most) I've come accross highly praise the Audiolab.
Larry .. I own an audiolab 8000C, and have listened to 8000A, 8000S and 8000DAC. It seems to me that audiolab strives for accuracy ... telling you how it is. I like this trait, but I would never describe them as lush and tubelike. I think transparent is the best description. I would expect that the 8000Q is a great preamp, but I would not buy one in the hope that it would warm up the sound of my system. I guess that puts me in the majority :-)
I have owned an 8000A for about 13 years now and am still using it. If you appreciate the overall accuracy of the amp, which I do, but want a slightly warmer presentation at the same time, I would suggest pairing the 8000A (or S) with a Cardas Golden power cord. You might want to experiment with other power cords as well, as my Audiolab benefits dramatically from a good cord. The amp will also run considerably cooler with a good, beefy cord. I can't bring myself to sell this combo because I figure I'd have to spend considerably (as in 2-3X) more to get significantly better sound.
I once owned an 8000S and loved it, am sure it would give better sound than a NAD amp. I also bought a Tag Mclaren 60iRv... it seems pretty similar in sound, was able to use the Audiolab as a pre, and the 60iRv as the power amp... Sold the 8000S when I moved to Canada... I now own a Tag AV32r (the 60iRv too), and can say that I have had only good experiences with all their equipment... Buy one!
Last I heard, Tag Mclaren was considering dropping out of the Audio business. Parts could be a problem even if Artech is around to do the service.
Audiolab always got amazing reviews in the UK press! I have owned a pre power combo for 8 years and they are powerful, utterly neutral and fast. With a Pink Triangle Anniversary/SME5/Lyra Lydian and a pair of Mission 773Fs they sound phenomenal.
Don't believe everything you read in the audiophile press. Some of them don't know their a**e from their elbow!