I have no experience with the Audiolab but have owned three different Rotel integrateds and found them to be absolutely reliable with very good build quality and sonics for the price.
13 responses Add your response
Audiolab built no-nonsense, high quality amplifiers that will last 20+years with minimal attention, and use generic parts for easy service/replacement.
Their sound is very very neutral, so some find it a bit lifeless, but if accuracy is your aim you will not find a better amp for the price.
For an 8000S in mint condition I would not pay over $400.
I've owned two Rotel RA-1060 integrateds, But no Audiolab products. The Rotel never gave me a problem but Didn't own them all that long. Sorry no help. My reason for posting is to ask a question. With all the different integrated amps in your price range, what caused you to zero in on those two amps? I'm curious.
Thank you all for the responses. The price of either amp would be roughly $350. At this point, I'm leaning toward the Rotel.
I used a PS Audio Elite for many years, but recently sold it because I didn't like having the outboard power supply and the amp's switches were not reliable (noisy) and needed cleaning from time to time. My speakers are modest - Mordaunt Short MS20ti - but I've always been very happy with them.
Because of their price point (used) and availability, I did consider the Audio Refinement Complete and the Thule Spirit IA60. But they were a bit more money and I'm not convinced there's anything more there but flash.
I'd prefer it if the Rotel was even a bit more basic - no tone controls and no remote - but I suppose the RA972 is reasonably priced and will serve my purpose fine.
OK, around $350. I used an Audiolab 8000A for around 15 years until recently. I've never owned Rotel gear, but helped my brother purchase a Rotel receiver 5 or 6 months ago which he is happy with. Both Rotel and Audiolab have good reputations for durability, but my gut feeling is that the Audiolab should be better sonically.
That being said, for $350 I wouldn't buy either. I recently bought a Jungson JA 88C (new retail is $399) because I really wanted to get something with a remote. I was expecting it to be a sideways move compared to the 8000A, but it was anything but. The Jungson was a major improvement in every area to the Audiolab. Audiolab build quality is, in my opinion, better than Rotel and the Jungson makes the Audiolab look like something from Best Buy in terms of build quality. Gorgeous faceplate, beautiful binding posts, back and interior, it is a 29 pound integrated that compares more with Classe, Bryston, YBA, etc. Nice rosewood remote as well. Can't comment on long term reliability, but it has functioned flawlessly for me for the last 3-4 months with heavy use and was purchased used so it's probably another 3-4 months old (the guy I bought from upgraded to Jungson's 88D at $1500 U.S.).
Drawbacks on the Jungson are that it is not loaded up with inputs, only 3 in total, 2 RCA and one balanced, and it does not have a phono stage. Other than that, I'm confident in saying it will walk all over the Rotel or Audiolab, and I was a very happy Audiolab owner.
I have been using my Audiolab 8000A integrated from about 1988 until just recently. The only problems I have had with it is some of the plastic parts with jacks in the back got brittle and cracked and lost their signal contact. I had them replaced and it still works fine. I have been very happy with it from day one - great dynamic sound - good phono stage also for the price. Got a great deal on a used Linn Intek so have the 8000A in my secondary system now. I have no first hand experience with Rotel but have heard they are reliable and have a good reputation.