demonstrates a level of fine detail, transparency, soundstage depth, dynamic
range and musical flow across all sources. It is both an exceptional CD player
and a top-class external DAC/digital preamp, able to make the most of your CD
collection. While delivering an enormous sonic boost to external digital audio
sources it now extends its resolution to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD compatibility
Even Better Performance
We’ve worked long
and hard to ensure that the 8300CD improves upon its illustrious predecessor in
key areas, delivering even better performance as both a CD player and a
DAC/preamp for external digital sources. Built around the peerless ESS Sabre
DAC, the 8300CD now extends resolution to 32-bit/384kHz and adds DSD
compatibility via USB. Click here to play the video overview.
Control Where You Need It
The 8300CD adds full
digital preamp functionality, with volume and source selection accessible via
the player’s front panel and remote handset. This means the 8300CD can be
connected directly to a stereo power amp, or a pair of monoblocks like the new
Audiolab 8300MB, as well as to a traditional integrated amp like the equally
new Audiolab 8300A.
8300 Series also
allows control of music playing from a PC/Mac/media device via USB. When
connected to a computer, the 8300CD not only identifies itself as an
asynchronous DAC, but also as a HID-compatible device (Human Interface Device).
This allows driverless control of the PC/Mac/media player (Play, Pause, Stop,
Track Select etc).
New Updated Aesthetic
The newly updated
external structure of the 8300 series follows the new design aesthetic of
Audiolab products going forward, incorporating softened lines and textures yet
still maintaining Audiolab’s instantly recognisable and contemporary style.
The 8300 series’
blasted aluminium finish, CNC routed aluminium dials and display certainly look
cutting-edge, yet with every Audiolab product, form follows function. The new
display and controls enable a fast and intuitive access through the vast
routing options and filter settings in both the A and CD.
Slot-Loading CD Mechanism
research and development found that previous tray-style mechanisms sometimes
produced a rare weak spot. The 8300CD sports a new mechanism that includes slot
loading – much quicker and neater than the old tray.
The new mechanism
also reduces the occurrence of disc rejection, able to play CDs that other CD
players may reject for being imperfect from dirt or damage. Its digital buffer
circuit is a perfect mate to the asynchronous input of the DAC, improving even
this area of performance. A final benefit is increased disc stability and
reduced susceptibility to resonance, which additionally contributes to the
overall improved sound quality.
have been further expanded on the 8300CD with the addition of an AES/EBU
digital input and XLR digital output. These join a full complement of
inputs/outputs retained from the 8200CD: 2x coaxial digital inputs; 2x optical
digital inputs; 1x asynchronous USB input; 1x coaxial digital output; 1x
optical digital output; single-ended RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs.
12V remote trigger
loop feature on all units so as one device is switched on, paired units are
switched into or out of standby mode - working as one system for quick
The 8300CD DAC
The 32-bit ESS Sabre
DAC as used inside the 8300CD continues to have a reputation as the
best-sounding DAC chip available, and most CD players that use it are much more
costly designs. In terms of the way it measures, its distortion figures are
extraordinarily low. Around the DAC there are extensive measures to reduce
jitter to vanishingly low levels, of a nature you’d expect to see only in much
more expensive players.
process within Audiolab 8300CD results in the 512 DAC elements (256 DACs per
channel) each operating at 84.672MHz – all digital audio sources, whatever
the sample rate, are upsampled or oversampled to this frequency. This results
in a conversion process that is switching 3840 times higher than the typical
audio upper bandwidth of 22kHz. Without this Digital upsampling technology, the
analogue filters would likely affect frequencies at or near the audible range,
resulting in unwanted level and phase variation within the audio band.
The inclusions of
the Hyperstream modulator means optimal transient response is achieved, thus
eliminating dynamic response deficiencies and noise floor modulation artifacts
typical of traditionally designed Delta-Sigma DACs.
The new 8300CD can
accept and process data up to 32-bit/384kHz; this is a far higher specification
than that required even by current hi-res music formats, ensuring the 8300CD is
fully equipped for future advances in ultra-high-definition digital sound.
The USB input now
also accepts DSD data, as well as PCM. This is a significant addition, as DSD
has an important role to play in the developing high-res digital download
scene. Accordingly, the filter section now includes four extra filters for DSD
playback, allowing the user to optimise the noise floor to suit the performance
of the source file and the bandwidth of associated equipment such as amplifiers
uprated digital processing associated with the increased
resolution at the USB input delivers additional sonic benefits, for both CD replay
and other connected digital sources, whatever the resolution of the file. In
advancing the capability of the USB input to include files of up to
32-bit/384kHz, the processing of data preceding and within the Sabre DAC has
increased the subjective resolution of musical detail and dynamics, resulting
in a more energetic and transparent performance that sets a new standard for CD
players at this price level.
Digital Filter Optimisation
As digital audio reproduction technology has progressed, the importance of the characteristics of reconstruction digital filters has become more appreciated. The Audiolab 8300CD features user-selectable digital filters for optimal listening. These filter settings allow the user to tune the 8300CD’s performance to suit his or her preference, depending on system configuration and musical taste. These filters are available for CD and PCM audio via digital inputs.
• Optimal Spectrum
• Optimal Transient
• Optimal Transient XD
• Optimal Transient DD
• Sharp Roll Off
• Slow Roll Off
• Minimum Phase
the 8300CD also adds
four DSD filters that progressively attenuate the out of audio bandwidth noise
floor. Given stable, wide-bandwidth amplification and loudspeakers that can
handle high power ultrasonic output, the user can choose the widest bandwidth
setting of 70K. More modest equipment will benefit from the lower bandwidth
settings, as may files that contain little or no recorded ultrasonic musical
The four DSD settings are:
• Normal (47K)
CD Player, Digital-to-Analogue Converter
Fine Textured Aluminium (Black / Silver)
POLED 128x64 pixels 2.7"
Yes (DSD64 / DSD128 / DSD256)
ESS Sabre32 9018 chip
Optical,Coaxial, AES: 32kHz - 192kHz
Maximum Sampling Frequency
Optical,Coaxial, AES: 192kHz
2 x Coaxial, 2 x Toslink Optical, 1xAES/EBU, 1 x USB for PC USB,
1 x Coaxial, 1 x Toslink Optical,1 x AES
4.2Vrms ±0.1 (Balanced)
THD (1kHz 0dB 20Hz - 20kHz A wtd.
Frequency Response +/-0.2dB
20Hz - 20KHz (± 0.2dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N) A wtd
Dynamic Range (A wtd.)
RCA:<-120dB , XLR <-130dB
Dimensions (H x W x D)
80 x 444 x 317mm