Audiolab Adds all-in-one Omnia

Erikson Consumer has announced a new product from British audio company Audiolab called the Omnia, an all-in-one hi-fi streaming system housed in a minimalist aluminum chassis.

The Audiolab Omnia will cater to high-end audio enthusiasts who seek a high-performance single unit system, capable of all playback options from digital streaming to physical CD and vinyl. It sports an integrated CD player, extensive inputs for external sources, including a phono stage as well as high hi-res network streaming.  The Omnia also holds the ability to form part of a synchronized multi-room system and high-quality amplification to make the most of whichever speakers or headphones the user chooses to partner with. Audiolab states that the Omnia delivers a level of sonic performance more readily expected from bulkier and more expensive units. Erikson will have limited availability starting December 1, 2021 with a retail price of $2,799.00.

Streaming has become the predominant way in which many people listen to music, which is whycontemporary all-in-one-music systems often focus on this aspect. This is a critical part of the Omnia’sdesign too, with hi-res network streaming supported over dual-band Wi-Fi and Ethernet cable, alongsideBluetooth for wireless connection to smartphones and tablets. But Audiolab recognizes that many people continue to own, and wish to listen to, physical music collections, a trend that has expanded during Covid lockdowns.

Audiolab observes an integrated CD player is rare to find in a single-box music system. The Omnia’s transportmechanism is engineered to make the most of any still-treasured CD collection, incorporating a high-precision optical system and low-friction loading tray, with an electronic data buffer and sturdy aluminum base andchassis to tackle vibration.

For vinyl lovers, the integral MM phono stage features a high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based circuit with  precise RIAA equalization. Other external sources can be connected via a range of digital (asynchronous USB and S/PDIF) and line-level analogue inputs, utilizing the Omnia’s high-performance DAC ES9038Q2M – a top-spec, new-generation chipset from the eminent 32-bit Sabre family – accompanied by proprietarycircuitry to make the most of ESS Technology’s HyperStream II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator for ultra-low noise and high dynamic range, in addition to both analogue preamp and power ampstages. Further versatility is provided by the ability to bypass the separate amp stages, giving the option to connect an external preamplifier or power amplifier.

Inlaid in the centre of the Omnia’s aluminum front panel is a 4.3” full-colour display for information on system settings, format data and track details. It can even be set to display a VU meter in ‘analogue’ or ‘digital’ form, showing real-time decibel levels for the left and right channels.

PCM audio is supported to 32 bit/768Hz alongside DSD to 22.5 NHz (DSD512). Every significant hi-res and lossless audio format is catered for, including FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV, as well as compressed legacy formats.

The Omnia also delivers full decoding of MQA, the hi-res streaming technology. This means that the complete ‘three unfold’ decoding process is performed internally, as opposed to just the final unfold in the manner of an MQA ‘renderer’, which makes the Omnia an excellent system choice for anyone who subscribes to Tidal’s HiFi Plus tier.

Volume is adjusted in the analogue domain under microprocessor control, outputting directly to the Class AB output stage. This delivers 50W per channel into 8 ohms, with maximum current of 9 Amps into difficult loads– sufficient to drive whichever speakers the user chooses to pair with the Omnia.

Many all-in-one streaming systems use Class D amplification, favoured for its space-saving, cool-running power and efficiency. However, Class D designs can sound somewhat hard and sterile; Audiolab’s Class AB amp circuitry gives the Omnia a sonic advantage, coupling engaging energy with subtlety and warmth A substantial 200VA toroidal transformer, followed by 4x15000uF reservoir capacity (60000uF in total), helps the Omnia to maintain firm control of the music whilst enabling excellent dynamic range.

Network streaming is powered by DTS Play-Fi: an app-controlled platform enabling high-quality, whole-home wireless audio, capable of streaming hi-res music up to 24-bit/192kHz and supported by a greater range of established audio brands than any other wireless platform.

The Play-Fi app is an intuitive gateway to a wealth of music services including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer Qobuz, SiriusXM among others. It is also your trusty music butler able to serve up streaming libraries stored on a DLNA-compatible NAS drive or media server. Voice control with Alexa support enables voice-controlled playback when the Omnia is paired with any Amazon Alexa-equipped device.

There are other ways to stream music wirelessly to the Omnia other than using the Play-Fi app. Users can play directly from the Spotify app via Spotify Connect and stream from smartphones via Bluethooth 5 to allow for decoding of aptX. aptX LL, AAC and SBC.  The Omnia is also Roon tested.

In addition to a set of high-quality, gold-plated binding posts to connect the user’s chosen speakers,headphone fans are served by a front-mounted 6.3mm headphone output fed by a dedicated amp; with its current-feedback design and high slew rate, a dynamic and detailed performance with all manner of headphones is assured. Other outputs include a stereo-RCA pre-out option, as well as coaxial and optical digital outputs. Additional information can be discovered at Erikson Consumer Home Division