All-in-ones Vs. Separates: what's your endgame?

The choice between all-in-ones or separates is less complicated that you might imagine. And with just a little understanding, you can rest easy knowing that you have the right tool for the right job.


When you seperate components, sound quality goes up. It’s that simple. And, logically, this makes complete sense: all-rounders do all things really well, but specialists do their “special thing” better than anyone else.

But this is far from cut and dry, because sound improvements will depend on many different factors, each requiring time, patience, experimentation, and MONEY. Not to mention the fine-tuning of your audiophile ear.

So, before making any decision, it’s important to first ask, what’s my endgame?

Audiolab 6000A / 6000N / 6000CDT 

If your endgame is maximum music quality, quality above all else, then you'll need seperate components. And you won’t begrudge the:

  • bulk
  • cabling
  • and expense

Because you get the

  • flexibility
  • experimentation
  • and improved audio performance.

Go deep on the audiophile literature and you’ll soon discover that all components generate electrical interference. That interference manifests itself in the form of noise distortion. So, if you seperate the components, you reduce the noise and improve the overall audio quality. 

Additionally, individual components are uniquely designed to perfectly execute their chosen roles, making them better than single components performing multiple tasks. Problem is, it's easy to have a team of Allstars but not an Allstar team. 

Creating an Allstar team takes time, research, experimentation and money. But the beauty of separate components is that you can make trades and buy new players, which isn't always an option with some all-in-one units.

Audiolab 6000A Network Streaming Amplifier

If your endgame is a balance of sound quality and convenience, all-in-one’s might just be for you. Such a choice gives you:

  • order
  • simplicity
  • and convenience

It’s important to note that YOU DON’T sacrifice sound quality when it comes to audiophile all-in-ones. In fact, the sound quality of contemporary, high-quality all-in-ones is rather astounding. What you can end up sacrificing on some units is total improvement on sound quality through experimentation over time.

But if you’re not into the fluffery of Endgame 1 – and let’s face it, not all of us are –  then you miss NOTHING. Rather, what you get is serious audio in a single sleek, convenient, and fuss-free package.

Today’s all-in-one audiophile units, like the Audiolab 6000A Play, are not just Allstar Teams packed with talented players, they also provide options to include new players in the future (if your inclined to manage that kind of game). 

Consider the 6000A Play’s Pre Amplifier Mode. This allows you to bypass its internal power amplifier and pair the 6000A Play with a bigger, separate power amplifier in the future. And that means you can buy a talented new player and build a stronger team. It wouldn’t be the same as buying separate specialist pre and power components, but it would go much of the way.

And this option is a lovely buffer should you decide to change your endgame midway through the match.


It’s tough to make the right move when you’re only starting out. How will you know that you want to experiment in five years? How will you know that you won’t? The truth is, you can’t. You have to hedge your bets.

But take solace in the fact that it’s not always one way or the other. Audiolab is an accomplished, award-wining components manufacturer that offers you both options. So, at any point in the game, you have complete control over how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.