BOULDER Amplifier’s newest model, the 866 Integrated, is hardly subtle in appearance and may not have all-round appeal – look beyond this, though, and you see it is a major upgrade from its 800 Series predecessor, the 865 (which came out 12 years ago), and built for current times.
The 866 will be be available in two versions – an all-analogue unit (US$12,250, which is coming first) and a costlier one with digital add-ons (US$14,450). It also has more power on tap at 200 watts per channel; the older 865 was US$14,000, with a less muscular 150-watt output.
According to the company, “greater effort was put into the efficiency and cost reduction of design and manufacturing than any previous product from Boulder… cost savings include circuit board production (up to a 25% reduction for some boards), casework and power supply cost reductions, reduced loading and turns for metalwork machining, material efficiency, and the reduction of production and testing time.” All these enabled Boulder to keep the price, er, competitive.
The base 866 has three pairs of fully balanced inputs, a customisable display and input indicators (users can upload photos for each input), and a new protection scheme that allows for greater current output and peak power delivery. The add-on option includes Toslink, S/PDIF, Ethernet, USB and AirPlay digital inputs.
All input selections, set-up, and control is via an 18 cm, full-colour touchscreen or a dedicated Boulder app for Apple and Android mobile devices.
Factory-direct software updates are done by Ethernet or a USB memory device. Roon endpoint integration is also provided for the analogue-digital version, along with a built-in server software for connection to media storage devices over USB or Ethernet, and UPnP/DLNA wired/wireless streaming over Ethernet.
Sounds tempting, yes? The all-analogue 866 is available now and already shipping, so check with your neighbourhood Boulder distributor.
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