Hands-On: AudioControl Rialto 400 Amp & DAC
An easy upgrade to your Sonos or similar system.
July 16, 2013 by Grant Clauser

I connected the Voco via the optical audio input, and hooked the Rialto to a pair of Sunfire CRM2 speakers. The Rialto doesn’t have any remote for controlling volume (there’s a control to adjust the gain on the back of the unit, but once you adjust it, you leave it alone), so you need to use your source’s volume control. Streaming devices, such as my Voco or a Sonos Connect, which use an app to control volume anyway, are perfect matches for this setup.

Also attached, via a USB input on the Voco, was an external hard drive I’d filled with music files. It would be especially nice if the Rialto itself had a USB input for connected hard drives, flash drives or smart phones, but it doesn’t.

On the Voco I navigated to a TuneIn internet radio jazz station and listened to Slam Stewart’s “I’m Just Wild About Harry” which has some wonderfully, deep, gravelly moments, all of which came through with depth and detail I hadn’t expected from this little amplifier. The system uses something AudioControl calls AccuBass, which is designed to put back in some of the bass information that digital files lack, and it seems to work wonderfully.  The Rialto has a subwoofer pass-through output if your speakers aren’t capable of enough bass.

My own digital files also sounded very good, surprisingly good. Alt-Rock music like Alkaline Trio, played at high volume, held together, sounding crisp all the way, while more delicate music like James Leary’s “Little Birds” maintained all its finesse and subtlety.

For what it does, the AudioControl Rialto 400 isn’t cheap. At $799 you could get a whole home theater receiver, but it wouldn’t sound like this. What I love about it is that it’s small, powerful and when connected to a digital music streamer like a Sonos Connect or Voco V-Zone, plus a hard drive full of music, and some nice speakers, you have a complete music system that hardly takes up any room.

AudioControl Rialto 400

$799

• High power amplifier 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms
- Stable into 4 ohms (200 watts per channel) and bridgeable
• Multiple inputs for Digital and Analog sources with Input Priority switching
• Wolfson Digital-To-Analog converters
• Ideal for interfacing with Sonos, and video displays with variable digital or analog outputs
• AccuBASS optimizes bass response from compressed music
• Subwoofer/pass through outputs provides system design flexibility
• 5-way binding post speaker outputs
• From headphone jack

Also Check Out:
Hands On: Control4 Wireless Music Bridge
Wireless Networks: What You Need to Know
Should You Install a Wireless Music System Yourself?

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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