Boulder Announces new 866 Integrated Wireless Streaming Amplifier

Just add digital.

Seems to be the mantra of numerous high-end amplification companies looking to access the burgeoning computer-audio sector of high fidelity these days.

And they’re right.

Traditional high-end analog companies (well, more analog than digital), like Boulder Amplifiers, have been embracing UPnP/DNLA network technology for a number of years now after seeing the writing on the wall. Boulder’s hybrid-DAC chassis enclosures for their 2100 Series (2120 Network/USB DAC – approx. $72,800 USD) and 1100 Series (1021 Network Disc Player – $28,000 USD) have been impressing audiophiles for a while. But, apparently it’s taken some time to figure out how to trickle-down the tech and still keep the sound quality they’re respected for – no surprise since Boulder isn’t known for jumping into anything.

Bringing in a fresh amplifier design at a price that could loop in those new to the medium, but who are looking for serious sonic-return-on-investment, isn’t something, I imagine, the Colorado-based company would take lightly.

Their newest offering, the 200-watt/channel 866 Integrated Amplifier (analog version $12,250 USD, initial 15 units shipping now – analog+digital section version $14,450 USD, initial units shipping in a few weeks) which features wireless/wired streaming, Roon Endpoint integration and Apple AirPlay support, replaces the analog-only 865 Integrated Amplifier as their entry-level offering and is Boulder’s first integrated amplifier to feature the option of digital inputs (Ethernet, USB, Toslink, S/PDIF, Wireless).

Considering the SQ I’ve encountered from any Boulder product I’ve come across at shows, the 866 analog+digital could be a game-changer in the sub-$15k category when it is released. Review unit requested.

From the press release

The 866 Integrated is the successor to the 865 Integrated Amplifier. A premium was placed on value in the 866 and 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 per cent 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. More than twelve years after the release of the original 865, this has enabled Boulder to price the all-analog 866 at $12,250 with 200W of power output, whereas the 865 was priced at $14,000 and had power output of only 150W. The analog+digital 866 also includes full digital capabilities and greater power output but costs only $450 more than the 865.

The release and shipment of the 866 Integrated will begin with shipment of the all-analog version, with analog+digital units beginning shortly thereafter.

  • 866 Features list: 200W of maximum output power into an 8-ohm load
  • Customizable display and input indicators with user up-loadable photos for each input
  • A new protection scheme that allows for greater current output and peak power delivery
  • Factory direct software updates by Ethernet or USB memory device
  • All input selections, setup, and control via a 7.0” (18 cm) full-color touch screen or a dedicated Boulder app for Apple and Android mobile devices
  • Three pairs of balanced analog inputs as well as Toslink, S/PDIF, Ethernet, USB, and AirPlay digital input capability
  • Roon endpoint integration
  • Apple AirPlay wireless streaming capability from Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad)
  • Subscription music services access through Roon or their own native app via AirPlay
  • Built-in server software for connection to media storage devices over USB or Ethernet
  • UPnP/DLNA wired and wireless streaming over Ethernet

Boulder Amplifiers
255 S. Taylor Avenue Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 449-8220