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AudioControl Rialto 400 High Power Amplifier with Digital Audio Inputs Preview

AudioControl Rialto 400 (bottom)

AudioControl Rialto 400 (bottom)


  • Product Name: Rialto 400 Amplifier
  • Manufacturer: AudioControl
  • Review Date: May 07, 2013 05:00
  • MSRP: $799
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • High power amplifier delivers 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
  • Audiophile quality Wolfson Digital-To-Analog converters for maximum sound quality
  • Ideal for interfacing with Sonos, and video displays with variable digital or analog outputs
  • Enthusiasts can enjoy the sound quality of larger and/or more accurate speakers which require higher power levels
  • Patent pending AccuBASSTM optimizes bass response from compressed music 
  • SMART Signal Sensing
  • Subwoofer/pass through outputs provides system design flexibility
  • 5-way binding post speaker outputs
  • 8.5” wide, 2.9” tall and 5.4” deep
  • Available in Sierra White and Satin Black

If you really want to sell a product like the AudioControl Rialto 400 amplifier, you might as well do something to connect it to an existing, popular product. Take all "i" products that came out after it became clear that the iPhone and iPod (and eventually iPad) were going to be a hit. In the consumer's mind, not only are you making a direct and positive correlation, but you are suggesting that your product will work better with the connected product than others on the market.

AudioControl is clearly connecting their newest offering to Sonos, a popular in-home music distribution system. But, underneath the Sonos-esque exterior, the Rialto 400 has some very real technology that will enhance your listening experience.

At its heart, the Rialto 400 can be best described as an integrated amplifier. It pushes out 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 200 watts into 4 ohms. The fact that it is rated down to 4 ohms should tell you that this is no lightweight product. The Rialto 400 can be paired with audiophile-grade (read: demanding) speakers. Most full-fledged receivers don't claim much more than 100 watts and many don't suggest using 4 ohm speakers.


An integrated amplifier is under the hood of the Rialto 400

Also included with the Rialto 400 is a high quality Wolfson DAC for getting the most out of your musical sources. It has a single optical and coaxial digital audio input with one pair of RCA-style analogue stereo input. There are speaker level inputs as well though these may not be recognizable to most non-custom installers. A 3.5mm input is also available for your portable players. There are five way binding posts for your speakers and a subwoofer output via unbalanced RCA. AudioControl has indicated in their press materials that the subwoofer output is pass-through only. This suggests that the Rialto 400 doesn't have an internal crossover and that a full range signal is sent to all speakers. AudioControl has included their AccuBASS feature which "rejuvenates" bass from compressed sources. This is said to work on mid and lower bass frequencies. A 12 volt trigger input will allow custom installers to easily integrated the Rialto 400 amplifier into their control system.

While the front has a headphone jack and a power light, most of the controls for the Rialto 400 are on the back and many would be mistaken for flat head screws. These are obviously meant to be set once and left alone. There is a digital volume, analogue volume, speaker level volume, and AccuBASS control—all with basic potentiometer adjustments. The volume controls are fairly self explanatory though we believe that the AccuBASS control adjusts how much bass boost is applied to the output. There is a voltage selector and a power switch as well. A removable power cord will make use in tight spaces much easier as a shorter power cord can be swapped if needed.

The AudioControl Rialto 400 has a SMART Signal Sensing system which should eliminate the need for manually switching inputs. On the back of the unit there are switches to set priority for the inputs as desired. When the system is turned on, it is configured to automatically search for the preferred active signal and decipher the appropriate processor needed in communication with one of the system's digital or analog inputs. For example, if a homeowner decides to switch from using a separate distributed audio system within the home to his or her integrated Sonos Connect set-up, the Rialto 400 will instantly recognize the change and immediately switch to using the connected digital audio input used by the Sonos.

At 8.5” wide, 2.9” tall, and 5.4” deep, the Rialto 400 should fit right in with your Sonos or other gear. While it is clear that AudioControl is targeting this product at custom installers trying to "up sell" to their Sonos customers, the Rialto 400 looks to have enough features and power than many consumers might be interested. At $799 MSRP, there are other ways to upgrade your audio but none that will aesthetically match your Sonos system so perfectly.


While targeting custom installers and their customers, the AudioControl Rialto 400 has some real technology under the Sonos close enclosure. Pushing 100 watts into 8 ohms, 200 watts into 4 ohms, Wolfson DACs, multiple inputs, automatic input switching, bass boost, subwoofer pass-though, and more, it is clear that the $800 price tag isn't all profit. If you are looking for an upgrade to the sound of your second or third system, the Rialto 400 should give you what you want. Just don't look to us to explain to your wife why you "needed" a box that cost 2x's as much as the Sonos box you connected it to.

For more information, please visit www.audiocontrol.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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