AudioControl Rialto 600 Zone Amplifier – Hidden performer

The AudioControl brand is possibly more familiar to old-school car audio guys than the average home audio consumer. AudioControl was one of the pioneers of high quality processors for automotive applications, and manufactured the legendary SA3050A real time analyser that was used at car audio competitions for decades.

The firm’s foray into home audio equipment is underpinned by a superb line of custom-install products – amplifiers and processors mainly – as well as a couple of high end AV processors and receivers.

The Rialto 600 is designed primarily as a zone amplifier, meant to accept a pair of analogue inputs, as well as two digital inputs (either Toslink or SPDIF), and it can be controlled via RS 232 (or IR) commands from an automation controller. However, the Rialto has powerful party tricks up its sleeve – a remote control, built in Wolfson DAC, and compact, appealing dimensions, which make it an ideal partner to a TV to add high quality amplification.

With all of these features, and 100 wpc into 8 0hms (200 wpc into 4 ohms) on tap, one would expect the typical double-shoebox size of an AV receiver. The average AV receiver could swallow 8 of these diminutive units, though. Build quality is similarly surprising, with a solid metal chassis encapsulating the Rialto, as opposed to the typical plastic build of this type of unit. This is a quality item.

This quality extends to the AudioControl unit’s sonic performance. The review sample was tested in two systems: a pair of Gallo Micro SE satellites and Speakercraft sub (also supplied by Elan Systems), and the AVInside reference system containing fridge-sized Tannoy Westminster Royal speakers (for a bit of chuckle). The joke was on us, though! In both systems the little unit acquitted itself admirably, with great control over the bass, and a slightly warm tonal presentation.

Into every life a little rain must fall, and in this case the laws of thermodynamics dictated that a small fan needed to be fitted to the Rialto 600 to help cool it. Little fans are generally noisy, and this is no exception. This unit is best installed in a cupboard, where the fan noise won’t disturb.

The AudioControl Rialto 600 is US-made, and its quality comes at a relatively stiff price. Ideally, it would also have Bluetooth and USB connectivity to satisfy typical users’ streaming requirements.

When all is said and done, the little AudioControl Rialto 600 is massively accomplished, and probably worth its price tag. A smart installer will easily add streaming capability, and we strongly suspect that this device will provide years of flawless service, thanks to AudioControl’s superb engineering.


The Good
Compact dimensions, excellent feature set for custom central install and endpoint use alike, huge power can drive most speakers effortlessly, inviting sound. Superb build.

The Bad
Lacks USB and Bluetooth inputs to allow for streaming.

The Ugly
The price is a bitter pill to swallow.

Price as reviewed: R26 090 inc VAT

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The AudioControl Rialto 600 was supplied as a review sample by Elan Systems South Africa, and reviewed as part of a supplied review system. No promotional consideration was paid.


Digital Inputs: Optical Toslink x 2, Coax S/PDIF 75 ohms x 2
Analog Inputs: Stereo RCA x 1
Input Sensitivity: 230mV
Signal Sense Trigger Minimum: 10mV
Amplifier Channels: 2
Power Output (8Ω): 100W per channel
Power Output (4Ω): 200W per channel
Minimum Speaker Load: 4Ω
Preamp Outputs: Mono RCA Subwoofer, Mono RCA Bridged
Signal to Noise Ratio: >95dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.09%
12 Volt Trigger Inputs: 1 (mini jack)
IR Inputs: 1 (mini jack)
IR Outputs: 1 (mini jack)
RS-232 Serial Control: Yes
Power Consumption (typical usage): 40W
Power Consumption (maximum): 520W
Line Voltage: 100-120VAC/200‐240VAC Switchable
Dimensions: 215mm (w) x 137mm (d) x 74mm (d)
Weight: 2.7kg

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