TEAC just announced the release of their new Reference 501 Series audio components. The HA-501 Headphone Amplifier (US $849), PD-501HR DSD/CD Player (US $799), UD-501 32bit DAC (US $849), and AI-501DA Class-D Amplifier (US $849).
Each component has a full aluminum chassis, adding real audiophile weight to the gear. The 501 series uses ‘green technology’ without sacrificing sound quality. In this case that means all four components have a very low draw when running and 0.1W of power when in standby mode. All components have a very small footprint and can be stacked. Making these components perfect for audiophiles with constraints on space or looking for a desktop system.
TEAC has focused on bringing the quality and technology of their flagship Esoteric brand to an affordable price point. And the impressive spec list on the 501 series and added circuit and CD vibration technology shows TEAC’s efforts to make that statement a reality. Thus you will find many trickle down technologies, like the discrete circuitry, dual monaural designs, high-grade power transformers, in the TEAC gear that can also be found in the flagship Esoteric products.
The HA-501 Headphone Amplifier sports an impressive list of features. 2 RCA lines in, 1 balanced XLR line in, 1 pre-line out, a selectable damping to dial in different headphones impedance (16 Ohms – 600 Ohms), 1.4W of power, toroidal-core power transformer for stable power supply and is fully analog with monaural discrete circuit in a Class-A design.
The PD-501HR is a high def DSD/PCM/CD player which can not only play 24bit/192kHz disc but also uses an extensively tested Vibration Acoustic Control Structure (VACS) to control vibration, allowing for nearly bit perfect disc read. The DSD and CD/PCM play back sample rates via the digital outs are equal to the source, during pure mode playback, the RCA used for output. The PS-501HR also uses separate power supplies for analog and digital to reduce system noise, allowing for as black a background level as possible. SACD is not supported, nor are there balanced XLR outs for the HA-501 Headphone Amplifier or UD-501 DAC.
The AI-501DA integrated Class-D ABLETEC Norway amplifier puts out a max power of 90W, has an integrated USB 192kHz digital audio input, which are processed by BurrBrown PCM5102 DAC. It also has a headphone jack, two RCA lines in, coaxial and optical inputs. The AI-501DA also uses a toroidal-core power transformer. This amplifier should offer the musical and smooth sound, characteristics of the Class-D amplifier. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any XLR inputs for the star of the series, the UD-501 DAC.
Last but not least, the main attraction of the 501 Series, the UD-501 DAC which supports DSD 2.8/5.6MHZ file at native playback by ASIO 2.1 or DoP methods or up to 32bit/384kHz PCM. WOW that is impressive resolution. With the balanced XLR outs, a headphone rig using the 501 series gear would be impressive. Two 32-bit BurrBrown DACs per channel and JRC MUSES op amps and a dual monaural design. Also using a toroidal-core power supply. TEAC states that the UD-501 can compete with gear up to five times its price.
All four 501 series components are impressive and should certainly be on the demo list of any audio enthusiast or audiophile who is looking for high performance at an affordable price point. The UD-501 teamed up with the HA-501 could make for an awesome headphone rig with a computer source.
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