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Straight in, straight out, can't get simpler than that.

A Review On: TEAC HA-P50B Portable DAC + Amp

TEAC HA-P50B Portable DAC + Amp

Rated # 74 in Amp/DACs
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kleefurd
Posted · Updated · 1849 Views · 3 Comments

Pros: Well built, clean, warm tone. Powerful sound. Very "British" voicing.

Cons: No way for sound sculpting, but it might be better that way.

Source :
MacBook Pro (Optical Out)
iPod Nano (7th Gen)
iPad Mini Retina

Headphones :
Westone W40
Beyerdynamic DT1350
Sennheiser HD25-1

Mode of testing :
(1) Optical out from MBP into amp.
(2) USB connection between amp and iOS devices.

I shall not go through the specs of this little gem in here. They can be found at

 

http://teac.jp/product/ha-p50/overview/

or

http://www.fujiya-avic.jp/products/detail58051.html

 

What I want to share is real world owner's experience.

 

A little background. I am a retired sound engineer who have worked in some prestigious studios in my past life. So I am familiar with high end 4 way monitors, high end consoles like SSL, Neve, used some really quality products, thus I am quite sure I have got "golden ears"... but all of these means nothing because sound is subjective. Everyone have their preference and here is mine on the wonderful TEAC HA-P50B.

 

I was shopping in Hong Kong for headphones (picked up a Beyerdynamic DT1350 after auditioning a few of them) and I came across a "brand new hotseller". I was sold for the fact that there is iOS devices implementation including the Lighting connector support. That is enough for me. I believe good sound is achieved through the shortest connection and going digital whenever possible and letting the DAC do the job, and let the amp does the boosting of the signal to bring sweet sweet tones into the ears through reasonably priced and quality headphones.

 

Probably due to habit, I have always used closed cans. If I want that open sound, I will always play music back on my Eve Audio SC208s. They are pretty darn good for their price. I use a Prism Sound ADDA converter which are the ones used by high end recording studios. (yes, my old office gear, so to speak).

 

The TEAC HA-P50B blew me away after a week with them (especially when listening through Westone W40 uIEM). What this little bugger did to the sound (I connect an iPod Nano 7th Gen via USB to the TEAC HA-P50B) is quite amazing.

 

Digital audio will always have a certain brightness/harshness on the top end, and the DAC handles them very well and I am certain that the amp smoothed them out while revealing a lot of details while keeping sound clean and slightly to the warm side, which is the kind of tone I love. Slightly warmer than the Benchmark DAC1 (something I use in the studio for monitoring) but it is ok since I am only using this set up for music playback and not for monitoring any recording or mixing.

 

The DT1350 sounded a little dull on low level listening but once "cranked up" past (estimated) 75db, they open up and got me feet tapping on Big Band stuff. The same effect happened for numetal, EDM, so this is quite a nice general purpose DAC + Amp. It states that it can drive power hungry headphones pretty well, but I have yet to test it. Will probably hook up a HiFiman HE-500 at some point to test them. But I am quite sure they will handle the job well.

But for some reasons, Optical In from MBP brightens up the sound significantly, and when used with the Sennehiser HD25-1, the sibilance was kind of irritating. Interesting.

 

Power charging is very well implemented. You can use the USB-power connector connected to a USB charger while using the TEAC HA-P50B and it does not introduce any noise. This is straight to the wall socket, not through my power conditioners, or suppressors. My Parrot Zik goes ballistic when connected to the USB charger and I end up carrying a battery pack if I am flying long hauls, and that is why the Zik is now relegated to "use while mowing the lawn".

 

I would recommend the TEAC HA-P50B to those who are looking for that old British monitor sound. But again, what headphones you connect to it matters. There is no way to know how your combo will sound until you get to demo them. But it seems to sound very very accurate and neutral with the Westone W40 with the longer STAR tips. At least to my ears. I referenced them to my Adam MP4s and while not as revealing as the MP4s, but the tonal quality is definitely not off.

 

What a little gem TEAC has created. Thank you.

3 Comments:

As this worked with your iPod Nano, does this mean it will also work with an iPod classic?
Yes it does. I have the same iPod Classic too.
Great, thanks for replying.
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