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Teac Reference Line UD-501 USB DAC "DSD" - Page 2

post #16 of 284

Any owners of the Teac UD-501 willing to make any comments on the unit and its performance?

 

I've been thinking about buying one for its DSD capability.

 

I did read the Audiostream review.

 

Appreciate any insight.  Thanks.

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post #17 of 284

It's a lovely looking DAC and on my radar. I want to get a DAC with a display and had considered the Audiolab as a possible buy. But the Teac has now jumped to the top of my list.
 

post #18 of 284

I just got mine delivered last night. Bought it from Ron Buffington of Liquid HiFi. I plugged it into the Bryston BHA-1 cold, and it sounded, eh, different from what I had recently had on hand. From 0 to 4 hours, it did sound closed in, but it does have that Muses sound. Its not fair to judge it yet, so we shall see. Also, I had just had the Asus Muses in before this, and that took about a week for the sound to settle. i do say, ergonomically, that this surpassess the Muses. The filters are displayed, the sampling rates are displayed, and they give you a teac player to run dsd with, in case  you didnt have one.
 

And, contrary to the audiostream review, it seemed to sound better through the headphone amp than through the line out (RCA). I am picking up xlr interconnects sometime this week as I read it performed better that way. I am eager to hear it at its best. I wonder if it is, indeed, at par with the Mytek.

post #19 of 284

Keep us posted after you've had some listening time.

 

Thanks.

post #20 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlvca View Post

Keep us posted after you've had some listening time.

 

Thanks.

 

+1

post #21 of 284
Add me to the list in this club smily_headphones1.gif
A grado would be a good match for the built in amp, just fooling around with the T1 while its burning in.
post #22 of 284

Time to face the music, I guess.gs1000.gif

 

Sorry for this overly long writeup, but I think I needed to write it the way its unfolding for me.

 

For those with no time or patience (I feel you pain) Summary: I went from this is going back to  buy this thing if your budget is under $1K. You don't have to be DSD curious, its pretty good.

 

So far....

 

First the setup: Asus notebook  running Foobar v1.1.16  through Wireworld Silver Starlight to the Teac UD-50 through MIT Terminator 2.0 to Bryston BHA-1 through balanced Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 to Sennheiser HD 800 SN. 10712. Also, a Moon Audio Black Dragon balanced to single ended

 

The Audio drivers: for PCM Teac ASIO USB Driver v.1.02 (HS64), for DSD Foo_DSD_ASIO.

 

Burn in time 9 playing days, running PCM music through the USB input. I don't have a way to run SPDIF or Toslink so I can't figure out if it sounds better through there.

 

I listened to the Teac briefly when it came in, through the built in headphone amp, and found the sound too congested. It was actually pretty bad through the BHA-1, which is pretty brutal with bad sources, running balanced to the HD 800. It was more listenable with the AKG701.

 

Fast forward to six days later, and I sat down to listen to PCM music with it. I listened to a couple of familiar tracks I use for reference. I tried the CSN 24 96K 'Helplessly Hoping' for voices. I could hear that there were three singers I could place their locations, and as the ranges vary a little (I think) I could tell who was who. The quality of the bass, mids and highs were pretty good, not overly warm.  I could hear the proverbial 'veiling' though, that the notes were not as clear, where the instruments dynamics were limited. I listened to a bit more, avoiding music that sounded good with anything. I listened to Weather Report's Heavy Weather, and ended up with the same results. Not as dynamic, placement was not quite what I had expected anything to sound through the BHA-1 and HD-800. This thing didn't do the detail thing well. It was slightly warmer, but not anymore detailed through the headphone amp. That I attribute to the Muses op amps on the Teac, and with a balanced to single ended converter it did sound somewhat like, the Muses.

 

So I let it burn in a few more days. I had a week to go before I had to return it, so nothing to lose.

Fast forward to this morning. I researched and installed the drivers to play DSD natively (thank you, Valenroy!), as that was the reason I returned the otherwise very likeable but always colored ASUS Essence One, which, for slightly more, had a very good sounding amp but did not do DSD. And everything sounded too technicolor for me. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there are black and white like music out there that don't sound right colorized. Not awful, just not right.

 

I had a few DSD rips from SACDs, so I started to compare tracks. I had Billy Joel's 'The Stranger', so I compared the DSD and the converted PCM tracks. It might be the conversion, but the DSD sounded so much more alive. I checked the Dynamic Gain for both and they were at 14 (!), but for some reason the DSD sounded more like music. Everything people had said about it was true, it got louder and softer faster, and seemed to sound more natural.  And from a recording people universally agree sucked, engineering wise.

 

But then, who lives on DSD, right? Apart from treacly obscure tunes from fringe download companies, there's not a whole lot out there. Well, I did stumble on a trove of SACD rips, and SACDs from Sony/Columbia's library must constitute some decent portion of most people's collective musical memory. Or not. But on the few I had heard and were able to compare (PCM vs DSD from SACDs) there were more subtle details, nuanced sound (the details hidden) in the music. Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way' enchanted.

 

So moving on to PCM.

 

I revisited 'Heavy Weather', and now found that the cold had gone away. You still can't quite see between the instruments, and the recording soundstage is still pretty up front, but it was far and away a great experience. The dynamics were now there, and you can follow the breakneck pace Shorter and Zawinul dive into Havona. You get into the music, and get swept away. Very nice.  I look forward to more listening.

post #23 of 284

Thanks very much for posting your observations.

 

Interesting results with some food for thought.

post #24 of 284

It's such a cool looking unit.  For the feature set it appears to be a really good deal.  I don't have an DSD audio but I'm looking forward to hearing more impression of this.  The display looks like it would be a cool feature to have. 

post #25 of 284

I just want to confirm here that USB works with Linux no problems out of the box. I'm curious what chipset it uses...
 

post #26 of 284

So far there's been plenty of confusion about the quality of the headphone amp on this unit. Some say it's meek, others claim that it's very decent.

 

I'm interested in its capabilities to drive HE-400 for example.


Edited by giedrys - 4/2/13 at 1:23pm
post #27 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by giedrys View Post

So far there's been plenty of confusion about the quality of the headphone amp on this unit. Some say it's meek, others claim that it's very decent.

I'm interested in its capabilities to drive HE-400 for example.
So long as people understand its only 100mw/32ohms and plug a headphone that can be properly driven it is decent. For example, i have tried it with my DT1350 and ER-4P and its a step up from a typical chip. Its nothing to go crazy over, but it gets the job done without any major complaints, within its limitations of course.

Im not sure how the HE-400 would fare, but if i were to point out one weakness of the amp, it would be the lack of air around the instruments.
post #28 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


Im not sure how the HE-400 would fare, but if i were to point out one weakness of the amp, it would be the lack of air around the instruments.

 

I second that, though it may stem from the dac portion of the unit. Running it through an external headphone amp doesn't add that much more air, and in fact could detract from the warmth of the Muses. I do know that the Teac's built in amp can drive my HD-800 adequately, but you can tell that it could use a little more muscle. And it is, of course, single ended.
 

post #29 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wfojas View Post

 

I second that, though it may stem from the dac portion of the unit. Running it through an external headphone amp doesn't add that much more air, and in fact could detract from the warmth of the Muses. I do know that the Teac's built in amp can drive my HD-800 adequately, but you can tell that it could use a little more muscle. And it is, of course, single ended.
 

Yeah that could be true, but I do find this DAC suprisingly dynamic and very true to source.

post #30 of 284

Well, it's only one way to find out. I understand that this is DAC first and foremost but wondering was it that hard for them to put more beefy amp inside? Plus preamp function. Now that would be some machine!

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