Me: am an amateur musician & avid admirer of music from India. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop. With time, my sonic preferences have very much grown. I avidly admire transparency, accuracy along with neutrality, I mostly listen to full sized open back headphones and my all-time favorite headphones are Sennheiser HD800 & AKG K812, which I run from solid state amplifiers. I prefer & admire transparent solid state headphone amplifiers simply because they provide best possible accuracy, transparency & reliability.
I am an average consumer & a humble enthusiast, I like to pen down my thoughts, & I love to express my feelings. I do not receive for any sort financial benefits through this review. My articles are a purely honest writeup aimed for fellow enthusiasts here at Head-Fi community. My profound thanks to TCG Audio for arranging a sample unit of TRD3+ for my evaluation.
Intro: Founded in 2009, Listen To Science &Technology Co. Ltd, (known as TCG Audio outside China) is a company is located in Shenzhen economic corridor, China. TCG Specializes in designing and manufacturing moderate budget audio devices ranging from DAP’s, desktop amp’s, portable amp’s, DAC’s and other products. TCG has a R&D team, which designs all of their products.
TCG is devoted to produce components that are not only sonically superior to the ear, but also economically affordable on the wallet. Even though a relatively newer establishment in the field, TCG Audio has a relative high following in China, owing by their attractive local offerings. TCG Audio’s TRD3+ is a audiophile grade desktop Amp/DAC. It supports PCM formats up to 32Bit/384KHz including DSD format. It is powered by a 9V brick. The TRD3+ is the upgrade version of TRD3. TRD3+ is flagship product from TCG Audio.
Technical specifications of TRD3+:
USB Input support: 16bit-32bit 32kHz-384kHz
Optical, coaxial input support: 16bit-24bit 32kHz-192kHz
Output level: 2 Vrms
THD + N: <0.0018%
Dynamic Range:> 116dB
Channel separation: > 110dB
Headphone output power: 32 Ω @ 210mW, 64 Ω @ 270mW, 150 Ω @ 220mW, 300 Ω @ 120mW
Adaptation Impedance: 32 Ω -300 Ω
THD + N: 0.001% @ 10mW
Packaging & Accessories: The TRD3+ comes packed in TCG Audio’s standard coloured cardboard box with foam protection & , there are ample amount of accessories included in the package.
User manual: Contains instruction about operating TRD3+ & some warranty information.
USB Cable: Good quality USB A-B cable. About a metre and half long.
Power Adapter: 9V 1.3A DC type brick with detachable AC cable.
6.5mm to 3.5mm plug: To attach 3.5mm jacks to the ¼” headphone socket.
Design and Build: The TRD3+ has good overall build quality, nothing to complain about.
The outer case is made up of aluminium, and is painted in matt black. The light in weight and is compact in size. On the front side, we have Volume control knob, headphone jack is present in 6.5mm format along with a power/elect switch. On the rear side, we have USB, Coax & Optical input ports, along with a 2.1mm DC power port .
The power/select button alone controls all operations of TRD3+. This device seems to be fully automated/computerized, and it has memory function aswell Itelligent input switching, mute relays are also present in the TRD3+. For USB receiving the TRD3+ employs CM6631A for D/A conversion, 32 Bits/384 KHZ capable AKM 4390 Chip. There are no user replaceable/serviceable parts inside theTRD3+. Board is well soldered and has a reliable workmanship. It uses a fixed op-amp for amping which is an Analog Devices AD826. It supports 32 bits 384 KHZ & DSD format. Driver installation is a must, & drivers can be downloaded from TCG Audio’s website. It can also act as standalone headphone amplifier when fed with RCA inputs & standalone DAC when output utilized via RCA outputs sockets. But the power supply is not earthed or grounded & leaks mild shocks when touched.
I award: 7.5/10 points for build quality & design
Sound: The TRD3+ gives out a clinical, detailed & vast space of sensation. Lows are tight, but slightly lack body. Mids sound clear, slightly recessed. Highs are comparatively elevated than rest of the frequencies. Overall, I can call it a very cold & clinical sounding device.
Soundstage inTRD3+ is pretty good & has a fully circular 3D imaging. Detail retrieval, and dynamics are excellent are very good for its price tag. Overall the sonic presentation maintains high level of transparency and accuracy. Absolutely zero audible hiss/noise, and zero EMI pickup. But slight ‘pop’ is heard on headphones, when the device is switched on/off. The performance put up by DAC in TRD3+ is worth mentioning, and is just excellent with 32 bits & 384 KHZ & was very resolving & detailed.
Driving Power: The amping & driving power in TRD3+ is on weaker side, but gives out a loud listening volume. Also, unfortunately I noticed channel imbalance (right one louder than left) throughout the volume range.
Points awarded: 7/10 for sound quality
Conclusion: The TRD3+ is a very well performing USB DAC/Amp combo unit. Overall It performed well . But it has a very clinical & cold presentation, which many audiophiles may not prefer. Still, one of the promising amp/dac's under its price range. DAC performance is amazingly good, and has 32 bit and 384 KHZ support, which very few of the DAC's in this price range have.
Pros: The sonic presentation on this little unit is very detailed, transparent & expansive . Sonically, performs well. But has slightly recessed mids & emphasised upper highs.
Cons: Channel Imbalance, power supply is not earthed, & sound presentation is not likable by all.