TEAC HA-501 Headphone Amp
Jan 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 201

JWahl

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I've recently noticed this new headphone amplifier from TEAC that seems to have been on sale in NA for a few months but haven't seen a thread for it on here yet so I figured I'd start one.

Here is the manufacturers link for technical details:

http://audio.teac.com/product/ha-501/

From what I can gather it uses a MUSES 8920 op-amp input stage and discrete class A output stage.  I haven't found any decent internal shots apart from what is provided on the manufacturers page but it appears that the output stage may use 4 discrete transistors (mosfets?) mounted on heatsinks similar to what's seen on the Audio Technica HA-5000 and Audio-GD SA-31.  Those could in fact just be voltage regulators but it's difficult to tell without a better internal shot.  Manufacturers rated PEAK output power is 1400mw @ 32 ohms.

The most interesting and unique feature however, is the adjustable damping factor switch to adapt to headphones of various impedance. 

I suspect this could be a more affordable alternative to the HA-5000 for Audio Technica users but I haven't seen a single impression outside of one or two Japanese blogs.  The current street price for this is about $800.

There is also a matching DSD USB DAC (for the same price) along with speaker amp and CD player in the 501 series, the DAC already having it's own thread here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/632413/teac-reference-line-ud-501-usb-dac-dsd

Since the amp has been out for a few months now, I'm hoping somebody has pulled the trigger on one and is able to share their impressions.  The price doesn't seem too unreasonable for what it offers IMO, very flexible for sure.
 
Mar 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM Post #3 of 201

JWahl

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Quote:
Looking for an amp for my new Sennheiser HD800, is this Teac good enough for them,or to go for smth else,any opinion? Thanks.

From looking through the HD800 appreciation thread there seems to be several choices depending on your budget and taste.  I ended up getting a used Audio-GD SA-31 for half the price and it seems to work well with the HD800 for my taste and source.  The HA-501 looks pretty nice on paper and fairly priced but I just don't think anyone has pulled the trigger on it yet.  I posted this thread 2 months ago and not a single reply until now.  Of course you could always be the first 
wink_face.gif

 
I'm hoping with the rising interest in the matching DAC someone will also buy up the amp with it as well.
 
Mar 29, 2013 at 4:01 PM Post #5 of 201

Armaegis

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It looks good on paper. Lots of power on tap, nice (if somewhat brutish) design, and I'm intrigued by the knob for damping factor. 
 
Mar 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM Post #6 of 201

brunk

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Quote:
It looks good on paper. Lots of power on tap, nice (if somewhat brutish) design, and I'm intrigued by the knob for damping factor. 


I think this amp would be perfect for the Audio-Technica ATH-W5000 that is notoriously picky.
 
Mar 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM Post #7 of 201

cannarymburns

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I got this amp for my hd650, might seem overkill, but I couldn't resist after auditioning it. To be fair, I haven't tried a lot of other high end amps, but I was really impressed over how much better it sounded than my fiio e9. The soundstage and imaging make the 650 sounds like a different headphone (but again, the e9 isn't a great amp, too dark for the 650)
 
 
Mar 30, 2013 at 1:04 PM Post #8 of 201

Armaegis

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Have no noticed much change with the damping factor knob? I imagine one of those settings should make it sound somewhat similar to the e9.
 
Mar 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM Post #9 of 201

brunk

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Quote:
I got this amp for my hd650, might seem overkill, but I couldn't resist after auditioning it. To be fair, I haven't tried a lot of other high end amps, but I was really impressed over how much better it sounded than my fiio e9. The soundstage and imaging make the 650 sounds like a different headphone (but again, the e9 isn't a great amp, too dark for the 650)
 


congrats on your new pairing :) wise decision since the amp is quite versatile for different headphones.
 
Mar 31, 2013 at 7:35 PM Post #13 of 201

hodgjy

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I've always been a fan of TEAC, all the way back to my dad's tape deck from the early 1980s.  All their stuff seems well made.
 
Apr 11, 2013 at 1:01 AM Post #14 of 201

Stoney

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I listened at some length yesterday using LCD2 and LCD3.  I had not heard any of these before.  I did a brief listen with my HD650. I may try it with HD800 soon.  
 
I didn't have a good reference point to make a firm assessment.  But the LCD3 in particular was wonderful to listen to.  Airy, defined, clean, spacious (need to verify soundstage, since I'm not familiar with these headphones), no edginess.  More air than the LCD2, and much less excess weight and mud in the bass.
 
I found the damping factor very useful.  However, I'm not sure if there are comparably priced amps that don't need such a feature.  
 
With the LCD2, I found the bass was plump and indistinct to some degree, enough that I would not have bought them... but then I tried the damping factor.  I found turning it up past "med" towards "high" helped quite a bit.  Going too far, though, lost a sense of full bass.  As I raised the damping factor, it was as if a resonance of the diaphragm was being raised in frequency.  I encourage more of you to play with it using various headphones; I bet, however, that heavy diaphragms such as planar magentics would show the most benefit.  For example, my HD650 showed less variation but still some.  The best I've heard the HD650 was probably WA22 and other pricey amps, or in full balanced configuration with multi-k SS amps.  
 
One thing that bothers me: the Teac site, and Amazon, describe it as "Full-analog Dual Monaural Discrete design" and "Dual MUSES8920 Op-amps for Left and Right channels".  The opamps are used for gain, not power supply, one per channel.  
 
http://www.teac.com/product/ha-501/
 
 

 
Apr 12, 2013 at 1:55 AM Post #15 of 201

al10

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Quote:
I listened at some length yesterday using LCD2 and LCD3.  I had not heard any of these before.  I did a brief listen with my HD650. I may try it with HD800 soon.  
 
I didn't have a good reference point to make a firm assessment.  But the LCD3 in particular was wonderful to listen to.  Airy, defined, clean, spacious (need to verify soundstage, since I'm not familiar with these headphones), no edginess.  More air than the LCD2, and much less excess weight and mud in the bass.
 
I found the damping factor very useful.  However, I'm not sure if there are comparably priced amps that don't need such a feature.  
 
With the LCD2, I found the bass was plump and indistinct to some degree, enough that I would not have bought them... but then I tried the damping factor.  I found turning it up past "med" towards "high" helped quite a bit.  Going too far, though, lost a sense of full bass.  As I raised the damping factor, it was as if a resonance of the diaphragm was being raised in frequency.  I encourage more of you to play with it using various headphones; I bet, however, that heavy diaphragms such as planar magentics would show the most benefit.  For example, my HD650 showed less variation but still some.  The best I've heard the HD650 was probably WA22 and other pricey amps, or in full balanced configuration with multi-k SS amps.  
 
One thing that bothers me: the Teac site, and Amazon, describe it as "Full-analog Dual Monaural Discrete design" and "Dual MUSES8920 Op-amps for Left and Right channels".  The opamps are used for gain, not power supply, one per channel.  
 
http://www.teac.com/product/ha-501/
 
 
Thank you very much. Waiting impressions on pairing with Sennheiser HD800.

 

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