TEAC NT-503 USB DAC & Network Playersearch

TEAC NT-503 USB DAC & Network Player

TEAC NT-503 USB DAC & Network Player

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A year ago I scanned an industry Ad for this series from TEAC. I am aware they absolutely make some fine products. HOWEVER - its' really tough for me to see reviews discussing burn-ins and the finer nuances of fidelity on a device (late 2017) that is working with a meager 110db's and 1/2 watt per channel - $700? No MQA? Does the what must be single DAC Chip have a bypass setting to at least chase superior sound when not using the modest Amp? Sorry - not a fan of hater comments but I am sure there are PLENTY of people hear who may recommend better use of your $700.....
AdamInHiltonHead
Could you list some better DACs in this price range? Also I would like to point out that this DAC is using dual AK4490 chips.
ccc888
I ended up buying the oppo sonica DAC, 100 dollars more expensive. I did a comparison between it and the nt503. NT 503 is soft and fuzzy more tube-like sound, oppo is rich, punchy with a slightly bigger and cleaner image. I would say oppo is slightly better, but nt503 is also very easy on the ears.
I have the UD-503, the non-network version of this DAC.
For the longest time I thought the performance was pretty "meh", and not as musical as my UD-501. I was actually considering selling it.
Then after a fairly long time of using it, the sound became very lucid, clear, and open.
I could discern subtleties in the phrasing and in vocal inflections that made it seem like I was hearing the song for the first time. Or listening to an alternate take of the song that had different, but more musical, detail, inflection, and flow. And yet it was the same recording.
Wow. So it seems to take some time before the music starts to sound good through this. I also recall reading the same from some other reviewer or user.
K.T.N
"Then after a fairly long time of using it, the sound became very lucid, clear, and open. "
Sounds like your ear just got used to the sound.
jrjr2
No. After listening it to about a month and having it sound basically the same every day, and then one day just reveling in the improvement, no, I didn't just get used to the sound.
I've been in the audio hobby for about 30 years. There are some things I've owned and used that really changed their sound drastically with some use, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly, sometimes slowly over an extended time.
I've also owned whole bunch of gear that maybe changed some aspect of their sound to some degree over time, but nothing mind blowing (ie, started by sounding somewhat congested, but opened up after some use, but retained the same basic sound quality).
And then there are those that didn't really change in sound quality much if at all over an extended time.
To me, it's really apparent when a sonic change happens. Because over the decades, I've listened to a lot of gear, and I know what works for me in terms of sound quality, ie, pacing, flow, tonality, resolution, liquidity, sense of space, rhythm, naturalness in attack and decay of notes, etc. So I can recognize when those qualities I like are there or not. And I can recognize when there is a change.
So when I listen to a piece of equipment for more than long enough to get a grip on the basic sound quality (ie, a month or so in this case), and then it takes a turn for the better (in this case), I definitely notice that. And it's not just getting used to the sound. I can usually get a grip on that in a couple of days or so.
I think what you are talking about is called "brain burn in". It's when you start listening to a piece of gear which may have a different presentation that what you are currently accustomed to, and your brain accepts that presentation over some period of listening, and you accept that presentation to the extent that you will, you unconsciously overlook the shortcomings, and enjoy the musical presentation in the way it is presented.
I think it's something like watching a play put on by community theater group in a theater with dim, subpar lighting. No, you don't see all the colors and details that you would if you were watching the play in a professional theater, but your brain adjusts and you forget that the light is a bit too dim, and overlook the yellowish cast, and watch the play and enjoy it to the extent that you can. And unless the shortcomings are totally egregious and distracting, you don't think about those things after a while and just enjoy the play.
But here's the thing. Even after you've gotten accustomed to the dim lighting, etc. those colors that you are seeing and the resolution and detail that you can discern will never be the same as if you were in a professional theater with its superior lighting. So your getting used to the lighting will not net you the higher quality experience that you would see in a better theater, no matter how much you get used to it.
So when I hear what, essentially, was a community theater experience change into a professional theater experience, no, I don't think what I was hearing was because I simply got used to the sound, in my opinion.
Will buy only if it is a 220volt version!
Sure wish this was a UD 503 for sub $500... :)
Still no confirmation on 220V
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But there are no options on choosing EU/UK ver
renzero
my guess is this is the North American version. sorry my friend, looks like you are out of luck on this one. not sure why they couldn't put a voltage switch on this. electronics get converted to DC then voltage regulated anyways so 110 or 220 doesn't make a big difference in the grand scheme anyways.
What chips does this use and where are the measurements?
Would love this with confirmed EU voltage, shipped to the EU! Maybe for the next drop?
I bought the Teac UD-501 and Teac AI-101DA from Massdrop and they were shipped to Canada. This drop they're not shipping here.
How do you configure for network play? Read the manual and it didn't really cover it at all.
Rochambeaux
download & install Teac Remote APP for your android phone but,this app function is very simple...
This or Onkyo RZ-900? Same price ...
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local electronics store :)
yes pal, I am aware. But it also supports DSD, 384kHz DAC via USB and such.
Are the XLR and RCA outputs active simultaneously? I'd like to use this as a preamp for my powered speaker and sub combo; while I could use the RCA passthrough on the sub, I'd like to run RCA to the sub and XLR direct to the speakers if possible.
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Thanks. I considered the Jotenheim, but reviews seem consistent in its brightness, so I'm hesitant. Plus, I like the network player features of the TEAC. It would be cool to use it for USB gaming audio and then leave the PC off for music listening.
I'm currently running my setup via the sub's RCA passthrough. I guess it could be argued that I probably wouldn't hear much difference using XLR on my speakers and that RCA would do the job.
JaySylvester
If you aren't married to your current sub, look at the Yamaha hs8s that dropped here a week ago or so. Kinda expensive but it has full Xlr pass through.
No Tidal because Tidal charges too much and as a result, their subscriptions aren't as high.
How is there no image of the rear of this unit?
Clock Input...wassat?
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I did that with the images that are available. My point remains, the always critical rear connections view is not available (here, on this listing).
Anyone can confirm this works in 220-240v environment? Thanks
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Alrighty, make that sale Md!(and next time, find your info some where else.)
My product questions are answered with" We don't know". Sales 101. Know your product.
so Massdrop will ship out 220v version?
Youghin
No. But judging from my experience, they will claim to be sending you a 220V unit in response to requests for confirmation until the bitter end when inevitably a 120V unit lands on your doorstep.
They will offer to take it back, but you will need to be insistent in order for them to reimburse you as well for your ancillary expenses in association with this misadvertised deal such as VAT and customs brokerage fees. Alternatively, they may offer to cover your cost of purchasing a voltage converter.
d111
Is there an alternative buisiness that you can purchase such items?
Can we get this in silver?
philosophographlux
I think only black colour is available in NA.
Since I got myself one: The NT-503 is not multi voltage. The model in this drop looks to be the domestic US variant and will therefore be 110/60 only.
It's a stellar player and a pity that the reference range of TEAC doesn't get more recognition.
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Yes. Mine (not bought from MD) is made in China. So? 95% of all tech things we use and a lot of high end audio is manufactured there.
Catskinner
because TEAC is a Japanese company ,,, China made stuff is junk btw, no need to get triggered, just curious where it's made
Hello. I'm not understand. It is 220 or 110 Volt?
How much was it?
Is this unit can be use at 220/240v ??
JAADE
b&h shows it as 120 VAC 60 Hz
TEAC site says: Operation Power US/Canada AC 120V, 60Hz UK/Europe AC 220 - 240V, 50/60Hz
220V there is?
myshush
At least they claim in their specs: Operation power, UK/Europe: AC 220 - 240V, 50/60Hz
Although last time that turned out not to be accurate. But since they specified it, Massdrop will have to take back the unit and bear any related costs if it turns out to be untrue.
d111
Well, buy.
are these brand new units? Stupid question, but just to make sure these are not returned units from a US vendor. Thank you
marcus_aurelius
Better be brand new units, by law if they use returns, used or refurbished they have to indicate it.
I want this unit ... but I can not afford it .. any suggestions with a budget of $200 - $275 .... any one ?
Massdrop... GET US SOMETHING LIKE THIS UNIT FOR MAX PRICE OFF $300
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+ Chrome audio maybe? $25
Chrome audio?
I've owned the TEAC NT-503 for several months now and it is a stellar performer. I am using it as a passive preamp/volume attenuator to feed my vintage 50's McIntosh MC30 tube mono block amps. With DSD and FLAC files, the NT-503 analog output is amazing. The MC30's are feeding my vintage Altec 16-ohm 2-way speaker system consisting of Altec 414A LF drivers with Electro-Voice T35 tweeters. The sound stage is wide open and as close to vinyl as you could imagine. Simply stunning analog output.
Crazy bargain for true high fidelity. I have owned this unit for six months, upgraded from 501 to get the volume control and network functions. Got a subtle, but noticeable improvement in treble smoothness with equivalent low end grunt. No power shortage driving Senn HD 650. Also use balanced outputs to Sunfire amp and Carver Amazing Platinum IV speakers with outstanding results. These speakers are hard to control, and can get muddy with many setups, but with the TEAC I am getting unreal vocal clarity with much tighter bass and mid-bass. Clearly better than any analog preamp setup I have ever used.
I have no trouble accessing my NAS via ethernet. PC to USB and coax input have also worked fine. Sound quality was only OK with foobar, but improved a lot with native TEAC app on PC or Hysolid. Both of these apps, and also the TEAC iOS app, are pretty limited in terms of functionality, but they do not crash (well, rarely anyway) and the difference in sound is NOT subtle. Don't even think of using this with Mediamonkey. Jazz, classical, classic rock, and modern/urban all benefit. High bit PCMfiles are handled extremely well, and DSD files on this unit have literally produced the best sounds I have ever heard. Period. Upsampling to DSD helps many, but not all audio files. Poorly recorded or highly compressed sources may sound worse. And internet radio or streaming, while not supremely hifi, makes background, continuous, or random listening painless.
In sum, a great unit at a great price, buy it! I paid more before this drop and I'm still happy.
PS No microphone inputs. No analog inputs.
Longacre
Thanks for the info. I hope new amps will eventually bring back analog in and phono pre in.
I'm thinking of getting this to replace my Scarlet solo 2nd gen and smsl dac. Would this device also be able to handle microphone inputs like my Scarlet solo does?
Koalabee
From whay I've read, no. I'm looking at the appolo's, but Rupert Neves( I think thats his name) did a pretty amazing job with his focusrite interfaces. There are some interesting articals about the focusrite history and products. I think other interfaces and amps use his designs today. I really like my 6i6 2nd gen. I'm looking to introduce more analog tube into my tracks. If you would, please let me know if you find anything interesting in your studies. Thanks.
Koalabee
On my 6i6 2 gen I can spdif in/ out. Have to sync. Clocks and set up same files.and in control box for6i6, setup spdif. Have never done it, but manual says I can. Looks like a nice dac. Whatever I could and couldn't incorporate with my setup, I'm quite sure I could make good use of and would enjoy. Cant afford it right now. So sad. My routers in another room, so for my other audio systems, I use Chrome audio which is wifi connect, and it has an app where I can control streaming via my phone. So straight wifi stream into any audio system. I can go stand across the street and control my music with my phone. Less compression. Sounds good,easy ,and you can sync them if you have more than one. Same music in every room through wifi,synced. $25 per disc.. You could use this with the other lower priced dacs MD is selling. I realize my explanation was long and repetitive . Jusy trying my best to be understood, and help someone on a budget.
I have the UD-503, the version without networking, and I think it sounds great.
Does the networking function affect the sound in any way?
I would suggest anyone considering this take a good hard look at .5W Headphone Direct Out Power and the 110db rating - hmmm. Top of head and super quick - compare it to Audeze Deckard - desktop with better specs - built like a tank and 8x the headphone out power at around 4W per channel. Or for S's and Giggle's the latest price on an iFi Micro iDSD BL (Blck Label)- and you may 2nd guess this purchase. PS - I own both the Deckard and iFi Micro DSD BL. I also own the iFi Pro iCan Amp that has power to make my higher power cans tremble - hoping I remember to ease in with the juice. There are some version of this TEAC Product that are pretty sweet - but with this only offering CAT Connectivity - and mid-fi specs - at least look at the TEAC UD-301 on Amazon for $399 - that'd you have on your front porch Monday or Tuesday if you live state-side :)
AdamInHiltonHead
The Deckard looks tremendous, but the paucity of digital ins and analog outs means that it won't work for many of us who want a DAC/Pre with a reasonably powered headphone out. And as much as I'd like to own the iFi BL (I use a first-gen iDSD at the office), I can't help holding back for another sale from Adorama, etc. Besides, that's going to become my new office DAC. The fact that it can double as a mini-Pre will make it my backup as well.
For my purposes, the NT-503 looks good. I might bite.
One thing that makes me hesitate is curiosity about the new BT 5.0 gear we're about to see.
Varholiaglimp
V_L - fair enough! But I could thrown in an SMSL DAC - I have the original M8 w/ Sabre ESS 9018 - which I prefer over the newer A Edition with mobile class chip. MD features the 6 and 8 here often. I expected for your comment to refer to connectivity for sure but more along the lines of Network perhaps - because it makes me cringe for someone to purchase a stand alone DAC and NOT have it be 120+ in scale - I know - again - that TEAC has rolling out some great pieces - but this one doesn't seem to be for the true enthusiast in my humble opinion - stack some entry Schitt or even their entry level DAC/Amp - Jot or take a longer look at SMSL - just my two cents :)
I OWN THIS DAC THE SOUND QUALITY IS SUPERB IT, ITS DUAL MONO WITH 2 DACS AND 2 TORROIDAL TRANSFORMERS IN BALANCED CONFIG URATION WITH HARDWARE UPREGULATION TO DSD OR PCM 384 THE PC APP/ PLAYER IS STABLE AND SOUND QUALITY IS BETTER THAN JRIVER BUT LACKS OTHER FEATURES, THE ANDROID APP IS STABLE AND RARELY CRASHES OVERALL THIS DAC HAS SUPERB BASS AND DETAIL WITHOUT HARSH TREBLE , BUILD QUALITY IS FANTASTIC , BUT IS THIS DROP FOR 230 VOLTS/ WORLWIDE VOLTAGE
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rizkazi
According to the specs published by Massdrop, 220V to 240V operation is supported. But they claimed this on the last drop too and then were not able to deliver.
d111
How often do they do this particular Massdrop? I missed out on the last one and would really like to get one.
Love to see this as a Roon Ready device. Looks like the biggest limitation is flexibility in choosing the network source.
Quote from the mfg spec: " A free iOS/Android App "TEAC HR Remote" is required to access these services..." TuneIn, Deezer, Spotify, Slacker" - YUCK!
I want to be able to choose my music software and use it to stream to the Teac. It appears the user experience is locked into Teac software on iOS/Android. I know you can go PC>>USB>>Teac and choose your software, but I want an untethered solution that the network port on it should be providing.
To get what I want, I'd have to buy a network audio adapter (microrendu, sonicorbiter, sMS200...) to create a network endpoint to feed to the Teac. Teac, please build the functionality these devices offer into your products. http://www.sonore.us/microRendu.html http://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/english/portfolio-item/sms-200/ http://www.sonore.us/Sonicorbiter.html
Pathworks
It acts as a renderer for any DLNA server.