TEAC DAC UD-501
TEAC’s new UD-501 is the star of the 501 series. The TEAC UD-501 supports Direct Stream Digital (DSD) playback at either 2.8 MHz or 5.6MHz (DXD) rates. PCM audio is supported up to 384kHz/32-bit resolution. It connects to your computer over USB using ASIO 2.1 or DoP.
The output section of the UD-501 features two BurrBrown 32-bit DACs per channel and JRC MUSES op amps, also with a dual monaural design. Both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs are available to connect to your power amplifier. A toroidal-core power supply ensures top performance and clean transient playback, for quality that outperforms components five times its price.
The front, side, and top panels are each constructed of aluminum and attached to a robust steel chassis. These heavy parts eliminate vibrations, allowing internal circuits to perform under stable conditions. An A4-size body allows the UD-501 to fit any small space. The Reference 501 series defines a new standard to fit all modern interior, with great space-saving design and a timeless presence.
The TEAC UD-501 provides two optical and coaxial digital inputs, one pair of XLR and one pair of RCA analog audio outputs. The RCA lineout jacks have an exclusive clearance zone, so a high grade pin cable with a large shell is able to be connected. The output terminal is selectable to either RCA or XLR. The XLR output connectors have switchable polarity, either pin 2 HOT or pin 3 HOT, to accomodate vintage amplifiers. A standard detachable IEC cable with 3-polar socket allows user to upgrade to high-grade AC cables.
Teac Dac UD-501 Sonic Impressions
The Teac DAC UD -501 sounds very much like honest to God real music, with a very warm analog sound like one would hear in a really good jazz club or concert hall. Music becomes very inviting. The most realistic sound so far is from the Opus 3 “double DSD” 5.6MHz samplers. As I have reported in the past, my 24/96 copies of audiophile LPs sound very close to vinyl, with the Teac DAC I seriously doubt I would be able to tell the original analog LP from the 24/96 PCM copy, my audiophile LPs sound just like LPs without the hassle.
For many years I lived with and was quite happy with the maximum resolution of 96kHz offered by my computer, although I did have DVD-Audios at 192kHz and pure DSD SACDs. This is my first time to experience 352.8kHz 24-bit PCM and 5.6 MHz DSD, and I am quite impressed with both. Both sound, and more importantly feel, more realistic than even 192kHz, and the beauty of sound fills my body with goose bumps, even with music as simple as just voice and guitar, these super high resolution music files feel so frightfully real.
With the Teac DAC my 24-bit 192kHz music files now offer better sound than I remember getting from my 24/192 DVD-Audios. I was able to compare the same music in both 96kHz and 192kHz, and the 192kHz versions offered a much higher level of sonic realism, a more holographic sound field, and more ambiance. However, for me 24/352.8 PCM and DSD are the music files that bring me the most listening pleasure, we don’t have a lot of those yet, but the selection is growing.
If you would like to compare different resolutions of the same music file I recommend free downloads from 2L’s test bench http://www.2l.no/hires/ Most of their masters are DXD, which is 24-bit 352.8kHz, and you can compare a variety of resolutions and file formats from 24/96kHz PCM to 5.6MHz DSD. And on the Soundkeeper Recordings Format Comparison page, you can compare 16/44, 24/96, and 24/192kHz. In addition free software programs such as XLD allow you to convert your highest resolution music file to various lower resolutions to hear the differences for yourself.
The sonic differences in the 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz Opus 3 samplers, which are from Purist Analog Recordings, proves to me that many analog masters are superior to even high resolution digital masters, this should add more fuel to the analog-digital debate. To my memory, both 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD sound better than I remember Opus 3 LPs sounding.