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  1. #1
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    TEAC UD-501: Dual Mono DAC with DSD Streaming

    I actually posted this information in the Mytek DAC thread but I think it should go to a separate thread so as not to digress from the main Mytek subject too much.

    Excited to report that the TEAC-UD501 DAC is available in Singapore (Absolute Sound Level 3) at a fabulously attractive price of S$899! PCM support of up to 32bit-384kHz and DSD support of 64fs & 128fs via ASIO or DoP. Couldn't resist and grab myself a unit for my headphone setup. The compromises made when compared to the Mytek is the lack of the pre-amp function and additional FIREWIRE/USB1.0/AES digital inputs. The TEAC is based off a dual-mono BurrBrown PCM1795 DAC configuration (dual toroidal transformers as well).

    This unit will be ideal if you are planning to use it as a dedicated DAC and feed single/balanced analogue outputs into your current pre-amp/integrated-amp. The 100mW @ 32 ohms load rating, as opposed to the 500mW for the Mytek, for the headphone amplifier section (uses MUSES 8920 opamps) seems meagre at most so I won't be so thrilled to use it to drive Audez'e or Hifi-Man headphones but we will see when I try it out at home later.

    Will update again on the sound performance against the Mytek when I have the opportunity to. Even though the unit is made in china, the finishing and built-quality is immaculate (even better than the Mytek) and it feels substantial for its 4kg weight. DSD DACs couldn't get more affordable than this now...









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  2. #2
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    Maybe I can post my initial impressions of the TEAC UD-501 DAC through the Audez'e LCD02 rev2 (don't have a pre-amp at the moment to hook up to the main system, maybe for experimental purposes, I would run the single-ended output to the Mytek itself!)

    Honestly, I am pretty impressed... (having some kinks with the foobar interface though, the time elasped and track information is not moving along with the track playing - doesn't affect sound quality)

    I think I will concentrate on the performance of DSD playback (which is one of the primary features you would go for this DAC anyway). The unit has been burning-in for the past 2 days at the showroom - saved me some time.

    The first thing that surprised me was how capable the headphone amplifier is able to drive my Audez'es to pretty high SPLs at 3/4 of the volume dial. The only issue I encountered is with DSD tracks with a high dynamic range or are mastered below reference levels. i.e. Ry Cooder and Co.'s - Meeting By The River, where the gain of the headphone amplifier may not be sufficient to drive the Audez'es to high levels. If not, I think the headphone section is even better than the Mytek's - don't hold me to this claim, I might be influenced by the various FIR filters on offer.

    The very interesting feature about this DAC is the 4 different Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filter options that are available for DSD content. And surprising all 4 of them sound different and this difference is absolutely discernible. Currently fooling around with FIR filter 2 (extremely detailed) and FIR filter 3 (extremely dynamic and smooth) and 1 and 4 basically lowered the overall volume level - haven't experimented much with them yet. I am enjoying filter 3 the most at the moment, DSD just sound so good through the TEAC. I actually prefer listening to the headphone output of the TEAC than the Mytek... strange... a weaker amplifier section sounding better, which is why I suspect it could be the influence of the FIR filters as well.

    The DAC worked as claimed with support for PCM up to 32/384 and DSD up to 128fs via ASIO and DoP1.1. I personally tested all the sampling rates. The only problem I found is that the SACD plugin is having issues upsampling 44.1kHz based material to DSD64 & DSD128. On the Mytek, the upsampling is transparent but for the TEAC, the upsampled DSD track breaks up randomly. Perhaps it is an early driver issue. And the other thing is that foobar is not reporting the playback information properly when playing DSD, although everything sounded fantastic. One last quirk is that it produces soft clicks when switching from PCM to DSD decoding mode.

    I think I will save further experimentation on the MACOSX to tomorrow... let me get back to BEYOND (Chinese Rock Band)... hahaha

  3. #3
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    4 Filters? Hhhmmmm? This sounds like the Wolfson 8742 dac chip found in the Onkyo CSV5L SACD player. If so, one of them would be the minimum phase apodising filter. However, you say its a Burr-Brown...

    What I do know is that only 3 chips so far can do DSD without additional software programming, Cirrus Logic, Wolfson and ESS.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    4 Filters? Hhhmmmm? This sounds like the Wolfson 8742 dac chip found in the Onkyo CSV5L SACD player. If so, one of them would be the minimum phase apodising filter. However, you say its a Burr-Brown...

    What I do know is that only 3 chips so far can do DSD without additional software programming, Cirrus Logic, Wolfson and ESS.
    I thought that I had read that this unit was using the 1795 DAC chip. This chip does support more than one filter mode.

    I'd hope that somebody will review this unit. I'm extremely curious to know how it compares to the Mytek.

  5. #5
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    A very sharp looking DAC from a very respectable company! Nice! Is the Singapore price of $899 mean that the US price (before exporting, etc) is $736?
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

  6. #6
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TarnishedEars View Post
    I'd hope that somebody will review this unit. I'm extremely curious to know how it compares to the Mytek.
    Isn't that exactly what Valenroy, the OP, is doing?
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    Isn't that exactly what Valenroy, the OP, is doing?
    I'm not sure how I missed that... Indeed he is! I'll be anxiously awaiting his review!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    A very sharp looking DAC from a very respectable company! Nice! Is the Singapore price of $899 mean that the US price (before exporting, etc) is $736?

    Yes Ted, It should cost around USD 736 but I am not sure how much it will be retailing in the States when it is officially on the streets. I am in Melbourne at the moment so I don't really have much time with the TEAC but I can tell you this TEAC does sound more dynamically involving when compared to the Mytek when i hooked it up to the RCA inputs of the Mytek. That is just initial impressions.

  9. #9
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valenroy View Post
    Yes Ted, It should cost around USD 736 but I am not sure how much it will be retailing in the States when it is officially on the streets. I am in Melbourne at the moment so I don't really have much time with the TEAC but I can tell you this TEAC does sound more dynamically involving when compared to the Mytek when i hooked it up to the RCA inputs of the Mytek. That is just initial impressions.
    I realize beggars can't be choosers, but if I could get one request:
    don't send it's analog outs through the Mytek. Too many variables; we'll have no idea of its own post-DAC chip analog stage performance. If you tell us it sounds a lot like the Mytek, we'll know why, but not be any further down the road.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    I realize beggars can't be choosers, but if I could get one request:
    don't send it's analog outs through the Mytek. Too many variables; we'll have no idea of its own post-DAC chip analog stage performance. If you tell us it sounds a lot like the Mytek, we'll know why, but not be any further down the road.
    +1

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    I realize beggars can't be choosers, but if I could get one request:
    don't send it's analog outs through the Mytek. Too many variables; we'll have no idea of its own post-DAC chip analog stage performance. If you tell us it sounds a lot like the Mytek, we'll know why, but not be any further down the road.
    If I had a choice, I would love to run it direct to my parasound a21s but the fact that I do not have a proper pre-amp at the moment means that I can only use the Mytek as a temporary solution for volume attenuation as the TEAC itself has no provisions for that. My primary intention for the TEAC is for my headphone listening setup but it seems like it is worth the effort to hook it up to my main rig for proper evaluation... well... where am I going to find a new pre-amp for that end...

  12. #12
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    Was just being contacted by my local dealer that the retail value of the TEAC is actually S$1,400. They made a mistake with the first and only unit that they have with them when they sold it to me. Lucky me then I guess.

    I will have to re-evaluate the perceived value of this DAC properly after I return to Singapore 1 week later, against its next competition, which is the Mytek 192-DSD DAC that I have as well.

  13. #13
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    Any update?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    Any update?
    I'm sorry, I really can't find much time to do a detailed A/B against the Mytek at the moment and the lack of a suitable balanced pre-amp is not helping. The return to work from my holidays in Melbourne has prevented me from finding the time to really compare it against the Mytek. I have primarily been using it for my headphone set-up only at the moment. I do have a Audio-GD NFB-6 balanced headphone amp that I am using with the TEAC and if I do really want to A/B the two, I would really need to find time to...

    However, let me report on some little updates on the TEAC with the short time I have with it...

    The DSD ASIO streaming in Windows has largely been resolved. Found out that the TEAC is not working with the old ASIO input of Foobar. After I updated to the latest one, DSD through ASIO is a breeze and it doesn't introduce any clicking (within the TEAC DAC) like what would occur with DoP. It seems that the TEAC would introduce mechanical "clicks" whenever it changes sampling rates like what would happen when you switch sources for certain pre-amps. DSD64 and DSD128 upsampling is still not working properly for the SACD plugin, with "pop" manifesting randomly throughout the music track. This can get irritating with DoP in windows & foobar as the DAC will switch back to PCM from DSD and then back to DSD from PCM between track transitions. Anyway, I personally find that ASIO sounds subjectively better than DoP. Decoding overhead perhaps? This has been prevented in Audirvana+ in Mac by using the sampling rate delays.

    The 4 analogue FIR filters for DSD did initially sounded very discernible to me but I have come to realised that the gain levels for each filter is different. This could have influence my initial findings with them. The detailed information for the DSD filters can be found here:- http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/pcm1795.pdf However my observations for Filter 2 & 3 is still relevant.

    Overall, I have been very satisfied with the headphone output of the DAC but like what I had mentioned earlier, the 135mW is not powerful enough to drive my Audez'e LCD-02 rev 2 to higher SPL levels for challenging recordings. After I introduced the Audio-GD NFB6 into the chain, I have found that the sound have blossomed further and have been enjoying it with more weight to the music and more dimensionality to the presentation. A external headphone amp definitely helps. I have yet to connect it up to my main system though but the traits common to DSD reproduction is evident through the headphones as usual - Smooth, dynamic, warm...

    Oh another thing, the USB interface requires USB power from the source and since it has only one USB interface only, a separate power line cannot run in parallel with a separate signal line like what can be achieved with the Mytek. i.e. USB for signal and FIREWIRE for power by blanking out the respective contacts. From my experience, separating the power and signal lines have always yielded improvements to the sound in my main setup with my Mytek.

  15. #15
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    Thank you so much...many people on many sites look forward to your fiundings....

  16. #16
    May i suggest maybe getting an Emotiva XSP-1 stereo preamp. It's a balanced differential preamp at about $800, with shipping and 30 day trial. Judging by the price you paid plus this, you wont be doing much more than what you did with Mytek. Every owner of the xsp-1 seems to be raving about it

  17. #17
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    I saw a static version of the DAC yesterday at CES. It's nice; part of a mini setup with a cd player, headphone amp and amp. The DAC, HP amp and amp are each selling for $799. The cd player is $899.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

  18. #18
    $799 for the DAC? Considering the features....WOW

  19. #19
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    Wow, so its selling for just about the $900 in Singapore money translated to $s.

    Superb!

  20. #20
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selarom View Post
    $799 for the DAC? Considering the features....WOW
    Yes that is what the young US Teac rep said to me, and I even asked him abou the $1400 rumors , that the math was mistakenly used for the US price. He reiterated the pricing as above.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

  21. #21
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    Sweeeeeet!

    Tell me, is it smaller than it looksn in photos?

  22. #22
    Valenroy,

    Do you have the option to listen without any of the FIRs enabled?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selarom View Post
    Do you have the option to listen without any of the FIRs enabled?
    With any modern oversampling DAC it is not possible for PCM, even if there are no selections visible to the user (in that case, the manufacturer has made the choice). You would need to get one of the NOS DACs to be able to do it. Although I wouldn't recommend playback without any oversampling.

    For DSD it is possible with certain DACs, because DSD is already oversampled.

    The filter selection controls choice of the oversampling filter.
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
    Developer of HQPlayer

  24. #24
    Yes, true, I should have specified..

    I meant more about the analog filters specified for DSD could be turned off instead of having to choose.

    For PCM, I wonder if the digital filter are like the apodizing filters used for the Playback Design DACs or the Ressonesence labs DACs

    BTW, Im all about having more options for enjoying our content, Im not against it. Its like with your AV Receiver, you can use all eq and room correction if you want or simply go direct mode if that is what you want as well. No change is also an option. Surely the Teac DAC has it, but wanted confirmation

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selarom View Post
    I meant more about the analog filters specified for DSD could be turned off instead of having to choose.
    OK, that one. In PCM1795 the DSD filter is analog FIR filter and is part of the actual D/A section. There is no option to turn it off, just possibility to choose the steepness (1-4) and the corner frequency.
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
    Developer of HQPlayer

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