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TEAC NT 503 or UD-503: Opinions?


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This appears to be like the UD-503 (which is an improvement on the UD 501). The difference appears that it has ethernet in rather than analog in, and bluetooth in, and no dual balanced headphone jacks. I was paying serious attention to the UD-503, but I don't need the headphone or analogue in, so maybe network capabilities would give it the edge?

 

(It would replace an old Peachtree Nova DAC and Pre stage, FWIW). Looks like $999.

 

NT-503 | TEAC

 

Opinions?

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I think it is nifty. I have been thinking about this as it eliminates my SBT and negates the need to run a server (although the server on NAS negates a need for a pc). I will most likely wait for a review or two but this the first device I am seriously considering in several years.

 

Now if it had 200 watts into 4 ohms with bi-wiring jacks and a phono preamp I would already have it:-)

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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Bill,

the NT-503 is on my wish list too, particularly for his functionality. I had recommended it to tubelover about 3 or 4 weeks ago, when his Olive died, but he found some more mediocre critics on Headfi about the UD503, so he went for Marantz, I think.

I would consider the NT as headphone amp in my sleeping room using powerline adapter to the NAS.

As for the DAC Chips, I use already a KLEIN DAC with the AK4490EQ Chip, but without DSD. That DAC is a bargain at 750 AUD, and just sounds very good for my ears. The NT from TEAC has a msrp of 1500 Euros in France. For 999 USD, it would be a no-brainer 4 me, given the DSD-DAC, Headphone and Streaming functionality.

Cheers, TOM

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This appears to be like the UD-503 (which is an improvement on the UD 501). The difference appears that it has ethernet in rather than analog in, and bluetooth in, and no dual balanced headphone jacks. I was paying serious attention to the UD-503, but I don't need the headphone or analogue in, so maybe network capabilities would give it the edge?

 

(It would replace an old Peachtree Nova DAC and Pre stage, FWIW). Looks like $999.

 

NT-503 | TEAC

 

Opinions?

 

Haven't heard the Teacs but have read pretty uniform praise for them.

 

If it were me, I'd choose the UD. The reason why is that it allows use of computer software like A+ or HQPlayer to do the oversampling. This allows choice of a wide array of oversampling filters, wider even than the multiple filters offered in the Teacs. The software filters are also very likely better quality. And finally, updates to A+ and HQPlayer are fairly frequent, while to update the hardware you'd need a new DAC.

 

Use of Ethernet provides an advantage versus USB in isolation between computer and DAC, if you believe that sort of thing can affect sound quality (I do). But you can accomplish that by using HQPlayer and an NAA (which can be very inexpensive) if you like.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Thanks, Jud. I thought the NT also had a USB, coax and optical input just like the UD. If it doesn't, I agree. I don't want it. I don't want to lose any functionality of a computer DAC. I thought it only lacked the analogue input (and the dual headphone jacks).

 

Features at-a-glance

 

  • USB DAC supporting 11.2MHz DSD Native Playback and 32-bit/384kHz PCM, from PC via a single USB Cable
  • 5.6MHz DSD and 24-bit/192kHz WAV/FLAC Streaming Playback via LAN (DLNA1.5 Compatible Remote Playback, and Home Media Playback)
  • 5.6MHz DSD and 24-bit/192kHz WAV/FLAC Playback from USB Flash Memory
  • High-quality Wireless Playback via Bluetooth® supporting aptX®, AAC and SBC Codec
  • Access to the Internet Radio Stations*(TuneIn)
  • Access to online music services; Spotify, Deezer, and Slacker (US model)*
  • Access to online music services; Spotify and Deezer (EUR model)*
  • Access to the aerial digital broadcasting stations on DAB and DAB+ (NT-503DAB model)
  • Free Remote App for iOS and Android
  • Free Music Playback App for Windows/Mac, supporting 11.2MHz DSD
  • Dual D/A Converters AK4490 from Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation
  • DSD and PCM Filters for Multifaceted Personality on a Single Unit
  • 10MHz External Clock Input for more precise clock operation (Applicable for USB Asynchronous Mode only)
  • High-precision On-board Clocks for 44.1kHz system and 48kHz system (Applicable for USB Asynchronous Mode only)
  • Up-conversion to 12.2MHz DSD and 384kHz PCM for finer detail
  • "TEAC-HCLD" Quad Buffer Amplifier Circuits for enhanced current
  • "TEAC-QVCS" High-precision Volume Control Circuits
  • XLR Balanced and RCA Unbalanced Line Outputs with Fixed (0dB, +6dB) or Variable Output Level Settings
  • Switchable XLR Polarity (2:HOT or 3:HOT)
  • USB B-type Port for PC Streaming, Ethernet Port for Network Streaming, and Coaxial and Optical Digital Inputs
  • Gapless Playback when playing back from USB Flash Memory, DLNA and Home Media (Applicable on the same sampling frequency files between, WAV, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, WMA, OGG Vorbis, and MP3.))
  • Coaxial/Optical Digital Input on Front for Connection with Portable Digital Audio Player
  • Discrete Headphone Amplifier with 500mW + 500mW Output Power supports Parallel Unbalanced Drive
  • Large Volume Display on Multi-function OLED with Excellent Visibility (4-step Dimmer incl. Display-Off)
  • Low Power Consumption with Auto Power Saving
  • Robust Full-metal Body Eliminates Exogenous Noise with Elegant Appearance
  • Compliant with RoHS

 

nt-503-b_rear.jpg

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Thanks, Jud. I thought the NT also had a USB, coax and optical input just like the UD. If it doesn't, I agree. I don't want it. I don't want to lose any functionality of a computer DAC. I thought it only lacked the analogue input (and the dual headphone jacks).

 

Features at-a-glance

 

  • USB DAC supporting 11.2MHz DSD Native Playback and 32-bit/384kHz PCM, from PC via a single USB Cable
  • 5.6MHz DSD and 24-bit/192kHz WAV/FLAC Streaming Playback via LAN (DLNA1.5 Compatible Remote Playback, and Home Media Playback)
  • 5.6MHz DSD and 24-bit/192kHz WAV/FLAC Playback from USB Flash Memory
  • High-quality Wireless Playback via Bluetooth® supporting aptX®, AAC and SBC Codec
  • Access to the Internet Radio Stations*(TuneIn)
  • Access to online music services; Spotify, Deezer, and Slacker (US model)*
  • Access to online music services; Spotify and Deezer (EUR model)*
  • Access to the aerial digital broadcasting stations on DAB and DAB+ (NT-503DAB model)
  • Free Remote App for iOS and Android
  • Free Music Playback App for Windows/Mac, supporting 11.2MHz DSD
  • Dual D/A Converters AK4490 from Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation
  • DSD and PCM Filters for Multifaceted Personality on a Single Unit
  • 10MHz External Clock Input for more precise clock operation (Applicable for USB Asynchronous Mode only)
  • High-precision On-board Clocks for 44.1kHz system and 48kHz system (Applicable for USB Asynchronous Mode only)
  • Up-conversion to 12.2MHz DSD and 384kHz PCM for finer detail
  • "TEAC-HCLD" Quad Buffer Amplifier Circuits for enhanced current
  • "TEAC-QVCS" High-precision Volume Control Circuits
  • XLR Balanced and RCA Unbalanced Line Outputs with Fixed (0dB, +6dB) or Variable Output Level Settings
  • Switchable XLR Polarity (2:HOT or 3:HOT)
  • USB B-type Port for PC Streaming, Ethernet Port for Network Streaming, and Coaxial and Optical Digital Inputs
  • Gapless Playback when playing back from USB Flash Memory, DLNA and Home Media (Applicable on the same sampling frequency files between, WAV, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, WMA, OGG Vorbis, and MP3.))
  • Coaxial/Optical Digital Input on Front for Connection with Portable Digital Audio Player
  • Discrete Headphone Amplifier with 500mW + 500mW Output Power supports Parallel Unbalanced Drive
  • Large Volume Display on Multi-function OLED with Excellent Visibility (4-step Dimmer incl. Display-Off)
  • Low Power Consumption with Auto Power Saving
  • Robust Full-metal Body Eliminates Exogenous Noise with Elegant Appearance
  • Compliant with RoHS

 

nt-503-b_rear.jpg

 

Ah, yep (I didn't see the rear photo attached, and was about to do it myself when I saw you had after all). In that case, it's a no-brainer unless you had a reason for wanting to digitally record something using the analog input.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Having read the manual for the NT a few weeks ago, I saw some limitations that make the NT attractive, like 192 kHz max sampling rate. My conclusion was that the UD model was a better choice.

 

Nevertheless, I haven't heard this DAC so it's not really fair to opine. I'd order one, but all the US Teac merchants charge restocking fees, so it not worth paying for my curiosity.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Having read the manual for the NT a few weeks ago, I saw some limitations that make the NT attractive, like 192 kHz max sampling rate. My conclusion was that the UD model was a better choice.

 

The front USB is limited to 192 kHz. The rear USB is limited to 384kHz (i.e., same as the UD model).

 

What were the other limitations?

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The front USB is limited to 192 kHz. The rear USB is limited to 384kHz (i.e., same as the UD model).

 

What were the other limitations?

 

384KHz or DSD256, so I think you're good unless Apple suddenly decides everything on iTunes needs to be DSD512. ;)

 

I really like the flexibility to turn off the internal filtering.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I was paraphrasing the critic on head-fi.

 

Here is something similar from Cambridge Audio:

Cambridge Audio Azur 851N (Black) Stereo digital preamplifier/network player at Crutchfield.com

 

It is 1.7 times the price and the feature set seems a bit more limited (although it will display a postage-stamp sized image of your album art, so with a real nice pair of binoculars at the listening position, I could see what is playing). I wonder how the two compare in terms of sound quality?

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Having read the manual for the NT a few weeks ago, I saw some limitations that make the NT attractive, like 192 kHz max sampling rate. My conclusion was that the UD model was a better choice.

 

Nevertheless, I haven't heard this DAC so it's not really fair to opine. I'd order one, but all the US Teac merchants charge restocking fees, so it not worth paying for my curiosity.

 

I bought mine (UD-503) on amazon...you can always return there without an issue.....but i like mine, and not returning.

i also love having the coax in, so i can either play from my cd or from my pc.

i like the ability to upsample to DSD or use native DSD.

 

I think there is too much to like about this or the nt, that i am not sure why it doesn't get more love.

 

sounds much better than the marantz or sony dacs i have tried (or numerous other lesser dacs).

I love the remote with volume control (remember to change the setting from fixed to variable for volume to work).

 

I think anyone would be happy with this box.

 

now i am back in the market for an amp...i couldn't justify keeping the macintosh that i sold for $2500, and hoping to find an amp under $1K that will make me not miss the mcintosh. I tried an NAD C356BEE, but its for sale...it won't satisfy me....if anyone knows of a good amp for under $1K, please share....are these emotiva any good?

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I also have a friend considering the NT-503. It seems like a true bargain at that price. The UD-503 apparently sounds great and is an even better DAC than the 501. The question is: can we assume the DAC and output stages of the NT and UD are identical? I think we can, but how do we know?

 

Bill, BTW if you are considering an NCore, I'd look at these:

Hypex Amps, Abrahamsen Audio, IPL Acoustic Speakers

 

or

 

Acoustic Imagery Atsah 500 Amplifier

 

and

Amplifiers – RED DRAGON AUDIO

not NCore, but some say even better.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I have to decide whether I need this more than a backup wheel set for my bike. (This at least would be significantly cheaper).

 

I plan to pair mine with my existing DIY ClassDAudio amps. For $1K you can have a lot: Class D Audio Home

 

I may eventually upgrade to NC400 monoblocks.

 

A great thing about the NT (or UD) is the balanced outputs, which would work wonderfully I think with the James Romeyn build of the NC400s in stereo, somewhere in the $1400-$1500 range.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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384KHz or DSD256, so I think you're good unless Apple suddenly decides everything on iTunes needs to be DSD512. ;)

 

I really like the flexibility to turn off the internal filtering.

 

Yes, the NT-503 does dsd256 and 384pcm with the USB input, but only dsd128 and pcm 192 on the ethernet port.

 

It's also not clear which protocol is used on the network port, and which OSes are supported.

 

And yes, the Teacs are now widely available from the usual internet sources. This wasn't true the last time I checked a few weeks ago. That's good, I guess they got over the early production issues.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Yes, the NT-503 does dsd256 and 384pcm with the USB input, but only dsd128 and pcm 192 on the ethernet port.

 

It's also not clear which protocol is used on the network port, and which OSes are supported.

 

And yes, the Teacs are now widely available from the usual internet sources. This wasn't true the last time I checked a few weeks ago. That's good, I guess they got over the early production issues.

 

Windows and Mac are supported

 

NT-503 | TEAC

The Truth Is Out There

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Yes, the NT-503 does dsd256 and 384pcm with the USB input, but only dsd128 and pcm 192 on the ethernet port.

 

It's also not clear which protocol is used on the network port, and which OSes are supported.

 

And yes, the Teacs are now widely available from the usual internet sources. This wasn't true the last time I checked a few weeks ago. That's good, I guess they got over the early production issues.

 

I think most folks are unlikely to have a lot of 384KHz or DSD256 material on a NAS, making the Ethernet resolution limitations not unduly restrictive.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Yes, the NT-503 does dsd256 and 384pcm with the USB input, but only dsd128 and pcm 192 on the ethernet port.

 

It's also not clear which protocol is used on the network port, and which OSes are supported.

 

And yes, the Teacs are now widely available from the usual internet sources. This wasn't true the last time I checked a few weeks ago. That's good, I guess they got over the early production issues.

 

to play music over the network port, they support DLNA...kind of a pain imho...i am happy with my ud503 and usb...because of dlna, i am not sure i would use the network port, otherwise i would send the ud503 back...but since i don't think i would use the network port anyway, i decided to just hold onto the ud503....if i really wanted to use dlna, i could simply use a network port on sony bluray player and use digital out to the teac with same results i think....but i think i am done with dlna....just prefering to use usb. The teac supposedly isolates all usb noise prior to the internal analog circuitry (at least as per their marketing)....i just know it sounds great.

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Originally I had my eye on the UD503, but saw the NT503 was the same price, and the only sacrifices were things I won't use anyway (dual headphone port, analogue inputs). I don't really "need" the networking stuff, but if it is the same price, it might be fun to have it to give me something to experiment with.

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Originally I had my eye on the UD503, but saw the NT503 was the same price, and the only sacrifices were things I won't use anyway (dual headphone port, analogue inputs). I don't really "need" the networking stuff, but if it is the same price, it might be fun to have it to give me something to experiment with.

 

For experimenting, and I would guess it would be very convenient just to set things to shuffle play direct from NAS for casual listening, parties, etc.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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