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TEAC NT-503 (Read 12863 times)
stone_of_tone
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TEAC NT-503
05/20/17 at 19:14:35
 
I am very intrigued with this unit.

Ever since Steve suggested he is working to put one out with his output stage and suggested one could purchase the stand alone unit and add the Decware ZBIT outboard.

Studying all the 503 has to offer and I called for pricing to put XLR connector's on my additional pair of Kimber 1030 IC's locally here (easy/peanuts). Crucial to run this same cable XLR 1030 to ZBIT and then my other pair of 1030 RCA's out of ZBIT to my ZMA.

I think I'm going to order it tomorrow and have it by Thursday. Right off, its Preamp will be of interest direct to ZMA via unbalanced ~&~ upconverting from 44.1 to 11.2 DSD. Of course, as described above.....I will run balanced out to a ZBIT......8 to 9 weeks down the road when the ZBIT arrives (need to order that too).

I will have a good 8 - 9 weeks (or more) to play around with it till the ZBIT comes.

Anyone have any thoughts, or does anyone have one out there.....and cares to comment?
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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 02:16:47 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: TEAC NT-530
Reply #1 - 05/20/17 at 19:44:32
 
I'll only add the experience that I have with the ZBIT is extremely positive, it is an elegant device and reaps sonic advantages. I ordered mine with a stepped attenuator as it's been my experience with Toriis and CSP2+ that this option offers a nice bit of clarity.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #2 - 05/21/17 at 00:35:24
 
Yes, I have the original inboard ZBIT / ZDSD (2 years and 3 months now). I could wait and do inboard again with Steve's Z-503 (I'm being presumptuous about what Steve will call his-I apologize Steve). However, it will only cost $32, including labor to convert my other additional Kimber 1030 with good 3 pin Neutrik XLR's ....so why not go outboard.....so I can have the unit now as Steve suggested. I then get to season it in RCA out only....but that is okay....... . I will have to wait for the great output stage I'm accustomed too (receiving the ZBIT).

I read your very informative take on the ZBIT Lon/Thread of yours....glad you like it.
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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 02:14:00 by stone_of_tone »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #3 - 05/21/17 at 01:17:29
 
Ordered the 503 from Crutchfield. I will have it on Thursday.  

I entered 530 not 503......geez....getting old..... .  I fixed it.   Grin










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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 01:40:56 by stone_of_tone »  

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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #4 - 05/21/17 at 05:46:06
 
Stone,
This Teac 503 unit has occupied my thoughts more than any audio related device over the last several weeks since Steve teased us with his intentions.

FWIW, you made the right decision to piece them out separately.  If you upgrade to a new TEAC (or any other DAC) down the road, then you simply grab an off-the-shelf and plug in the ZBIT.  Plus, your warranty with the TEAC is intact and you will still receive factory service.  A no-brainer in my opinion.  

I have come close to doing exactly what you did today on several occasions.  It is a tough one for me as I am trying to settle down into something I can listen and enjoy for awhile without throwing in another component, or substituting one out. I just spent a grip on a new SonoruS reel to reel tube-based tape playback system, so not eager to drop another grand, especially since I will be at the LA Audio Show beginning of June.  Sonically, I have ZERO complaints or issues with the ZDSD.  It is phenomenal in so many ways.  If I had to gripe, it would be its lack of wireless capability.  Also, it will not do the latest and greatest in hi-res, which I would like the option to take advantage of.  I have a highly modded Oppo BDP-103 that I can stream to wirelessly and output via digital coax to the ZDSD for its stellar DAC, but in doing that I am adding an intermediary that I feel only detracts.  

The up-conversion is a nice benefit, but not a high value one for me.  I prefer to obtain the highest native res possible to avoid the need to up convert.  However, I also don't have a huge existing music library that could benefit from such upconversion like others may have.  I would like to stream direct to the DAC.  

Speaking of DAC's, I am so in love with this legendary dual BurrBrown PCM1795 D/A converter chip setup in the ZDSD.  The 1795 needs no introduction.  I researched the hell out of this chip before dropping my $1700 on the ZDSD.  And now that I have had it for over a year now, I can't imagine life without it.  I know the 503 has this new fandangled DAC chip, and it could be better or worse.  So I am really torn.  If the ZDSD had wireless capability, then I can honestly say I would have no interest in even entertaining another DAC.  I am that pleased with this device.  But, whenever there is something about anything that makes me wish it had a feature/capability, then I start to contemplate.  

I know it is not a fair evaluation to run the 503 sans ZBIT when comparing to the ZDSD, but I will wait patiently for your initial thoughts, praises and/or gripes related to your new 503.  Exciting stuff.  For me, it has huge shoes to fill if it is ever to supplant my BurrBrown PCM1795 based ZDSD DAC.  But I will always keep an open mind.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #5 - 05/21/17 at 17:52:38
 
Hi Jeff, all good points.

My reasons for the 503 are:

ALL the accesses of Wireless capability
....even tossing Pandora from my i7 via Bluetooth at it....for background music....
Latest and greatest hi-rez
Possibility that some of my CD Redbook will benefit up-converted to 11.2 DSD
Outboard adjustability of ZBIT (even though it might be set to wide open)
Last and certainly not least-the Preamplifier volume/gain adjustment/directly coupled in the unit, from my Listening Chair.

Yes, sans ZBIT will not be fair. However, I will get a good handle on it and the so called Velvet output they deem so wonderful.
Unbalanced output obviously with less gain. It will be interesting how well it can attenuate without the greater gain from balanced out to ZBIT and no density and gain from the ZBIT to RCA maintenance.

I know right?!
How good is the ZDSD with built in ZBIT output. Well, we know. I seriously include in my signature, the DAC'S Steve's output transformer stage has kicked to the Curb…..
++ ZDSD DAC, kicked to the Curb: Auralic Vega, PS Audio PWT & PWD, PS Audio Direct Stream DAC, Chord Qute, NAD M51 (twice) & Schiit Yggdrasil.

I would have kept any of these units if they were better……but, they are not.


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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 18:24:43 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #6 - 05/21/17 at 18:30:28
 
Plus, as you clearly stated the quality of the DAC chips in the ZDSD are impressive as we know. Will see what the FPGA, a pair of VERITA AK4490 DACs, designed by Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation......can do....... .

Exciting stuff is right!  However, for my ZDSD to show up in the Decware Classifieds....the NT-503 has a lot of work to do....as you eluded too.  

I will post again come Friday (initial impressions) I hope with its Thursday arrival.
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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 18:33:26 by stone_of_tone »  

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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #7 - 05/21/17 at 21:43:51
 
Quote:
Exciting stuff is right!  However, for my ZDSD to show up in the Decware Classifieds....the NT-503 has a lot of work to do....as you eluded too.


From my cold, dead fingers... Until I hear anything better.

I wish that I had the XLR inputs on my ZMA just to compare balanced out of the DAC compared to ZBIT converted.  I have to believe that stock, balanced out is probably pretty special on that unit considering what TEAC/TASCAM has accomplished with the DA-3000 (ZDSD).  But right now, I have a ZSB that allows me to connect all of my sources direct in to the ZMA with nothing in between.  It is divine.  This change was made 5 days ago and I am lovin' it.  

The wireless is something that will likely drive me to the 503 eventually.  But, one step at a time.  I will first get your initial assessment, then maybe a purchase from a retailer with a great return policy to get in my system for A/B comparison.  Although, the recording feature is something eventually I would like to take advantage of.  Albums to DSD.  I am just out of space, even if I was ok with keeping it in inventory.  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #8 - 05/21/17 at 22:27:19
 
I was going to wait till my ZBIT would be out for delivery and then order the 503. The great 60 day return policy of Crutchfield I will exceed having ordered it to come on Thursday. I'm not ordering the ZBIT for another week or two and receiving some time in late July or early August.

......so, I'm in it for the long haul.

.....come November, someone gets a buy on my ZDSD or 503. I will keep the ZBIT for the next challenger if the ZDSD kicks the 503 out. The 503's internal Pre and at least 16/192, needs to be stellar with ZBIT, to stay and then have the added value of ALL else it has to offer.

PS yeah I wish I had XLR ZMA inputs too, for the reason you described. But, knowing the ZBIT stage was created to take XLR out from a DAC to the next level or do it inboard, for then both RCA out to in, to drive Zen Amps to perfection .....all is good.
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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 23:14:35 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #9 - 05/21/17 at 22:39:36
 
Your ZEN Switch Box.... Very cool and transparent I bet. I'm waiting for Steve to comment on his reference to his ZSB WITH AN ALPS Volume remote control. Going to play with the 503 first/hear how well they did the internal Pre of course with remote volume control.

Recording with the ZDSD, was just an added bonus for me. I did some and they are stellar like the sampler Steve sent pretty much. But, my purchase was about the DAC and Steve's output Tranny's Playing my Redbook. I would have returned it, if it did not floor me.....and it did as you personally know. .....and remember the DACS I Have had in here too.
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« Last Edit: 05/21/17 at 23:13:47 by stone_of_tone »  

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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #10 - 05/21/17 at 23:09:12
 
Totally with you on the ZSB with the ALPS.  I found this ZSB on the Decware classifieds a couple weeks ago at a great price so immediate gratification prevailed.  I bet that ALPS ZSB will be a real treat to have with the remote volume control once developed and in production.  I just needed something now.  I upgraded my reel to reel system with a direct head to tube playback amp from Arian Jansen at SonoruS and simply could not wait around for 3+ months to get that thing going right into my ZMA without having to manually swap out IC's (which wasn't gonna happen).  The ZSB is a great little box - no coloration, done right to make sure you get what you need to your amp - and nothing else!  What more could you ask for in a simple source traffic controller?  

As far as the recording feature, it will be a distant back seat for me as well.  But, with this new tape rig, it would be idiotic for me not to record tape to hi-res digital with this very capable ZDSD digital recorder/DAC.  However, with the cost of good studio-grade tape, I can probably count on both hands the total number of tapes I will convert to digital in the next 12 months.  Vinyl on the other hand is another story.  I figure if I have great quality vinyl and the ZDSD, why not save some money and convert them myself.  

If you are like me, being able to "check the box" is a must.  Regardless of which one you sell, you have put that curiosity to rest.  After all I have spent and all the time I have dedicated to building the system I have, that is a must.  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #11 - 05/21/17 at 23:23:57
 
Yes for you a must on ZDSD recording I see.

Checking the boxes all the way. I'm hoping to be surprised by the Pre of the 503 driving out unbalanced and real time up-converting all the way for 44.1 to 11.2 DSD. One can dream right? If not, no surprise and then it is about getting the ZBIT IN HERE, to take advantage of the higher voltage output of the balanced output from the 503 and continue on the evaluation discovery:
The Preamp to Balanced out to ZBIT
At least up converting 44.1 to 352.8 or 11.2 (for my vast CD collection)
THEN.....we move onto Native Hi-Rez.
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« Last Edit: 05/22/17 at 01:47:21 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #12 - 05/22/17 at 16:16:10
 
Oh, as most know, I use the term Native Hi-Rez loosely. You can take a lot of "mastered from the original analog tapes", to DSD (Single Rate) and it sounds no better than up-sampling to 192, 352.8 PCM or 11.2 DSD. So, just buy the CD for half the price$, up sample as described with/get the ZDSD or 503 with ZBIT.  

Truth is the truth  8-)
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« Last Edit: 05/22/17 at 16:19:13 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #13 - 05/22/17 at 16:46:52
 
Quote:
Possibility that some of my CD Redbook will benefit up-converted to 11.2 DSD



I think you guys would be really surprised what upconverting your audio to DSD 5.6Mhz or higher does to make your recordings sound more like the original master tape.  I believe this is part of what makes the DirectStream so special - and pretty much any decent DAC that can do DSD 5.6 (or better).

After hearing real master tapes at Steve's shop, I know what to look for, and so far DSD is the closest.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #14 - 05/22/17 at 17:13:57
 
Yes, thanks LR.....and you would know, having listened to Steve's master tapes. I can't wait to unbox her come Thursday.
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« Last Edit: 05/22/17 at 17:48:23 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #15 - 05/22/17 at 17:57:24
 
Plus, looking at my Reality and Future List.....I came to realize the single most important thing I could do is go with the 503. Putting my pretty well stated faith (back) in climbing into the DSD up-converted realm......@  a little less than 2/6th's the cost (NT-503 + ZBIT) of an DirectStream.

With Steve's faith in it and I have a bought and paid for additional IC, to convert to XLR (NOT doing adapter's~I am having them silver soldered~pos. neg. and grnd.)  for my ZBIT (my Kimber 1030's....you need to pry from my cold dead hands).....this became a no brainer purchase.



Stone's Reality List:

Mundorf MCap Supremes put in DM947 Monoliths (June/2017)

ZSB/Remote Control Alps Volume ( " /2017)
.....if Steve deems it viable and produces it.

25th Anniversary SE84C(S) UFO
or Rachel UFO
( " /20**) ~ tricked out hot rod discoveries in Lonely Raven's modified Amp.....



Future possibilities:

FRX driver's/Speakers.....in enclosures

6C33C Mono-blocks
ZROCK
ZDSD NT-503 (or NT-503 stand alone and get a ZBIT)
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« Last Edit: 05/22/17 at 18:28:09 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #16 - 05/22/17 at 22:11:17
 
Any thoughts about the UD-503 compared with the NT-503? They look pretty much the same apart from the wireless capability. Luis
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #17 - 05/23/17 at 08:19:16
 
The UD-503 is a DAC/Headphone amp and so is the NT-503, but it is also a network player/streamer so you wouldn't need a PC if you wanted to stream TuneIn, Deezer, Spotify or Slacker.

I don't see support for Tidal yet, but since it's FPGA there's always the possibility of it eventually supporting it.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #18 - 05/23/17 at 15:17:22
 
Plus

UD has line-in RCA
NT does not

NT has Bluetooth
UD does not

Just the usual similar marketing ....lets confuse the customer with near identical products. However, it did make me cover every nook of each Manual....so good to that effect to pick the one for me.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #19 - 05/23/17 at 15:20:30
 
Thursday delivery confirmed (she shipped yesterday).  I should have time on Friday to plug her in.


I'm limited by using just the rear coax....this Player will push me into using the rear USB for 5.6 to 11.2 up-convert.
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« Last Edit: 05/23/17 at 18:15:27 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #20 - 05/23/17 at 20:40:32
 
Looking forward to hear what you think about the NT.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #21 - 05/23/17 at 22:16:04
 
Yeah... and I'm just as interested to hear how well the TEAC smartphone app works with it, and the music software app TEAC has for your PC or MAC that interfaces with the 503 to organize/manage playlists, play the music files, etc.  It looks pretty basic, which is fine with me, actually preferred, as long as it works well and provides good SQ.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #22 - 05/24/17 at 15:10:37
 
Yeah Luis & Maddog, this will be a slow work in progress (whom am I kidding-I will get right on that USB rear connection). I have been very happy with my 16/192 output with Steve's inboard ZBIT from my Decware ZDSD. With my Cabling and NOS Tube rolling I have been content. Plus, with the rotation addition of getting DM947 Monoliths (rotated with my awesome modded' Acoustic Zen Adagio's) and a Caintuck OB 15" Alpha to switch on and off at my discretion......I should just sit back and enjoy.

So why the NT-503, if I'm so content?......I figure why not give it a whirl and see if up-converting to 2.8, 5.6 and 11.2MHz, is worth it. I have a bunch of FLAC or WAV or something bit for bit/loseless, Ripped from CD, on my hard drive to go with to start.

I say slow work in progress because I'm starting at:
http://www.teac.com/product/nt-503/specifications/

Coaxial Digital (Rear)
see - Supported Formats
(Details)
16/176.4/(192?) and using the RCA/unbalanced/6.0 Vrms max output variable via Preamp to ZMA.
talk about setting the basic baseline, right?

~then~

USB (Rear)
see - Supported Formats
(Details)
USB Audio Input (Streaming from PC, with TEAC HR Audio Player software).......with driver download to Windows.

...then get the Decware ZBIT (with/12.0 Vrms max output variable/Pre-pumping into it from the 503/Balanced) .....if I'm encouraged by the above USB rear/Sound Quality (which will be a 9 week worthwhile wait for my ZBIT).

Rignt now, my extent of knowledge is Bluetooth Pandora from my iPhone7, to my Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 (my girlfriend got me as a surprise gift).....for when I barbecue.   Cheesy

I'm sure Palomino and Lonely Raven are going to get a good laugh out of my Virgin questions.   Roll Eyes  Plus, their is good past info they have written to educate myself.

But then, I could get frustrated or board with the whole process....and coda to my first paragraph above.......and someone gets a great deal on a TEAC NT-503.   Grin
........................................Just kidding (I hope), if up-converting to at least 5.6MHz, sounds like the DSD Recording Steve sent me with my ZDSD and the few CD to DSD on SDHC Recordings I made.....then, a long relationship could be happening with the NT-503.
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« Last Edit: 05/24/17 at 19:42:18 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #23 - 05/24/17 at 18:39:06
 
Maddog, what you said in your Reply #21....would be to easy. I'm still going to try it and post about it (TEAC HR Audio Player software.....with driver download to Windows). Of course, it probably sounds like horse hockey pucks.  

Anyway, I use Windows....so Audrivana is out (MAC only)....that Palomino uses.

I dug up what LR uses (if it has not changed for him):
http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1468850452/15#15

Re: Audio servers?
Reply #15 - 07/22/16 at 17:31:41    

"I do pretty similar to Trip. I take these little PCs, put Windows on them, rip all my CDs, and stream them to my PS Audio DirectStream DAC either through USB (with Foobar2000 software), or right now I'm testing Roon software via the Bridge II network input. Both sound fantastic, but the Roon/Bridge II setup was so much easier! (and way more expensive).

There is definitely a learning curve for a pure digital setup. You can spend lots of money and get systems that are pretty well complete, you just add your music, or you can get your hands dirty and do it really inexpensively with a tiny computer and some software and lots of poking around to get it how you want it to look/work/sound."

http://www.foobar2000.org/
.....obviously, foobar is my option with 503.....and if LR says it sounds fantastic....I believe him.

But then, I'm thinking, why not go right for the foobar2000?! Hopefully, LR or Steve (or both) will chime in about this.
.....because the TEAC HR Audio Player software.....with driver download to Windows.....has got to stink, right?

Yup, I'm pretty ignorant to all this.....but, I can be taught. Cheesy

Who needs iTunes. But then, foobar might be a little more than I'm willing to deal with?
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« Last Edit: 05/24/17 at 20:26:30 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #24 - 05/24/17 at 21:38:13
 
I play music with a Windows laptop using Foobar2000, I think it is a pretty good player.

This is what TEAC told me when I asked them for advise to chose between UD and NT:

"I would think the UD-503 would be a good choice for a replacement DAC because it has less electronics inside and is just simply a DAC. The NT-503 is good if you want to integrate web services like Spotify, Slacker radio, stream from bluetooth or WiFi."
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #25 - 05/25/17 at 01:05:08
 
Hi Luis, one just needs to pick the one that fits their needs the best. Personally though, they should have just combined the two.

Cool on the foobar2000. I'm going to go down the path of it and see what develops.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #26 - 05/25/17 at 20:13:26
 
Quote:
....obviously, foobar is my option with 503.....and if LR says it sounds fantastic....I believe him.

But then, I'm thinking, why not go right for the foobar2000?! Hopefully, LR or Steve (or both) will chime in about this.
.....because the TEAC HR Audio Player software.....with driver download to Windows.....has got to stink, right?

Yup, I'm pretty ignorant to all this.....but, I can be taught. Cheesy

Who needs iTunes. But then, foobar might be a little more than I'm willing to deal with?


I'm currently using Roon, having sold my Foobar2000 computer when someone wanted a digital music streamer for themselves and loved the way it sounded. Roon 1 year subscription was $112 so that was an early birthday present to myself...my subscription is up in September.

I like Roon still, it sounds good, and was *super* easy to setup. The metadata, biographies, and "discovery" type features (to help you find links between artists, or just discover tracks, albums, artists buried in your library).  They recently added DSP and upsampling, so if I had a DAC that played 4XDSD I'd be trying out those features more heavily.  

Foobar sounded better, and has more tweaking available, but really isn't supported nor updated. Most of the current work with Foobar2000 is in the plugins that people create for it. Note: since I haven't played with Roon's upsampling yet, I'm not sure if Foobar still sounds better - Roon could have caught up to it with the latest updates

HQPlayer is powerful and great sounding like Foobar, but a little easier to use, *and* other programs like Roon are integrating with HQPlayer to use their excellent filters and features. I think it's about $125. I was going to pop for HQPlayer, but Roon had the recent update adding DSP, Filters, and Upsampling itself - so I figured I'd stick with Roon a little longer and play with stuff I already have before dropping $125 for another option.

Why wouldn't you want to use  iTunes or any variety of Windows media players?  Because they aren't Bit Perfect playback - they go through filters and normalizations and other stuff that you simply can't shut off. As well as not being streamlined to use fewer resources that can cause jitter in your bitstream.  "Audiophile" programs main goal is to be Bit Perfect, without adding any extra jitter - the newer ones also lean towards having DSD filters and upsampling since there is a wave of digital music audiophiles who are seeing the light of high sample rate DSD.  (Note: this is also why I think it's terribly shortsighted for vendors to not support DSD in their DACs)
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« Last Edit: 05/25/17 at 20:16:03 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #27 - 05/25/17 at 20:44:57
 
Thanks LR......HQPlayer looks like a winner. Have a great Holiday weekend coming up.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #28 - 05/26/17 at 16:49:51
 
I'm still seriously looking at the NT DAC myself -  Once you get past the software learning curve of audiophile programs that is. I have a feeling you're going to love the DAC and find it much easier than the Tascam studio grade stuff.

I'm more caught up with medical bills and other financial commitments - if I can sell a guitar I posted for sale, I might be able to get the TEAC this year rather than next year...so I'm really excited to see what you think of it!

I did some more work on my home theater last night, building brackets/shelves behind my projection screen to get the HT speakers hidden and cleaning up the front of the room for more audiophile stuffs. So hopefully in a month or so I'll be back here doing more CDApS stuff and maybe figuring out how to afford the TEAC. LOL

Have a great weekend my friend!
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« Last Edit: 05/26/17 at 16:50:28 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #29 - 05/26/17 at 17:22:26
 
Once again, Steve knocks it out of the Park with choice of Machine. I say once again, because I own his ZDSD which is superb.

I hook it up via COAX from CD Transport and I'm running Unbalanced out. Easy to use hardy/beautiful Remote.....I set to DSD Upconversion & DSD Digital Filter/150kHz. Using the rear COAX, technically I'm doing some sort of DoP at 2.8MHz. I am also smoothly switching between the DSD function and PCM Upconvert 8Fs with PCM filter FIR Sharp.... . When I say smoothly...I mean it....it attenuates low and then up quickly and beautifully, with no abruptness.

Set to Variable Output to use the internal Preamplifier..... . Wow! I'm not using a ZBIT folks and the 6V variable output is more than significant to play at all the volumes/gain one needs. Why is this significant?!  I have had in here:
CSP3** with Jupiter Caps
Audio Research Pre LS-17 SE
Linear Tube Audio Pre
Schiit Saga
......and  built in DAC Pre's, for example, the PS Audio Direct Stream & Auralic Vega, that did not have the gain/Unbalanced, needed for my ZMA!

I can't believe it! This unit is kicking arse SPL output Unbalanced! No hyperbole folks......and the sound? Refering to just the settings mentioned above so far....absolutely beautiful, musical and detailed. I read reports of the UD unit being to smooth and not detailed....not the NT and internal Preamp. Plus, also consider, we are in a different league here at Decware guys, by running our Class A Amps into Speakers with single Caps without x-over garbage in our music.

I'm going to still order a ZBIT (which I will get to know this Player's possible full capability). However, for this internal Pre to best all the Units I listed above is quite dumbfounding. The other Pre's whether internal to DAC or Outboard....never really Sync'd sonically with my ZMA (riding both Pre and ZMA Gains).....this NT Player and in Unbalanced without ZBIT.....I'm so happy (only 4 hours in of season-in too).

Fit and function of the Player and remote are 1st Class. The display is superb and easy to read from my Listening Chair. It is like a mini Mark Levinson display.

I need to go and put another Disc in. Think about it, I have only scratched the surface of this Player with the Basic's.

Once I get past the software learning curve of audiophile programs that is.....as Lonely Raven states above....I'm in for one hell of an awesome Journey. Look forward to your future posts as mentioned LR and yes, you need to get one of these by the end of the year........ .

Kudos to Steve, he knows how to pick an over achiever that the other's should be scared of (oh, yeah, I'm getting the ZBIT-Steve picked this good of unit/gem/sleeper-Stone getting ZBIT). This is an no brainer purchase......I knew in my gut about the ZDSD (ZBIT internal) and Steve does it again....with this NT choice!

**Footnote to CSP3 above....the most transparent Amp of all of them and I mean all listed.  However, I enjoy the differences I pull from my NOS Input Tubes in my ZMA, without other Tubes in a Pre/influence. So, to have an internal Pre doing (staying out of the way) what this NT is doing ...is superb.
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« Last Edit: 05/26/17 at 19:05:01 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #30 - 05/26/17 at 17:48:47
 
Furthermore, ZMA Gain, is set to a very reasonable between 9 and 10 o'clock (6 o'clock being zero gain). Once again, for the Unbalanced Output variable Pre, to work this well with the ZMA at this perfect ZMA Gain level.....I'm pinching myself.

Plus, I should add, to be fair. I use a Shunyata Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord/clean'd 120 from PS P3  = Significant.
Read: the Power Cord being the most significant on lowering noise...and being more than subtle, in ABA testing.

.....and as Steve said....coming from/being a hardcore Burr Brown guy....these VERITA AK4490 DACs Chips in the NT....got it goin' on.

Being FPGA .....updates to firmware will come available. For example they included written notice that Pandora is not available right now....but, future firmware updates will include Pandora Support.
Hey, putting this via Bluetooth even for passive listening / why not-sometimes.

Maybe, Tidal music service too...down the road.
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« Last Edit: 05/26/17 at 19:20:25 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #31 - 05/26/17 at 22:09:16
 
no offense meant here Stone... but in your posts you routinely refer to the "gain of your ZMA".  I assume you understand that the gain of the ZMA is "constant" - fixed.  You cannot change the gain of the ZMA by turning the volume knob.  The knob you refer to as volume or gain is simply an input signal attenuator.  This is like a passive preamp incorporated into the ZMA and is the same as how all Decware "integrated" amps are designed that have a "volume control".  This knob only lowers/attenuates/throws away input signal, it does not amplify/create gain of the input signal before being fed to the input circuitry of the ZMA.   Steve points out that the ZMA is designed to be at “full throttle/full power” with a 2.0 volt input sensitivity, which means the volume knob on the ZMA needs to be almost fully clockwise (no attenuation) to reach its full power when fed by a 2.0 volt input signal.  So when you turn the volume knob down on the ZMA, you are “squeezing down”, lowering, attenuating, throwing away part of the signal coming into the ZMA, not lowering or adjusting the ZMA’s “gain”.  If the Teac NT-503 is putting out a 6.0 volt signal, that is 3X the industry standard 2.0 volts for a single ended digital source.  So… compared to other digital sources that have an industry standard 2.0 volt output, in order to have the same volume with the NT-503, you would need to attenuate the signal coming into the ZMA considerably, or you would be clipping the ZMA real quick.  
* And yes, I have read, understand, use and am a proponent of Steve’s “gain riding/voltage pressure” theory and philosophy.  And to that end, I find that I like to keep my Decware amps input attenuator(volume control) in the 40-60% range to 1) get my preamps volume into its sweet spot for the majority of sources and 2) maximize micro and macro dynamics.

PS... keep the NT-503 reports coming... I am really starting to think this box with a ZBIT may be what I've been looking for to get me fully into computer audio, streaming, hi-rez, DSD, etc.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #32 - 05/26/17 at 23:08:08
 
I think I'm clear in what I'm saying and my signature of the ZMA I state 40% too....or so. My ZMA DOES NOT CLIP maybe it compresses at only 10 o'clock but that is commensurate to the volume I'm running out of the NT at the time.

Speaking of, I dug up my recordings that are great but so need the voltage output of Balanced from this unit to ZMA. ZBIT put on the books tomorrow....but so nice that the Unbalanced can do so well on most.

I have been using voltage output gain for 24 years....Peter Madnik and the 3.0 with DTI -Pro32 of course. Glad Steve got into it. Of course, compared to this/latest and greatest...that is obsolete....but to run my SE84CS successfully.... Voltage output adjustability in the AA WAS AWESOME to have from 1994 till just a few years back I used it till..... .

....and speaking of micro and macro....you outta hear how that sounds with KS1030 and KS6063 and NOS Platinum tubes.... . Don't mean to offend. Cool part is, the DM947's are so good....the KS6063 brought them to an whole other level too....like my modified Adagio's.
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« Last Edit: 05/27/17 at 00:31:29 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #33 - 05/28/17 at 15:30:34
 
My NT -503 continues to season in nicely. Riding the gains (NT to ZMA) is so great about the Mystery Amp, out of the four Decware Amps I've owned-I like how the ZMA blends the best. ZMA mostly at 10 o'clock/40 to 60% of usable (6 o'clock being 0). When I want high SPL's, I put the ZMA to 1 o'clock....essentially full open (commensurate, as I mentioned above).

I'm using the variable output/internal Preamplifier. I like it and I'm running through the up-converts and filters. Fun stuff.....to find what I like best and season the unit in well before I do HQPlayer for computer audio and/or get a ZBIT. I'm so pleased with unbalanced right now....and no hurry into computer audio.

Busy summer, so I'm going to sit on this for awhile (read: pay some bills/I hear you LR) and also run my ZDSD.
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« Last Edit: 05/28/17 at 15:54:02 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #34 - 05/30/17 at 16:29:44
 
Initial impressions holding up well with 20 to 25 hours on my NT. I'm preferring and looks like I'm staying with the 44.1 input Coax up-convert/DSD and Digital filter of 50k. I have settled on the input level gain of just under 2 o'clock (relative to 6 o'clock 0 gain) on my ZMA (variable output Pre/6 volts out of the NT).

However, I need to tube role from my Mullard's to Tungsram 6922's and Ediswan's yet. Need to compare to my ZDSD output tranny's too. Sure, it might be unfair to the NT** without its own ZBIT yet. However, with the musicality I'm able to render with Coax data to low DSD...sounding pretty damn good. Will be nice to put my 192k ZMA with inboard ZBIT up against it first, in the NT's current state.

......start at the very beginning and work my way forward.

I also need to put my DM947 Monoliths back in too.

I'll come back in a week or two....... .

PS-Is it unfair to the NT** without a ZBIT? Maybe not, by virtue of the fact, I can get great SPL levels out of the NT with the variable Preamplifier using unbalanced output (which was the reason/one of the reasons I gave up the PS Direct Stream in the summer of 2014~read: its unbalanced output level stunk and the ZBIT did not exist yet). However, the XLR higher voltage output to ZBIT for its lower probable noise floor, other virtues and adjustability/even if set wide open is not lost on me....cause I do have it in my ZDSD.













Listening Room:


Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew


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Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC



Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD
{Significant}

.....currently: SR Alpha Cord to TEAC NT-503 (stock)
PCM 44.1 input D-60 Coax, up-convert/DSD and Digital filter of 50k
variable output from internal Preamplifier via Remote Control

~~OR~~

Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder ++
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the Curb quite a few superb DAC'S
***************************************************************
(@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)



WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.75 meter



Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at *56* mA~
NOS/Platinum/Mullard E188CC/7308's in my A12 an B12 Input positions Cryogenic~NOS/Platinum/Telefunken E88CC for Inverter Tubes~NOS RCA 0A3's & matched Quad/Tung-Sol KT66's
ZMA adjusted at 20% to 30-40% max ~ from 0 Gain ~ w/ZDSD
ZMA adjusted at about 80-90% gain ~ w/NT-503, running variable Pre (unbalanced-no ZBIT yet)/gain via Remote Control



***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************
Kimber 8TC new/white & clear jacket/to remind me of how fluid/timbre correct and good the KS6063 are



Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified) w/Caintuck 15" OB
.....enjoying from 8 ohm ZMA Taps

~~OR~~

Decware DM947 Monoliths/4 ohm (Midrange modification/Wave Guide)
w/PX Clarity Caps
Kimber Silver (AG) Jumper's to Tweeter's
.....enjoying from 8 ohm ZMA Taps

Caintuck Audio Eminence Alpha 15" OB BASS Unit
at 53Hz, with my Velodyne CHT 130 watt plate amp and 0 degree phase.....at 1/4 volume on plate
Plate Amp....regen'd clean ~ plugged into P3







Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)


XLO Pro Power Cord to ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, NT-503 and ZDSD, Regenerated/*120*~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output).

++ ZDSD DAC, kicked to the Curb: Auralic Vega, PS Audio PWT & PWD, PS Audio Direct Stream DAC, Chord Qute, NAD M51 (twice) & Schiit Yggdrasil.


~NOS Platinum Tubes from Upscale Audio/Kevin:

(Great Britain) Mullard 7308/E188CC ~  2 pair (both pair Cryogenic)
(Germany) Telefunken E88CC ~ 1 pair (painfully expensive/worth it)
(US/Great Britain) Ediswan CV2492/6922 ~ 2 pair (one pair Cryogenic)
(Hungary) Tungsram 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair
(Hungary) Tungsram PCC88/7DJ8 ~ 1 pair.

From Cryoset:
(Russia) 6N23N/P-EB ~ 2 pair

(Russia) 6N23P's ~ 2 pair/came with ZMA.  
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« Last Edit: 05/30/17 at 23:36:22 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #35 - 05/31/17 at 00:04:16
 
Okay, I said I would shut up for a week or two..... .   Grin

However, I like what I'm getting out of this unit and I'm only running Coax into her (read all the details to that in above Replies).

I swear, I am also getting more gain (headroom input), out of my ZMA since I got her back from Steve in February. I noticed when running my ZDSD pure direct....no Pre.....and now with this awesome directly coupled Pre/DAC to ZMA. Furthermore, the Up-conversion choices and Filters are not hooky in the NT, like a Cambridge Audio piece I had some time back. They make differences in different tunes with this DAC for the better.

So, in light of Steve's excellent choice in this giant slayer NT-503.....I'm ordering my ZBIT (to hear what it really can do, like or more so than my ZDSD with Pre/Remote Volume Control now) and getting my other KS1030 terminated with XLR's. I will have two great machines in my ZDSD and NT-503/ZBIT. 

Yes,  I still need to Tube Roll.....get my DM947's in and compare to my ZDSD...that is all gravy..... . Not to mention hitting 5.6MHz and 11.2MHz with her down the road vs. the coax data low DSD I'm doing now....which is doing great +continue using/experimenting/enjoying the other Up-convert's & Filter's in PCM.

ZBIT ordered! Sweet.
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« Last Edit: 05/31/17 at 03:28:49 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #36 - 05/31/17 at 03:25:57
 
Oh so good! Input gain of the ZMA maxed at 3 o'clock and I'm driving the NT Pre so well into the ZMA.....density that my Adagio's crave and are just knocking out of the Park! Cool part is this Disc I'm running with no up-conversion, but I am using filter FIR SHARP.


Oh so bring in the ZBIT.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #37 - 06/01/17 at 19:30:48
 
COAX DSD DF 50K
PCM 44K
Volume       -2.0db
....just beautiful man.
.......breaking in so musically.

ZMA at 2 o'clock (6 o'clock being 0 gain).....just backed down off of full gain input of between 3 and 4 o'clock. ....Riding the two gain structures to perfection!

Man, having Remote Volume control at my fingertips.....the NT has an outstanding Preamplifier coupled to DAC section!  

Begs the question, do I really need a ZBIT?  Oh yeah, I do. I need to know the potential full capabilities of the NT Pre. Fortunately, I have another Kimber KS1030 (from my external Preamp days) to have terminated (silver soldered) to XLR. Saves me a mint.

....oh, the tyranny of waiting for my ZBIT   Cry However,.....always worth the wait for Decware  8-) Cool. Thanks Steve, for testing/recognizing and turning us on to the NT.

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #38 - 06/02/17 at 06:37:32
 
FWIW,  I have been testing the modified unit on my MAC with the DAC set to +6dB and up sampling set to OFF.

Using Deezer for streaming, which is using my favorite 320 kps algorithm on my IMAC, I have the output on the mac set to 384khz and 32bit floating point.  The clock used is set to: Device - which means the DAC, not the computer.

I am assuming this basically up sampling to 384/32 despite being turned off at the DAC faceplate itself.

Interestingly, I can take the transformer output from the DAC, and send it to the transformer input of the ZTPRE and then from the balanced output of the ZTPRE to the ZMA's Transformer input. That's three transformers... the change in sound is not subtle. I can listen to it in other configurations, i.e.., one transformer, two transformers, or three transformers and by the time you hit three transformers even a halfway decent recording starts to get that analogue tape sound.

Of course I am doing most of my listening with the single transformer into the unbalanced inputs of the  ZMA or whatever amp I happen to have.

I have to say at this point I am completely comfortable with the DAC, although I have never even heard it stock for more than a few minutes... (grin).

Let's put it this way... it's good enough at this point that it has me wondering if it's better than the ZDSD.

BTW, I have yet to listen to a single DSD, or DSDX2 or DSDX4 file on it.  I have only listened to 320kps streams and 1440kps CDS...  you know - the real world.

I'll probably shit myself when I play some of my analog to DSD files I use for reference on the ZDSD... in fact I'll admit that this is the first DAC chipset that I have heard that is not BurrBrown, that I could live with equally as long.  The other chipsets are too anal, too clinical, to sterol, but have such incredible detail...  Now I'm hearing that same hyper detail with the the naturalness that only BurrBrown has ever achieved.

So we're about half way there.  Soon I will shift to the provided player and listen to extreme high res files and see what results.

-Steve

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #39 - 06/02/17 at 14:08:49
 
Steve,

The modified TEAC sounds very promising.  Have you done any listening to WiFi streamed music at this point?  

I've been putting off purchase of an external DAC/streamer to this point, given the ever evolving chip technology merry-go-round. I am hopeful that your modified NT-503 will allow me to make the jump.  

My decision will likely come down to your NT-503 or Dan Wright's modified Oppo Sonica DAC.

Based on my limited discussion with folks, it seems like the VERITA AK4490 DAC's are the way to go as opposed to ESS Technology's ES9038PRO.

Cheers,

HK
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« Last Edit: 06/02/17 at 14:09:08 by HockessinKid »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #40 - 06/02/17 at 15:00:43
 
Steve, thanks for the good news about the NT.

I look forward to the transformer output from my NT DAC, then sent to the transformer input of my ZBIT (ordered 5/30). I am glad to find an internal Preamp I can live with. The NT is it.

I'll compare the NT-503/ZBIT to my ZDSD, in August. I'm excited to get into streaming and USB input for higher rate DSD up-conversion vs. Coax.

Once again, like the ZDSD, great unit that competes with stupid expensive stuff. I can't wait to bring the NT to its full potential, starting with the arrival of my ZBIT.  Cheers indeed, S.
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« Last Edit: 06/02/17 at 15:02:41 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #41 - 06/02/17 at 15:29:57
 
Observation, before I head out to party for the weekend:
As you mentioned  ......Now (me/Stone), I'm hearing that same hyper detail with the naturalness that only BurrBrown has ever achieved.

The chips in the NT are doing this with recording's I'm setting to NO up-conversion and just using my favorite filter SLD SL.

My point is....these Chips are playing so musically in PCM for a lot of my Music and I'm NOT using any up-conversion. Sure, as I mentioned, I will USB in and up-convert to higher DSD rates, cause' I can and some or a lot of my Music will do well. However, as I said in my Reply #12.....up-conversion can be overrated for a lot of Redbook material. Since I'm primarily concerned with getting the most out of the 1150 Redbook Disc's I own.....it is nice to witness this NT/DAC and without a ZBIT, impress me with no up-conversion for a good chunk of my CD's so far......... . Yeah, these Chips in the NT are special.

......those out lurking and lurking on the www .....YMMV (per my observations for this whole thread), tubes, power cable to DAC, digital IC, analog IC(s) and Speaker Cables matter...... + room treatment & two pair of Reference Speaker's that fit hand in glove with my Zen Mystery Amplifier.  I'm not being a d**k....just telling you the facts of the matter.  
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« Last Edit: 06/02/17 at 17:09:18 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #42 - 06/02/17 at 16:35:42
 
yeah the ak4490 is pretty nice.  i put one in my spare bifrost and like it better than my more expensive multibit bifrost.  to me it sounds more analog like.
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #43 - 06/02/17 at 19:33:17
 
Cool to read Trip.

I will see where this journey takes me.

My plan is to keep both my ZDSD & ZBIT/NT-503.  However, I am not opposed to the purest route I have been at for quite some time, with my ZDSD run direct into my ZMA and manually attenuating the input gain of the ZMA. The ZMA allows plenty of qualitative input from the ZDSD/inboard ZBIT.

So far so good.....the NT past enough basic coax, to merit my order of the ZBIT and venture down the path of computer audio. To be continued in August with my ZBIT.

If I coda to the ZDSD only?  .....someone gets a great deal on the NT....I will most likely keep the ZBIT for another future endeavor.

Okay, enough of this!  Our first local car outing is tonight....and with beautiful weather!  I may not have my cool F150 anymore (divorced/down sized)......but still enjoy the cars.....food and cold beer.  + the meat raffle ya know' at the VFW, ya don't cha know.  
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #44 - 06/03/17 at 04:22:06
 
Quote:
The modified TEAC sounds very promising.  Have you done any listening to WiFi streamed music at this point?  


So far Wifi streamed music is the only thing I have listened to it on... that's because it is here we all spend the most time "discovering" new music.  If it doesn't sound good doing this (a USB DAC) then I have no interest in it.  

-Steve
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #45 - 06/03/17 at 14:15:32
 
Thanks for the reply Steve.

HK
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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #46 - 06/03/17 at 15:28:46
 
Yes, Steve, you use Deezer as you stated. To discover new music passively as in your shop....I use Pandora to a Harmon Kardon Onyx 3 from my i7 and Serius XM....thru my Dish HD/DVR into my Polk SRS SDA 1.2's. I have my PAC-S's in play out of my DVR.....yes folks they matter.

I look forward to my ZBIT Steve. As pleasantly surprised as I have been with the NT....it taps out (unbalanced) at some higher SPL's and even at lower it misses the density and weight my inboard ZDSD has. I agree, the reason for this DAC is to do higher rates streaming and to get into computer audio first for me.....also of course, then rip some of my CD collection probably using HQPlayer....and then for up-converting/NT.

HK, hope you are enjoying your ZMA.

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« Last Edit: 06/03/17 at 16:24:00 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #47 - 06/05/17 at 21:14:32
 
Okay, put my ZDSD back in today.....and it has shelved the NT, until I get my ZBIT in here/NT.....sometime in August. Unbalanced output is not cutting it for the NT vs. my ZDSD.

The NT has potential with the ZBIT....I have no real doubts..... .
Yes, Mr. Deckerts ZBIT is that good and important.


To be continued............with ZBIT.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/17 at 13:37:33 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #48 - 06/05/17 at 22:08:55
 
Stone,

I am in sonic heaven with the ZMA amplifier.  Seem my post follow-up in the ZMA section.  Thanks for inquiring Smiley

HK

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« Last Edit: 06/05/17 at 22:09:10 by HockessinKid »  

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Re: TEAC NT-503
Reply #49 - 06/06/17 at 13:39:15
 
Yes, I follow the ZMA Threads here and read your posts on AudioCircle too. Enjoy.
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