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TEAC UD-301

Digital-to-analog converter/headphone amplifier/pre-amp (Black)

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  • TEAC UD-301

    Black

  • TEAC UD-301

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Our take on the TEAC UD-301

by Dave Bar
TEAC

High-performance audio in a small, versatile package

The experts at TEAC sure packed a lot into the compact UD-301. In fact, this multi-talented little performer is actually three components in one. First, it's a capable high-end DAC ready to convert your digital music into warm, detailed analog sound. Next, it's a high-performance headphone amplifier that delivers powerful, wide-range sound to your best headphones. Finally, it's a fully functioning preamp with volume control that can connect to your favorite power amp or active speakers to create a killer desktop system. And to top it off, TEAC gave it a sleek, all-metal chassis with aluminum panels that'll look fantastic in your home or office.


High-res audio

Ready for high-res music

Versatile digital music handling comes courtesy of dual built-in Burr-Brown DACs that support high-resolution music, including DSD files and 24-bit/192kHz PCM files. The UD-301's asynchronous USB input allows the DAC to control the timing clock signal instead of your computer, reducing jitter to the lowest levels possible for smoother, more detailed sound. Plus this DAC gives you the option to upconvert digital signals of 96kHz and less to double or quadruple the original signal sampling frequency to reduce jitter even further. The TEAC website has the free USB driver download you'll need for computer playback available online. The UD-301 also uses a beefy toroidal transformer-based power supply and dual-mono circuitry throughout for powerful sound, optimum channel separation, and clear stereo imaging.

The ins and outs

The TEAC UD-301

The TEAC UD-301 sports multiple inputs and outputs to handle your audio system's needs.

This DAC features three inputs: the aforementioned USB, plus two digital inputs (1 coax, 1 optical) for connecting a CD/DVD player, game console, or other audio device with a digital output. You also get unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs for flexible connectivity with a wide range of consumer-level and pro-audio gear. A full-size headphone jack and front-panel volume control lets you take advantage of the DAC's built-in headphone amp for private listening.

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Highlights:

  • plays PCM digital audio sources up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • USB input allows decoding of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files at 2.8MHz or 5.6MHz resolution natively or via ASIO2.1 or DoP (DSD over PCM)
  • dual Burr-Brown (TI) PCM1795 32-bit/192kHz DACs for precise playback of digital music files
  • built-in high-performance headphone amplifier with front-panel volume control
  • preamp mode with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for connection to an outboard power amp or self-amplified speakers
  • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • dual-monaural design to eliminate interference between right and left channels
  • CCLC (Coupling Capacitor-Less Circuit) headphone amp circuitry ensures full low-frequency output and responsive sound
  • user-defeatable upconversion option for digital signals of 96kHz or lower
  • high-efficiency toroidal core power transformer with low magnetic flux leakage for stable, low-noise operation
  • front-panel LED sampling frequency indicators
  • compact all-metal chassis and aluminum panels minimize vibration for clean playback
Inputs:
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
  • optical digital audio
  • coaxial digital audio
Outputs:
  • line-level stereo XLR balanced audio output (can be set for fixed, variable, or off)
  • line-level stereo RCA audio output (can be set for fixed, variable, or off)
  • full-size 1/4" headphone jack (compatible with headphones from 8-600 ohms impedance)
Other Info & Specs:
  • supported sample rates for USB input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM; 2.8MHz (DSD64) and 5.6MHz (DSD128)
  • supported sample rates for coaxial input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM
  • supported sample rates for optical input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96kHz Linear PCM
  • operating system requirements: Windows® XP (32-bit), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Mac® OS X® 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later
  • TEAC HR Audio Player application required for high-resolution audio playback on Windows and Mac computers (free USB driver download available from TEAC's website)
  • frequency response (with 192kHz sampling frequency input signal): 5-55,000 Hz (-3 dB)
  • THD (with 192kHz sampling frequency input signal): 0.0015%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 105 dB
  • detachable AC power cable
  • 8-1/2"W x 2-3/8"H x 11-1/8"D
  • weight: 4.4 lbs.
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in your TV's audio menu. This DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • USB DAC/headphone amp
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Owner's Manual
  • Caution note

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Dual Burr Brown DACs: The TEAC UD-301 uses two Burr Brown 1795 DACs for high performance and support of a wide range of digital audio sources. Its three digital inputs (optical/coaxial/USB) support sampling rates of 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192kHz. It's ideal for playback of FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, and other high-resolution file formats. The two internal Burr Brown 1795 digital-to-analog converters each work on a single channel (left or right) for true dual monaural operation. They are capable of 32-bit processing and even have the capacity to process 2.8/5.6MHz DSD data, for faithful and accurate playback of high-resolution sound sources.

192kHz Up-Conversion: When handling digital signals of 96kHz and less, you have the option to up-convert to double or quadruple the original signal sampling frequency - up to 192kHz. Even when playing back a 44.1kHz sound source (equivalent to CD sound quality) a smoother analog audio signal can be obtained in order to convert to a higher resolution digital signal. 44.1kHz input frequencies can be up-converted to 88.2 or 176.4kHz, 48kHz input frequencies can be up-converted to 96 or 192kHz, 88.2kHz input frequencies can be up-converted to 176.4kHz, and 96kHz input frequencies can be up-converted to 192kHz. Frequencies of 176.4kHz and higher will not be up-converted when input. This up-conversion feature can be switched on/off, according to your preference and application.

Dual MUSE Operational Amplifiers: The TEAC UD-301 employs dual MUSE operational amplifiers to transform the electrical current output of the D/A converter into a voltage signal. TEAC opted for a dual monaural configuration for the operational amplifiers, employing two MUSES8920 operational amplifiers, one on each of the left and right channels. These devices are made by New Japan Radio and are designed especially for hi-fi audio.

Dual Monaural Design: In order to process the audio signal from a high-resolution sound source in a purer state, TEAC adopted a dual monaural circuit design whereby each of the left and right channels comprises its own single monaural circuit. This avoids mutual interference between the left and right channels and enables pure stereo playback.

Toroidal Core Power Transformer: A high-efficiency toroidal core power transformer with low magnetic flux leakage is used to guarantee the stable operation of the twin left and right D/A converters that are so essential to the UD-301's high-speed signal processing. This transformer provides a stable power supply even in situations where a sudden surge of power is required, such as when starting up at very high volume.

Asynchronous USB Input: The TEAC UD-301 features a USB (type-B) port for connecting your Windows PC or Mac computer. The UD-301 accepts digital audio source material stored on your computer at up to 32-bit/192kHz. When receiving digital audio signals from a computer via USB cable, the unit can operate in asynchronous mode, controlling the timing of the input signal using the UD-301's internal clock. With asynchronous transmission over USB, signal compromising jitter is effectively eliminated, allowing digital audio signals to be transmitted in a pure, unadulterated state. This allows optimal playback of high-resolution digital audio files from playlists/libraries in your iTunes, Windows Media Player, or similar playback programs on your computer.

Note: Compatible with Windows XP (32-bit), Vista (32/64-bit), 7 (32/64-bit), 8 (32/64-bit), and 8.1 (32/64-bit); Windows computer will also require the installation of a dedicated TEAC USB driver. Compatible with Macintosh OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), OS X Lion (10.7), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), OS X Mavericks (10.9); no additional driver required for Macintosh computers.

HR Audio Player App (for Windows & Mac): The TEAC HR Audio Player is a free application software download to help you playback and enjoy your high-resolution audio files on your Windows or Mac computer with ease through the TEAC UD-301 and your connected home audio system. The TEAC HR Audio Player allows you to listen to your audio as soon as you connect the TEAC UD-301 and install the application; simply drag-and-drop the music files on your computer into the window of the application. Various high-resolution audio files formats are supported, including DSD (2.8MHz/5.6MHz), PCM (44.1-192kHz; 16-32-bit), and FLAC (44.1-192kHz; 16-32-bit), plus compressed music files like MP3 (32-320kbps). You can even choose between ASIO2.1 and DoP (DSD over PCM) modes when playing back DSD files from your Windows PC. In order to maximize the connected unit's performance, a simplified screen of the TEAC HR Audio Player helps reduce CPU load time while data processing.  Furthermore, the RAM Buffer Playback mode that stores the audio data onto the internal memory is supported for the ultimate digital audio playback conditions. Additional features include Playlist, Repeat, and Shuffle playback.

Note: Compatible with Windows XP (32-bit), Vista (32/64-bit),  and 7 (32/64-bit). Compatible with Macintosh OS X Lion (10.7) or later.

Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs: The TEAC UD-301 is fitted with optical (toslink) and coaxial (RCA) digital inputs for connection of other digital audio sources like your CD/SACD, Blu-ray/DVD player, or network player. These digital inputs will accept two channel linear PCM (not Dolby Digital/DTS). The coaxial digital input supports 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192kHz sampling frequencies (16- or 24-bit). The optical digital input supports only 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96kHz sampling frequencies (16-or 24-bit).

Headphone Amplifier: The TEAC UD-301 features a built-in headphone amplifier and front-panel 1/4" headphone jack that will accept headphone impedances from 8 to 600-ohms. The 100mW + 100mW output (at 32-ohms load) headphone amplifier uses CCLC (Coupling Capacitor Less Circuit) technology. In conventional headphone output circuits, a capacitor is used for output-stage coupling, and so the sound is unavoidably colored. When the capacitor is combined with a high-pass filter this often results in phase lags, or low frequency level degradation. With CCLC the negative impact of capacitors on sound quality is eliminated, providing full low-frequency sound and a responsive headphone listening environment with great spatiality.

Note: In addition to the dual monaural headphone circuits, there are options to switch off the XLR and RCA outputs on the rear panel. By cutting the power supply and isolating those circuits that are unrelated to the headphone output, the performance of the UD-301's headphone output can be maximized. This feature also makes the headphone amp very easy to use as the volume control for the headphones is completely separate from the output mode (Fixed, Adjustable or Off) on the rear panel.

Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The TEAC UD-301 is equipped with a stereo XLR balanced output that can be connected not only to other domestic hi-fi components, but also to professional audio equipment. As a highly versatile, high-performance DAC, the UD-301 offers a high-degree of interoperability with devices ranging from those used by discerning consumers all the way up to those used in the professional domain. The UD-301 also contains a stereo RCA unbalanced outputs to connect to most stereo receivers and integrated amplifiers.

Note: The XLR balanced output and RCA unbalanced outputs on the rear panel can both be set at Fixed, Adjustable or Off. Using the Adjustable setting, the UD-301 can be connected to a power amplifier to create a system with a separate pre-amp and power amp or, alternatively, can be directly connected to an active speaker.

All-Metal Chassis: The TEAC UD-301 features a compact chassis with aluminum panels and a motor-driven volume knob with the tactile feel you'd expect from controls found in high end full-size hi-fi components. The solid all-metal chassis is impressively inert, minimizing the effects of vibration on the unit's sound quality.

AC Power: The TEAC UD-301 operates off of standard household current using the supplied AC power cord. Thanks to its auto power save function, the unit goes into sleep mode after 30 minutes if it has failed to detect a sound signal. Power consumption in standby mode is 0.5W or less.

 
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