Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth® (Black)
Our take on the TEAC AI-503 by Crutchfield's Deia Z.
Sometimes smaller is better
TEAC's AI-503 integrated amplifier offers big performance in a compact, stylish package that's perfect for a bedroom, office, or small living space. Conservatively rated at 30 watts per channel, the AI-503 packs enough power to drive an efficient pair of bookshelf speakers to impressive levels with sound quality to match.
Dual-mono design maximizes stereo separation
The AI-503 uses independent mono circuits for a balanced design, beginning with separate DACs for the left and right channels. Two high-capacity toroidal transformers provide clean, stable current at all times. The end result is potent sound with well-defined stereo imaging and excellent isolation between channels.
Analog hookups and pristine playback of digital sources
This versatile amp has an RCA input for connecting a cassette deck or turntable with built-in phono preamp. A set of line level outputs lets you use the AI-503 as a high-quality preamp when you connect an external power amplifier.
Optical and coaxial digital inputs provide a connection for your CD player, media streamer, or TV. An asynchronous USB input for Windows® and Mac® computers supports high-resolution audio files up to 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM. And on the front panel, there's a combined mini optical digital/stereo input for portable players that lets you take advantage of the AI-503's processing power.
High-quality Bluetooth streaming with LDAC and aptX
The AI-503 lets you enjoy the convenience of wireless Bluetooth streaming with better-quality sound from LDAC- or aptX-compatible devices. You can stream music you have stored on your device or from online music services and other apps.
Great for headphone listening
A dedicated Class AB headphone amplifier with a noise-suppressing circuit design lets you enjoy all the fine details and nuances of high-resolution music through just about any kind of headphones. Separated grounding for left and right channels gives you a more transparent soundstage. (Note: to get the benefit of this, you should use headphones with a balanced 4-pole 3.5mm connector). A gain switch enables optimal volume settings for high- and low-impedance headphones.
Free software for hassle-free high-resolution listening
The free TEAC HR Audio Player application for Windows and Mac allows native playback of 11.2MHz DSD, 384kHz PCM, and other high-resolution audio files. Conventional DSD file playback applications require a deep understanding of digital music formats, but TEAC's HR Audio Player lets you listen to your music as soon as you plug in the AI-503 and install the application. It's as easy as dragging and dropping your music files onto the application window.
- 30 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz)
- 60 watts x 2 into 4 ohms (20-20,000 Hz)
- asynchronous USB input for music playback from a computer
- plays high-resolution digital music files from your connected computer (PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz; DSD files up to 11.2MHz)
- built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from compatible devices
- supports aptX, LDAC, and AAC for high-quality wireless audio transmission
- innovative Class D amplifier design offers rich sound and energy efficiency
- dual-monaural design to eliminate interference between right and left channels
- separate AKM VERITA AK4490 digital-to-analog converters for left and right channels
- high-capacity toroidal transformers
- dimmable VU meters for easy level monitoring
- optical and coaxial digital audio inputs (support PCM files up to 24-bit/192 kHz)
- combination 3.5mm analog/mini optical digital input on front panel
- analog RCA stereo input
- preamp output lets you connect an external power amplifier
- no phono input to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
- high-quality headphone amplifier with 3.5mm jack (accepts standard 3-pole or balanced 4-pole connectors)
- two-stage High/Low gain switch enables optimal volume setting for a wide range of headphones
- metal chassis and aluminum panels minimize vibration for clean playback
- binding post speaker connectors
- detachable power cable
- remote control
- free TEAC HR Audio Player application for Windows and Mac
- 11-7/16"W x 3-1/4"H x 11-9/16"D
- weight: 8.8 lbs.
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- USB DAC/Integrated Amplifier
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control (RC-1328)
- Two "AAA" batteries
- Owner's Manual (En/Fr/Sp)
- Caution note
TEAC AI-503 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms)||30|
|Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms)||Not given|
|Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms)||60|
|Minimum Impedance||4 ohms|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||100|
|Digital Music Features|
|Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)||Yes|
|High-resolution Audio Playback||FLAC, WAV, DSD|
|Total Analog Inputs||2|
|Optical Digital Inputs||1|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||1|
|Preamp Outputs||Stereo RCA|
|Dimensions and Warranty|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Class-D Power Amplifier: In order to deliver high-quality audio performance, the TEAC AI-503 incorporates a well-regarded, high-output power amplifier made by ICEpower a/s. This guarantees high-resolution playback of delicate signals as well as excellent linearity at higher output levels. The use of a compact, high-efficiency Class-D power amplifier enables the inclusion of a dual-mono circuit configuration in the DACs (highly beneficial to digital audio) while retaining a small, stylish form-factor.
- 8Ω Rating: 30 watts x 2 channel (20-20kHz)
- 4Ω Rating: 60 watts x 2 channel (20-20kHz)
High-Capacity Toroidal-Core Power Transformers: Power is supplied by efficient toroidal-core power transformers specifically designed to suppress magnetic flux leakage and prevent electromagnetically-induced noise, providing clean and stable current at all times.
High-Performance VERITA AK4490 DACs: The TEAC AI-503 utilizes high-performance VERITA AK4490 DACs, made by Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation. Along with native playback of 11.2MHz DSD signals through direct processing, a wide range of high-resolution audio sources (including 384kHz/32-bit PCM digital input) are supported. These DACs enable the reproduction of the finely etched detail and outstanding sense of stereo placement that are the hallmarks of quality high-definition high-resolution audio sources. The AK4490 is a member of the Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation Audio4pro family brand of products developed for professional audio devices and high-end digital audio applications.
Dual-Mono Configuration: As well as helping deliver class-leading levels of power, the sophisticated dual-mono configuration also extends to the DAC and the preamp. The dual-mono layout incorporates two completely independent mono circuits for the left and right channels. Starting with the high-performance VERITA AK4490 DACs, this arrangement provides outstanding isolation between the two channels. The suppression of interference between the left and right channels is particularly important when it comes to headphone listening.
TEAC-QVCS High-Precision Volume Control Circuit: For the preamp circuit, the AI-503 employs the TEAC-QVCS (Quad Volume Control System), an ingenious circuit with a fully-balanced design. It allows balanced processing of the audio signal at every stage, from immediately after digital-to-analog conversion until the signal reaches the volume amplifier. Control signals, transmitted from the volume knob, simultaneously adjust the variable-gain amplifier-type volume controls of four independent circuits - providing a positive and negative for both the left and right channels. Using this system, the unnecessary manipulation of audio signals is eliminated, and the left/right and positive/negative independence of the audio signals is preserved until a point immediately before the power amplifier, achieving a clear sound quality with outstanding channel separation (this process only applies to the balanced analog inputs). What's more, "gang errors" (level discrepancies between left and right channels at low volumes), which can be a particular issue during headphone listening, have been completely eliminated, so you can enjoy accurate audio even when using low-impedance in-ear monitors.
Asynchronous USB w/ Built-in 44.1kHz & 48kHz Clocks: The AI-503 supports asynchronous transfer mode when connected by USB, allowing it to control PCM and DSD signals by synchronizing them with its own clock (generated by a high-precision crystal oscillator) rather than synchronizing with a computer clock signal that is invariably unstable and noisy. Two dedicated internal clocks (running at 44.1kHz and 48kHz) are built-in. By clocking signals that are a multiple of the clock frequencies to an audio-grade, high-precision crystal oscillator, featuring inherently low phase noise, the damaging effects of jitter on audio quality can be largely suppressed and the audio source can be reproduced more faithfully.
Discrete, Push-Pull Headphone Amp: The dedicated headphone amp employs Class AB operation, as well as a discrete push-pull circuit and op amp. TEAC has applied all the expertise we gained during the development of the UD-503 to give this model a circuit design that suppresses noise while maintaining the wide operational range of a Class-A amplifier. The fine details and nuances of your music, as captured in high-resolution audio, are delivered naturally. The AI-503 headphone circuit design also features completely separated grounding for left and right channels from the amp to the final 4-pole jack. By completely separating the grounding of the left and right channels from the amplifier, channel separation is greatly increased and a much more transparent soundstage achieved. In addition, the headphone amp output features a 2-stage gain-switching function which enables optimal volume setting when listening through anything from low-impedance in-ear monitors to high-impedance 600Ω headphones
Note: Earphones and headphones with 3-pole plugs can also be used, but to benefit from separate left/right ground drive, you should use earphones or headphones with 4-pole plugs.
All Metal Chassis: Since the enclosure is completely made of metal panel-work, which is resistant to external noise, the infiltration of electromagnetic noise generated by computers and other equipment is well-suppressed. This creates an electrically "clean" internal environment with little noise, even in outside environments that offer difficult conditions for audio equipment. The metal chassis also has 8mm-thick aluminum panels on both ends. These features prevent twisting and bending, resulting in a strong and stable body structure. In addition, its compact footprint, allows it to be placed on tables, sideboards and in other small spaces.
Asynchronous USB-B 2.0 Input: The TEAC AI-503 is equipped with a rear-panel Asynchronous USB-B 2.0 port for connection to your Windows PC or Mac computer, using TEAC HR Audio Player software. Through the use of its USB-B input and the TEAC HR Audio Player, the AI-503 supports resolutions up to 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM (plus other formats like 24-bit/192kHz FLAC). In addition, "DSD native playback" (in which DSD is converted directly to analog without first being converted to PCM) is also supported.
Bluetooth Audio Streaming: The TEAC AI-503 features built-in Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP with support for wireless audio streaming from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone (including iPhone & Android), tablet (including iPad & Android), or computer (including Windows or Mac), or laptop. The AI-503's onboard Bluetooth receiver supports LDAC and aptX, as well as AAC, in addition to Bluetooth's standard SBC codec. You can also control basic playback functions, like Play/Pause & Previous/Next Track. from the included remote control. There is no song/artist/album info display.
- LDAC: LDAC is an audio coding technology developed by Sony that enables the transmission of High-Resolution (Hi-Res) Audio content (excluding DSD), even over a Bluetooth connection. Unlike other Bluetooth compatible coding technologies such as SBC, it operates without any down-conversion of the Hi-Res Audio content, and allows approximately 3x more data than those other codecs to be transmitted over a Bluetooth wireless connection with unprecedented sound quality.
- aptX: aptX is an audio coding technology by Qualcomm which enables stereo "CD-like" audio quality (48kHz/16-bit LPCM) over a Bluetooth wireless connection. Many Bluetooth-enabled Android smartphones & tablets support aptX.
Note: This unit will only pair & connect to one device at a time.
Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs: The AI-503 is outfitted with one optical (toslink) input and one coaxial (RCA) digital input 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 inputs support only 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96kHz sampling frequencies (16-or 24-bit). Both digital inputs also support 2.8MHz DSD audio files.
Front-Panel Combo Jack: The TEAC AI-503 has a front-panel 3.5mm jack which can be used as an analog or digital input. This front-panel input jack is a convenient way of connecting digital audio players with optical digital and analog outputs. It will accept an analog stereo minijack cable or mini-toslink cable (both sold separately). The unit will automatically switch to analog or digital according to the type of plug connected.
Analog Input: In addition, the unit has a rear-panel stereo analog RCA input, so you can also connect an analog turntable with a built-in phono EQ amplifier, a cassette deck, or other piece of analog equipment (all sold separately).
Binding-Post Speaker Terminals: The TEAC AI-503 is equipped with four binding-post speaker terminals to connect a pair of loudspeakers (4-8Ω). The binding-post speaker terminals will accept bare wire (up to 8AWG), spade-connectors, pin-connectors, and banana plugs (single only).
Analog Pre-Out: Thanks to its analog stereo pre-outs, the AI-503 can also be used as a high-quality preamp. As the volume from the RCA pre-out jacks can be varied, you can achieve an upgraded audio system simply by connecting a power amplifier.
3.5mm Headphone Output: The TEAC AI-503 is equipped with a front-panel 3.5mm (4-pole) headphone jack with a maximum output of 280mW + 280mW and support for 16-600Ω headphones. When headphones are connected, audio will not output from the unit's speaker terminals or preamp outputs. 3-pole & 4-pole headphone cables can be used
HR Audio Player App (for Windows & Mac): The TEAC HR Audio Player is a free music playback software which allows connection of the AI-503 to your computer via USB for native playback of 11.2MHz DSD, 384kHz PCM and other high-resolution music files (including 24-bit/192kHz FLAC). TEAC HR Audio Player even supports ASIO 2.1 and DoP (DSD over PCM) formats, allowing native playback of 11.2MHz DSD audio sources on Windows PC and Mac computers. The TEAC HR Audio Player may be installed on a Windows (7 and above) PC or Mac (OS X 10.7 and above) computer. When using this software with a Windows computer, you must install a dedicated driver on that computer before connecting the AI-503 via USB.
Digital Filters: Filter types include 4 PCM and an "Off" mode , as well as 2 DSD digital filters. You can use the remote control to set the optimal filter, according to the input file format and type of music. You can also change the filter during music playback so that you can fine-tune the audio quality.
- PCM Filters: FIR Sharp (steep roll-off used to sharply cut signals outside the audio band), FIR Slow (slow roll-off used to gently cut signals outside the audio band), SDLY Sharp (short delay with steep roll-off used to sharply cut signals outside the audio band), or SDLY Slow (short delay with slow roll-off, used to gently cut signals outside the audio band)
- DSD Filters: Cutoff Frequency of 50kHz or Cutoff Frequency of 150kHz
Note: When receiving signals at 352.8kHz or 384kHz, the digital filter will be disabled during playback regardless of this setting.
Aluminum Volume Knob & IR Remote: TEAC pays great attention to each and every control, including an aluminum volume knob with firm torque and an aluminum alloy topped IR remote. The remote offers Power, Volume, Mute, Input, Filter, Upconvert, Menu, and Playback controls.
Dimmable VU Meters: Providing a visual indicator of system gain, analog level meters are built into the front of the unit. These meters provide a stylish insight into operating levels of the system and feature a dimmer function which can be set to one of four levels (bright, normal, dim, off), allowing you to adjust the brightness to match the lighting of the room, you can also turn off the operation of the level meters completely.
Auto Power Down: If there is no signal from the selected input source and no operation has occurred for approximately 30 minutes, the AI-503 will enter standby mode. Power consumption in standby mode is 0.2W or less.
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 verify what’s in the box, 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.
3 questions already asked
TEAC makes 2 versions and the one we carry which is meant for use here in the states does not support 220V. My Bio: http://www.crutchfield.com/Support/Bio.aspx?bio=101 [ Paul Oct 19, 2017 ] Staff
The meters are white with adjustable illumination. I hope that helps. My bio: https://www.crutchfield.com/bio/Ryan [ Ryan Mar 14, 2018 ] Staff
The lightning flash with arrowhead symbol (within an equilateral triangle) is intended to alert the user to the presence of uninsulated "dangerous voltage" within the product's enclosure that may be of sufficient magnitude to constitute a risk of electric shock to persons. For this reason, TEAC cautions to NOT remove the back cover for any reason. Hope that helps! [ Larry Nov 14, 2017 ] Staff
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