T+A Elektroakustik DAC 8 DSD D/A processor Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: D/A processor with four selectable oversampling algorithms for PCM playback (FIR kurz, FIR lang, Bézier, Bézier/IIR) and DSD Direct DSD Signal Path via T+A True 1-bit converter. Analog outputs: high level (RCA), 2.5V with 22 ohms output impedance; balanced (XLR), 5.0V with 44 ohms output impedance. Digital inputs: 4 S/PDIF coaxial, 1 optical TosLink, 1 AES/EBU, all handling 16/24-bit data at sample rates from 32kHz to 192kHz;1 USB (Device mode) USB Class 2 Mode; support for asynchronous data transfer; PCM Mode, 16/24/32-bit data with sample rates from 44.1kHz to 384kHz; DSD Mode, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512 (Mac OS up to DSD128). Digital output: 1 coax, IEC 60958 (CDDA/LPCM). Analog filter: phase-linear filter with bandwidth switching at 60 or 120kHz for DSD. Frequency ranges: 44.1kHz PCM, 2Hz–20kHz; 48kHz PCM, 2Hz–22kHz; 96kHz PCM, 2Hz–40kHz; 192kHz PCM, 2Hz–80kHz; 384kHz PCM, 2Hz–100kHz; DSD64, 2Hz–44kHz; DSD128, 2Hz–60kHz; DSD256, 2Hz–80kHz; DSD512, 2Hz–100kHz. Total harmonic distortion: <0.001%. Signal/noise: 116dB. Channel separation: 110dB. Standby power consumption: <0.2W.
Dimensions: 10.6" (270mm) W by 3.75" (95mm) H by 10.6" (270mm) D. Weight: 8.8 lbs (4kg).
Finish: Case, black aluminum 42; cover, silver aluminum 43.
Serial number of unit reviewed: 2606 3245 00098.
Price: $3995. Approximate number of dealers: 12. Warranty: 3 years.
Manufacturer: T+A Elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG, Planckstrasse 9-11, D-32052 Herford, Germany. Tel: (49) (0)52-21/76-76-0. Fax: (49) (0)52-21/76-76-76. Web: www.ta-hifi.de. US distributor: T+A North America, Tel:(207) 251-8129, Web: ta-hifi.com.

T+A Elektroakustik GmbH
US distributor: Rutherford Audio Inc.
12649 E. Caley Avenue #116
Centennial, CO 80111
(303) 872-6285

georgehifi's picture

Can anyone say when this unit does PCM (redbook) is it using DS (1bit) type or Multibit converter, as that looks to be over looked in the review.

Cheers George

hb72's picture

Double-Differential-Quadruple-Converter with 4 D/A-Converters per channel, 32-Bit Sigma Delta, 352,8 kSps/384 kSps. Eight times oversampling.

georgehifi's picture

Gross for PCM replay conversion.
From what the gurus in the industries say only Multibit can do PCM without making a facsimile of it.

Cheers George

tonykaz's picture

Thats probably the most accurate thing anyone could say or has said about good quality Consumer DACs! Maybe you should be awarded the "King's new Suit" Award.

I admire your bravery

Tony in Michigan

ps. I've heard it said that if a DAC is doing it's job properly you can't hear it.

Marc210's picture

I own two old DACs (more than 10 years age) purchased used at less than 80 per cent of their retail price, and really it's hard to tell differences, even subtle ones. First is a one bit, other oversamples at 96, compared to newcomers well you know what's the answer is...

CAminion's picture

reminds me of when in the 80's people would say all turntables are the same. Digital transport solutions will make DAC's sound alike if they aren't up to snuff.

TJ's picture

... for the most thoughtful and well considered DAC review I've ever read. It's an interesting comment that as the technology matures, digital filters will become more significant than other design factors.

Archimago's picture

Disagree with this. Realize that the comment is about the Ayre Codex vs. a DAC a few years old. The difference is primarily the filters. Yet sounds "damn close". If that's the difference filters make (especially something so significantly different like the Codex/PonoPlayer), then it's not unreasonable to say that filters are not all that different sounding, right?

Anton's picture

I see things like, "DSD64 appears on the display as either "2M8 DSD" or "3M1 DSD" (2.8MHz or 3.1MHz), depending on whether the base clock is 44.1 or 48kHz; DSD128 is displayed as "5M6 DSD" or "6M1 DSD"; and so on, all the way up to "22M6 DSD" or "24M6 DSD," for DSD512," or "four S/PDIF (RCA), BNC, optical, AES/EBU, and USB. The USB input accepts PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD up to DSD512; DSD256 and DSD512 are possible only with USB streams from Windows operating systems..." and my brain just goes all dial tone.

I figured out Tidal into my Explorer DAC to the real Hi Fi and that was a major accomplishment!


If it ever gets idiot-level easy, I will hit the button!

Archimago's picture

It just sounds like the DSD naming scheme is unnecessarily pretentious in trying to sound *different* instead of sticking with convention and what most would recognize.

It's rather ridiculous, as if there's something special about those labels. Likewise, all those acronyms that companies tend to use for techniques that are essentially just variants of well-known algorithms/technologies end up falling flat as well...

Marc210's picture

"CAminion :reminds me of when in the 80's people would say all turntables are the same. Digital transport solutions will make DAC's sound alike if they aren't up to snuff."

audiodoctornj's picture

As a T+A dealer, with one of the largest collections of dacs on the East Coast, I am very puzzled by this review! I have been in professional audio retailing for 27 years or since the beginning of the digital revolution, and I can say unequivocally that I am at odds with this review.

To say that two digital front ends sound alike is saying that two sports cars drive the same, sure they are both fast, but the feeling of say a BMW vs a Mercedes is totally different.

If you look at two different dacs unless they are using the same decoding chips and on board filters, then the only difference might be the analog stage, I find there is generally a world of sonic difference between two dacs with carefully level matching.

Take an Auralic Vega vs an NAD M51 these are totally different animals, with completely different technologies, and yes they both sound very good the more expensive dac does sound better, with a wider and more defined sound stage, and greater resolution.

To lump the T+A in with some of these other dacs is doing the T+A dac a disservice. The writer said he did not play with up sampling redbook to Quad Rate DSD, when on all the forums that are talking about this dac are saying that you must hear it at that frequency and decoding type.

I ran J River and took a 16 bit 44k CD and through J River spit out a Dual rate than Quad Rate DSD file on the fly for the T+A DAD 8 DSD to decode, and the difference between the two sampling rates was very audible, Dual DSD was good, Quad rate DSD was amazing!

Many people reading the review might think that the DSD decoding engine can only be used with DSD files when you can easily convert PCS to DSD and vice versa.

The DAC 8 DSD sound great on PCM but feed it a Quad Rate DSD track and you will be absolutely floored, and it moves this little $4k dac into the big leagues, I would say under $10k the Dac 8 is very hard to beat, there is an organic sound and a spooky real sense of presence that once you hear it you will be shocked at just how special the DAC 8 is.

hifial's picture

If you really want to hear something special then feed this DAC any music file up-sampled to DSD512 using HQ Player software and with Roon as the manager.

It is sad when the professional reviewer barely scratches the surface of what a piece of equipment can do.

But then the professional dealer also misses the mark on the best part.

Thank goodness for the audio forums.

PS How would I know. Because I am one of the ones using it as such. And I have a huge smile from the enjoyment.