Very Finest Technologies And Uncompromising Design

AMP 8
AMP 8

The AMP 8

In order to take full advantage of the enormous sound quality of the DAC 8 DSD, an extremely good amplifier is required, which is uncompromisingly constructed and equipped. This is why the AMP 8 is based on the circuit and design technology of our HV and R-series amplifiers. The design is fully symmetrical and the output stages are equipped with high-performance ThermalTrakTM audio transistors. A cleverly programmed mikro-processor monitors the AMP 8 and controls the protection circuit, which switches of the output relay in case of a short circuit, overheat and overload. One must not be deceived by the small housing size, the AMP 8 can deliver due to its extremely stable power supply more than 100 watts of continuous output power in the highest quality. The slow-running cooling fan is silent, and is controlled by the micro-processor according to load and temperature. The AMP 8 sounds sensational: vigorous, dynamic, high-resolution yet delicate, subtle and audiophile. The combination of DAC 8 and AMP 8 sets new standards far beyond its price class.

Technology

The overall circuit design of the AMP 8 is that of our sensational PA 3000 HV integrated amplifier, which is why the input stage and the voltage amplifier stage operate at much higher voltage potentials (HV – High Voltage concept). The input stage is a cross-coupled J-FET cascode amplifier, while the voltage amplifier stage is a single-ended Class-A Hawksford FET cascode. The output stage is responsible for current amplification, and is equipped with ThermalTrak TM high-performance audio transistors to ensure that the bias point is totally stable and free of inertia effects. The voltage amplifier stage and the current amplifier stage are completely separate from each other, and each has its own power supply. This prevents any feedback effects from the loudspeakers influencing the voltage amplifiers, which are crucial to sound quality.

We call this circuit concept ICA (Isolated Current Amplifier), and developed it years ago for our R-series of equipment. The individual stages are of extremely linear, broad-band design, with the result that the AMP 8 requires very low levels of “overall” negative feedback; the bandwidth is more than 200 kHz. Our engineers have invested tremendous effort in creating a circuit track layout with absolutely minimal inductivity, thereby helping to achieve superb transient and dynamic response. At those points in the circuit which are crucial to sound quality we employ carefully selected audiophile components such as amagnetic Vishay resistors and special WIMA and ELNA audio capacitors. The mains power supply is designed to cope with extremely severe and difficult loads. Its torroidal transformer generates up to 400 Watts whilst maintaining low leakage fields, and is capable of driving even very demanding loudspeakers effortlessly. The power supplies for the amplifier stages are completely separate for each channel, and feature their own reservoir capacity and buffering. In consequence there is no trace of interaction of any kind between the channels.
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DAC 8 DSD
DAC 8 DSD

The DAC 8 DSD

Fundamentally our new DAC 8 DSD is capable of doing everything necessary to convert every form of digital source into analogue signals at the very highest quality, including DSD right up to the highest possible resolution. We have again further improved the unit’s outstanding pre-amplifier, and incorporated a volume control of fully analogue construction based on High-End Melf resistors. The “State of the Art” output stage is of fully symmetrical design and discrete construction. Its impedance is very low, and it is equipped with symmetrical(XLR) and asymmetrical (RCA) outputs. These features make the DAC 8 DSD more than just a High-End converter: it is also a High-End pre-amplifier of supreme quality.

The seriousness of our claim that the DAC 8 DSD is one of the world’s finest high-end converters can be judged by the fact that we employ two separate, sophisticated mains power supplies for the analogue and digital sections. A volume control is another unusual feature in a DAC, but it makes good sense if the user wishes to install active loudspeakers, or employ the DAC 8 DSD as a pre-amplifier in conjunction with external power amplifiers. The volume control is of highly refined design, and exploits analogue control elements down to low volumes, as they avoid any loss of dynamic quality even at low listening levels. Two gold-contact relays are provided to by-pass the volume control, i.e. it can be removed entirely from the signal path when not required. We placed particular emphasis on the development of a very good headphone amplifier with the ability to handle high currents. This further widens the practical applications of the DAC 8 DSD.

Technology

The core of the DAC 8 DSD is the converter. As in our high-end players this device also employs the superior quadruple arrangement with eight 32-bit converters from Burr-Brown in a double symmetrical circuit. This circuit provides perfect compensation for non-linearities, and the residual background noise – which is excellent in any case with the 32-bit converters we employ – is reduced by approximately a further 6 dB. The result is a dynamic performance which is hardly capable of improvement, with a perfect “black level”, extreme linearity and freedom from distortion, even in critical passages and the most minute musical details. Oversampling is carried out by a modern 56-bit signal processor, for which T+A has developed algorithms specific to our equipment, offering perfect timing characteristics. They are based on Bezier polynomials: Bezier interpolation and Bezier / IIR combination. A standard FIR filter and a short FIR filter are also provided. These options make it possible to select the optimum sound quality to suit the individual piece of music. The DAC 8 DSD can even invert the absolute phase of the audio signal at the digital level, and thereby correct material recorded with incorrect absolute phase.

For the purpose of handling DSD data which can be supplied via the PC-USB input we have developed a unique, dedicated converter: the T+A True One Bit DSD Converter. This is of fully analogue construction and constitutes a genuine one-bit converter, since – unlike other manufacturers – we did not want to use the DSD mode of a PCM converter. This development ensures that DSD data are processed in a genuine one-bit stream process, uncoloured and without detrimental additional conversion, as in our PDP 3000 HV High-End DSD / PCM player. Fifteen long years ago we developed a means of galvanically separating the converter from the analogue section for use in our high-end players: this provides complete galvanic isolation of the digital section from the analogue section using extremely fast digital isolators made by Silicon Labs in the DAC 8 DSD. The result is to prevent any interference from the source devices finding its way into the analogue section. Computers, in particular, generate enormous levels of interference noise which would ruin the superior sound qualities of the audiophile output stage without this measure. The “State of the Art” analogue stages are of fully discrete and symmetrical construction, and do not employ OP-AMPs. Their linearity is not a function of “hard” negative feedback, as is typical of OP-AMPS, but rather due to the quality of the circuit design and the components employed, which are selected and matched to very fine tolerances. A further unique feature of the DAC 8 DSD is its switchable analogue bandwidth, which has already proved so effective in our high-end players. The limit frequency of the DAC 8 DSD’s analogue reconstruction filter can be switched between 60 kHz and 120 kHz; the “ultra-wide” 120 kHz setting is the key to perfect frequency response and phase characteristics when used with power amplifiers with a broad-band output – such as those in the T+A range, naturally. The phase linearity and signal fidelity of the “ultra-wide” circuit also has a perceptible effect in the audible range, and allows an open sound image with phenomenally clear positioning and ultra-lively dynamics.
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MP 8
MP 8

The MP 8

The MP 8 looks small and inconspicuous. At first glance the casual observer may think it is just a classic CD player, but its true capabilities extend far beyond this. Our multi-source player houses a first-class CD mechanism; a high-performance digital tuner offering FM, FM-HD and DAB+ reproduction; a high-quality Bluetooth streaming module for receiving music from mobile devices, a streaming client with Internet radio and music services for connection to the home network via LAN and WLAN, USB Master Mode and HD streaming plus a digital connecting board with inputs for external sources (two USB device mode and three HD-S/P-DIF). The wide range of connections allows external equipment to exploit the machine’s superb signal processing to the full. Please note: the MP 8 is not a computer; it is a high-end audio device incorporating many supplementary functions designed to ensure that all modern digital sources can be used, reproduced and processed to a D/A converter in the highest possible quality.

The MP 8 can provide any converter with high-quality audio data (up to 192 kHz) via its S/P-DIF output, but the perfect match is our DAC 8 DSD. The SYS OUT and DAC 8 LINK outputs are used to exchange control data and transmit audio signals with optimal routing to the DAC 8 DSD. When using the T + A App, the entire Series-8 system is controlled via the MP 8. The MP 8 delivers a stunning experience in sound reproduction, and finally exploits the full potential of digital music sources.

Technology

T+A was one of the first High-End manufacturers to install additional digital sources in its CD players. This was an unusual idea, but can now be seen to be a consistent and logical approach. We call these devices Multi Source Players, and all our High-End series now include them. Our design engineers were asked to integrate five high-quality digital sources in the very small case of the Series 8 range, and this represented a particular challenge to them. The first source is a high-quality CD mechanism boasting very fast access times, and its error correction is outstandingly good. Although the CD has been very largely superseded by streamed content, it is very clear that our customers still harbour the wish to be able to play CDs. We have developed a disc mechanism featuring refined mechanical design and a floating suspension. It just barely finds space in the small cabinett of the MP 8.

The machine’s second digital source is the streaming client (SCL), which takes the form of a network-enabled processor board designed with audiophile sound performance in mind. It features USB Master mode ports as well as WLAN and LAN ports. The board creates a high-quality connection to networks and the Internet, and is capable of streaming audio data using UPnP at up to HD quality (192/24). We deliberately eschewed a standard computer solution, as its high-frequency interference signals would have had an adverse effect on sound quality. The SCL is a T+A development and supports high-resolution formats, music services and media servers, and includes the convenient airable Internet radio service at no charge. The digital tuner is the third of the MP 8’s digital sources. Fully digital intermediate frequency (IF), demodulation and stereo decoder stages ensure that the tuner provides outstanding sound quality. It has excellent sensitivity, high crosstalk attenuation and overload margins, and sounds excellent when using cable and aerial systems. The tuner delivers FM, FM-HD and DAB+ radio services, and offers Radiotext, presets and various supplementary functions depending on the service selected. A high-quality Bluetooth receiver module forms the fourth digital source. Its purpose is to transfer music files from mobile devices at very high quality using aptX® technology. This process makes it possible to transfer data – such as uncompressed FLAC files – even using the limited bandwidth available with a Bluetooth radio link. The fifth digital source is the digital connecting board featuring three digital inputs. This is used to connect any external sour­ces – such as set-top boxes, drives, digital recorders and players – at HD quality . The jitter-free S/P DIF digital output allows the connection of any external D/A converter.
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