T+A R Series 2000 Review

T+A R Series 2000 Review


The T+A R Series 2000 made its debut at the Munich show in 2015.  It really is very desirable indeed and I have been very interested to hear the electronics in action.  I received the turntable first and I have previously reviewed it on this site, it is very aesthetically pleasing indeed.  Whilst I was looking at the turntable I was lucky enough to find a small window to review the electronics.  So whilst I would prefer to have a good listen over a few weeks, at least I can get the feel and sense of it.

it is beautiful to look at and listen to…


R-Series-2000-GroupSet up for  T+A R Series 2000 Review

I’ve set the electronics up in my listening area, which is relatively wide and accessible with Atlas bi-wired cable into my B&W CM7s.  I have a NAS drive and a laptop with hi resolution files on it and a full selection of other WAV files that are hard connected by Ethernet cable or audio USB cable.

In the packaging I received the T+A XLR connectors between the Music Player and the Amplifier.  I also have the latest  T+A remote control, called FM 2000 R, (in fact I seem to have two) which is a nice piece of equipment given that previously the remote was pants.  So this is very good.

There is also an App for controlling the whole system, called TA Control in the Android Play Store.

Turntable (G 2000 R)G 2000 R

The turntable, reviewed here, is a real joy, I have the moving coil set-up which is the high end solution and it sounds fantastic.

T+A R Series 2000 Music Player (MP 2000 R DAC)

The MP 2000 R DAC is a CD player and streaming client to networked storage (up to 32 bits and 192kHz), and a network USB storage player. It takes USB input from computers up to 384kHz and  DSD upto DSD256.  Other inputs include 2 Coax inputs (24 bit/192kHz) and two TOSLink (24 bit/96kHz).  If you prefer to connect to the Music Player through the ether there is a Bluetooth aptX option, DASB/FM radio and iRadio.

All of the DSP (dig. signal processor) functions are up-sampled to 352.8kHz at 56 bits using one of four different algorithms (each interpolating a slightly different sound wave), therafter the DAC produces the analogue signal for output.

Outputs from the MP 2000 R DAC are XLR balanced output or RCA analogue pairs as well as coax out.

Overall Performance

Really, this is a very accomplished piece of equipment.  I have loved every moment of setting up the equipment and having a listen.  I find the overall sound to be wide, full but very detailed when required.  My B&W speakers have rarely sounded better.

I have found, in most formats, the resolution given by this set-up to be excellent, particularly with high resolution FLAC files, I’ve played 24 bit & 48, 96, 192kHz files and the reproduction is superb.   The soundstage for me is thoroughly acceptable, wide with clear vocal presence in the image (I’m usually sat with my eyes closed at this point).  I have found, overall, the tone to be good, with brighter mid-ranges and a tight, measured bass.  One point to note, I can quite easily tell the difference between different digital file sources, and I always think this is a good sign.  My favourite source has been the vinyl, of course, the USB-PC combination is a convenient and excellent second place.

Control

The DAC and Amp can be controlled either trough the remote control or the App.  I used the TA Control App on my Nexus 5 smartphone which was fine (although the volume doesn’t work, no big deal).  The App allowed me to flick between DAB, iRadio, FM (briefly), Bluetooth and the streaming client.  It was fine and a huge improvement on the previous effort I experienced with the HV Series.  My iPad has packed up so I didn’t get that far but overall I found the experience very satisfactory.  The previous remote control for the HV Series and the Cala and others was really very functional but this new one is excellent indeed.

CD

The CD  is good, the system can read CD-text, giving you track data and labels, such information is on many CDs these days but not all.  The sound is full and very pleasant.  Easily controlled DSC_0108either from the remote control or by the knob on the front for track selection.

Streaming Client (SCL)

Streaming from a NAS or the like is very easy indeed with from the App or from the large knob on the right which you can depress to select and scroll and listen.  There is a clear difference between differing file resolutions and I always think this is a good sign.

DSP Algorithms

There are four digital filters in the oversampling process to choose from, they feel like art rather than science.   It is a bit technical for my liking but assuming is not a joke to make critical audio listeners appear to be stupid it is suffice to say the differing processes produce a slightly different sound.  To my ears the Bezier IIR (Option3) sounded nicer to me for the more vocal music I prefer to listen to.  Flicking between the options was simple with the remote control and I settled on this for the remainder of my listening, if it makes Chris Martin sound better on ‘Everything’s Not Lost’, it must be a black art!

Radio

I’ve had a limited play with the iRadio, DAB & FM and accessibility is excellent.  If I could find Six Music this easily on other systems I’d be very happy indeed.

USB

The USB interface (to my HP laptop) is the best digital solution of all if you have the will and a Tidal account. Just simply download the device driver software, install it, connect up to the MP 2000 R and you’re off. I use J River software to play my hi resolution tracks from the laptop, I just select the correct ‘Playback’ option and it is simple.  The reproduction and pure saxophone (Miles Davies, ‘A Kind of Blue’) detail is a sound to savour.

Bluetooth aptX

The Bluetooth has been a very interesting from my Nexus smartphone.  Apart from the Naim NAC-N 272 I have yet to hear a decent Bluetooth presentation from one of these players.  I’ve had a good play with TIDAL and I have to say it is presented really nicely indeed, my goto Zomboy tracks  (Terror Squad, original mix) are ‘most excellent, dude’.

Amplifier

The Amplifier is a star turn with bags of drive and power.  There are various tone adjustment options (loudness, balance, tone, etc.) which I have only had a cursory flick around with.  As I mentioned in my turntable review, switching from my Roksan K2 to this matching amplifier gave a clear increase in performance which it would given the price differential  (4x).  With a low noise and huge frequency response reported (0.5Hz-300kHz) this is the Theory bit of T+A (Theory and Application) in all its glory.  The familiar low level click of the T+A volume control as the gold contact-relays adjust (derived from the stellar HV Series) is here and gives the user the element of precision and control.

T+A R Series 2000 Overall

The question for me is it better than the Naim NAC-N 272 , I’m not sure; I’d need it for longer but it is lovely to use and comfortable to listen to for longer periods of time.   There is no functionality missing that I can think of (streaming client for Tidal or Spotify asside).  Price wise, if you consider the Naim NAC-N 272 & NAP 250 DR are a couple of thousand cheaper than the price of the MP 2000 R DAC and the PA Integrated Amp, I’m not sure what decision I would make (the NAP is a power amplifier so were not quite comparing the same thing, although the outcome and functionality are similar), suffice to say I am currently saving up for the NAC at the moment.  I have yet to hear the Moon Neo Series though I hope to get a listen this spring and I am reliably informed that, being a ‘Naim-fanboy’, I can have my allegiances changed!  I may have the T+A R Series 2000 Music Player if it was priced more competitively.

This set-up, particularly with the turntable, looks and sounds really good indeed and it may be, with its clean styling and looks, this could be an all-in once in a lifetime purchase that would see you through a good period of time if you have the cash spare.  To be honest, the fact it is talked about in the same sentence as Naim and Moon means that it must be listened to if you are in this space, everything is here…

Love

Style and Look

Functionality and Flexibility

Resolution

Chunky XLR connections

Like

Build Quality

Remote Control

Wish

Tidal Streaming Client

‘Easier’ Price

Simpler App

T+A and the T+A R Series 2000 is distributed in the UK by Dynaudio UK: +44 (0) 1353 721 089 / sales.uk@ta-hifi.com
G 2000 R Turntable – £3,432.00 (MM) and £4,719.00 (MC)
MP 2000 R DAC / Network Client – £4,204.00 inc. VAT
PA 2000 R Integrated Amplifier – £4,204.00 inc. VAT (The alternative 260W/channel amp is the PA 2500 R Integrated Amplifier – £5,577.00 inc VAT)

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