T+A R 1000 E Music Receiver Review

T+A R 1000 E Music Receiver Review


It is a mouthful but the T+A R 1000 E is a brilliant machine and a worthy competitor in the Naim Uniti/Moon NEO ACE ‘All in One HiFi’ system category.  I put its predecessor (The original T+A Music Receiver) against my own Naim Uniti 2 several years ago and it was, sonically, a winner.

The ‘All in One HiFi’ category is defined here as being an old-fashioned CD, streamer, radio (of some kind) WITH an integrated amplifier, so just add decent speakers for an audiophile experience.

So here it is again, my trusty Naim Uniti 2 with the new  T+A R 1000 E on top of it again,  the R 1000 E T+A R 1000 Eis slightly complicated to navigate but it does the very simple things well, like playing a CD, Bluetooth connectivity and driving speakers to create a decent image.

Design and Features

This is the integrated All in One HiFi box in the E Series that also includes a power amp, the PA 1000 E, and a separate music player, called the MP 1000 E.  The power amp has a fraction more power than the Music Receiver (140 v 115 WPC into 8 Ohms), I imagine giving that extra refinement and control.

The T+A R 1000 E  has an armful of  features, including (spec from the manual):

  • integrated amplifier to two channels, nominal 115W per channel into 8 Ohms, peak 180W pch.
  • a CD player with CD text
  • a full list of Radio options, including DAB/DAB+/FM and internet radio
  • streaming client for networked storage, NAS drives etc.
  • Tidal/Spotify support, the exact resolution unclear in the manual
  • excellent Bluetooth connectivity, A2DP audio, aptX
  • two optical TOS-Link inputs,  32kHz to 96kHz
  • 3  x coaxial SP/DIF digital inputs 32kHz to 192kHz
  • USB B DAC input for MAC and PC supporting 32 bit PCM to 96kHz and DSD64
  • 3 x analogue phono style inputs (one of which can be upgraded with a Phono turntable stage)
  • Wireless LAN connectivity via USB dongle or direct LAN/Ethernet connection
  • 6.5mm headphone output
  • 2 x USB 2.0 input for USB stored files
  • sub-out
  • pre-out
  • analogue line out
  • digital out (coax)
  • remote control
  • control wise, there is an App for the iPad, I cannot get the Android App to load up on my Nexus 6P phone
T+A R 1000 E

Loads of inputs and outputs

Set-up

once you are hooked up, you really can concentrate on the music, and it does sound really good

I think it would be fair of me to say the  T+A R 1000 E is not the easiest piece of kit I have become acquainted with, this is not dissimilar to my experience of other T+A equipment.  The network connection was simple with a straight LAN Ethernet connection in my case using one of those BT repeater plug things, it really does get rid of all of those nasty WiFi issues.  But a connection to Tidal services, finding Radio 6 Music, that sort of thing is really quite painful, finding the ‘NAS’ drive on my network, is all just a bit more difficult than using the Naim App or other such Apps.  One thing I would say is once you have your main sources, the History function is really good to go back to where you want to be.  I just think T+A is one decent App away from super stardom in the UK.  Still, once you are hooked up and a bit more familiar, you really can concentrate on the music, and it does sound really good.

To look at the  T+A R 1000 E looks chunky and bigger than most other separates but apart from the height, it is no wider than normal separates though it is maybe a couple of centimetres deeper.  With speaker plugs, it is further forward.

Weight 11kg

Dimensions  44cm x 11.5 x 37 (w, h, d)

Performance

Running Gear

Ideally, we would put this up against the new Naim Uniti Star but the waiting list for a review on this is rather long so we will go with what we have, if it all lines up, I’ll go for it, this is a worthy competitor.

My listening has been wide and varied including hooking the T+A R 1000 E to the excellent Pulsar ST20s and then, in the kitchen for everyday use some Dali Zensors with a sub woofer.  I have had the T+A R 1000 E hooked up to the Def Tech Mythos ST-L Towers and that is a big sound too.  My sources have included Tidal on the App via Bluetooth and various NAS files to have a good listen as well as the excellent Rega RP3.

I have had the T+A R 1000 E directly networked which makes for a better streaming/connectivity experience.

TA Control App

The App is terrible, still.  I’d like to say otherwise but that is a fact.  Compared to the Naim App it is nowhere near it.  The iPad App is OK, controlling volume and searching in Tidal, picking up favourite artists, etc but it is cumbersome.  You have to log into the Tidal Account using the remote control which is painful, really you would like to just do this on the App.  The Android App does not work, I have sent feedback to T+A with no response.  In the end, I have settled for using the Tidal App on my phone and ‘Bluetoothing’ in.   The only problem here is it is not hi resolution.  I have, however, fed my updated Bluesound Node (the old one) into the T+A R 1000 E and I can use their good BluOS App to stream hi-res optically into the Music Receiver at 96kHz.

Remote

The remote is quite nice, chunky, and heavy but it does interrupt music playback as you browse and occasionally this is very annoying.  But it is long range, very functional and does all of the things you want.  The remote gives you access to the settings of the Music Receiver, allowing you to name sources, for example, I was easily able to rename one of my digital optical sources ‘Bluesound’ for ease of playing.

Radio

I’ve had no luck with the DAB  station scan which is very confusing since it works fine with the same aerial in the same place as my Naim Uniti 2.  All is not lost, the Internet Radio service is excellent and once you have ‘favourited’ your radio stations it is all seamless.

In the Radio section is direct access to many many (over 6,200) podcasts from everywhere.  I’ve been able to access the ‘Infinite Monkey Cage’ Podcasts but not the wonderful ‘Jamie Cullum’ or the BBC Movie Podcasts.  All is not lost, again, just Bluetooth into the Music Receiver from iPlayer and the like and you’re away!

Tidal Client

Confusingly, built into the ‘Internet Radio’ module is the Tidal Client, that allows you access to Tidal. This is, as I have indicated, very cumbersome but in fairness, once you have logged in using the remote and the big tiny screen on the front you are all good.  Saved Artists and Playlists are all there so Tidal is livable but certainly not as flexible as I would like.   It does however, sound as good as anything I have heard so I think I have to just deal with the App issues that I perceive.   I gather Qobuz and Deezer streaming clients are coming soon too (the screen and manual tell me).

Bluetooth

What does it all sound like?  The physical connectivity with my Nexus 6P is excellent and the sound output is decent, not dull as Bluetooth tends to be in some cases.  I was able to stream the advance link to the new Ryan Adams album, which was really fun.  I have been streaming FLAC files from PowerAmp on my Phone too and this is a good experience, the T+A R 1000 E takes track info from the phone which is very satisfying.

Analogue Input – Rega RP3

Although my review T+A R 1000 E does not include the built-in Phono Stage option (£400 odd for an MM or MC stage), a quick bit of rigging up with a Musical Fidelity V90-LPS yielded a very satisfactory sound, revealing the transparency of the analogue input.  The bass line is deep and satisfying when playing Ed Sheeran’s ‘multiply’ and dynamically exciting and lively with ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.

Optical Input

As I mentioned, it was easier for me to rig up an updated Bluesound Node and use the BluOS App update to play Tidal Masters and other higher quality sources than muck around with the Tidal module in the T+A R 1000 E.  The BluOS App allows you to play files of all formats through it too, allowing you to create playlists.

USB B Media

Having been at Bristol this weekend it was noticeable how many of the demo rooms were driven by PC or MAC based sources into the latest DAC on display or the like.  With the correct drivers and software, this represents the best access to high-resolution music.  My laptop is furnished with the relevant T+A drivers so I was able to pretty easily set-up my highest resolution music and reveal the depth and detail you would expect.  Using JRiver software I was happily able to play the full range of my library and listen to Tidal Masters in its full glory.

USB C

I’ve recently put together a 64GB USB stick with all of my HD music on it, DSD, MQA, etc.  It is a useful way of testing stuff and a really easy way of playing hi res music.  The USB Media function on the T+A R 1000 E is beautifully simple and very easy to navigate.  The sound is clear and transparent and unimpaired by format.  I note the the Music Receiver is not ‘Made for Apple iPod’ so although I have been able to play music from my iPod the Playlists and Artist names are not listed in the index system, so it is a bit hit and miss.

SCL/NAS Sources

The streaming client is as easy to use from the remote control as the Naim Uniti 2 is (on the iPad this is not really the case, though it bearable).  It is really good and transparent with huge detail and no discernible timing problems.  In this case, you can flick around your servers (in my case a Naim unitiserve and a Western Digital NAS drive) without interrupting the current track that is playing.

CD Player

The old fashioned CD player is fine, the problem is, if you are me, you end chasing your CDs around the different rooms trying to piece every artist’s collection of CDs together after years of neglect (I seem to have lost my CD of Vampire Weekend’s first album, but I have the box and the sleeve, very annoying).  Still, the CD is nice to have, sounds really good and it makes you realise how amazing Tidal is these days.

Headphones Out

The T+A R 1000 E has a proper 6.35mm (1/4″) headphone jack which is good in anyone’s book if you ask me.  My Oppo PM-2s, with which I am fairly familiar now after a good two years, sound at least as good as the NAC-N 272 headphones out so I have no complaints at all here.  Really impressive bass control and tons of detail in there so very pleased with this aspect of the Music Receiver.   I noted in Bristol at the UK launch the new Naim Nova has a rather disappointing 3.5mm jack at the front which to me does not seem in keeping with its price bracket and market position).

Overall

This is a very nice piece of equipment indeed

This is a very nice piece of equipment indeed.  One of the features of T+A equipment I have experienced recently is the amount of detail brought from each source and the same is true here.  In particular pulling through lossless files from my Naim server has been seemless and the detail on offer has been a joy.  If you do get the chance to listen to ‘Amy, the Origibnal Motion Picture Soundtrack’ do so, especially ‘Some Unholy War’.

There is plenty of power from the integrated amplifier and these ST 20 Pulsar speakers are an excellent combination with this Music player.

The only real let down is the App control, it is poor and tedious and for over four thousand pounds you should expect more.  However, once you are up and running and you know your way around, the machine is very livable, easy on the ears and particularly flexible.  I like it.

Distribution

The T+A R 1000 E is retailing over £4,400 with the Phono stage option around £400 extra.  Go for a quick google to find retailers.  The T+A Distributors List is here.

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