T+A elektroakustik PA 2500 R integrated amplifier and MP 2000 R MKII media player

Teutonic Tandem

Equipment report
Categories:
Integrated amplifiers,
Disc players,
Music servers and computer audio
|
Products:
T+A Elektroakustik MP 2000 R MkII,
T+A Elektroakustik PA 2500 R
T+A elektroakustik PA 2500 R integrated amplifier and MP 2000 R MKII media player

MP 2000 R MKII
Right from the outset, T+A makes it unambiguously clear that the MP 2000 R is not a computer; rather it’s a hybrid of CD transport and DAC with network media capability that can handle most, if not all of today’s digital sources—from discs to USB thumb drives to outboard storage such as NAS drives.

Its digital engine is a quad DAC configuration that uses a quartet of Texas Instruments (formerly Burr-Brown) PCM1795s for PCM. Among the most advanced 32-bit DACs developed by BB, these chips contain a total of eight DACs (four per channel). Significantly, the MP 2000 employs separate, fully optimized DSD and PCM signal paths for conversion of each type of signal—a rarity for most players and a project that took two full years to complete. It converts PCM signals up to 384kHz, and DSD conversion over USB uses a T+A-designed, fully discrete, true one-bit converter topology, with a high-precision resistor ladder and what T+A vouches as some of the industry’s most precise clocking. [The sound of T+A’s flagship PDP 3000 HV with the discrete one-bit converter decoding DSD was beyond spectacular.—RH] These are dual oscillator/clocks with very short signal paths prior to the converter stage to further reduce jitter. The digital converter sections of the MP 2000 R are fully galvanically de-coupled from the analog output stages.

Its DSD architecture is capable of DSD512 decoding. T+A engineers posit that the architecture could theoretically support up to DSD1024 but whether the marketplace will support that rate is another question. T+A’s high-speed oversampling DSP in front of the DACs combines these four DACs in a way that maximally cancels nonlinearities and noise. Options for the DSP setup include a foursome of oversampling filters—FIR Long/Short, Bezier, and Bezier/FIR.

Additionally, the MP 2000 R incorporates a streaming client (SCL) with Internet radio and music services for connection to a home network via LAN and WLAN, USB Master Mode and HD streaming, plus digital inputs for external sources (one USB device mode and four HD-SPDIF). Currently the T+A streaming client platform is only 25% filled, and is enabled for Deezer, Tidal, and eventually Roon, and perhaps MQA. DSD over the streaming client is not available at this time. Other assets include an FM digital tuner, and a Bluetooth streaming module.

Supporting these formats are an array of inputs including a pair of both coaxial and optical inputs, USB-A and B, and LAN. Mirroring the look of the amp, the front panel houses the front-loading CD drawer, which emerges from a subchassis that’s fully decoupled from the main enclosure; a highly readable display to the right and a rotary control knob handle routine CD playback commands and menu functions.

T+A engineers insisted on complete separation between the digital signal processing section and the analog circuitry, and developed an ultra-high-bandwidth analog output stage which delivers the signal to balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA outputs by means of the shortest possible path.

Operationally, there is a lot of sophistication here and it is worth giving the manual a read-through to unravel specific “T+A speak.” For example, on the remote control, the smile/frown emoticons represent removal and addition of favorite tracks for FM and Internet radio music services. Someday there’ll be voice recognition to simplify operations (instead of “Hello, Siri” how about “Hey, Heidi?”). For the graphically inclined, the control app is visually rather humdrum and could have faster reaction time. For example, in SCL mode it was slow to refresh during a change of servers and occasionally the buffer would hang up—I just hit reload and the problem solved itself.
These were minor issues overall that contrasted with the quick responses elsewhere.

A small wish I have for all multi-input digital switching gear is a “previous” or “back” button (just like the previous channel button on my TV remote) rather than having to cycle through the complete sequence of inputs in order to restore the one that was last used.