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Teddy Pardo TeddyDac DAC review

Discussion in 'audio' started by marley3, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. marley3

    marley3 New Member

    I'm really excited about writing this review. For 10 years I've been searching for a digital source to compliment a high resolution system. All of the past digital sources I've owned have left me longing for more. I'm thrilled to hear that we've finally entered an age where technology and knowledge has come together to make such a product. This product proves that digital can truly be musical. If this is something you're interested in, please read on.

    I believe the success/failure of all audio products are dependent upon the specific system they are implemented in. Therefore, I feel that it is important to briefly describe the system it was auditioned in. My system is comprised of a Shindo Monbrison preamp, Lafon 8 watt WE 300B monoblocs, Arome CD matching transformer, and Shindo made Altec Valencia horn speakers. This system is capable of producing the inner most details found in recordings. Conversely, if there is the slightest weakness in the system, it will constantly and painfully let you know. I hear absolutely everything through those horns! Nothing seems to get by them undetected.

    As a digital transport, I have predominantly utilized the Squeezebox Touch; however I also have an Oppo BDP 83 player that I have used. The good news is, both of these transports produce excellent results with this DAC.

    Now let's talk about the TeddyDac... I was originally introduced to Teddy Pardo when I was searching for an upgraded linear power supply to use with the Touch. I subsequently purchased a TTouch and was very pleased with the results. This led me to inquire about the TeddyDac. Teddy told me the TeddyDac produces qualities similar to the TTouch power supply, just more of it and better. I told him to send one my way since he gives a 14 day trial period on all his products.

    The DAC arrived in a compact black chasis approximately the same size as the TTouch power supply. This made it easy to place it within my cabinet. The TeddyDac has a total of 4 inputs - 2 coax, 1 USB, and 1 toslink. Teddy says it will take appoximately three weeks to fully break in the TeddyDac; however you can easily hear what the DAC is doing in your system after 48 hours of constant burn in.

    I've listened to the DAC via the coax and toslink connections. Both are quite good; however the SB Touch sounds amazingly good when connected to the TeddyDac via a Lifatec Silflex glass toslink cable. This toslink cable can't be beat for the money IMHO. The Black Cat Veloce digital cable does a great job of communicating music via the coax inputs.

    So how does it sound??? It sounds like music to me! TeddyDac represents a new generation of DACs. All of the previous DACs I have previously owned (Audio Aero, Bel Canto, 47 Labs, Altmann, Audial, Wavelength, and others) I would consider to reside in a previous generation of DACs. This DAC does an incredible job of converting the digital signal to an anologue signal sounding exactly like the original recording. In other words, it gets out of the way and lets the music come through. It starts by doing this with the darkest black background I have ever heard. The musical palate is totally dark and silent.

    Most DACs considered non-fatiguing are also rolled off in the high frequency range. Not so with TeddyDAc. With this DAC you get a level of detail you never knew was previously there because it has always been rolled off or hidden by accompanying high frequency digital distortion. The TeddyDac simply removes the high frequency distortion often associated with digital sources and lets the detail shine through like the morning sun.

    I previously shied away from DACs described as being detailed because my horns would painfully remind me that there was a problem with the source. This is the first DAC I have encountered that allows you to hear the little nuances you never knew were there in a way that produces zero fatigue. I used to cringe in my seat when I knew the part of a track was coming that contains a great deal of high frequency energy. With the TeddyDac, I now welcome those parts of the track and can't wait for them to come.

    The TeddyDac also does a miraculous job of allowing the listener to hear the venue where the music was recorded. If the music was recorded in the Sistine Chapel, it will sound just as did when it was played/recorded in this venue. Conversely, if the music was recorded in a venue with poor acoustics, it will communicate that to the listener as well. As I stated previously, this DAC just gets out the way and lets whatever is on the recording walk right on into you system undistorted. There is no sugar coating here... TeddyDac simply converts the digital signal to a very clean and accurate analogue signal. Nothing more. Additionally and most importantly, if there is emotion contained in the original recording, then it is clearly conveyed to the listener via the TeddyDac.

    So how does this DAC do this? If I had to guess, it must be related to the linear power supply generated via Teddy's patented voltage regulators. There are at least 10 of these regulators contained within the TeddyDac. Whatever it is, it obviously works quite well in the digital domain.

    Another quality I should comment on is the bass energy this DAC produces. Bass notes shine though just like the high frequency energy does - clear, precise, and plentiful. Bass is really important to me because it can add so much body and presence to music. TeddyDac does and excellent job of conveying this to the listener as well. This also adds to the DAC's ability to communicate venue and emotion.

    If you have a high resolution system and you've been searching for a digital source to compliment it, I highly recommend the TeddyDac. It is the first DAC I have ever encountered that actually caused me to take a sick day and stay home just so I could listen to it in my system all day. Just be careful... The hours can seem like minutes when you're listening to music via this DAC. TeddyDac proves that time also flies when the music sounds good!
  2. Patrick Dixon

    Patrick Dixon Imagineer

    Excellent first post!
  3. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    B- Try harder.

    Not patented, does not contain ten teddyregs.
  4. Lordhenley

    Lordhenley pfm Member

    Sounds like a good investment and one more for me to add to the ever growing list of DAC's on the market, its going to be impossible to audition one of these as I guess they are mail order only?
  5. Linds

    Linds pfm Member

  6. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Jez (jesmond tutu ) had one of these for a while, worth a PM if you are considering it.
  7. Cereal Killer

    Cereal Killer fourhundredandthirtytwo

    IIRC 'tof' uses one with a NAC52/135's??/Ergos and is very happy with the results.
  8. marley3

    marley3 New Member

    If someone was to consider this DAC, I would recommend that they evaluate it in their own system during the manufacturer's trial period rather than strictly listening to my experiences or those of Jez. Once you hear the DAC in your own system, then you can obviously make the best decision.
    "I believe the success/failure of all audio products are dependent upon the specific system they are implemented in." I will take this quote a step further and say that every link in the chain can either lead to the direct success or failure of a high-resolution audio system. I have found no insignificant links in the chain that leads to success.
  9. bob atherton

    bob atherton pfm Member

    I tried one with an old DVD player as source with digital a cable and it easily beat my Naim CDX, XPS. So I bought it.

    I now use it with a Roksan DP1 CD transport with coaxial lead and it is better again. It's a fantastic piece of kit, no regrets at all. Interestingly my LP12 get played less now I have the TeddyDAC.
  10. Markyb

    Markyb pfm Member

    Very pleased with mine too.

    Increasingly listen to Internet Radio/Spotify premium through the SB3 more than anything else.
  11. fatmarley

    fatmarley Registered User

    It uses some very good DAC chips and being a Teddy design, obviously has top-notch regulation. I'd be surprised if it didn't sound very good.

    If my experience of these DAC chips and Teddy regulators are anything to go by (I realise there are other links in the chain, but i'd put the PSU at the top of the list) then i'd imagine the high frequencies to be crisp but smooth and without a hint of distortion (unlike some Naim CDP's)
  12. Lordhenley

    Lordhenley pfm Member

    Bit of a long shot but anyone in the West Midlands got one that would let me hear it in their system?

    Sorry for being a bit forward, but any help much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

  13. bob atherton

    bob atherton pfm Member

    Soory Lee, I'm near Bristol, but any PFM'ers most welcome to come and listen.
  14. teddy_pardo

    teddy_pardo Trade: Teddy Pardo

    Totally agree. I started the design by using the Wolfson evaluation board, and just replacing the regulators completely transformed them. Actually it was the first time that I could measure an impact on frequency response as a result of a regulator!!! the high frequency response at high frequencies (15khz and above) improved by several dbs.

    In most cases the power supply has a significant effect on sound, but it is almost impossible to measure the effect, including the effect on total harmonic distortion. Apparently DACs (or these DACs) are very sensitive to power supply, probably due to their low power supply rejection ratio (PSRR).

    After the power supply come the clock (which is also affected by power supply), the output filter/buffer stage (which again is affected by...), and the PCB layout.

  15. Linds

    Linds pfm Member

    So Bob of Bristol, what's the UK price for this wee beastie?
  16. stevew_w

    stevew_w pfm Member

    I built a DAC based on the WM8741 and WM8804 with LM4562 buffer stage. The sound was OK, it sounded a lot like the Naim DAC but it was not magic. It did not have Teddy regs though but off the shelf standard types. I was rather disappointed with the result. May be I will revisit this project and look more carefully at the PSU.
  17. bob atherton

    bob atherton pfm Member

    PM sent
  18. tof

    tof pfm Member

    That's right, I bought Jez's Teddy Dac, and I fully agree with Marley3's review (greta post by the way!): no listening fatigue, "analogue" sounding music.
    Partnered with a Apple TV, using the toslink input, it sounds really great...

    However, I've not compared it with other recent DACs, but I suspect it could compete with much more expensive stuff!

    PS: Raj: not 135s, but a 250 with Avondale NCC200 boards
  19. marley3

    marley3 New Member

  20. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Thanks, I hadn't seen that thread yet, and I just happen to be on the lookout for a decent new dac.

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