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86 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Incredible! Couldn't Ask For More!
on February 1, 2011
I actually started out with the TEAC P1260. It was a nice CD player and worked great for many months. Although, after purchasing an amp and really nice headphones, I needed a CD player that offered a better built in DAC and a digital out jack for possible future upgrades. If not, then I would have to buy a standalone DAC AND a CD player with a digital output. Well lucky for me, turns out TEAC introduced this unit just in time, and I jumped on it as soon as I found out about it! Now, that it came a few days ago, I'll give my impressions so far and compare it to my previous P1260. The key features to this model over the previous, is it's much better built in DAC, digital output in rear for future DAC upgrades, and also the addition of a USB port for MP3 use.
Five reasons I find the P650 superior to the P1260:
1 - It has a really nice built in DAC. I'm not sure what the P1260 used, but the DAC in this actually has a name, so it must be important! Well actually, you can see the full description of it on their website, but it seems to be a BurrBrown type DAC. Already I can tell you this is a major step over the one in the P1260, but am unsure how it stacks up against actual standalone ones. Anyway, beyond the point. Whether you hook the CD player into an amp, or you simply plug in your MP3 player, you know you are getting good digital to analog conversion. After a few days of testing, I can definitely say I am hearing new things in my music I thought I haven't heard before. The sound seems more refined that before and the music just sounds better. And the cool thing is, when you plug in your MP3, it simply bypasses the MP3's DAC and uses the awesome one in the CD player instead. This makes your MP3 tunes sound better than ever.
2 - It has a much more detailed screen. The screen on the P650 is very nice, in a way it will display the title of the artist and song as you go through your list. It can also go through folders too, so it's very easy to sift through hundreds if not thousands of songs in a breeze. You can name your folders or songs anything you want from the computer and they will display on the screen. Although, this feature is only available when using an MP3 player, but still a great one none the less. It also is a lot less bright and doesn't use a blue back lit screen like the P1260, so it doesn't light up half your room when listening at night. It simply has blue words and numbers and uses no back light. Other than that, I much prefer the screen of the P650 mainly due to no annoying back light.
3 - It has a USB jack! Now, not only can you stick in any CD you want, but you can also hook up any MP3 player you want. Once connected, you can use the controller to sort through all your folders, all of which are named so it's easy to tell where you are throughout your collection. You can actually have an MP3 connected while a CD is in the tray and switch back and forth between CD and MP3 player if needs be, all the while your MP3 is charging. Yes, charging. It will charge your MP3 player whether you are listening to a CD or straight from the player. And I will admit, it's nice to be able to charge my MP3 player without using a computer! As said before, once connected, it will bypass your MP3's DAC and use the superior one in the CD player making all your music sound better.
4 - It has better controller navigation. With the controller on the P650, you can navigate through all your folders and songs very easily. The controller on the P1260 is obviously still fine, but it is very basic due to being restricted to only playing from a CD, so title and folders are not displayed. On top of that, it has a very responsive fast forward and rewind button, which makes pinpointing your favorite part in a song a breeze. Button wise, I believe it has more buttons and features as well, but I'm not positive. As mentioned before, it's nice that you can whisk through all your folders very quickly and find the song you're looking for, despite having hundreds of songs, due to the screen displaying more information than the P1260.
5 - It has a slimmer build and looks nicer. Nothing huge here, but the slimmed down body is definitely an extra plus. It's width and depth are about the same, but it has definitely been trimmed in height, making it easier to fit on certain shelves. The CD tray itself seems to be built of higher quality, and the entire operation of the CD player seems a bit more refined. Buttons are also smaller and operate a bit smoother as well. Overall, it's simply higher quality built than the P1260, all the while being smaller in size, and just simply looks like a really nice unit. It definitely looks like something costing twice the price. It's a very cool unit to have out on display due to it's sleek looks. I really have no complaints about the build, or anything at all really.
Overall the P650 is an absolutely spectacular CD player, and I would recommend it to basically anyone. For someone looking for just a CD transport, this is it, and probably the cheapest one you'll find. Even if your are more of a portable MP3 user, you can still plug it straight into the USB and enjoy the benefits from it's excellent built in DAC. On top of that, it still can be used as just a standalone CD player. And thanks to it's digital out jack, it can also be connected to an external DAC for future upgrades. And to top it all off, it just looks and operates like a dream. Absolutely incredible for the price, and I simply couldn't ask for anything more. A great purchase for anyone that loves music and is looking for a budget desktop CD player. Way to go TEAC!
9/2/11 EDIT REVIEW:
This thing is really all I need.
So my original review I posted was just a comparison to the Teac P1260. Pretty much, I raved about how much better this model was to that one, and left it at that. But recently I felt I needed to review the P650 for what it is, and not do it in a comparison format. Hopefully, this version of my review ends up a bit more helpful for those are skeptical to buy a cheaper brand cd player and also for those wanting to know more about the unit. But by the end of the review, I think you'll have whatever negative perceptions you have slightly altered.
Okay, so it's a cd player. That much is confirmed and obvious. You stick your cd in, and are able to listen to it via headphones from its ¼ inch jack, or use its outputs for external speakers. Either way, you are getting music from an audio cd, which means there is no audio compression which you normally get from most music files on mp3's, iPod's, or computers. Using a bit higher end headphones will reveal the benefits of uncompressed music. But this much you already knew, right? It is a cd player after all.
But what else can it do? One of the biggest and nicest improvements it has over the P1260 and many cd players on the market is its usb port located on the front panel. This is one of the handiest features in my opinion, and I use it all the time. This enables you to connect your mp3 or iPod via usb cable, and listen to it through the P650 itself. What's the benefit to this? Well, you are able to use the BurrBrown dac that's built into the P650 for superior digital to analog conversion over your portable device. This means, all your music will sound better through the P650 as opposed to your mp3 or iPod. Browsing through your music files is a breeze, and it will display all your folders and songs on the P650's screen. Using the remote, you can zoom through all your music, and select whatever song you want quick quickly. Plus, it actually charges your mp3 at the same time. Well, it charges mine anyway. A nifty little feature if you ask me.
Alright, moving on to its outputs and flexibility. You've got a digital out and standard av outputs on the back side of the P650. Obviously, you'll use the av outputs to connect to either speakers or an external amp. With the digital out, you can connect it to an external dac and bypass the internal one of the P650 for future upgrades. So basically, you can use the P650 as a cd transformer if you've got your own amp and DAC. I can almost guarantee you this is the cheapest CD transformer on the market, so if you only plan on using this to simply play the cd while your external amp and dac takes care of the rest; this is a great piece of equipment to have in your arsenal.
And sound? First off, let me say this is able to drive pretty much every headphone you could throw at it. Even with my 300ohm HD650, I was able to achieve a very loud volume at around the 10:00 position on the dial. They drove my Q701 very good too, and again, with plenty of volume. Noted, this is all if you use the unit by itself, without an external amp and such. But how about sound quality? So, I was able to hook up the MKIII and EF5 via the av outputs and test many high end headphone in the past. Let's just say, I lost my faith in amps. Plugging into those amps versus straight into the P650, I was hard pressed finding any major difference. Could it be the dac? Well, I was about to find out. I soon used the HeadRoom Micro dac and Micro amp combo with the P650, and fully bypassed all of its internals. And guess what? Using my HD650, I wasn't able to pin point a single difference between using the Micro combo, and running them straight off the P650 headphone jack. No really, I'm serious. How fast do you think I sent that combo back? So, if you are worried about the sound quality of the unit, then take my word that it will be perfectly fine for most people, including myself. For that little handful of elitists that can never be satisfied with anything, feel free to bypass all of its internals and hook it up to thousand dollar amps and dacs.
Wrapping this one up, I'll say what I said at the beginning. This thing is really all I need. Unless I'm going portable, I'm hooking up all my reference headphones up to this device and don't plan on buying another amp in the future. I've tested a large amount of headphones through this unit, yet it didn't hit me on how good it was until my recent experiences with the Micro combo and the HD650. I honestly think this unit is a fabulous deal, and is fantastic audio investment for new comers as well as seasoned audiophiles.
4/16/12 EDIT REVIEW:
I really felt I should elaborate yet once again on this review, more specifically, regarding the P650 and P1260. I've noticed the P650 has dropped to $150 since I had bought it, and the P1260 is currently priced 50% cheaper at $100. But, I really would like to emphasize why the P1260 should NOT be bought over this even if budget is an issue. Basically with this edit, I would like to talk more specifically about the meat of the CD players, aka the sound quality. On my original review, I gave five reasons to buy it over the P1260, but now I want to introduce the "6th" reason, and go into much more specifics. I'm sure the biggest reason one would buy this over it's predecessor is an expected increase in sound quality, and I aim to verify that assumption.
So, recently buying the Q701 and an assortment of equipment, I'm forced to use the P650 until my goods arrive. Thus, I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to do some actual head-to-head against the P1260. And of course with my recent realizations of current prices, I could see some potential buyers contemplating the cheaper P1260 instead. So with further ado, let's get to it!
Let's put it this way. I would suggest, recommend, and advise you to go for the P650 over the P1260. Personally, I would do it for sound alone, but of course there are other reasons for the upgrade (as mentioned in original review). First, I'd like to mention it's ability to drive the Q701. But even before that, I'd like to mention that the Q701's are harder to drive than the DT880 600ohm. I've got both side-by-side, and the Q701 requires a small increase in the volume nob to maintain at the DT880's level. That said, he's the results of the two players driving the Q701:
Player + Headphone = "Time" on volume knob = Amount of volume used.
P650 + Q701 = 9:00 (no volume being 7:00) = 20% total volume.
P1260 + Q701 = 12:00 (max volume being 5:00) = 50% total volume.
Sound quality wise, this is where the P1260 simply cannot match in performance. Switching from the P1260 to the P650 is quite stark. First, you have to decrease volume by a significant amount. But after that simple task, you ears are treated to a very nice and welcomed improvement. The midrange really pops with the Q701 on the P650 compared to the relatively dull P1260. Instrument separation is very noticeably enhanced as well. The music sounds genuinely more "fleshed out" on the P650, while the P1260 sounds like it's not giving you everything. Overall the P1260 sounds more flat and constrained compared directly to the P650, which simply sounds more detailed, sophisticated, and enjoyable across the board. An easy trade for an extra $50.
Oh, and one last thing for the audiophiles. I've been testing the P650 with the Q701, and it sounds nearly identical to the Matrix M-Stage USB.