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This review first appeared in the July 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or TAD. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Europe: €31.000

TAD or Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, Inc. is a relatively young company founded October 1, 2007. But as early as 1975 its parent company Pioneer Electronics had set up a subdivision which was to design high-quality technologically advanced speakers. That division was called Technical Audio Devices and operated as a completely independent laboratory. As a result of technical developments it created a lot of materials published by the Audio Engineering Society (see Robert Harley, An Overnight Success 35 Years in the Making, The Abso!ute Sound). It was that combination of solid funding and brilliant engineering that resulted in a speaker driver made from beryllium.

However we had to wait until the Millenium when a separate company Technical Audio Devices was set up which hired Andrew Jones to run its R&D department. Jones is an engineer who previously worked at KEF for many years where he was co-responsible for their greatest success, the coaxial Uni-Q driver system. For TAD Jones designed the Model One from scratch which became the company’s reference speaker and gave them added momentum. Among the many technical innovations the Model One could boast, one drew special attention – the Coherent Source system, a further development of the Uni-Q with beryllium cones for both tweeter and midrange driver. As Robert Harley mentions in his article, such a coaxial speaker system turned out to be something closer to Japan than UK history as that type of design had been patented in the late 70s by Pioneer and TAD. Thus began the official international history of the latter.

The C-600 preamplifier together with the E1 speakers is the latest offering to be added to TAD’s portfolio in April 2012. This year’s High End show in Munich was among the first opportunities to experience it. I was sent for a review the very unit which had been displayed in Germany. It was thus the very first C-600 in Europe. This preamp completes TAD’s top system, the Reference Series, which also consists of the D-600 SACD player and M-600 monaural amplifiers. Among the C-600’s many features the manufacturer lists a fully balanced dual-mono design; an enclosure with absorption and vibration damping; a circuit optimized for highest signal to noise ratio; high-quality components; excellent functionality; and Extreme Link to synchronize several C-600 preamps for a multi-channel analog system. The current CEO of TAD is Mr. Yoshihiro Hirano.

Sound. A sampling of music used for this review: Audio Accessory - T-TOC Records High Quality Data Master Comparison, TDVD-0002, DVD-R (2011), 16/44.1 rip, 24/96, 24/192 FLAC; For Ever Fortune. Scottish Music In The 18th Century, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Robert Getchell, Alpha, 531, CD (2012); Paganini for two, Gil Shaham, Göran Söllscher, Deutsche Grammophon/JVC, 480 246-5, XRCD24 (1993/2009); Stereo Sound Reference Record. Jazz&Vocal, Stereo Sound, SSRR4, SACD/CD (2010); Stereo Sound Reference Record. Nobu’s Popular Selection, Stereo Sound, SSRR5, SACD/CD (2010); André Previn, After Hours, Telarc/Lasting Impression Music, LIM UHD 051, CD (1989/2011); Anna Jantar, Nic nie może wiecznie trwać, Polskie Nagrania, PNCD 139, CD (2012); Beverly Kenney, Beverly Kenney sings for Johnny Smith, Roost Records/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-9731, CD (1956/2012); Clan of Xymox, Subsequent Pleasures, Metropolis, Met 204, CD (1983/2001)...

... Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus 2011, Sire/Reprise 21328-2, MS CD (2011); Diorama, Cubed Deluxe Edition, Accession Records, A 114, 2 x CD (2010); Dominic Miller & Neil Stancey, New Dawn, Naim, naimcd066, CD (2002); Dominic Miller, Fourth Wall, Q-rious Music, QRM 108-2, CD (2006); e.s.t. Esbjörn Svenson Trio, 301, ACT Music + Vision, ACT 9029-2, CD (2012); Händel, La Maga Abbandonata, Simone Kermes, Maite Baumont, Il Complesso Barocco, dyr. Alan Curtis, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony Music Entertainment, CD 88697846212, CD (2003/2011); Jorgos Skolias & Bogdan Hołownia, …tales, 8Merch, NSA-V001, Limited Edition, No. 0001/2000, CD (2004/2012); McCoy Tyner, Nights of Ballads & Blues, Impulse!, IMP 12212, 20-bit Super Mapping, CD (1963/1997); Me Myself And I, Do Not Cover, Creative Music, 005, CD (2012); Sara K., Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?, Stockfisch, SFR 357.6055.2, CD (2008); Sigur Rós, Valtari, Parlophone/EMI Records Limited, 623555, CD (2012).