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Clear from "just looking"—tyre kicking alert!—is emphasis on the power supply with substantial choke filtration and two very sizable oil-filled capacitors of presumably NOS origins.

What exactly goes on in the digital-to-analog conversion or output stages remains undisclosed and strategically concealed from view.

Whilst the lack of USB input is easily remedied with external bridges like my Bakoon-battery augmented Audiophilleo 2 or SOtM's equivalent two-box battery-powered affair with optional super-clock board, the lack of 176.4kHz or higher compliance should limit appeal amongst those who own—or plan to—high-resolution material like DSD-over-USB or DXD files. At its considerable £6.275 asking price, that design choice struck me as peculiar. Incidentally the TAD-1 is priced similarly to the equally British CAD 1543 DAC of equal micro manufacture I'd reviewed recently.

The choice of 6SN7 output tubes is a happy one with rollers. A wide variety of not excessively priced options exist and no more than two little bottles are required.

Getting at them merely means undoing four lightly tightened screws to remove the tube cage. The included long screw driver sorts out getting at them.

The unit appears very solidly put together with old-world's craftsmanship. Fit'n'finish are commensurate with expectations (which packaging wasn't by a long shot but that's being addressed as mentioned already).

How would the TAD1's euphonically superior valve output stage as the website had it bed down in practice?