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VRDS-25 from TEAC

Related articles:   T1 VRDS transport,   Denon DCD2560 with same dac AD1862
Feb 2008

Teac has a hell of a reputation, I don't know why exactly. Nothing special sets them apart but maybe they are a little bit better in marketing than their peers. For example Philips invented so many wonderful all the goodies, all best chips, mechanisms, etc and they don't have even 10 % of TEAC reputation.

Maybe it is the VRDS thing - every hifi rag devoted countless pages explaining the principle of very rigid disc clamping system - how the pressure clamping disc "prevents the CD from vibrations" but in other players nothing prevents the vibrations and yet they still manage to play well. So to me it seems like TEAC created an antidote to a non existent poison, and then they sold the whole concept as their key differenciator and they had to invent the poison. Clever people.

Anyway, they took the stock, middle of the range SONY mechanism KSS151A (like in Sony CDP227ESD player) and added a large puck on top of it. Is it good or bad - I dunno, but it looks positively hitech.
To be able to sell the story even better - in this VRDS 25 player (they named the player after the mechanism name - see how important the plastic puck is to their marketing?  Sortof like calling a car Turbo.) they made the face plate of 10 mm solid aluminium and everything is oh-so-heavy.

To my big surprise - the main PCB is REALLY a very nice one. Almost like in Copland. Premium parts, audio grade electrolytes, very very neat auto-CAD of PCB layout, fully differential balanced topology and OH MY GOD - the AD1862 super duper chip. What a rare DAC. A white raven. To be found only in world's best players, like for example in the best denon - the 2560.

This DAC has current output (the better, more kosher type) and it can be lampized with R conversion. I used 570 Ohms which I had on hand.
I quickly cut the leg 11 of the chip from the PCB track (I mean I cut the track leading from leg 11 to next parts - 4 opamps in a row per phase.)
I wired the now freely floating leg 11 to lampizator leg 7 and then from leg 7 to leg 9 - a resistor of 570 Ohms.

Surprisingly this player has balanced outputs.
Lampization is possible as SE ( RCA)  and balanced  XLR at the same time.

I quite like plain and simple face plates like this one. The only minor reservation in this player rating is it's very slow drawer.

Golden drawer in black player. Hmmmm.....

Great PCB - neat, simple, beautiful - everything is first class. Hats off.

ASD-Audiotuning company from Germany offers upgrade replacement chips for these two suckers on the picture's right - the demodulator and the upsampler- NPC and the AD1893. The better parts from Mr. Andreas (we paid some 100 Euro plus) are 24/192  compatible and the DAC is a 20 bit one. The clock is not typical - 18 ,xx meg. The upgrade allows to squeeze the max from the 1862 DAC. It took me 10 minutes do de solder and solder the upgrade.

I suspect that 1862 is the same as Burr Brown 1702. Something is telling me ....

Enter Analog Devices AD1862 N-J DAC chip

Four DAC chips in a row. Mmmmmmm. Nice. One per channel per phase. They go like this from bottom of the photo :  L-, L+, R+, L-. I took the signal from the inner pair.

Please ignore the most right yellow wire - my mistake (left channel phase neg). Top-most blue wire is the earth.

Test hookup of the lampizator. (traces are cut underneath the board to free float the leg 11 of each DAC,  so it is not innocent kind of reversible test.)
After good result from the test, I went for full lampization, internal tubes, one per channel in anode follower mode - four triodes creating balanced XLR outputs and RCA single ended too.

I started by removing the main PCB and installing Trichord 4 clock.
Below you see the crystal, two caps and a resistor that had to be removed (18 meg crystal, not typical 16 meg.)

The new clock connects to the legs 1 of the 74HCU04 chip (signal) and leg 7th - GND (see red lines).

The VRDS level two (middle) with composite bridge and cast alloy clamp flywheel. Much much better than the ugly cheap level 1 CMK4 mechanism from TEAC T1 (CD7)
Laser assembly and pickup is Sony KSS151A on magnetic rails - again - very decent laser.


I simply love that PCB

As you see - this player has a transformer with dual primaries - 230 and 120 VAC. Good for all continents.

The XLRs and RCAs are so good quality that they do not need to be replaced. They can stay.

The power supply section houses a nice, big, potted and encapsulated transformer. Very nice. There is provision for 230/120 selection. The raw supplies and rectifiers are heavy duty, oversized, and (whatever that means) - FOR AUDIO. In my opinion that is BS because a cap can be either good or bad, but FOR AUDIO means nothing.  Just marketing buzzword.

VRDS 25 Teac

You see the AUDIO caps and my new bolt for holding the transformer of lampizator.

This is empty space under the main PCB where all my new power supplies and filters will be located.

New transformer installed. I had two secondaries of 110 VAC so I used them in dual mono config.
A tube (two triodes) in balanced mode is ideally supplied from ons ingle source. If positive signal causes one tube to draw current MORE, the negative impulse causes the other half to draw EQUALLY LESS. Summary current demand is CONSTANT and this is very good.

VRDS 25 Teac

This is main AC cable of TEAC with added parasitic Lampizator brown twisted pair that is transformer primary.

This way the Lampizator is connected AFTER the switch, after filter of AC noise and after fuses as well.

In the central section of the player where the mechanism is located - there is additional large power supply section with 4 gigantic caps and some other stuff. So the main PCB gets very good power.

VRDS 25 Teac

Above you see the SPDIF digitall output section.  There is no transformer for signal (good) and there is TOSLINK as well to the left. It makes overall a nice transport, should you EVER want a DAC better than internal AD1862.

The Lampizator power supplies are getting glued and wired together. On the right - 12 V DC, on the left hand side - two high voltage anode supplies (CRC filters and integrated bridges.

This is the resistor kit that goes on the socket. Two Cathode resistors of 200 Ohms and two grid resistors of 240K. The twisted end becomes system ground.

VRDS 25 Teac

Lampizator circuit ready to go. Anode resistors are mounted away on anode supply caps output. This makes the triode socket less congested.

VRDS 25 Teac

Above: all power supplies are glued to the floor under the main PCB. the long black thing is the power switch extension rod.
Dark red resistors connected to red wires are anode resistors in anode follower setup.

The tubes were mounted above main PCB after I removed the analog output stage - 8 op-amps and their capacitors. There was enough space for 2 tubes.
Red wires go to anodes of triodes. All grounds are connected together in star fashion: both tube grounds, RCA's, XLRs, anode supply ground, heater ground and main PCB ground.
XLR and RCA inputs were floated from the  PCB and freed.
Clock was powered from now un-used OPAMP supply of plus 12V DC (on the copper rail.)


The sound is right there with the top players. League zero - which stands for no compromise, best CD playback under the sun. It is not a winner, but definitely in the same league as the best ones I tried.
The sound is overall the safest all rounder. Not as goose bump magical midrange timbre as the TDA1541 players, not as thunderous superbass as Wolfson, not as crystal clear trebles as Lampucera DAC CS4397, and not as deep deep hallucination as from BB-1794 of the Shanling CD300. But it has no flaws or faults. Very highly recommended.

The tube: Russian 6H2P (6N2P) with SRPP and 200 Ohms in both cathodes. ECC88 and E88CC works great as well.

2 days later: a very enlightening listening session with a comparison between Audionote DAC 2 signature (2 x PCM63)  driven by TEAC as a transport versus TEAC lampized. As good as the Audio-Note DAC2  is, the Teac VRDS-25 walks over it. The amount of hidden information that TEAC pulls from very familiar recordings is just unbelievable. At the same time it is more powerful, more spacious, and with stronger bass, which is  is controlled and powerful. My admiration for the application of the AD-1862 grows. I like equally well the DENON DCD2560  The Teac is better built, but DENON may actually sound a little bit better.
I wish I knew how to make it a NOS, forget the Audiotuning of filter chips.

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