TAD's high-end Reference preamplifier aims for "near-perfect stereophonic sound reproduction"

TAD C700 front panel shot
(Image credit: TAD)

Japanese high-end audio brand TAD Labs is adding to its current Reference Series of hi-fi products. The new TAD-C700 preamplifier – to be showcased at next month's High End Munich show – teases a host of technical refinements which, says the manufacturer, will allow the latest model to reach a new level of performance over 2011's outgoing TAD-C600. 

Central to this new level of performance is the preamp's single-stage amplifier circuitry. According to TAD, the minimal use of amplifying elements lets the C700 reproduce "every musical nuance faithfully", while a dedicated amp circuit for each line output aims to stop signal branching and unwanted interference from connected components. The C700 uses fully balanced circuitry throughout which, along with the symmetrical dual-mono construction, aims to deliver identical amplification to left and right channels – this should result in "near-perfect stereophonic sound reproduction", says TAD.

The new preamp's power supply is separated from the main unit, preventing vibrations and magnetic flux from affecting the audio circuits housed within the main unit. Further, the C700's terminals are made from oxygen-free copper to eliminate magnetic distortions in a bid for even purer sonic reproduction.  

The C700 preamp comes equipped with four balanced and two unbalanced inputs, as well as two balanced and two unbalanced outputs, with a dedicated recording output that sidesteps the selector circuit to directly put out input signals.

TAD C700 back panel shot

(Image credit: TAD)

The main unit itself is a hefty 29kg chassis, while the separate power supply unit weighs in at 15kg. To prevent unwanted vibrations, the primary amplifier circuit is mounted on a 33mm aluminium sub-chassis, aiming to reduce vibrations caused by your speakers. The module's custom-made volume control circuit, meanwhile, shoots for ultra-low distortion to once again preserve your music's clarity and purity. 

A master C700 can control several passive C700s hooked up to the provided master out jack, letting two or more units provide dual-mono configuration or deliver multiple-channel sound. TAD's new high-end preamp also comes with a pass-through mode which outputs input signals from a pre-out jack without altering the signal level.

The TAD-C700 preamplifier will cost a hefty $68,500 USD (further prices pending) and will be available to buy through selected dealerships at the beginning of June 2024. The previous model's retail priced hovered around the £27,000 / €31,000 / $42,000 mark, so that's a significant price rise for the new model.


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.