TEAC A-R650 review

This retro-styled amp from TEAC might look the business, but we found it wanting against its competition in this class Tested at £249.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

There are some seriously strong performers around at this price-point and this TEAC can’t really compete


  • +

    Build quality feels solid

  • +

    detail and dynamics both reasonable


  • -

    Lacks excitement and energy

  • -

    a little bright

  • -

    competition is fierce here

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

It has been a while since we've seen a TEAC stereo amplifier and the A-R650, TEAC's new budget offering, is certainly strikingly designed, dividing opinion among our review team.

If you like retro styling then this should be up your street, offering two large rotary controls for input selection and volume, plus three smaller knobs for balance, treble and bass. Along with the remote, these all feel good to the touch. You'll find plenty of audio inputs but no phono stage.

Partnered with our ATC SCM50 reference speakers, it fires out Radiohead's 15 Step from the album In Rainbows.

Disorganised and ruffled
Frantic, scattered drums see the TEAC struggling to gather it all together in to a composed whole, instead sounding disorganised and ruffled by the whole ordeal.

We switch to the simpler structure of Eminem's Stay Wide Awake, which the TEAC finds more manageable, but the sound struggles to engage and entertain, and there's some hardness to treble notes.

With price-matched speakers, such as EB Acoustics EB1s, the A-R650 sounds a little more comfortable but the delivery remains lacklustre.

As proved in recent tests, the budget amplifier category is staggeringly strong at the moment, a fact which sadly leaves this TEAC amp scrabbling for scraps below the best.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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