TEAC Reference 600 review

There was a gap between the micro system and 'proper' hi-fi separates – consider it filled by the excellent Reference 600 Tested at £1000

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Our Verdict

The excellent Reference 600 makes a genuine alternative to a hi-fi separates system

For

  • Precise, detailed and attacking delivery
  • great spec, build and compact good-looks
  • cheap iPod dock add-on

Against

  • Small displays on both units
  • could better describe the biggest dynamic shifts

The two units that make up TEAC's Reference 600 series are available separately, but as you save £100 by buying them as a bundle, we're reviewing them as an all-in-one system. And what a good one it is.

For your £1000 you get the PD-H600 CD player (usually £400) and the AG-H600DNT amplifier (usually £700). The latter boasts an output of 2 x 75W, wired and wireless network connections for internet radio and podcasts, a DAB tuner, and a connection for the optional DS20 iPod dock (£30).

The solid build and smart styling is exemplary, and the good news continues when the TEAC is asked to play tunes. Play xx by The XX, and the system throws out Intro with attacking precision.

Deep, detailed delivery
Kicks on the bass drum are deep and taut, the percussion-like claps are forceful, and the cymbal benefits from sparkle. Excellent tonal and rhythmic cohesion means nothing distracts the ear, and when VCR starts, the TEAC reproduces vocals superbly.

Switch to Clint Mansell's challenging Moon soundtrack and the TEAC's rhythm and punch remain impressive, and if it's not quite the best at reproducing the fast-paced dynamic shifts, it's certainly not bad in this regard.

The small screens are a slight hindrance when searching for DAB or internet radio stations, but both are outputted with detail and clarity, rounding off a mighty impressive package.

Sure, full-sized separates still do it better, but for a product of this type, the TEAC's superb.

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