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

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


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    Precise, detailed and attacking delivery

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    great spec, build and compact good-looks

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    cheap iPod dock add-on


  • -

    Small displays on both units

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    could better describe the biggest dynamic shifts

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.

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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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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