TAD-C1000: fiercely expensive preamplifier from TAD

When TAD launches a new product, you know it's going to be expensive. The TAD-C1000 is a preamplifier where EVERYTHING has been thought of.

written by / 2023-08-11 - 8:00 am
TAD-C1000: fiercely expensive preamplifier from TAD

Technical Audio Devices Laboratories (TAD Labs) is owned by Pioneer, but this crew in their white lab coats stands for something special. Thinking their products will be cheap is like hoping Rolls-Royce will suddenly make a car that can compete with the Nissan Leaf. It’s not going to happen.

Entirely analogue

The TAD-C1000 is a brand new preamplifier, and while it will cost an arm and a leg, you won’t get digital inputs or any kind of streaming. It’s analogue all the way, with four pairs of balanced XLR inputs and two unbalanced RCAs. Two pairs of XLR and two RCA outputs are also in place for connecting various power amplifiers.

TAD TAD-C1000 black rear
Plenty of balanced inputs, but you won’t get anything digital here. Photo: TAD

The preamplifier is the latest addition to TAD’s Evolution series, and it shares the same design language as other components in the series. Which are, of course, just as expensive. If you’re planning a complete system, I hope you enjoy the dialysis machine – because it can quickly cost you both kidneys.

DNA from power amplifier

TAD Labs has taken parts of the design from its M700 power amplifier and adapted it to a preamplifier design. To achieve the best possible balance, TAD tested the performance of each FET device and selected matching pairs of positive and negative elements for the C1000. This should contribute to stability of the highest calibre.

Fully symmetrical

The PCB layout is completely symmetrical at the bottom of the enclosure to avoid even the slightest differences between positive and negative signals and right and left channels. The cabinet construction itself and especially the connection panel on the back are also completely symmetrical. To emphasise the importance of symmetry, TAD has used two transformers, both of which are of course symmetrically placed on opposite sides of the cabinet.

This means that if you take a hacksaw and cut the amplifier in half and hold one half up to a mirror, it will look like a whole amplifier.

TAD TAD-C1000 black front
“Modern” doesn’t exactly describe the look of the TAD-C1000. Photo: TAD

Pure signal path

To ensure the cleanest possible signal path, the internal coil of the transformers is directly connected to the power supply to avoid unnecessary wiring. All terminations on the inside, including to the main board, are made with oxygen-free terminal screws coated with non-magnetic materials to eliminate even the slightest magnetic influence.

The volume wheel, naturally located in the centre of the front, is mounted on a high-precision ball bearing to ensure a silky smooth movement with exceptionally smooth rotation. The centre-mounted design symbolises the symmetrical layout of the internal circuits.

The C1000 is also designed to kill the slightest vibration. And all components inside are either manufactured by TAD or customised for TAD by others.

TAD-C1000: Price and availability

The TAD-C1000 will hit the market in October for the modest sum of $25,000. And that’s even including the remote control.

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