T+A MP 2500 R digital media player

'Bridge' digital sources, the link between conventional physical media and computer-based audio, are very much on-trend at the moment – what can T+A bring to the party?

So, are the twin threats of downloaded music and streaming services putting the final nail in CD's coffin? In the future will our music collections exist only as files on a home server, or indeed not as collections at all – figures seem to suggest downloads are flagging – but rather as infinite libraries accessed on demand from online services?

Frankly I'll only believe it when I see skips full of discarded jewel-cases on every street corner, attracting about as much interest from scavengers as old CRT TVs did when everyone went flatscreen. And it seems there's no shortage of companies thinking the same way – including Germany's T+A, as evidenced by the £8366 MP 2500 R, a high-end piece of hardware designed to bridge the gap between discs, downloads and online digital music.

Covering Every Base
Here, in one hefty chunk of brushed silver or black aluminium, complete with a large viewing window to show its inner workings, is an SACD/CD player, a multi-input DAC complete with a USB Type B for a computer and Type A inputs for playback from memory devices, and a full-blown network audio player. And with networking comes access not only to music stored on your home computer or NAS, but also Internet radio, Qobuz and Tidal (with Deezer coming soon) – subject, of course, to the appropriate subscriptions.


And if the whole old-meets-new thing weren't already strong enough, it also has a built-in FM/DAB/DAB+ radio tuner – yes, the good old wireless! Not that there's anything at all old-fashioned about the MP 2500 R; after all it uses two DAC sections, one dedicated to PCM-based audio and the other to DSD.

The former employs four channels-worth of Burr-Brown/TI DACs per side in a double-differential configuration and will handle data-rates up to DXD's 352.8/384kHz. DSD is in the hands of T+A's proprietary 1-bit DAC solution, all the way up to DSD512. Having these dual signal paths avoids the compromises frequently found in off-the-shelf DSD-ready DAC chips where the format's 1-bit data is turned into LPCM.


The player is based on the MP 2000 R mkII [HFN Feb '16] and uses the SACD/CD transport introduced in the MP 3100 HV [HFN Sep '17], while that DSD DAC is derived from the PDP 3000 HV [HFN Mar '15]. But this is rather more than a grab-bag – if exotic – from the T+A parts bin.

A solidly-built dual-function audio-only mechanism is always going to be a better basis for good sound than the kind of multipurpose DVD-ROM drives one finds in many a player these days. T+A's transport adds to its dual-disc ability a beefed-up drive system using heavy-duty motors and dedicated laser optics for CD and SACD duties. It's mounted in an isolating case with a heavy aluminium plate to offer mass-damping, while the loader slides on stainless steel rods and uses a coated ABS cradle to ensure accurate disc location.

Ambitious Contender
The network streaming board is also T+A's latest in-house design, optimised for high-resolution audio as well as flexibility when it comes to network music sources. Both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity are available, along with Bluetooth with aptX, and – as is seemingly almost de rigueur these days – the MP 2500 R is set to be Roon-ready. There was no sign of the player on my Roon network, so clearly this will come in a future update.

The MP 2500 R can be controlled by the FM 1000 remote supplied as standard, which is an infrared model, or with the optional FD 100, which has both radio-frequency operation and bi-directional communication, allowing its built-in screen to echo the information available on the main unit. However, if you're going to those lengths, and with the £500+ price of the remote, you'd probably do better to invest your money in a tablet running the T+A Navigator app, which claims more comprehensive streaming, etc, information.

Again, as with the Roon-ready status, I'll have to take T+A's word for that one, as the Music Navigator app refused to acknowledge the presence of the MP 2500 R, a message appearing that the app was only compatible with the company's Cala CDR/SR and MP8 network devices. T+A says that support for the player, and some of its other devices using its new streaming client (MP 3100 HV, MP 2000 R mkII, R 1000 E and MP 1000 E), is currently 'in preparation'. However, I was able to drive major functions of the player, including its streaming section, with the older T+A Control 2 app.

T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG
Supplied by: Kog Audio, UK
01353 721089