Why would anyone buy a disc player in 2015? Because the market for CD/SACD players is far from dead, especially at audio’s higher end. But, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller companies to find decent OEM transport mechanisms, so the number of new players is diminishing. TAD – Technical Audio Devices laboratories – is not affected by the present disc-transport hardscrabble, because TAD remains under the auspices of Pioneer Electronics. The fact that the migration away from disc-based music replay has not gained anything like the same traction in Japan as it has in Europe or the US only helps to make a strong case for a new, high-performance, CD/SACD player like the D1000.
There are still a number of extremely high-grade disc spinners made in Japan. We still see Accuphase, Esoteric, Luxman, and TAD, but there are others that are seldom seen beyond Asia. It’s a mark of just how seriously disc-based replay is taken in Japan that the D1000 is TAD’s ‘entry-level’ player, despite being built to a standard that most Western audio brands would happily put at the top of their tree.
TAD has recognised the changes in the international market though, by producing a similar DA1000 digital converter, which is essentially a D1000 without the transport mechanism (a lot of the main components – including clock, converter, power supply, and chassis – are common to both designs). The two are not entirely identical; the D1000 retains the CD/SACD transport part, while the DA1000 features a linear volume control, for direct connection to a power amp, and a headphone amplifier (the next batch of D1000s will feature a volume control, too). Right now though, we are still in a world that would consider the DA1000 to be a D1000 without the SACD/CD player section, rather than looking at the D1000 as a DA1000 with added disc transport. That may seem like a semantic distinction, but it’s an extremely important one. It means that currently, the CD/SACD transport mechanism is not vestigial, and the polycarbonate disc is not considered ‘legacy’ by TAD.