T+A MP 2000 R MKII Multi-Source Player Review

“On the radiooooo… whoooa-oh-oh, on the radioooo.”

I can still hear Donna Summer in full-bore mode belting out the chorus to this Giorgio Moroder-produced, seven-inch single as it bulleted its way to a 1979 top-five slot on the United States charts.

I was eight years old when I’d turn up the volume on the small portable radio my grandfather had given me as the pulsating beats of disco’s heyday made their way to me via unseen electromagnetic radiation waves from WBLK in Buffalo, New York across the border.

I was hooked.

My grandfather and I may have listened to ball games together in the little cubby he called the den at their place when I was a kid, but when I was at home it was rock, soul, R&B and pop that I was tuning into. That coupled with my father’s love of LPs and hi-fi set me up for a lifetime of deep music appreciation. Which brings us to the trigger of this little musing, the T+A MP 2000 R MKII multi source player.

You see, one of the first things I tried out on the unit was its streaming client for Internet radio – local stations showed up immediately – and I tuned in to one of my favourites; the University of British Columbia’s CiTR and was time-transported back to that portable radio as I heard Summer knocking out that old familiar chorus; “whoooa-oh-oh, on the radioooo.”

I was never an early adopter of Internet radio, nor am I an avid listener – to be honest I rarely use it for more than 30 minutes or so a day when I’m first waking up, making coffee and checking email (I like to let my NOS preamp tubes get up to operating temperature first, so radio is perfect for playing) – but the T+A makes it so easy to use I’d found myself letting it stay on a bit longer every day the 2000 R was in the mix for this review. I didn’t have to manually add stations (you can, of course) because there was already a load of presets on there and the fact that it ‘saw’ my local stations and queued up 10 of them for me is a nod to brilliant software/hardware interfacing and let me jump between the news and Breakfast With The Browns on CiTR.

Build Quality

The 2000 MKII is solidly built, weighing in at 17.6 pounds with a thick-walled aluminum chassis and components machined from solid metal blocks and extrusions (exclusively using non-magnetic materials) which T+A claims help in maintaining consistent operating temperatures throughout the unit and its numerous internal modules. RF shielding is also implemented throughout and isolation feet are fitted with neoprene rings. The control screen is reasonably large and bright with a mostly legible mint/teal green font for the readout. I would have preferred a larger font size for easier viewing from across the room, but this is a minor issue. The accompanying remote control is ergonomic, chunky and weighty with well laid out controls.

Digital/Analog I/O

With the mornings starting on local news, downtempo, electro and pop on the Internet radio client I would transition to listening to CDs via the 2000’s heavy-duty in-house built tray (CD-DA, CD-R, CD-RW, CD Text) and spin up something by the likes of Vijay Iyer off the ECM label and go back-and-forth between it and a Qobuz 24-bit/96kHz version in Roon through the unit’s Roon Ready Ethernet streaming client for comparison notes (both sounded equally great – with an edge in this case given over to the streaming client recording as the 24-bit version had tighter transients to my ear). There is also a digital tuner with support for FM, FM-HD and DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) as well as an aptX Bluetooth streaming module (which I did not include for critical listening, but which must be said, sounded better than most BT implementations I’ve experienced), that connected instantlyto my iPhone to stream TIDAL playlists from – great for having friends over who want to stream wirelessly from their Spotify accounts. Digital inputs run the gamut from the aforementioned LAN (Ethernet 10/100 Base-T) and WLAN (802.11 b/g/n), to USB (Device/Class 2), dual Coaxial, one Toslink and two optical. Output consists of dedicated pairs of XLR/RCA on the analog side and digital coaxial on the binary side.

T+A utilizes four PCM1795 D/A chipsets in the 2000 R MKII which offers up a total of eight 32-bit/384kSps Sigma-Delta DACs to tap for conversion duties (four per channel) in what T+A calls a “double-differential quadruple-converter” setup with separate and individually optimized PCM and DSD (true one-bit DSD512) pathways within the circuit architecture. DSD is available over USB, not the Network (in Roon it does the standard DSD-to-PCM conversion – in this case DSD64 to 352.8kHz PCM at 28.2x processing speed via the Roon Nucleus+) and the DACs can be configured via the remote with four selectable oversampling algorithms which varies tonal character according to the company. These are: Oversampling FIR Long – “a classic FIR filter with an extremely linear frequency response.” Oversampling FIR Short – “an FIR filter with improved peak handling.” Oversampling Bezier/FIR – “is a Bezier interpolator combined with a IIR filter. This process produces a result very similar to an analogue system.” Oversampling Bezier – “is a pure Bezier interpolator – offering perfect “timing” and dynamics.” After listening over the course of several days to the different options I went with the “Bezier interpolator combined with a IIR filter” as I found it to be the most pleasing to my ears in the context of my system. YMMV.

The T+A MusicNavigator application ran fast and easy on my iPad Mini 2 doing its job without fuss or complexity. MusicNavigator made access to UPnP services (Deezer, Spotify, TIDAL, etc.), the CD-Player, FM Radio, DAB+, digital inputs, Bluetooth, Podcasts and unit settings among others clear and straightforward. I ended up using the supplied remote and Roon for the bulk of my listening sessions as this is my habit.

I will say that the T+A is a rabbit-hole device simply because it has so many ways to listen and so many options to explore within the framework of each of those modes of listening. It comes with a formidable owners manual and I highly recommend you spend some serious time with it (I had to) in order to get a handle on everything the unit is capable of. Generally speaking, it is fairly intuitive to use and navigate the menu systems, ONCE you know which buttons to push to access them.

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