TEAC AI-503-A USB DAC and Integrated Amplifier

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TEAC AI-503-A USB DAC and Integrated Amplifier

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Key info

  • Integrated amp and USB DAC with support for inputs up to 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM.
  • Utilizes dual-mono circuit design and VERITA AK4490 D/A converters for balanced and realistic soundstage.
  • Features Bluetooth AptX, USB, optical, coaxial, and RCA analog inputs for versatile connectivity.
  • Class-D power amplifier ensures high-resolution playback with high linearity.
  • Equipped with TEAC-HCLD headphone amp circuit, pre-out connectivity, and dedicated headphone amp stage with 2-stage gain switching function.

All specifications

Physical characteristics
Weight 3.7 kg
Dimensions (HxWxD) 81.2 × 290 × 264 mm
Technical specifications
Headphone output power Minijack: 3.5mm 4-pole stereo. Max output: 280mW + 280mW (32Ω). Compatible impedance: 16 to 600Ω
Analog inputs Line 1: RCA × 1pair (L/R) (30kΩ, 2Vms). Line 2/Opt 2: 3.5mm stereo (22kΩ/2Vms)
Digital inputs Coaxial (COAX): RCA. OPT 1: Square (TOSLINK). OPT 2/Line2: Round (-24.0 to -14.5dBmpeak). USB: USB-B (USB 2.0 standard)
Headphone output power Minijack: 3.5mm 4-pole stereo. Max output: 280mW + 280mW (32Ω). Compatible impedance: 16 to 600Ω
Streaming services - Bluetooth: Version 4.0, Class 2 - Approximate transmission distance : 10m - Supported profiles: A2DP、AVRCP - Supported codecs: SBC/AAC/aptX/LDAC - Maximum number of stored pairings 8
Included accessories
What's in the box Power cord, Remote control(RC-1328), Batteries for remote control(AAA) × 2, Owner's manual (this document, including warranty)

USB DAC/Integrated Amplifier

The AI-503 is an integrated amp and USB DAC that supports inputs up to 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM. The DAC/preamp, which is the heart of the unit, follows the same design concept of our UD-503 and adopts a dual-mono circuit design that is fully balanced. Separate VERITA AK4490 D/A converters – made by Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation – are used for the left and right channels. In addition to a USB digital input (for Windows/Mac computers), optical/coaxial digital input and RCA analog input, we have also enabled high-resolution wireless audio listening by including a LDAC-compatible Bluetooth receiver. Furthermore, with a combined 3.5mm optical digital/stereo mini jack on the front panel, the unit supports wired, as well as wireless, input from DAPs.

The power amplifier uses a Class-D power amplifier (made by ICEpower a/s) that guarantees high resolution during the playback of delicate signals as well as high linearity at high volumes. This unit can power both compact bookshelf speakers (for desktop applications) and large floorstanding speakers. The pre-amp section uses a fully-balanced TEAC-QVCS high-precision volume control circuit with a 4-circuit construction. By maintaining detail levels at all resolutions, the AI-503 creates a very realistic soundstage, along with a high signal-to-noise ratio and excellent sense of space. By connecting an external power amplifier to the fitted pre-out jacks, you can upgrade performance and create an even more capable audio system. The headphone amp section uses a discrete TEAC-HCLD circuit, with a push-pull arrangement, allowing it to drive even high-impedance headphones with ease. The two-stage High/Low gain switch enables optimal volume setting for everything from low-impedance in-ear monitors to high-impedance (600Ω) on-ear headphones. Furthermore, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack, one that supports a 4-pole separate ground connection, allows excellent channel separation, even when using balanced-type headphones or earphones.


For the DAC chips, the highly-regarded VERITA AK4490 DACs are used. Along with native playback of 11.2MHz DSD signals through direct processing, a wide range of high-resolution audio sources (including 384kHz/32-bit PCM digital input) are supported. These DACs enable the reproduction of the finely etched detail and outstanding sense of stereo placement that are the hallmarks of quality high-definition high-resolution audio sources.

Dual-Mono Configuration

As well as helping deliver class-leading levels of power, the sophisticated dual-mono configuration also extends to the D/A converter and the preamp. The dual-mono layout incorporates two completely independent mono circuits for the left and right channels. Starting with the high-performance VERITA AK4490 D/A converters, this arrangement provides outstanding isolation between the two channels.


TEAC-QVCS (Quad Volume Control System) is an ingenious circuit with a fully-balanced design. It allows balanced processing of the audio signal at every stage, from immediately after digital-to-analog conversion until the signal reaches the volume amplifier.

Control signals simultaneously adjust the variable-gain amplifier-type volume controls of four independent circuits. This achieves a clear sound quality with outstanding channel separation. Level discrepancies between left and right channels at low volumes, which can be a particular issue during headphone listening, have been completely eliminated, so you can enjoy accurate audio even when using low-impedance in-ear monitors.

Built-in 44.1kHz and 48kHz clocks

The AI-503-A supports asynchronous transfer mode when connected by USB, allowing it to control PCM and DSD signals by synchronising them with its own clock (generated by a high-precision crystal oscillator) rather than synchronising with a computer clock signal that is invariably unstable and noisy. Two dedicated internal clocks (running at 44.1kHz and 48kHz) are built in. By clocking signals that are a multiple of the clock frequencies to an audio-grade, high-precision crystal oscillator, featuring inherently low phase noise, the damaging effects of jitter on audio quality can be largely suppressed and the audio source can be reproduced more faithfully.

4 PCM and 2 DSD digital filters

Filter types include 4 PCM and an ‘off’ mode , as well as 2 DSD digital filters. You can use the remote control to set the optimal filter, according to the input file format and type of music. You can also change the filter during music playback so that you can fine-tune the audio quality.

Class D power amplifier

TEAC AI-503-A incorporates a well-regarded high-output power amplifier made by ICEpower. This guarantees high-resolution playback of delicate signals as well as excellent linearity at high output levels. Using this power amplifier enabled the inclusion of a dual-mono circuit configuration in the DACs within the compact dimensions.

Toroidal-core Transformers

Efficient toroidal-core power transformers that can supply stable power are used. They are specifically designed to suppress magnetic flux leakage and prevent electromagnetically-induced noise, so can provide current that is always pure and stable.

USB input

The USB input supports resolutions up to 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM. “DSD native playback” in which DSD is converted directly to analog without first being converted to PCM is also supported.

Bluetooth supporting LDAC

The onboard Bluetooth receiver supports LDAC and Qualcomm aptX as well as AAC and other wireless transmission of high-quality audio. LDAC enables the transmission of High-Resolution (Hi-Res) Audio content, even over a Bluetooth connection.

Pre-out Connectivity

The AI-503-A can also be used as a high-quality preamp. As the volume from the RCA output jacks can be varied, you can achieve a seriously upgraded audio system simply by connecting a power amplifier to the pre-out jacks. In addition, the unit has a pair of analog RCA input jacks, so you can also connect an analog turntable with a built-in phono EQ amplifier, such as a TN-350 or TN-570, a cassette deck, or other analog equipment.

Front digital input

The front digital input jack is a convenient way of connecting digital audio players with optical digital and analogue outputs. You can enjoy your favourite music already on your portable device through speakers or headphones, using the high-quality headphone amp.


The dedicated headphone amp employs Class AB operation, a discrete push-pull circuit and op amp. TEAC have applied all the expertise gained during the development of the UD-503 to give this model a circuit design that suppresses the occurrence of noise while maintaining the wide operational range of a Class-A amplifier. The fine details and nuances of music, captured in high-resolution audio sources, are conveyed in an untainted way.

Headphone amp stage

TEAC AI-503-A headphone output uses a circuit design with completely separated grounding for left/right channels from amp to the final 4-pole type jack. By completely separating the grounding of the left/right channels from the amplifier, channel separation is greatly increased and a much more transparent soundstage achieved.

2-stage gain switching function

The headphone amp output has a 2-stage gain-switching function. This enables optimal volume setting according to the impedance and efficiency of the connected headphones, using everything from low-impedance in-ear monitors to high-impedance 600Ω headphones.

Dual analogue level meters

Analogue level meters are built into the front and move in response to signal levels to emphasise the role of the unit as a piece of audio equipment. In addition to a dimmer function with four levels (bright, normal, dim, off) that allows you to adjust the brightness to match the lighting of the room, you can also turn off the operation of the level meters completely.

User interface design

TEAC pay great attention to each and every control, including an aluminium volume knob with firm torque and toggle switches that provide a sense of satisfying certainty in operation. The dedicated remote controller, which is topped with aluminium alloy exudes class. The remote control can adjust volume in steps as small as 0.5dB.

All-metal enclosure

The metal panelwork enclosure is resistant to external noise; the infiltration of electromagnetic noise generated by computers and other equipment is well-suppressed. This creates an electrically “clean” internal environment with little noise, even in outside environments that offer difficult conditions for audio equipment. The metal chassis also has 8mm-thick aluminum panels on both ends. These features prevent twisting and bending, resulting in a strong and stable body structure. The A4 footprint allows it to be placed on tables, sideboards and in other small spaces.

TEAC HR Audio app

TEAC HR Audio Player is a free, simple to use music playback software written specifically for TEAC, allows native playback of 11.2MHz DSD, 384kHz PCM and other high-resolution music files from MAC/PC.


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