T+A MP 2500 R digital media player Page 2

If all that makes the MP 2500 R sound as if it has the makings of a pretty comprehensive piece of equipment, that impression is entirely intentional. We've seen a few 'total digital source' contenders of late, such as the Pioneer ND-70AE and Marantz ND8006, but T+A's is perhaps the most lavishly equipped and ambitious.

Big-Boned And Bold
Aside from the few operational issues mentioned above, the fact the streaming interface via the Control 2 app is a bit clunky, and the seemingly inevitable need to carry out a firmware update on first installation, the MP 2500 R is as simple to use as any multifunction player of its kind, and all of its options worked very well. And the sound is very typical of the brand: both big-boned and bold, with a weighty, well-detailed bass, and able to resolve high levels of detail without any signs of excessive forwardness.

In fact, the sound immediately gives an impression of smoothness and ease of listening, but the focus and three-dimensionality of the images, and the impression of real acoustics around the performances – where such detail exists in the recording – all come together to make it clear there's no excessive rolling-off or treble restraint going on here. It's even possible to tune the sound to emphasise or diminish the ambience using the four-position digital filter switch [see PM's sidebar]. While Filter 3 does give a slightly smoother sound, I found the fourth option, which uses a pure Bezier Interpolator, made the most of the excellent crispness and definition available from the player.

What's more, the player delivers the same full but refined balance across the range of its inputs – while lesser formats such as Internet radio aren't flattered, and can show their deficiencies, once one is up into CD quality and beyond, the sound is both attention-grabbing and extremely satisfying. Even with recordings not known for their audiophile qualities, such as Blondie's album Parallel Lines [Chrysalis CCD 1192], that big, gutsy presentation is instantly attractive, the MP 2500 R exploding into 'Hanging On The Telephone' with real intent, and keeping the charging rhythms crisp and tight, while with the lighter pop of 'Sunday Girl' it focuses in on Debbie Harry's slightly drowsy vocal, hardening up as it should as she switches register.

Speed And Dexterity
Similarly, with the slick production job that is Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard [Polydor UIGY-9024], spiffed up on SACD, the headlong rush of 'Motherless Children' shows the speed and dexterity of the T+A player, which then relaxes into the close-up blues of 'Give Me Strength' with a beautifully focused view of both Clapton's guitar and his voice, as well as the tremulous organ track. It's all very lush, and that's a feeling maintained right through the ridiculously short 39-minute running time, taking in the slow-burn of 'Let It Grow' on the way, complete with the voice hanging in the room in an almost uncanny fashion at the start of the track.


Coming right up to date with recording technique, The Hoff Ensemble's Polarity [2L 2L145], immediately hits you with the intimacy of both sound quality and performances, both when played from disc and even more so from its DSD256 and DXD 352.8kHz/24-bit files. Here Jan Gunnar Hoff's piano and the glorious richness of Anders Jormin's bass are captured in toothsome fashion, and while Audun KIieve's drumming is slightly more recessed it still picks up the ambience of the venue.

And what ambience! In another one of 2L founder Morten Lindberg's favoured church acoustics, the instruments sound as if they are able to breathe fully – especially in the highest-res versions. Through the MP 2500 R you have that 'live event' choice of focusing in on one part of the trio, or just kicking back and enjoying the shapes the music is making in the space.

That combination of focus and breathing space, created by the extraordinary sense of resolution the MP 2500 R can muster, is also exceptionally well suited to the current trend for 'as live' classical recordings, often own-label releases by leading ensembles. With the San Francisco Symphony's recording of Varèse's 'Amériques' [American Mavericks; SFO live, DSD64], this T+A player sounded firmly in control of both the explosive playing and the fluid tones of instruments, and that 'liveness' was much in evidence.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
There are a few things still to sort at the time of writing, including Roon integration and the Music Navigator app, but there's no doubt this 'bridge' player still delivers everything in its considerable arsenal without compromise. Its big, bold but lavishly detailed sound matches the solid, precision engineering of its design and construction. It's undeniably expensive, but the performance is sublime.

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