T+A K8 BluRay HD Receiver

MJ24.08.2011

Integrated amplifiers

The K8 is a very versatile piece of equipment. It works as a CD/SACD player, a video processor, a receiver, a streaming client, a surround decoder, an interface for iPod and USB media, a preamplifier, a multimedia control center and a DAC. All these are packed in a truly highend style.

Funkce a forma

100%
Ergonomie
90%
Zvuk
92%
Zpracování

The K8’s chassis is basically a box-in-box design where its steel case is suspended in its outer aluminum case. The inner architecture of the K8 is horizontally divided by a steel plate: the lower floor is reserved for a toroidal transformer, seven separate MOSFET-based power amplifiers, filtering stages and a cooling fan that was proven to be inaudible during listening sessions.
The first floor employs HD BluRay drive that is elastically decoupled from the main chassis, all AV decoders and processors and a control board. D/A conversion happen through individual 24bit/192KHz Burr-Brown converters for every channel.

On paper the K8’s nominal output power is specified to be 150W per channel (stereo, 4 ohms) and transient output power reaches 230W. Harmonic distortion keeps well below 0,005% and the K8’s S/N ratio of 110dB also indicates very good performance.

The connectivity of the T+A is virtually endless – through a ´source selector button one can navigate easily in a bundle of inputs: tuner, streaming client, internet radio, iPod, TV, 3 audio inputs, 4 AV inputs and 3 HDMI inputs plus there is a USB port that reads flash media with a storage capacity of at least 1GB. The inputs that are not associated with any source can be disabled in the system configuration menu and the inputs that are used can be labeled by customized texts.
The K8 was developed and is produced in Germany – therefore you can expect perfect workmanship. The K8 combines silky sheen of aluminum with high-gloss black glass panels that lends the receiver hi-tech look, yet discreet enough for any interior. The circuits of the K8 can playback basically any commercially available audio or video format - CD, CD-R and R/W, SACD, MP3 a 4, MPG, AVI, WMV, MKV, FLAC, AAC, OGG Vorbis and WAV plus DVD, SVCD and BluRay discs. Should there is something new one just need to upgrade firmware.
Most calibrations and configurations run automatically in the background so a user is only requested to plug the device and play. I very much appreciated one small detail: during the playback of a disc there is a progress bar on the display showing how far you are in the track – it is much better than the numeric digital count that is normally used.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
83
Výbušnost
80
Artikulace
80

The T+A K8 can play very deep and gives a solid fundament to music. As a result Carter’s bass (McCoy Tyner, New York Reunion) was very juicy and energizing yet articulate and when it went really low the K8 followed it to belly-tickling depths. The K8 can resolve the bass line throughout the track so it is a piece of cake to locate and follow the instrument. I would say that it is the very bottom-end articulation and openness that separates the T+A from others.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
64
Vzduch
61
Transparentnost
68

In the stereo mode the lateral soundstage is perfectly sorted out with all instruments operating in well focused and naturally sounding ambience. The depth of soundstage is not huge which is correct as the New York Reunion is not of a philharmonic orchestra layout. To check the depth precisely I took Chesky Records’ test CD with David Chesky’s voice and an acoustic clicker. The K8 can precisely position both as far as 6 meters into the depth of the soundstage which is an excellent result – it is difficult to have a deeper extension as your listening room’s reflections will prevent it. The farthest point on the CD reads 25 meters – to hear it you either have to listen at low levels in quasi-headphone speaker set-up or to take your speakers out to an open space.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
81
Dynamika
78
Časování
77

The midband of the K8 is rich and saturated to the point that it is neither too much rich nor too much fragile. On top of that, the level of detail the K8 digs out of cuts like Miss Bea that shimmers with myriad of cymbals is astonishing. When listening to a music through Dynaudio’s Esotec and Esotar tweeters you cannot expect any treble lumpiness, however, the K8 could restore the tonality and timbre of instruments correctly.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
98
Šířka scény
98
Hloubka scény
98

There are two options how the T+A K8 can decode the surround sound: Dolby Prologic PLIIx and Neo:6. Decoding a two-channel CD through the PLIIx dramatically enhances the recorded ambience – the soundstage expanded and filled my room with masses of sound. The switching to the PLIIx, although very attractive for a listener, is not suitable for critical listening, however. The spatial expansion is not natural and despite its charming three-dimensional quality I had trouble to navigate in it – the locations of the instruments were smeared and sonic elements came seemingly from nowhere. It resulted to a kind of a vertigo effect when you desperately look for a fixed point to anchor yourself in the space – not unlike when you revert phase of one of speakers.

Without going into details on how the Neo:6 processes the sound I can say right away that Neo:6 totally wins over the ProLogic decoding (please note that I am still discussing the playback of stereo CDs). What it does is that it generates a kind of sonic envelope that is spread around a listener and invites him or her in. Where the jazz quartet of the New York Reunion suffered from the spatial haziness the Neo:6 could render the music with all the attributes of the best high-end gear including excellent imaging plus it lent the music extra spatiality. Valse Triste (Sibelius, Herbert Von Karajan and  Berliner Philharmoniker) is a classical waltz piece that shines with melancholy and brooding atmosphere. With the PLIIx you are taking a seat in the depth of an auditorium, with the Neo:6 you become Von Karajan – one can almost feel movements of the players on left and right as well as you have control over those in the farthest corner of the soundstage. This is exactly what a good surround set-up should sound like. The threat is that after listening to the T+A K8’s multichannel for few hours it is very difficult to downgrade to ‘only stereo’ mode. Once you switch back you would miss the magic and no matter how much audiophile your system is I bet you would find it uninvolving and boring. In the review of Sony’s XA-5400ES multichannel player we wrote: „The return to the traditional stereo is like... observing the outside world with only one eye open. “ The T+A K8 only confirms it.

Note: The final DRS rating reflects the K8's versatility and the sound in surround modes.

 

Cena v době recenze:150 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Superhifi, Olomouc, tel. +420 608 752 475

Připojené komponenty

  • Loudspeakers: Dynaudio – Contour SCX center, 2x Contour S 1.4, 4x Contour SR and 1x SUB 500
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Furutech Speakerflux
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona 303E, Furutech Powerflux

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