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July 2024

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Superior Audio Equipment Review


TAD Evolution C1000 Preamplifier And M1000 Power Amplifier Review
Two top-notch solid-state components.
Review By Tom Lyle


TAD Evolution C1000 Preamplifier And M1000 Power Amplifier Review


  TAD (Technical Audio Devices) is a high-end audio manufacturer based in Tokyo. It is a subsidiary of the sizable mass-market audio manufacturer Pioneer. Although Pioneer produces some fine, mostly affordable gear, TAD works independently of Pioneer, designing and manufacturing much more upscale high-end audio products. In 1975, the Tokyo-based Pioneer Corporation began TAD to develop high-end speakers for professional use. In 2007, TAD became an independent subsidiary of Pioneer and has been designing and manufacturing all types of high-end audio products primarily focusing on speakers and amplifiers for home use.

Previously, my only experience reviewing TAD products was two years ago, when I reviewed their $20,000 Evolution Two (TAD-E2) floor-standing speakers. These 2.5-way speakers impressed me both in their visual appearance and sound quality. They earned my highest recommendation.

This time out, I have the pleasure of reviewing two components from TAD's Evolution line: the M1000 stereo power amplifier ($19,500) and the C1000 linestage ($24,950).

Yes, there are likely a considerable number of audiophiles who might find these two components quite expensive. So, one's first question might be, "Are these two components worth it?" Readers need not skip ahead to the conclusion of this review to learn that "Yes, I believe that they are worth it." I cannot imagine any audiophile not being captivated by their performance and rugged good looks.


Evolution M1000 Power Amplifier
All the components in the Evolution line of TAD components have similarly designed chassis. A system-wide set-up of the entire line of TAD components would be impressive. Even though I "only" had two of their components on adjacent shelves of my ARCICI equipment rack, the set-up still looked quite striking.



When listening to a review component for the first time, I usually play "The Robots," the first track from Kraftwerk's 1991 compilation The Mix. In lieu of the vinyl edition, I played the plain vanilla 16-bit/44.1k track to hear how well the component initially performs and to help set the level of my subwoofers.

I would listen to this track for a few minutes and then move on to a different, more acoustically-based selection. But this time, I listened to the entire nine minutes of this electronic music masterpiece. The M1000 (I'll omit the portion of these components' model numbers from this point forward) sounded wonderfully balanced and superior to any solid-state amplifier I've heard in my listening room for quite a long time. I enjoyed many sonic traits of this amplifier during this maiden voyage of the M1000 power amplifier.

When listening to "The Robots," I was pretty taken with the power and lightning-fast transients of the bass frequencies and the distance that separated the dual bass lines that occurred during the second verse of this song. The distance between these two bass lines was so great I could envision measuring it with a yardstick.


After going through other "mandatory" initial selections, and after this amplifier was in my system for a few weeks, I spun the Speakers Corner vinyl reissue of Dvorak's New World Symphony with István Kertész conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. I found the sound quality of this early 1961 stereo recording nearly perfect, as is Kertész's version of this symphony. The TAD M1000 seemed to revel in this record's reproduction, transferring the gestalt of this large orchestra to my brain's auditory centers.



My reference system included my Sound Lab Majestic 545 electrostatic speakers augmented by a pair of SVS PB16-Ultra, each with a 16" driver. Hearing a musical selection such as this Dvorak symphony through these rather large speakers had the advantage of a wide soundstage and realistically detailed overall sound, which aided in fooling my brain into thinking I was listening to a large orchestra in my medium-sized listening room!

The rock-solid sound of the TAD M1000 power amplifier made it so I could not only hear it but also feel in my gut the right side of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra with the double basses and cellos, and in the rear of the hall, the all-important tympani, which was critical, especially during this symphony's fourth and final movement.

But the M1000's soundscape and immersive imaging prowess filled the entire front third of my listening room with the orchestra's instruments and groups of instruments on this audiophile-quality pressing. The string sound on this LP was gorgeous, and the M1000, combined with the other components in my system, acted as a sonic time machine, transporting me to Vienna's Musikverein in 1961 to hear the VPO with Kertész on the podium performing this piece.

I've mentioned in previous reviews that no two-channel audio system can faithfully replicate the sound coming from a concert hall's 50-foot-wide proscenium. However, some components, such as this TAD M1000 amplifier, make it much easier to imagine that I was hearing this orchestra playing before me as if I was sitting in the best seat in the house of the empty concert hall. The Sound Lab speakers for this review are champs at producing a detailed and spacious center fill. Thankfully, the TAD M1000 could take advantage of this trait and make this portion of the enormous soundstage responsible for this slice of realism that entered my listening room.

In addition to this drawn-to-scale soundstage, I was also able to effortlessly distinguish specific instruments of the orchestra and groups of instruments and follow along as they traversed the score of this warhorse. After a while, I would often lose track of that instrument or group of instruments I was following and, for a while, focus on another instrument or group of instruments. When attending an orchestral concert, I would often perform this meditative exercise. The M1000 replicated this experience like no other solid-state amplifier in recent memory.



One of my most enjoyable experiences with the TAD M1000 during the audition period was taking advantage of this amp's muscular characteristics. The lowest frequencies slammed with an authority that very few 250 Watts per channel (Wpc) amps could muster, and along with its transparent midrange and sparkling highs, listening to well-recorded heavy metal albums was a blast (both literally and figuratively). During the review period, I took time to have a Judas Priest mini-binge, mostly of their classic 1970s albums. I could revel in this amp's brutal delivery of this band kicking out the jams as if I was privileged enough to join them in the studio as they played back their master tapes.


I auditioned the TAD M1000 power amp and C1000 linestage in my main system, located in an acoustically treated, dedicated listening room with two separate AC power lines that led directly to the circuit board in our basement. In addition to acoustic treatment panels on the front, back, side walls, and ceiling, shelves filled with LPs line the walls, and the floor is covered with a wall-to-wall commercial-grade carpet.

The analog front-end of the review system consisted of a Basis Audio turntable that was upgraded from a Basis Gold model to a model V by Basis Audio's late AJ Conti – the most significant portion of the modification was that its DC motor was replaced with an AC synchronous motor. This modification wasn't a simple task; it meant that its acrylic plinth be altered to fit its new motor. However, with this AC motor, the turntable could now use an outboard power supply and speed controller, which significantly improved the turntable's sonic performance.



Secured to the Basis turntable's armboard was a Tri-Planer 6-tonearm with a Top Wing Suzaku Red Sparrow low-output phono cartridge mounted on the Tri-Planar's headshell. The Tri-Planar tonearm had an integral phono cable with phono cartridge end-clips on one end and RCA terminals on the other. This cable was connected to a Pass Laboratories XP-27 two-chassis phono preamplifier connected to the TAD linestage via Kimber Carbon 8 interconnects. Other than the USB cable, all the wires in this system were made by Kimber.

As previously mentioned, all the interconnects were Kimber Carbon 8, but the speaker cable was also Kimber, their Carbon 18 XL. Most of the power cables were Kimber Ascent, but often, this only matters a little because much of the AC was provided by battery power supplies. To keep things equal,  I connected the TAD M1000 and C1000 to the dedicated wall AC until the end of the review period, when I enjoyed the slightly superior sound quality of battery power.

The digital front end comprised a computer-based music server connected to several hard-wired hard drives filled with music files. Foobar 2000 and J. River playback software were loaded onto the computer along with both Tidal and Qobuz music streaming apps. The resident DAC was the EMM Labs DA2 and a Simaudio MOON 681 network player/DAC. The MOON digital converter was still in my system because it was reviewed in Enjoy The Music's May 2024 issue.


Reading the TAD website taught me much about the technical features of the TAD M1000 power amp, and no doubt the talented engineers behind its design were why I was so captivated by the sound of this amplifier during its first few weeks in my system.

TAD maintains that the voltage amplification circuitry and its power supply grounding have received redesigns from previous models and improved the "high-speed and innovative sound quality" previously provided to their Evolution series. In the past, TAD says they've always worked hard to provide "symmetry in both circuitry and structure" to acquire "perfect balance to drive speaker system to their utmost limits precisely."



Besides their size, the TAD-M1000 and C1000 look similar and match the chassis design of the other components in TAD's Evolution series, the TAD-D1000 disc player and DA1000 D/A converter. The two TAD components reviewed here were the most muscular-looking I've seen in quite a while.

In addition to the beefy appearance of the TAD M1000 power amplifier was its heft. At over 60 pounds, I had to remember to lift with my knees, not my back when unpacking this amplifier and lifting it to the lowest rack of my Arcici Suspense equipment rack. 

TAD designed this power amp with "Dual Logic-Circuit Technology," which ensures that the amp drives speaker diaphragms precisely the same in both its positive and negative circuits, Also, TAD's M1000 amplification circuitry adopts what they call a BTL-type topology (Balanced Tied Load), which resembles two completely independent amplifiers (from the input terminals to the output terminals) connected via a balanced connection. The dual mono structure includes everything, including power transformer positioning, circuit board pattern configurations, and wiring length. This also consists of the power supply circuit, which is designed so that not only are negative and positive power supplies symmetrical, but all power supply circuit channels are independent, including the power supply transformer, rectification circuitry, and stabilization circuitry.

The chassis design of the TAD M1000 amp looks sturdy and is sturdy. This amplifier achieves vibration control isolation mounting by adopting a three-point support structure using built-in spike insulation. TAD says that reducing the effects of vibration improves power and clarity and increases the amount of information in the musical signal that arrives via The TAD M1000's inputs.


After listening to the M1000 for quite a while, I was astonished to learn that this amplifier uses a Class D output stage. Besides simply sounding like one of the best power amplifiers I've had in my system for quite some time, this amplifier also in no way reminded me of the less-than-stellar sound quality of early Class D output stages. The M1000 uses a power MOSFET in its output stage, which has a meager resistance and contributes to achieving "cleaner, more organic sound quality."

The amp takes advantage of this Class D output stage by having high-efficiency power characteristics and power usage rates of 90% and above. It also carries energy from the power supply directly to the speakers.

The TAD M1000 has a "transformer-dropper type," which is unaffected by switching noise and increases the power supply's signal-to-noise ratio. The M1000 also has a 1kVA-class toroidal power supply transformer with "high-quality" electromagnetic steel, which helps lower the energy conversion loss through solid coupling between primary and secondary-side coil windings.

And there's more. The amp's rectification circuitry has a "large-capacity" 33,000μF electrolytic capacitor that was explicitly developed for TAD and "high-speed" Schottky barrier diode configuration, which aids in supporting the "speedy and dynamic sound quality" delivered by this "refined" Class D amplifier.

I feel both a bit embarrassed but also vindicated. All the complaints I have made in the past regarding many Class D circuits may not have been due to the circuit itself but to its implementation. For the first time in my high-end audio reviewing career, I listened to an amplifier with a Class D output stage not only without complaint but reveled in its outstanding sound quality. Most surprising was that my appreciation of this amp's sound quality included its upper treble, which I had never experienced before with a Class D amp. Not only didn't I have any sonic complaints when listening to the TAD M1000's stellar treble sound quality, but all I had was praise throughout its frequency range.

I assumed a power amplifier weighing over 60 pounds and delivering a captivating and musical sound quality would possess a more traditional Class A/B circuit. Live and learn.

Thanks to the high efficiency of this Class D amplifier design, the TAD-M1000 produces high power output without requiring large external heat sinks. This allows the design aesthetic to match the unique shape of the TAD Evolution series.



TAD Evolution C1000 Preamplifier
I don't wish to spend any less time discussing the TAD C1000 linestage, but since it sonically mirrored the M1000 power amp, one should assume that its sound quality is top-notch. Of course, these components are very different. Still, regardless of their very different circuit designs, I was surprised not only by how good they sounded when used together but also by how closely the C1000 linestage sounded alongside its big brother, the M1000 amplifier.


TAD's C1000 preamplifier is built around a single-stage, current-feedback amp initially built to match TAD's more pricey Reference Series. By using as few amplifying elements as possible, TAD ensures that this linestage can "amplify every musical nuance faithfully." They chose matching pairs of each first-stage FET device, which ensured that the musical signal passing through this component remained flat.

TAD says that the circuit pattern and parts are "symmetrically laid out on the audio motherboard," which ensures that they "suppress even the smallest amplification errors between positive and negative signals, as well as between right and left channels." This symmetry is also built into the design of its power transformers, chassis construction, and even the rear-panel jacks. This supposedly ensures that these components are constructed with the weight and vibration balances the design engineers envisioned.

Those reading my previous reviews should be well aware of my fanatic obsession with the solid feel and audiophile-type smoothness of a high-end line-stage's front panel controls.  Thankfully, and to my delight, the TAD C1000 has these traits through and through. Its volume control (or the attenuator, as I'd instead call it) feels exquisite when operated because it is mounted on "high-precision" ball bearings. And by the way, its location in the dead center of the front panel mirrors the rest of this linestage's symmetrical design.



Like TAD's M1000 power amplifier, the C1000 linestage is no featherweight. At nearly 40 pounds, some of its weight is likely due to its "heavy, sturdy body" and a high-output toroidal power transformer. This transformer is "directly connected to the power supply circuit to make it more responsive to dynamic changes in music signals." The audio and control have a separate transformer designed to eliminate interference between them.

The C1000's heft is also possibly due to its spiked feet constructed from chromium-molybdenum steel and its matching adjustable spike holders made of "special" steel. The sonic advantages of reducing the amount of area contacting the component contacts the surface on which it sits are well-known, and the sophisticated method that the C1000 achieves this is a testament to the design expertise of TAD and the solidly built construction of this linestage.

The arrangement of the TAD C1000's rear panel is evidence of its dual-mono design. On one side of the rear panel are the inputs and outputs of the right channel, and on the other the inputs and outputs from its left channel. The C1000 has four balanced (XLR) inputs and two unbalanced (RCA) inputs. There are two balanced and two unbalanced outputs.


A unique feature of the TAD C1000 is that using a 3.5mm stereo "mini" cable and the "Master Out" jack on its rear panel, one preamp can be connected to the corresponding input jack on another preamp. This makes it possible to link the input select and volume controls of two or more preamplifiers. The C1000 can be combined with a monoblock power amplifier for the "ultimate in stereo presence." When used in this way, it can also be used in a multichannel setup.

As I'm wont to do, I often like to get up from my listening seat to control components "by hand" rather than use the remote, even though the remote of the C1000 can control every function of this linestage. I'm reasonably sure that this guilty pleasure stems from my youth, from visiting high-end audio shops long before I could afford their wares and getting a kick out of "fondling" the front panel controls of preamps and the like. The smooth-running volume control of the C1000 was a pleasure to use, even though it was much easier to use its remote!

On the front panel of the C1000, from left to right, is the power switch, which is a stand-by switch, an input control that toggles between the six inputs, a "fine" control, which changes the volume in either 0.5 or 1 dB increments, and mute. To the right of the mute is a small display, and to the right of that is a relatively large volume knob. There is also a display brightness control, a menu control, an "exit" button to confirm the selected setting, and a </> button that chooses the setting value.

As mentioned above, the sound quality one should expect from the TAD C1000 mimics that of the M1000 power amplifier. This amp/preamp combination is used as a pair and brings out the best in both components.


Listening to a DSD file of the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed was a revelation. By 1969, The Rolling Stones were quite a deal, meaning they were recorded at some of the best recording studios available. The sound quality of their albums reflects this. Listening to this album on a high-end audio system has always been a pleasure, perhaps because I heard this record on some relatively inexpensive systems and car stereos for so long!



The TAD C1000 pre and M1000 amp combination brought The Rolling Stones into my listening room. The separation of instruments was enough to let me hear every nuance on this album. The musicians in this rock band did not graduate from music conservatories. Yet, they sure knew how to write an excellent, blue-influenced pop song, and their use of their instruments seemed to come naturally by this period in their career, producing one of the best albums in their extensive catalog.


There are many guest musicians on this album besides the core band, and it was fun to decipher who played what on each track. Besides member Brian Jones' audio harp, which was clear as day coming through this TAD combo, I could hear Ry Cooder's mandolin's steely sound on the track "Love In Vain" and Ian Stewart's piano spread throughout the huge soundstage on the album's title track. The overall sound was detailed but natural, and each instrument occupied its soundstage area.

I could quickly fill Enjoy the Music.com's server space with an exhaustive dissertation of the blues-based rock ‘n' roll that fills this album. But when listening through the TAD gear, all I could do was enjoy the music on this album (pun intended) – one of the "aha" moments occurred when playing this album. Our home has double-paned windows, and despite them being closed, I could have sworn I heard someone playing a tambourine from outside the house. Yet this percussion device was merely panned hard to the left speaker!



Their prices are the only thing stopping me from recommending the TAD C1000  preamplifier and M1000  power amplifier unconditionally. Yet I'm giving them my highest recommendation. If one's goal as an audiophile is to recreate the original event as recorded accurately, these two components are as close as one will get for the money spent.

Suppose one decides to purchase one or both of these components. In that case, I hope the new owner of these components can concurrently donate to an organization that helps those less fortunate than this well-off (or very passionate) audiophile. If one cannot find an organization to donate to, I would be happy to suggest one.

Most audiophiles are aware that although these two components are expensive, they are relatively inexpensive components on the market. This includes many components made by TAD. Despite this, the TAD M1000 power amplifier and C1000  linestage are two of the best solid-state components I've reviewed or have had in my listening room for quite some time.

Yes, one could spend more, but I highly recommend auditioning both TAD components before one does. Their top-notch "fit and finish," bulletproof construction, good looks, and outstanding sound quality earn my highest recommendation, and in September both will inevitably be nominated for an Enjoy the Music.com "Best Of 2024 Award."





Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)



Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room


Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money




Type: Solid-state stereo preamplifier and amplifier
TAD M1000 Power Amplifier
Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 50 kHz (-3 dB)
Power Output: 250 Watts @ 8 Ohms, 500 Watt @ 4 Ohm
Rated Distortion: Less than 0.05%
Signal-To-Noise Ratio: 112 dB or higher
Gain (Balance): 29.5 dB
Input Sensitivity And Impedance): 1.5 V / 220 kOhm XLR and 0.75 V / 47 kOhm RCA
Dimensions: 17.31" x 5.812 x 8.875 (WxHxD)
Weight: 63.9 lbs.
Price: $19,500



TAD C1000 Preamplifier
Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 100 kHz (-1 dB)
Rated Output Voltage: 1.6V XLR (balanced) and 0.8V (unbalanced RCA)
Maximum Output Voltage: 16Vrms (balanced XLR) and 8Vrms (unbalanced RCA)
Rated THD: 0.003%
SNR: 120dB
Gain: 12dB
Input Connectors: Four XLR Balanced and Two RCA Unbalanced
Output Connectors: Two XLR Balanced and Two RCA Unbalanced
Analog Maximum Permissible Input Voltage (-40dB) :14V (balanced XLR) and 7V (unbalanced RCA)
Dimensions: 17.31 x 5.85 x 16.75 (WxHxD) 
Weight: 37.4 lbs. 
Price: $24,950




Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, Inc. (TAD)
Bunkyo Green Court 2-28-8
Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku,
Tokyo 113-0021

Website: TechnicalAudioDevices.com



USA Distributor 
Professional Audio Design HiFi (PAD HiFi)
199 Winter Street
Hanover, MA 02339

Voice: (877) 223-8858
E-mail: TAD@proaudiodesign.com 
Website: PADHiFi.com















































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