TEAC TN-4D Review

by Bruno Brozovic

The TEAC TN-4D is a stylish turntable with a brushless direct drive and SAEC-designed tonearm, featuring a Sumiko Oyster MM cartridge and built-in phono preamp with A/D conversion. Its modern design and versatile connectivity are appealing, but it lacks an automatic start/stop mechanism, requiring manual operation to lift the tonearm at the end of a record.

Intro

TEAC is consistently strengthening its position in the turntable market.

This is the only TEAC turntable with a direct drive, which has its objective value and is also a clear reference to many excellent Japanese designs, mainly from the 1980s. However, the Teac TN-4D looks modern, which is mainly determined by the slim support platform (made of MDF), raised on silver legs. Two color versions are available – black and walnut veneer – enlivened by silver accessories: not only the feet but also the characteristic switch, platter, and tonearm.

Teac TN-4D Review

 

The TN-4D is a middle-class turntable, but it is also one of the newest TEAC models with some extra features. So let’s dig in and find out what new TEAC has to offer!

Construction & Design

The TEAC TN-4D looks sleek and stylish, so I am curious to see what’s inside. This hi-fi turntable has pretty much everything that would catch the attention of any hi-fi fan today.

The turntable’s foundation is a stable board constructed of high-density MDF. Above her, the die-cast aluminum platter spins in slow circles. The platter is protected by a felt mat.

Depending on the customer’s preferences, the turntable’s appearance is enhanced with a multi-layer piano black finish or a walnut veneer. TEAC has given the TN-4D resonance-damping metal feet with rubber soles to decouple them from the hi-fi rack or other locations.

Teac TN-4D Speed Switch

Teac TN-4D Speed Switch

The TN-4D has a brushless direct drive with feedback control and two speeds of 33.3 and 45 rpm, eliminating the need for a platter bearing. This design helps prevent “cogging,” the jerking sensation that can occur with direct drive systems. The die-cast aluminum platter sits directly on the DC motor’s axis. However, the TN-4D lacks an automatic start/stop mechanism to lift the tonearm at the end of a record, so you’ll need to do this manually to protect the cartridge.

As a turntable enthusiast, I appreciate the quiet and precise performance of the TN-4D’s direct drive. Its lack of cogging ensures smooth playback, and the integrated features make it a versatile addition to my setup. However, I do miss the convenience of an automatic start/stop mechanism, which requires me to manually lift the tonearm at the end of each record.

Teac TN-4D Tonearm

Teac TN-4D Tonearm

The TEAC TN-4D’s S-shaped tonearm was designed by the renowned company SAEC, who also developed the turntable’s “pivot point tonearm bearing.” The TN-4D tonearm has a headshell with an SME connector at the tip. This is useful for anyone who enjoys listening to various cartridges. The Sumiko Oyster MM cartridge with spherical cut is delivered with this turntable. It costs $79 when purchased separately. Since I’m already talking about the cartridge, this turntable incorporates an anti-skating system that can be fine-tuned with the knurled wheel. The tonearm can be manipulated just as sensitively and smoothly, and it can be lowered at any position on the LP.

Connections

On the connection panel, we see a well-known (not only from Teac turntables) circuit with a built-in corrective preamplifier, which, however, can be bypassed by taking the signal directly from the cartridge terminals.

Next to the mode switch, there is also a digital USB port, which allows you to rip records to your computer’s hard drive. So the TN-4D has not only a phono preamplifier but also a D/A converter that will convert the signal with a sampling frequency of up to 48 kHz and a resolution of 16 bits.

Teac TN-4D Backside Connections

Back side view with all connections on TEAC TN-4D

The built-in MM phono preamplifier is an important component of the turntable. Using the operational amplifier NJM8080 IC from New Japan Radio Corporation, the signals from the Sumiko Oyster are pushed to an output level comparable to that of a CD player. As a result, you may quickly connect this record player to standard high-level inputs, such as those found on an integrated amplifier or all-in-one device. If you already have a phono preamplifier, the one built into the TEAC TN-4D can be turned off.

Don’t worry if you’re upset about having a network player with digital inputs. The TEAC TN-4D has a solution! It includes an A/D converter that lets you enjoy music from your LP through a USB-B output at a resolution of 48 kHz and 16 bits. You can also connect the turntable to a Windows PC or MAC to convert your records into digital files. Though, personally, I think digitizing records is a bit of a shame!

The TEAC TN-4D is easily assembled: it comes out of the box with the turntable and is ready to use in no time. A union nut secures the headshell with the pre-assembled Sumiko Oyster to the S-shaped tonearm. Then it’s the turn of the counterweight, which is elegantly affixed to the end of the tonearm. On the underside, there is a spring ball. The counterweight, which has a groove in it, is pushed over this. It sits, fits, and has no air or wobbles. That’s a good concept. With its knife bearing, the SAEC tonearm bearing is also useful. And it’s also lightweight.

How does direct drive work? The speed deviation in the tested turntable was only +0.06%! Remarkably!

The Cartridge

The set of adjustments is classic for a turntable of this class: in addition to anti-skating, we only set the pressure of the stylus on the record, you don’t have to worry about anything else, the Teac TN-4D is factory-equipped with a cartridge, so the manufacturer took care of the proper geometry.

Teac Direct-Drive Analog Turntable TN-4D (USB Output for Digital Recording on PC/Mac and Built-in Phono EQ Amplifier) Black
103 Reviews
Teac Direct-Drive Analog Turntable TN-4D (USB Output for Digital Recording on PC/Mac and Built-in Phono EQ Amplifier) Black
  • Newly Developed Low-profile Brush-less DC Motor exclusive for Direct-drive
  • Sleek Cabinet Design that conventional Direct-drive Turntables never achieved
  • Static-balanced S-shaped Knife-edge Aluminum Tone-arm by SAEC
  • Anti-skating Mechanism and universal Head-shell for quick cartridge replacement
  • Built-in Phono EQ Amplifier and USB Output for Digital Recording on PC/Mac.Included components: Felt Mat, EP Adapter,...

Before we get to the cartridge, let’s take a look at its mounting. A socket with a locking nut and a system of interchangeable heads have been prepared – this is also an area where Teac evokes the craftsmanship and character of the Japanese vinyl technique.

The headshell makes a good impression, and one could expect the Audio-Technica cartridge, which is a common accessory, and almost a certainty in a Japanese turntable of this class. But Teac surprises here too… because the TN-4D is equipped with a Sumiko cartridge, one of the most popular models – Oyster.

This is of course an MM cartridge with a housing slightly higher than the standard one, which Teac managed with a special drive design (and compensation “in the other direction” can be done, for example, with a different mat). The “Oyster” has only a basic, conical needle profile, but for those who want… we can replace it with an elliptical one, right away or when it wears out.

TEAC TN 4-D Review – Sound Test

The TN-4D presents itself as fully “Japanese” – both structurally and sonically. After all, it is not an expensive turntable, but you can discover a lot of attractions in its sound.

I begin testing the TEAC TN-4D with Youn Sun Nah’s album “Lento.” I’m astounded by how smoothly the turntable operates. In this way, he disproves the myth that only belt-driven turntables can do this. I enjoyed the sound of the guitar, as well as its gripping and rather plastic playing style. Youn’s voice, on the other hand, comes off as rather hissing and S-heavy to my ears at times. The bass in the background with its concentration is fantastic.

Lento
151 Reviews

I change genres, and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” comes on the turntable. The TEAC TN-4D transmits the throbbing dance bass into your living room in a somewhat slender yet deft manner, putting you in a happy mood. Although this piece is from 2013, it transports me back a few days. Unfortunately, the Sumiko Oyster breaks the wheel for me, because there is too much intensity in the treble later in the song.

Get Lucky
112 Reviews
Get Lucky
  • Label Columbia
  • Vinyl Record - LP 12" - Sealed
  • Track Listing
  • LP1
  • A1. Daft Punk remix (10:31)

What could the reason be? I use the Schön template type 2 to ensure that the cartridge is properly adjusted. TEAC has done an excellent job here; everything is in place. Is there a problem with the phono amplifier? I plug in the Trigon Vanguard III. Nothing changes in Sumiko’s tonality, thus I can’t get any further here either.

As a result, I contacted TEAC sales. I quickly get a new cartridge. I’m looking forward to seeing how this works on the TN-4D. The S’s are a little more reserved than before, but the tonal signature is still there. Will a different cartridge improve the turntable’s performance? I need to know right now. So I dig in my storage for the Goldring 1012 GX.

I enjoy attaching the Goldring 1012 GX to the TEAC TN-4D headshell because of the tonearm’s convenient, unscrewable headshell. When you don’t have to bother with the entire turntable, assembling a cartridge becomes more enjoyable.

The Youn Sun Nah LP is back on the TN-4D turntable. There you have it! All the crackling and hissing have been washed away! This amazing singer breathes into my ear, clear and silky soft, as well as compassionately. I’m building momentum since the beat and timing are both correct. The direct drive is an excellent foundation for higher-quality cartridges.

So I keep listening to the LP “Via Del Campo” and Esther Fellner. The piano playing has lovely timbres and a nice, somewhat warm focus in the lower registers. Esther performs “Oh mon Dieu” for me. That voice is just wonderful now that the cartridge is in place. I’m delighted with her slightly dark tone in the swinging out of her voice. The bow stringing slides across the strings with such ease. I can hear the violin’s nice timbres here as well. These are just as well graded as, say, the pan flute and accordion.

“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk may be restarted. It’s a tremendous pleasure and bliss. It pumps and grooves. I appreciate it when the bass is clean and tight. The beat of this disco record transports me back to a younger, more nimble time. I can feel the horse galloping away from me right now.

“Jazz Variants” is performed by the O-Zone Percussion Group. Is this music from another world? In any case, the star is rising. I’m pleased by how virtuosic and light-footed the TEAC TN-4D and Goldring 1012 GX combo handled this piece. The turntable’s smoothness during the very calm passages. But also what drive he gets when the very huge dynamics enter the picture. This friendly duo does it brilliantly.

I compared the internal phono amplifier of the TEAC TN-4D against the Trigon Vanguard III in the last round of testing. Okay, I admit it: that’s an unfair comparison because the Vanguard costs more than the complete TEAC turntable. There is, in fact, something more! It would be unfortunate if this were not the case. More nuance and more defined bass, for example. However, the inbuilt phono preamp gracefully exits the situation. Following this experience, my hunt for a better phono amplifier would only begin in the $200 range. After all, TEAC has put together a fantastic package with the TN-4D. Respect!

Also read: The Best Phono Preamp Under $500

TEAC TN-4D Video Review

TEAC TN-4D Specifications

Turntable Section

  • Type: Direct Drive
  • Motor: Brushless DC Motor
  • Rotation Speeds: 33-⅓ rpm, 45 rpm
  • Wow-and-Flutters: 0.1%
  • S/N Ratio: 67dB or higher (A-weighted, 20kHz LPF)
  • Turntable (Platter): Aluminium Die-cast, Diameter 30cm

Tonearm Section

  • Type: S-shaped, Static-balanced
  • Effective Length: 223mm
  • Needle Pressure Range: 0g to 5.0g
  • Compatible Cartridge Weight: 4.0g to 13.0g, 14g to 23g (including Head-shell)

Headshell and Cartridge Sections

  • Type: MM-type (SUMIKO Oyster factory installed)
  • Output Voltage: 4.0mV (1kHz)
  • Needle Pressure: 1.5 to 2.5g (appropriate value: 2.3g)
  • Weight: 5.3g
  • Head-shell weight: 10g (including nuts, screws, and wires)
  • Compatible Stylus: Styluses for SUMIKO Oyster

Analog Outputs

  • Connector: RCA Pin jack × 1 pair (PHONO/LINE switchable)
  • Output Voltage: PHONO 4.0mV (1kHz), LINE 224mV (–13dBV)

USB Output

  • Connector: USB B-type (DC 5V 100mA USB Bus power required)
  • Audio Format: PCM, 8k/11.025k/16k/22.5k/32k/44.1k/48kHz, 16bit

Other

  • Operating Power: AC 100 to 240V, 50/60Hz
  • Power Consumption: 2W
  • Standby Power: 0.5W or less
  • Overall Dimensions: (W×H×D) 420 × 117 × 356 mm / 16.5″ × 4.6″ × 14.0″
  • Weight: Approx. 6.1kg / 13.5 lbs.
  • Included Accessories Felt Mat, EP Adapter, Counter Weight, Head-shell (SUMIKO Oyster installed), Platter, Dust Cover, Hinges × 2, RCA Audio cable with GND terminal, AC Adapter (GPE036W-24015), Owner’s Manual (including Warranty Card)

You can download & view the manual here->TEAC TN-4D Manual

Final Verdict

The TEAC TN-4D is an excellent record player with a quiet direct drive, making it perfect for vinyl enthusiasts. Its stylish and robust build ensures a great listening experience. With an integrated MM phono preamplifier and A/D converter, TEAC offers a well-rounded audio package. This turntable also supports high-quality cartridges, showcasing their potential effortlessly.

Facebook Comments Box
4.1/5 - (61 votes) - Click on stars to leave a review

You may also like