Teac TN-5BB Review

by Bruno Brozovic

Here is a new turntable review article in the new Teac TN-5BB Review.

Intro

The resurgence of vinyl records has fueled a demand for high-quality turntables. Audiophiles, casual listeners, and vintage enthusiasts alike seek equipment that faithfully reproduces the warmth and detail inherent in the analog format. In this comprehensive review, I delve into the Teac TN-5BB turntable, examining its design, construction, tonearm, cartridge, sound performance, and overall value proposition. This review aims to help you determine if the TN-5BB is the perfect addition to your audio journey.

Teac TN-5BB Review

Teac TN-5BB Specifications

  • Drive system: Rotation-detection-type high-precision control belt drive
  • Motor: DC motor
  • Rotation speed: 33-⅓rpm, 45rpm, 78prm
  • Wow and flutter: 0.1% or less
  • Platter: Acrylic, 30cm diameter
  • Arm type: Static-balanced S-shaped tone arm
  • Effective arm length: 223mm
  • Suitable cartridge weight: 3.0 to 12.0g (14 to 23 g including head-shell)
  • Overhang: 18mm
  • Arm height adjustment range: approx. 6mm
  • Cartridge type: MM
  • Output voltage: 5.5 mV (1kHz, 5cm/s)
  • Tracking force: 1.8g
  • Cartridge weight: 7.2g
  • Included head-shell weight: 11g (including screws, nuts and wires)
  • Replacement record stylus model: Ortofon 2M Red • Stylus lifespan depends on use conditions but is usually about 1000 hours
  • Balanced Phono Outputs Connector: XLR × 1 pair
  • Unbalanced Phono Output Connector: RCA × 1 pair
  • Power: AC 100 to 240V, 50/60Hz (AC Adapter)
  • Power Consumption 2.0W or less (0.3W at Standby)
  • Overall Dimensions: (W×H×D) 450 × 148 × 351 mm / 17.1″ × 5.8″ × 13.8″ (with dust cover closed), 450 × 420 × 410 mm / 17.1″ × 16.5″ × 16.1″ (with dust cover open), 450 × 135 × 351 mm / 17.1″ × 5.3″ × 13.8″ (with dust cover removed), Including protrusions (when arm holder at the highest position)
  • Weight: approx. 10.5kg / 23.2 lbs.
  • Included accessories: 45RPM adapter × 1, Counter Weight × 1, Head-shell (Ortofon 2M Red installed) × 1, Platter × 1, Flat Belt × 1, Pulley Cover × 1, Dust Cover × 1, Hinge × 2, Foot height adjustment washers × 4, Arm height adjustment hex wrench × 1, RCA Audio Cable × 1, Ground wire × 1, AC Adapter (GPE018S-120100-Z) × 1, Cartridge Alignment Gauge × 1, User Manual × 1

You can download & view the manual here->Teac TN-5BB Manual

Key Features

  • Belt-drive system for low noise and stable rotation
  • High-density platter for stable rotation and reduced vibration
  • Static-balance tonearm for accurate tracking
  • Ortofon 2M Red cartridge for high-quality sound reproduction
  • Automatic arm lifter for convenience
  • Adjustable tonearm height for compatibility with a variety of cartridges
  • Built-in phono preamplifier for connection to a line-level input
  • Dust cover included

Design & Construction: A Fusion of Form and Function

The TN-5BB boasts a two-layer design for exceptional stability and reduced vibrations. Imagine a heavyweight base made of MDF (like thick, dense wood) as the first layer, providing excellent vibration absorption. On top sits a rigid layer of synthetic marble, offering a solid platform for the tonearm and platter. This layered structure isolates the vibration-causing motor from the sensitive tonearm, preventing sound distortion.

But the engineers at Teac didn’t stop there. They discovered, through testing, that using a special Japanese paper called “washi” between the two layers further enhances sound quality. This unique material allows the natural character of the music to shine through, unlike traditional materials like rubber or metal, which can sometimes dampen the sound.

Teac TN-5BB Dual Chassis

Teac TN-5BB Dual Chassis

In simpler terms, the TN-5BB’s construction is like a layered cake, carefully designed to minimize vibrations and preserve the original sound of your vinyl records.

The Teac TN-5BB exudes elegance and sophistication. Its striking design boasts a combination of jet-black synthetic marble and piano-black MDF, creating a sleek and modern aesthetic that seamlessly integrates into contemporary living spaces. The heavy base plays a crucial role – it effectively minimizes unwanted vibrations that can negatively impact sound quality. The luxurious high-gloss finish, while visually captivating, requires careful handling to avoid fingerprints and smudges. Build quality is top-notch, with a solid and well-crafted feel that inspires confidence in the turntable’s longevity.

Tonearm: Precision Engineering Meets Customization

The TN-5BB’s heart lies in its SAEC x TEAC collaboration tonearm. This S-shaped tonearm, known for its high-end construction and meticulous engineering, boasts high-precision bearings and a static balance design. This translates to accurate tracking, ensuring the stylus glides smoothly across the record grooves, minimizing distortion and delivering optimal sound reproduction.

Teac TN-5BB Tonearm

Teac TN-5BB Tonearm

The included Ortofon 2M Red cartridge serves as a solid entry point for vinyl enthusiasts, offering a balanced and detailed listening experience. However, the beauty of the TN-5BB lies in its upgradeability. The removable headshell allows for easy cartridge swaps, empowering you to tailor the sound signature to your preferences. Whether you seek a warmer sound or crave more analytical detail, a vast array of high-end cartridges awaits exploration with the TN-5BB. This level of customization caters to both novice and seasoned audiophiles who yearn to personalize their listening experience.

Cartridge: A Solid Foundation with Room for Growth

The pre-mounted Ortofon 2M Red cartridge is a commendable starting point, delivering a well-balanced sound with clarity across the frequency spectrum. The bass is tight and controlled, the mids are natural and detailed, and the highs are smooth and extended.

Teac TN-5BB Cartridge - Ortofon 2M Red

Teac TN-5BB Cartridge – Ortofon 2M Red

However, for audiophiles seeking a more nuanced and engaging experience, upgrading to a higher-end cartridge can unlock the full potential of the TN-5BB. Options like the Ortofon 2M Blue or Bronze offer improved dynamics, revealing subtle details previously hidden within the grooves, and an overall more refined listening experience. The TN-5BB empowers you to embark on a sonic journey, starting with a solid foundation and the freedom to explore a realm of sonic possibilities through future upgrades.

Sound Test: Unveiling the Audio Experience

The Teac TN-5BB delivers a clear, well-balanced, and spacious soundstage. The bass is tight and controlled, providing a solid foundation for the music without bleeding into the other frequencies. Mids are natural and detailed, faithfully reproducing the intricacies of vocals and instruments. Highs are smooth and extended, adding a touch of air and clarity without becoming harsh or fatiguing. The overall sound signature is pleasing and engaging, suitable for a wide range of musical genres. However, it is important to note that some users have reported a slight spindle noise, which might be a minor quality control issue to consider. This noise might be a concern for listeners seeking absolute silence, but it might go unnoticed by others depending on their listening environment and individual sensitivity.

Teac TN-5BBMB Belt-Drive Analog Turntable with XLR Balanced Output (TN5BBMB)
  • Hybrid chassis with multi-material makeup suppresses unwanted vibrations
  • PRS3 belt drive structure supports accurate and stable platter rotation
  • 20mm thick acrylic platter
  • Reliable tracking realized with knife-edge tone arm that is an SAEC × TEAC collaboration
  • Automatic arm lifting when playback ends

Additional Features: Convenience and Control

The TN-5BB boasts a unique feature not commonly found in its price range – a powered arm lift. This automatic feature gently raises the tonearm at the end of the record, eliminating the risk of accidental damage to the stylus or the record itself. While this might seem like a minor detail, it offers a touch of convenience, especially for those new to vinyl and unfamiliar with manual tonearm operation. Additionally, the TN-5BB includes a built-in phono stage, allowing you to connect it directly to your receiver or speaker system if it lacks a dedicated phono input. This eliminates the need for a separate phono preamplifier, streamlining your setup and making the TN-5BB a more plug-and-play solution.

Final Verdict: A Compelling Choice for Discerning Listeners

The Teac TN-5BB presents a compelling option for vinyl enthusiasts seeking a well-built and aesthetically pleasing turntable with an excellent tonearm and upgradable cartridge options. It delivers a clear, balanced, and engaging sound performance, catering to both casual listeners and audiophiles. The unique combination of premium features like the powered arm lift and built-in phono stage adds to its appeal, especially for those seeking convenience and ease of use. However, the potential spindle noise and the somewhat higher price tag compared to some competitors in the same class are factors to consider.

Teac TN-5BB Video Review

Is the Teac TN-5BB Right for You?

This ultimately depends on your individual needs and priorities. If you prioritize aesthetics, appreciate the convenience of the powered arm lift and built-in phono stage, and value the upgradeability of the cartridge, the TN-5BB is a strong contender. Its solid build, high-quality tonearm, and well-balanced sound make it a worthwhile investment for those who plan to enjoy vinyl for years to come. However, if budget is a major concern and manual operation is not a deterrent, exploring alternative turntables in the same price range might offer similar performance without some of the premium features of the TN-5BB.

Beyond the Review: Exploring the Teac Ecosystem

The TN-5BB is part of a broader ecosystem of Teac audio components. Pairing the TN-5BB with a compatible Teac amplifier or receiver can offer seamless integration and potentially enhance the overall audio experience. Additionally, Teac offers a variety of high-quality cartridges that seamlessly integrate with the TN-5BB, allowing you to personalize the sound signature and embark on a journey of sonic exploration.

Conclusion: A Refined Experience for the Vinyl Enthusiast

The Teac TN-5BB strikes a balance between aesthetics, performance, and user-friendliness. Its elegant design, high-quality tonearm, and upgradable cartridge options make it a compelling choice for vinyl enthusiasts seeking a refined listening experience. While the potential spindle noise and slightly higher price tag require consideration, the TN-5BB remains a formidable contender in the competitive world of turntables, offering a gateway to the rich and rewarding world of analog audio.

Teac TN-5BB Pro & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Solid construction
  • High-quality tonearm
  • Upgradable cartridge
  • User-friendly features
  • Built-in phono stage
  • Elegant design

Cons

  • Potential spindle noise
  • Slightly higher price tag
  • High-gloss finish requires careful handling
  • Automatic arm lift adds complexity and cost
  • Might not be the best choice for audiophiles on a tight budget
The Teac TN-5BB delivers exceptional sound and a refined design, ideal for audiophiles seeking an upgradable turntable with user-friendly features. However, the potential for spindle noise and the slightly higher price tag might require weighing its strengths against alternatives.
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