Jump to content

SOLD: TAC- C60 (Tube Audio Company) high end Switchable Top mount tube / Solid State High-END CD player

Recommended Posts

Item: TAC- C60 (Tube Audio Company) high end Switchable Top mount tube / Solid State High-END CD player
Location: Perth
Price: $2000 FIRM $500 discount..... was $4700 US dollars. Very low use 200- 300 hours max.
Item Condition: Excellent just serviced with new laser By Clifford  D' Souza at Audio Synergy from which i purchased it and its ready for sale its perfect in tube or SS mode. Built like a tank. Laser perfect condition. metal remote. Stunning CD Player, tiny mark on front edge of Aluminium top plate in last picture.

Reason for selling: To many cd players and raising funds across system.

Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only Post at buyers expense normal etc..

Extra Info: 

Description: Single-chassis, top-loading CD player. Fully balanced, hybrid circuitry with 8x oversampling and 24-bit/192kHz D/A conversion, tubed power supply, and user-selectable tubed or solid-state analog output stages. Tube complement: two 6922EH, one 6Z4. Inputs: none. Digital outputs: S/PDIF, 1 coaxial, 1 optical (TosLink). Analog outputs: 1 pair unbalanced (RCA), 1 pair balanced (XLR). Analog voltage output: variable, 2.5V maximum. Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz, +0/–0.5dB. Signal/noise ratio: >90dB. THD: <0.003%. Dynamic range: >100dB. Channel separation: >90dB. Power consumption: 50W.


Dimensions: 17.7" (450mm) W by 4.6" (118mm) H by 15.4" (395mm) D. Weight: 26.5 lbs (12kg) net, 28.6 lbs (13kg) shipping
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/vincent-audio-c-60-cd-player-specifications#OrJdeY26E5YgMlMt.99


Should an audio component accurately reproduce the signal it's fed, or should it evoke the sound and feel of live music? Accuracy or musicality? This question has been at the heart of high-end audio since its inception. Back then, the question often took the form of the tubes-vs-transistors debate. Proponents of solid-state pointed to the far superior measured performance of transistor designs, and claim that they thus more accurately reproduced the input signal. Tube lovers steadfastly maintained that their gear sounded better, more natural—more like music. Since then, both camps have eliminated the obvious colorations of their respective technologies, and the levels of performance of today's best tubed and solid-state gear have converged. At the same time, the circuits themselves have blurred into hybrids of various sorts, different mixes of devices and circuits.

The Vincent C-60 CD player ($4695), designed in Germany but manufactured, I believe, in China, is a throwback to when there were large differences and clear battle lines between the tube and solid-state camps. Rather than a single optimized—or even hybrid—analog output stage, the C-60 gives the user a choice of two. Per US importer WS Distributing's website: "If you're in the mood for rich, romantic audio performance that brings analog complexity to compact discs, then bask in the vacuum tube output stage. But if you want a bit more edge to your music, you can simply switch to transistor output instead by clicking the C-60's front panel switch."

The Vincent Audio C-60 is a thoroughly modern take on the tube-transistor hybrid design that reflects the best of today's concepts. For example, physical and electrical isolation were a major consideration, so the C-60 actually consists of four isolated subchassis, each floated off a common backbone. Front and center is the top-loading disc transport, made by Philips. Just behind this, a second subchassis houses the power supply for the digital circuits. A full-depth subchassis on the left houses the main power-supply elements, two huge toroidal transformers, and, on a small board, the output stage supply. The latter is itself a hybrid design incorporating both solid-state elements and a 6Z4 rectifier tube. On the right, another full-depth subchassis supports the fully balanced audio circuits, including digital-to-analog converters based on Burr-Brown's PCM1792 24-bit/192kHz chip, as well as the tubed and solid-state output stages. Other, smaller boards handle such ancillary duties as the control buttons and the front-panel display.

The C-60 is nicely styled and built, with a handsome, solid chassis that incorporates into its exterior design such functional elements as a beefy aluminum top plate, a thick, smooth-sliding disc drawer, and oversized tower feet. The top plate incorporates buttons for the drive control functions, two mesh-covered windows that show off the tubes, and a nifty, countersunk logo plate of glass that can be illuminated by flipping a small rear-panel switch. The rear panel has both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) analog outputs, coaxial and optical (TosLink) digital outputs, and a standard IEC receptacle for a removable power cord. On the front are a large, well-lit display and two more buttons, one for power and the other to switch between the tubed and solid-state output stages. There's also a small, rubber-surfaced magnetic clamp to hold the CD in place.


image: https://www.stereophile.com/images/511vincent.bac.jpg


The C-60 uses a Philips top-loader transport; opening or closing the cover stops or starts the playing process—or at least that's how it's supposed to work. Not infrequently, the C-60 would refuse to acknowledge that there was, in fact, a disc in its transport. The C-60 eventually did play every disc I threw at it, but something about its drive or error-correction circuitry was finicky. Often, discs that would play perfectly in a half-dozen other players needed a fresh, more careful cleaning and polishing before the Vincent would read them. But other than that occasionally finicky drive, the Vincent was completely intuitive to operate, and proved bulletproof over several months of heavy use.

The months the C-60 spent in my system overlapped with the visits of a number of other review products. Although the C-60 did have a recognizable sonic signature—actually, more than one, as I'll discuss in a moment—its performance was easy to incorporate into my reference system. I never felt I was degrading the system's performance or changing its fundamental character by using the C-60 as a source. In fact, the ability to switch between the player's two different-sounding output stages proved a benefit as I tweaked the system around other components I was reviewing.

I did play with the volume control some, including driving my amplifiers directly. The control's range was such, however, that I could only use the first one or two "clicks," so I ended up using the Vincent with the volume control set to its maximum.

Tubes or transistors?
I've always been a tube kind of guy, so I expected to prefer the sound of the Vincent's tubed output stage. That proved to be the case, so that's the configuration I'll discuss. The differences between the two output stages weren't huge, though, so most of the comments below apply equally to both.

Glowing tubes, glowing praise
As Steve Guttenberg pointed out in "Being There," his "As We See It" in the November 2010 issue, audio systems tend to better approximate the feel of live music with recordings of smaller-scale performances, where they don't have to cope with the huge and complex dynamics, or the sheer size of an orchestra and concert hall. Indeed, with such recordings as Warren Zevon's solo Learning to Flinch (CD, Giant 24493-2) and Rickie Lee Jones' Naked Songs (CD, Reprise 45950-2), the Vincent C-60 did a stellar job of capturing the live feel of these intimate concert performances.

The Vincent's superb resolution of low-level detail was a big part of how it re-created this live feel, and one way that it distinguished itself from most other CD players I've heard. Many CD players, even some of the very best, struggle at the very softest end of the volume spectrum, losing the finest, lowest level of detail in a digital silence that feels a bit electromechanical. With the Vincent, those tiny details were there, distinctly drawn yet coherent, with a realistic surrounding ambience, just as they are with a top-flight analog front end—or a live performance.

Even more unusual among CD players, and even more impressive, was the C-60's ability to resolve and distinctly render these low-level details beneath and behind much louder voices and instruments. Track 1 of the Zevon disc, "Splendid Isolation," was a great example of this. Zevon's 12-string Ovation guitar was miked much more closely than his voice, so there is relatively little ambience information around the guitar. All spatial cues and information about the audience and venue are superimposed on the vocal track. The guitar is also balanced very high in the mix, so with most CD players I've heard, the volume and sheer presence of his guitar overpowers all the spatial and ambience information, leaving no clear picture of the stage or venue.


image: https://www.stereophile.com/images/511vincent.rem.jpg


The Vincent beautifully sorted out all of this. The guitar chops rang brightly, with the power and energy that the instrument has live, and all of the instrument's complex harmonics and body resonances were rich and distinct. At the same time, Zevon's gruff, hoarse voice, while lower in level, was perfectly reproduced, and the way it spread out and filled the space painted clear pictures of the different recording venues.

The ability to re-create three-dimensional images and soundstages was a consistent strength of the C-60. With smaller venues, such as on the Zevon and Jones discs, I could close my eyes and be there, in the audience. Jones' "Chuck E.'s in Love"—or, more correctly, the audience's applause, laughing, and whoops during the song—were goose-bump moments. The combination of Jones' voice and Rob Wasserman's double bass drawing the stage, and the audience defining the venue, described the space so precisely that I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise with the electricity and excitement in the air. And with works of larger scale—some of my favorite opera and orchestral recordings, for example—I felt as if I could stand up and walk around the hall and out onto the stage, among the performers.

The Vincent's reproduction of multimiked studio recordings was superb as well, and again, felt more analog than digital. Regardless of the mix, it created solid, well-defined, three-dimensional images that were precisely located in a soundstage, albeit an often artificial one. Also, the C-60 consistently captured the harmonic richness and complexity of instruments and voices, and beautifully reproduced the fine, inner detail that distinguishes individual voices in a chorus, or individual violins in a large orchestral section. Trio II, a collaborative album by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton (CD, Asylum 62275-2), had never really impressed me through other players, but I absolutely loved it through the Vincent. Listening to "High Sierra," I noticed how realistic the voices sounded, and how "right" it felt when the three merged during the choruses.

John Coltrane's classic 1958 recording with the Red Garland Trio, Settin' the Pace (CD, JVC XRCD2 0207-2), really showcased the C-60's strengths. Arthur Taylor's faint cymbal strokes at the opening of "I See Your Face Before Me" had a gorgeous mix of ringing, overtones, and metallic swish, and faded perfectly into the surrounding space. Coltrane's tenor sax reminded me anew of how masterfully he simultaneously worked every aspect of the instrument, getting a level of expression that far transcended other, even virtuoso, players' work. Throughout the recording, I was impressed with the level of natural, organic detail in each of the instruments, but I kept coming back to Taylor's brushed cymbals and how perfectly the succeeding waves of sound cascaded over each other, each with exactly the right mix of a bell-like ring decomposing into a bright, metallic hiss.

Dynamic transients through the Vincent were satisfyingly large, if not unusually so. Smaller works again fared best, with the guitars on Learning to Flinch and Naked Songs being great examples, both having a good portion of the power and presence they do live. Both the leading and trailing edges of sharp transitions were always crisp and clean, and the C-60 did a great job of reproducing the pace and flow of a performance. This latter characteristic was especially evident on temporally complex works, such as much of Settin' the Pace, where dramatically different lines need to mesh for the piece to work. Each player, heard on his own, seemed to be using different timing and chord structures, yet from a step farther away—and through the C-60—they all came together as a coherent whole.

All of the these strengths were evident on large-scale performances as well, even if the overall illusion wasn't quite as realistic. Performances don't get much larger than Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony's of Sunrise, from Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra (CD, RCA Living Stereo 61494-2); while the Vincent didn't re-create the CSO and Orchestra Hall in my listening room, it certainly captured enough of the thunder and bombast to take my breath away!


This isn't to imply that the C-60's soundstage was smaller than those of other source components. To the contrary, the Vincent's soundstage was consistently large, extending well outside the speakers, projecting slightly in front of them, and creating whatever depth had been coded into the bits and bytes. Images were always appropriately sized, and I never felt that the Vincent was expanding or limiting the scale of the players or stage. In fact, the C-60's knack for reproducing fine detail behind louder, more prominent lines worked well with recordings of a soloist and orchestra. Listening to Jascha Heifetz's performance of the Allegro vivacissimo of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, with Reiner/CSO (CD, RCA Living Stereo 61495-2), I noted how clearly and consistently the orchestra was portrayed, even behind Heifetz's most forceful and dramatic passages. Even the faintest horn lines from the very rear of the stage were lifelike, and very obviously the work of a group of individual players.

Solid state, solid performance
That Heifetz recording is a good place to switch gears and compare the C-60's tubed and solid-state output stages. I loved listening to the Tchaikovsky concerto through the tubed stage, but its tonal balance was a bit on the warm side of neutrality. Heiftez's violin sounded a little bigger, almost viola-like at times, and even the brass and woodwinds were a little sweeter and more golden than reality. This extra lushness and warmth was even more evident with another classic RCA, Gregor Piatigorsky's recording of Dvorak's Cello Concerto with Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony (CD, JVX XRCD13): the cello had a slightly deeper, richer body tone than the instrument has when heard live.

In both cases—in fact, across the board in my listening sessions—I preferred the sound of the Vincent's tubed output stage, but had to admit that the solid-state stage sounded more accurate and more tonally neutral. Coltrane's tenor was a little sweeter through the tubes, for example, but its honk didn't have quite enough edge or bite to be realistic. The same was true for women's voices; they were richer and sweeter through tubes, but their initial transients had a more realistic bite through transistors.

The solid-state output stage also had a little more bottom-end punch than the tubed stage, and notes stopped and started with a bit more precision and authority with the transistors. Conversely, individual instruments were more distinct through tubes, with a better sense of a resonating, wooden instrument following the initial transient. In the Dvor†k concerto, for example, it was a little easier to sort out the bass drum, timpani, and sharp double-bass notes through the tubes, but the lines sounded quicker and had a bit more impact via solid-state. On top, the transistor stage might have been more extended, but didn't have quite the harmonic richness of the tubes. For example, the brushed cymbals on "I See Your Face Before Me," from Settin' the Pace, were largely a metallic hiss, without a distinct ring at their core.

The two output stages also handled detail differently. Spatial detail, for example, was more precise and more sharply defined through the transistors. On the other hand, the tubed section did a better job of capturing the subtleties and complexities within an instrument's tone or voice. The tubes also did a much better job with the lowest-level information, the point where a note finally disappears into the surrounding space. Combined with the tubes' slightly better re-creation of low-level ambient information, the way notes faded out felt much more real, the instruments and singers more three-dimensional.

The transistor output stage matched, or perhaps even slightly bettered, the tube stage's large, open soundstage. When I dissected the sound and concentrated on audiophile criteria, I noted that images were more sharply defined with the transistors, with more open space between them. But when I listened to the overall performance—to the music itself—sonic images interacted with the surrounding space in a way that felt more natural through the tubes, and I found it much easier to close my eyes and imagine the hall or club in front of me.

Accuracy or musicality—40 years later and we still have to choose?
Comparing the C-60's solid-state and tubed output stages was a fascinating exercise. Both were excellent, but while the differences between them weren't huge, they were profound. In most cases, I felt the transistor configuration was more accurate, and would have fared better on an audiophile scorecard. At the same time, I found the tubed section to be more musical, more evocative of the original performance, despite its more obvious colorations.

The solid-state section of the Vincent C-60 is an excellent performer, and I can imagine many listeners preferring its more neutral sound—its leaner tonal balance, sharper transients, and tighter, more powerful bass. It's well designed and beautifully built, and completely in line with the competition at $4695. The C-60's solid-state section didn't quite match the resolution, or the overall flow and clarity, of far more expensive, super-premium solid-state players such as the Simaudio Moon Evolution Andromeda ($12,500), but it handily outperformed really good midpriced players like my Primare CD-31 ($2500).

Thirty-some years ago, I chose musicality over accuracy and traded my solid-state Audio Research D-120 amplifier for a tubed Audio Research D-76A. Night after night, I made the same choice with the Vincent. The solid-state configuration was good, but with its tubed output stage in circuit, the C-60 transcended the performance of the similarly priced players I've heard. In many ways, it sidestepped the limitations of "Red Book" CD performance, sounding more like a good analog rig—or, better yet, and sometimes more like a live performance. Its tonal balance was probably a little warmer and sweeter than reality, but instruments and voices had an uncannily lifelike energy and presence. Players, singers, and the space around them were re-created in a way that just felt a bit more real than through the transistor stage, or through most other CD players. With the tubed stage, it was as if the Vincent were vanishing and taking the rest of my system with it, letting me hear back through the recording chain to the original performance or session. Was it completely accurate? Maybe not. Did it evoke live music? Absolutely!


Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/vincent-audio-c-60-cd-player#HIQ3l0oQvjszR2xj.99






Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...
To Top