TAGA Harmony is a Polish brand that we have been following for a number of years now. They have always impressed at shows with their professional outlook to the production of no-nonsense, good-value products. The TCD 50 CD player continues this theme and costs just $444 plus VAT. Currently, there are several EU distributors but none for the United Kingdom and those looking to buy this unit will currently have to buy in, for example, France and pay for import and shipping.

BUILD AND SPECIFICATIONS OF THE TAGA HARMONY TCD 50

The DAC inside this CD player from Poland is the ESS SABRE ES9018 Reference 32-bit DAC with what TAGA call Hyperstream™ II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator. There is also a 2-pole Fully Differential Linear Phase Bessel filter and I’m not going to pretend I understand what that does, despite having looked it up. All the RCAs are gold plated, as are the XLR pins and OFC copper is used to wire all the analogue outputs.

Taga TCD-50 Inside

A look inside the Taga TCD-50 CD player

I do like the fact that this has an onboard headphone amp (which is fine) with its own volume control so that, at a push, you could actually just have this unit if all you did was listen to CDs through headphones.

The TCD 50 is available in either silver or black and that front panel is excellent, adding a touch of class to the unit.

Everything works as it should. The tray opens buttery smooth and the CDs play pretty much immediately. The finish is very good, particularly for this kind of money…it’s what I would call “proper” HiFi in that it’s the right size and the right shape. Personally, I think it looks very sleek and stylish in this black colour. It’s got XLR and RCA outs so that’s all covered, and it has optical and RCA digital outputs should you want to whack it in to an external DAC. It doesn’t have any inputs to allow you to use the onboard DAC. The buttons all work as they should and feel nice to the touch. Really, there’s nothing you can moan about with regard to finish and build at this kind of price. Yep, the remote is a bit workaday but it’s as good as I’ve seen on some units costing a lot more than this.

Taga Harmony TCD-50 CD Player

Taga Harmony TCD-50 CD Player rear panel

SOUND QUALITY OF THE TAGA TCD 50 CD PLAYER

The huge majority of people are going to buy this CD player and, as I did for the most part, put it straight into an amp or pre via the RCA or XLR line outputs. You know you are listening to a lesser machine when compared to a digital source through our Lampizator DAC but like most things, there’s not thousands of pounds worth of difference in real terms…ie the TAGA is not 20 or thirty times worse sounding. Nowhere near!

Yes, in comparison to our LAB 12 DAC or Lampizator DAC there is a clearly “softer” and less incisive element to the sound of the TAGA, but in the real world you don’t sit switching between sources and I’d be well pleased to sit in front of this CD player and enjoy my tunes…very much so!

Overall and looking really critically at the TAGA I’d say that it doesn’t have the low-end balls and slam that I’m used to and, again, I want to say that the sound is slightly rolled off at the bottom end and as well as the mentioned tops.

Through the mid-band there’s not the same level of detail that I’m used to either, but at this price I think the TAGA behaves itself impeccably (it never skips a beat) and that it certainly punches above what you will have to fork out for it I actually think it’s a little bit of a bargain and I would say it is on a par with the little Leema Elements player we have here…and it is faster to load once the CD is inserted.

The TAGA is certainly sure-footed and whilst a little softer than I’m used to, bass is solid and deep with a good impression of what drum machine and what effects are being added on electronic music. There’s slightly less shimmer on hats and but, again, this is nothing to write home and complain to Mother about.

Speed and timing are excellent and I found the TAGA to be rhythmic enough to allow me to get really into the music I was listening to – whatever the genre – though it’s not as dynamic a performer as the LAB 12 DAC or the Lampi. Apples and oranges, I know. To be less critical against the machine, I certainly found myself tapping my foot along to the music on more than one occasion.

I did play a load of different music ranging from Luke Slater to Kasia Mos and Aukso (a great record that was gifted to me at the Warsaw Show if I remember correctly). On this latter CD, I found that the feeling of the live performance was excellent with the vocalist sitting bang centre and a little forward in the mix and with strings and piano being present and correct, though the separation of elements in the mix were not as great as I would be used to. Whatever, I could clearly see musicians laid out before me and I would say I was sat a little way up in the circle during this recording. Perhaps my only criticism would be that the midband may be being pushed a little with regard to absolute balance, but this is no bad thing given what this CD player is likely to be partnered with.

I’m not going to go into this recording and that recording as I think I’ve said about the character of this machine to suggest that I think it is very good sounding and represents very good value for money.

TAGA Harmony TCD review

Also available in silver

NIGGLES

There’s no inputs to use the onboard DAC.

Critically speaking the TAGA isn’t the most accurate player I have experienced, but it’s nowhere near bad so don’t read into that something that is certainly not implied!

CONCLUSION

Some might say that the days of the CD are over, but I would heartily disagree and it would seem that it’s not just TAGA and I that think this given the number of high-end CD players we have seen coming out. There is certainly a whole load of product out there, both new and used.

Is this CD player the last word in Fidelity? Of course it isn’t, it’s a five hundred euro or so machine! However, for that five hundred or so Euros I think it performs excellently and I think it demands that you take a look at it should you be in the market for an excellently priced CD player. Even for those with higher-end systems but for those who CD is not a main source, I still think this is an excellent buy – buy it and use it for the odd time you play an old CD. If you are looking for a main source then I also think this machine offers a very good solution – it’s not groundbreaking and it’s not the best sounding CD player in the world, but it is honest sounding and honestly priced.

I really liked it!

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality:

For the relatively modest asking price, this is very well put together and specced

Analogue outputs are on RCA and XLR

Optical and Coaxial digital outputs but no digital inputs

Onboard headphone amp is a nice touch

OK remote included in the price

Sound Quality:

For the asking price the TCD 50 is an excellent sounding product

Slightly lacking in top end shimmer and detail and lacking slam and bass when compared to better and more expensive players

Excellent timing but not as dynamic as our reference

Value For Money:

Brilliant value for money!

We Loved:

At this price there is a lot to love about the TCD 50

It is well-specified and sounds more than acceptable for the asking price

We Didn’t Love So Much:

No digital inputs

Slightly rolled off at the top and bottom when compared to our reference

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