Mini-Review of the Beresford TC-7520 DAC

Category: Digital

Looking for a feature-rich DAC with good sound and that won't break the bank? I recently stumbled upon a rather interesting find in this category. The Beresford brand has been popular Britain for the past few years, and there's a new US distributor that now sells their products direct online; a classified ad in Audiogon led me to their website called beresford-dac (along with a dot and a com in there somewhere). The TC-7520 is a 96/24 DAC with (1) USB, (1) Toslink and (2) SPDIF digital inputs (no analog inputs), a Class-A preamp with both fixed and variable outputs, and a headphone amp. Simple but elegant, the housing is a solid and compact black metal box with shiny gold metal soft-touch selector buttons (each with its own blue LED indicator), and incorporates a "dual" power supply (a combination internal and external components which is said to yield overall lower noise).

This unit has been installed as part of a home office system comprised of two-way TAD monitors (sporting built-in EL84 tube amplification) and an older Sony 5-CD changer with a variable line output which had been providing the services of both source and preamp. In comparison, driving the 7520 via the player's digital output offers a clearly audible improvement over the previous configuration; it serves up tight & tuneful bass control, more dynamic presence in the midrange, and a subtle smoothing of the treble. The headphone output's sonic traits are very similar. And as a bonus, a USB cable from my PC to the 7520 allows for a noticeable enhancement in music file playback. Bottom line, a very musical device; for $249, (shipping included), I think this one's tough to beat. (One note; Beresford USA does not offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee on these units, but once you see and hear it, you'll find it's an easy $249 to part with.)

Attention tweakers: The stock dual opamps are socketed, and I'd read on a couple of forums that these may be changed out with compatible devices that can offer further sonic improvement - But, be warned; according to Beresford USA, the unit's one-year warranty will be voided if ya mess with its internals in this fashion - So, best enjoy the TC-7520 in stock form first off, and then after 12 months have fun swapping in new opamps if you find yourself hankerin' for an upgrade.
UPDATE: It's come to my attention that Beresford USA has just begun offering a 15-day trial period along with the purchase of a TC-7520, so purchasing one is no longer a $249 gamble - A full refund will be given if a buyer decides not to keep the unit. (Check their site for further details.)
One more update: After 100+ hundred hours of play, this unit just keeps getting better and better - Just for fun a friend recently brought his DAC-1 over, and it turned out we both preferred the overall presentation of the TC-7520 (which is being used in a second system; my main rig contains a Cambridge 840C which by comparison tops both the TC-7520 and DAC-1). $250 including shipping directly from Beresford USA - Again, a no-brainer...
A must - replace the stock 5532 opamps, not with 4562, but try 4032, which will improve the sonics tremendously. The 5532 cannot sustain high orchestral passages, like in a concerto or symphony. It just breaks apart on congested high energy passages.
I've found the LM4562NA offers a very nice improvement over the stock 5532 - This DAC is now being used in my "System #2" as seen in the virtual system posts.
I agree. The opamp change brings about more detail and has a beter overall balance than stock (especially cleaning up some of the glare i the high freq.)
I was very impressed by the K Works modified Beresford DAC in demos at several audio club meetings. This is a unit worth rolling with mods costing several times its original price.
I purchased the Beresford TC-7520 from Beresford that was used as a magazine review w/the full warrenty @$229.00 w/shipping,such a deal. I was suprised to see it had some weight behihd it so the internal ps must be good. I am going to swap out the op-amps but listen to it for awhile before I start tinkering. It sounds beautiful connected to my pc then out to my Krell KSA-250 to Klipsch RF7's WOW!!!
Who need a preamp anymore with this beauty? It sounds awsome! The DAC makes my pc sound as good as my McIntosh MCD 201 with coaxial cable. It saves alot of space also.
I think I know what my daughter is getting from Santa this year.Just Wow!!!!
FWIW - I recently bought a used Beresford TC-7510, which is the model that preceded the 7520. It has 2 RCA and 2 optical inputs, and no USB input. My Beresford had been highly modified by a local modder, K-Works. K-Works calls this the SuperBerry DAC. K-Works' Igor Kuznetzoff feels the Beresford is a wonderfull platform for mods. I think it sells for about $1K new. I have to say this is a marvelous DAC. It is detailed, smooth, quiet and musical. In my local audio club, this DAC was put head-to-head with a $10K DAC from MSB, and most of those present declared it a tie. Although I don't doubt better digital sound can be had, I think it will require a lot of money to get it. For now, I am off the upgrade-go-round, at least as far as my DAC is concerned. My transport is a modest, but quiet, Rotel RCD-02.
Any idea if the Beresfords are still made in the UK?
No made in Taiwan now, according to its site.
I'd like to modify the opamps in my Beresford 7520, but I've never done this before. Is it difficult? Where do I buy the improved parts?
Question: if I would to connect the Rega Apollo to the Beresford TC-7520 (stock), how does it deliver better sound or musicality when the apollo has a newer and better dac chip WM8740 Sigma Delta 24bit?

I understand that if this dac is used with computer lossless source, I am sure it would make a world of different.

Also, as this dac does not have analogue inputs, I would be unable to link a Thorens TD-165 to this dac. As I do not have a head phones amp, I was really hoping that there might be a work around to allow me to listen to my analogue set up with this headphone out. Any suggestions? Should i be consider a phono stage with headphones out? Any recommendation?

My amp is the integrated Primare A10, which does not have phono or headphones out.