The Ear Review the CDA2 Mk2
Writing for, The Ear, Jason Kennedy reviews our latest digital source, the CDA2 Mk2.
“ The CDA2 Mk2 is well built, comprehensively equipped and highly revealing, but more importantly it makes familiar material engrossing, it makes you listen longer and dare I say it, louder. ATC has driven down distortion and noise so that more of the crucial timing and imaging cues can be heard, in the process they have delivered their finest digital product yet, it’s a great pity they took it away!”
Jason Kennedy, The Ear, April 2018.
Read the review in full at The Ear website.
Hi-Fi News Review the New CDA2 Mk2
“…with a wide-open sound, masses of detail and unrestrained slam. It makes a fine partner for power amps and active speakers alike, getting on with the business of delivering the music without adding or subtracting anything. If it does all you need, it’s a bargain”. Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News, April 2018.
Connect to a PC or streamer and use the on-board high resolution DAC to bring your music library, Tidal or Spotify to life.
Also need CD? No problem – simply use the CDA2 like a traditional player but connected directly to a power amp or active loudspeakers.
If you’ve also got a vinyl collection, hook up a phono stage via one of two analogue inputs.
Find much more information and an in-depth review and lab test in the latest edition of Hi-Fi News, available in print or digital editions now or via the link below.
To read in full or download a PDF, click this link to the CDA2 Mk2 Review.
ATC launches CDA2 Mk2 CD/DAC Preamplifier
Wholesale upgrades to ATC’s leading source product deliver audiophile levels of accuracy and dynamics to music reproduction, combined with extraordinary value for money…
ATC Loudspeaker Technology is extremely proud to announce the arrival of the CDA 2 Mk2 CD/DAC Preamp, which represents a re-engineering of its predecessor in all the key performance areas. Developed as the ideal partner for ATC’s latest P2 power amplifier and active speaker designs, the Mk2 combines convenient USB access to high-resolution music streaming with an upgraded CD transport and DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, expanded input choices and analogue circuits redesigned to deliver an extremely wide and flat frequency response with very low distortion.
Joining rear panel coaxial and optical 192kHz inputs, the Mk2’s new high resolution USB input is capable of handling PCM data up to 384kHz and also DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 natively. Excellent jitter rejection ensures that signal integrity is maintained even with poorer quality sources and over long cable runs. Completing the Mk2’s wider digital interface, a new TEAC-supplied CD transport delivers faster play and seek times, much lower mechanical noise and improved error correction.
The meticulously re-engineered analogue circuits optimise ATC’s implementation of a new premium 32-bit AKM DAC, selected for exceptionally low noise and distortion. Supporting the DAC, the Mk2’s power supply architecture employs no fewer than nine additional high performance voltage regulators, and local power supply decoupling has been improved from the Mk1, yielding further performance gains.
In another refinement, both input and output gain stages have been improved by an arrangement of discrete op amps comprising six common gain blocks: two for left and right input buffering, and four to provide a “true” differential output for the left and right channels. The positive and negative drivers are arranged in parallel to ensure that the signal delays and phase shifts are identical on both sides. The output stages are configured as unity gain complementary compound (Sziklai) pairs, biased in class A.
These major design revisions combined with many marginal gains (from hand-soldering surface mount components on the legs of specific chips for instance) ensure that the CDA2 Mk2’s analogue stage exhibits exceptionally low noise and distortion across a very wide bandwidth.
Also benefitting are twin rear-mounted analogue phono/RCA inputs and an additional aux analogue input via 3.5mm mini jack, which is equipped with high input sensitivity for improved compatibility with phones, tablets and other low output portable devices. Additionally the Mk2 benefits from a revised high performance headphone amplifier capable of driving headphones from 30 – 600 ohms, delivering exceptional results from the vast array of modern headphone designs. Output is via a rear panel mounted 6.35mm jack.
The CDA2 Mk2’s chassis is constructed from a combination of steel and aluminium and uses constrained layer damping to control panel resonances. The front panel is machined from an extruded section of 13mm/0.5” aluminium alloy with a brushed and anodised silver finish.
The product is supplied with IR remote control and is covered by a six year warranty (2 years CD mechanism).
Recommended UK Retail: £2950 (inc. VAT).
UK Show Premier for new CDA2 CD/DAC preamplifier
ATC is celebrating its Bristol show debut with the UK show premier of its CDA2 Mk2 CD/DAC preamplifier, driving a mix of the brand’s multi-award winning passive and active speaker designs.
The Mk2 combines convenient USB access to high-resolution music streaming with an upgraded CD transport and DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, expanded input choices and analogue circuits redesigned to deliver an extremely wide and flat frequency response with very low distortion.
Join us for the first time at Bristol: Room 102!
The show takes place from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th February and is held at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Bristol.
Sound & Vision – The Bristol Show Website
Martin Colloms Reviews the SCM50PSL for Hi-Fi Critic
“this is a fine loudspeaker of startling dynamic range with great clarity and excellent resolution.”
Martin Colloms, Hi-Fi Critic, December 2017.
The SCM50PSL has been awarded a much coveted, ‘Audio Excellence’ award by highly regarded magazine, Hi-Fi Critic, the only independent advert free magazine featuring venerable reviewers, Paul Messenger and Martin Colloms.
Here’s just a little more of Martin’s thoughtful insights into the SCM50PSL.
“The inherent neutrality enabled all kinds of material to express itself, from jazz (both forceful and relaxed examples) to heavy rock such as classic Hendrix, where you were brought almost to the front of the audience at high sound levels. The more modern Keith Richards’ Main Offender sounded like we were present in the monitoring room, it was so punchy and immediate…I suppose its great virtue was the way it became acoustically unobtrusive, allowing the wide range of music programme we sampled to tell their individual stories.”
“This ATC three-way generated powerful, tuneful and believably accurate sound images. Despite reasonably compact stand-mount proportions, it had fine bass with extension, tune playing and attack, a very neutral and well integrated midrange, and a sweet, detailed and natural high frequencies. Rather more powerful than its modest proportions might indicate, this fine design delivers stereo images on a grand scale, and conveys much of the character and detail in fine recordings. It hits the audio excellence level for its sheer all round ability – not least the massive power handling and the resulting dynamic range.”
Martin Colloms, Hi-Fi Critic, December 2017.
To read the review in full, open or download the PDF here: Hi-Fi Critic SCM50PSL Review
Limited Edition High Gloss SCM7
ATC have produced a limited run of the SCM7 finished in high gloss red, yellow and black for the Hong Kong and Chinese markets. The speakers are available now from Sound Concepts in Hong Kong and exclusive retailers in mainland China.
HTS7 5.1 Wins AV Tech Media Award for Best On-Wall Speaker System
Mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry Grint gets ATC P2 PRO in on the Alchemy act.
“I was very happy with my monitor speakers, but they seemed to lack bass extension; Matt Colton has active ATC SCM150 ASL PROs in his room, so I thought that an ATC amp might give me more bass… the difference wasn’t subtle with the P2 PRO.”
– Alchemy Mastering Founder & Director Barry Grint, 2017.
LONDON, UK: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry ‘Bazza’ Grint has acquired a P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier — a true dual mono design delivering 300W of continuous power simultaneously from both channels to drive the most challenging loudspeaker loads with ATC’s signature virtues of wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion — to enhance the fullrange monitoring system in his room at Alchemy Mastering, one of the world’s leading lights in half-speed and pure analogue vinyl mastering…
Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering with ATC P2 Pro Power Amp
Mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry Grint’s ‘lifelong’ love affair with The Dark Art Of Audio Mastering — to paraphrase the appropriate website wording for Alchemy Mastering (www.alchemymastering.com), the company he founded in 1998, having previously worked at Abbey Road, Porky’s Mastering, Tape One, and the legendary Trident Studios — led him to a life less ordinary that has been truly extraordinary. “I always wanted to work in a recording studio, but getting in has always been difficult,” he notes. “I had many jobs beforehand, but eventually I started as a tea boy at Trident Studios. Seeing first-hand what being a studio engineer actually entailed, I felt that it wasn’t quite right for me. On the third floor there was disc cutting — vinyl and cassette being the only formats at the time. I immediately felt at home, starting in the tape and cassette copy room, before moving up to vinyl mastering in 1984.”
The bright-eared Barry Grint was quick off the mark in making his mastering mark. 1984 alone saw his mastering mojo working wonderfully on classic vinyl singles for Duran Duran (‘The Wilds Boys’), Foreigner (‘I Want To Know What Love Is’), Madonna (‘Like A Virgin’), Van Halen (‘Jump’), and ZZ Top (‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’). Thereafter, things went seriously stratospheric as Barry Grint went on to work with a roll call of rock and pop greats such as Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Oasis, Prince, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, to list but a few notable names. Speaking of names, the master(ing) craftsman identified his vinyl work by etching ‘Bazza’ in the run out-groove with various incarnations including Bazza @ Abbey Road, Bazza @ Tape One, Bazza @ Porky’s putting in an appearance throughout the years.
Yet Barry Grint has witnessed a lot of industry changes — technological or otherwise — in a celebrated career spanning five distinctive decades. Given his mastering pedigree, perhaps it was inevitable that he would one day become a master of his own destiny at Alchemy Mastering in Soho, which went on to become one of the UK’s foremost mastering facilities before leasing issues at its ‘high-flying’ Centre Point office tower London location left its founder rethinking and, ultimately, relocating somewhat closer to terra firma. Its current location in an elegant West London mews houses three acoustically-tuned studios with natural daylight designed by the three ‘Alchemists’ — Barry Grint and fellow Directors Matt Colton and Phil Kinrade — themselves, each equipped with full-range monitoring systems and a wide range of vintage and cutting-edge high-end analogue and digital hardware and software processors, perfect for pursuing their sought-after craft. “We all react to what’s coming out of the speakers, and we make our judgements based on how that sounds in the room,” Matt Colton claimed, soon after receiving the coveted Music Producers Guild Mastering Engineer of the Year award in 2013.
As a full member, Barry Grint is no stranger to the MPG (Music Producers Guild) himself, representing them when working with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) to create a standard for embedding the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) within BWF (Broadcast Wave Format) audio, adopted by the main manufacturers of mastering software internationally. But back in the mastering hot seat within Mastering Two — Barry Grint’s mastering studio for digital, CD, and vinyl mastering at Alchemy Mastering — things get more personal. “The choice of equipment is a very personal thing,” its owner-occupier opines. “I was very happy with my monitor speakers, but they seemed to lack bass extension; Matt Colton has active ATC SCM150 ASL PROs in his room, so I thought that an ATC amp might give me more bass.”
Cue delivery of a P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier — a true dual mono design delivering 300W of continuous power simultaneously from both channels to drive the most challenging loudspeaker loads with ATC’s signature virtues of wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion — on trial. The result? “The bass extension was great, but there was also a noticeable improvement overall — a smoothness that gave improved detail and clarity,” continues the seriously impressed Barry Grint. “The difference wasn’t subtle with the P2 PRO. I called Ben Lilly, Technical Sales Manager at ATC, and told him he couldn’t have the demo unit back until he had sent me the one I bought!”
Beneficiaries of this latest acquisition already encompasses a lengthening list of current and established artists alike, as Barry Grint reveals: “Remastering Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds, The Stranglers, Declan McKenna, Tom Odell, Sean Paul, Roger Waters; vinyl mastering for All Tvvins, Gorillaz, Laura Mvula, Little Mix, Radiohead, Rag’n’Bone Man, The Libertines, The Rolling Stones…”
So, yes, Barry Grint has witnessed a lot of industry changes in a celebrated career spanning five distinctive decades — not least the putative passing of vinyl into the annals of reproductive audio history only for it to triumphantly return relatively recently, as evidenced by Alchemy Mastering making a name for itself as one of the world’s leading lights in half-speed and pure analogue vinyl mastering: “When I started, people recorded in recording studios and mobile studios were big articulated lorries loaded with massive Neve, Cadac, or Trident desks and multitrack tape machines. Today, digital recording has made available amazing recording spaces. Sometimes this means that for some projects the mastering room is the only controlled listening environment, one where a good speaker/amp combination is vital. This is why we went with ATC.”
ATC P2 Pro Dual-Mono Power Amp
ATC P2 Dual-Mono Power Amp
11 What Hi-Fi Awards for the SCM11…
SCM11 wins 11th What Hi-Fi Award!
The SCM11 has again emerged as a top buy, specifically as Best Standmount Speaker in the £1200-£2000 category.
What Hi-Fi states, “These speakers manage to knit everything into a cohesive, musical whole”.
This is the 11th year the SCM11 has won a What Hi-Fi Award, winning in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, making it the most consistently successful speaker design in What Hi-Fi award history.
More info on this years winners on the What Hi-Fi Website.