ATC CDA 2 Mk2 CD/DAC preamp

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ATC CDA 2 Mk2 CD/DAC preamp
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ATC has launched 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 USB access to high-resolution music streaming with an upgraded CD transport and DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, wider input selection and redesigned analogue circuits.

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 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. Both in- 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. It has twin analogue phono/RCA inputs and an additional aux analogue input via 3.5mm mini jack 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.  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. ATC’s wholly upgraded preamp/player will retail for £2,950 and will be available in February.