YOU sense the direction in which the hi-fi world is heading when a traditionally conservative Brit company like ATC – better known for its range of active and passive speakers for domestic and professional studio applications – introduces products like the SIACD and CDA2.
The SIACD is an integrated amplifier, CD, preamp and DAC in a single unit, taking the CDA2’s CD/pre/DAC package a step further into one-box convergence.
Not surprisingly, ATC shuns the use of class D amplification on the SIACD – the Mosfet-based power amp is a class A/B design that employs circuits found in the company’s high-end active loudspeakers. The amp delivers a beefy 100 watts per channel into eight-ohm loads.
The preamp/DAC section has two pairs of line-level analogue inputs and three digital inputs. One of the two analogue inputs can also be accessed via the front panel via a 3.5mm jack (for portable music devices). The digital inputs are coaxial, optical and USB. An output for headphones is also included.
Driving the DAC stage is a Wolfson WM8740 chipset compatible with 16-to-24-bit word lengths and sample rates of up to 192kHz (via the coaxial and optical digital inputs only). The USB input is good for 16/48 – add an asynchronous USB-SPDIF converter for 24/192 resolution via the coaxial input.
The CDA2, meanwhile, is essentially the SIACD without the amplification stage and built on a smaller chassis. The USB is missing but you get a pair of XLR outputs in addition to the single-ended ones. This player will, of course, drive a power amp or active speakers directly.
The SIACD (£2,975) and CDA2 (£2,153) are hand-built in the UK and come with a six-year warranty each ( a year for the CD transport) . Silver and black (SIACD only) finishes are available. What next, then? An on board streamer, we’re sure!