YOU’D think that in this age, no manufacturer would want to plug CD, but ATC Loudspeaker Technology, the UK outfit better known for its professional and home hi-fi speakers, keeps faith in the format with the new CDA2 Mk2 CD/DAC-preamp. Oh wait… it’s not just a CD player then, but developed to partner ATC’s latest P2 power amp and active speakers.
So, there’s USB on board to access high-resolution streaming, while the CD transport and DAC section have been upgraded from the previous model. You also get a dedicated headphone amp section, more inputs and “analogue circuits redesigned for an extremely wide and flat frequency response with very low distortion.”
As per the press release, “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 aluminium alloy with a brushed and anodised silver finish.”
Of course, it comes with a remote control and a six-year warranty (two for the CD mechanism). Available in February, the CDA2 Mk2 will retail in the UK for £2,950.