DAC upgrade for CDA2

ATC & other makes of Hi-Fi equipment
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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby Lemen » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:55 pm

Yes, I mean that the finish of the front of the disc drawer doesn't match the brushed aluminium of the unit's front faceplate. This was a criticism levelled against the MK1 design in a magazine review - sorry, I don't remember which magazine. I've not ever seen a MK1 unit in the "metal", but from images, it looks as though there was no finishing piece on the front of the disc drawer at all, hence the comment in the magazine I suppose. The images on ATC's website appeared to show that they had addressed this criticism and made a uniform looking fascia with a bezel of similar finish aluminium attached to the front of the drawer, but as you say, perhaps the look of the units can vary depending on photography lighting etc.
Sure, it's not massively important in the scheme of things.

Re the bluetooth: Yes agreed, no perfect solution and as you suggest, there are ways around these things.
ATC SCM50 ASLT Anniversary (gloss white)

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby ballhill » Fri May 11, 2018 9:58 pm

I can see that my original post has now become about the new CDA2 mk2.
I will confess that I am jelious about the mk2, but mainly for the upgraded pre amp. I will explain why.
I hardly play cds these days. I rip them straight away (using a verification program) to my music server.

Now, I have not heard how the new DAC sounds on the mk2. But I did stumble across the biggest upgrade (naturally outside of buy my SMC 40s P1 and CDA2 four years ago) that I have ever, ever, ever experienced. Total fluke reading a forum and I didn’t really believe it.

I am one of those people who bought a Squeezebox Touch nine years ago and just kept on finding better things about it over time. This Christmas I bought a second hand Chord 2Qute as a replacement DAC my CDA2 (the CDA2 is still my pre). I love it, it’s been a nice up upgrade; not massive, but a real pleasure.
Well accidentally I read that a Squeezebox touch could output to USB (using EDO applet). I didn’t believe it because the USB socket on the SBT is for USB sticks to directly play. Anyway, I connected a cheap (the cable from my printer) USB cable between my SBT and the Chord DAC. Nothing happened. Went to the SBT menu and found EDO (it stands for Enhance Digial Output, and is’t a brilliant 3rd party hack that everyone uses) and on the display it actually said “USB connect to 2Cute”. It seemed to good to be true. So I pressed it, it immediately rebooted. And then came the music.
I am spell bound. Seriously it is unbelievably better. I thought my previous sound was wonderious, but this is an amazing step up.

I do not know if this is something that is just about USB, the SBT, or the 2Cute, but having a pair of ATCs means everything is delivered totally honestly. It is like I have a new system.

Luckily my upgrade was free (totally ridiculous but sincerely true), but if I had any other speakers would I have hear this step up. I am sure there are sonic limits with non active speakers, but ha ent found them yet.

And, if you haven’t gone digital yet, a dirt cheap SBT off eBay is a shockingly good investment - it just keeps giving and giving. My dynamic range is off the scale. Sound stage- so convincing, detail is delicious. Those of you with higher end systems might not get my joy, but a single USB cable has changed everything.

Well at least the new CDA2 has USB imput - connect it to an ancient SBT with the EDO applet for sonic joy
Squeezebox server running on dedicated PC music server - Logitech Squeezebox Touch - USB cable to Chord 2Cute- ATC CDA2 - ATC P1 - New ATC SMC40. Interconnects & speaker wire Van Damme. Project turntable and Edwards Audio phono amp. Digital now trumps my best records.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby darrenyeats » Sun May 13, 2018 10:44 am

Sounds great Ballhill - I agree about the Touch keeping on giving.

Apparently the 2qute is galvanically isolated over USB - nice.

With my DAC1 (aging like the Touch) its USB is neither async nor isolated, so I use TOSLINK. I configure the DAC1 in a very non-factory way to make it a different animal, not the least the Touch/DAC1 combo because with tweaks the Touch can up-sample to arbitrary rates e.g. 110.6kHz, the internal rate of the DAC1, with dithered volume control at 24 bits, the bit depth of the DAC1's AKM chip.

I always appreciate enthusiasm about a big upgrade!

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby Brad Lunde » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:36 am

Okay a post from the ATC distributor, so full disclosure. Since there are not many posts about the new Mk2, I thought I would add two cents from some experience. I've been using the CDA2 Mk2 since spring I have to say this thing is WAY better than Mk1 and WAY better than I ever guessed it would be. This is a whole new CDA beast and is a very impressive preamp DAC/CD. It switches seamlessly between PCM and DSD and is quiet- no pops. Its digital file agility and switching between sample rates was instant and solid. I've used Rune and J River, both work great with it. This thing sounds significantly better than a CA2 with the new Prism DAC, and I was pretty happy with that! I used it with a pair of new SE50s I had at CEDIA and RMAF and the imaging was mind blowing. Fleetwood Mac Rumours was awesome in its hi rez form from my MacBook pro. People would stop and say they have never ever heard it that "clear" before. At RMAF we had a Michaels Jackson Thriller fest one morning as I had the 24 bit file of the record. With the CDA2Mk 2 and SE50 combo we all heard so much detail it was crazy- more than I have ever heard before anywhere. It was crazy how clear some of the layers were that are always obscured every other time I played it. The CD player sounds good too, works way faster than the old transport, is positive, doesn't get screwed up if you hit the buttons too fast. When I played a Hiromi DSD file through the CDA2 Mk2 which sounded scary good, then switched to a Patricia Barber Modern Cool CD at RMAF, there was no disappointment in the CD. Very impressive work by ATC Engineering! And now I've two different reviews in the US both off which are outstanding. I think this is the best piece of electronics ATC has ever built. If you have not heard it yet, try it, it's a leap froward from ATC that's for sure.

Brad
TransAudio Pro USA
Lone Mountain Hi Fi USA
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby GAT474 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:31 pm

Brad, how do you find the CDA2 as an analogue preamp? I ask as I use a current model CA2 with some active 40's and am happy with this combo but wonder how the preamp section of the new dac/pre compares to a dedicated pre.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby Brad Lunde » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:51 pm

GAT474 wrote:Brad, how do you find the CDA2 as an analogue preamp? I ask as I use a current model CA2 with some active 40's and am happy with this combo but wonder how the preamp section of the new dac/pre compares to a dedicated pre.


It sure seems better to me. AS I say I was using the CA2 and happy, but when I used the CDA2Mk2 it was a real step up in resolution to my ears. Granted this was on a set of SE50s where everything is ultra clear.

Brad
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby darrenyeats » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:51 pm

Heard CDA2 into 100ASL at a show today.

A quibble, CD has limitations that can be artfully managed, but on transparent kit many CD recordings are exposed at the top ... and this is transparent kit! IME in many cases a minimum phase-type filter will help out. EDIT: the CDA2 does use a minimum phase-type filter, but it didn't save some recordings IMO. Some of the digital recordings sounded totally good though - I'm thinking they were hi-res, or CD mastered artfully.

Vinyl into 100ASL was superb. A 1971 record (Elton John Tumbleweed) sounded as good as I've ever heard anything sound! Other vinyl stuff with more top was also great. BTW I'm a digital head and don't own one vinyl record or a turntable, but it's making me wonder. Sound of the show and candidate for sound of all shows. Obvs via CDA2 - so it's a great preamp.

PS: Clearly you can rip CDs and then front the CDA2 with a computer running JRiver or HQPlayer which are both high quality (or you could use my mods for SB Touch, but that's hair-shirt!) - up-sample and try different filters that way, my favourite is actually intermediate phase, then minimum phase. Computer audio is the future and of course the CDA2 works for that.

PPS: You should infer from above that I like the new ATC tweeters and they're on my list for 2019!
Last edited by darrenyeats on Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:33 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby Muser » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:47 pm

darrenyeats wrote:Heard CDA2 into 100ASL at a show today.
The good news? Vinyl into 100ASL was superb. A 1971 record (Elton John Tumbleweed) sounded as good as I've ever heard anything sound! Other vinyl stuff with more top was also great. BTW I'm a digital head and don't own one vinyl record or a turntable, but it's making me wonder. Sound of the show and candidate for sound of all shows. Obvs via CDA2 - so it's a good preamp.


Darren: What phono section did they use? It does not appear the CDA2 has its own phono section.

Vinyl seems much more tweaky than digital, to me. Of course, I've not experimented Although the gap is narrowing, I've long preferred a good phono section for myself. YMMV.

Larry
ATC SCM20-2A, Pass Labs XP-12 preamp, Amazon Model 2 tt, Moerch DP6 arm and Dynavector XX2MkII cartridge, Oppo 105, Kubala Sosna Expression cabling. Two 15" Acoustic Elegance subwoofers, powered by QSC RMX 2450 amplifier w/ minidsp equalization.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby darrenyeats » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:33 pm

Hearsay on pink fish is that it was a Sugden phono stage.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby 1ATC4NAL » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:15 pm

darrenyeats wrote:Hearsay on pink fish is that it was a Sugden phono stage.


Darren: Thanks.

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby darrenyeats » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:17 pm

Egg on my face. The CDA2 does use a minimum phase-type filter as confirmed by Stereophile this month. I made a correction in my earlier post (marked EDIT).

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Re: DAC upgrade for CDA2

Postby MevDinc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:59 am

Another great review of ATC, this time CDA2.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/atc ... eamplifier
Audirvana+3.0 - Mac Mini, Lindermann Musicbook 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL (with the ATC tweeter!)

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