ATC Loudspeaker Technology has unveiled 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, wider input selection and analogue circuits redesigned for 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 CDA 2 Mk2’s analogue stage exhibits exceptionally low noise and distortion across a very wide bandwidth.
Additionally, the Mk2 benefits from a revised high performance headphone amplifier capable of driving headphones from 30- to 600-Ohms, delivering exceptional results from the vast array of modern headphone designs.
Priced at £2950, ATC’s wholly upgraded preamp/player is supplied with IR remote control and is covered by a six-year warranty (two-years CD mechanism).