AXPONA Part 4 from Chicago with ATC

ATC has really dug out their niche within the pro community. When asked on a recent hi-fi panel I attended at Capital Studios in Los Angeles, two out of the four self-proclaimed audiophile recording engineers confessed to ATC endpoints in their home stereos.

At AXPONA the UK-based company was showing two separate setups, one “full-sized” arrangement with both passive and active models and one hosting two new desktop components in the form of the ATC CD2 ($2,350 USD) and SIA2-100 2-channel integrated Amp/DAC ($3,750 USD). Both compact units sit in a comfortable space just over one-foot by one-foot and were stacked vertically between a pair of passive SCM7 speakers ($1,649 USD).

The new CD2 is equipped with a TEAC 5020A-AT transport and AKM silicon. An accompanying press release for the product boasts a decent cross-section of features, mostly focused on reducing distortion and noise from excitable power supplies/digital sections and leaning hard on the company’s long tenure of technical prowess.

The matching SIA2 integrated amplifier delivers 100W into 8 ohms and also sports an AKM chipset capable of DSD128 (PCM up to 32/384).  Outs for the CD2 include balanced XLRs, single-ended with coaxial and optical assisting on the digital side of things. Inputs on the SIA2 amp are limited to single-ended for analog, and one each for USB, coaxial and optical (no AES). There is also a pair of line level SE RCA analog outs available.

According to room representatives at the show, all drivers and electronics are made in-house at the home facilities located in England. Listening to a test track of classical music, it was easy to see how ATC closely follows the main tent poles of transparency and neutrality that the production side of music values so highly. Even though the relative size of the mini system was somewhat limiting in terms of the overall reach, things were very much above water for the remaining slate of audiophile wants/needs.

A quick listen to “3 Chord Trick” by Legacy on the big system underlined another theme for the day; a surprising amount of consistency - from passive floor stander to active floor stander to the CD2 system. Each rig was not only dialled in to the room, but dialled into each other (as much as one can from different physical locations within the same room.) This pervasive “ATC sound” found that day was far from dry or stale, but rather immersive, shimmering and vibrant – a positive, communal common thread wove itself pleasantly around the quarters like a brightly colored ribbon gently floating on a breeze.

Also worthy of note for those unfamiliar with the ATC brand is the somewhat unique SM75-150S midrange transducer found on many of their tower speaker collections. The construction is a three-inch soft dome design that easily mimics the one-inch soft dome tweeter located directly above it (on the SCM50SE/SCM50). In the case of the active 50SE, a fully-discrete amplifier is applied to each driver including crossovers and phase correction. It’s an interesting twist to your typical audiophile floor stander, and one the appeared to bear fruit from the system on display at the show.

ATC Loudspeakers
Gypsy Lane, Aston Down, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8HR
+44 (0)1285 760561