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Atoll DAC200 Signature - Review & Measurements (DAC)

Mikycoud

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True indeed, audio products can be measured to the extent, and within the limits, of what an AP or similar equipment can do.
But thats not the point. Consider this please:
If you provided someone who believes in God with some believable figures some panel of scientists came up with, stipulating that God couldn't possibly exist, would they just say: "oh, right, my mistale then", or "your figures mean nothing when there's something else at play in this matter that can't be measured".
That would be the end of the discussion don't you think?
I feel that's the whole debate here... (just being the devil's advocate...)
 

CedarX

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Thankfully audio products can be scientifically measured where God cannot be measured,.
Some of God's "book" claims (the "marketing" stuff?) can be assessed scientifically (they usually don't fare well). There is an interesting parallel between the audio objective/subjective/snake-oil debate and religion. Atoll seems to not care much about the scientific details, rather focusing on the "audio experience". Is buying an Atoll product a religious act?
I found ironic that, in Brecey, Normandie, Atoll is located right next to a nursing home. Besides having quiet neighbors, Atoll has a unique opportunity to scientifically measure how much their products actually improve the life and "experience" of their next neighbors... Maybe that's where I'll end up: I'll gladly give their products a test and give them free, full power (I won't probably hear much then) burn-in! :D
 

notsodeadlizard

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So how did this story end?
The point is not in the parameters of this DAС, the point is in the responsibility of the manufacturer for the declared parameters.
Nagra, for example, generally stated 0.02% THD for their DAC, and this obviously did not bother any of the Nagra products buyers (yes, no one cares at all).
But the sacred rule of the industry must be respected - the declared parameters must correspond to reality.
It's a very sad story, unfortunately.
 

Mikycoud

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Well, some manufacturers seem not to care about the sacred rule, it appears, because as far as can stretch the eye on the web, there seems to be no statement from Atoll on the matter, apart from the updated product specs page that magically got updated a few hours after the review was posted online. (Yeah, I guess that's what's commonly called "getting caught red handed")
Maybe Vintage can tell us more about a possible reaction from them?
 
OP
VintageFlanker

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Maybe Vintage can tell us more about a possible reaction from them?
You know, mate...

So how did this story end?
Atoll is perfectly aware of the review. A friend showed me their response after he mailed them about it. I won't share the details in public (would be inappropriate). But :

- Factually, they don't seem to contest any of my results (can they?). Even after pointing out that they measure with an AP... Then, I may assume that this Atoll DAC200 Signature I tested is not defective. And I stand behind my data (with margins of error due to the limitations of my equipment). Seriously... If I had an AP around, and would have the ability to contest a measurements-based review of one of my products, the first thing I would have done is to publish a statement with my standardised measurements in public. Unless the results would be on par with the ones already published. Anyway...

- They did design the board to "perform" that way on purpose, after listening tests. They are proud of the results. Their DAC sounds stellar to them. Musicality, blablabla. Fine.

- They assume that the THD(+N?) specs were misleading, and said they corrected from "-120dB" to "0.002%" (which BTW is still wrong at full output...).

- They don't say anything about the output voltage being twice as high as advertised... Nor about the DR being way below "133dB".

- To date, the manual still says -120dB THD (not +N) at 0dBFS...

If you happen to read this, Atoll: It is indeed a pity that you just acted surreptitiously, avoiding to respond in public in this very thread. I don't care about your product performing that bad. I do about your misleading specs. You could just have come here saying that measurements don't matter, listening does, edit your manufacturer's specs and I would have called it a day. Period.
 
Last edited:

notsodeadlizard

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You know, mate...


Atoll is perfectly aware of the review. A friend showed me their response after he mailed them about it. I won't share the details in public (would be inappropriate). But :

- Factually, they don't seem to contest any of my results (can they?). Even after pointing out that they measure with an AP... Then, I may assume that this Atoll DAC200 Signature I tested is not defective. And I stand behind my data (with margins of error due to the limitations of my equipment). Seriously... If I had an AP around, and would have the ability to contest a measurements-based review of one of my products, the first thing I would have done is to publish a statement with my standardised measurements in public. Unless the results would be on par with the ones already published. Anyway...

- They did design the board to "perform" that way on purpose, after listening tests. They are proud of the results. Their DAC sounds stellar to them anyway. Musicality, blablabla. Fine.

- They assume that the THD(+N?) specs were misleading, and said they corrected from "-120dB" to "0.002%" (which BTW is still wrong at full output...).

- They don't say anything about the output voltage being twice as high as advertised... Nor about the DR being way below "133dB".

- To date, the manual still says -120dB THD (not +N) at 0dBFS...

If you happen to read this, Atoll: It is indeed a pity that you just acted surreptitiously, avoiding to respond in public in this very thread. I don't care about your product performing that bad. I do about your misleading specs. You could just have come here saying that measurements don't matter, listening does, edit your manufacturer's specs and I would have called it a day. Period.
Well.
It had to happen.
That's an obvious contradiction, I mean.
The manufacturer indirectly says that he has no problems with the consumer audience.
It does not have a stream of returns of these DACs due to noise, bad sound, etc.
And that the manufacturer is not going to declare bankruptcy.
If this were a single example, one could say that it is unique and specific.
The same is happening with PS Audio, Nagra and other high end producers who openly declare "high" levels of THD (0.05% or even more).
On the other hand, measurements (which are now available even to amateurs) show something really ugly (and of course not the clean and beautiful spectrum of a well designed class A output stage).
And there is an obvious question about this contradiction: what to do with it?
The answer is not known to me.
But here's what I think will happen without fail: high-end manufacturers will finally leave the hi-fi segment in the simplest way - they will generally stop declaring any sound relative parameters and leave only purely general consumer ones (supply voltage, power consumption etc.).
I already see something similar.

Be that as it may, overstating the parameters is shameful.
All honest manufacturers underestimate the parameters based on the worst case.
 

HarmonicTHD

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You know, mate...


Atoll is perfectly aware of the review. A friend showed me their response after he mailed them about it. I won't share the details in public (would be inappropriate). But :

- Factually, they don't seem to contest any of my results (can they?). Even after pointing out that they measure with an AP... Then, I may assume that this Atoll DAC200 Signature I tested is not defective. And I stand behind my data (with margins of error due to the limitations of my equipment). Seriously... If I had an AP around, and would have the ability to contest a measurements-based review of one of my products, the first thing I would have done is to publish a statement with my standardised measurements in public. Unless the results would be on par with the ones already published. Anyway...

- They did design the board to "perform" that way on purpose, after listening tests. They are proud of the results. Their DAC sounds stellar to them anyway. Musicality, blablabla. Fine.

- They assume that the THD(+N?) specs were misleading, and said they corrected from "-120dB" to "0.002%" (which BTW is still wrong at full output...).

- They don't say anything about the output voltage being twice as high as advertised... Nor about the DR being way below "133dB".

- To date, the manual still says -120dB THD (not +N) at 0dBFS...

If you happen to read this, Atoll: It is indeed a pity that you just acted surreptitiously, avoiding to respond in public in this very thread. I don't care about your product performing that bad. I do about your misleading specs. You could just have come here saying that measurements don't matter, listening does, edit your manufacturer's specs and I would have called it a day. Period.
It’s good you called them out. At least people can now make an informed decision, which is fully in line with the spirit of this forum.

I certainly know, what my decision would be.
 

pistache

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Well, I've only read the 3 first and 3 last pages.

I own a 200 Signature and am sorry to read this.

I have to say however that I'm very happy with it , fed by ROON using Bluesound Node 2i, Pioneer N70AE and Squeezebox Touch as streamers.

But I wonder why, measuring so poorly this product, you didn't have the curiosity to listen to this "shit" (merde en français)?

And if you did, what did you think?

Or do you judge only by measuring gears.

No offense in my words, just to be clear.
 

DrCWO

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This is an Audio SCIENCE review, so measurements are what count here!
If you're happy with your DAC, just stick with it.

Whether there is a difference in listening quality depends a lot on your amp. If its measurements are the same or even worse, no difference will be audible with a better DAC.

I run an RME-ADI-2/4 with an NCx500 power amp and believe me: This combo surpasses everything I've heard before.
But I have to admit: It also measures great! In my opinion, good measurements produce good sound, and that's the way it should be.

The good news is: There's still something you can do to reach audiophile heaven :)

Best DrCWO
 

pickyAudiophile

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Or do you judge only by measuring gears.
If I got it right once, the assumption on ASR is that poor measuring devices shall be refused. Well measuring devices are considered as basis of a good product. Most importantly, manufacturers shall keep apart clean engineering on the one hand and voicing, tuning, alienation on the other hand. It's a matter of consumer's emancipation from manufacturers doing the same bad things over and over and over again. Nevertheless, a lot of these bad things do happen below the threshold of audibility.
 

MacCali

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Well, I've only read the 3 first and 3 last pages.

I own a 200 Signature and am sorry to read this.

I have to say however that I'm very happy with it , fed by ROON using Bluesound Node 2i, Pioneer N70AE and Squeezebox Touch as streamers.

But I wonder why, measuring so poorly this product, you didn't have the curiosity to listen to this "shit" (merde en français)?

And if you did, what did you think?

Or do you judge only by measuring gears.

No offense in my words, just to be clear.
Well @DrCWO put it very well, couldn’t have said it better myself.

I mean the only real issue, with sound not being factored, is the price. Honestly don’t want to check the price but if you paid 1000 or more for something like that is where we have a problem.

Honestly I think if you paid 400 we would have something to say about it.

If you’re happy that’s all that matters. You can either sell it and get something else or just stick with it. I’m also not trying to get you to go buy the perfect ASR dac but if the info was available would be nice to check before you open your wallet again in the future. Especially if it’s a large sum of money
 
OP
VintageFlanker

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Or do you judge only by measuring gears.
Yes. That exactly what I do. Go check Audiophilefr.com, Diapason or whatever random audiophile press if you only want to hear glowing things about the products you bought. ;)
But I wonder why, measuring so poorly this product, you didn't have the curiosity to listen to this "shit" (merde en français)?
I listened to many Atoll products so far and the very few times I founded them to sound good were when demoed with Atohm speakers at shows...
And if you did, what did you think?
It doesn't matter what I think. What does is a company lying to you by selling you misleading specs.
I own a 200 Signature and am sorry to read this.
Atoll should feel sorry. Not you.
I have to say however that I'm very happy with it ,
Good. Keep it, then. ;)
 

Jasperous

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Well, I've only read the 3 first and 3 last pages.

I own a 200 Signature and am sorry to read this.

I have to say however that I'm very happy with it , fed by ROON using Bluesound Node 2i, Pioneer N70AE and Squeezebox Touch as streamers.

But I wonder why, measuring so poorly this product, you didn't have the curiosity to listen to this "shit" (merde en français)?

And if you did, what did you think?

Or do you judge only by measuring gears.

No offense in my words, just to be clear.
You’re on the wrong side of the street if a bad measurement pierces your thin skin. I also have bad measuring equipment, but I still enjoy their experience
 

pistache

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Yes. That exactly what I do. Go check Audiophilefr.com, Diapason or whatever random audiophile press if you only want to hear glowing things about the products you bought. ;)
This is a punchline, I don't appreciate; how do you know how I choose my system?

For your information, I usually first listen to the dealer place, then I ask a loan and I test in my room, then I buy...or not: that's how I bought a full McIntosh system, Wilson Audio speakers, AVID turntable/SME V/Lyra Etna and I'm satisfied with this combo; if you want, I'll tell you how and why I came to buy an ATOLL DAC.
I listened to many Atoll products so far and the very few times I founded them to sound good were when demoed with Atohm speakers at shows...
Exactly, me too, in Paris, they work very well together, I think we were at the same shows.
It doesn't matter what I think. What does is a company lying to you by selling you misleading specs.

Ok, I thought you would want to corroborate your measurements.
Atoll should feel sorry. Not you.

Good. Keep it, then. ;)
Yes, I'll keep it for the moment , I've compared the ATOLL to an RME ADI I sent back to the seller...even if the RME measures great.
 

pistache

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Well @DrCWO put it very well, couldn’t have said it better myself.

I mean the only real issue, with sound not being factored, is the price. Honestly don’t want to check the price but if you paid 1000 or more for something like that is where we have a problem.

Honestly I think if you paid 400 we would have something to say about it.

If you’re happy that’s all that matters. You can either sell it and get something else or just stick with it. I’m also not trying to get you to go buy the perfect ASR dac but if the info was available would be nice to check before you open your wallet again in the future. Especially if it’s a large sum of money
I've paid 700 euros almost new late 2022. Yes, I'll keep it for the moment.
 

pistache

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If I got it right once, the assumption on ASR is that poor measuring devices shall be refused. Well measuring devices are considered as basis of a good product. Most importantly, manufacturers shall keep apart clean engineering on the one hand and voicing, tuning, alienation on the other hand. It's a matter of consumer's emancipation from manufacturers doing the same bad things over and over and over again. Nevertheless, a lot of these bad things do happen below the threshold of audibility.
I'm on par with you on that: good measurements should be the basis.
 

pistache

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This is an Audio SCIENCE review, so measurements are what count here!
If you're happy with your DAC, just stick with it.

Whether there is a difference in listening quality depends a lot on your amp. If its measurements are the same or even worse, no difference will be audible with a better DAC.

I run an RME-ADI-2/4 with an NCx500 power amp and believe me: This combo surpasses everything I've heard before.
But I have to admit: It also measures great! In my opinion, good measurements produce good sound, and that's the way it should be.

The good news is: There's still something you can do to reach audiophile heaven :)

Best DrCWO
Almost ok with you, but I 'm not sure good measurements mean good sound ( cf tube amps etc etc)
 
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