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Atoll DAC200 Signature - Review & Measurements (DAC)

MacCali

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If you want to know, I'm not an absolute objectivist nor I am an absolute subjectivist; I'm not an engineer, I'm in the medical domain (I'm a Medical Laboratory Director) and I do have a scientific reasoning; as everybody knows, medicine is not an exact science (old debate with my father in law who is an engineer).

I am first of all a music lover, who loves to feel emotions when listening to music.

That's why perhaps I don't cut decibels in four, and I trust my ears.
Indeed, I’ve still yet to reach my three years in home audio. I too have a scientific background. I know there are plenty of heated topics and common sense over rules those things from a simple understanding of physics.

As mentioned I would hope that people on here and the subjective crowd understand we don’t want you to change. We just don’t want you to be taken to the cleaners by these big corporations. They are taking advantage of all of us and many including myself during the pandemic didn’t have the purchasing power. A time where being taken advantage of is extremely crucial.

Also with that in mind, it works with allocation as well. Someone for example paying so much for a streamer which is incompetently manufactured or worse would have cost 75% less if you build it yourself could have got a cheaper product with better performance and invested that money into a better amp.

It’s as simple as that. Audio 10 years ago was a completely different game. To us it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or minimum wage worker.
 

MacCali

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I assume you do understand that our ears can be very deceiving and are easy to fool… Not really trustworthy!
Your ears are not deceptive as I pointed a couple posts back. There’s a degree of acceptable and not acceptable, according to Amir each piece of equipment will have a different impact. But as I stated on the topic of amps if an extremely poorly designed and measuring amp can sound okay to someone who accepts objectivity. This surely means these companies can get away with producing a product, amp or other, like an amp that produces -75 db sinad and greater than majority of people will find that as subjectively good.

The point is there’s definitely better. The difference is key to comprehension and diminishing returns.

I came from Audioholics before I ever purchased any audio equipment. As mentioned Gene would say an amp that’s -95 db is definitely good enough. When I came to ASR I thought he was incorrect since audible transparency is -115. Yet now from experience owning a product which was -40 in comparison to -96, the weakest measuring product in my chain. That one would assume the -40 product would 8 times worse or more but subjectively it is not as bad as one could imagine. Primarily is you are objective, where as you would accept that.

So if per say you went from a product that was -80 db to -110 the difference should be far less noticeable especially when objectivity is not creating bias in your mind. As in you don’t know the measurements and you sit down to double blind test you would realize there’s a difference but it would be far less than you would assume and not limited too they just sound different.

But logic tells you if that -80 db amp is 2000 and the -110 is 1000 which purchase decision one makes should be clear as day.
 

JSmith

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excellent, but in the end, they are what matters.
Not out ears... our brains. I find it interesting that the creative nature of the brain is flouted by some as some kind of curse or generally not possible, as they are so infallible. Is it a security thing (or lack of)?


JSmith
 

pistache

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Not out ears... our brains. I find it interesting that the creative nature of the brain is flouted by some as some kind of curse or generally not possible, as they are so infallible. Is it a security thing (or lack of)?


JSmith
Every sense we have (hearing, touching, smelling etc) is connected to the brain. They can be cheated.
 
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Almost ok with you, but I 'm not sure good measurements mean good sound ( cf tube amps etc etc)
Hello,

Like I said earlier, I'm also the owner of an Atoll DAC, which I bought probably 10 years ago or so.

I don't see any problem with VintageFlanker's doing honest measurements of the unit.

Would I change my unit for a 200$ Topping that surpasses my old Atoll ? No, for a couple of reasons:

1- It works fine and is reliable;
2- It has multiple inputs, which I appreciate;
3- I'm not sure I would hear any difference anyway because some specs are around listening thresholds.

Do I appreciate the work VintageFlaker did ? I sure am. I really appreciate to finally have measurements of Atoll DACs and it would help me make choices if I need to replace it at some point. I don't feel personally defensive to know that there are better products than mine in the market.

As for the question of good sound, it is the long debate of coloration vs transparency and we enter a subjective topic, which I don't think was the point of VintageFlaker's review.

Best wishes,
 

pistache

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Hello Christian,

I'm 100% OK with your post...

When I say 100%, it's 100%...no debate for me.

That's why I'll keep my ATOLL and that's why I enjoy reading @VintageFlanker.

And I absolutely didn't want to enter a subjectivist/objectivist debate: I don't want to be burned in the public square!;);)
 

MacCali

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Hello,

Like I said earlier, I'm also the owner of an Atoll DAC, which I bought probably 10 years ago or so.

I don't see any problem with VintageFlanker's doing honest measurements of the unit.

Would I change my unit for a 200$ Topping that surpasses my old Atoll ? No, for a couple of reasons:

1- It works fine and is reliable;
2- It has multiple inputs, which I appreciate;
3- I'm not sure I would hear any difference anyway because some specs are around listening thresholds.

Do I appreciate the work VintageFlaker did ? I sure am. I really appreciate to finally have measurements of Atoll DACs and it would help me make choices if I need to replace it at some point. I don't feel personally defensive to know that there are better products than mine in the market.

As for the question of good sound, it is the long debate of coloration vs transparency and we enter a subjective topic, which I don't think was the point of VintageFlaker's review.

Best wishes,
Honestly the sad truth is sometimes the older products get less short cuts. Quite possibly could be better.

I always say just be happy with what you got, audio is a maze and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger with so many variables.

Just enjoy the music and stop overthinking, generally speaking.

No one here is telling anyone go buy the best measuring equipment or any thing along those lines. Everyone is free to do what they want and even the data is free for anyone world wide.

In my audio journey I am here for experiences, I want to learn all the possibilities even if they are good or bad, objective or subjective, it’s the experience that counts.

But most importantly on the other hand I am not willing to give my hard earned money away to these bozo companies that don’t care about audio and only want to make money by overcharging customers. That my personal opinion when I buy a high price tag mid tier performance product.

Our goal[all of us] is high fidelity music reproduction. You don’t get that with products that infringe upon that and are expensive at the same time
 

Scytales

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My apology to rejuvenate this thread, but something bother me.

I know someone who get an unexpected hum problem whose origin has been traced to a recent model of Atoll streamer. Nothing can get rid of the hum, which seems to point to a low frequency signal mixed in the output signal inside the Atoll. I acknowledged that this thread is about the DAC200 Signature, but as the current generation of Atoll devices seems more or less built the same way, I tried to get some good pictures of the inside to figure out the internal grounding scheme. At first, I thought that the Atoll has no safety earth despite a three prongs mains inlet socket and the lack of mention of the class of operation on the rear panel, because the three internal mains input terminals are directly soldered on the PCB, which led me to believe that the internal main earth terminal is connected to nothing:

Atoll-DAC200-Signature.jpeg


But on a picture of the inside of the DAC300 (the model above the DAC200) I have found on the Internet, we can clearly see a PCB trace going to the solder joint of the mains earth terminal :

Atoll-DAC300-1.jpg


This trace goes to this "Earth" point which also corresponds to a mounting point of the PCB :

Atoll-DAC300-2.jpg


That trace can also been seen on the second photo on this webpage : https://vumetre.com/en/tests/manufacturer/atoll/atoll-▻-dac300/

I must say I am rather concerned by the reliability of the connection of the metal chassis to the mains safety earth, for the kind of standoff under the PCB is not visible and the very regular bolts used are possibly black anodized (hence non-conductive?).

Except the reduction of the cost of manufacture, I do not see the point of such a configuration. And is the signal ground connected to this "Earth" point and, if it is the case, how ?
 
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