Preamp: is ATC CA2 a good match for ATC40A?

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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I have the RME ADi-2 DAC FS.

This DAC is ok i like it, but my speakers gives me some hints, that it could handle some more full/filling/sound from a better preamp.

the chain is:
Source - RME ADi-2 DAC FS - ATC CA2 - ATC 40A
Cables: RCA from RME and XLR to ATC 40A from CA2...these cables are 5 meters each.

Will this amp be a very good match even though it is unbalanced?
 
Last edited:
I have the RME ADi-2 DAC FS.

This DAC is ok i like it, but my speakers gives me some hints, that it could handle some more juice from a better preamp.

the chain is:
Source - RME ADi-2 DAC FS - ATC CA2 - ATC 40A
Cables: RCA from RME and XLR to ATC 40A from CA2...these cables are 5 meters each.

Will this amp be a very good match even though it is unbalanced?
Preamps do not provide 'juice '
Except, perhaps, phono preamps.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
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people used to swear by naim pre's, n272 used to be the default when i was playing around with naim and lurking around on their forums.

In this case, i think the clue in the name and probably designed to work together seamlessly being an ATC designed unit.

But doesn't your RME have a gain control? would have thought it would do the job nicely and keep the box count low and small. Unless you're wanting to connect a turntable some such that is.
 
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people used to swear by naim pre's, n272 used to be the default when i was playing around with naim and lurking around on their forums.

In this case, i think the clue in the name and probably designed to work together seamlessly being an ATC designed unit.

But doesn't your RME have a gain control? would have thought it would do the job nicely and keep the box count low and small. Unless you're wanting to connect a turntable some such that is.
The CA2 would require an optional module if a turntable was going to be added.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Will this amp be a very good match even though it is unbalanced?
It has XLR outputs, which is what you need for your actives. An ideal match. There are several reviews, including this one where pairing with much higher-end active ATCs is mentioned.
 
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CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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people used to swear by naim pre's, n272 used to be the default when i was playing around with naim and lurking around on their forums.

In this case, i think the clue in the name and probably designed to work together seamlessly being an ATC designed unit.

But doesn't your RME have a gain control? would have thought it would do the job nicely and keep the box count low and small. Unless you're wanting to connect a turntable some such that is.
The RME is very clean, but it doesnt really fill the speaker with the energi I am looking for. It feels like the ATC 40 has more room for better sound.


The CA2 would require an optional module if a turntable was going to be added.
Thanks a lot :)
I was just a little worried about noise since it is a unbalanced RCA jack that has to be used for input. An I think the XLR output is not balanced.
 

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
139
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It has XLR outputs, which is what you need for your actives. An ideal match. There are several reviews, including this one where pairing with much higher-end active ATCs is mentioned.

Ok that sounds really good. I am not very educated when it comes to unbalanced vs balanced.

CA2 looks unbalanced. The input is RCA and output is XLR. I have 2 x 5meters of cables to speaker. I just hope I don´t hear any noise because the unit is not balanced :)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Ok that sounds really good. I am not very educated when it comes to unbalanced vs balanced.

CA2 looks unbalanced. The input is RCA and output is XLR. I have 2 x 5meters of cables to speaker. I just hope I don´t hear any noise because the unit is not balanced :)
Don’t worry about it Is the best advice. Very few items are truly balanced throughout, and balanced sources are scarce. It’s a quiet solid state preamp and the speaker feeds can be as long as you need.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
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The RME is very clean, but it doesnt really fill the speaker with the energi I am looking for. It feels like the ATC 40 has more room for better sound.




Thanks a lot :)
I was just a little worried about noise since it is a unbalanced RCA jack that has to be used for input. An I think the XLR output is not balanced.
Fair enough
 
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CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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Don’t worry about it Is the best advice. Very few items are truly balanced throughout, and balanced sources are scarce. It’s a quiet solid state preamp and the speaker feeds can be as long as you need.
Thanks. My local dealer did say the same about balanced. I will receive it tommorow. Im pretty excited :)

you shouldn't either way
Thanks ! :)

Fair enough
Let me correct myself...not better but maybe more of a wider sound...Thicker maybe.
 
The question is now if it is possible to bypass the pre in rme. I think not :)
Aha!.....
new DAC?
hang on. Surely it is a DAC / headphone amp? It has line level output doesn't it?
or am I missing the point again?
I found this:-

"As the manual says:

Auto Ref Level: Off.
Ref Level: +7dBu
Volume to 0dB
Volume fixed: yes.

That way, you get respectively 1,73V RCA or 3,46V XLR. To get "standard" 2V/4V:
Ref Level: +13dBu
Volume: -4.5dB (8,5dBu)
Fix the volume."

This way it will act purely as a DAC....
 
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CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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Aha!.....
new DAC?
hang on. Surely it is a DAC / headphone amp? It has line level output doesn't it?
or am I missing the point again?
I found this:-

"As the manual says:

Auto Ref Level: Off.
Ref Level: +7dBu
Volume to 0dB
Volume fixed: yes.

That way, you get respectively 1,73V RCA or 3,46V XLR. To get "standard" 2V/4V:
Ref Level: +13dBu
Volume: -4.5dB (8,5dBu)
Fix the volume."

This way it will act purely as a DAC....
Thank very very much for the info. So there is a volume fixed setting. NICE!!

I mostly got from the different forums that the pre wasnt really bypassed. Or I had the idea that people didnt understand dac only question.

I am reaaally excited on how the Arya V2 headphones will sound on it. Only downside I think I have to plug/unlug it when also using the speakers:

"Use of the headphone jack will mute the output from the main stereo output and also the sub output "
 
Thank very very much for the info. So there is a volume fixed setting. NICE!!

I mostly got from the different forums that the pre wasnt really bypassed. Or I had the idea that people didnt understand dac only question.

I am reaaally excited on how the Arya V2 headphones will sound on it. Only downside I think I have to plug/unlug it when also using the speakers:

"Use of the headphone jack will mute the output from the main stereo output and also the sub output "
I would imagine you'd have to reset it everytime you switched from headphones to speakers which isn't ideal, unless the headphone section can be volume controlled independently, however I am not sure it can.
 
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CleanCopperz

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Feb 12, 2022
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I would imagine you'd have to reset it everytime you switched from headphones to speakers which isn't ideal, unless the headphone section can be volume controlled independently, however I am not sure it can.
yeah I will definitly forget unplugging it sometimes. Also it is in the back. Not very practical. I gotta read the manual
 
It feels like the ATC 40 has more room for better sound.
SCM40A's have a very high performance potential and you should find the CA2 revealing more of the SCM40A's capabilities. If you want to hear SCM40A's at their optimum then use them with analogue pre amplification such as ATC's own reference SCA2 which out of interest is so good that it's been in production since 1996! or from a one chassis DAC/Pre solution direct drive via fully balanced outputs from an EMM Labs/Meitner Audio MA3 or a DA2 V2.
 

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
139
10
95
SCM40A's have a very high performance potential and you should find the CA2 revealing more of the SCM40A's capabilities. If you want to hear SCM40A's at their optimum then use them with analogue pre amplification such as ATC's own reference SCA2 which out of interest is so good that it's been in production since 1996! or from a one chassis DAC/Pre solution direct drive via fully balanced outputs from an EMM Labs/Meitner Audio MA3 or a DA2 V2.
I am really glad to hear that.

My local dealer did recommend me SCA2 first, but he told me the difference was not that big, unless I upgraded my speakers to more expensive ones in ATC.

When it comes to dacs. My max budget would be 7000euro(VAT included)
 

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
139
10
95
Aha!.....
new DAC?
hang on. Surely it is a DAC / headphone amp? It has line level output doesn't it?
or am I missing the point again?
I found this:-

"As the manual says:

Auto Ref Level: Off.
Ref Level: +7dBu
Volume to 0dB
Volume fixed: yes.

That way, you get respectively 1,73V RCA or 3,46V XLR. To get "standard" 2V/4V:
Ref Level: +13dBu
Volume: -4.5dB (8,5dBu)
Fix the volume."

This way it will act purely as a DAC....
I found the settings in the manual. But on ATC they hav 1V sensitivity. Output level of 2V/4V is not too much ?

What about the 1V maybe that would be better or am I off topic?
1654716392129.png
 

russell2022

Active member
Apr 29, 2022
5
3
25
My setup was RME ADI2 & turntable> ATC CA2 with phono > ATC P1> ATC SCM11. The CA2 was fine but lifeless and a bit clinical. I replaced it with a (almost one third of the price) Croft 25 phono preamp and the result is the sort of sound I would guess you are looking for. If you don't need a turntable there is a Croft preamp without that is cheaper.
 

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
139
10
95
My setup was RME ADI2 & turntable> ATC CA2 with phono > ATC P1> ATC SCM11. The CA2 was fine but lifeless and a bit clinical. I replaced it with a (almost one third of the price) Croft 25 phono preamp and the result is the sort of sound I would guess you are looking for. If you don't need a turntable there is a Croft preamp without that is cheaper.
Isnt that a tube pre?
 

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