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  • Good preamp for SCM100ASLT

    I recently purchased scm100aslt, I am running it with cda2 mk2 cd player/preamp. Sound is amazing but it peaks too quickly on the volume knob, distortion sets in at around 10-11'o'clock position, compared to the Bryston B-135SST3 that I use to drive SCM-11 v2 in my office, I can go to 3'o'clock position before clipping light starts flickering. Is there a better preamp out there with XLR output that matches scm100 active?

  • #2
    Check out the TVC Music first passive type pre amps pretty amazing, unlikely to overload as don't typically add gain to the source output just attenuation I think, plus Townsend have recently released the Allegri Ref Pre amp again passive style but this time an autotransformer slightly different to the TVC but i would love to hear one as the few reviews thus far are amazing.
    I use an MF Classic V2 with active 100's its superb ( no aspect of the sound is lacking) but I want to try the Baby Ref V2 soon as its supposed to blow the classic out of the water.
    Not sure how much better it can be? again the reviewers seem to think so plus the designer also says its way ahead, of course its lots of money (more money) but not as much as an Allegri Ref.
    MF will also give full RRP trade in on my Classic V2 (2018/2019 model) had the 1st version classic before the V2 is better so perhaps the Baby Ref will be the leap a number of persons say it is? Great customer service from Music First and do everything to enhance loyalty to the brand.


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    • #3
      First, try to use a Cinch to XLR Cable. This will bring the Power of the signal down so that you have a wider Range at the volume poti. If there is no hum you don‘t need a completely balanced cable. I am using a Audionet Pre1G3 Preampilifer with a EPS power supply an I have tested both opinions. In my chain the Cinch/XLR cable is the better one, the cable itself ist the Sommer Cable Carbokab 225 2x3m in both types the same.
      If you want I can send you a cable for testing(from August because the next two weeks i‘m at holiday).
      P.S. My speakers are also ATC SCM100ASL.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by thebadcat View Post
        I recently purchased scm100aslt, I am running it with cda2 mk2 cd player/preamp. Sound is amazing but it peaks too quickly on the volume knob, distortion sets in at around 10-11'o'clock position, compared to the Bryston B-135SST3 that I use to drive SCM-11 v2 in my office, I can go to 3'o'clock position before clipping light starts flickering. Is there a better preamp out there with XLR output that matches scm100 active?
        Bad cat just re-read your post, have you spoken to dealer/atc it seems odd for this to happen, there maybe a way to adjust output to suit.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your answers. I guess I should have worded my question little differently asking if anyone else is using ATC CDA2 mk2 with active ATC speakers and at what point on the volume position does the clipping/distortion set in. I use optical input to the built in DAC in CDA2. I assume that signal strength from DAC to preamp inside CDA2 should be pretty standard. BTW, with SCM100 Active, I feel like it is the end of my audiophile journey and can't imagine a speaker sounding better than this. It is miles ahead when compared with B&W 800 Anniversary that were in my system since about 2005 with a Krell.

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          • #6
            fr.jazbec, thank you for your offer to send the cables. I am in US, you might be in EU? Seems like too much of a hassle! I will try Cinch->XLR, Cinch is the same as RCA single ended?

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            • #7
              You can try to drive the speakers with a RCA/XLR adapter cable, then you have only the half poweroutput an a greater range of volume.
              kinds regards Rüdiger

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              • #8
                Rudiger, How long have you had SCM100s? Have you heard anything better? I am in musical heaven since I started listening to them about a month ago, music never sounded so live, especially at high volume levels.

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                • #9
                  Hello badcat
                  I have my ATC from the 4.1.20. Before I had the TDL Monitor Compact(similar TDL Monitor). The ATC are the best speakers I ever used and they will stay for the rest of my life.
                  If you want I can send the cable to you, you must not send them back and I don‘t want money for that, it’s a present.
                  The problem ist that I am in holiday for 2 weeks and the first time I can send them is the 9.8. The cable is only for testing, it isn‘t the best highend quality. If it is to long for you to wait, you can buy it at amazon.
                  https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07N7FH11S?...t_details&th=1
                  If you want a better cable buy this one, it is the one I am using now.
                  https://www.ebay.de/itm/2x-3m-Adapte...QAAOSwDuJW1wxy
                  So if I should send you the cable for present give me your adress by PN. I am living in germany and I am lucky if I can help you.
                  kinds regards Rüdiger
                  Last edited by fr.jazbec; 07-17-2020, 11:51 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Another possibility to put the gain down ist using this element.
                    http://www.funk-tonstudiotechnik.de/...el-neu-300.pdf

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thebadcat View Post
                      Rudiger, How long have you had SCM100s? Have you heard anything better? I am in musical heaven since I started listening to them about a month ago, music never sounded so live, especially at high volume levels.
                      I used SCM 100A SLs for over eight years, before upgrading to 150SL AT (w/ Anni amps) about ten years ago. ATC are very easily the best loudspeakers I've ever heard, and they astonish me every time I play music through them. Sublime, perfect. These are going nowhere.

                      Every guest who hears them is amazed and befuddled. People can't believe the clarity and total lack of any audible distortion, together with the staggering dynamic range. Everyone gets it, pretty much straight away if you play something they'll know. Requests invariably follow. They are just so much fun.

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                      • #12
                        P.S. I use an old Naim NAC 52, which had both its innards and Supercap power supply thoroughly revised by James Henriot of Whest Audio. Whest make sublime phono stages, I have their MC Ref IV dual mono, and preamps are easy stuff for a phono stage engineer. I've no desire to part with this preamp. Imaging? From a box with "Naim" written on it?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thebadcat View Post
                          Thanks for your answers. I guess I should have worded my question little differently asking if anyone else is using ATC CDA2 mk2 with active ATC speakers and at what point on the volume position does the clipping/distortion set in. I use optical input to the built in DAC in CDA2. I assume that signal strength from DAC to preamp inside CDA2 should be pretty standard. BTW, with SCM100 Active, I feel like it is the end of my audiophile journey and can't imagine a speaker sounding better than this. It is miles ahead when compared with B&W 800 Anniversary that were in my system since about 2005 with a Krell.
                          I had the cda2 Mkii with 100ASLs and also had limited volume range ie high volumes reached by a 10 o clock setting and big jumps in volume underneath that setting. I used Rothwell Balanced attenuators, I tried both -10dB and -20dB and that gave me more volume flexibility. I think I settled on the -20dB attenuators.


                          in terms of clipping. Is this just on optical or through other inputs?

                          I would have kept the CDA2 however I had an itch to do more surround sound decoding and wanted a one box solution, so I have an old but pretty fine Meridian 861V4. No need for attenuators as you calibrate all channels at he listening seat.

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                          • #14
                            For music source in addition to optical to DAC I have used the CD Player that is part of CDA2 and RCA inputs from a bluetooth audio receiver and all sources start distorting at about the same volume point, around 10-11'o'clock. Same digital files played through optical input sound significantly better than when played through bluetooth receiver, so ATC DAC is definitely very good quality.

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                            • #15
                              I had a similar problem when I used a Symphonic Line PreOut and I liked to buy a 6db attenuator. Thomas Funk from Funk Tonstudiotechnik told me that you must have 20db or more if you don‘t want to hear the attenuator, 6db would be to less. So I didn‘t trust attenuators any more and I stopped buying.

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                              • #16
                                badcat:

                                It seems you have a couple of questions nested in your post.

                                Is there a superior preamp to the CDA2? This is mostly a matter of preference. The CDA2 is a very nice preamp/CD combination. Hard to beat at its asking price. For more, it's beatable.

                                I had 50SEs with the CDA2 for a couple of months. At the time I was in a large, somewhat reverberant room. The 50SE CDA2 combination in that environment was very good, but not the best I was able to obtain. The sound was a little too bright and emphasized attack and decay at the cost of sustained tone, IME. I can't lay it entirely on the CDA2 nor excuse it either, as I loved Pass Labs' XP12 as a preamp with the CDA2 as the source. The Pass/50SE/CDA2 combination was the best I've ever heard. Compared to the CDA2, the Pass remained dynamic while revealing nuanced tone and timbre that escaped the CDA2; sometimes dynamic presentations exhibit that characteristic at the cost of tone and timbre. The CDA2 did a marvelous job with attack and decay and seemed more "exciting" but was also a smidgen less natural/realistic. At this level of performance they're both terrific, but preference isn't about "good enough" but about what you want. The 50SEs at $66,000 were too much for me. Your 100ASL are a wonderful speaker, revealing while still being a pleasure to hear.

                                Your second question, I think, is with so little movement, it's hard to find the volume you want. I did not have this problem. ATC, on its larger models, has a sensitivity trim on the back of the power packs. Check page 4 of your manual. Adjusting that might solve your problem. If there aren't markers on the trim, I recommend that you take a picture of where the trim level is set before making changes. This will allow you to return to its original position. Adjust one speaker at a time, noting the orientation of the screwdriver so you can track the changes you've made. ATC say that, but with different language. Adjusting this might well allow the CDA2 to display a richer and more varied palette of tone and timbre. Good luck

                                Larry

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                                • #17
                                  In my mind only the Pro models have the opportunity to regulate the gain.
                                  Kind regard Rüdiger

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                                  • #18
                                    ATC's consumer literature shows the trim level.

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                                    • #19
                                      My ATC SCM100ASL don‘t have a trim level poti outside, maybe there is one inside. I am shure this is only a feature of the Pro models. Even the picture in the operation manual shows the back of the Pro models, sry if I am wrong.
                                      Kinds regards Rüdiger

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Rudiger: Here is the text from the ATC consumer side of their web page:

                                        On Page 4 of the manual online, you'll see the following text:
                                        "5.6 Level Trim : Provides access to an internal control that enables adjustment of input sensitivity. Use a small flat blade screwdriver to access the control. As supplied, monitors are calibrated to an input sensitivity of 1V. Note: Adjusting the sensitivity without the ability to recalibrate will leave a pair of monitors unmatched."



                                        Last edited by kingabs; 07-20-2020, 04:31 PM. Reason: Edited - quoted text was too small

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                                        • vintageaxeman
                                          vintageaxeman commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          I used the trimmer on the back of my louder side to reduce it's level slightly, as my SCA2 preamp has no balance control, and the arrangement of my listening room is not perfectly symmetrical so it DOES need to be adjusted a little.

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