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  • Who uses ATC SCA2 SPH2 phono stage?

    Hi all

    I found that my ATC SCA2 preamp has a phono board SPH2 RIAA.
    I would like to try using a turntable in my system.
    I don’t like the idea of using an additional boxes and cables, but there is also an opinion that the built-in phono is usually of low quality.
    Who uses the phono SPH2 RIAA installed in ATC SCA2 preamp? How does it sound? Could you characterize it? I haven't found any information on internet.
    My system is ATC 50ASLT + SCA2 + dCS Bartok

    P.S. Has anyone listened Simon Yorke S9 with ATC?
    Last edited by arzojaan; 07-30-2020, 03:41 PM.

  • #2
    I have no direct experience of the SY turntables, but what a fine reputation they have. I imagine you would have no complaints.

    I have the phono board in my SCA2. I bought the SCA2 second hand, and I have always used an external phono stage.

    However, the same question had occurred to me. How good IS the phono stage? WHY are we not using it? Knowing how good all other ATC electronics are, we SHOULD be trusting it.

    I think one of my reservations is the fact that to make adjustments to loading, gain, etc, the amp has to be removed from my racking, and the lid removed. I am not lazy, it is just quite a physically complex thing to do in my racking system.

    Anyway, as Arzojaan says, any other comments?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by vintageaxeman View Post
      I have no direct experience of the SY turntables, but what a fine reputation they have. I imagine you would have no complaints.

      I have the phono board in my SCA2. I bought the SCA2 second hand, and I have always used an external phono stage.

      However, the same question had occurred to me. How good IS the phono stage? WHY are we not using it? Knowing how good all other ATC electronics are, we SHOULD be trusting it.

      I think one of my reservations is the fact that to make adjustments to loading, gain, etc, the amp has to be removed from my racking, and the lid removed. I am not lazy, it is just quite a physically complex thing to do in my racking system.

      Anyway, as Arzojaan says, any other comments?
      Thanks for your comment. I have never dealt with "vinyl", but having a good digital, I don't want to screw up with analog =)
      Have you compared this phono with anything else in ATC system?

      Comment


      • #4
        I have used a high end Linn turntable through a Naim Superline phono stage, which was wonderful, but I am currently using a streaming system using Qobuz, rather than vinyl...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by arzojaan View Post

          Thanks for your comment. I have never dealt with "vinyl", but having a good digital, I don't want to screw up with analog =)
          Have you compared this phono with anything else in ATC system?
          If you are new to LP records then frankly it’s an expensive rabbit hole from which you may never escape. Completely different if you’re like me with many treasured LPs from the 1970s, 80s etc, pre-CD, that you still wish to play. Almost all new recordings are digital masters, so cutting them onto fragile vinyl to replay them with a costly turntable, arm and cartridge makes no sense to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Arzojaan:
            I've used ATC's SCA2 with its internal phono stage, but > 10 years ago. My comparator at that time was EARs 802 tube phono stage (part of another all in one preamp). Both were quite good, and closer to alike than different. The EAR was darker, more relaxed but less extended and controlled into the bass. The EAR was also a little less detailed and "airy" in the treble region.

            I could have been happy with either one, but sided with the EAR because at the time I preferred relaxed to vibrant. I've owned or listened to a fair number of phono stages over the past twenty years. ATC's is good, if not the best. If you have a table, arm and cartridge, it could be very good for you, but it's at least worth a test.

            IME the upper level of phono stage performance is subject to considerations that are "unfair" to some components. Preferences rule more than outright performance. Your room, cartridge and preferences will guide you as much as the performance of any component, i.e. the same phono stage in a different room with different ancillaries playing for a different person are likely to yield differing opinions.

            I've listened for extended periods (months) to several EAR phono stages (834P, 868 and Phono[Box] Classic), as well as phono stages from Classe, Air Tight, Tom Evans and Pass Labs XP17 (my current favorite). Phono preamps are similar to turntables in that they all sound a little different and you'll prefer one over the other.

            I've owned Oracle Delphi MkII, Sota Sapphire, and currently own an Amazon Model 2, but I've also had several months with VPI's Aries 2, Nottingham Space Deck (Ace Space arm), and a few others I can't remember. If you're going to try vinyl, get something good. If you're just trying out a table, I'd avoid a suspended table like the Sondek (which people love) because you may spend a lot more time getting the suspension right, rather than listening to a table as good as it is. Tables not made to a high level don't reward the cost. Yes, there are diminishing returns. Your ATC SCA2 will show the differences between tables, arms and cartridges, when they are good. Second hand is a very good way to test things out.

            Larry

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