Review Atoll Electronique SDA200 and CD200 Signature – Vive La France!

Pros

  • Sounds exceptionally good
  • Versatile
  • Build quality
  • Roon Ready

Cons

  • App is a little rudimentary
  • Prijs: € 4600 set

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price
    Atoll SDA200

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    The Atoll Sound

    The SDA200 sounds generous, round, robust but with real punch and plenty of insight. The balance is quasi perfect. The beautiful class a/b amplifier that Atoll is known for, does a wonderful job here. Streaming via Tidal or Qobuz is enjoyable. Airy and full is a combination we rarely encounter.

    Actually, the SDA200 and a pair of speakers are enough. The CD200, however, is not inferior and we have played quite a few CDs over the past month. It is a fine player with the same sound as the SDA200, same dac, but most of the sound obviously comes from the great amplifier in the SDA200. The line inputs are top notch in any case.

    Listening

    The first CD we choose is “Feels like home” by Norah Jones. This album can sound bare, sharp and chilly on a system that is unbalanced. No problem for this French duo. The bass drum is given enough weight that each song has foundation. Voices are slightly polished and details are easily audible but that is not the focus for this duo. These units make music where analysis is secondary.

    The second album we pull out is “New Moon” by Elliott Smith. What a great album this is! We turn up the volume and listen to both discs. Actually, there is little to dislike about this combo. We listen mesmerized, are involved in the music and especially find the combination with the Revels excellent. Nothing disturbs or falls out of tune and that is really a strength of these Atolls. It is not as refined and detail-rich as through the Sonnet Morpheus but we don’t expect that either. This is an energetic reproduction with plenty of detail and especially a lot of power and strength at the bottom end. The Atolls never sound cold and analytical.

    The Weather Station now with their wonderful album “Loyalty”. We first see the title of the album and the song appears on the CD player’s screen and then the name of the band and the performer. A nice little extra!

    Immediately we hear that nice low-end reproduction that is really typical of the brand and the Atoll SDA200. Tamara Lindeman’s voice sounds subdued, soft, enchanting. Without edge and beautifully loose and flowing. On the title track, the strings have weight and resonate for a long time. You really feel like browsing through your CD collection and discovering the next gem to put in the TEAC drive. Each album just sounds really good. You don’t tend to dissect the music, you just listen and enjoy.

    The combination of the Burr Brown chip combined with an excellent power supply provides a relaxed playback. One without barbs that encourages prolonged listening.

    Time to some electronic violence now in the form of Fila Brazillia. This British music duo is inspired by South American rhythms and grooves. “The life and times of Phoebus Brumal” is full of frenetic tracks that bounce from one side to the other. Now, the SDA-200 is not the fastest amplifier but it is very rhythmic and maintains control in all situations. As mentioned, there are faster and more open amps but they often do not possess the same dynamics and balls.

    Streaming via Tidal or Qobuz does not cause any loss of quality. It is slightly softer and less pointed but still with plenty of air and punch. A lot depends on the stream of course but the quality of the playback is constant. On Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman²” the guitar playing is particularly colorful and fluid. Detail rich too! And very open. Nice dispersion between the speakers and the voice right in the middle. ‘Father and Son’ hits the right chord. No sharpness or artificial sounds and again and again that strong foundation at the bottom end. Delightful.

    Damn… How good these devices have become in a couple of years!

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