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"ATI is trying to enhance their industry reputation by developing versatile audio utility products that will appeal to studio
owners on a budget. Unfortunately, for $1499, the ATI ADAC-2's quality is not going to further their mission."
"A meat 'n' potatoes converter...which will not give them the big lift they're looking for in the marketplace."
"Very versatile with plenty of I/O options..."
"$1500 for this? ATI is not getting my money!"
March 12, 2010
../ TestDrive: ATI ADAC-2
Audio Technologies, Inc. recently released a 24 bit / 192kHz, two-channel sample rate converter with three independent A-D, D-A and
SRC signal paths. The ADAC-2 is a "Converter Swiss Army Knife" of sorts, which the company is to pitching to project studio owners who
are looking for a multipurpose, yet sophisticated converter to handle a wide variety of applications.
The ADAC-2's front panel
ATI is actively trying to buck their "budget" reputation in the marketplace and is one reason that they presented their latest wares at the
most recent AES show in New York City. Art Constantine, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, was eager to showcase the ADAC-2 to us when
we approached the ATI booth. After he trotted out the one unit rack mountable ADAC-2 and enthusically ran through its feature set, we took the
bait and decided to put the converter through its paces.
Five Reviewers - One Converter
Although, the ADAC-2 is not complicated, it's clear that ATI took some time to design the front interface to be an intuitive and straightforward
affair. A single button allows you switch between A/D, D/A, and SRC modes, and all the information is clearly laid out and labeled. Two reviewers
felt that the LED level meter wasn't "precise," but it will give you a good enough "ball park to adjust the parameters accordingly." There's also
a Class-A Headphone output with "a dopey, dual-button gain control." ATI most likely wanted to stay with a button motif instead of incorporating a
lone rotary, but it's a little ungainly.
Three independent A-D, D-A and SRC signal paths
Dedicated I/O for each converter section
Front panel headphone output with Class-A amplification for monitoring
Intuitive pushbutton operation with LED indicators
LED Analog Level meter
Adjustable sample rates from 32 to 192kHz and word lengths up to 24 bits
Sample Rate Converter SNR >125dB
Front Panel Lock prevents unauthorized operation
Signal Monitor Display for instant status
Digital Error Display for fault diagnosis
External A/D and D/A sync inputs accept AES and Video Black signals
A/D and SRC clock sync outputs on BNC connectors
Unique ADAC MODE switch stores and recalls all setups
Audio I/O via XLR, RCA and TOSLINK connectors
The rear panel of the Audio Technologies, Inc. ADAC-2
On the back, the ADAC-2 houses balanced and unbalanced analog inputs/outputs, a Toslink optical input (no output), AES-3 SRC and ADC outputs,
S/PDIF digital in/out, a BNC outputs for sync, and an XLR input for both ADC and SRC sync.
Turn Back The Clock
ATI reportedly commissioned Day Sequerra's engineering department to tidy up the internal components to break the ADAC-2 free from the
company's reputation for mediocrity. Unfortunately, all reviewers found the ADAC-2 internal clock to be an issue. Utilizing a dedicated
clock, "demonstrated how flat and uninspired" the ADAC-2's internal clock left musical passages. Jitter was also noticeable to one reviewer.
However, at $1500 retail for the whole shebang, we weren't expecting much here.
The ADAC-2 provides sample rate conversion at 16, 18, 20 and 24 bit intervals for sample rates ranging from 32kHz to 192kHz. This allowed
the unit to deliver a "multitude of conversion options," which "increased its worth" in the studio. ATI claims that it has a dynamic range
of more than 100dB and a THD of less than 0.003 percent, but none of our reviewers noticed a substantial headroom increase as opposed to
The ADAC-2 has a Control Lockout attribute, which preserves your settings should another engineer wander into your studio and start twiddling
knobs (a known addiction). It also has an internal power supply, instead of a wall wart.
In the end, our reviewers felt that the "versatile" ADAC-2 was a "meat 'n' potatoes" converter with "plenty of I/O options" but was plagued
by a "weak internal clock" and "poor brand image." Products like the ADAC-2 will certainly help ATI's "poor brand image" and "country bumpkin
attitude" but this product will "not give them the big lift they're looking for in the marketplace."
The Future: An internal clock upgrade is certainly in order here, and a
Toslink Input couldn't hurt either.
ATI is trying to enhance their industry reputation by developing versatile audio utility products that will appeal to studio owners on a budget.
Unfortunately, for $1499, the ATI ADAC-2's quality is not going to further their mission.