ATI 6000 Signature Series Power Amps

lokyc

Well-known Member
I initially thought I would post this on the ATI Power amp Thread. But now that I've got it, I believe it deserves its own thread.

I won't bore you with the design features. Its been discussed at length and the ATI site has a comprehensive explanation. I also recommend Widescreen Magazine's review with Morris Kessler.

I cannot mention ATI without discussing Lsound, as they are the only means to get them in the EU.

My experience with Lsound prior to the ATI has only been positive. So I had no hesitation ordering from them.

I can't remember the exact reason I looked up their site back in July (may have been furniture), and the 6000 Signature series page must have been up not long. But there was enough guff to convince me to move from my beloved Emotiva XPR-5.

I emailed Lsound and the helpful Jan replied within hours. After a few exchanges, I placed a preorder for a 6005 to take advantage of the 10% preorder discount.

It was originally slated to arrive in August, same as the States. But the shipping slipped till late Sep. Jan was prompt with queries and honest about what he did or did not know. To compensate for the delay, they threw in some complimentary Link cables. Shortly following Sound and Vision's review of the very same 6005, I received word from Jan the first batched were issued their boarding passes and about to take off. It was followed up with a confirmation that my unit was on the same flight. It arrived in Norway at the end of the week and made its way across the continent from Monday to arrive ahead of schedule at my friend's concierge 4 days later last Friday week. I picked it up with the help of my friend on Saturday.

Its heavy. Heavier than the Emo. The shipping weight was 65kg. There was a smaller box with the 2 UK power plugs and complimentary sub cable I requested. Dimensions of the package were virtually identical to the Emo.

The external box like the Emo was a sacrificial skin and had seen better days. Inside though was a double-box of thick, durable cardboard which was pristine. Opening the 3-layered lid revealed the amp sandwiched between 2 wooden boards (top and bottem) and styrofoam packing. The packaging is definitely more robust and better thoughtout than the XPR-5. It easily survived transatlantic/transcontinental shipping.

The unit comes with the handles installed. The standard accessories are a couple of US style power cables and a 12V trigger cable.

Looks wise, well what's there to say? Its a big black metal box.

Build quality is top class. Solid matte black metal chassis. All connectors robust. Not dissimilar to the XPR-5 (who says Emo's build quality is poor?). No gaps. Flushed seams. Good finishing all way round.

You've all seen the pics. The standby button is by touch. One cool feature no one has mentioned so far (including their own manual!) is that the ATI sign is backlit, and it turns on and off by touch. Very neat.

Then its hooking everything up. As some may already be aware, I have a stereo and surround path that converges into one power amp.

On the stereo side is a Chord Hugo, streaming from a Linn Majik DS, fed into a Moon Neo 350P preamp, balanced outs to the balanced inputs of the ATI.

The AV is an Anthem MRX510 run in pre/pro mode into the HT bypass input of the 350P for L/R, and the rest direct to the ATI.

All cables are Mark Grant

2 power plugs in, take a deep breath, and all systems on. Are my lights going to go out? Am i going to trigger a blackout on my street?

Nothing. I literally mean nothing. I assumed it would power on because of the 12V trigger. But when the power switches are first thrown, you have to manually hit the standby button to power it up. After that, the 12V trigger will control it. I think the manual also says it can come out of standby when detecting an input signal.

Unlike the Emo where there a heavy relay to start things up, in the ATI, there are a series of soft clicks that bring it up to full power. Not that the Emo popped my speakers ever. But the heavy relay can be a bit disconcerting. The ATI's flicks to life with a couple of apologetic coughs from Jeeves.

I waited for a week before posting my review has I wanted to let it run in a bit and also put it through its paces properly.

There is only one word to describe the sound.

Clean.

So clean that I felt I should have meditated and bathed in a holy spring (by obligatory beautiful nymphs of course) to cleanse mind, body and soul before listening to it.

So clean, its as if its not there. There is no amp. The signal just magnified itself in thin air direct from source to speaker.

Imagine all the good amps you've heard at that price point are like very clear glass. The 6005 is crystal.

If it was a door, it would need a health and safety sign as you will walk right through it.

Zero, I mean Zero noise floor at idle. Crank it up without any signal input and the speakers are still dead quiet.

No distortion. No colouration. And doesn't run out of steam.

Compared to the Emo, everything is just that little bit clearer. Most of all the bass remains super tight. The Simaudio 330A balanced stereo power amp matched some of that clarity and tighhtness, but didn't have the sheer weight and grunt the Emo had for AV effects like gunshots. The 6005 delivered those effects both with weight and finesse.

Every note, every sound sculpted, defined.

Take the explosion scene when Ryan's chopper was hit in Aghanistan (Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit). The RPG shrieks across the room, crashing through blowing up. Glass, metal, heat, blast, bodies thrown about.

Then it stops. Just like that. Back to silence as we cut to the next scene as Ryan arrives a the casualty station.

And its not just effects. Every sound is just faithfully and accurately reproduced. Silky orchestral strings to thudding gunshots. Heart thumping effects and melodious background music. Everything neatly, precisely laid out with no fuss. Nothing is neglected. Nothing lost. Nothing gets drowned out when played together.

Bass is no longer just a series of muffled booms. It is now thump, thud, growl, roar, hum.

All these and it feels it could go louder. Meanwhile the chassis is only just warm. So what's the catch?

Well, it is a very revealing amp and will be unforgiving for lower grade signals. It renders poor recordings from simply awful to totally unlistenable. I think poor analog recordings subsequently digitized suffered most (read my review of the Chord Hugo). If you like your tube-amp even-ordered harmonics sound, this amp is not for you.

But if transparency is what you're after, look no further.

At close to £1k RRP per channel, it would appear to match the rest of my mid-range components.

But I am convinced while the rest of my system has reached full potential, The 6005 is capable of much more

Don't let the RRP fool you. The 6000 series is reference quality. I can see how at home it will be with the RS20.

This must be the steal of the decade.

6005, you complete me.

ps. Guess I could do with a KK DXD808 duo stack, Projector and screen......
 
Last edited:

lucmor444

Active Member
Great report lokyc - sounds like it is really impressive and based on its pedigree that does not surprise me - I agree this is a great buy if you are in the market for a high end multi channel amp.
 
Generally with ATI they're in a home theatre system, but what do you think of the the 6005 as a "6002" when used as 2 channel hifi system?
 

lokyc

Well-known Member
Its a source to speaker component; leaves none of its own sonic signature.

Read my review of the Chord Hugo. Chord Hugo gets the DAC, Crack, and Sack treatment. | AVForums

Bit long winded I suppose. But basically the amp didn't play any factor. Just faithfully pumping everything up. Its like staying still on a unicycle. Lots work and effort to stay in place. Same with amps and components I suppose.

GIGO.

I made more mention of HT use because more impressively, is that music sounds like music, effects sound like effects; when both are on screen at the same time. Smooth silky strings juxtaposed by explosions, gunshots, tyres screeching. Clear, distinct. not all muddle together.

Some amps may be more effects. Like the Emo which has a heavy bass whack. Can be a bit leadfooted with music. Some like tube amp-like colouration with even-ordered harmonics (read about Bob Carver). Sounds melodious but too woolly for effects.

ATI 6000 just do what its told.
 

t bone

Well-known Member
Nice comprehensive review their sound like you have a Keeper for many years to come well done.
 

whodunnit

Active Member
:hiya: Thanks Lokyc...
Keep up the reviews, so I may live vicariously through your listening experience. If I ever get across the pond...expect a middle aged Yank to be knocking on your door!
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Recent review from HomeTheaterHiFi.com gives it a 'Best of 2014 award'

Conclusions about the ATI AT6002 Multi-channel Power Amplifier Review


The ATI AT6002 is completely fitting of its Signature Series designation. It is a giant in the world of power amplfiers, and I have never been so happy to have rack handles on something as I was with this. It handled all the music I could throw at it, and with its engineering pedigree and construction, I was certain it wasn’t going to break down under the stress. What surprised me is how silent it was when it was at idle.

Its modular design means it will support as many channels as any non-Atmos home theater will need. In the stereo, dual mono configuration I evaluated, I don’t have any criticism for the AT6002. It handled all my tests, from music and movies to the Audio Precision. The only problem you will likely have is moving it into place. On a positive note, for a power amplifier, heavy is good.

If you didn’t know about ATI and Morris Kessler before now, you should find out more. The ATI AT6002 Signature Series amplifier is a high-end amplifier that is designed to please and never be replaced.

ATI AT6002 Multi-Channel Power Amplifier Review - HomeTheaterHiFi.com
 

TB303

Active Member
I'm tempted to get one but not sure how much of an improvement over my Clasee (cap-2100) this will be...

I already listen at relatively low volume (70dB?) so I'm not looking for more power.
 
I wouldn't do that tbh. ATI 6002 with B&W CM is a bit much. A good 100W amp into 8ohm is plenty (and not AVR "100W") as long as it has a decent PSU which the cap-2100 looks like it does.

Although saying that I'm using ATI 2004 with Definitive Technology BP-2X (two pairs) only because want to match up all 7, and fronts need a good amp.

I'd upgrade your speakers.
 

TB303

Active Member
BTW
I've taken a closer look at the Mark Levinson no. 532H - which is, I believe an earlier iteration of the ATI 6002. They both look the same and the actual amplifier module cards are almost identical.
The ML retails for £7,500 in the UK and the ATI about £3,000 - less than half.

While the power ratings are the same ([email protected], [email protected] 4Ohm) the inside specs tell a different story:

Signal to Noise ratio:
ML: >85dB
ATI: >128dB

Also the transformers (one for each channel) are different:
ML: 425VA (each)
ATI: 900VA (each)

Basically this is substantially better spec... Really the secret of the Hifi world...
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
But how do they sound? Although the specs do speak for themselves people must buy the ML amps because they like them. Like valves they generally don't lead to big power or SNRs
 

TB303

Active Member
Hey Tom,
I didn't see this post.

I haven't listened to the ML amps and I accept the point regarding Valve amps - but these two amps are using teh same technology and almost identical board design (i saw a picture comparison, I think on Facebook) so probably can be compared using the same metrics.

I love the ATI,
It really opened up my speakers the extension of the high frequencies is stunning. I thought I know the CM10s well but they surprised me even more.

The sound is much clearer with greater separation between instruments but also feels 'quicker'...

A truly amazing amp, I'm now waiting to get the Schiit Yggy so I have a fully balanced source to go with my fully balanced amp...
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Home Cinema Sources and B&W 805 D4 Speaker Review and more...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom