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With the Droplet transport and on Richard Bona's "Dipama" from Tiki, the Atoll demonstrated great analytic powers. The sound was highly detailed and airy and showed a real facility to spotlight the smaller details. The midrange was open, high frequencies were clear and bass had no trailing resonance effects. Voices were a little forward but not unduly so and endowed with believable presence.

On the Hadouk Trio’s "Vol De Nuit" from Live at Fip, the bass and upper bass were deep, frank and realistically potent. The live venue appeared wide open with generous dimensions of neither excess nor weakness. Compared to brands like Naim or Rega or what my Denon 3910 deliver, percussion was drier and the midrange less sweet. However, overall dynamics appeared to be better as did treble energy. The interludes of applause seemed dynamically nuanced and analytically specific.

On Stephano Landi  "Passacaglia della Vita" from Homo fugit velut umbra, the tenor’s voice had fair realism, heightened presence, consistency and relief. The stage went outside the speakers and deeply into the room. This sound was far removed from 'vintage' with its excess of sweetness, warmth and curves. Transparency, dynamics and details dominated without unbecoming brilliance, dissection or aridness. The timbre of each instrument was distinct and the melody fluidly shaped.

With Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Petite Musique de Nuit and the Ensemble La Folia, I noticed that at high levels, the DAC-100 exhibited a small tendency to become somewhat rigid during the development of orchestral tutti. On the other hand, with amplifiers as different as Atoll’s IN-30 or my Consonance Cyber 222 MKII and Cyber 211/845, the Atoll had real flair to access the finesse of this album.

From the warmth of the woodwinds to the agility of the metal flutes, each instrument had distinct sonority and each musician remained perfectly in place and well localized. The mass fusion was complete without becoming blurry even during heavy peaks.

Conclusion: I strongly suggest to wait at least 200 hours before forming an opinion. It takes that long before the Atoll DAC-100 matures fully. For a competitive price, the DAC-100 is an attractive solution for PC sources and a good alternative to upgrade budget CD or DVD players. If I had to compare its character to a wine, I would chose a dry champagne for the "French spirit of sound" – transparency, analysis, spunk and dynamics. Personally, my preference was for slightly soft and warm electronics and speakers as partners for the DAC100.

Quality of packing: Good.
Reusability of packing: Several times.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Very easy.
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Completeness of delivery: Manual and one pair of RCA interconnects.
Quality of owner's manual: Simply but complete.
Website comments: Basic but includes a very dynamic forum.
Human interactions: Atoll is always responsive and helpful.
Pricing: A fair value.
Final comments & suggestions: The Atoll DAC-100 is a dynamic and transparent device, a perfect companion to turn a PC into a music source or to upgrade an entry-level CD player.

Atoll Electronique website