Atoll IN80 Signature amplifier review. Quality, fun Hi-Fi in French

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The IN80 Signature is made directly in France, it is fun and pleasantly different from its competitors. If you want passionate fun for a reasonable price, give it a try.

Pros

  • Energetic and authority beyond the class

  • Possibility of modular extension

  • Bold sound with a pretty powerful bass base

  • Can play aloud (if you are afraid of seemingly average performance)

Cons

  • Compared to mainstream leaders, the quality of processing lags in places

French hi-fi is a relatively specific island in terms of sound and aesthetics, as well as the style of the whole country. One of the traditional French brands – Atoll – is located in the Normandy region, almost within sight of the English Channel. According to its own producers, this producer tries to offer its sound to the widest possible range of interested parties, in other words to keep the prices as attractive as possible, which is certainly attractive, especially in today’s extreme price increases.

Atoll has a very wide range of devices that are dominated by amplifiers – there are not many companies that would offer components from the limit of 10,000 crowns, much less those that do not rely on production in the Far East, but honestly create products in their homeland.

Appearance and construction

The IN80 Signature, an integrated amplifier from a very attractive range, is also produced in France. Despite the friendly price tag, however, it bears all the visual and material features of the Atoll electronics – there is a nice front panel with rounded corners, even a line of the cross-section, stretching across its entire width. In the same way, however, there is also a relatively simple cover with many ventilation holes or, quite simply, but within the price, definitely an acceptable rear panel. Given that it’s Made in France, however, hats off; Although not a luxury product, it is durable and fairly assembled.

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The front is dominated by a centrally mounted volume control, to the left of it is a simple series of diodes indicating the selected input, on the right three buttons to turn on and just switch inputs, nothing more is needed in the end. If only, there is a headphone output and a remote control sensor next to the volume control, so comfort won’t be a problem either.

Quite logically, the IN80 Signature is a purely analog component, but the composition of the connectors is interesting. There are three common line inputs and one with the possibility of conversion by an additional module into a phono input. There is also a tape loop (ie input and output), by-pass (ie input directly to the output stage) and pre-out – it is even there twice, so you can control an additional power amplifier and two subwoofers.

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Atoll IN80 Signature S without module

The amplifier offers two pairs of speaker terminals, simple but meeting the requirements of the class. Apart from the power socket, there is only a small 12V voltage trigger jack.

The screwed panel on the back suggests that it should also be possible to purchase a D / A converter module here, which would expand the connectivity by two optical, two coaxial and one USB input. Bluetooth also counts. The module uses the AK4490 chip and supports PCM 32 bit / 384 kHz and DSD128.

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Atoll IN80 Signature With optional D / A module

Like other Atoll models, the IN80 Signature relies on a very honestly oversized toroidal transformer. There are also two pairs of power elements, each with its own small heatsink and the number of filter capacitors corresponds to them – they are relatively large. Otherwise, the circuits on the printed circuit board with a double layer of gold-plated nickel are quite simple, which is not unexpected, again it is in accordance with the standards of conventional hi-fi in this class. The classic blue ALPS is in charge of the volume control.

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The amplifier offers a solid power of 80 watts per channel up to 8 ohms, the manufacturer also states a working frequency range of 5 – 100,000 Hz and of course dimensions: width 44 cm, height 9 cm and depth 30 cm at a weight of 7 kg.

How it plays

IN80 Signature we listened both instead of Norma Revo SC-2 LN / Revo PA 160 MR together with Métronome DSC1 on Xavian Quarta Evolution (on Nordost Heimdall 2 cables and GMG Power Harmonic Hammer 3000P filter) and instead of Cambridge CXA81 with Cambridge CXC and Teac NT -503, when the Fischer & Fischer SN-70 was played via Dynamique Audio Horizon 2 cables.

Atoll tunes the sound for all its components to a significant bass volume, IN80 Signature is no different – that’s why the double bass in “Cantata Con Mina” by Mina De André (“La Canzone Marinella” | 1997 | Ricordi | 7432153879-2) sounded at a given price level extremely dense and emphatically, the juiciness is not usual at all. It’s not a completely “thick” sound, but it definitely gives the feeling that the bass is deep. It is a harmonious and relatively elegant base, it definitely prefers a feeling of massiveness over a perfect border or variety of positions.

Madeleine Peyroux’s singing in “Blue Alert” (2006 | Rounder | 0602517032798) sounded sweet and lovely, but you also feel that the delicate female voice is set deeper than usual, sometimes it might sound a bit fresher – however, it is Atoll’s own style. But we have to appreciate the relaxed, kind sound, where the sound may not be fundamentally analytical or overflowing with details, but it is sleek, whole and rich.

In contrast to the strong bass, the trebles in “Deceptively Yours” by Norah Jones and Peter Malick Group (“New York City” | 2003 | Koch | 0099923867821) are somehow more settled and less pronounced, although the recording itself is quite sharp. However, the readability is good and the slightly smaller volume prevents the sound from growing too sharp when you dial it a little. It is true that even with significantly worse recordings, there is no aggression.

The bold sound helps to perceive the dynamism of the songs, the rich performance suited Ravel’s “Bolero” performed by Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1974 | Deutsche Grammophon | 415 845-2) – the amplifier is pleasantly musical and plays somewhat willingly and tastefully at the end of the composition he can very well sketch the grading energy of a large orchestra, which may be related to the fact that he plays loudly and relatively quickly and his sound does not tend to be at the edge of his possibilities.

On the other hand, reproduction is not analytical at all, so if you like to deal with fine details and layers and so on, Atoll may not appeal to you at all – in his presentation is Dvořák’s “Serenade for wind and strings in D minor, B. 77 (op. 44) “In the version of Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (1981 | Philips | 400 020-2) with a large and complex musical image rather than a set of perfectly focused details. In frequency balancing, the IN80 Signature tends to be “bass to treble”, so the information stands out especially in the mids and basses.

The space “My Old Flame” by Bob James and David Sanborn (“Quartette Humaine” | 2013 | OKeh | 88765484712) was not surprising within the category, stereophony is evident here, although there is not much sense of depth.

On the contrary, there is nothing to complain about, which is the fluency and juiciness with which the rock “Many A Little” pours from the album of the same name since September (1995 | Tripple | TRIPPCD1004) – bold bass sets the rhythm and pumps nicely, sweeter sound calms the guitar and cheerful tuning simply suits the music, is easy to listen to, rolls, a little slower, but entertaining, though not one hundred percent authentic.

Verdict

The atoll is kind of his own, there is no doubt about that. Part of this originality is also the production in France (which is unique in this price level) or the possibility of expansion by digital and gramophone module (which is also not quite common) and we like that.

Sound-wise, the IN80 Signature doesn’t go towards authenticity and realism, it clearly shows that it wants to play sweet, colorful and rich, it wants to admire bass and power, and most of the music sounds fun and pleasant, so you can play anything, anytime and as you like, while Atoll maintains very nice control over the speakers. The IN80 Signature is different from its competitors, but if you want passionate entertainment for a reasonable price, give it a try.

Atoll IN80 Signature

Price: CZK 25,190

Technical parameters

  • RMS power at 8 Ohm 80 W
  • RMS power at 4 Ohm 120 W
  • Power supply 340 VA
  • Total capacity 31 474 µF
  • Input impedance 357 kOhm
  • Sensitivity 100 mV
  • Frequency response 5 Hz – 100 kHz
  • Signal / noise 100 dB
  • 5 audio AUX inputs (or optional phono stage P50 or P100), CD, TUNER, TAPE, DVD
  • By-pass input 1x – for use as a power amplifier
  • Pre-out output 2x – for bi-amp or for connection to a subwoofer
  • Headphone output 1x jack 6.35mm
  • Dimensions (hxwxd) 90 x 440 x 300 mm
  • Weight 7 kg

Editor’s note: The author is the editor-in-chief of HiFi Voice magazine, the article was taken from HiFi Voice



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