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Atma-sphere MP-3
4 Reviews
rating  4 of 5
MSRP  3800.00
Description: High-level frequency response: 0.2Hz-200KHz, +0 db, -2db Phono section frequency response: .5Hz-90KHz within 1/2 db RIAA accuracy: within 0.1 db Tube complement: 7) 12AT7 (phono section) 2) 12AU7 (line section) 2) 6SN7GT (output section)


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Arend a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 1, 2014

Bottom Line:   
I have this preamp in combination with the M60 power amplifiers from Atma-Sphere. Other stuff is Krell, Thorens, Ortofon and Quad ESL. I listen to music in a concentrated way on a daily basis. The performance of this preamplifier is absolutely stellar, and this is one of the few audio products that have never entered my mind for replacement. If you want to listen to music rather than worry about better equipment, this amplifier should be high on your list.
The amplifier does respond well to tube rolling, so you can spend some time finding the combination that works best for you. The tube rolling does not need to be done to compensate for any shortcomings of the amplifier itself, as is very often the case with other amplifiers.
Atma-Sphere as a company is a pleasure to work with. I bought my preamp used, and that makes no difference in the high service level given. Ralph Karsten is also one of the few people in the high end audio industry whom put proper engineering in place. Just look at the video on the Atma-Sphere website on how an M60 is built, and you'll see that Atma-Sphere delivers quality and good workmanship.
Highly recommended!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Richard Sherman a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 14, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Purchased used from the an Audiogon web seller. Paid $1800 + shipping. Has the phono stage and regulator upgrade. Familiar with the MP-1, my MP-3 is every bit as involving a preamp as the larger dual chassis product. The MP-3 is very well made, and the chassis looks like what you would find at Cheyenne Mountain Government Command Center. The product has amazing sonics and the texture of it's presentation can be changed by some tube swapping. At the moment I am using the stock 12AT7 Chinese tubes, a pair of NOS Clear Top RCA 12AU7's and a pair of 6SN7GTB Vintage NOS Tung-Sol large plates. I cannot complain about the performance, top notch. The is a reference preamp and as with any high resolution component will reveal flaws in recordings and also tubes that are used. This product is sturdy and well constructed. So far I have to say that more of my time has been spent listening to music than worrying about the electronics. I am driving a pair of M60 MK2.3 amps. The cost of this system in 1970 dollars is about $2500 so it's not overly expensive. Many people are able to buy these products second hand. Atmasphere has a very good warranty policy and the customer care and attention reminds me of my Saturn dealer in 1994, amazing. The designer of this technology called "Circlotronic" is Mr. Ralph Karsten, who is also a vintage motorcycle enthusiast. I would have to conclude that the MP3 Preamp is many years ahead and the technology employed is patented. If I had a pair of Balanced input amplifiers, I could not suggest a more satisfying preamp than an MP3. In the past I head an MP3 drive a Carver Sunfire Stereo Amp, it sounded crystally transparent. My current speakers are Zu Druid MK4. My music room is 13'x14'x7', source is a LINN LP12 and a Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD Player running straight 44.1 KHz. With some low noise factory tested tubes, you would be hard pressed to find a more musical preamplifier in the world at the price level offered.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2008

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bhandco a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 25, 2005

Bottom Line:   
My MP-3 has the Teflon cap and power supply regulator options.

A wonderful preamplifier. Remarkable bandwidth and dynamics with neutral, natural, lifelike tone. Exceptionally quiet for tube gear, with outstanding clarity and detail. Soundstaging and imaging are precise, with glorious reproduction of room ambience.

My experience with other high-end tubed preamps is that they can easily sound "transparent" at the expense of bandwidth. (Their "transparency" sometimes reminds me of thin, watered-down soup.) They roll off the trebles and deprive you of a naturally fulfilling bass experience. In fact, compared with the MP-3, my previous tubed preamps have had almost no bass presence or harmonic accuracy at all. (And solid-state preamps don't deserve discussion!)

I would describe my MP-3's sound as big and bold--but not forward--and faithful to the music.

I've used the MP-3 with a solid-state Ayre V-5xe amplifier and the combination is impressive--I would absolutely recommend it--but, so far, the MP-3 is even better with my new M-60 monoblocks. They compliment each other nicely.

I've tried substituting some expensive NOS tubes and, although some of the midrange sounds were quite seductive, I prefer the bandwidth and linearity of the stock Chinese tubes. They're inexpensive and quiet.

I thought I was going to miss having a remote control, but I don't--not in the least. If I ever long for a remote, I'll simply move my preamp and sources next to my listening chair. The MP-3 will supposedly drive 200' interconnects with no loss. Right now, I'm using 25' Mogami microphone cables; they sound great and they're a lot less expensive than the interconnects I normally use.

My only real criticism of the MP-3 is that the top is prone to vibration, but this is easily remedied by running it with the top removed. Atma-Sphere offers a vibration damping option, but I'd rather look at my preamp tubes and spend my money on records.

Speaking of which, please make full use of the MP-3's phono stage. I had a wonderful Graham Slee Era Gold V phono stage I thought I'd never replace--until I heard the MP-3. I immediately installed a lower-output Benz cartridge to match. I love the MP-3's resistor loading: a simple terminal strip on the back of the preamp--easy, flexible, precise, and kind of fun to experiment with.

If you intend to use the MP-3 as a linestage only, you'll be amazed by what it does to smooth the sound of your CDs, and the balanced differential circuitry really eats up digital grunge. Of course, you'll do best with a high-quality balanced CD player.

Overall, I wasn't surprised to learn that Atma-Sphere has been manufacturing preamps since 1989. Their experience really shows in the evolved, intelligent design and sheer practicality of the MP-3.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $5300.00

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by imjerrys a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Unit owned included phono stage and teflon-cap upgrade. Stock phono stage tubes sound rough and 2-dimensional, and should be replaced. Phono stage VERY noisy. Had warranty issues that required sending the unit back to the factory two times. Poor build quality. Can sound very good with the right tubes and upgrades. Best with non-complex music. See my full review at www.21stcenturyservices.com/audio. ("Price paid" is list.)

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $4400.00

Purchased At:   Atmasphere

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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