Atma-Sphere vs. Supratek

I placed an order last year for a Supratek Cortese LCR preamp; it will still be a few months until it will arrive at my home in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile I keep reading good things about the Atma-Sphere MP-1 and Mp-3 instruments. Can anyone voice an opinion about those two brands, both hand-made tube machines in a similar price range? I listen to all kinds of music, including opera, mostly on vinyl [Basic 2200 Signature with Vector 4 arm and Benz Micro LP-S cartridge, Sunvalley phono stage with EMIA SUT, MSB Platinum Signature CD transport and DAC, LinkwitzLab NCore6 active crossover/amplifier, and Linkwitz LX521.4 open-baffle speakers (best speakers I have ever heard)]. For preamp I am currently using Ed Shilling’s The Truth. For me a natural-sounding soprano voice is the pinnacle of well reproduced music.


I would unquestionably go for the Atma-Sphere. When I have heard them, they have been outstanding. But you seem to like alternative stuff. So you will buy the Suprateck. I honestly don’t think you are wanting the best sounding, but want to be choose avant-garde gear to be esoteric. 

Atma-Sphere is in the USA, their are few Dealers whom you can borrow the unit from and have a home demo.


I own the MP-1 and MP-3 both with Phono Stages. Not heard the Supratek so cant comment on that,.

Rather sad reading this post .. reminiscent of a older Stereonet Supratek post focusing on the evil birdnest and not the sound quality. Seems you either luv’ them or hate them, few in between.

Me I like my hifi to sound good and haven’t worried about the wiring birdsnest, unless its proven to be unsafe. I have built a Guitar valve amp under supervision and my wiring looks similar 😁 I also understand the shortest path to reduce noise on some components, but are no expert, one of my best Guitar amps, a Two Rock Opal has some rather messy wiring topology, including low curly cables which a local map builder explained as having a design reason, and its brilliant as John Mayer will attest, I am sure he doesn’t worry about the messy wiring topology. I had to open mine up to re-seat one of the capacitors that had come loose in the loooong road/rail journey from Perth to Sydney (LA to NYC equiv), and found no safety issues visible.

I have never heard an Atma-sphere so cannot comment, however i have a range of Pre amps in my house that my Supratek has replaced, Parasound, AR LS15, Mac C22 and a very nice Ayon Auris. Mine is an older 2nd hand Cabernet DHT and i luv’ the ability to tube roll, I mainly use NOS 2A3 and 45’s. Each tube option has subtle sound changes and at times suit different music pieces. Mine sits in front of a Accuphase A70 and before that my Bryston 4bsst, its also had a short run on my Mc MC75 monos. Sounded good on all of them, I prefer it on my SS amps.

After listening to mine an hifi acquaintance ordered a Cortese LCR last year, he had some noise issues to start with which Mick sorted for him fairly quickly, Mick paid the freight cost plus he installed another new set of interesting valves. The Cortese replaced some very nice pre’s he has, and above my pay grade and is now is top pre.

If it was me, patience, wait until it arrives, I think the sound is wonderful but each to their own. Note that different valves can change the sound to fine tune matching your other components, I found it a learning curve, give it time, play with different valves and see where the journey takes you.

I've never understood the fascination with Supratek. Why import something from Australia when you can buy a better product on your doorstep?

I owned the Chardonnay a few years back and it was just OK. It was far from transparent, didn't really offer much 'bloom' or tube magic, and didn't really offer anything special other than a very nice aesthetic. When I sold it the internals came loose during shipping and I had to pay to have it repaired. I emailed Mick and requested schematics to be sent to the guy at the repair shop, but he refused to do so. In the end, the schematics weren't needed.

I haven't heard an Atma-Sphere preamp, they're on my bucket list.

Mick's : Lifetime warranty.. Has a stateside tech..

Ralph's : 3 year warranty - Will renew warranty upon reevaluation & will upgrade if you so choose.

Ralph's are twice the price of Micks,

More tube rolling fun with Micks for sure,

Both will answer questions and give attentive service. Though I bet Ralph is superior at this. Mick occasionally does not follow thru on commitments...

Even though I should be in this "Fight"... I don't have any experience with either, but I have read enough over the years of what others have said.... They are both good and you should audition both !!

Resale is great for both !! 

Mick has gone above and beyond helping me with some stuff ... can't thank him enough...

Both have had failures, everybody has problems occasionally...