Atoll IN300 - quick review

In 2017 I was invited by a friend to experience Axpona - and what fun it was! I listened to many rooms...some good, some not so good, and some pretty great. One room that caught my ear early was the Atoll and Atohm room, where I heard the Atoll IN300 integrated amp powering Atohm GT2 speakers. The tonality and overall presentation overwhelmed me in a big way and I made several return visits to the room to refresh and level set my ears. In essence, the setup became my reference. I’m not a rich guy, but the price point of the system put it on my "maybe someday" wish list.

This Christmas my "maybe someday" day came - or, at least, the start of it.

My current system has appeased me for a good 15 years, but I know its shortcomings. It’s been "good enough" to tide me over for quite a while - I’m not the "box swapper" type. I’m using Focal Chorus 807V "bookshelves" on their matching stands, and have been using a Luxman MX-100 amplifier to drive them. Source has been an Apple TV *gasp* fed over HDMI into a Denon AVR, out its preamp outputs and on to the Luxman powering the Focals. I was always pretty happy with the simple system overall. The imaging was acceptable...the midrange always had a bit of bloat in the ~400hz-ish range which bugged me if I bypassed the AVR’s room correction...but with Audyssey it was again, acceptable. The bass was, well, they’re bookshelves...

I decided it was time to move up from the bookshelves and to some "big boy" floor standers - and of course the Atohm GT2 HD is what I want since experiencing them at Axpona...and if that’s what I’m getting, I want them powered by Atoll. And so I went on a pursuit to purchase an IN300 - the same integrated I heard at Axpona driving the GT2 - in preparation of ultimately replacing the Focals with Atohm. I did find a localish dealer and made the purchase.

Let me tell you this. After 15 years or so with the Luxman powering my Focals, I’m very familiar with what the system does in terms of staging and imaging, and of course tonality. I expected a slight improvement moving to the Atoll with its dual mono layout, but what I was mostly expecting was a tonality change. And change it did - in a big way. The midrange hump was gone and I’m left with a neutral transparent and lifelike midrange, silky smooth airy treble, and much more controlled midbass. As I mentioned, I expected some tonality changes, but what I DIDN’T expect was the incredible change in staging and imaging. The different was stark. Night and day. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought I’d also changed my speakers. Where the stage width ended at the speakers previously, I now have stage boundary extremities 3ft beyond the speakers. The 3D front-to-back dimensionality also increased substantially, and the imaging is now spooky good. Where I felt I had a reasonably stable center image before...not even in the same ballpark to what I have now.

With the IN300’s on-board AKM AK4490 DAC I’m now able to fully experiment with high resolution playback on the system, which is something I’ve been doing with headphones for a bit, but not with the previous configuration. Also, I’ve kept the AVR in line and am feeding the IN300’s "bypass" inputs with it, so for TV/movies, etc, it acts as a simple amp. But when I want music...the IN300 as the DAC/preamp is pretty amazing.

I figured I’d be wanting to pull the trigger on the Atohm GT2 HD speakers pretty quickly after receiving the Atoll piece, but I’m going to take a minute to enjoy what this initial piece has done to transform what I’ve got. Super happy at the moment!
Atoll electronics and Atohm speakers make a great combination. I heard both at 2017 and 2019 Axpona. The Atohm GT-2's are my dream speakers. Maybe some day. 
I am glad to hear you liked the Atoll with the Atohm! I am using Atoll IN200SE with Magnepan 1.7i and it sounds absolutely fantastic to my ears. Details, transient and reasonable low end is all there. I am sure there are a lot more expensive amps that can match better with the magnepan! But, to my ears, I am really enjoying the combo very much.
I hope I can demo the Atoll with the Atohm one day. By the way, you can check my videos on YT under boniccie. Thank you and enjoy your system!
I'll bet the IN200 is a great match with the Magnepans. I have a friend who has an IN400 paired with Magnepans and he loves the combo.

In regards to the Atohm speakers...

Well, I ended up accelerating my plan to buy them given the "shelter in place" order the COVID-19 has created. If I'm to be stuck inside, might as well take the time to really enjoy being at home with some great audio. I'm working from home and have set up my temporary home workspace in the same room as the system - our family room. My pair of gloss black GT2 HD were delivered by my dealer on March 31st. He just happened to have a pair in stock - good thing due to the factory shut-down. I didn't plan to buy them this soon, but things kind of just worked out on multiple fronts.

Being home, it was quick to get them past their break-in period. I'm thoroughly enjoying being trapped inside with my wife, two kids, and a pretty spectacular-sounding stereo system. :)
I agree that the Atohm/Atoll combination I heard at AXPONA is some of the best sound i've ever heard. If i was in the market they would be on my short list.