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Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

Atoll IN 300

Island of Genius

Maybe you’re like me – I’ve always had Atoll Electronique from Normandy on my radar, but never got around to audition any of their products. Is it because the French audio brand gets lost in the mass of international providers in this country because it is too unspectacular, too normal? Or perhaps, on the contrary, is it too specifically focused on a regional market?

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

I can’t seem to come up with the right diagnosis, what’s wrong with my perception? Perhaps the brand name is more about tranquillity and relaxation without the need for self-promotion, mentally immersed in the turquoise lagoon of a distant atoll of coral reefs and narrow beaches … The Atoll brand has been around for 25 years and has continuously expanded its portfolio. The basic idea at the time was to develop and produce audiophile devices at affordable prices with local suppliers and a high level of vertical integration at home in Normandy. This idea was seen as a gap in the market with considerable potential and the company was literally on a “desert island”, which from today’s perspective must be seen as very far-sighted. Fortunately, my experience with the Atoll IN 300 allows me to stop this “audio-geographical” gap of mine, and I can confirm in advance that the basic idea from back then works at least as well today.

Right from the start, Atoll focused on incorporating new formats and playback options into the devices. Initially with multi-channel amplifiers for home cinema, later joined by D/A converters and SACD players, and currently the focus is on network players and Bluetooth connectivity. While the initial focus was on the entry-level 50, 80 and 100 series, the need for a high-end product line was recognized from 2005 onwards in order to enable the growing customer base to move up the Atoll product range with the 200, 300 and 400 series. The IN 300 integrated amplifier presented here has been on the market since 2016 and is part of the latest product line, which is intended to bundle all of Atoll’s expertise in the high-end segment at an attractive price.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

Control center

The IN 300 is available in Atoll’s typical simple design with a sheet steel housing and eight-millimeter-thick aluminium front in black or silver from 2995 euros. The front panel contains only the bare essentials: two round rotary knobs with digital encoders for input selection on the left and right for volume and an OLED display in between. The simple but high-quality front panel has a friendly appearance thanks to a contrasting design line, and a headphone socket is located in the bottom left-hand corner. The much more exciting view is revealed when we unscrew and lift off the sheet steel housing cover. The amplifier is fully symmetrical with discrete component circuits, which are designed in Class A for the pre-amplification and in Class A/B for the power amplification. The power transistors used are MOSFETs which, according to Atoll, have the advantage of faster current delivery and are said to behave similarly to tube amplifiers. These are each individually mounted on their own heat sinks. Two huge toroidal transformers provide an abundance of energy and, in conjunction with twelve fast-switching filter capacitors specially manufactured for Atoll – they are additionally quietened down  with a damping film – and short signal paths, should ensure high dynamics and impulse capability in music reproduction. A dedicated 5 VA power supply is also provided especially for the digital section.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

High-end cables with a large cross-section are selected for critical positions in the signal path and high-quality components are used, for example Mundorf in the analog stage and Vishay capacitors in the digital section. The attention to detail is evident here, which should contribute significantly to the desired sound signature. The rear panel features five RCA inputs, an XLR input and a by-pass input for direct signal routing to the power amplifier. The integrated digital input module expands the connection options with two optical Toslink inputs, two coaxial S/PDIF inputs, a USB input and a Bluetooth receiver. At the heart of the digital board is the powerful AKM AK4490 EQ D/A converter for the HiRes formats DSD and PCM. An optional expansion module for phono MM or combined MM/MC can be installed. A tape-out and two preamp outputs for connecting additional power amplifiers (bi-amping or home theater), very stable speaker binding posts and a trigger output complete the Atoll control center. In addition to the amplifier, the supplied IR remote control can also control the brand’s tuner, DAC and CD/DVD player.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

Perception test

After a few days of getting settled in and warming up, the Atoll is allowed to take over the traditional place of my MFE integrated tube amplifier in the listening room, so that the listening impression of my usual setup serves directly as a basis for comparison. At this point I must confess that I haven’t dealt with transistor amplifiers for a long time and only listened to similarly priced solid state test candidates for this report in order to make a validated assessment. I am happy to include the proven setup of Canor tube phono preamplifier and Linn LP12 as a reference. I vary the speakers between Blumenhofer horn speakers and Von Schweikert standmount speakers. I leave the supply cables unchanged, knowing full well that the tonal harmony of the playing partners is a very important factor for the overall sound experience, even when this “cable situation” is taken into account, as will be proven in the course of this listening report.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

Already the first few minutes of a record side (Inside We Are The Same by Steve Kilby and Martin Kennedy) are enough for me to make out clear sonic differences, mind you under the assumed boundary conditions of my tube setup. Under the control of the Atoll, the sound develops more bass power and has a lot of punch in the upper frequencies – I prefer to put my glass of red wine on solid ground in the late evening. The highs are smooth, yet neutral and without any sharpness in the S-sounds of Dido on the LP Still On My Mind, for example, a nice record to check this out.

With Jennifer Warnes’ The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (“Famous Blue Raincoat”), the flow in the music is particularly noticeable, which speaks for the Atoll’s ability to pass on fast impulses immediately. The amplifier thus tends to remain on the agile, neutral side and charmingly passes on the “boundary conditions” to the inclined listener. On the other hand, this opens up a relatively wide “playing field” for fine-tuning the sound, for example with the wiring. In fact, I swapped the speaker cable and the RCA cable three times until I had worked out the optimum sound impression for my ears. The XLR input seemed to sound a bit more powerful to me. In this new setup, I liked the Atoll as a sonically independent alternative to my “tube sound”.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

As I am currently turning my habits upside down and the Atoll has an integrated D/A converter, I also got my CD player out again for further listening experiences, although I actually prefer to listen to music from vinyl records. The combination of Atoll and digital media further enhances the incredibly powerful, dynamic and immediate sound impression. The live recording Time & Distance by Ray Wilson reminds me of my concert experience in a regional rock & blues club. The too “tight” location for the well-known songwriter and his seven-piece band made for an unforgettably intense participation in the music. The atmosphere in my listening room comes across as amazingly authentic, but fortunately the location for the recording was not so cramped and there is plenty of space between the musicians. The internal DAC does not act as an “usher”, but rather proves itself as an event manager in the background, preferring to leave the stage to the musicians. The converter in my CD player, on the other hand, is somewhat less gentle, almost angular, and does not have the same musical flow. An external D/A converter from a higher price range used for comparison purposes appears somewhat larger in the stage, but not more musical in the overall presentation.

Finally, I listen to the CD A Feast Of Consequences by Fish again, and now the Atoll is allowed to live it up through my horn speakers at a high volume. I can’t remember the last time my listening room reached its acoustic limits so quickly (with the Atoll) that I had to reposition my speakers … Chapeau! Considering the high-quality construction, the versatile features and the sound potential on offer, the Atoll must be described as remarkably worthy of the price.

Atoll IN 300 integrated amplifier

Accompanying Equipment

Turntable: Avid Diva SP, VPI Avenger, Clearaudio Reference Jubilee | Tonearm: Origin Live Illustrious | Cartridge: Lyra Kleos | Phono preamp: Cyrus Phono Signature | Amplifier: MFE TA 211 V | Speakers: Blumenhofer Tempesta 20

Integrated amplifier Atoll IN 300

Concept: Stereo integrated amplifier with integrated D/A converter | Analog inputs: 5 x RCA (unbalanced), 1 x XLR (balanced), phono-in optional (replaces AUX-in) | Digital inputs: 2 x coaxial (RCA), 2 x optical (Toslink), USB, Bluetooth | Outputs analog: 1 x Tape-Out (RCA, fixed level), 1 x By-Pass (RCA, fixed level), 2 x Pre-Out (RCA, regulated) | Taps: 1 pair of LS connections for fork lugs and banana sleeve, 1 headphone output (6.3 mm) | Power (8/4 Ω): 2 x 150 W, 2 x 260 W | Power supply: 86 400 μF, 2 x 440 VA | Signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB | D/A converter: AKM AK4490EQ (24/192), DSD up to 5.6 MHz | Miscellaneous: 12 V trigger connection, remote control | Dimensions (W/H/D): 44/10/37 cm | Weight: 16 kg | Warranty period: 3 years | Price: around € 2995; surcharge for P50 (MM) phono module around € 100, P100 (MM/MC) around € 150


Catostraße 7b
12109 Berlin
Phone +49 30 6134740


The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.