Published On: October 22, 2008

ATI 3000 Series Amplifier Reviewed

Published On: October 22, 2008

ATI 3000 Series Amplifier Reviewed

ATI may not be as well known as Bryston or Crown, but in reality they make amplifiers for many, many companies in an OEM fashion. The huge, powerful, and modular 3000 series can be 2-to-7 channels, with 300 watts per channel.

ATI is the house brand of a Southern California amplifier manufacturer (the one that just bought Theta - hint, hint) that makes many other very high-end companies' power amplifiers for them. Led by Morris Kessler, a person whose has a passion, much like Dan D'agostino at Krell, for building incredibly powerful, real-world amplifiers, ATI is something of an industry secret. On more than one occasion, when you look in the rack of an industry executive's high-performance theater at home, you will see an ATI amp at the bottom of the rack. ATI is like that little winery in Rutherford that you don't want to really tell anybody about, because you are afraid that you might somehow never get any more of their Reserve Chardonnay. But worry not, ATI can make as many amps as the worldwide market can drink up.

Additional Resources
Read more multi-channel power amps from the likes of Emotiva, Krell, Classé, Mark Levinson, Audio Research and many others here.

The ATI 3000 Series amps are modular and start as a two-channel model for a very modest $1.995 and range to up to $3,995 for the ATI 3007 seven-channel amp. You can also add 300-watt cards to an ATI 3000 amp to grow your power system, as demand arises. This is a very smart way to sell an amp, as it gives the client flexibility and cost advantages to buy only what is needed when it is needed.

ATI's amps have a traditional design and are specifically noted for two things: very high power output and quiet operation. While digital amps get all the hype these days, because they are scary-quiet and have spec sheets that look like some Fortune 500 CEO's resume, do not be fooled by the specs alone. A traditional, bad-ass Class-AB amp like an ATI has a different, beefier, weightier, more meaningful sound. Bass has authority. At 300 watts per channel, you never run out of headroom, no matter what the source material. Snare shots have a snap to them that you don't get from a digital amp.

Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion

High Points
• The modular design of ATI's 3000 series allows you to buy exactly what you need. The ability to add channels for a modest price as your system grows is even more tempting, as clients can pay a fair price for just what they want, making the amp a tremendous value.
• The
Class-AB design of this amp, paired with its conservatively-rated 300 watts per channel, make the ATI possibly the last power amp you will ever need. It has huge headroom, tremendous dynamics and flexibility to grow your system as needed.

Low Points
• In order to make a real Class-AB amp that can produce a real 3000 watts per channel, you are going to end up with an amp that is big and heavy. The ATI 3007 is just that, but note: its sound is also big and its bass is authoritative. Just make sure you find somewhere solid to place this monster of an amp, with plenty of room to keep it cool, and it will reward you in spades.
• The industrial design of the ATI 3007 leaves a lot to be desired. It is possible that if ATI spent a fortune on chassis design, the entry-level ATI 3000 model might not cost $1.995 for a stereo amp, but something has to be done with the "we want to look like Adcom circa 1987" appearance of these amps for the future. They are far better amps than you might think upon first sight.

Conclusion
Consider the ATI 3007 to be a secret that is no longer kept under wraps. The amp is capable if incredible power, dynamics and overall headroom in ways that other amps - especially the oh-so trendy digital amps - simply can't replicate. Created by a man who lives to make great amplifiers, the ATI 3007 is a steal at $3,995. Now you know the secret that the AV business has known for decades.


Additional Resources

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