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Product Review
 

ADA (Audio Design Associates) Cinema Reference Mach III Controller (SSP), MPA-502 Five-Channel Power Amplifier, and PF-2502 Two-Channel Power Amplifier

Part I

August, 2007

Piero Gabucci

 

Specifications:

Cinema Reference Mach III Controller

● Codecs: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX,
   Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS
   96/24, DTS Neo:6, THX Ultra2, THX
   Surround EX
● Second Zone
● Dimensions: 5.25" H x 19" W x 17.5" D
● Weight: 25 Pounds
● MSRP: $11,999 USA

MPA-502 Five-Channel Power Amplifier

● Power: 5 x 250 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms;
  450 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms; 600 Watts
  RMS into 2 Ohms
● XLR and RCA Inputs
● THD+N: 0.01% at 8 Ohms
● Dimensions: 5.25" H x 19" W x 19" D
  (MPA-502); 5.25" H x 19" W x 16.5" D
  (MCS-502)
● Weight: 46 Pounds (MPA-502); 52
   Pounds (MCS-502)
● MSRP: $10,499 USA

PF-2502 Two-Channel Power Amplifier

● Power: 2 x 250 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms;
  450 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms; 600 Watts
  RMS into 2 Ohms
● XLR and RCA Inputs
● THD+N: 0.01% at 8 Ohms
● Dimensions: 5.25" H x 19" W x 16.5" D
● Weight: 65 Pounds
● MSRP: $4,199 USA

ADA

Introduction

ADA, a.k.a. Audio Design Associates, is not a household name when it comes to home theater equipment, predominately because they cater to the high end custom installer, and their products are definitely not available off the shelf.

They have been in business 30 years, and I hope to introduce you to an exemplary company that produces some very fine audio gear.

ADA maintains headquarters in Westchester, New York, and has been there since their inception in 1977 when Albert Langella and Peter McKean incorporated ADA, formerly Peter's radio and TV retail store. Inquiry from clients soon turned them to designing and fabricating custom installations which they still do today.

ADA quickly adopted a build-to-need position as they responded to their clients' demands. In fact, their product line is diverse and extensive, from A/V controllers (SSPs) and amplifiers to keypads and multi-room controls. And quick to respond to the market, ADA has developed tuners for satellite and HD-Radio.

Given that I'm but minutes from their location, I took the opportunity to visit their offices and manufacturing/assembly facility. I found this to be a rare treat, and I was fortunate to have their Vice-President and COO, Richard Stoerger (photo below), show me around.

I found Richard absolutely engaging and intensely passionate when it comes to his feelings for ADA, its accomplishments, and the future.

Richard was quick to show us the early model units on display in their modest setting. As he led us through the facility, I was struck by the air of informality and casualness. I began to understand and appreciate the un-corporate-like mentality at ADA as I was shown the various departments.

I went through the amplifier assemblies, through metal stamping, and even the testing lab ending in the design department where I was surprised to meet Mr. Langella, President, CEO and chief designer, sitting quietly in front of a computer laying out a new circuit board.

In the end, Richard himself packed up four very large and very different units for me to load into my car: the incredible new Cinema Reference Mach III controller, the MPA-502 five-channel amplifier and separate power source, and a two-channel amplifier, the PF-2502 to complete my seven-channel system.

What became obvious was their commitment to building the finest audio equipment let me tell you how they have succeeded.

 

Consistency

Each unit is designed to be mounted in a rack and thus all have front handles. And as such, when mounted in a rack, it becomes obvious that air circulation is a problem, so each has two side-mounted fans blowing over the heat sinks situated to allow the air to circulate through.

Although each component is of different weight and depth, they all match up for a flush look. I found the entire package handsome including the five- and two-channel amplifiers with their bar-type jumping LED display. All switching is done on the front.

I could definitely review each of the components in individual articles, but for the most part I want to concentrate on the controller and how the amplifiers contribute to the overall performance.

Go to Part II.

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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