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Atma-Sphere MP-1

Hi-End tube preamplifier featuring Balanced Differential Design®
The best audio preamplifier worldwide 

Atma-Sphere MP-1

In 1989, the first MP-1 introduced balanced line operation to the world of high end audio. It was the first balanced, fully-differential preamp ever made, with innovations that were breakthroughs at the time and remain so today, now with decades of refinement, patents and awards. 

The Mk. 3.3 update has affected the MP-1 more than than the rest of our lineup. More about that later... if the MP-1 is something you've not encountered before, it is unique in the world of preamplifiers. It easily outperforms conventional line stages and any passive or transformer volume control on account of its patented direct-coupled output which allows for greater transparency while also preventing coloration from interconnect cables. With only three stages of gain in the entire preamp (including the phono section), our Balanced Differential Design® is an elegant signal path that assures low distortion, wide bandwidth and dynamic range. No matter what you thought was the best, the MP-1 is an audible improvement. 

Our patents solve a major preamp problem: the output coupling capacitor of the preamp. This capacitor has to be large to play bass (especially driving solid state amps), but large capacitors can't play the mids and highs properly no matter how good the capacitor is. Getting rid of it is a transparency and bandwidth breakthrough. Until we created our patents, there really was no way to do this reliably with vacuum tubes. Transistor preamps often use direct-coupling, but sound like transistors! Some audiophiles have gone to using passive devices, thinking they have found the answer. This is only because they have not heard technology that works.  

The MP-1 is fully differential and balanced because the Balanced Line system (AES48) eliminates interconnect cable coloration, which is why the recording and broadcast industry has used it for the last 70 years. This is why high fidelity recordings existed before 'exotic high end' cables did! The balanced line system is better as it resists interference and noise, as well as cable artifacts (sound changes with different cables) and cable length. This eliminates the need for an exotic cable (and its cost) to achieve state of the art performance. 

The MP-1 nicely complements our balanced amplifiers, and works well with any amplifier. Phono cartridges are naturally balanced sources; since audio is recorded in the balanced domain, now you can play it back that way, too; this elimintates the artifact of the tone arm interconnect cable. The MP-1 works well with very low output moving coil cartridges (less than 0.2mV) and is a state of the art headphone power amplifier. 

Now for the Mk3.3 improvements! The phono section of the new preamp has more gain and is significantly lower noise than any prior version. In fact it's so quiet that the only way we could achieve the same numbers before was with a Low Output Moving Coil step-up transformer. There is so much more output that the phono is usually at about the same level as many digital sources. The line section is now lower distortion and also has a shunt-style Gain Trim system that allows for greater control of the gain of the line stage, so high output sources are not an issue.

Atma-Sphere MP-1 arrière panel


- Balanced Differential Design®
- Supports the Balanced Line standard (AES48)
- Robust output that can drive 32 ohm headphones
- XLR connectors for phono and aux (paralleled RCA inputs optional)
- Dual XLR outputs (RCA outputs optional)
- Patented direct-coupled Circlotronic® output
- Fully regulated supplies
- Zero feedback design
- Dual-mono construction
- Differential passive phono equalization

- Precision 24-position stepped volume control built from a Shallco® custom switch
- Two tape monitors (tape functions use RCA's)
- Precision components used throughout
- T
otal system phase switch
- Teflon® custom coupling caps
- Low-noise "star" grounding
- Power supply isolated in seperate chassis
- Headphone compatible with a simple connector
- Optional RCA input and output connections available
- Three-year general coverage warranty
- One year warranty on tubes

Reviews & Awards

The Absolute Sound
Scot Markwell, Dec 2002

Atma-Sphere MP-1

Line stage frequency response
0.1 Hz - 400 KHz, +0 dB, -3dB ( -0.5 dB @ 250 KHz ) 

Line stage gain
12 dB 

Line stage input impedance
100 K Ω single-ended / 200 K Ω balanced 

Line stage output
32 V into 600 Ω 

Output impedance
30 Ω 

Phono stage input impedance
47 K Ω, adjustable with rear panel loading strip 

Phono stage Input Overload
300 mV 

Phono stage Max Output
( at clipping ) 120 V peak-to-peak 

Phono gain
~66 dB 

Phono bandwidth
0.5 Hz - 100 KHz, -.5 dB

RIAA accuracy
Within .07 dB 

RIAA Phono sensitivity
( for 0.5 V @ 1 KHz ) 0.15 mV 

Power Supply storage
170 Joules 

Tube complement
10 x 12AT7 (phono section) 
6 x 6SN7 (line section)

13" deep x 17" wide x 5.5" tall (33 x 43 x 14 cm)
(per chassis)

Faceplate dimensions
19" wide x 6" tall (48 x 15 cm) 

( per chassis ) 42 lbs. (19 Kg) 

Three year, transferable
One year for tubes


Remote Volume Control
V-CAP Copper foil capacitors for line stage
V-CAP Copper foil capacitors throughout
Caddock resistor package
Caddock volume control
Dual phono inputs available
Low output Moving-Coil step-up transformers
for cartridges under 0.2 mV
Damping package
Switchable Tape head input (and EQ) 

Front Panel finish options

Brushed Silver
Brushed Champagne (Anodized)
Custom panel finishes available upon request

Accessories & Cables

Balanced to Unbalanced adapter: $60.00/pair
For use with single-ended amplifiers or sources. Specify input or output

Balanced Interconnects
Balanced phono cables
1 meter, DIN to XLR or RCA with ground post to XLR

For additional information, audition and pricing, contact our worldwide dealers or our headquarters.


1742 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104


Tel : +1 651-690-2246