ATC active or Tannoy TD12?


Have this set up now Naim cds2,82 modified by Whest and Supercap modified by Whest,Naim amp 250 and Tannoy TD12.Actualy I will receive this 82,supercap combo in near future.The guy who sold it to me is advicing ATC Scm active.What kind of improvment I will get with ATC's compare to Tannoy TD12 which I like a lot.I don't mind some coloration and like their musicality side,huge soundstage.Anyone compared these 2?
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Well seeing as I own Active 100's - you already know the answer!

More seriously, I have not heard the TD12's - I bet they sound awesome and I am not sure what sort of a level up you might get - if you love your TD12's then it might be sideways or even down for you.

On paper the concentric Tannoys have the advantage in imaging (will help close up) but the ATC Active amps will give you more "jump" or deafening dynamics and an effortless sound, as the tweeter and midrange amps are entirely separate from the woofer (much less IMD than passive designs and much higher efficiency = insane SPL levels). Judging by the TD12 plots on Stereophile - I think the ATC's will give you less bass and less thickness in the lower midrange and less at the very top end - essentially the ATC's are pretty much flat and sound that way (potentially too thin for you) - absolutely no sizzle or boom boom just really great mids are what stick out - until you hit higher SPL's at which point they become scary live kind of realistic with the transient impact that will restrict you to only good quality recordings or you will want to the leave the room/run for cover (also unlikely to make you popular with the neighbors or your spouse/GF). Bear in mind, both these speakers are quite similar in the sense they are dynamic power houses that play well at low and extremely loud levels...although the older Tannoy horns are best known for "jump" factor.
The ATCs at the RMAF 2007 were one of the best sounding speakers at the show.
Get them active or be prepared to get a very powerful amp. Very inefficient but a strong amp will make them sing.
Thanks Shadorne.I only want to get worthy improvment.I am curently integrated powerfull Revel B15 to the system and it was huge improvment alongside adding Whest modified Naim NAC82,Supercap.Now sounding very good,I am still thinking that my old Naim 250 is not great match for this combination.That was why I was thinking to go active speakers and avoid this amp situation upgrade.
Tied Atc t16 active and sold it with big loss,it was unlistanable when you compare it with Tannoy Td12.Maybee bigger models like ATC 50 active could be more fair to compare.I was really disappointed with that sound.
How are the ATC Passives (say, the SCM-40 or others) for
somewhat nearfield use (7.5 feet from the listening chair)?
Are they assaultive or piercing at all?
Thanks in advance.
Shadorne said,
" = insane SPL levels). Judging by the TD12 plots on Stereophile - I think the ATC's will give you less bass and less thickness in the lower midrange and less at the very top end - essentially the ATC's are pretty much flat and sound that way (potentially too thin for you) - absolutely no sizzle or boom boom just really great mids are what stick out - until you hit higher SPL's at which point they become scary live kind of realistic with the transient impact that will restrict you to only good quality recordings or you will want to the leave the room/run for cover (also unlikely to make you popular with the neighbors or your spouse/GF). Bear in mind, both these speakers are quite similar in the sense they are dynamic power houses that play well at low and extremely loud levels...although the older Tannoy horns are best known for "jump" factor."

Just a couple of questions. How loud is loud? Which albums do you listen loudly to and how loud do you listen to them?

Just curious.

Bob
Rgs92,

With ATC you need to think low distortion, clarity and forwardness that you would normally associate with horns but with wider even dispersion of a dynamic speaker. So if tend to find horns are harsh and piercing then yes, absolutely, ATC will be similar.

Mike,

If the T16 was unlistenable then no ATC speaker will work for you - they all pretty much sound alike. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. On the flipside you can feel even happier about the sound of your awesome Tannoys!
Bob,

I listen around 90 db spl rms most of the time. On a good album I may listen
at 95 db SPL rms. On really great music, which would be no more than a few
tracks would hit at around 100 - 103 db spl rms at their loudest part - no
more than that. All with a ratshack meter of course at 12 feet back - so
instantaneous transients may be higher and of course it is much louder at 3
feet from the speakers.

If you want to run a test on your system then I can run track 1 of Sheffield
labs drum track cleanly at around 105- 108 db SPL rms continuous on
crescendos (lasts a few seconds) with odd transients hitting around 112 -
115 db spl (lasting milisecs) at 12 feet back. This sounds like a real drum set
in the room. If I go higher then momentary gain reduction kicks in.

What most people do not realize is that when you listen extremely loud - it is
ONLY extremely loud very very briefly - a few seconds in all on each track.
Great music is not meant to be all at 105 db SPL all the time - that is too
fatiguing. So you can ONLY crank it on a good recording with good dynamic
range otherwise if it is Green Day then your ears are sore after one track.

A great track that plays loud very well is George Benson Weekend in L.A. Live
- "On Broadway" - Harvey Mason does a nice job there on drums
- great groove - great dynamics on this track.
Hi Shadorne, Thanks for your answer. Glad to see you use the "legendary" Radio Shack meter. I use the analog one of course! I tend to agree with you on the levels, most of my LPs play around low to mid 90s spl, and many playing up to 98db. A few playing up to 102-104db. With the loudest playing up to 104 to 106db. I dont believe (I am very sure) anything I play is louder than that.

Shadorne, when you see 115db on the meter, is your meter set on the 110db setting, or the 120db setting?

I dont have any of those albums available that you mentioned, I only have a turntable, I am not set up for any other source.

Shadorne said "Great music is not meant to be all at 105 db SPL all the time - that is too
fatiguing."

I will agree with that.

Bob
Bob,

I don't recall the meter setting 110 or 120 I suspect it was 110 (it is on fast response C weighting and max). Mine is the new digital kind. I have a condensor microphone too but it just ain't worth the trouble to setup with the PC etc. just to make a quick SPL measurement.

If you must know then PM me and I'll wait for an opportunity to test. Although I am in the basement it is so loud that the Wife will go balistic.

FWW: At these levels you might need to find a protected environment for your TT - there is often significant microphonics (distortion) as you feel sound waves as well as hear it. Pink Floyd have all their tube equipment in a separate room because of thiis issue.
Shadorne said, "At these levels you might need to find a protected environment for your TT"

Or your wife! ("it is so loud that the Wife will go balistic") :)

So, how often and when do you play it this loud?

Yes there is no doubt that you do/can play fairly loud. I dont believe that I have heard a system played that loudly, ever.

Sure, the next time you have it cranked, check your meters levels and the settings, still curious.
Bob
So, how often and when do you play it this loud?

I never play as loud as the Sheffield Drums test track example I gave - that was
just setup testing. If you can achieve clean audio 10 db SPl higher than you
ever need then it might seem wasteful, however, it ensures that distortion
remains ultra low at normal levels all of the time. Headroom is protection for
those odd recordings that stress a system in peculiar ways without necessarily
being all that loud.
I concur with Shadorne around the dynamics and loudness factor of owning ATCs. I have the 50s and 150s. The 150s can fill a room with ear splitting sound; I enjoy the quieter 50s for home use. They don't color the music and are very neutral and flat. They like to be played loud. My 150s are in a restored warehouse/studio complex with 40 foot ceilings; my 50s occupy a bonus room with 11 foot ceilings. They are the most precise speakers I know. If you want more a tubey magic of a classic BBC speaker, I would recommend Tannoys, Spendor, or better yet, Harbeths.
Hi Shadorne, all good advice, and a system that is not capable of this, must play at a lower level.

Bob
Bob,

I would add that certain music is mixed and mastered to be played louder. I used to collect 45 RPM 12" Vinyl singles. There was a reason. They were often mixed with greater dynamic range than ordinary LP's.

Dance club music genres are a good example of stuff that sounds good loud and ATC's are very comfortable playing dance music at club levels.

I am particulalry enjoying Duran Duran "Strange Behaviour" CD right now. I have their funky "Notorious" CD (with Steve Ferrone on drums after AWB disbanded).

It is extremely interesting to compare and contrast the audio quality on the Notorious CD (designed to sound good on radio and in homes and in cars) with the four dance club singles released on the "Strange Behaviour" compilation. It is Night and Day! Dynamics are absolutely STUNNING on the Dance Club singles mixes...sure the Notorious CD is OK sounding but the Dance Club singles just blow this out of the water.

I used to play the Radio Clash 12" dance club single a lot in the 80's too (half my old vinyl collection is 12" club mixes)- I am now on the hunt for more of these old (original ) dance club mixes on CD - mixes/masters that were done with high end night club systems being the target audience. Perhaps, for the same reasonn I find most movie soundtracks are better than CD's - although DVD concerts are a mixed bag.

If you are looking for an exciting dynamic concert then Black eyed Peas Sydney to vegas is a riot of great dynamic sound with some nice drumming be keith Harris. This DVD is much more dynamic than the CD versions of their songs.

So what does this mean - it means that your choice in music will also determine how enjoyable it is to listen at louder more dynamic levels. Think how YES "Owner of a lonely Heart" is mixed versus Green Day American Idiot - a world difference in how good it sounds loud.
Shadorne

Ever hear the 12 inch remakes by Arthur Baker from the early 1980s. They really slam as well.
Oh yes - New Order - I remember them well - Blue Monday in particular. I
have many of these singles. Girl's just want to have fun was snappy too - I
have that on single version too.

And, of course, "I, I, I ain't gonna play Sun City...."

Sorry I missed your reply. Thanks for the suggestions.
Anyone who lists This is Radio Clash is a friend of mine. I have two pristine copies. They just slam on the ATCs.
PS: I worked as a liason for the band with the US Festival and the The Who Tours in 1982 and 83. Really great shows most nights. Really wonderful people to work with. Really miss Joe Strummer--a super nice guy.

Love all those remix singles from that period--particularly New Order. I saw them play a secret gig/rave in downtown LA promoting that single in the mid 1980s. The entire lighting rig was blue lights--staging was just surreal.

Sun City is fabulous. I even liked what Baker did with The Boss: have you heard his remixes from Born in the USA from 1985? Very interesting in their composition.
It was a great period - studio productions cost millions - the engineering
quality was amazing - I am not sure we will ever get that again - great
dynamics. You tend to only get the dynamics with dance genre these days -
Kaskade etc.

This slams too

and this one Situation
ATC's and Tannoy TD 12's have very different sounds.
The ATC's, I own the 20-2's, are unfailingly neutral. They show their monitor heritage very well. Great recordings sound great and poor recordings sound dreadful. As many have said ATC's are very faithful to the tone and harmonics of music. BTW, I made Naim cables to use my Naim 202 to drive the ATC 20-2's. The result was poor. I found a much better result with a tube preamp.

The Tannoy TD-12's are marvelous speakers. The sound can be tailored depending on the components used upstream. The midrange and treble with tubes is just sublime but the bass is just OK. The TD-12's with good soild state have strong bass but some of the tube midrange and treble magic is lost.

Jim