The larger Bryston's work well,
21 responses Add your response
I thought it was a good pairing. It provided a dynamic setup with nice detail and bass response. I also heard the speakers through the ATC integrated. I thought they were very similar with the Cary having a slightly richer lower midrange, and the ATC more inner-detail.
As you know probably know, the speakers are very detail and neutral with a phenominal midrange. If you go with an amp that has a brittle upper-end (such as an older, krell kav series)it may provide a fatiguing experience. I wouldn't blame the speaker. ATC's should never come across as fatiguing unless its the amp or actual music selection.
Just my opinion.
I see your excellent system already has a good 150 WPC amp and you have installed this in a very large room with high ceilings.
My two cents would be to go for something a bit more beefier than the SIA2-150 on the power amplification side at least 250 to 300 WPC to make a significant audible difference for music with demanding base levels or, alternatively, since you have a great power amplifier already, the ATC SCM 0.1/15 sub. Even though your speakers are full range (down 6db at 48 HZ freestanding is an impressive spec.) The sub would fill out the extreme low end of base in a large room with high celiings. Another possible advantage of a quality sub is that it will put you on a first step on the way to eventually having a HT system of as high quality as your stereo system...
well, i was considering several really strong amplifiers, but here enters the cost factor - im thinking about a most cost effective solution for these passive speakers. right now i have a very good and strong poweramp, but no preamp. with getting ATC integrated i was thinking about killing two birds at once and not going into serious sosts. ATC amp should be guaranteed to be a good match for these speakers...
and - with a solid 150W these speakers can go really loud and clean, and natural, thats one of the reasons i like ATC so much.
(and i think i'll stick to this company for a long time)
as far as stonger amps go - well, i thing more cost effective way to go would be to get an active SCM50ASL some time in the future, not spend money and play aroung with half measures.
would i really be so much better off with some 300-400w behemoth? mebbe two poweramps from atc? anyways, i welcome any more power suggestions
as far as the sub goes - this is another matter and im thinking about it. im more interested in a av setup based on a good stereo to be honest, dont feel any need (as of now) for more channels. a good screen nd a good stereo system would suffice for me.
>Shadorne - one more issue: how about cables, what do you think and what expiriences do you have regarding atc and speaker cables? i tried PAD Venustas and the change was really positive...
I have tried a variety of thick cables for a variety of passive speakers, especially for long runs, from as cheap as power extension cord to moderately expensive Monster Cable.
Honestly, I simply can't hear the difference, which is maybe just a reflection that I don't have "golden ears" or that my other components are robust enough that special cables are simply not needed. (Some might argue that my other components are of too poor quality, bad match etc. to benefit from better cables).
In any case, my Cable experience, poor ears, wrong components or otherwise, should not disuade others from trying special cables....if they work for you, as many claim, then go for it! To each his own and good luck!
This next bit may sound funny: Actually, I do use the thick Monster Cable over the thick power extension cord for the passive speakers I use...even if I admit to being unable to hear a difference. I think of this as an insurance attitude: Better for me to make sure that cheap cables are not possibly degrading the sound in some horrible way that I have not readily perceived than to use cheap extension cord, especially seeing as I already paid for more expensive Monster Cable anyway! And, of course, for the additional cost, the cables look significantly more professional than ugly bright orange extension cord but, *sigh*, I would certainly prefer to be able to hear an improvement!
>Shadorne as far as cables go... you see, im an engineer myself (architect), so i understand the "if you coannot measure it it does not exist" approach for e.g. ATC engineers have.
but - i was really, really surprised with this whole Venustas deal. theres lots of changes i hear but most easily distinguishable are: much tighter bass, all around cleaner sound. so this particular experience is the only reason im thinking of actually getting these cables.
they're not that expensive anyway...
you write amongst other things wrong components, wrong ears ". well as far as i can tell from my short but enjoyable experience with ATC gear, these speakers are not overly detailed, not flashy in sound, but if a listener wants - most anything can be heard, in a sort of natural, not oppressive way. these speakers do reveal quite a lot about the rest of the system and the recording (which i guess comes from their studio origins), at the same time allowing for hours and hours of easy listening without getting tired of their sound.
So im planning on performing a double blind test, with a cheap OFC cable and PAD Venustas, right now im sure il be able to differentiate what is plugged in. but ill see.
up until now i had those cables two times and every time the difference was ...staggering. the system came to live literally, with el cheapo Straight Wire cables all sounded dull and muted in comparison, with bloated bass.
and to be honest looking at the economic side of the whole game id prefer not to be able to hear a difference and be happy with regular ofc cables :) i think my particular combination of poweramp, speakers and these cables gives such easily noticeable effect. but to be honest i cannot wait to switch to something you enjoy, that is active ATC monitors. no worries about speaker cables, about matching amplifier, just a decent source, preamp, room and the music flows :)
as far as ATC goes i really like their solid engineering, their no nonsense, no fuss products. I also like their cost effective approach one can go into with active speakers. it would be difficult to match active speakers performance with separate components at a reasonable price... wouldn't you agree? having active scm100s.
while i was looking for some new gear i auditioned quite a lot of things and was really tired of all flashy, pretending to be original sounding things, appealing to some perceived audiophile fancy while sounding in some respects great, but unnatural, too flashy or plain strange (jmlab, bw, thiel, phonar, zoller etc etc....). Zoller Evolution what a great performer...but in many ways unnatural. i hope you know what i mean. ATC sounds just right, backed with great engineering, giving all one wants to hear and at the same time sounding natural.
I would be interested in the results of your cable blind tests...as you may have gathered I respect that there must be small differences between different cables....my obsevation is simply that, at least for my ears, I have not found these small differences to amount to an audible difference.
On ATC speakers, I like your comments... here are my impressions and I will try to be as sanguine as possible to help others decide if they should even consider this gear.
I would describe ATC speakers as having a noticably excellent mid range but apart from that their sound is very simply neutral or accurate.
I suspect the base response has been carefully engineered with less harmonic distortion than many lower cost systems. Some people may describe the ATC base as understated, weak or absent compared to typical "boomy" base resonance of many consumer Hi-Fi speakers, or that they sound "un-musical"; this argument is a fair point, more harmonics do sound fuller and more resonant. My impression on ATC speakers is I am better able to hear that the base on various source material is as varied as the mid range....something that is noticably less evident with many consumer Hi-Fi speakers with a warm base and more harmonics. I suspect that the reason for the warm harmonics laden base in much consumer Hi-Fi audio is that it is a quite sensible and lower cost way to efficiently generate a fuller sounding base with smaller cones and cabinets, furthermore, add a tuned reflex port to reinforce the base and the manufacturer has a very efficent lower-cost design that unfortunately adds plenty of base harmonic distortion, especially as the volume is turned up. Conversely from consumer audio, ATC ports on large professional units are not tuned to reinforce base but to control cone extension and smaller ATC units simply do not have a port.
Another noticable difference is that ATC speakers can play extremely loud - and I mean extremely loud with low distortion levels.
The above characteristics of ATC speakers should be noticable to most anyone comparing ATC to a variety of other speakers.
There are some other less noticeble qualities: ATC speakers have a great dynamic range (softest to highest sound) and play at all sound levels quite consistently. Finally, at loud levels, ATC speakers suffer from relatively little distortion and compression due to the robust driver, cabinet and heavy magnet designs (relatively less thermal compression and other effects than lower cost designs).
In summary, I would charaterize the ATC speakers as engineered for consistent, solid and accurate sound from low to extremely high levels, which is probably why they are chosen by many professionals for studio applications; admittedly, not the sound or solution to fit everyone's need or taste and, like all speakers, still far short of being altogether devoid of distortion.
in other words we could say that ATC merely reproduces the musical event, while some other products try to fancy up what we eventually hear. some designs do everything to sound "impressive", "original" etc...
as far as the bass goes - i don't feel theres any shortages in this department. of course, just after i changed my previous speakers for atc, i was like: where the hell is all that bass. but it turns out the previous product had a lot of boomy, slow, puddingy kinda bass, while atc is much faster, to the point and much more varied. i hear active speakers are even faster - thats great. this is quality bass, that goes down as well, not quantity and unneeded volume. not to mention coloration.
ATC seems to be a very transparent speaker, with phenomenal midrange and the bass performance to suit, not flashy highs. it differentiates good and bad records, but its not a poor recorded cd killer, i find i can listen to most of my cds without getting tired. thats a great combination of transparency and... musicality or sth?
and the ability to play high spl is just excellent, no matter how loud i go the sound remains the same, pure, only louder. it lets you have at least an impression of hearing a live performance.
as far as the cables go, how about this:
just after i changed my previous speakers for atc, i was like: where the hell is all that bass. but it turns out the previous product had a lot of boomy, slow, puddingy kinda bass, while atc is much faster, to the point and much more varied
That matches my experience exactly, and to be fair, the smaller bookshelf ATC models, like other speakers, do not apppear to escape from the small woofer and small cabinetry limitations/physics that leads to a less refined base with increased harmonic distortion at the low end. I can attest that I notice a significant difference in base response between my long time SCM 20's and when my SCM 100A's arrived and I directly compared them. It was actually quite disconcerting, at least initially, for here were these relatively massive SCM 100's with 12" woofers (expectation was bigger base sound) and along side them, the small bookshelf SCM 20 with combined mid and 6" woofer, and yet, the base that I heard was noticably less resonant or "boomy" on the 100's, giving an initial surprising, counter-intuitive impression of less base response from a significantly bigger more powerful speaker!
After this startling discovery, I pulled out a few CD's with a few disco tracks to further test the base of the SCM 100's against the SCM 20's. No problem here, of course the bigger drivers in the 100's completely blew away the 20's on this kind of material and with no lack of base...
My impression is that the 100's make differences from recording to recording and between instruments at the low end markedly more apparent to the listener. For example, on music with extreme base such as disco, the 100's give you a kind of punch in the stomach impression that differs significantly from disco track to track whereas the 20's had more of a tendency to make the room vibrate and with less accentuated or apparent differences between the base from track to track. Although I would not characterize the SCM 20's as a particularly "boomy" speaker (they have no reflex port), I was nevertheless surprised at the difference the larger drive cones and cabinetry actually make in the base response of the SCM 100's.
your SCM20s are passive and SCM100s are active.
so theres some reasons for differences in performance in addition to their different sizes i think.
as far as i gather, we can easily talk about two worlds or sides of ATC designs. passive and active.
passive designs tend to be warmer, their bass is rounder, not quite as fast as from active, but still quite lively and not sloppy at all. on the other hand - active speakers tend to be less forgiving for the source material, they are much faster (especially as far as bass goes), someone once told me that his active scm50s, when first arrived, fired away like a machine gun (describing the speed of their bass).
and the small monitors - well, the're meant to play in small rooms, the bass response is not artificially extended to give impression (cheat if you will) of a bigger speaker. im fine with that approach.
i wish in a year or two i myself will be able to enjoy my own active scm50s or even scm100s :). in the meantime, scm35s will do just fine. great speakers considering their price.
how does a double bass or bass guitar sound on the active 100? i suppose quite nicely. not to mention percussion...
On the 100's, double bass guitar is very distinct and clear. Bob Dylan's album "Oh Mercy", and particularly the track "Man in the Long Black Cold" comes across distinctly better than on my smaller SCM 20's. And on double base, Dave Grusin's Album "Hommage to Duke" has more detail at the lower end - it was already one of the best jazz studio recordings I have found and it got better - it will knock your socks off even if you don't care for jazz.
Furthermore, the tighter base reponse appears to impact the detail that can be heard in the lower mid range too...or, possibly, it is the physical separation of the mid range and woofer that helps (they are combined in the SCM 20's where the mid range is gratfed onto the woofer). Whatever the cause, the male vocals on 100's are noticably more distinct, clear and articulate. Female vocals remain very similar to the SCM 20's, and so does the high end.
Sorry to go off topic here but I just had to ask.
I have active 20 tower at the moment and have been offered some active 100's at a very good price.
Shadorne by what you say, I know you only have passive 20's, would this be a worthy upgrade. Problem is my room is only approx 12' x 10'. Is my room too small??
Your thoughts would be grately appreciated,
SCM 100's, Is my 12' by 10' room too small??
The 100's are a big speaker that was engineered for music playback for professionals; they are about as far from esthetically pleasing as you might get (WAF rating of -1 from 0 to 10 and nearly caused me a divorce). Unlike the book shelf 20's, the narrow tall esthetic designs of your towers, or the tall SCM 35's, the 100's will dominate and be intrusive visually in any room, let alone a 10' by 12' room. These heavy box speakers require a very robust stand and are even deeper than they are wide with the amp pack heat sink sticking out the back, which will necessarily make the speaker sit quite far off the back wall.
My guess is that the SCM 20 towers already do a great job in your 10' by 12' room, in '96 I originally auditioned the SCM 20's in a similar size of room and ended up impulsively buying them (my first pair of ATC's and I have never tired of them and still use them as surrounds). The SCM 20's are used professionally for near field monitoring and I think they are idealy suited to a 10' by 12' room. Have you considered the SCM 35's or a more poweful amplifier? Both would be less dominating for your size room and still likley to give you an audible improvement, particularly at higher listening levels?
Hi Shadorne..yes I think you are probably right the 100's would be too big. I tried to visualize them from the dimensions and they would be like wardrobes.
I have the active 20's so upgrading power amp is not an option. But I did ask my dealer if a power amp (possibly Ayre to match my K1-xe pre) and the ATC 35's would be an upgrade. He seemed to think it would be so maybe I'll have an audition after Christmas.
Have you heard the 35's because my dealer was saying he cannot believe that ATC make a speaker so good for £2000,
if i may. take a listen to the SCM35s, they're not
too big a speaker but can play with a really big sound,
they're a three way design which does perform admirably,
especially considering their price.
they are just standing in your room, looking plain and not drawing
attention to themselves, but when they play its a different deal.
their sound is quite something. of course a really strong amp is a
must, and good room acoustics to boot.
the only thing one could wish for with these speakers - if the highs could
match the quality of the bass and the midrange. the highs
on this speaker are not your flashy audiophile thing,
the just are there and thats it. but hey - its fine with
me, this is kinda more natural that many designs with a really
and one more downside of SCM35 - terrible speaker terminals, especially,
if you have a cable terminated with large spades...
to sum up - this time your dealer is saying how it is, many people are surprised when they hear what these speakers can do. sorry for jumping in not called for.
I have not heard the 35's myself, all I can say is that the specs and the reviews are impressive...it looks like great value. Since I have the space, my best option was to go for a second hand pair of 100A's...excellent value for sound performance but sadly scores low in esthetics...if cost was not a constraint I would probably go for the 50's in steinway black with the plinths - only very slightly less performance than the 100's but so much nicer esthetically.
The only reservation I might have on the 35's is
1) The performance improvement might not be that significant compared to your towers - you may want to side by side audition in a similar size room to what you have at home.
2) The tweeter looks different from the vifa they use in the 20's and the older line of professional monitors and, as far as I can tell, it is not the excel millenium (it would be truely amazing at that price point for that is what they use in all the newer 50's and up).....on a photo it looks more like the tweeter they use in the T16's. You may want to carefully check the tweeter sound in case it is less to your liking than what you already have.
3) You are going from active to passive...the extra performance you gain in the larger cone/cabinet in the 35's might be offset by the dis-advantages of passive speakers and passive crossovers...I suspect passives will suffer from slightly less sharply controlled crossover, slight phase issues, slightly more IMD and slightly more crossover drift as coils heat up with temperature. I cannot begin to guess whether these pasive design differences will be audible enough to offset the advantages of a larger cabinet and wooofer ...it may boil down to a question of personal taste or what is best for a given room size.
I would be interested in your findings on a straight comparison...the relative merits/trade offs of cabinet/woofer design versus active design against cost. (Especially since the SCM 35's with a 250 WPC amplifier would roughly be equivalent in cost to active 20's.)
I cannot say what would be the very best match for your ATC 35's, but my Perreaux 2150 amplifier and SM-2 preamp work splendidly with these speakers. I have had the 35's in my system for well over one year, and I couldn't be happier. The Perreaux amplifier, while old (manufactured in 1984), packs a tremendous, tight punch and it is known for its warm, tube-like sound. Whatever amplifier you decide to get, remember that the 35's require a lot of power. If you can find a 2150 to drive your 35's I think you'll be very happy. I certainly am. 'Hope this helps.