Lindisfarne is absolutely correct. Lots of really good power otherwise you are wasting your time and lots of money. I've not listened to this exact model, but have listened to much of the line and it is quite consistent with needing very exacting preamp/power. Very revealing of any flaws in the system to include cabling. Most I listened to loved British class A such as Sugden and LFD.
I have owned SCM-40 and have heard most others. There is nothing that the ATC cannot do. They are seriously among the absolute best speakers out there. They sound like whatever is there in the recording and what is being fed to it via the electronics in the chain. You need really good amplifiers and sky is the limit.
Look at Symphonic line amps if you are looking for the depth and width of soundstage along with a very finely nuanced and liquid sound. You can even consider an active SCM40 which in my opinion is the best thing to do.
I own a pair of the SCM 19's and am in love with the gorgeous sound. My system is posted here in the Virtual Systems, but since then I've hooked them up directly to a Luxman L-550ax integrated that is rated at only 20 watts/channel. Yeah, the Lux has plenty of headroom, but the supposedly power-hungry ATC's still sound magical. And, YES, they sure are accurate! Don't expect any artificial lushness with anything made by ATC; they tell it like it is.
I did hear the 40's at this years AXPONA. Powered by ATC electronics they were great and really held their own compared to some of the outrageous gear featured in many of the rooms!
I worked for an ATC dealer a while back, and we didn't carry the 40s but I got to hear the 20s and 50s quite a bit while I was there. To me, the midrange is about the best I've ever heard in terms of power, resolution, and an utter lack of any distortion or strain. Where I found them to fall a little short was with respect to holographic 3D imaging. It's not that they don't image well, it's just that compared to other what I'll call the more "audiophile" oriented brands they don't portray (or some would say exaggerate) things like depth or width of the soundstage, and I'd agree the venue info is a little less apparent as well. Again, this is just relative to speakers that excel in these particular areas. Perhaps the new 40s improve in these areas if they represent an evolution of the house sound, but I have no idea. Can't say I noticed anything regarding micro dynamics, but we usually demoed them with more dynamic music so that might be why. I really can't fault them in any other areas. Great overall speakers, and I wish they had more exposure here in the U.S.
ATC do not use the latest and greatest of the tweeters. These days we have berrylium/diamond/ribbon tweeters all doing 100khz extension. So speakers which employ those do tend to have more atmosphere but to make the whole package sound as natural is not easy and that is why most of those speakers get into the hi-fish category. ATC uses their own traditional dome tweeter which is well extended but not like 100 khz and all, hence they probably do not do those extra-terrestrial like sound. What ATC presents is a full range sound that is extremely coherent, uncolored and dynamic. When you hear it you know everything else is flawed.
Well Drubin (and knowing you are local) I have all the ATC Hi-Fi Passive series including the SCM19v2 and SCM40v2 available for demo in our showroom in Fairfax, CA (Marin County). We also have some other interesting stuff like the new NAD M22 Ncore amp. Will also be exhibiting at the CA Audio Show with ATC in August.
IMO depth is nearly entirely a psychoacoustic construct that depends on how far away from the front wall the speakers are. Further you put them, more perception of depth you have.
Resolution wise (which covers off microdynamics) I think these are without peer at their price point. I'm not a speaker designer but I think it is because they are using extremely beefy drivers (large magnets with underhung coils). Take a look at the size of the mid-woofer in the SCM19. Beefy!
Interestingly I think the SCM19v2, which is a standmount, is higher resolution than the SCM40v2. Technically this could be because the mid-woofer in the 19 is the SL "Super Linear" version, whereas the woofer in the 40 is their standard version. May also be partially due to the increased complexity of the passive crossover in the 40. They have the same sonic signature but the 40s have a much "weightier" presentation.
ATC speakers have three main strengths: neutrality, resolution and bass quality.
A lot of people don't like neutral speakers (they might prefer Raidho or B&W, with their explicitly designed "not to be flat" response) but personally I do.
Bass is tight and articulate due to either sealed box or a very low Q port tuning in their larger speakers.
Acousticfrontiers, I have had a fair share of exposure to the 40, 19 and also the SCM 20. It is true that the 19 and 20 feels lighter and quicker a bit but they somehow just do not have the midrange palpability of the 40 (due to that amazing dome mid range driver of the 40). Regarding bass, it is both ways, the 40 goes deeper and fills a bigger place more elegantly while sounding very tight and defined, where as the 19 and 20 are somewhat more lean and agile. It is going to be a matter of preference and room size IMO.
>>"IMO depth is nearly entirely a psychoacoustic construct that depends on how far away from the front wall the speakers are. Further you put them, more perception of depth you have.<<"
Thank you! I have long believed this to be true. If your brain (via your eyes) doesn't perceive space for the musicians to occupy behind the speakers, your ears will not perceive soundstage depth through your audio system. At least that's what I believe. Unless you've pulled your speakers out into the middle of the room (even as an experiment), I don't believe you've experienced the depth your speakers are capable of.
I purchased the SCM40 V2 about a year ago and have enjoyed discovering how good and bad my CD collection sounds. The tonal balance of the speakers is excellent. The bass is tight, articulate and quick. And it's a sealed box design standing about 24" from rear wall. The timing and control is terrific. If the end of a song has a long diminishing end to it the speaker does not truncate it but carries it through till there is no signal left. That's accuracy. The sound of Cal Tjader's vibraphone and Count Basie's piano, and Maynard Fergusons' trumpet is fantastic through the SCM40s. The dynamics is impressive. Turn up the volume and the music simply gets louder without distortion. I also heard that the amplified version of these speakers is best. I would like to hear them someday. Maybe at the NY Audio show in Nov.
IMO depth is nearly entirely a psychoacoustic construct that depends on how far away from the front wall the speakers are. Further you put them, more perception of depth you have.
@acousticfrontiers @hesson11 +1 +1
Any feedback on the active version?
I have used extensively since ’95 ATC speakers. SCM 20, SCM 20SL, SCM100A and their C6 subwoofer and even their largest active centre channel.
They all sound very similar even active vs passive.
As you go larger and go active the clarity and distortion drops while the SPL capability increases to truly incredible dynamic levels.
Recently I simplified to their active 150 elliptical design which has a 15" woofer. If you are a stickler for precise timbre of sound for percussion, vocals, piano and pretty much anything at live music levels then you can’t go wrong with ATC - especially the larger models - no speaker I know of has better driver integration or such extremely low distortion at high SPL than a large ATC. The sound is neutral and precise and totally natural/realistic.
My speakers and class A to 2/3 power active discrete component amps are entirely made in the UK by ATC. All three drivers are entirely made in house by ATC. The tweeter is a new in house design and has no Ferrofluid - it has a double spider - perhaps the only tweeter using this design. As others have mentioned, the magic is in the bass and mid range with ATC - the bass and mid range are so clean and tangible that this is immediately easily noticeable versus other speakers. The new tweeter is designed and built in house by ATC (like all their drivers) and is only available on very recent models and it is outstanding but the tweeter improvement vs other speakers is not of the same order of magnitude noticeable significant improvement as the bass and mid range.
Active is such a no brainer - it allows amps to work within a limited bandwidth and without the heavy load of a passive lossy crossover - the design is just an order of magnitude better than the traditional approach in terms of low distortion and driver integration (provided active is done well as it is possible to mess up any design approach).
I have my 19's fairly far from back wall (for a small room,10' by 13.5') and that does give soundstage alot of depth...I recently took out some larger bass traps and replaced with smaller room ones and that gave some oomph to the whole sound stage/bass...i over did it with larger traps I think...They do need some volume...there new tweeter design is something special to my ears...never heard piano so coherent and natural...space is the place baby...+ air,detail
@shadorne Thank you very much for your response to my inquiry on the active versions.
You wrote: " As you go larger and go active the clarity and distortion drops..."
Did you mean to say that clarity drops? Clarity increases and distortion drops...perhaps???
ATC has been on my short list for some time now...but if I go forward, I would only do so with an active version.
Anyone else with first hand experience with their active line?
My bad. I indeed meant to say clarity increases and distortion drops as you go to larger models but the overall sound remains totally consistent. The super version (stronger drive motor) of their 3 inch dome mid range combined with the active amplification and phase aligned active crossover is really worth aiming for if you have the means - all the 50 and larger active models have this. Alternatively, passive 20 or 19 and a JL subwoofer might be a sensible way to go on a tighter budget.
I have a pair of custom built active 110 ASLs that I bought from an orchestra. It was part of a portable stage setup. I had always wanted some ATCs since I first heard them in a shop in Chicago in 2001.
They are a very matter of fact speaker. They don't have a lot of character of their own. They seem to change with the source. Their most notable characteristic is the ability to play as loud as you want without any distortion. I can watch an action movie as loud as it would be in the theater without any strain - it's quite an experience. This makes them great for music that has big dynamic swings.
The pair I have is from about 2012 so it predates the new ATC tweeter. They are a little bit soft on top. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences but it's their most noticeable deviation from complete neutrality IMO. It makes them slightly easier on the ears when you're listening to a recording with a bit of excess treble but it also detracts a little from something that is well recorded and that has a lot of atmosphere. The new tweeter may have fixed this.
There is nothing quite like active bass. The ones I have are sealed and don't have any hint of exaggerated bass but the bass quality is just better than passive. The transients are razor sharp, the texture is fantastic. Maybe there are passive speakers that can do it as well but they're definitely rare.
As far as microdynamics go, I'm not sure myself if that's a characteristic of the speaker or it's that other speakers tend to exaggerate it. I do think a lot of speakers exaggerate various things that can make them sound kind of magical but that also are a distortion that has a downside as well. I think ATCs excel at higher volumes more than lower. The ones I have sound fine at lower volumes but if you're going to listen to smaller scale music at lower volumes I wouldn't go with ATC since you're going to be paying for dynamic ability that you won't use. My experience is with big ones so this may not hold for the smaller ones or the new tweeter may make a big difference.
I've got a pair of Thiel 3.7s as well in another system and I'd have a hard time picking between the two. They're both fantastic, both designed for accuracy, and yet significantly different. The Thiels don't have near the dynamic capability, although they will play plenty loud for most people. They sound better at low volumes and they do atmosphere better. Whether this is due to the first order crossovers or more extended tweeter I don't know but I consider this a pretty easy distinction to make.
The ATCs do better with a full orchestra or meaty rock n roll. The Thiels are better with smaller scale stuff. I listen to a fair amount of smaller scale string recordings and acoustic jazz and I prefer the Thiels for that. They're really fantastic. If I want to listen to Ozzy or a full orchestra I prefer the ATCs. They can deliver a bass line or the scale of a large orchestra a bit better.
@mofojo the SCM 40 v2. has perfect integration, amazing mids and sounds great turned up. You can get carried away with them easily. The only negatives are that it’s not a full range speaker, for example entire sections of a Bjork album won’t be heard using them. The sound stage is narrow compared to other speakers but to me this is just an honest sound that is not trying make anything artificial. They require lots of power to perform best so careful pairing is mandatory. These issues might be a deal breaker for some listeners, it is an exemplary product regardless. As stated previously when I settle down it will be with a large pair of active ATC’s.
The DI sounds like a panel, people have said that about box speakers before but this time it is true. Side by side with my ESL 15A & Summit X makes for an easy comparison. It has huge dynamics, massive sound stage with the right amp and is a very well rounded performer. They are easy to drive and sound great at low volumes. It’s like getting the best of a few different speakers in one box at a ridiculously low price. The deal breaker? looks, finish and size. It was the first time I felt the need to sit down and discuss a speaker purchase with my wife. She still calls them "the weird looking speakers" but asks me to put on music so she can listen constantly. All this at half the price of 40 v2’s makes in the better speaker IMO.
Our SF Bay Area audio club had a tour recently at the Dolby HQ offices and sound and theater rooms.
Dolby was running yuge studio monitor ATCs, powered by Bryston. So that matches what all are saying about the speakers needing lots of power to sound best.
The dedicated critical listening room had the listening chair in the middle of the room, surrounded by a circle of 6 or 8 huge ATCs.
It's nickname is "speakerhenge"!
(Amazing equipment as you can imagine. very tightly controlled security and locked door entries throughout building. The big theater has active Meyer speakers doing surround sound, including from the ceiling)
Large ATC are one of the few select speakers of choice for "shock and awe" in multi-million $ facilities. (Basically impress the hell out of the clients)
Prism launched a new HiFi version of their DAC at British Grove last year...again large ATC are the choice for Mark Knopfler's studio.
Quested Speaker is another one which is underrated IMHO......
I find them Far more musical, easier to drive and far less fatiguing than the ATC. They cost much less.
ATC Residential and Studio Speakers are the same, except the consumer level stuff is boxed with veneer and such to make them look pretty. Open the Studio and Residential system and you will find the same driver and crossovers.
ATC are no doubt up with the best but i think Quested is far easier to listen too, just as transparent as ATC.
The H108 are used by Hans Zimmer, these units can be driven by Tube Amplification with only 20 watts on hand. The crossover are lighter and the speakers generally to me anyways feels more like Music you can connect too.
Quested has been around for years, Hans Zimmer, Michael Bay, Trever Horn are but a few who have stuck by Quested for years and with good reasons.
Fatige is the word that comes to me every time Iv listen to ATC Speakers. If you are using your Audio room for mix and mastering than both ATC or Quested Speakers will work. However for Music so far nothing has pleased me enough than Quested out of the 3 iv tried many times and that's: Quested, ATC, PMC.
+1 on Quested - great speakers and Trevor Horn is amazing so you can trust his ears!
Quested uses ATC mid range on Hans Zimmers large soffit mounted monitors. PMC also used the ATC mid range (I think they have been using a cheaper clone from Volt since about 2000). So you are indeed looking at quite similar designs but likely voiced or crossed over a little differently so that you much prefer Quested over the others.
Dragon Vibe, your points are interesting but don't make a lot of sense.
We have not heard of Quested loudspeakers until now, your comments about them being more musical in your opinion is interesting.
ATC loudspeakers are extremely musical and are very natural sounding. Their speakers are raved reviewed in almost every audio magazine that has ever tested them and they are often praised for how real and life like and unhyped sounding they are.
The drivers that ATC builds are amoung the best drivers you can buy, and the fact that most of the world's largest and most prestigous mastering and mixing facilities all use ATC is proof postive of the pedegree of the speakers.
As per the commercial and residential being identical that is also not true, current residential models have a different voicing than the studio versions there are also a few tweeks done to the residential models, these make the consumer versions a tad more laid back sounding.
Yes Trevor Horn is an excellent composer but the fact that he uses these speakers actually means very little, Herbie Hancok uses Terra speakers does that mean Terra is better or Quested is better because a musician or composer uses them? In this industry many people are often exposed to one brand and they like that product and rarely explore the entire gamut
So did Trevor listen to ATC or PMC or Adam or whatever before using these speakers the only one who knows that is Mr. Horn.
ATC is a gem of a speaker, we have been dealers for them for about 1 year,however, we always knew of the speakers, it was just impossible to hear them
We heard an active set of SCM 40 at the last New York Audio show and boy were we hooked, the speakers are unbelievably good and the ATC SCM 19 are just so remarkable.
The biggest issue with ATC is how little the Audiophile world really knows about them.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Audio Doctor, I understand your a Dealer and thus your comments on this forum is always biased towards products you guys carry. This is evident on the DAC threads as well. You do realise pushing your products on the forum does come across unethical.
I speak from personal experience by owning all 3 speakers in the past 20 years in this hobby. I an not a dealer of either of the companies.
My comments on the composer using these speaker is just an indication that they have stuck by the company for a long time. ATC is used by many studios and composers as well. It could mean something or nothing either way. I am not a Audio Distributor or a Dealer. So I am not biased to any given manufacture.
Quested to me sounds less fatiguing, again guys use your own ears. We share information on this thread and opinions. Nothing negative in my comments about ATC or PMC. If you are planning to listen to music instead of using your room for Mixing or Tracking the Quested may prove to be more preferable for long term listening session.
Our comments speak about the entire industry. If Quested made such a superior speaker more people would know about them in the audiophile world.
We checked out the Gearslutz site and many people there commented favorably on the ATC being the superior speaker in terms of accuracy the Quested being ported and having a bit more bass slam as well as costing less were what people liked about them.
Your preference is your preference without knowing your setup, room acoustics and audio expectations it is not clear if others would agree with you or not.
Our posts are about just how realistic the ATC are especially if you drive them with the correct gear and how more people should check them out.
If you like rock I know of few speakers that are as satisfying.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I did not claim any speaker is the best or superior your twisting my original thread just because I’m simply telling you its unethical for a Distributor/Dealer to constantly pound the forums at pushing products.
I already made you aware about this on the DAC Thread forum which you constantly rant on about with sales talk. Stop pushing your products on the forum. Their is something called general advertising you can take part in.
I simply gave my opinion that the ATC speakers iv had were fatiguing and required large amplification mainly Solid State however Quested were easier to drive and less Fatiguing. Neither is superior and each speaker will work well within its purpose installs.
Again your post are simply advertising spin off.
Out of ATC, PMC and Quested. The Quested Passive Speakers were the only ones which could be driven with Tube Amplifiers less then 50 watts. Every other passive monitor iv used required high powered Solid State gear. ATC are Power Hungry Speakers due to the crossover they use.
No one is Attacking PMC or ATC neither any claims are being made one is superior than the other. Please read my post carefully before you jump to assumption and marketing hype.
I prefer Tube Electronics and I found Quested are by far the easiest speakers to drive out of all 3.
Again I must stress, I am not a Seller/dealer so i have no intention to sell anything to readers on forums. No motive to push perticuler products. I have experience with all 3 and you don’t!
Please Stop Marketing your products on Agon. If you need to use the advertising section please do but bashing on the forum and pushing products is very unethical as a salesman. How many times do i need to keep telling you??
Its obvious your always bias to the products your selling yet you have no experience with Quested Speakers and still feel the need to comment on them.
I take part on gearsluts and iv read thousands of threads a lot when comparison have been made with PMC, Quested, ATC Speakers.
No speaker is superior, each one works well within its parameters and purpsoe of install. Every user has diffrent opinions and preference.
Dragon_vibe: in the spirit of sharing information I can add something. The disclaimer is I am the ATC importer.
Hans ZImmer's main scoring mixer Alan Meyerson (who works in Hans's building and has worked exclusively for him for a long long time) uses all ATC for all Hans's work. His previous speakers were B+W, sold off 8- 10 years ago? I have heard Hans has Quested's in his private studio, but I've never seen them.
And the fatigue issue, most people who own ATC like them specifically because they do NOT fatigue after long hours. So I have not ever heard this complaint before you. Maybe back 20 years ago when ATC used "good at the time" VIFA tweeters, which I admit were harsh compared to what's happening now. ATC moved over to SEAS models about 20 years ago and now their own ATC dual suspension tweeters (2 years ago). SO fatigue is something I would hear about as my pro clients work long hours (12-15-18 hrs straight), far longer than a home listener, and fatigue would be a major problem for them.
Go over to Gearslut every experience and opinion iv come to with my own conclusion is shared by many composers and producers. I have no incentive to defend either company. Now we have 2 ATC Dealers on this thread. Things are becomming interesting.
Take my opinion as a grain of salt......I'm not involved in distribution or dealership business.
"ATC are Power Hungry Speakers due to the crossover they use."
It’s true.ATC are excellent speakers which I considered in the past but needs a lots of quality power to perform properly this fact convinced me to buy Proac speakers which are more easy to drive and in MHO are as good as ATC .
However I don’t agree with the statement that ATC speakers are fatiguing, maybe your system was not good enough for
I find them Over Analytical, which is an excellent character for Studio requirements not sure if everyone would appreciate this whilst listening to music. In anycase, I said before ATC are excellent, So are PMC.
Out of all 3 Quested was something i preferred, simply becuase it worked better for me, it was easy to drive and I experience no forms of fatiqge.
Other users on the forum may disagree that’s perfectly fine but please do not twist words by claiming one is superior than the other.
The Quested and PMC don't quite have the level of detail of the ATC mid but for listening they both sound great. They also have more bass than ATC but again not quite as precise and tight as ATC. I think dragon_vibe finds the less clinical presentation to be more pleasant and less fatiguing. All three speakers are very good. All three have their fan base.
Yes this is what I felt about both speakers, overall on the matters of bass I still liked the Quested, for mids I still like the Quested again. The Biggest Point was Quested worked with Tube Amplifiers and the mids was more holographic and lucid with Tubes amps in the mix.
I can easily swap out different Amps, With the ATC I was stuck with Solid States only. So Pick your poison as no speaker is perfect!
ATC transmission line bass seemed slightly! lacking to me, it was tighter/faster but lacking to some sense it would NOT fill in the bottom end properly on certain musical genres only.
The Quested by comparison just felt a little more satisfying, but did not have that last ounce of definition that the ATC produced.
The Quested would fill in the bottom end better and give a better low level energy at the cost of losing some definition. This overall for me worked out better as I don’t sit around listening to audiophile recordings.
I would give the ATC mids a slight nod to details as comparison to Quested or PMC. I wish I could have tried the Tubes on ATC this may have slightly change its character but none of my tube amps worked well.
When it came to playing Music and using Tubes amplification from OTL Amplifiers to Push and Pull. The Quested just worked with everything very well.
It is true that ATC passives need a bit more power, the average sensitivity is 85-86dB 1 w/1m. This is because as a driver designer you have a choice: more efficiency, or more low end. ATC does NOT use transmission lines, passive drivers or other devices for serious low end support, as the roll off after such device is severe. But it is true dragon vibe, loudspeakers are an endless series of trade offs and ATC has chosen sealed box type (slow roll off) low end performance over efficiency.
From experience in the pro world, a manufacturer/distributor like me has to play it absolutely straight on forums; never BS, no politics, zero opinion about anyone else's gear that competes with yours and actually try to share what you know that can help others. Speaking about design values that are hidden, or product features that are misunderstood or clarifying facts is OK if its helpful or relevant to the thread. But it is not welcome when its clothed in verbal advertising. So responding to incorrect facts asserted by posters about ATC is OK, but saying its better than XYZ is not OK. Responding to someone who expresses an opinion that they do not like ATC is not OK. Any assertion as manufacturer/distributor of my opinion about ATC or any other brand is not allowed. Note my posts to dragon_vibe are focused completely on features/values that are not supported with facts, incorrect or misstated. No response to his opinion, which is 100% OK- because we all have opinions about "what is the best" in all kinds of things. Its completely OK for someone to like Quested or PMC more, heck the people that import that stuff are my friends!
Well anyway, If your a Solid State guys than ATC is an excellent speaker as long as you have large amplifiers to sufficiently drive them. They are truly excellent speakers but require very good amplification. Iv never tried Class A Solid State amps on ATC.....Wish I did.
I was once a Solid State guy, moved to SET, Push & Pull than OTL. Once i went OTL I never looked back at other Tube Amplification simply because I found OTL just did everything right. Their are issues running OTL and one of the major aspect was they can not run low Impedance speakers very well. So your stuck with a limited type of speakers.
Their are always trade-offs in this hobby, we just have to understand which area we can easily compromise as acceptability.
I never consider any speaker as THE BEST.....this hobby all comes down to personal taste and listening preference.
Living with a easy to drive speaker just gives one more flexibility to move around amplifiers time to time. At the end of the day we all get that upgrade itch at sometime. Their is no such thing as Destination Audio. Its a constant evolving process. Something I learnt painfully.
It is not about Surgical transparency for me anymore. I want to be emotionally connected to the music. The emotions that stir within us during the listening session is the magical experience I'm after.
ATC speakers in general are not easy to drive (unless you’re buying their active version ) buying their pasive speakers can get you to a serious problem because hungry wats speakers require powerfull amplification and this cost money, a lot of money.If cost is no object ATC can be excellent choice but most of us have a limited budget so we have no choice but to look for other brands with more efficient speakers.