Your thoughts about ATC loudspeakers

I’m interested in the ATC SCM-40 from their HiFi series and would like to hear from people who have owned or spent a lot of time with ATC speakers. This is a fairly new model and may be a bit of a departure from their classic sound.

At the show in Newport last weekend, I was quite taken by these speakers. I went back the next day and heard the same things that I liked about them, but a couple of red flags also went up:

Microdynamics – not sure these speakers do them well and microdynamics are critical to communicating inflection and nuance and to making music sound alive

Imaging, specifically wrt depth. Nothing much outside of the plane of the speakers, so recording venue info is not there and even instrument and vocal body may suffer a bit.

Were these shortcomings of setup or associated gear, or is this what ATC does?
Ag insider logo xs@2xdrubin
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.
Great speakers, but from what I've heard and what ATC owners have to say, is that active is the ticket.
>>"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.

Very much agree with your conclusions. They are both exceptional speakers, very similar tonality, but different presentations. Like you said, pick one based on your preferences!

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.