ATC buying advice

Hi everyone,

I am planning on buying new speakers for a music room I am setting up, and would like some advice from people with experience with ATC--which is the brand I would like to buy the speakers from. I do like to buy extras like an additional preamp and sub from the same brand if possible.

The room is around 48 m2 and 3m high and has no soundproofing, bass traps or anything. I just want to start with a setup that is simple for a starting enthusiast and will be appropriate for the size of the room. That's why I am leaning towards active speakers, such as the ATC SCM40A. Budget isn't really an issue but I do want to keep it relatively simple to start with.

So, I have a few things to figure out, taking the ATC SCM40A as a starting point:
- Pre-amp. The setup will also include a Rega P10/Aphelion2, and I've been looking at the Rega Aura preamp too. But I have no experience with this and don't know if a ATC SCA2 or CDA2 might be a better option (I do like the integrated cd-player of the CDA2);
- ATC SCM40A vs SCM50ASL (Pro) / ATC SCM50ASLT or higher. I understand I will have to listen to multiple speakers and audition preferably in my room, but purely based on your experience and the fact I will use the speakers for home listening. What's your take? I do like the look of the 40 towers in satin black, and know the pro's are less-refined looking. But ultimately it's the sound that matters most. If that means I have to go for the 100's or 150's, so be it.
- Subwoofer. Based on whether I will go for an 40A or up, do you think it would be preferable to go for a subwoofer? I read a lot and the opinions vary and it comes down to personal preference. I do like some bass, but I mostly listen to rock, classical and soundtracks. If I'd go for a sub, would single C1 Sub Mk2 suffice, or would you opt for 2/3 or the C4?
- Cables. What cables do you recommend for my DAP, TT and the rest? Again, I am inexperienced in this and open to suggestions.

All advise is welcome!



There may be advantages over regular methods in some designs but they pale in comparison to what can be done digitally. You have to remember the designer has no idea what environment the speaker is going to be placed in and the room is 50% of the equation, some would say more. Analog can not deal with this. Eventually systems could be digital all the way to the speaker enclosure. With good cable you can easily run a 300 foot AES-EBU line without any loss. 


You have to be kidding me. Analog electrical engineering has been around for eons. I built my first amp when I was 13 years old. Digital signal processing is about 25 years old. It is an entirely different branch of electrical engineering and requires specific training. Programming the crossovers is easy, but that is not designing the circuitry. 

The only reason to do anything in analog is to hand an analog signal to the amplifier so you can listen with your analog ears. Unless you have a large record collection everything should remain digital up to the amps. Not only will such a system easily outperform any analog set up but you can also tune such a system to sound any way you want without any added artifacts. I digitize my phono stage and do the final RIAA correction by computer.  I also use tube amplifiers to drive ESLs.

Just wondering how long my brand new ATC SCM100ASLT take to fully run in ?

I am assuming the 12” woofers will take the longest to “bed in” ?


ATC is not big on the idea of break in. They heavily QC the drive units and "run them in" at the factory. SO I dont think you’ll find any break in is necessary. In support of that, I have never in 20 years had a customer tell me a replacement driver every sounded different from existing drivers in the speaker. If "break in" with ATC is always part of it, if it was clearly audible, how could all those owners over the years miss it?   Strange isn't it?


I get you are trying to be progressive, looking at the wonderful opportunites DSP can offer for "room" correction-but it just isn’t the great pancea it is cracked up to be. It can help some users, usually those with room conditions that are so adverse that any change in the right direction is welcome. But the core problem with DSP room correction [so far] is that it cannot distinguish between direct sound and reflected sound. So you are modifying the thing that is not wrong (direct sound) to compensate for the thing that IS wrong (the reflections). Does that sound like a wise move to you?

From a sales perspective, room correction sounds great in principle, to "fix" the room (as this is the problem the user is typcially trying to attack). But at best, you are not only modifying the direct sound, which is a bad idea, you are doing all of this modification /EQ etc for ONE singular location in the room, not everywhere. So great, it sounds good where you put the microphone, which is often NOT where you sit. You ;put the microphone on the floor (more reflections from the floor to the mic), a table (more reflections from the table to the mic) both of which skew the compensation even more, altering the actual sound at that precise location. Some astute users try to get the mic up high, or put a blanket on the floor or blanket on the table, but none of those things work unless the mic is located exactly where your ears are when you sit. A speaker has a specific dispersion pattern that is not symetrical, (low dispersion is different than tweeter dispersion 99% of the time) and where you are located makes a HUGE difference in how the speaker sounds. Where the mic is located makes a HUGE difference in compensation..

If people are rarely willing to even move their speaker to see how it sounds within a room, how are they going to get a mic location right? How are they going to make it sound good over a wider area when the room correction doesnt work like that? Room correction cannot address these issues, unless you have a very advanced real time measurement system feeding the room correction computer real time (which is not what is being discussed here) and have a room that is only minorly messed up so it doesn’t have to make dramatic change to the direct sound of the speaker? And now on top of all that, you want to send all your audio throuogh a digital EQ? Why would you worry about cables or phono stage and then use a $5 digital EQ across everything? And you think you cannot hear that?

Yes, ATC is all analog. No correction. No digital processing. No little cheap software EQ changing the direct sound you spent so much money on. ATC is absolutely ready for the future when we have some of these technical issues addressed!

The only solution at this date is make the room sound better without EQ.

All of the above is NOT about DEQx. Yes they have a very advanced system but they are more focused on speaker correction than room correction. To do speaker correction requires some pretty extensive measurement and modeling, not sometihjng an end user can do at home. I actually do think DEQX is on to something, they may indeed be the future of it all. We are a ways away from that future right now with all this junk being sold to people using misinformation to do so!. .