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!



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!. .




I'm afraid you are totally incorrect. Room correction is not an excuse to avoid room treatments. The best way to control the room is to use speakers that have controlled directionality. 

I have never measured a perfect loudspeaker. Most are fraught with amplitude deviations and worse, no two speakers are exactly the same. Even if they were exactly the same, put them in two different locations and they will be different. Digital EQ can correct this perfectly. I find that I still have to look at measurements and make adjustments manually to get both channels perfectly equal even after the computer has it's say. 

Room correction is a misnomer. It should be called speaker correction. It corrects two types of errors, amplitude and time (group delays). It is a panacea for subwoofer integration. The computer ignores the effects of late reflections and only corrects the amplitude errors caused by early reflections.  

None of this can be done in the analog world effectively at all or without causing other distortion. In the digital realm it is just juggling numbers, nothing else matters.

Let's assume for a second that you can design the perfect loudspeaker. Next try to build it and you will discover that all drivers and components deviate to some degree from perfect performance. All are designed to function within limits. The more tightly controlled devices are of course more expensive. 1% resistors are more expensive than 5% resistors of the same type. All these errors compound and create a degree of variability which can not be avoided even if you buy the finest components. 

I'm sure analog will persist as a niche market. People still collect Model Ts and old EV Patricians, one of the worst loudspeakers I have ever heard. But, like the cell phone, analog signal processing is doomed in the audio world. It is woefully inadequate. Granted, it is more of a challenge to put together a SOTA analog system. I can make a better performing system with less expensive components in a fraction of the time required to do it in analog fashion and that is really the key. Audiophiles on a budget (most of us) will be able to take huge leaps in performance at a very reasonable cost. Every audiophile I have done an in home demonstration for has immediately purchased a processor. It is fun to watch their eyes go wide when I kick it in.  


Wow, you must not be reading my posts or not understanding what I wrote.   

The "room correction" I was referring to above (and most people consider room correction) is software inside a receiver or other piece of home gear that is a single cheapo mic and free software that costs nothing.  Think DIRAC.  It may have some features similar to DEQx, but it aint even close. Ignoring late reflections is not something most of this "room correction" software is capable of.  So you are using a esoteric product (DEQX) as an example of all digital signal processing and that simply is not how it is out there.  Most of this digital processing sucks and does not sound good.. Will it get better?  Of course!  But implying this junk people sell as "room corrective" is great is a diservice to the users.   DEQX is not part of that generalization- DEQX is off on its own technical level that is far far above what most people think of as room correction..      

Are you a DEQX dealer?