ATC SCM 11 Vs SCM 19...Need immediate suggestion


Friends,
After a lot of discussion here on Audiogon I finally decided to hear all the speakers on my shortlist by travelling to Singapore. I am now at
Singapore listening to a wide range of speaker every day.
To give a brief history:
I used to own a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.3SE which were really nice.
I thought to upgrade after using them for about 3 years. My expectations were transparency with realistic tones with a natural flow of music.
I started off with Harbeth, Proac, Focus Audio, Spendors and ATC. But I was suggested strongly by fellow Audiogon members that I try to listen to them before selecting. I finally travelled to Singapore and now listening to not only the ones on my list but also a lot of other speakers.
My priority is Bookshelf speaker as my room size is just about 13.5 X 13.5 ft (square).

So here is my dillema which I need to resolve in the next two days.
Yesterday I heard the ATC SCM 11 and I was really happy with what I heard. They were very uncolored, presented voices absolutely spot on, instruments sounded very real, transparency was good (if not excellent). The bass in particular surprised me...since it is a sealed box design, I expented them to be a bit lean on bass but NO..they weregorgeous on the bass...tight, deep, defined and hefty. They really kicked ass. It was one of the best bass I have heard in a long time. Importantly it did not sound bad on average recordings. Compared to my earlier Dynes, it definitely sounded more raw but not at all harsh or garbage. It was adequately laidback with very good macro and micro details and also letting me know that the quality of the CD is not great but very listenable. I loved it.

But then I had the budget to go for the SCM-19 so I wanted the store guy to arrange me a demo of the 19. Today he had the 19 on demo. Unfortunately the 19 was only 3 weeks old so it had done about 50 hours on it. The SCM-11 was about 10 months old with about 250 hours on it.

As soon as the SCM-19 started playing I realized, this is the best bass I have ever heard in any bookshelf speaker. It was even deeper than the SCM-11 and more importantly it had amazing body. It was full blooded hefty but clean and super tight. It was a different animal. I was so happy. But as I progressed I found that the average/decent recordings which were sounding very acceptable on the SCM-11 suddenly started sounding harsh (especially in the upper mids). They were not pleasantly presented. It was spitting at me. The problem was in the upper mids. Even decent recordings like Eagles-Hell Freezes Over sounded kind of harsh and not relaxed. I was deliberately playing average recordings like Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fleetwood Mac because these are my daily staple diet...hi end recordings anyway would sound good but my consumption of hi quality recordings (Jazz and Classical) is just about 15%. I dont use bad recordings as such but nothing exotic as well. So here there is this ATC which was not withstanding my recordings and in the process the sound was not all that musical but more like noise and glare. Going back to the SCM-11 was very pleasant but it did not have the bass of scm-19 nor did it have the tonal accuracy of the 19. The 11 was tonally way more accurate than other speakers I listened to (Harbeth, Spendors, Proacs) but the 19 was even more real.

The store keeper told me that the SCM-19 has the drivers from the ATC higher range, the Super Linear Range and is therefore flatter and more accurate than the SCM-11 which he was selling for almost half the price of SCM-19.

So here is where I am stuck....
Is it that the SCM-19 really doesnt accept average recordings at all...is it more like a tool to tell you how bad the recording is ??
Or is it that, because they have only 50-60 hours on them they are sounding like this ? If the SCM-11 can sound so nice even on average recordings I was hoping the SCM-19 should follow the same but for that it really has to give up all the glare in the upper mids and have a cleaner background, reduce noise and increase instrumental detail which the SCM-11 does. But then I want some first hand opinions on this.
I do not want to buy the SCM-19 and just wait endlessly to listen to Dire Straits....I mean my music should be playable.
If there is some good/significant improvement that can expected after the 19 breaks in then I would consider it and wait to burn it in....and if they still retain this kind of character even after burn in then they are not for me...I would have to take the 11. And I would astonished at the fact that the 11 can do things (musicality) which the 19 cannot do!!!!!

Please give me your opinions asap as I have to decide within a day which one to pick.
pani
Bokfudo, can you please tell me how does the ATC sound when they are not broken in ???
What is the amount of improvement after break in ? What are the areas of improvement in general ?
Many people report that ATC's take a long time to break in - perhaps it takes them time to grow accustomed to the precise sound or perhaps there are indeed some significant suspension compliance changes (I kind of doubt this but who knows). I have not noticed a big difference myself - being a sealed box the acoustic suspension will dominate.

Frankly, I wondered if a tube amp would be enough to drive them - they tend to need oodles of power so are better suited to SS power amps.
Pani,

I did zero listening to them until they had over 200 hours so I don't know what they sounded like before 200 hours :-)

However the changes I picked up on between 200 and 500 hours were a little more micro detail at low to moderate levels and a touch more warmth, but it could all be my imagination who knows...
Like most products, the 19's will sound kinda bright until btoken in. The 11's and the 19's have the same tweeter, btw. The ATC's sound more like each other than any other line of speakers I've heard.
The ATC's sound more like each other than any other line of speakers I've heard.

Very good point. All ATC's sound very much the same - if you like any of 'em then you'll like 'em all (bigger just gets a little better) - conversely if you don't like one of 'em then you probably won't like any of 'em.

This is why I suggested it might be a source or power amp clipping issue with the 19 that did not occur with the gear that Pani heard with the 11.