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

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 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.

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.
I suggest getting the SCM19 as they incorporate the 3" dome in their midbass. Even though they would make the speakers more revealing, that is what makes ATC so unique. The more revealing they are, the more it will show your upstream equipment's signature sound. You want a warm tone, you can get a warm sounding tube preamp from cary or mcintosh, if you want the most accurate sound possible, you can opt for a bryston or pass lab preamp, and if you want somewhere in the middle, you can get a parasound halo preamp..and so forth.

The most important is to get an accurate power amplifier with stable current. Class A, or high bias Class A/AB amp works well. Krell, Classe, Pass Lab, Vincent Audio, and Brystons. However, I have use old class A/AB amps like Parasound HCA-2200II with 250watts per channel. Even though it was alot of wattage, it was grainy and harsh at higher volumes with very thin bass (using a sunfire TGI and parasound preamp). So just make sure the amp is "SMOOOTH".

BTW, here is an response, i wrote a few months ago, that may also help you:


One of the major difference b/t the 19 and the 20 is the tweeter. The older 20s uses a vifa tweeter and the newer 20s uses a seas tweeter. Both EXTREMELY revealing and very smooth, with the seas having a bit more detail (very hard to hear a difference, but better specs are better specs)...same goes for the non-SL vs the SL spec-ed 20s. I can't hear a difference really...but that is probably because I never hear it in the same room, and I always ask to demo them on tube-preamps.

The 19 uses ATC inhouse tweeter and are more meant towards home usage. ATC tame down the speaker so that the average recording sound a bit easier on the ear...although they are still very unforgiving.

The SCM20 and SCM20SL to the SCM50, SCM100 were meant for pro use. The ATC SCM40, SCM35, SCM19, SCM11, and SCM7 are meant for home use. Although they both carry the signature sound, they are quite different. If you are used to the "pro" sound you may think that the Entry Series may lack something. I tried going to the Entry series, but the sound is not as detailed nor is the speaker as transparent to source change. This does not mean the Entry series is not as good. Both series are like intensive X-Ray machines, its just that the Pro will do the full X-ray and has a zoom-in feature if you know what I mean.

But those are still very minor critiques. Both Pro and Entry level are great speakers. The entry level will trump most speaker if you are looking for the most uncolor speaker you can find.

Just remember to power them correctly if not, the ATC will be the most ugly sounding speaker ever. You will hate them. Also take into account that most of your recordings are will be unbearable to listen to, even with great electronics. They will spit out what is fed. If you look at my system, I used 2 huge monoblock class A amps to power them. However, I opted for a tube preamp because 75% of my music collection are not perfect recordings.

If you want the most extreme of the extreme, you can always opt for an all byston setup with the ATC. Then you have a system that is so precise it can surgically remove the music bit by bit.

Hi Kinn, you wrote;

'Also take into account that most of your recordings are will be unbearable to listen to, even with great electronics'.

Surely, the better the speaker the better ALL cd's will sound
and not the opposite no?