ATC SCM 40 question


I recently bought a pair of ATC SCM40 speakers. I have them placed in a room approx 12ft sq. They are on the back wall, seating on opposite side. I can't move the speakers into the room or move the chairs into the room as I barely got away with buying these and can't encrouch any further, the missus was not happy at the size of them!

Anyway, they sound pretty incredible a lot of the time, but I've noticed on some recordings, not necessarily bad ones, just they can come across a little shrill and sharp, like the highs are overheated somehow.

I'm driving them with a PS Audio S300 Poweramp, that is being controlled by an RME ADI 2 DAC. 

I've tried messing with the dsp settings on the RME but I just can't seem to ease the issue.

My question is, does this seem like an equipment issue? Or maybe a cable issue?

I don't want to end up spending serious cash upgrading the amp or dac if that is not the problem. But I know the SCM40's need a lot of juice and the S300 only has 140w per channel, and the recommended is 150w. Or is that just a top end volume concern? I'm already looking at the Hegel H20, I can't get the ATC poweramp as I don't have the space for it.

Also I was looking at the Anthem STR Preamp. Something that might calibrate the sound better for the room. Maybe a cable upgrade?

Anyway, these are just my rambling thoughts on an ongoing issue, any advice at all would be much appreciated. I really want to solve this as when these speakers sing, they really sing!



I've built my system based on limited space. A cupboard 600x550x420mm with four shelves, including Blu-Ray player. System has to be hidden from sight, with no 'ugly' cables.

I use the Mad Scientist Black Magic USB cable. Very good.

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Good point about the shawline series. Maybe that is an issue.

I'm looking at possible warmer options along the chain. Maybe the Phasure series, both XLR interconnects and lush 3 usb will do the trick. I'm intrigued by the flexibility to change the characteristics.

I do love the ATC's. I've owned a pair of SCM11's in my work studio for the past year. Wonderful nearfield speakers.

I’ve owned ATC 40 passives. I never experienced shrill/sharp so I know it’s not your speakers, an excellent choice I might add.

The 40 passives won the 2019 AZ Speaker Fest by a wide margin against seven other quality contenders, several of which were far more expensive. That system was all ATC (CDA2 mkII > P1 > 40) with Cardas wire.

Speaker/listening position and acoustics could be part of the problem, If you haven’t done so already, purchase Jim Smith’s Get Better Sound book. He has a great system for dialing in speaker/listening position as well as dozens of other tips that may help you.

Get Better Sound

You have a world class speaker. Please don’t give up on it.

I often wondered what a pair of scm 40’s would sound like in my 10 by 13’ room.I do have a pair of 19v2 on sound anchor stands that sound great in that size of a room.It just gets better with your setting up efforts.Small increments make a big difference in sound stage

I can only tell you from what i learned in my small room... toeing them in will avoid most first reflection...atc are really quite well behaved speakers in smaller environment.Contacting these guys cant hurt.Lone mountain as well.Learning about setup makes all the difference.I almost gave up as other poster wasnt the speaker’s fault it didnt sound right.