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 have ATC SCM7 (gen 2) with the ATC house tweeter and the earlier ATC SCM35’s with the ScanSpeak tweeter. My SCM35’s are far less forgiving of hard and bright source material. My read is that you are getting a better rendition of what the material actually sounds like than you did before.

This has been true for me whenever I did a significant upgrade. 

I run tube preamps and solid state AB amps with both speakers. I have heard the latest SCM40’s several times and they are not hard sounding with good source material and good electronics.

As others have indicated, I would look to some basic room treatment before changing electronics.

I have the bigger 100ASLT in a room with treatment applied and have absolutely no issues listening to a very wide range of recordings. My dac/preamp is the very neutral Benchmark DAC3/HPA4, so no dumbing down or softening going on in the electronic chain. My listening sessions are often for many hours.

My first ATC's were the smaller passive SCM19's (which I still own). They replaced Harbeth M30.1's and I much preferred the ATC balance and dynamics. Actually the 19's amazed me at the dealers with their naturalness and engaging listenability.