Dear members,

I have almost decided to buy ATC SCM150ASLT. But before investing big ammount, I still need to answer few questions. I will be very thankfull if you can answer some or all of them. There is no possibility to audition in my country, so I will need to take some risks and order anyway. Also local dealers usually know less and just care about selling more gear for more money. I would really appreciate that.

I am still a beginner in hi-fi world and this will be my first big system. I own near field monitors Genelec 8351, which I like. But I already want an improvement and I am looking for the big sound.

I mainly listen to electronic music, also ambient, down-tempo, nu-disco and etc. My music often inludes some instruments and vocals. I do not listen cheap mainstream EDM. I only occasionally listen to other genres like rock/jazz/blues/pop/rap and etc.

Few tracks to get an idea:



Question 1 - Models.

Do I correctly understand, that all these models sound totally the same? SCM150ASL Pro, SCM150ASL and SCM150ASLT. Difference is only in cabinet finishes and added accessories (grills, stands)?


Question 2. Room.

Speakers will be in a summer wooden frame-house. Made from 15 cm. glasswool inside and some drywall. Room has two big windows from floor to ceilings. Room dimensions is around 5-6 m. x 8 meters. Ceiling height moving from 2.4 to 2.8 m. I will ask for professional acoustician to treat my room after we install speakers. At least primary reflections and solve biggest room issues if we find any.

  • Is my room large enough for ATC SCM150ASLT? What is the smallest room recommended?
  • I have attached my room plan. How far from side walls and rear wall I shoul place the speakers? Is my plan good?
  • Speakers will stand in front of glass wall. I know it is not good. But still usable? What problems I may face and if it will be possible to solve them?

I understand , that nobody can guarantee the sound quality in a specific room. But I just need your guidelines if you have any.


Question 3. Pre-amp and DAC.

I will be listening only to digital files through my computer. Maybe I will add vinyls/cd and streamer after few years, when I will have extra budget.

My goal now is to get maximum out of my speakers, with buying least needed boxes, but best quality, so they match my speaker quality and price range. I do not understand if I need pre-amp and if it affects sound quality.

Please help me to get right strategy what to buy now, and what I can upgrade later. And how big adding better dac or pre-amp affects overall sound quality.

So questions are:

  • Can I just buy best I can afford pure DAC (with analogue sound level control) and go straight to my active speakers (so there is no pre-amp in my system at all)?
  • Or I need DAC, not pure, with some kind pre-amp funkcionality?
  • Or I need to buy pre-amp and Dac (separate boxes)? Would that improve sound quality a lot, because of pre-amp in the system?
  • Or I should better buy best DAC I can and add pre-amp later? Or otherwise - I should buy now best pre-amp and simple DAC, which I can upgrade later?

If I am getting it right, I do not need a pre-amp now, if I play only digital files from my computer. I should now buy best pure DAC I can and which matches my system’s quality and price range, am I correct? Later on I could add pre-amp (I would choose ATC SCA2 pre-amp for brand synergy), which would improve sound quality just a little bit, but I could add vinyls also. Is that correct?

If yes, could you give reccommendations for pure DAC, that are known for good synergy with ATC? Which model could be good match for my system in terms of quality and price range? Should I invest in DAC like 5-10k.€ to get most of my speakers?


Question 4. Updates.

ATC models have been updated quite long ago. And ATC 50 year aniversary is coming next year. Would it be wise from my side to wait till let’s say Munich Hi-Fi Show to see if there are any big news from ATC? 

I would be very sad to buy my first big system and find out that it was updated just few months later…


Question 5. Audition SCM150ASLT.

Do you know any place in upper part of Europe like Poland, Germany, Scandinavian countries, where I could go and audition ATC SCM150 model? I would fly there to listen before buying.


I will be very very very thankful for all your answers 🙏




Pat Keogh was a US dealer with us for ATC in the NE. He’s inactive now but was a strong supporter for many years. Its not exactly true the 50s are more accurate, but it was the founder’s favorite model and over the years one of ATC’s best sellers. Ive sold them to folks like Tom Petty, James Guthrie (pink floyd) and quite a few mastering engineers. Its our least expensive high dynamic range 3 way.

What Pat was talking about was narowing of dispersion behavior of all cone drivers as frequency increases- this is a true. H. owever, ATC crosses over from a woofer to a midrange driver at 380Hz, extremely low for a 3 way. This is well below the frequency of significant performance degrading HF narrowing. This is a more relevant criticism of a larger cone woofer 2 way, say something like a 8" or larger 2 way. 2 ways typcailly cross much higher, as dome tweeters do poorly below 2K. From 1K to 2K there is significant narrowing of a cone woofer.

In horn loaded systems, the rules are different. Now dispersion is determined by physics, throat size and horn mouth size and design. So the net result is that narrowing at HF is still present in horns/driver combos, and it can be somewhat severe in older horn designs (its why multi cells were invented to try and create lots of small dispersion lobes instead of one big one). Bob Keil did a lot of research on this for multiple audio companies a long time ago and is credited with developing the entire constant directivity design approach (which helped raise the narrowing frequency quite a bit and improve fidelity of horns a lot).



"I think the ATC are way overkill for PC streaming electronic music...." 

Most definitely!  You don't need one of the best speakers available, unless you're wanting to reproduce the real, live sound of the best classical, jazz, blues, piano, strings, brass, vocals.  

I only wish I could justify the investment required for the ATC 150's!  

He said it was mild and most people wouldn't notice or care if I remember right.  More of an academic point than a practical one.  If money were no object I'd get a pair of 300 towers.  The dynamics on those has to be incredible.  

@todbut I'm sorry to inform that the store sold the demo pair a couple of weeks ago. He didn't know if he would order a new pair any time soon .

( he recently got the complete avantgarde lineup in store so space is sparse)

Dear vinylvalet and audioslave1561, thank you a lot for your time and detailed answers. I have found them very informative 🙏🙏🙏

I am now ready to go with ATC. Just need to figure out which model as I am little bit confused. I will post my ideas in next message.