My speaker upgrade journey - and a few questions

So I have been running Linn Majik 140 speakers since 2015.  Started with a Rotel integrated, then Hegel 160 and currently the Hegel 390.  I like the Linn speakers as they have great presence and clarity, but (like most of us) wondered if I could find new speakers that provide a significant upgrade in sound.  Over the last three years I have listened to many, many speakers - Spendor, Vandersteen, Boenicke, Wilson, Sonus Faber, Focal, B&W, Borresen, Klipsch, Golden Ear, etc.  Just for fun I listened to some that are well over six figures.  Most were very good, but I just did not notice enough of an improvement over my current speakers.  I even found a dealer with my Linns on the floor, so I was able to do a direct A/B comparison.  Again, nothing justified an upgrade.  Last year I took a shot on some Tekton Double Impact speakers I had never heard as many on these forums love them.  I cancelled my order after about 2 months and no communication or speakers from Tekton. 

I figured I would never upgrade and perhaps my hearing is just not that good - why don't $100k Wilson speakers sound dramatically better than my $4k Linn speakers??

Until today.  I was sitting with John Rutan at Audio Connection listening to the Vandersteen Quatros and again had the same feeling - nice, but not worth it.  Then John sat me down in front of a pair of ATC SCM40A (the active version) and I was stunned.  These speakers are so much better in almost every way than everything I had heard before!  And since they don't need an external amp, the sale price of my Hegel 390 will just about cover the difference between the active and passive versions.  I hope they sound as good in my home as they do in the store.

Finally, here is my question.  To keep things as simple as possible, I would like to use my Yamaha RX-A6A (AVR) as the preamp for these speakers and connect the speakers via XLR cables to the pre-outs on the AVR.  Both the AVR and speakers have XLR terminals.  This means using the pre-amp section and DAC of the Yamaha.  The DAC in the Yamaha is the ESS SABRE ES9026PRO Ultra.  Would I be compromising these awesome speakers with the Yamaha electronics?  Thanks for your input. 



Since your Yamaha AVR is both preamp and DAC why don’t you bring it with you and have John hook it up to the ATCs?  Then you would have a much better idea of what the combination sounds like.  That’s what I would do.

You have been on a long speaker quest. You have auditioned many top line brands and found them all unworthy contenders. Then finally one day you found the perfect speaker upgrade that checks all your boxes, great! BUT,  will they sound the same in your room as they did at your dealer's? Are your room dimensions similar, and treated similarly? Are your electronics and cables capable of getting the best performance out of the speakers? In other words, you are going to need to budget for multiple improvements in your audio chain to avoid being disappointed. jc4659 (above) offered you the very best possible advice. It is the best next step for you. Good luck! 

Since your Yamaha AVR is both preamp and DAC why don’t you bring it with you and have John hook it up to the ATCs? Then you would have a much better idea of what the combination sounds like. That’s what I would do.

Brilliant idea. Will be a bit of a PIA to lug it down there, but it is worth the effort.

@jcs01 I have the passive SCM40s, driven by a Benchmark DAC3/AHB2 combination, and I love the speakers. The sealed cabinet design allowed me to place them closer to the rear wall than my previous ported speakers.  To my ears, there’s no shortage of low end.

I'm toying with adding a preamp to the chain, as driving the speakers directly from the DAC may not coax the best out of the ATCs, but even in this configuration, I’m really enjoying the music - especially well-recorded material.

Welcome to the ATC family. I’m sure your 40As are going to be great in your home.