Upgrade to ATC / Bryston

My system consists of a Squeezebox Touch, Audio gd digital interface, Metrum Octave DAC, HK990 Integrated Amp and Dynaudio Excite 12x Speakers. I also have a Rythmik 12 inch sub that produces tight and controlled low frequencies and blends in seamlessly with the Dynaudios.

I am not in the least unhappy with the sound produced from my current audio system. In fact, I'm am in love with what I hear, describing it as sweet, musical and heavenly with no ear irritation no matter how load I play the music.

The question I have is can I get even more detail and resolution without sacrificing the sweet sound I have come to love in this setup? I am primarily considering swapping out the power amp and speakers to see what if I can find anything I like more. I'm afraid I am going to go through this exercise and end up with exactly what I have now but may be pleasantly surprised.

When I picked up the Dynaudios from the dealer a few years ago, they where driving them with a Bryston 3b SST2 and the resolution was amazing. I can not talk to the musicality because I did not like the source material but it definitely had more detail then my HK990. I've been thinking of buying a used 3b SST to see if I really like it, or is the musicality of the Harmon Kardon worth more than the resolution of the Bryston? I may still use the HK990 as my preamp for now and eventually get an Onkyo P3000R preamp for all the digital it's digital inputs.

On a separate occasion I have also auditioned the ATC SCM 11 driven by the ATC 150 w amp and several other amps. With the ATC amp, the SCM 11 sounded amazing, with lots of detail and beautiful musical synergy. With any other amp, they lost all the magic. Evan adding a non ATC preamp made the speakers lose the wonderful sound.

So now I am considering trying out a Bryston amp and ATC speakers. Both are supposed to be extremely transparent. I could end up with one, or the other, both, or neither. If I can get fantastic detail without sacrificing musicality then I have succeeded. I was planning to get the new version of the SCM 11 speakers (2013) and a used 3b SST2. What do you all think?
Post removed 

Thank you for your reply:)

I read about Raido speakers on another post by you but when I saw the price I just about had a heart attach. I just picked up a Yamaha 2014 FJR1300es for the same price as their entry model ha ha.

I am very much in love with the way Dynadios compose music and you might be right that I should just stay with them. I have read very good things about the latest SST2 models of Bryston amps having really smoothed out the presentation. I still think the Bryston will be quite lean (or more dry) in comparison to my HK 990 but that may not be a bad thing if the music still sounds like music. My concern would be driving relatively lean speakers (ATC) with a lean amp (Bryston). The whole thing might end up sounding impressive but is that really what I want to live with day in and day out? It's kind of like dating someone who is fun to be with but you could never imagine marrying:)))) The leanness of the Bryston may be the perfect match for the richness and sweetness of the Dynaudios.

BTW, I just found a Bryston 3B SST2 on our Canuck Audio Mart that is only three years old and supposedly only used for one month. I got it for half the price my dealer wants for it. It's going to be here this coming week. Can't wait to hear it!! It's going to interesting to listen to the Bryston/Dyn combo and see if I like it or not. Hopefully it's not like the Marantz AVR I once bought where after listening to one song through it I boxed it back up and sold it:))))


I just saw your reply after I posted my previous response. Thank you! I'm not going to throw anything away until I've got something better, believe me! Right now I have musical nirvana and only if these new components increase my love of the music will I keep them. Just providing more resolution at the expense of emotional attachment to the music will NOT be a step forward. This whole exercise may end up being futile, but at least I will know that the grass really is not greener on the other side:)))


BTW, I'm an electrical engineer and been in audio for some 30 years and just can't buy into the line conditioner, expensive power cables and speaker cable stuff.
Post removed 
Earlxtr --

To begin with I'd recommend you trust your initial reaction on
the ATC/ATC combo.

If anything I'd consider the ATC SCM19 in their new 2013-
package over the similarly "facelifted" SCM11,
together with the ATC amp. The SCM19's sport a tremendous
midrange - very clean, open, dynamic, and highly resolved -
and will beat out the SCM11's here, as well as with bass
precision. The possible downside of the SCM19's is that
they're very revealing to the source material and hardware
used, but in your case (and with the ATC amp) I'd say they
could become a winning combination.