Your thoughts about ATC loudspeakers

I’m interested in the ATC SCM-40 from their HiFi series and would like to hear from people who have owned or spent a lot of time with ATC speakers. This is a fairly new model and may be a bit of a departure from their classic sound.

At the show in Newport last weekend, I was quite taken by these speakers. I went back the next day and heard the same things that I liked about them, but a couple of red flags also went up:

Microdynamics – not sure these speakers do them well and microdynamics are critical to communicating inflection and nuance and to making music sound alive

Imaging, specifically wrt depth. Nothing much outside of the plane of the speakers, so recording venue info is not there and even instrument and vocal body may suffer a bit.

Were these shortcomings of setup or associated gear, or is this what ATC does?
Ag insider logo xs@2xdrubin
I own a pair of the SCM 19's and am in love with the gorgeous sound. My system is posted here in the Virtual Systems, but since then I've hooked them up directly to a Luxman L-550ax integrated that is rated at only 20 watts/channel. Yeah, the Lux has plenty of headroom, but the supposedly power-hungry ATC's still sound magical. And, YES, they sure are accurate! Don't expect any artificial lushness with anything made by ATC; they tell it like it is.
I did hear the 40's at this years AXPONA. Powered by ATC electronics they were great and really held their own compared to some of the outrageous gear featured in many of the rooms!
ATC do not use the latest and greatest of the tweeters. These days we have berrylium/diamond/ribbon tweeters all doing 100khz extension. So speakers which employ those do tend to have more atmosphere but to make the whole package sound as natural is not easy and that is why most of those speakers get into the hi-fish category. ATC uses their own traditional dome tweeter which is well extended but not like 100 khz and all, hence they probably do not do those extra-terrestrial like sound. What ATC presents is a full range sound that is extremely coherent, uncolored and dynamic. When you hear it you know everything else is flawed.
Great responses, everybody. Thank you.

The new SCM40 apparently features a new, ATC-designed tweeter. Not sure how it compares to whatever they were using before.
I would venture to guess they are not changing their house sound now after decades . Small refinements typically from the Pro market .
Well Drubin (and knowing you are local) I have all the ATC Hi-Fi Passive series including the SCM19v2 and SCM40v2 available for demo in our showroom in Fairfax, CA (Marin County). We also have some other interesting stuff like the new NAD M22 Ncore amp. Will also be exhibiting at the CA Audio Show with ATC in August.

IMO depth is nearly entirely a psychoacoustic construct that depends on how far away from the front wall the speakers are. Further you put them, more perception of depth you have.

Resolution wise (which covers off microdynamics) I think these are without peer at their price point. I'm not a speaker designer but I think it is because they are using extremely beefy drivers (large magnets with underhung coils). Take a look at the size of the mid-woofer in the SCM19. Beefy!

Interestingly I think the SCM19v2, which is a standmount, is higher resolution than the SCM40v2. Technically this could be because the mid-woofer in the 19 is the SL "Super Linear" version, whereas the woofer in the 40 is their standard version. May also be partially due to the increased complexity of the passive crossover in the 40. They have the same sonic signature but the 40s have a much "weightier" presentation.

ATC speakers have three main strengths: neutrality, resolution and bass quality.

A lot of people don't like neutral speakers (they might prefer Raidho or B&W, with their explicitly designed "not to be flat" response) but personally I do.

Bass is tight and articulate due to either sealed box or a very low Q port tuning in their larger speakers.