SCM50A to SCM40A

ATC & other makes of Hi-Fi equipment
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SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby kifbe » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:01 am

It’s about 5 years since I last posted on here, so HELLO to all those of you who still remember me.

Back then I had a pair of SCM50 ASTs in black lacquer set up in a large dedicated listening room situated in an old converted mill. They were an absolute joy and the culmination on a long hi-fi journey. However, fast forward to the present and a new house which I have just spent two years modernising and extending, and during which period the speakers were in storage. The time eventually came to set them up in their new surroundings and here my problems began - I just couldn’t accommodate them in either my 8m x 5m lounge or my new 4m x 5m sun-room extension without them physically dominating their surroundings (too large, too black and a bit too industrial by my current standards). Now I should tell you here that I like a modern, minimalist decor and I will not compromise a room’s aesthetics no matter how good the sound system (sad, I know, but that’s me!). So the 50As were sold and a brand new pair of SCM40As in satin white lacquer purchased and installed in the new sun-room which is now, to all intents and purposes, my hi-fi room.

So, what are my 40As like? Well let’s get the aesthetics out of the way first; they look terrific and integrate perfectly with their surroundings, and the sound? Absolutely fantastic! I believe that ATC have created something really special in these speakers and I think they may be the sound per pound bargain of the entire active range. I’m really struggling to tell the difference between them and the 50As they replaced. Having said that, you have to allow for the fact that the 50As were in a larger room in a different house, and I am having to rely entirely on memory for that comparison.

My set up utilises my existing Benchmark DAC1 HDR/Squeezebox Touch front end and, as a cable sceptic, I’m using ATC-supplied XLR cables and mains leads and a budget SPDiF interconnect. My chair and speakers are arranged in the usual equilateral triangle configuration.

I know that on paper the specification of 50As and the 40As are quite different, but all I am telling you here is that in most respects I find the 40As sound very similar indeed to my earlier 50As (and at half the price!). I’m enjoying playing my music again and, try as I might with different albums, I haven’t yet found any reason to be disappointed.
Last edited by kifbe on Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby linger63 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:54 am

Glad you are enjoying your new ATC 40A's and thanks for touching base with us all.

Fair chance the new in house tweeter is playing an important part in your favourable impressions... ;)

As a Benchmark DAC2 HGC owner............ I would still suggest a bit of DAC or DAC/PRE exploration as they seem to be getting better and cheaper on a regular basis...........( now there's even a Benchmark DAC3!!!!)

Regarding cable scepticism...............
My personal experiences over several years led me to Cardas Clear XLR's and DIY Belden 83803 AC Cords...........have never looked back... :D

At the end of the day though........... and as you said............you are enjoying your music again!!!!!!

CAN'T ASK FOR ANY MORE THAN THAT .. 8-) :D

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby kifbe » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:27 pm

Thank you for your comments and suggestions, Linger63. I think you are correct about the role of the new tweeter as female vocals - my own particular listening favourite - are delivered beautifully.

However, I won’t be rushing to change anything at the moment. The great thing about discovering ATC actives for me was that my years of component swapping/upgrading then came to an abrupt end. I would only consider upgrading now if I knew the end result would yield a massive improvement, as spending thousands on incremental gains doesn’t thrill me anymore. Buying new music instead does, though.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby linger63 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:53 pm

kifbe wrote:Thank you for your comments and suggestions, Linger63. I think you are correct about the role of the new tweeter as female vocals - my own particular listening favourite - are delivered beautifully.

However, I won’t be rushing to change anything at the moment. The great thing about discovering ATC actives for me was that my years of component swapping/upgrading then came to an abrupt end. I would only consider upgrading now if I knew the end result would yield a massive improvement, as spending thousands on incremental gains doesn’t thrill me anymore. Buying new music instead does, though.


Totally understand.

My thinking when posting earlier however...........was also that quite meaningful gains could very well be had at comfortably affordable prices!!!

In your case it's clear that you are in no hurry...........I only offer the advice for future consideration. ;)

As ATC active speakers are such superb transducers ensuring the absolute quality of signal source just seems very worthwhile.... :)

HAPPY LISTENING :)

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby MattSPL » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:34 pm

Welcome back Chris :)

Good to hear your still enjoying the music and ATC’s. I’ve been very tempted by the 40A’s myself, they really do seem to be the bargain of the ATC lineup. Unfortunately my current plans mean I cannot accommodate floor standers as I intend to sit my speakers on a pair of subs. Maybe the new 45A’s would work for me.

Cheers
Matt
Sony BDP-S790 > Matrix Quattro Dac > Digidesign RM2's with SB Acoustics drivers > DIY Dayton Audio UM18-22 Sub

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby darrenyeats » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:04 pm

What server are you using for the Touch?

Good to hear you're enjoying your music.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby kifbe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:32 pm

I'm using a Netgear ReadyNas Duo with the SB Touch. They are both a bit old now, but work perfectly. I wired the whole house with Cat 6 as part of the modernization so not relying on wireless.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby kifbe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:44 pm

Thanks, Matt.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby linger63 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:10 am

MattSPL wrote:Welcome back Chris :)

Good to hear your still enjoying the music and ATC’s. I’ve been very tempted by the 40A’s myself, they really do seem to be the bargain of the ATC lineup. Unfortunately my current plans mean I cannot accommodate floor standers as I intend to sit my speakers on a pair of subs. Maybe the new 45A’s would work for me.

Cheers
Matt


Not a good idea at all for multiple reasons!!!!......... :o

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby Lemen » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:48 am

darrenyeats wrote:Good to hear you're enjoying your music.


How nice it is to see the above sentence!
Not only the correct use of "your" and "you're", but "hear" rather than "here".
ATC SCM50 ASLT Anniversary (gloss white)

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby darrenyeats » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:34 am

Thank my tutors, Grammar R Us.

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby darrenyeats » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:46 am

kifbe wrote:I'm using a Netgear ReadyNas Duo with the SB Touch. They are both a bit old now, but work perfectly. I wired the whole house with Cat 6 as part of the modernization so not relying on wireless.

For my tips on DAC1 please see http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/show ... p?t=137152.

I consider the Touch and DAC1 a "peaches and cream" combo because the Touch is able to output arbitrary sample rates such as 110.6kHz, the natural rate of the DAC1. This opens up the way to doing server-side up-sampling and dithered volume control in front of the DAC1. I'm not sure how easy it would be to set up my server-side mods on a ReadyNAS though!

But you could still follow my tips 1-7 without touching the standard Touch set up, for some uplift. PM if you want any help!

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby MattSPL » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:41 pm

linger63 wrote:
MattSPL wrote:Welcome back Chris :)

Good to hear your still enjoying the music and ATC’s. I’ve been very tempted by the 40A’s myself, they really do seem to be the bargain of the ATC lineup. Unfortunately my current plans mean I cannot accommodate floor standers as I intend to sit my speakers on a pair of subs. Maybe the new 45A’s would work for me.

Cheers
Matt


Not a good idea at all for multiple reasons!!!!......... :o


They won’t exactly be sat on the subs, possibly on a quartz or concrete counter top type shelf, but directly over the subs.
Sony BDP-S790 > Matrix Quattro Dac > Digidesign RM2's with SB Acoustics drivers > DIY Dayton Audio UM18-22 Sub

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby linger63 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:04 am

MattSPL wrote:
linger63 wrote:
MattSPL wrote:Welcome back Chris :)

Good to hear your still enjoying the music and ATC’s. I’ve been very tempted by the 40A’s myself, they really do seem to be the bargain of the ATC lineup. Unfortunately my current plans mean I cannot accommodate floor standers as I intend to sit my speakers on a pair of subs. Maybe the new 45A’s would work for me.

Cheers
Matt


Not a good idea at all for multiple reasons!!!!......... :o


They won’t exactly be sat on the subs, possibly on a quartz or concrete counter top type shelf, but directly over the subs.


The main issues with such an arrangement is that you are sacrificing optimal sub performance.
The subs should be placed where they sound best in the room REGARDLESS of where the Mains are.
Then there's time alignment/crossover/connection issues which really need some form of DSP to control.

You will get a result.............It's just that IME and IMHO you won't like it and it's a waste of your subs.

Good Luck though

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Re: SCM50A to SCM40A

Postby MattSPL » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:35 am

Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of choosing sub placement(my sub measures approximately 600mm square), but having them below the speakers means they will act as one large speaker.
I use a BSS fds334T to time align the speakers and sub at the moment and implement a hpf on the speakers, then my subs amp has built in dsp also. I measure everything with a minidsp umik-1 and REW software. I hope to build the second sub in the future.
Sony BDP-S790 > Matrix Quattro Dac > Digidesign RM2's with SB Acoustics drivers > DIY Dayton Audio UM18-22 Sub

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