New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby AricC » Sat May 28, 2016 5:35 pm

Thank you very much for this.

One concern I had with the 20 PRO was whether it might be too strident, or harsh, but it appears the new S tweeter allows for a very clean, distortion free listening. Obviously if it's on the recording, you're going to hear it, but I've never had any issues with my 10a-2's whereas some others in the HiFi world critique ATC as being overly harsh, etc.

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby Alexk » Mon May 30, 2016 2:42 pm

AricC wrote:Thank you very much for this.

One concern I had with the 20 PRO was whether it might be too strident, or harsh, but it appears the new S tweeter allows for a very clean, distortion free listening. Obviously if it's on the recording, you're going to hear it, but I've never had any issues with my 10a-2's whereas some others in the HiFi world critique ATC as being overly harsh, etc.


I would say the opposite is true, I find most other speakers harsh next to ATCs, particularly due to behaviour changes across the midband.

Most speakers, especially 2-ways, have a 'narrowing' in their directionality (called directivity) at the top of the midrange driver's passband, which can often mask harshness (along with other information) in the middle-midrange frequencies, but above this, the speaker's directivity suddenly widens back out the tweeter comes in to action. This is where many speakers can sound harsh due to the sudden increase in room reflections.

Also with ATCs, the tweeter is crossed over at a higher frequency than a lot of manufacturers would choose to, partly because their midrange and midbass drivers have better/wider dispersion at higher frequencies. Tweeters can get harsh (and unreliable) when they're asked to play too low in frequency.

The only reason I can imagine somebody finding an ATC speaker harsh is either if it's broken, the room is really bad, or the recording is harsh. I've experienced all three with ATCs - my first pair (SCM20 passives) had some issues on the crossovers. As soon as they'd been serviced by ATC the sound smoothened out drastically, and that was even with the old VIFA tweeters which are very dated nowadays...

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby AricC » Tue May 31, 2016 1:09 am

Thank you Alex!

As previously mentioned, the 20 ASLs appear to be not just a great bargain, but perhaps THE bargain in the ATC lineup. To make my point, near as i've been able to find out regarding the new 19A's price, the 20 ASL sells for exactly half of it in the US market! :o

Yes, the 19A looks nicer - IMO - and is a tower speaker, saving you some dosh on having to buy a stand. But unless the 19A has a nicer mid/bass unit, on paper, appears the 20 ASL PRO is the speaker to buy. Surely any advantage the 19A could have is marginal when one factors in the price difference. IME, this might involve ATC having to sell at specific price points to satisfy the fickle US audiophile market who assume it can't be any good unless it costs five figures...blah blah blah.

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby scm100 » Tue May 31, 2016 12:59 pm

The SCM20 ASL PRO MK2 has the better S spec tweeter .
Plus a more powerful discrete mosfet amp pack....200w for bass driver plus 50w for tweeter.

The active SCM19A has the standard tweeter and the amp pack is only 150w for the bass driver 32w for tweeter.

Both speakers use the exact same SL spec 6 inch bass driver.

Going from the specs the 20 ASL PRO MK2 should be by far the better speaker , and considering that it is actually cheaper makes it bit of a no brainer .

Grab a pair while you can , I think the current discounted US pricing is for a limited time only....subsidised by the importer iirc .
ATC SM100 ASL PRO , SCM20 ASL PRO MK2 , Two ATC C4 SCM 0.1/12 Subwoofers.
Bel Canto Pre6 Gen2 multi channel preamp , Oppo BDP95 , Wadia WT3200 cd transport , Benchmark dac1 HDR.
Technics SL1000MK3 turntable , Dynavector 17d3 , Whest PS30R.

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby AricC » Tue May 31, 2016 5:14 pm

Now there is some well reasoned peer pressure! I might have to make a phone call later this week. ;)

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby AricC » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:13 am

I was looking at my 10a-2 manual and noticed that at -6dB, the claimed frequency response is 45Hz-22KHz. The 20 ASL is claimed at 55Hz-25KHz. I am surprised that the 10's smaller enclosure and 5" woofer goes 10Hz deeper than the 20's 6" woofer. Is this correct?

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby Brad Lunde » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:06 pm

Yes the 20A Mk2 in pro is subsidized by us to try and hit 5K US MAP. The market here is ultra competitive. 20A pro should be around 6500-7Kpr without this.

While the 5K gap looks huge, the 3K gap it should be (based on 7K for 20A Mk2), does not seem wrong. The cost of the wood veneer cab in the 19A is horribly expensive compared to the very inexpensive painted black MDF cab. I estimate 2K difference is just for that. The beautiful styling on the amplifier chassis on the back of a 19A is also expensive, WAY more money to build that the utilitarian 20A amp pack. I estimate its a +1K for that. The grille, not free. The internal magnets to hold the grille etc. So I do not think the price for the 19A is wrong, I think the price for the 20Active in the US is too low. IF I listen to what 10K buys in the US in hi fi, its insane: 19A wins every time.

A BIG issue is the expectation of service of home hi fi vs pro models, and the different type of dealers for pro vs home. So the word "value" has to include support.

Hi Fi dealers spend much more time with the customer and are often willing to spend hours on the phone or in person with various recommendations, advice, discussions etc. Try this try that, etc. This tweeter vs that tweeter, etc. Hi Fi dealers offer a relationship to people passionate about listening to music and are willing to participate in the hobby of listening to music. Hi FI dealers are generally very small and personal affairs, with much smaller volume in sales to survive. They don't have hundreds of customers buying stuff every day. If researching listening and spending lots of time with home demos or being sure you the exact right thing, hi fi dealers are built to help you.

Pro dealers are selling "hammers and saws" to people building things. An extended conversation about "old vs new tweeter" will not happen with a pro dealer. One talks to his mates about such things. A bunch of home demos? Nope. Maybe a demo in their shop comparing various models over an hours time. Maybe a studio trial if you are ready to buy and they know you and you can do the transport. A day or two should be enough to know what you want!

Some home customers buy pro product and expect the same level of customer care, and it just doesn't work like that. A good example, pro dealers would ship you your 50s, and not be there when they arrived. They would likely never offer a loaner while your speaker is in for repair at their shop or in for eval while they look at a function not working correctly. They would also not pay freight for you to return it. You're using this for work, so use something else (or buy a spare of course)! If your new speakers got a tiny little scratch on them, out of the box, or have a little paint flaw on them, so what? That's not a returnable issue, that's normal. The pro user is hauling these around setting them up and tearing them down twice a week and moving them in road cases! They will look like hell in 6 months anyway! No pro guy cares about small cosmetic flaws. its a fricking hammer ! I build mixes on them, I don't invite people over to see them!

I've seen this very thing happen, a home user returning pair after pair of pro speakers over small little cosmetic flaws that we could not find, or thought was darn near invisible. No pro user would care about those flaws as this is how the "pro models" are. Variations are OK as this IS "pro finish" (that is what "pro" means: industrial grade finish). This customer was never really happy, he should have bought home speakers but did not want to spend the money on finish. 19's would have made him much happier than 20 mk2 passives.

So if you buy "pro" speakers, be prepared for pro service: "ship your speakers to us for repair and we can check and see if there is an issue. There's a tiny spot on the paint? Get a black sharpie and fill it in or go to home depot and get some satin back paint." Something doesn't sound right? OK, we'll send a new woofer and when you install it, you'll need a torx wrench to get it out. Give us a credit card for the replacement woofer and we'll credit it back if it turns out to be warranty issue but it may be a blown woofer (from playing it too loud). Oh and make sure you get the gasket right when you reset the woofer or it will make an awful noise. OH a 3 way? Funny sounding midrange? OK the midrange comes out through the woofer hole so you first remove the woofer and then take the mid out through the woofer hole, make sure you have help cause it real easy to damage the finish doing this. We can recone it and return it to you. It will take about 2 weeks. No, we do not offer loaner midranges. Yes, I understand, it may be under warranty, we have to see it and test it to know. Its too expensive to ship the whole speaker, you could buy a spare driver? I don't have another solution sir.....no we cannot send an entire replacement speaker!

Some home users are not prepared for this self servicing "pro experience" and end up feeling unhappy.
Brad
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby AricC » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:30 pm

Hi Brad,

That's a nice write-up contrasting the realities of the marketplace ATC compete in for both Pro and Home speakers. I have yet to purchase an audio product through a Pro dealer, so it is helpful to get the 'down-low'. That being said, much of what you detail was a reasonable expectation of mine regarding service levels.

Marketplaces are an imperfect place to operate of course, and with a specialty (luxury) product like ATC speakers, probably even more so. Risk is the ping-pong ball that both consumer and producer want to eschew.

Looking at the issue as a consumer - from the US perspective - there are of course serious barriers to purchasing an ATC hifi product. To start with, we have a very limited dealer network with really only a few places in the country that can provide the demo/service. Yes they are in major market areas, but for a consumer out in ten buck two, or even in pretty large areas (say a Denver or a Miami), significant cost is required to travel to the ATC dealer locale. The time spent traveling back and forth is of course part of the investment, let alone however many hours spent demoing the gear at the shop. Then one has to factor in the potential ramifications of it being a strange room, with likely different supporting audio equipment in the playback chain, etc. etc.

If I were to divide the consumer marketplace into two general camps, I'd say we have the following: one camp who are quite well-off, possessing deep pockets and are in constant pursuit of the audiophile 'holy grail', but because they're so busy, or choose not to research the marketplace or understand sound engineering principles, are constantly moving gear and never really satisfied. Or perhaps they can and do like to try out different brands / combos etc. In this case, it makes perfect sense for ATC to set-up in these well-heeled markets and provide the requisite service needed to be successful. The second camp is the opposite of the first, at least so far in that they take the time to understand that audio playback is system dependent (IMV, this is the single biggest culprit for people not understanding that taking different, disparate manufacturer's ethos', even though each component might safely be considered state-of-the-art, doesn't necessarily equate to one plus one equals two [let alone three]) and that there are many companies in the world who truly have poor understanding of solid engineering principles. This second camp may also be uniquely self-disciplined financially, and therefore, spends considerable time to 'get it right the first time'. For them, VFM is key. Searching to strip off costs is as much enjoyable as it is necessary. The question then, obviously, is what can be stripped?

I truly live in ten buck two, so for me - and factoring in the importance of the home demo for the risky purchase - the likelihood is that I will make my purchase without possibility of return. And I have done so now for years both from fellow consumers (used) as well as from audio shops (new / demo). With the advent of a few key online dealers, and a couple who happen to sell ATC speakers too, I have the possibility of purchasing the product in a situation where overhead should be lower. I expect to save money from the same person who lives in one of the traditional dealer served markets. They get better service, so they should pay more. But as far as I can tell, the online price is the nominal MSRP, and so I expect then that people ordering online (or over the phone) are paying more, insofar as they are deprived of the higher level of service.

Years ago I lived in a market (Lexington, KY) that had ATC speakers demoed and the dealer was very passionate about them. I feel fortunate I was able to 'discover' the brand, along with the sound approach in equipment partnering with other venerable British brands. For me, this experience, along with trying other manufacturers who had vastly different ideas for the engineered solution, was enough. I became hooked. I had merely to rise from the low-budget college life style and begin the life pursuit of generating higher wages to ensure eventually, I was going to have those same products that instilled such enjoyment when I listened to recorded music. That dealer has of course paid dividends for ATC hence. I haven't lived in a market since where there has been an ATC dealer. If I hadn't spent time listening to that which I couldn't afford fifteen years ago, and profoundly enjoying the experience, I wouldn't be investigating purchasing them now. Now I simply want to buy what I can read about as an update, knowing that ATC's core approach hasn't changed over the interluding years. It further helps that the ATC sound is very consistent as one moves up the range, purposely only changing bass and scale. But I recognize that I am an anomaly for ATC as a likely customer.

This isn't going to be viewed favorably by dealers, but I think we are firmly in a marketplace where it makes sense to have at least two different pricing structures. And it should be front and center and transparently communicated to the consumer. Up front you have the option: service or price, and you can't have both. Your discussion on the Pro vs. HiFi is this, but I would take it further. Offer the same option within the HiFi range of models. Yes, I understand cost differences for the cabinet, amp pack, and grill, so they'll never equal the Pro version, but there is some cost that can surely be stripped and in this way there is the potential to sell more of the product. Both crowds can be reached.

I think the advent of the web, the s/h marketplace have now sufficiently born out evidence of these experiments such that the different models of reaching the consumer can be safely trusted. Selling an ATC speaker over the web will likely never be as simple as just listing it on Amazon, there will continue to be a need to have someone to chat with about the financial outlay. But for a product that demands true satisfaction and must be experienced first hand to confirm, those giving up this consumer option in the name of price, are an important part of the marketplace and should be engaged, lest a missed opportunity compound.

I would counter the perceived degradation in removing the human interface by highlighting the following approach:

1) Dealers in large markets to achieve as great a penetration per labor hour as possible.
2) Frequent road shows not just show casing the equipment, including with different manufacturers' kit, but providing excerpts on the distribution model, i.e. how, why, and where they can be purchased. In this venue, transparently engaging in the price vs. service option should be a central presentation. I know dealers always struggle with the walk-in; the person who wants the demo but has no intention of paying full MSRP, but this is the cost and risk of being in this business! So I wouldn't avoid this segment, or shun the conversation, I would whole-heartedly engage it and try to benefit from it.
3) Target the audio reviewers who, whether we like it or not, generate news, interest and yes, excitement about the product.
4) Detailed manufacturer and distributor webpages that provide everything a consumer could reasonable want to know about their product. I would provide behind the scenes footage on the design, manufacturing, QA and customer interaction at ATC's headquarters to foster a tactile connection with the consumer. Manufacture hosted forums. Many companies do this and I think it only serves to grow the user base.
5) An advertised loner program on select models - again, focus here on just a few options as house sound is consistent, so maybe skip one or two models working up the price list, to give representative options - that is simply and reasonably communicated: this costs us, so $1k down before we ship, etc.
6) Survey customers on what they're looking for in product categories.

I know just about everything above is either already done or perhaps underway, it obviously takes time to change distribution or marketing models. And there are significant costs and the potential that if the floodgates open, perhaps ATC really can't or don't want to significantly increase production - certainly a HUGE consideration.

My two cents worth. ;)

And I take your point that my previously commented upon disparity in price between the 19A and 20A Mk2 is not really much of a disparity when one factors in everything you counted off. But in a nutshell, as the above highlights, I just don't need those other things. How many people in similar circumstances are then steered this direction?

Regards

Aric

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby Brad Lunde » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:29 am

AricC wrote:Hi Brad,

That's a nice write-up contrasting the realities of the marketplace ATC compete in for both Pro and Home speakers. I have yet to purchase an audio product through a Pro dealer, so it is helpful to get the 'down-low'. That being said, much of what you detail was a reasonable expectation of mine regarding service levels.

<SNIP>

My two cents worth. ;)

And I take your point that my previously commented upon disparity in price between the 19A and 20A Mk2 is not really much of a disparity when one factors in everything you counted off. But in a nutshell, as the above highlights, I just don't need those other things. How many people in similar circumstances are then steered this direction?

Regards

Aric


That was quite a piece of writing Aric, and much appreciated. Your perspective is interesting to say the least. I will rad it a few times and give it some thought.

The back door answer is, if an end user ever has an issue acquiring and understanding ATC and you're in the US, calling Lone Mountain and developing a relationship is a good idea. We look after our good ATC customers and find a way to make it work. Since we know more about ATC than most, since we have been in the pro business as TransAudio for darn near 15 years with ATC, a lot of questions can be answered that one might think require a demo. But we don't mix pro and consumer, as they are such different worlds, and we have no dealers in the US (unlike Rick here) who do both.
Brad
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby scm100 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:39 am

I've been in the home hifi hobby for many years owning Proac Studio 3 , Duntech Crown Prince , Dynaudio Confidence 5 plus various Krell , Plinius gear etc etc.
Hifi dealers here in Perth Australia , have little stock to audition home demos are basically impossible and they want top dollar for everything.
I am not a professional user but had no problems buying my SCM20 ASL PRO MK2 from CDA pro audio , they were very quick and polite with emails , happy to negotiate on price and kept me informed every step of the way.
Even ringing me after they arrived to confirm I was happy with everything.
Much better customer service than I have ever received from a hifi dealer here.

I was so impressed by the SCM20ASL PROMk2 that I ordered a second pair that I have just taken delivery of.
Both pairs were excellently packed and the speakers flawless. ...no chips scratches or flaws at all....perfect.

I also have an ATC C4 subwoofer which I bought second hand.
It is a gun metal grey gloss paint finish which shows up every speck of dust, every fingerprint and leaves swirl marks when dusted...and worst of all it reflects light from the projector in a home theatre environment.
Give me a pro audio textured matt black finish any day thanks.

The current US pricing of $5k for the SCM20 MK2 ASL PRO is crazy cheap.....a better S spec tweeter , a better amp pack , and no doubt a better sounding speaker and yet half the price of the SCM19A.

.
ATC SM100 ASL PRO , SCM20 ASL PRO MK2 , Two ATC C4 SCM 0.1/12 Subwoofers.
Bel Canto Pre6 Gen2 multi channel preamp , Oppo BDP95 , Wadia WT3200 cd transport , Benchmark dac1 HDR.
Technics SL1000MK3 turntable , Dynavector 17d3 , Whest PS30R.

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby Joe951 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:27 am

scm100 wrote:I've been in the home hifi hobby for many years owning Proac Studio 3 , Duntech Crown Prince , Dynaudio Confidence 5 plus various Krell , Plinius gear etc etc.
Hifi dealers here in Perth Australia , have little stock to audition home demos are basically impossible and they want top dollar for everything.
I am not a professional user but had no problems buying my SCM20 ASL PRO MK2 from CDA pro audio , they were very quick and polite with emails , happy to negotiate on price and kept me informed every step of the way.
Even ringing me after they arrived to confirm I was happy with everything.
Much better customer service than I have ever received from a hifi dealer here.

I was so impressed by the SCM20ASL PROMk2 that I ordered a second pair that I have just taken delivery of.
Both pairs were excellently packed and the speakers flawless. ...no chips scratches or flaws at all....perfect.

I also have an ATC C4 subwoofer which I bought second hand.
It is a gun metal grey gloss paint finish which shows up every speck of dust, every fingerprint and leaves swirl marks when dusted...and worst of all it reflects light from the projector in a home theatre environment.
Give me a pro audio textured matt black finish any day thanks.

The current US pricing of $5k for the SCM20 MK2 ASL PRO is crazy cheap.....a better S spec tweeter , a better amp pack , and no doubt a better sounding speaker and yet half the price of the SCM19A.

.


This is pretty much where I stand too. Right now you could get a pair of the 25A's and a C1 sub for 10k. Or a pair of the 20's and a pair of the C1's for 9k. I'm sure the 19A's are great but you're paying a ton for aesthetics. If you're looking for the best sound for the money, or something in the ballpark of the best sound for the money, you'll go a different way.

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Re: New ATC SCM20 ASL PRO Mk2

Postby simonthepieman » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:26 pm

Old thread now but i my recent opinion the absolute Bang for the buck as you would say in the USA is the Active 40
you get 3 way which means the Mid dome , seriously the resolution and detail (realism, natural sound of a real piano ) of every instrument was flabbergasting compared to
an atc at well over twice/trice the price , just stunning, factory visit yesterday 15th feb 2017

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