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ATC SCM 11 on home demo - thoughts


DomT
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40 minutes ago, Blzebub said:

My experience as a domestic user together with lengthy discussions about ATC monitors with an ex-studio engineer.

Every element in a good hi-fi system is geared towrds low distortion and high-fidelity to the signal. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to contend that people want to add gratuitous distortion at the loudspeaker.

People seem to think their "enjoyment" is ruined in some way by bad recordings. If that's the case, stick to Diana Krall, et al.

No one is suggesting that distortion adds to musical enjoyment (though perhaps a little does as SETs for example are far from distortion-free), but asking a studio engineer for home speaker recommendation is surely not likely to get you the best sounding speaker for your home. 

Yes, ATC make wonderful speakers (I bought a pair) but they are not primarily intended for use in the home.  There are lots of similarly priced speakers that are designed specifically for home listening where the delivered sound excites the listener in the way most of us want when listening to music.  The sense of "being-there" presentation of  music is more likely to be delivered by the type of speaker I bought to replace my ATCs - Avantgarde horns.  More distortion, less flat response - maybe, but you only need to put them in your room connected to a suitable amp and turn up the volume to realise immediately that you won't want to ever turn them off.  Having said that, I'd equally like to hear your big Actives in my own (now 3 times the area) living room.  If the studio engineer had flattering speakers, how could he go about his work of improving the recording for release to the domestic market?  

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47 minutes ago, Blzebub said:

Why would it be a good thing to add distortion to the signal in the home? It's against all the principles of high-fidelity.

I've never stopped listening to something because of poor sound quality. That includes vintage recordings from the 1920s & 30s onward.

You are the only person talking about adding distortion to a speaker. There are various types of studio monitor and they absolutely do not all sound the same. Some are more ruthless than others and others are fatiguing and others less so. In the home arena speakers are made from different materials and approaches and the same applies. It’s all about a person’s musical preference. You might not understand or agree or like it that people have preferences that do not accord to your view of the world but that’s your choice. 

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1 hour ago, Blzebub said:

Why would it be a good thing to add distortion to the signal in the home? It's against all the principles of high-fidelity.

I've never stopped listening to something because of poor sound quality. That includes vintage recordings from the 1920s & 30s onward.

Because majority of recordings are not high-fidelity. My system my choice. 

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1 hour ago, Nativebon said:

Because majority of recordings are not high-fidelity.

So what? Why is playing a lo-fi recording through high-resolution speakers such a terrible idea? Or would it sound better on a ghettoblaster?

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3 minutes ago, Blzebub said:

So what? Why is playing a lo-fi recording through high-resolution speakers such a terrible idea? Or would it sound better on a ghettoblaster?

Actually yes.. Some tracks do sound better on a ghettoblaster.

Again my system my choice. 

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Super Wammer
3 hours ago, andrew s said:

Some data from Floyd Toole's book.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that before, but I had not appreciated that the untrained listeners like the curve that looks like the Loudness button is on! That explains a lot. 

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19 hours ago, hearhere said:

If the studio engineer had flattering speakers, how could he go about his work of improving the recording for release to the domestic market?  

What is a "flattering" speaker? The concept makes zero sense.

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16 hours ago, Nativebon said:

Actually yes.. Some tracks do sound better on a ghettoblaster.

Again my system my choice. 

Use a ghettoblaster then, but don't call it hi-fi.

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3 hours ago, Blzebub said:

What is a "flattering" speaker? The concept makes zero sense.

Makes perfect sense if you know enough about studio monitors or speakers. Not looking to pick an argument but you seem to be talking with ‘authority’ yet by admission having no studio experience but just having had a chat with an ex-studio engineer. It’s clear that you like ATC speakers and have a strong preference for a certain type of musical reproduction. Good for you. But it’s not the only approach and other approaches are not right or wrong just different; you don’t seem to want to accept that there are actually valid and different approaches and this seems somewhat blinkered which is a surprise. 

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46 minutes ago, DomT said:

you don’t seem to want to accept that there are actually valid and different approaches and this seems somewhat blinkered which is a surprise

Is it? You haven’t been paying attention... xD

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Super Wammer

Dom, I've followed this thread with interest, it's been a great read so far. There were a couple of things I wanted to chip in if you don't mind another observation:

  • I understand it's academic now as you have your amps and are staying with the passive approach, but I wouldn't get too hung up on the Class-D thing with actives. It's more about the choice of modules and their implementation than the principle itself. Having owned Class-D I can say that it's truly excellent and as musically-involving as any other "class", if done right. Of course just like A, A/B, G etc done badly it will sound like a pile of s**t, but doesn't have to
  • You have clearly enjoyed the Q Acoustics 3020i when set up well and used with a sympathetic cable. If that's the case, but you just want a bit "more" then why not consider the larger 3030i or (budget and aesthetic preferences depending) the Concept 300 (*)? The former is still a little bit dinkier than the ATC (although QA do this "deeper than it is tall" shape so might be a bit misleading). As you have clearly indicated that you're looking for something to enjoy listening to music with, rather than a forensic studio tool (which you already have) then why not stick with what you know you like? Nowt wrong with that, and so what if they're a little "fruity" or inaccurate, if they achieve the aim of giving you pleasure when you want to kick back and relax

** - I'm not the first to recommend sticking with QA, I'm sure someone else mentioned it pages back in the thread but I can't find the poster now to cross-reference

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1 hour ago, Jules_S said:

Dom, I've followed this thread with interest, it's been a great read so far. There were a couple of things I wanted to chip in if you don't mind another observation:

  • I understand it's academic now as you have your amps and are staying with the passive approach, but I wouldn't get too hung up on the Class-D thing with actives. It's more about the choice of modules and their implementation than the principle itself. Having owned Class-D I can say that it's truly excellent and as musically-involving as any other "class", if done right. Of course just like A, A/B, G etc done badly it will sound like a pile of s**t, but doesn't have to
  • You have clearly enjoyed the Q Acoustics 3020i when set up well and used with a sympathetic cable. If that's the case, but you just want a bit "more" then why not consider the larger 3030i or (budget and aesthetic preferences depending) the Concept 300 (*)? The former is still a little bit dinkier than the ATC (although QA do this "deeper than it is tall" shape so might be a bit misleading). As you have clearly indicated that you're looking for something to enjoy listening to music with, rather than a forensic studio tool (which you already have) then why not stick with what you know you like? Nowt wrong with that, and so what if they're a little "fruity" or inaccurate, if they achieve the aim of giving you pleasure when you want to kick back and relax

** - I'm not the first to recommend sticking with QA, I'm sure someone else mentioned it pages back in the thread but I can't find the poster now to cross-reference

The QAcoustics are great for what they are and probably punch above their weight. The speakers that I am now choosing will ultimately be replacing my Harbeth SHL5. The Neat Iotas took their place, and are a very good speaker, but I am looking for something different/better. It doesn’t matter what things cost but I think that I am realistically going to pick Harbeth, Spendor, ATC or Sonus Faber or something along these lines. I am now open to a stand mount speaker and we will change the lounge a little to accommodate this.

For the record I am not against class D having used them in the studio but have yet to find something that works for listening to music as opposed to producing it. In my signal chain I already have a Benchmark DAC and very transparent amps and so I need to take care with what I partner it with as I listen to relax and not to be ‘attacked’.  I do have Neumann active monitors with me that have class D and I shall give them a further listen in the HiFi rig. 
 

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1 hour ago, dave6v said:

@DomT what's the latest on your demo journey? 

The latest is that I have found a few dealers within a few hours drive that stock ATC and Harbeth. One also stocks Sonus Faber (I used to own SF Amator II) and the other stocks Spendor. So am hopeful to get a decent demo in the next few days. 

At this stage everything is still in the running especially as I have tamed the room a bit. I also have a new streamer that sounds warmer than the other, and a Wave cable, and so the signal chain should be more friendly, maybe, to an ATC speaker. The funny thing is that the new streamer does some of what the ATC does in terms of musical insight and so non-ATC speakers may get more of a look in. 

As always it’s a personal journey and choice but I will continue to try and give some descriptive comments about what I am hearing to help others decide on things to consider. 

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Apols if this has been posted already.

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