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"One" of your Speakers...& why you like them ?


garn63
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15 hours ago, newlash09 said:

I've heard ATC SCM 40's several times, and I love them for their realistic presentation of tone and timbre, coupled with great transparency and dynamics. But I find it too in my face on many occasions. And coming from a system in the warm sounding camp, I find this brutal honesty a bit too much for longer sessions. But iam sure, it is no fault of the ATC's, just my own listening preference towards a mellow sound.

I used to own ATC 50 Actives and I have always described them as far too much "in yer face", so my experience of ATCs is word-for-word identical to yours! 

I'm sure it's not entirely the fault of ATC and I fully understand why many people love them.  I just wanted to push them 20 feet further away.  Impossible in my 320 sq ft London flat, but perhaps I would have loved them (probably the 100 or 150s) in my present 945 sq ft room.  No, I think I'll still stick with my Avantgardes!

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56 minutes ago, DomT said:

It’s been a while since I last did an Audio Note demo but I can say that the AN-E is more dynamic sounding than Harbeth SHL5 but not more fatiguing. In fact they seem to me to be less fatiguing than the Harbeths. Both Audio Note and Harbeth are easy to listen to all day long. But both need the right partnering equipment. Audio Note Es can be difficult to get working well in some rooms. The Js seem easier. 

ATCs have a more prominent midrange than the Audio Note and Harbeth and that gives them great transparency and articulation;  but this is to me a still non-fatiguing listen but comparatively more ‘fatiguing’ the others. By another comparison I find Proacs more fatiguing than ATC because of their extended treble response as treble response seems to bother be more than midrange.


Each of us has our own preferences and irritations about speakers but hopefully this has been helpful. 

Thanks for sharing that sir :)

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10 hours ago, DomT said:

As an ATC owner I can say that I have consistently very much liked the Audio Note speakers and particularly their bass response.  It's going to be different to an ATC because its a different type of speaker.  Clearly not your cup of tea though. The only reason why I didn't buy the Audio Notes previously was due to living in too large a space and so couldn't give the speakers any 'corners' to play in. They are one of the only speakers that I can listen to at excessive volumes without fatigue.

9 hours ago, DomT said:

It’s been a while since I last did an Audio Note demo but I can say that the AN-E is more dynamic sounding than Harbeth SHL5 but not more fatiguing. In fact they seem to me to be less fatiguing than the Harbeths. Both Audio Note and Harbeth are easy to listen to all day long. But both need the right partnering equipment. Audio Note Es can be difficult to get working well in some rooms. The Js seem easier. 

ATCs have a more prominent midrange than the Audio Note and Harbeth and that gives them great transparency and articulation;  but this is to me a still non-fatiguing listen but comparatively more ‘fatiguing’ the others. By another comparison I find Proacs more fatiguing than ATC because of their extended treble response as treble response seems to bother be more than midrange.


Each of us has our own preferences and irritations about speakers but hopefully this has been helpful. 

Listening fatigue is caused by distortion, and ATC are low-distortion flat-response monitors, well-known for their midrange transparency. I don't think it's correct to describe the ATC midrange as "prominent" - I'm referring here to the larger actives with the "S" dome drivers.

Domestic Hi-Fi speakers tend to have the "smile" response with recessed midrange, and exaggerated frequency extremes (up to a point). I think the idea that these small AN speakers can produce meaningful output at 18Hz with an 8" cone is frankly laughable.

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I’m surprised to hear people think of ATC as ‘harsh’ ‘forward’ or ‘in your face’

I think I’m rather sensitive to however you want to word the above.

I was worried about other peoples experiences when I was offered a pair of 100’s

I also went to a local dealer to hear a pair of 50a’s as he didn’t have a pair of 100’s at the time, (DNA audio in Otley),. He had them set up on naim streamer it sounded great, not fatiguing at all yet excellent detail. I finally decided on the 100’s and worried about getting them home and them not working well with my gear, again the most controlled pair of speakers I’ve ever had in my room.

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13 minutes ago, tackleberry said:

I’m surprised to hear people think of ATC as ‘harsh’ ‘forward’ or ‘in your face’

I think I’m rather sensitive to however you want to word the above.

I was worried about other peoples experiences when I was offered a pair of 100’s

I also went to a local dealer to hear a pair of 50a’s as he didn’t have a pair of 100’s at the time, (DNA audio in Otley),. He had them set up on naim streamer it sounded great, not fatiguing at all yet excellent detail. I finally decided on the 100’s and worried about getting them home and them not working well with my gear, again the most controlled pair of speakers I’ve ever had in my room.

Any harshness is either on the recording in the first place, or a consequence of upstream electronics/fluff on the stylus/damaged records, etc. ATCs will not hide this. Some acoustic instruments are supposed to sound "harsh" - a trumpet, or a snare-drum can take your ears off IRL. Listening to "Folk Singer" by Muddy Waters at realistic levels will make you physically jump. Startling dynamics on that recording.

Many mastering engineers spend their time listening to ATCs all day, and they are clearly not intrinsically "fatiguing".

"Once you've heard it, you can't unhear it."

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1 hour ago, Blzebub said:

Listening fatigue is caused by distortion, and ATC are low-distortion flat-response monitors, well-known for their midrange transparency. I don't think it's correct to describe the ATC midrange as "prominent" - I'm referring here to the larger actives with the "S" dome drivers.

Domestic Hi-Fi speakers tend to have the "smile" response with recessed midrange, and exaggerated frequency extremes (up to a point). I think the idea that these small AN speakers can produce meaningful output at 18Hz with an 8" cone is frankly laughable.

My comments were comparative in nature and so yes ATC do have a more prominent midrange than typical domestic speakers that often have a recessed midrange. But of course graphs do show that the ATCs are almost flat across the mid range ie not prominent.

A speaker can have many causes  of ‘fatigue’ but the ATC’s transparency will show up more  downstream system problems than usual as did my ruthlessly transparent Wilson Benesch Curves. 

Given that Audio Note speakers require a corner position seems to suggest that they are using the room to boost bass delivery and therefore the speaker is more than the sum of it’s parts. 

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4 minutes ago, DomT said:

Given that Audio Note speakers require a corner position seems to suggest that they are using the room to boost bass delivery and therefore the speaker is more than the sum of it’s parts. 

Whilst that is true, all loudspeakers are going to be placed into rooms, and once the half-wavelength exceeds the room's longest dimension, you will get gain of up to +6dB per boundary, so that could add up to +18dB, in theory at least. I think it's disingenuous of AN to quote non-anechoic frequency response.

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Super Wammer

I always think that you get a very different impression of certain speakers depending on your preferred listening volume, and perhaps that's partly why different speakers elicit such very different responses, like the ATCs seem to. Some speakers are consistent in their delivery across low and high volumes, others vary and might sound dull and restrained at low volumes with little bass or a reticent midrange, but come alive when you "turn the wick up". Or the other way round - some give that impression of hardening-up and becoming harsh, fatiguing or shrill at high volumes but work much better at lower listening levels. 

Also of course the interaction with the room can make a big difference, when it's loud you may be more aware of reflected sounds than when it's quieter. I know that in my (awful and as-yet untreated) room, with my previous Q Acoustics speakers that above a certain volume I became very much aware of the sound bouncing off the rear wall and patio doors behind my right ear, which made things uncomfortable to listen to at times. Now with different speakers it's more the front wall reflections I have to manage, so a different issue, but still I find that at lower levels it's far less of an influence on what I hear.

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My lovely to me .....mowgan mabon floorstanders.....they just excell in all areas ..rear ported so best to bring them out into the room......a seas millenium tweeter ..dyn  audio mid .with a German Eton bass driver.....deliver an effortless soundscape  ..neutral with no harshness or being forward in the presentation......not many pairs out there. So quite rare......built like a tank about 35 kilos.......in Santos rosewood  veneers...they are just brill imo.

IMG_20211130_115907.jpg

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3 hours ago, Blzebub said:

Any harshness is either on the recording in the first place, or a consequence of upstream electronics/fluff on the stylus/damaged records, etc. ATCs will not hide this.

It's the job of the studio engineer (listening to his ATCs) to to identify where he should set to work on remedying these harshnesses.  ATCs will emphasise where this is. 

3 hours ago, Blzebub said:

Many mastering engineers spend their time listening to ATCs all day, and they are clearly not intrinsically "fatiguing".

If the engineer is "fatigued" by an inferior recording, that's good as it indicates where he should start in sorting the problem out!

3 hours ago, DomT said:

A speaker can have many causes  of ‘fatigue’ but the ATC’s transparency will show up more  downstream system problems

My ATC problem certainly wasn't "harshness" but the impression of being too "forward" - I wanted to push them much further away from me, particularly when the volume was raised.

One article I was reading in a professional industry magazine described the difference between professional monitor speakers and domestic speakers.  The former are designed to highlight shortcomings in original recordings so the engineer can do his magic to rectify these nastinesses.  He doesn't want the sound to be good or flattering right from the start.  The domestic listener wants the sound to be such as to delight him and not shout out any remaining shortcomings.  So for this reason, I steer clear of pro speakers such as ATC or PMC. 

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21 minutes ago, hearhere said:

It's the job of the studio engineer (listening to his ATCs) to to identify where he should set to work on remedying these harshnesses.  ATCs will emphasise where this is. 

If the engineer is "fatigued" by an inferior recording, that's good as it indicates where he should start in sorting the problem out!

My ATC problem certainly wasn't "harshness" but the impression of being too "forward" - I wanted to push them much further away from me, particularly when the volume was raised.

One article I was reading in a professional industry magazine described the difference between professional monitor speakers and domestic speakers.  The former are designed to highlight shortcomings in original recordings so the engineer can do his magic to rectify these nastinesses.  He doesn't want the sound to be good or flattering right from the start.  The domestic listener wants the sound to be such as to delight him and not shout out any remaining shortcomings.  So for this reason, I steer clear of pro speakers such as ATC or PMC. 

ATC certainly has a flatter presentation than most domestic speakers but it's all about system synergy as with any other speaker from any other brand.  I tried five different amps with my ATC to get the one that wasn't 'forward' or 'fatiguing'.  We often point the finger at speakers but sometimes it's just an imbalance somewhere in the signal chain.

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31 minutes ago, hearhere said:

It's the job of the studio engineer (listening to his ATCs) to to identify where he should set to work on remedying these harshnesses.  ATCs will emphasise where this is. 

If the engineer is "fatigued" by an inferior recording, that's good as it indicates where he should start in sorting the problem out!

My ATC problem certainly wasn't "harshness" but the impression of being too "forward" - I wanted to push them much further away from me, particularly when the volume was raised.

One article I was reading in a professional industry magazine described the difference between professional monitor speakers and domestic speakers.  The former are designed to highlight shortcomings in original recordings so the engineer can do his magic to rectify these nastinesses.  He doesn't want the sound to be good or flattering right from the start.  The domestic listener wants the sound to be such as to delight him and not shout out any remaining shortcomings.  So for this reason, I steer clear of pro speakers such as ATC or PMC. 

But then that is often undone by the mastering, which can compress the dynamic range, to make it loud, most pop music is not produced for HiFi systems. I agree many HiFi speakers, would not be very good for studio work. Actives will cut out some of the mismatching with amp problems or they should, most ATC actives users prefer active over the passive version. 

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1 hour ago, Jules_S said:

I always think that you get a very different impression of certain speakers depending on your preferred listening volume, and perhaps that's partly why different speakers elicit such very different responses, like the ATCs seem to. Some speakers are consistent in their delivery across low and high volumes, others vary and might sound dull and restrained at low volumes with little bass or a reticent midrange, but come alive when you "turn the wick up". Or the other way round - some give that impression of hardening-up and becoming harsh, fatiguing or shrill at high volumes but work much better at lower listening levels. 

Also of course the interaction with the room can make a big difference, when it's loud you may be more aware of reflected sounds than when it's quieter. I know that in my (awful and as-yet untreated) room, with my previous Q Acoustics speakers that above a certain volume I became very much aware of the sound bouncing off the rear wall and patio doors behind my right ear, which made things uncomfortable to listen to at times. Now with different speakers it's more the front wall reflections I have to manage, so a different issue, but still I find that at lower levels it's far less of an influence on what I hear.

The amp. is important as well, some amps sound harsh when you turn them up.  The music also, well recorded/mastered music, I find you can play louder without harshness but poorer or overly compressed music, soon starts to become harsh as the volume creeps up. 

Some speakers need plenty of power to get going, ATC have a reputation for this. I also found Kef LS50s were a bit dull at lower volumes.

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1 hour ago, hearhere said:

It's the job of the studio engineer (listening to his ATCs) to to identify where he should set to work on remedying these harshnesses.  ATCs will emphasise where this is. 

If the engineer is "fatigued" by an inferior recording, that's good as it indicates where he should start in sorting the problem out!

My ATC problem certainly wasn't "harshness" but the impression of being too "forward" - I wanted to push them much further away from me, particularly when the volume was raised.

One article I was reading in a professional industry magazine described the difference between professional monitor speakers and domestic speakers.  The former are designed to highlight shortcomings in original recordings so the engineer can do his magic to rectify these nastinesses.  He doesn't want the sound to be good or flattering right from the start.  The domestic listener wants the sound to be such as to delight him and not shout out any remaining shortcomings.  So for this reason, I steer clear of pro speakers such as ATC or PMC. 

It's not a question of "emphasising" nor "highlighting" anything. ATCs will give you whatever is upstream, whether good, bad or indifferent. They are not sentient beings and therefore can't decide for themselves whether there's a problem of any kind in the signal.

I ended up having to ditch my LP12 because of ATC. I don't know why you found them "forward", but I'd humbly suggest that your signal was compromised in some way. In some circs, ATCs can be "too good" for the rest of the system.

I've also made a significant upgrade to my DAC today, again because of my ATCs, and boy what a difference. Separate thread to come at some point, once I've got my head around it all.

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The thing about recordings is that depending on the era of commercial as well as classical music you will have challenges with your system.  If you have a very narrow focus of musical interest its much easier to build a system around that type of music. For example music produced pre the era of digital recording mixing and mastering everyone knew how to get a good sound in the studio and you could buy a system that exploits this sound as I did.  In the analog to digital transition period in the early 80s there was a lot of trial and error in studios as they had to fundamentally change how they worked as engineers and so there were a number of 'badly recorded' albums in this period.  

Likewise if you like current commercial music as well as music in the 70s then you will find it difficult to find a good trade-off between the two completely different approaches to engineering and mastering especially in the depth of bass captured on recent recordings.

Also forget about talk of compression as compression has been used for decades and if you heard a lot of your favourite albums without compression you might not like them too much; compression in multitrack recording is often the final bit of magic that makes a track 'gel together'.

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