500 DR v ATC active speakers,

i think the new in house tweeter has cured the bright sound form years ago…

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Interesting thread!

@Mr.Frog : Have you auditioned both setups, SCM50 active and passive + NAP500DR? What makes the SCM50 active better?

This is quite interesting considering the enormous price difference.

And more interesting would be to understand why people still buy passive speakers and expensive amplifiers when it seems clear to many that active is the way to go?

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Interesting thread Dave. I’d be very interested in hearing how you get on. I heard the big active pair (SCM 100 I think?) demo at the Signals show and the recreation of the true scale and dynamic of a full orchestra on the St. Saens ‘Danse Macabre’ was really impressive. I may try some myself at some point.

I’ve spoken with my ever obliging dealer this morning, and we’re arranging an extended home demo of his ATC active 100 Towers the week after next.

As ever, they’re completely relaxed about the whole thing as “after all, your demo of the 500DR isn’t due until April”, following their annual show, so I ought to have plenty of time at home with them to form an impression.

We live in interesting times. :thinking:


Evening Dave,

As you know I have had both MF9’s and ATC SCM 150’s in my house, both on the end of my 552/500 system. I know which my preference would be but you need to do the home demo yourself and then we can compare notes :slight_smile:



Hi, Nigel,

The original plan was to audition a brand new 500 DR in April, following my dealer’s annual bash, but I had a lightbulb “what if” moment, and have now set up a an extended home demo of the ATC 100 actives in a couple of weeks.

So, they’ll be going up against my MF 9’s, and I do imagine I’ll suffer some loss of scale, though my dealer thinks I might be surprised.

Anyway, it’s a difficult one, as I’ll have to attempt to remember how the ATC’s sounded, when it comes time to push the MF 9’s with the 500 DR a couple of months later.

As I often remark … the fun just never stops. :thinking:

You’re not going to lose any scale Dave, trust me.

I just get the feeling that its going to be obvious when you hear both combinations. Its been a long time since I have heard both combinations and I know clearly which one would be staying here :-):sunglasses:

What does the i/c cable configuration look like for active ATC speaker to naim pre-amp?
What choices of cable makes are there?
Is there an optimum length?
How much do they cost?
So many questions! :smile:

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Mogami 2549 or 2534, 7m, DIN to XLR custom made. 100 usd all inclusive. Amazing SQ

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Where can you get one? I might be moving to active ATC soon and I’ve been wondering is it better to use RCA to XLR or DIN to XLR.

I use Mogami 2549 cables as well, they are excellent value . Otherwise , when using Naim Pre Amps I’ve heard of people using custom DIN-XLR or RCA-XLR by Chord from their Shawline range with good results .

Patu, You can buy Mogami cables from HHB Communications in London. They do custom made and are very helpful, I think my 3m pair of XLR’s were about £70 .


Debs - others will advise better perhaps but my understanding is, having had some ADAM actives demo’ed in my room, is that the cabling needs are far simpler and cheaper (think in £’oo’s - if that, IIRC). The ‘balanced’ cabling needed from the Pre to speaker can be quite/very long without loss in quality of signal - see the useful explanation on Wiki about balanced cabling i.e. you don’t need expensive speaker cabling, major benefit, as flagged in other posts above. The ADAMs were hooked up via DIN to my Pre.

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Thanks very much for all replies about the DIN-XLR cables.
Nice to hear they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg! : )

I’ve been pondering the option of replacing my NAP500 & Sibbles with an ATC active speaker for the past year or so. There are a few reasons which trigger my interest - an oncoming room re-configuration which will mean losing my SBL wall, so i could do with a more free-standing speaker. Although i confirm the SBLs do sound excellent with a NAP 500 i am aware there are far better modern speakers out there… but only if you have the money… which i don’t : (

My 552 & 500 are both non-DR, and there is no funds to DR them, however if the 500 is replaced with active speakers the issue of only DR-ing the 552 becomes an affordable option.

The beauty of buying active speaker is the trade-in value of a NAP 500 will go a long way to funding the purchase. Plus there is also the option of selling on the redundant NACA 5 speaker cable, a couple of naim fraim shelves, pre to power amp XLR-DIN Chord Sarum cable - declutter the house or perhaps keep for a 2nd system elsewhere.

My music room is a L shape with around 27 square meters of floor space, so it looks like the SCM40A are the largest SCM to fit, or perhaps only the 19s (?) …i keep an open mind here.

TBH i still feel rather sceptical and not one to believe in a free lunch, but when ready i will need to home audition. I’m a little concerned of some reports that the sound can be forward and fatiguing, if this is speaker/room incompatibility issue or the nature of active speaker i don’t know, but feel a lot of hesitation of the parting with my cherished NAP500 on impulse : )


Hope it works out for you, it does seem a shame as most of us would die for a 552/500 combo with SBL, s. Take plenty of time over it.

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No reason for impulse - let your ears do the choosing, taking as long as they need.

Having been both an active and passive user I would say that the path is not that clear cut. A pair of active Meridian M2’s were easily outperformed by a passive 32.5, 110 and a pair of Kans that I borrowed many years ago. My active 135’s into Briks was bettered by a single passive 500, which was then improved upon with the DR mod. There’s a lot of energy inside any active speaker when it’s at full tilt and most of this is going into the amplifier electronics. Just listen to what a Fraim does to an amplifier even when it’s in a different room!

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Hi Debs… “Nice to hear they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg! : )”. I’m using the cable supplied by ATC, off the reel I believe it costs £0.65/m (so the two 5m runs I have cost them £6.50 plus plugs). As you say, not an arm & a leg. I’ve also tried Chord Signature at £n,000+ and they do sound a bit better, as you might expect. I was interested, though, to read peoples support for Mogami - a brand I’ve never tried.

But what I wanted to say was this - forget the scepticism and jump, you’ll not regret it.

Oh, and one more thing… be careful with your estimate of what the 500 will bring in; it could be less than you’d imagine.

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Does anybody know if passive 50’s can be upgraded to active with amp packs at a later date?

No impossible

Is that definitive? From my awareness of ATC I find that surprusibg, and unless it has come from ATC I would ask them direct. And if not, can the passive XO be removed? I very much expect yes, as ATC do a multi-channel monoblock power amp with active XO built in just for that very purpose.

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