500 DR v ATC active speakers,

I think you can change Passive 50’s to Active . I’m not 100% and don’t shoot the messenger but I spoke to an ATC dealer a couple of years ago who could do the Passive / Active 50’s comparison using the same speaker . I think the conversion took an hour or so for him . I doubt this would be a custom speaker for this purpose but it would be a current version of the 50 .

As IB says , it’s best to contact ATC directly to get clarification. I’ve always found them very helpful.

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Well the 100’s certainly can - I watched it done in my own lounge… passive board out, active amps in - 15mins max. I’d eat my hat if the 50s are any different.

But of course you could telephone: +44 (0)1285 760561 and ask 'em :thinking:

There certainly are better modern speakers in terms of bandwidth and finesse than the passive SBL …

But is there anything that brings us closer to music than an Active SBL in a Naim system?

I have difficulty believing it…

What makes it difficult?
(How anout DBLs in an active Naim system?)

Not forgetting the rather wonderful NBL, please!

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I think a 2-way speaker will always be more coherent than a three-way

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But will have other compromises…

I do agree somewhat… but, i have two issues, the first issue is a badly needed room furniture re-configuration for basic practical and good home life-style, unfortunately this leaves nowhere for my room-boundary dependant SBLs to go - need a free standing speaker - of modest size.

Although my sibbles do sound okay positioned presently on an outer brick wall, this does have a plasterboard inner skin so they are actually slightly compromised [ compared to sibbles near a more solid brick wall ] so in my music room & system an alternative speaker maybe the way to go anyway.

The other issue i have is with using SBLs forever and ever in passive mode with a NAP500, yes it’s mighty fine but i certainly can’t afford to DR my NAP500 let alone buy a second 500 with SNAXO & SC to go active.

Personally i don’t believe SBL passive with a NAP 500 is the best end-game for my particular music room. and it would be better for me to either find a better passive speaker for a NAP 500, or if really determined to keep the sibbles, then work-out how to go active with limited funds available, and that can only mean selling the NAP500 to fund - for example; another pair of 135s and go the 4-pack active route, the selling of the NAP500 could fund the costs involved with this. Or i could use the pair of 135s i have in storage to go wonky active with my NAP500 + 2 x 135s (?) i have enough spare fraim shelves, all i need to buy is a SNAXO / SC / NACA5
[ Then i could relax on my sofa and count the boxes… ]

My past experiences listening to 4-pack sibbles [ at various locations ] were all very positive and enjoyable indeed, but some years ago now, and i have since read people saying they have gone the other way -
from a 4-pack to a NAP 500 and declared this as a good upgrade, so who am i to argue : ) (?)

My gut-feeling is that SBLs are fabulous for passive or active use especially using CB or olive kit… but for 500 series system passive SBLs can become the bottleneck if the particular music room or boundary wall is in anyway compromised. Plus, SBLs will always beg to be active…


An example of compromise?

I have been reading with interest various posts on ATC active speakers, and although I have some olive boxes sitting in the basement I am considering departing from my earlier plans to reinstate these and instead build a completely different 2nd system around a pair of active ATCs. As much as I love my main system, I am quite excited to try a different flavor for the soon to be dedicated music room. My slight concern is that I create such a different feel that it is struggle to transition between 2 very different systems… and ultimately just lead to frustration. Has anybody tried running 2 very different systems at the same time? To be recommended or avoided??
(sorry if I hijacked the thread - seemed related!)

One way of looking at it is you’ll find the one you like best and gravitate to - then you can sell the other, or change it to duplicate the better one…

I’ve never had the resources for two systems, all going into making one the best it can be!

Downside of open plan living is I can’t always play music when the mood takes… so will be relegated to the basement when the rest of the family are not in the mood.
I wonder if I will end up spending more time with the basement 2nd system… but determined not to get into the multi-box situation again 10 and counting in the living room). A good pair of active speakers plus a good integrated pre/streamer (primare pre 60 maybe) I hope will do the trick. Be interesting to see how it shapes up vs the 500 range system over the long term…!

Yes, my wife and I know and agree that wherever we live there have to be at least two living rooms, one of an adequate size for a music room…

Having a 2nd living room certainly beats sitiing in a basement!

Unless tpyou regard the basement as a living room… But nice to have windows when there’s daylight.

I-B, you’re still never added to an example of a compromise between 2-Ways and 3-Ways.

I’m interested …

Sorry, I missed your request.

I thought the fact was common knowledge, though maybe not the reasons: Rather a big and complicated subject to try to explain here, but primarily the drive units of a 2-way compared to 3-way are having to cover a wider frequency range (most commonly the bass and mid are combined so that the mid/bass driver is covering a much wider frequency range than with separate units). The lower the mid unit goes in the bass the greater the excursion needed, increasing intermodulation of higher frequencies, while the greater power handling capability required at the bass end dictates thicker wire in the voice coil, which combined with the larger cone area needed to move adequate air means greater moving mass and thus inertia, decreasing the performance In the upper frequency ranges. There are many more considerations, best found from some of the many publications on driver design (with better explanation than my attempt here). Alternatively to reduce the adverse effect of the bass end on the higher frequencies, the bass response can be curtailed. Against this, separate drivers can be better optimised because of the narrower range of frequencies they have to handle. A great example is ATC’s 3inch done midrange unit, considered by many to be the best sounding mid driver there is. ATC have included much of its features in the best of their mid-bass units, actually incorporating the same dome as part of it: yet whilst it is apparently superb as a mid-bass unit, reportedly it does not sound as good in the mid range as the dedicated unit.

By the way, in my original response I could equally well have said that a 1-way speaker will always be more coherent than a 2-way… But with even greater compromises of the nature I have just described…

All loudspeaker design is a balance of many compromises, which is what makes all speakers sound different from one another, and what sounds best to any individual is where the balance of the compromises best fits his/her preferences or expectations for how the music “should” sound, usually within the constraints of budget.


Thanks the answer.

I think that the compromises you mention are valid only when we talk about “beautiful sounds”, but it does not do any service to the coherence of an instrument.

The ideal musically being to tackle broadband.

Coherence vs other of aspects of musicality: As I said, it depends what sounds better to the individual, which variously might be coherence of instruments or any other aspect of the sound they hear, whether “beautiful sounds” as you put it, or anything else that makes music played through the speakers sound good or right to them.

If you value coherence above all else maybe a speaker with a single point source driver is needed, such as the Voxativ Pi, rather than anything with multiple drivers like either the ATC 19 or 40.

I just curious to find out what ‘coherence’ means in the context used above?