An active life for me

My “end game” speakers, I very much suspect.

I was sad in a way to see my NAP135’s and Usher speakers go, but it was time.

I am using the ATC’s in my small listening room 12’x10’.

I have them connected in fully balanced mode to my Supercap using unbalanced to balanced transformers supplied by Canford Audio.

I moved my chair closer to the speakers following comments from some forum members which has ameliorated some room-induced boom.

My old speakers were formerly used in a totally different type/size room and really weren’t suitable for this room.

I am most definitely not a master of prose, so will not delve into the descriptive hifi lexicon, but will say that if the ATC’s are to your taste, they are pretty much flawless imho.

I also believe that they are a relative bargain at the price.

PS: the left-hand speaker is not wonky, it is the camera lens. Confirmed by spirit-level :slightly_smiling_face:


I switched over to ATC40A’s a few months ago, very happy, great speakers.


Hi @BigAl, I’m another fan and do agree that active ATC 40s are something of a bargain, at least in the crazy world of hifi. One thing I have learned is that, in spite of being closed box speakers, they do benefit from being as far away from walls as practically possible. Your smallish room may not allow much flexibility in positioning, but it’s always worth a bit of experimentation.

I hope you continue to enjoy your fine system for many years to come.


Wow for a minute when I saw the first picture, I thought the system was being driven by an Okki Nokki which is already quite loud and does not really play engaging music.

I’m curious to give ATC 40 (both passive and active) a go at some stage. It was highly recommended. Not sure if a NAP300 has what it takes though

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I wondered what the strange aspect ratio TT was as well X)

Lovely looking ATCs @BigAl - I quite like the Technics tape deck too, I have fond memories of mine.

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The strange looking "turntable " is actually my Clearaudio RCM :smile:

Thanks Roger.

The room boundaries cannot change, and this

is behind my chair, so I found moving the chair forwards presumably reduced reflections from everything behind me.

Since adding the Townshend Podiums last year, and now the ATC’s, I have found there to be much less “boom” not only in the listening position, but also for example, standing in the doorway and in the nearby hallway.


From what I have read, a NAP 300 should be ok.

Of course, with the actives, you don’t need a power amplifier, so in my case, my local ATC dealer sold my 135s for me, which effectively reduced the cost, if not the price if you get me.

I can only say give them a try if you can. They are difficult to describe in a way. Don’t expect sonic fireworks, or a redefinition of the state of the art.

To me, they are inherently “right”, in the same way that it feels when, say, you try on a pair of shoes, and they FIT, not nearly fit.


A NAP300 is all the amp you need to drive SCM40s. Personally I preferred this setup to the active 40s, although I can see the appeal of simplifying your system by losing a 2 box power amp.

Tempting. Reasonable price and i can source locally with a decent home demo as well

Nice to see someone else using ATC SCM40A’s with Townshend Podiums :+1:

I bought the Podiums for use with my Ushers, which were considerably bigger than the ATCs, hence the latter look a little lost on them.

A 250DR will drive SCM 40s nicely, but a 300 will get a good deal bmore out of them and is arguably the ideal match from the Naim range of power amps.

As for active vs passive, so much is personal preference. I once spent a couple of hours comparing SCM 19s in active and passive (driven by a 250DR) forms. At the end, I strongly preferred the actives, but someone sitting next to me throughout had an equally strong preference for the passive setup. If at all possible, an audition is recommended.


I will be honest, I am not the sort of person to try 15 pairs of speakers: I had a dealer dem of the ATCs, then at a later date, tried a highly regarded pair of standmount speakers with and without a REL subwoofer. This was followed by a two-week home trial of the ATCs

The standmount speakers, plus stands and subwoofer were pretty close in price to the active ATCs, and meant utilising my 135s (which were subsequently sold for more than I paid for them in 2005).

I wish I had the room and the money to entertain the SCM100aslt…


Active SCM40As are, of course, a fair bit cheaper than passives plus 300. The passives were a clear winner for me using NDX2/XPSDR/252/300DR compared to passives using the same source and preamp. The 300DR just seemed to have more grip and control. You may disagree, of course!

I have no idea about the ATC. I have a recently serviced 252+SC2 and 300. No DR upgrade. So all i would have to do is buy the speakers. I was looking to get rid of boxes but now they are all serviced they will stay. I think it would be good to demo the ATC40. The descriptions of how the speaker performs with music that i mainly enjoy is intriguing…

They seem to work with just about any musical genre.

To me they are neutral without being anodyne.

I never presume to even attempt to influence people’s tastes, but would suggest you try both passive and active iterations, at different times.

I had a number of reasons for trying the ATCs, but if I had not liked them, this thread would not exist :slightly_smiling_face:

All the Naim gear in my demos was DR, which may have had some effect on my preference. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that you might prefer the actives. I know it can be harder to let go when you’ve spent a lot of money on a service but if your dealer wants the sale he might come up with an attractive offer.

As should any decent speaker in my book, otherwise there is something wrong.

Active just has something about it…
I haven’t had the opportunity yet to hear any ATC speakers themselves, though I love (and use) the midrange dome that is in the SCM40. I suspect that for me the40 would be a bit limiting at the bottom end, but understandable in the OP’s relatively small room. A beauty (of all the ATC actives) compared to active driving as I do mine, and products from, say, PMC, is that the amps are built-in so a very neat system.

I found the active 40’s much better than passive 40’s driven by a 300dr in my room. In fact by the time I sold my old speakers, power amp, and super lumina I actually had an upgrade that gave me money back!

Different views on here so worth the demo of the two but they are a superb speaker - I did try the 50’s but they put too much energy in my room, suspect you would need a bigger room to get them to work.

Currently exploring even more simplification with a linn Klimax DSM3 (streaming pre amp) v my 4 box 552,NDS,555 (all DR).

To the OP enjoy your ATC’s, that mid range on them is so very good.

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