ATC Active Loudspeakers Naim 222 or ATC SCA 2

I’m back and forth considering whether the Naim NSC 222 Pre Amp would be of a similar quality sonically to the dedicated ATC SCA 2 balanced Pre amp into Active 50ASL speakers

I was hoping for some advice on this potential combination and whether it would be advisable to get one or the other?. I’m looking at this new Naim 222 pre amp which has balanced output , it seems to be a man for all season offering turntable, stream and Roon ready and would lower my box count considerably. The other alternative is buying the ATC SCA 2 pre amp which obviously was designed specifically for these type of speakers. Will the Naim Pre have enough power to drive these speakers via the balanced output and will it sound comparable to the ATC Pre amp which only has pre amp function and loses all the other goodies.

Any advice appreciated , I haven’t heard either pre amp as it’s difficult to travel to listen to either of them.

If anyone has any thoughts on the naim of it would be capable of supplying an excellent experience with these super loudspeakers. I’m guessing there is a trade off having so many things on one box at 5.7k to an amp that does one thing at 7.2K

Any thoughts as I say I’m back and forth

The advantage of the 222 is that you can upgrade it when funds allow with the NPX300 power supply.
Many Naim users use passive or active versions of ATC speakers with Naim electronics and are very happy. Sonically, I really like the 222 with the NPX300 and think it is an excellent value combination, in my case, I have the SCM40 passives powered by a 250DR.

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Thanks for that Paul, so you are on the 222 camp vs the SCA 2 camp, I’m just thinking that a 5k multi function device surely would sonically inferior to something that costs 7.3k and does one job perhaps this is why I’m back and forth. I do have Roon lifetime and also Tidal which would be used a lot thru thru the 222 but I guess you could add a quality Dac later on. I don’t know

The problem with all this is obviously you have to go and test these things with your speakers and dealers ain’t going to lend you a naim pre amp for a week?, and for sure you can’t borrow ATC gear to test at home as dealers are few and far between. Likewise you can’t lug 47 kg speakers into a local dealer to test things. It’s a difficult one for sure.

To be an even comparison, you should probably also have some streamers in mind for the ATC pre. Probably cost at least a couple of grand to be a fair match thereby pushing the budget even higher (don’t forget interconnects). Maybe looking at the “apples to apples” pricing will help with decision making?

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Bear in mind that you can add an NPX300 to the 222 to significantly raise its performance. I’ve never heard a 222 or the ATC 50As, but would suspect that the bare 222 would be a bit out of its depth in such illustrious company.


You’re really comparing two different things here: a one box pre/streamer with a dedicated class A preamp. A more natural Naim comparator would be the NC 332 which happens to be the same price as the SCA 2. I’ve heard a 222, but not into active ATCs and also a SCA 2. I strongly suspect the ATC amp would be a class above preamp section of the 222, but have not directly compared them. And at this level so much is personal preference. ATC aim for neutrality which may suit some listeners more than others and audition is really the best way to decide.

If you are intending to use a Naim front end, bear in mind that the SCA 2 doesn’t have DIN inputs. I’ve not yet heard any 3 series components but I’d guess NSS 333 into NAC 332 into active ATC 50s with as many extra power supplies as you cared to add would be a pretty formidable combination.



Thanks for those comments, I’m thinking on the side of caution really in that the ATC pre amp would be more than likely guaranteed to get the best of these speakers but then you have to look at what the front end will throw into the mix, and my current products although highly rated in the more below £1000 bracket ain’t of a quality good enough for these but will do for now. Obviously if I go the ATC route which is more than likely now I can always add more exotic front ends when funds permit. If I go the 222 route I’d always be hankering for that power supply which would take a lot of saving up for!.

Many years ago I had a chat with the ATC rep (I think his name was Ben Lilley) at the Signals hifi show where he was demonstrating some large active ATCs (maybe 50 or 100) with an ATC streamer preamp CDA2 I think. Anyway I queried the comparatively low price of the streamer compared to the speakers and he said the front end was more than adequate to display the qualities of the speakers. Saying that, he also used a Helius turntable which I thought sounded quite a lot better.

Yes you can, at least in UK. I’ve lugged 60kg speakers into 2 dealers, one of them on two dofferent occasions, and they didn’t bat an eyelid - even refusing my help carrying upstairs.

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I have heard a lot of people say that the ATC 50 Active is too revealing and that a 222 would be out of it’s depth to control one, but…

Earlier this year I auditioned this very combo in my own lounge to hear for myself. Audio T Bristol (Max) set up the demo, it took a few weeks for the 50 Actives to be available from ATC and then we had a week to play through a large range of classical and pop/rock rips, LP’s via my RP10. My initial concern from comments read earlier was that my room, normal size lounge would be too small; not physically but acoustically. Both the dealer and ourselves were instantly stunned by the quality and I didn’t need a week to attempt to disprove it!
At that time the 333/332 didn’t exist so we not considered, however the 300 PS did and I thought I might give it a go after a few months without.
We could afford the 300 or for that matter 333+300 and 332+300 but the joy of the 222 + ATC 50 Active is so good that I really can’t be bothered!

Between ordering the ATCs and their arrival, I did hear the all ATC combo, very nice but not to my ears better. Maybe it’s my age/ears aren’t up to it but to me the 222 are more than up to giving excellent performance into the 50 Actives.

Also during this time I spent half a day at the ATC factory, just up the road, with the Engineering Manager - Richard Newman. This convinced me even more that the ATC 50 Actives were the perfect speaker for me.


Well there we go, which proves there’s nothing like first hand experience. There is something very appealing about a streaming preamp and active speakers, especially with the balanced outputs that the 222 and 332 have.


The great thing about active ATCs is that the power amplification is perfectly matched to each speaker. In practice that tends to mean that the speakers have the capability to make the most of whatever they’re fed. Having had a 272, 282 and now 552/555 in front of active 50s I can confirm each sounded great to my ears, but the differences as you improve source/preamp are significant, as is the price. What’s right for you is really a matter of personal preference and wallet. The ATC preamp is good (I only heard it at a dealers) but I thought that Naim offered greater flexibility in that respect and better sound at higher prices. I’d be surprised if the OP was not delighted with any of the options mentioned above, a nice position to be in.


I forgot to say I already have the scm50asl in my lounge now apologies

Well now I’m leaning towards the 222, or at least giving it a chance as it reads very well above. Gosh it’s a difficult one this, I’m 58 and think my hearing isn’t no way as good as it was. And it would offer a few other options input wise which I subscribe to and use daily.

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Well not me. We’re talking preamps here, not power amps struggling to control a “difficult” speaker. The point is rather that the very revealing ATCs will show up any improvement in the electronics feeding it, so worth perhaps trying out alternatives.

I have their humble stalemates: active 40s and have run mine with 272/XPS, Auralic Vega G2 and now Linn Klimax/Organik. The significant improvement in SQ from each change was immediately obvious. I’m currently listening to Pembroke College’s Christmas disc, or perhaps more accurately I’m transported back to Cambridge with shivers down my spine.


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