ATC SCM19 Speaker Review

Hi Simon , I can only think of positives going Active 40 from Passive 19 as much as I liked them . The 40’s if anything have a more natural warmth and openness than the 19’s from memory , this could be due to slightly fuller range or the brilliant mid driver . Not that they are coloured in any way , they just sound right to me and even more so now I’ve added the Auralic Vega G2 DAC which has a superb analogue Pre . They do have more Bass energy obviously which should be taken into account but there are modern ways of taming that if necessary as you’ll well know . They never feel overblown or too much here , the Bass is very tight , detailed and tuneful .
You’ve had ATC for a long time so I really can’t imagine you not liking the Active’s .
Are you considered 19’s and 40’s ?

Speaking to Richard from ATC at the Acoustica show he said the only real difference in tweeters was the power handling and they are essentially the same .

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I hardly notice the grills on my Satin Black 40’s .


Good call Simon :grinning:

I previously used ATC SCM50A’s in a larger room and now have the 40A’s (driven by the ATC SCA-2 preamp).

In my current room, I think the 40A’s are just as good as the 50A’s were in the larger one.

If you speak to ATC, they suggest that all their speakers sound ‘the same’ (room and application depending), so I guess that’s why I’m more than happy with the 40A’s.

There is a lot to be said for going active and no need for esoteric speaker cables etc.

Whilst I haven’t ever heard the Naim amps into passive ATC’s, I am led to understand that the active ATC’s with their built in amp packs, surpass the passive set up.

I seem to recall that R J Stains (forum member) moved from 500 series Naim power amps and B&W speakers, to ATC 100A’s. He was of the opinion that the active ATC system was far better … even though far less costly than using 500 series amps!

As ever, have a home demo and see what you think … though I’m convinced you’ll soon be going active :grinning:

Yes, I can’t think of anybody who uses the SCMs with the grills on… luckily the speakers are designed to be used grill off… apparently

Thanks… considering the 40As

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I use mine with the grilles on, they offer real protection from our dog and errant squeaky balls!

Yep, I use the grills on my 40A’s and like the look of the ‘fishnet stockings’ :grinning:

Mine are Cherry, but apparently the satin black version looks stunning with its ‘fishnets’ on

There is nowt as strange as folk :grinning:

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Whilst I keep my grills on, I don’t actually physically have a pair a ‘fishnets’ on me!

They’re on the speakers :grinning::grinning::grinning:

It’s not just you! Those grilles are a deal breaker for me. I really need speakers with grilles for protection, and apart from being quite ridiculously ugly, they are functionally poor. I managed to knock the grilles off my dealer’s SCM40 by barely touching them, so weak are the magnets that hold them on. Also, if you have inquisitive young children, they can still see the drivers, and once they have (accidentally or intentionally) removed the grilles, the chances of needing an expensive repair are high.

Hi Simon,

I’m running a 52 pre into ATC 40a actives and they are stunning.

The ATC midrange driver is a thing of beauty. Interestingly, the speaker can sound warm which surprised me. I find very few recordings sound poor… maybe this warmth masks poor recordings.

I had always read that ATC speakers were very analytical and sterile sounding but I don’t find this at all. The current ATC’s use a better tweeter than the old ones. I did hear ATC 50 actives 20 years ago and I remember them being just ok.

I’m wondering what the current 50 actives sound like as they use the better SL Super Linear bass driver. The 40a can do scale which really fills the room with music. I would guess you would need to go a Naim 500 amp with passives speakers to do what the ATC actives can do…that makes them a bargain in my opinion ( and I’ve owned a 552/500 system in the past).

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I think that is a view from the early SCMs with the non ATC tweeters. Certainly in my experience the older ATCs could sound a little hard and dark… which can work with well some recordings, but not all.
The later SCMs with the in-house tweeter… both the pro version, where I understand it’s built to higher tolerances for consistency with high power usage and voice coil hearing, and the standard version, more suited to domestic levels, makes a difference in the speaker sounding more open and sweeter.
The newer crossover is more amp friendly making them easier to drive as well, though not relevant for actives.
I won’t call the ATCs super revealing or having a wonderful stereo image… but if I want that I tend to use headphones, but the ATCs sound incredibly natural in tone and are wonderfully dynamic.

I use ATC 11s in a 3.5m x3.3m room sat on “Solidsteel” open stands. I tried out several different standmount speakers at home, including 19s before buying and whilst the 11s were the cheapest they also sounded the best in this small room.

If I had a bigger room I would probably go for Active 19s or 40’s but I wouldn’t fancy lugging them upstairs to my current little music room. The 11’s appreciate a good power amp and sound better to my ears with a 250DR than with a SN2 despite them both having similar power ratings. I also use Witch Hat Phantom speaker cables and find them good. I leave the grilles on and don’t find them intrusive. The cabinets may be made in China but they are well made and look fine

Yes I like the ATC SCM19 cabinets, and they favour well with the rest of the family, especially on Russ Andrews wooden stands. I definitely don’t leave the grills on though.
My room is I guess medium, but not uniform… I have a little bit of room treatment… material absorbing panels on the walls behind the cabinets… that seems to help with the mid reflections and opens out the mid detail gorgeously.

However the low bass is a little shy, and there is no real slam… I have a small pair of AE1 actives and they hint at more there, though the upper mids are not as tonally detailed as the ATCs. (Brass, percussion, strings etc)

It was planar headphones that made my realise how much info and enjoyment I was missing.

So I want to go active ATCs… and retire my NAP250 and my 19s, and the 40a should fit into the same footprint.

Sounds a great plan :grinning:

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Before I picked up my 40’s I asked the dealer what the active version was like, he said, “the same but more”. At the time the cost of the passive version was right at the limit I had set for speakers, and yet I kind of wish I had just gone for the actives.

I keep telling my self they would have over powered the room!

One down side of using the grilles is that the front baffles do show a ‘tan line’

Well, we’ve only got your word on that :grin:.

But please, no pictures. What you do alone in the privacy of your own home need not be any business of ours. Just keep it clean & legal.


Spoil sport. I was looking forward to some amusing photos…

Interesting you mention the 19’s are a little Bass shy . One of friends who plays Bass much prefers my 40’s referring to the 19’s as they were a bit boxy . His words not mine and he’s obviously Bass orientated .