Am looking around to upgrade my speakers - source is streamed, either Spotify or Tidal or uPnP server.

Was looking at the SMC40 passives, but there’s a whole lotta love for the actives, and so am doing the man maths on those.

I could sell my 250DR to start. I currently have a 272 but am considering an NDX2. If I bought the NDX2 in my current system I’d also have to buy a preamp so a 282 or 252, plus power supply. So it’s possibly a similar price to not have to buy the pre-amp, sell the power amp, and plug the NDX2 into the SMC40a’s.

Does anyone know if it’s a good source for those, and whether the variable output is up to the job, or would I still need a preamp?

There’s a lot of discussion about this in the ATC SCM40 thread. I’ve written about my experience with passive vs active there. Also little bit about different dac/pre-amps in front of 40A’s. But in short, 40A’s are clearly superior to the passives.

You would still need a preamp. It may be worth trying a 555PS on the 272 to go with the 40As. Two boxes and a pair of speakers would be rather nice. And who knows, there may be a replacement 272 along at some point.

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Naim have said that the variable output on the new separate streamers is there because Apple AirPlay (and possibly other?) certification requires it, and that it should be disabled for best sound quality.
Just how much worse it sounds is something I think you will have to judge for yourself. Even if the effects are noticeable, I guess you would have to balance that against what you could get for your money if you didn’t have to buy an expensive preamp. For example, NDX/252/Supercap getting towards the cost of an ND555 - which, of course, you may or may not prefer.

Your 272 will be the perfect for Active 40’s . People also use them with Active 50’s and upwards . You already have one so I wouldn’t worry about its potential replacement .

I agree. 272 and active atc 40a are a great combination.

The SCM19a don’t seem to get much of a mention (and seem to be the same size as the 40a. Similar sound or does the dome mid make a big difference ?

The dome mid is widely regarded as about the best midrange there is. The bass-mid on the 19 is a different beast, and while it tries to do the mid - and by all accounts does it very well indeed for what it is, it still has to manage as a bass unit as well, so the design can’t be as tuned to the mid (pun not intended!) And as a 6 inch bass unit, also having to handle the mid, the bass unit isn’t going to do as well as the larger one in the 40 - and the manufacturer’s specs show it 6dB down at 54Hzinstead of 6dNpB down at 48Hz. Meanwhile with active driving the 3-way XO in the 49 doesn’t have any disadvantages compared to the 19 other than crossing over.

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Only the top part of the 19A is actually ‘speaker’, the rest is effectively the stand.

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IB, HH - thanks.


They have quite different sound signature. I had 19A at home for three weeks before I got my 40A’s. 19A is brighter and leaner sounding, some would probably call it even more neutral than 40A. I think it needs more care with pre-amp/source matching than 40A. 19A can easilly sound too revealing and slightly fatiguing. 40A adds a tad of warmth and better defined midrange with clear improvement in bass power and reach. It just sounds clearly bigger.


I spent this morning auditioning 40As, first with 272/XPS and then with Auralic Vega G2. Summary conclusion: I could have spent another couple of hours enjoying myself listening to track after track. The ATCs gave a richer warmer presentation than my 250/Fact 3s and there was more punch in the bass. This I expected, but I was more surprised by the increased clarity in the mid-band and the extra extension at the top. The slight mid-bass warmth of my current setup was less evident too. It’s a cliché I know but “a veil was lifted” was a pretty accurate description of the change in presentation.

So, on to the Auralic. I am afraid to say so on a Naim forum, but this was a clear step up from the 272. I could hear new details in recordings I knew well and, with a favourite choral disc, the acoustics of the space in which the singers were performing were more evident. On a live recording the shuffling about of the audience came through more clearly than I had heard before. (I guess this is good!) Above all was the wonderful reproduction of the human voice. I kept choosing disc after disc with singers from all genres, especially female ones, to enjoy their individual voices and singing styles. Overall I guess I would describe the sound as more accurate and realistic than my current system. Of course, accuracy can readily come at the expense of musical engagement, but not here. Where foot-tapping was appropriate, my feet tapped. Air conducting was in evidence too. And the shivers down my spine came as well. All this from one box and two (admittedly active) speakers.

The next step? I have arranged a home audition to check that my listening room is suitable. If it is then I will almost certainly go down the Vega G2/40A route.



Roger, I am glad you did the G2 demo. and thank you for your thoughts as well. As this is one component I am dying to demo. against my NDS/555DR/252 set up with my soon to arrive 40A speakers.

Another member, Graham, has this same 40A/G2 set up and he traded in a NDX/n-DAC/ XPSDR in on the G2 and loves his. Just not sure the G2 will see off what I have… Perhaps the Aurelic Master Clock / G2 may be at the same level. But that would be some serious coin with that combo.

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Well, it would be quite a performance (and a bit of a shock for NDS owners) if the G2 was producing better SQ than NDS/555DR/252/supercap, that’s 5k vs a good 25k at new prices …

Thank you for your thoughts on the G2, this is most encouraging, must try it for my self. My dealer did suggest it, but I needed to try the NDX2 first!

I discovered quite a difference in sound between 19s and 40s. I thought 40s were superior and a significant step up from top to bottom.

That doesn’t mean to say 19s are poor, they’re superb. Together with Harbeth 30.1 and Spendor 2/3 my fav stand mounts. 19s are fast and incisive, a tad more bass would be nice to fill out and add warmth to the sound a little more.

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Hi Seadog,
Been following the threads about active 40’s and see that you’ve chosen them over your 252/300dr/proac set-up. They must be extremely impressive (almost unbelievably so, given their relative price!). How would you describe them? What is your music mix? I only ask because I would have to purchase completely unheard (gulp). Am a little concerned about some comments describing atc as clinical and too clean - however, if they saw off your naim/proac combo that can’t be the case. Cheers muchly, D


I am keeping my NDS/252 and have sold my 300DR & SL cables. The ProAc D48R I sold 3 months ago and was trying to get to grips with the Spendor D9 that replaced them. Unfortunatly the D9 just didn’t gel with my room/system/ my music as much as I would have liked. I got them at a real steal of a price new due to a shiff of my country importer changing hands & could not demo. them. So I will take a hit when I sell them - but not a masive one.

I did an in home demo.of the ATC SCM40 passive in Jan. just out of curiosity, and to see what all the fuss was about with them was TBH. I was very, very impressed by them, they matched the D48R for most things and was a lot better in the mid range with vocals for example, but a bit light in the bass and scale of music was a bit smaller.

Because the D9’s did not work out I went with the 40A actives. This too was a leap of faith, as I did listen to them at a dealer, but not my home. But the passive worked very, very well at home IRT no bass boom and the soundstage was pretty good so I assume the active will too - but much, much better. My music taste is 80% rock, pop, acoustic rock/pop, heavy rock/metal. I did a ton of research and rock music really is right up ATC’s alley so I am pretty sure it will work out long term for me.

It took a massive leap of faith from me to sell my 300DR & SL cables to help fund the change over to the 40A. Because I did very much like the 252/300DR combo. and I know I have now locked myself into the 40A or active speakers from now on (or going back to a 250DR/ 300DR plus SL cables & passive speakers of similar quality) but that cost will be $$$$$$ for me to go back to that now.

But I have always been curious to try an active set up for many, many years, As far back as when naim DBL, SL2 were still sold new, that and the more recent ATC active speakers and the active Kudos Titan systems coming out. I always read about people’s active systems on these forum threads. Almost everyone had similar findings that active was so much better over the passive equivalent and the sound was always more immediate, more PRaT, much more propulsive music, and like a layer of grunge had been wiped away to reveal more clarity etc. with an active set up.


Absolutely the right decision … no doubt whatsoever.

The ATC 40A’s will certainly outperform the excellent system that you had.

Enjoy the music

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Thanks Seadog for the great reply - really appreciated, and Mr Frog too! I’m listening to the same music and have that terrible itch to try active too. Very interested to hear your thoughts when the 40a’s are up and running. I’m sure they’re going to be brilliant and will be in the family for a long time! Cheers again, D