Atc smc40



I’m also interested to hear how original TT differs from the new offerings? There’s many of these available second hand but not in Finland I think.


I can’t demo the 40A. My dealer won’t order them unless I commit to buy them, and I kind of understand him. So that’s adding to my dilemma here. Of course I’ve listened to the passive version for five years so what could go wrong? :sweat_smile:

I didn’t know xlr-xlr connection is worse if the source isn’t truly balanced? Brooklyn DAC+ has balanced output also and that’s how the 19A is connected currently. Any more info on this? I’d probably go for bluejeanscable Belden 1800F and maybe order Mogami 2549 also to compare. I’ve had great success with bjc offerings before.


Patu, have you spoken to your dealer to see whether ATC could send you their demo pair of 40A’s?

When I was interested in Active 40’s, my dealer spoke to ATC who sent me their demo pair in flight cases to demo at home. This is in the UK, so I’m not sure if they will extend this service to Finland but it may be worth asking, before having to commit to buy.


No I haven’t. I can ask but I doubt they do that to Finland.


Just having a home demo. of the ATC 40 passive. Really out of an interest than anything else. Happy with my current speakers. Early days, but this is a real , real good speaker.

My only real issue or concern is the treble is a bit distant/soft to the ribbon tweeter of my D48R. Could be a room issue, because I was expecting the opposite from reviews and on threads here , I was expecting an explicit treble & perhaps a more in your face presentation. Pleasantly surprised, I could have these cranked at serious volume all day and not be fatigued at all. Very impressed.

Otherwise I think the midrange is definitely better, soundstage is about the same and the bass is a bit more defined , though not as deep. And vocals a touch more intimate and believable.

I will see how I go, but this has got my interest enough to take this further and see about the active version. Will the active version bring out a crisper treble ? What else can I expect an active 40 to do over the passive ?
Because I can get a hold of the active, but connecting to my 252/SC2 is not an easy process. It’s the cables, cannot get any to match without buying a set.


As good as the ATC tweeters are, they are not in the same league as a good ribbon tweeter… but then the ATCs will probably go louder and be somewhat more robust… and effectively present the sound more as it was heard when being mixed and mastered… so may sound more natural on many recordings.


How does the internal single ended to balanced conversion degrade the sound vs a cable connecting single ended to balanced?


Ah, right, thank you Simon. I’ll dig through more of my more poorly recorded music and see how they take to them.

Some of them I cannot listen for too long and I’ll see what the 40’s make of them.

I’ll say one thing though, the VFM on this speaker is insane. It’s sound quality is worth much, much more than ATC are asking for them.


Indeed, and ATC and the dealer/distributor will still be making money… so it makes you wonder with some other speakers doesn’t it…
It’s worth remembering the background for ATC is the music recording industry where often prices are more proportionate to what you are getting, as opposed to the audiophile industry where if something has a whacky name or appearance it somehow seems to significantly increase its retail price…


To quote Rob Watts “downside of balanced is that you are doubling the number of analogue components in the direct signal path, and this degrades transparency”. I believe you need an additional component (inverting op amp) to create a negative signal as well as a positive one. This additional component doesn’t exist with a simple cable or adaptor.


Well the differences between 40 passives and actives are not black and white. The main differences I heard were:

  1. Tighter/better controlled bass, and percieved more of it.
  2. Improved clarity/insight, like a light veil is lifted.
  3. Improved vocal and instrument timbres.

These weren’t huge changes, more incremental. They both had more or less the same sound signature, it’s just that the actives were audibly more impressive. I drove the passives with ATC P1 amp.

Hope this helps.


Patu , a derby dealer who is a Naim and ATC specialist has ex dem 19a and 40a actives at a very interesting price.


Regarding cables , Flashbacksales has added a range of dedicated cables for active speakers , you will connect the supercap (din) to the xlr inputs of the atcs. They are quite cheap ( in price). I had them with my supercap dr


Often people write that ATC is somehow bright sounding but I have never felt like that. The new in-house tweeter is excellent and very true to the source. Yes you can make it sound hard and fatiguing with wrong equipment but it’s not easy. With my Naim setup it’s smooth and enjoyable with good extension. Midrange is still the strongest area for 40, the midrange driver is truly remarkable. This is where the 19A also loses to the 40. Back in 2014 when I compared the passive 40 to PMC 20.23 it felt like the PMC didn’t have midrange at all after I had demoed 40 at home.

Thank you for your insight. I guess the P1 drives them as close as possible to the active version. So the jump from SN2 should be very clear. Of course I get the main idea even with the 19A but 40A is still a different beast.

Thanks for the tip but as I said, I couldn’t go past my dealer at this point. He’s doing great job and I got good offer.

Flashback sales has pretty much every possible cable configuration available, I checked them out myself also.


Yeah… I definitely would never call the ATCs bright sounding… they tend to be the other end of the scale… true the later ATCs with their own tweeters have a little more air to the earlier darker sounding ATCs…


Kind of depends on what your reference is and what you are comparing to. Here’s my findings:


For my own personal taste I couldn’t live with the 19 actives. Yes, on good mixes they are superb but try listening to something like Everything Now by Arcade Fire on them - ouch! I preferred the passive version.

Compared to say PMC 25.22 the 19 passives are darker with a fuller sound signature.


Just looked at the Flashback DIN to XLR cable. It gives you the option of:

  1. Normal cable wiring screen at both ends.
  2. Preamp reference earth cable wiring screen only DIN end.
  3. Speaker XLR reference earth cable wiring screen only at XLR end.

Which should I use for 252/SC2 to ATC SCM 40A actives ?


I took the normal one. It corresponds to the wiring shown in ATC documentation
I confirmed at the time with David Laine ( the owner of flashbacksales)


Btw is there any way to connect 202 to the 40A since 202 needs power from the preamp? Through HiCap maybe? I could maybe keep to nDAC if I replace SN2 with 202 in the chain. I’d need external headphone amp in that case though.


The 202 is the preamp - I think you mean power from the amp… well for best performance on the 202 it should be powered from a HiCapDR so no issue


Yeah I meant that 202 needs to be powered by Naim poweramp and that’s an issue if you want to connect it to the active 40’s instead. But I guess that HCDR in between solves the problem then.