Atom HE with active speakers in small/ medium sized room

I’m looking for help with choosing a short list of active speakers that would pair well with the Atom HE I have on order and that would suit my 4.5m x 3.6m living room.

Until just the other day I hadn’t been considering floor standing speakers simply because I didn’t think my partner would want them in the living room - too imposing I thought she’d feel. However, I was wrong so these are now up for consideration as well as stand mounts (which is what I’ve had previously).

My budget for speakers is really around £5K but could stretch further if absolutely necessary (up to ATC SCM 40A price). I want to buy new or ex-demo rather than used and preferably from my local dealer, where it’s convenient for me to have demos, and who carries a wide rang.

A few people have suggested the ATC SCM 19 & 40A’s which I’m keen on. However, I think they may be too physically large for the layout of my room. My current stanmounts are only about 1.7m apart and both the ATC’s are a hefty 37cm W x 34.4 D. The rear of my current speakers are 31cm from the wall and cannot be moved any further forward.

Regarding standmounts, the active PMC Twenty5 22i’s are high on my list. Especially as I can get a discounted passive ex-dem pair and have the active upgrade fitted saving a significant amount.

Any advice regarding speaker choice, room consideration etc would be very welcome.

I know I’ve already started a similar thread but that was in relation to the Atom HE with a NAP 250 DR. Now Im looking at active speakers instead and I’m hoping for more advice tailored to these specific needs which may be helpful to others also.

Just for clarification, you room has gone from 4 to 5 to now 4.5m long! I assume 4.5 is the confirmed length? (Not small at all, but a medium sized room, at least for UK.)

Yes, 4.5 x 3.6m confirmed. I always think of it as small but I guess it is medium sized for average UK semi-detached.

Hi Paul, the stated dimensions are a bit misleading as they apply to the metal frame/legs, the actual cabinet dimensions are 235mm at front with 265 at middle which is widest part of the curve.
I run ATC SCM40A in my room, 5.2 x 3.4, no problems, I think your room would be fine, speak to your dealer and/or ATC for advice, home demo is of course best.
I like PMC and have had them in the past but I doubt you will get any feedback on the actives as just announced, again home demo is the way to go. Also if floor standers are being considered I would add the PMC Twenty5 23’s into the mix, should be plenty on the second hand market and ex demo, maybe adding the active upgrade would be an option ?

Room sizes tend to relate to property size more than whether terraced, semi or detached. IIRC around 12ft (3.6m), give or take a foot either way, was about average length and width for traditional 3-bedroom 2-living room houses in Britain. In recent years a surprising number of new houses have been advertised as having large lounges because they’ve increased length up to maybe 6m - while reducing width often to only 3m!

I’m glad you told me that as I was going to discount the ATC’s due to them being too big for the room.

I believe I am going to demo the PMC Twenty5 22i stand mounter, the 23i floor stander and the ATC SCM 19A and 40A.

The 40A is really above my budget but I could stretch to it if it was head and shoulders better than the others.

I think I’m done - just need to get a couple of demo sessions sorted. Thanks

Good luck, will be interested in the feedback on the PMC’s.

My room is of similar proportions and I use 40a’s, sounds an interesting demo with your choices.

My 40’s are 170cm’s tweeter to tweeter and 86cm from side wall. As it’s a dedicated room ergo I can have the speakers in the open.

I tried 50’s in a similar size room and they over powered it, that said with my 40’s now I have some light and subtle treatment so may try 50’s again.

Let us know how you get on but having tried many speakers I’m a bit of an ATC fanboy…. Ultimately the best ones for you are the ones that work best in your room.

See what house sound you like and then the all important home demo.




Thanks all, I’ll keep you posted when I’ve had chance to listen to them. Could be a week or two though.

If the ATCs prove to be too big for your room, consider the Acoustic Energy AE1 Active loudspeakers. I’m using a pair with a Uniti Atom HE in my fairly large living room and the combination sounds great.

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Hi Paul, I related my auditioning experiences with ATC actives in your other thread. Be interested if your reactions are similar to mine.

BTW my listening room is only a little bigger than yours and the 40s work well, to my ears at least. And floorstanders don’t necessarily take up more space than standmounts. Personally I find many stands look a little industrial in a domestic setting.


Your summary mirrored my experience with passive / active 40’s. I never explored the 19’s .

I suspect that you may be surprised by the physical size of the 23i, they are not as big or imposing as 40A in my opinion. I have successfully used them (non active) in a similar sized room with quite tight placement needs. They work well close to rear wall. If you can source ex demo pair and add the new active module they might fit the bill.

It looks like your dealer could demo this for you? Home demo to confirm? Good luck in your search.

I think my preference is for floor standing speakers but I’m wondering if my room layout/acoustics will suit them. I’ve never had floor standing speakers before.

The main issue is the coffee table in the photos below. I believe the PMC’s emit bass frequencies from the bottom of the speaker cabinet and I wonder if the table, which is about 40cm high and positioned between the speakers (which are 1.7m apart) and about 1 m away from them, would likely have a greater effect on floor standers compared to stand mounters.


My listening position is at the end of the coffee table which is further from the speakers than is ideal but it is what it is. The perspective in the photo makes it look worse than reality. I’m going to demo them at the dealers but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to home demo them.

I may be thinking a load of nonsense and apologies if that is so.

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It shall not have “effect” !!!

Typical bass wave length is more so no worries here

Frankly to my opinion and experience none of the discussed speakers will work to their potential with such positioning - I would suggest to look for something designed to place close to the wall

Bass is not as directional as the higher frequencies, and I doubt the coffee table will have any more significant effect on the bottom end then it will on early the top end as raised previously (may have been the other thread)

Incidentally, I note the doorway to the right. It is likely to make a significant difference to sound whether that remains an open doorway or if there is a door that is closed while listening. Door open is lightly to reduce bass, door closed increase it. (Almost a ready-made tone control! Except of course somewhat a symmetric)

@PaulSS I echo @Phystech. You need speakers that are designed to be rather clever se to the wall behind them if you want optimal performance. However everything is relative. You might find the speakers you select perform well enough when close to the wall. I would also consider sealed box speakers. From my experience, it does not matter where the port is or how it works. Ports generally don’t do optimally close to a wall. All that being said, your room could have a bass drop which might balance what you would expect to be a bass rise due to wall proximity. You never know.