New Speaker search has begun, and it's interesting to say the least

At which point it might be worth considering SCM40A’s

Amazing, mine’s a Schimmel too!

The one time I listened to S-400’s was at my dealers and they sounded “boring.” But since then I’ve learned that his room makes a lot of speakers sound boring to me. So I’ll never know . . . what might have been had I brought them home to try!

Speakers are difficult . . .

Try ProAc. Try Monitor Audio Gold 200s. Try the Ovator 400s.

Yep! I can vouch for that.


Listen to some Chartwell’s

If you liked Rainmakers but want a bit more bass hunt down some allaes, they have that same liveliness but won’t make a Steinway grand sound like a cheap upright.

Was going to write something similar. Completely concur. Source is vital with ATCs. I loved the 19s but get more balanced bass and rich sublime midrange from my 40s. But they are powered by a 300dr, fed througha NAC 52 from a near Klimax level LP12…
I had Solid Steel stands for the 19s which matched them brilliantly

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I first heard SCM40s on demo at my dealer’s, fronted by 272/XPSDR/250DR. There was just a touch of slowness with that setup and in a few ways I preferred the 19s which were also included in the audition. It was when I heard the active version of the 40s I knew that if they worked in my room, a pair would be heading to my place. My only regret: not having enough space to accommodate active 50s!


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I was able to compare 19s and 40s (passives) back to back, both driven by a £20k Vitus integrated which didn’t appear to struggle with either from what I could tell. I felt the bass from the 19s was tight and bouncy but the 40’s, in that comparison, was a bit slow and bloated (most speakers would, the 19’s are a tough act to beat here)

I note what you said upthread about a 250DR being minimum for the 40s and maybe even a 300DR being more appropriate. I’ve not had the 40s here but I’ve got the 19s, and a 250DR. I’m not sure, but the 19’s might be just as hard, if not harder, to drive well than the 40’s. I sometimes feel the 250DR is struggling a bit to chivvy the 19’s along, like what they would really like would be a 500DR to wake them up! More practically though, I suspect an ATC P1 (150W, Dual Mono) would do the job.

Another thing I would say about the 19’s is they are ever so slightly rolled off and warm sounding. Certainly so compared to my 19 actives. The 250DR also has a slightly darker voice than is neutral (in my opinion), and combined with the warmish 19’s can leave me feeling something a bit more “studio neutral” might be a bit more to my preference and therefore a P1 might be a better match to the 19’s for that reason as well. It would be interesting to compare the 19s with the SCM20 Classics or SCM20PSL Pro’s, as I suspect these models will have a more neutral tuning ( and the S-spec tweeters)

My 250DR is perfect with my Kudos Super 10As though, so won’t be going anywhere in a hurry.

compared to the 19, the 40’s bass goes a little deeper, midrange will be better, and it can shift more air and manage higher output, particularly relevant in a larger room.

Active version no doubt the best with its active drive and matched ams, though tge power amp part of SN would be redundant (and it costs more!)

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Perhaps a Statement amplifier might just at a pinch, be able to drive the ATC Scm 19 considering as you state difficult to drive with a mere 250 DR so that rules out my 300 DR. Good job I went for the bloated 40 s ( better cancel my order with ATC then. As you state they need a minimum of a 500 to drive some how I feel there might be a mismatch here with £20K of amplifier and £2300 speakers

I think you might have misread what I wrote and the spirit it was written

Let me explain some more.

My comment about the passive 40s sounding a bit slow and bloated was solely in the context of being in comparison to the 19s. If you have the chance, compare them yourself and see what you think.

Regarding power amps for the passive 19s. I can compare my passive 19s driven by a 250DR with my active 19s and it’s clear that when it comes to areas like grip, focus, speed and definition in the bass (the sort of attributes you would expect to be improved by being driven by a bigger/higher quality amp) the 250DR is not extracting all the 19s have to offer. Some of that will be down to the fact that actively driven speakers have an inherent advantage here, some of it may also be down to the actives having 180 watts on-tap in each speaker. If wanting to stay passive and close that gap with a bigger/higher quality power amp, I’m not even sure a 300 would do it. It’s not much more powerful than a 250 and being passive would still be at a disadvantage to the active speaker. It no doubt has other attributes though that would be better in other areas, just a matter of preference.

My 500 quip was a bit tongue in cheek as I don’t think many would contemplate the spend and it certainly wasn’t meant to be a recommendation for partnering with the 19s. Maybe a smiley would have helped.


Hi Bart,
I have no idea what a “boring” sound is.
I have an idea how a good speaker is supposed to sound.
In my opinion, Naim has succeeded with the ovator series, making high-end speakers accessible to its customers, at the mid-end price level and especially the S400.
This is a versatile speaker, not spoiled by the position in the space and provides an excellent musical image, much more, than its glorious ancestors here in the forum.

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My experience with Naim and bit hard to drive speakers is that you won’t get the best out those speakers. In the end low sensitive speakers require watts to get going specifically in the bass spectrum but also in keeping the sound together and feel relaxed. If I was in love with a love sensitivity speaker and couldn’t compromise I would move to other more powerful amplification than Naim. Naim and Harbeth is ok but I’d you feed Harbeth with +250W there is no going back to sub 100. And it’s not about playing loud here so we get that out of the way :sunglasses:


On my ND5XS / XS 2 system, I’ve tried all kinds of speakers, Spendor SP 2/3, Monitor Audio GS10, KEF, Harbeth HLP3, Ruark, and more. I was always frustrated by a trade off between brashness and muddiness. My room is not ideal, the speakers have to be near walls, which limits choice.

Finally, one day, I found a pair of ATC SCM 20s. They’re gorgeous. They don’t give ultimate bass, but I can live with that. Best speakers I’ve ever owned and some of the best I’ve ever heard.


Great quality replies over the weekend guys. Thank you all very much!

Without getting into the abyss of the “Amp X & Y to get the best out of” argument, i’d say i do believe in the virtues of better quality amplification. The step from my humble nait 5i2 to Supernait some 6 years back was quite significant and clearly noticable with my speakers, as you should expect. As was the step from 100 Marantz watts to a mere 50 Naim watts for that matter. My guess is that from a certain point, good quality loudspeakers will seldom be the limiting factor save for max SPL and should be able to respond to better quality up stream.
That being said. At this point in time, i won’t buy any speakers with the intention to upgrade on the amp front for i make full use of the flexibility of the Supernait. So they have to sound great with the bare Supernait powering them in my room. Only exception is for a HiCap to make something allready very good, better.

Regarding speakers and budget. Over the weekend holiday trip i’ve decided to not spend any more than intended at this moment. So i’ve let the dealer know i won’t be trying the ATCs at home for now and continue my search and be patient.
What I did do however is make an appointment to go and listen to the Ovators on wednesday. I’m not quite sure what to expect, as i didn’t with the ATCs so i’m going in blank which is exciting.

I’ve seen ProAc be suggested in this topic. This is one brand that speaks to the imagination, and curious to hear some. I’ve always loved the way they look and the dealer i’m visiting should carry the brand but not certain what models. Same goes for Neat and Dynaudio.

Something else that i’ve noticed over the last few months. 11 years back when i was on the market for speakers i wanted gloss black and everything on offer was either Black Ash/Oak or Satin Black. These days, it’s the complete opposite. Some makes aren’t even available in Black Ash/Oak.
Regarding 2nd hand options, it seems to me that there is far less quality stuff on offer. I don’t know if that’s covid related, or just the HiFi market that has shrunk. Anybody got some insights on this? For reference, i’m from the Netherlands.

@SmauGii Um, you liked the ATC SCM19s with your SN, then seemed to rule them out.

I love my SCM7s with my Naims. Great match. With room, electronics and wallet.


The late Frank Abela was a big fan of SL2s with your gear, as are others. So I can see the appeal. Likewise Ovator S-400s or Allaes. The obvious problem is demming them.

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