New speakers for an Atom


I have an Atom driving a pair of PMC Twenty 21s and an Arcam Logo subwoofer.

I’m finding the PMCs unsatisfactory at low / medium volumes (think 1 - 4 on a 1 - 10 scale). They’re a bit muddy, the soundstage is limited and there’s no ‘oomph’ unless the volume gets boosted. They are fantastic at high volumes but my opportunities to push them hard are few and far between.

The Arcam sub plays no role in their ‘muddiness’.

What alternatives might I think of that provide more clarity and vigour when listening at lower volumes?

I’m happy buying second hand but I don’t really want to spend more than I can realistically get from selling the PMCs.

They need to go close to a back wall (e.g. 2 inches) and they need to be smaller than 38 cm tall.

Dali Menuets and Audiovector QR1s were mentioned at the time I bought the PMCs. I was also told that Neat Iotas need a bit of welly to get them singing.

Does anybody run Quad S-2s with their Atom?

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Paging @Richard.Dane with Super Powers…

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I think that a pair of KLIPSCH heresy can match very well with the atom

I had Dynaudio Emit 20 when I had my Atom. Then PMC Twenty5 22i.
Thinking back the Dynaudios were a nice match and good value. The PMCs only started to shine when I moved up the amplification ladder.
Have you considered an alternative speaker cable?
The Atom is superb but perhaps dont expect too much from it.

Good thought about the cables but I can’t change them unfortunately. I had them plumbed in to the walls a couple of years back.

I know that the Atom is not quite as wonderful as it’s made out to be (though it’s a whole load better than the UnitiQute I had before it) but I think it can do better than it is at present. I am going to go back to vinyl for my main system when the house extension is completed.

How were the Dynaudios at low volumes?

They’re supposed to be very good but I’m not sure they meet either the size and positioning constraints, or the price constraints.

Good all round from memory. Probably pick up some ex demo for a decent price. Or look at the Emit 10

I remember hearing Dynaudio Emit M20s driven by an Atom at a show a few years back. That little combo was making some of the best sounds I heard that day, but I didn’t have an opportunity to play with the volume.

I run my Atom with Neat Iotas and rarely go above 40, but that’s in a very small bedroom used as an office, so may not translate to a larger space.


So I’ve swapped my PMCs for a pair of Quad S2s and I couldn’t be happier.

The Quads have really brought the Atom to life and provide everything I was after: better soundstaging, open-ness and separation, better clarity and drive at lower listening volumes, and entirely happy being placed close to a rear wall.

The additional benefits are that they’re just more fun to listen to than the PMCs and, surprisingly, they give up nothing in way of bass extension or definition to the PMCs either.

The Audioquest Rocket 11 speaker cable is unchanged.

Finally, it didn’t cost me a penny to make the swap courtesy of 2ndhandhifi in Teeside - and they were very nice to deal with too.

Very, very pleased indeed.

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I would try Amphion Argon 1, heard that combo with atom and it was jaw dropping. Soundstage and clarity was amazing. Might want to try Argon 3s but not sure if Atom will be up to the task.

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