Starting again, a fairly high budget, help!

I have come out of the other side of a Divorce and I’m ready to replace a fairly high end system that I once then had to sell to settle my Divorce etc.

I had a ATCSCM50A Classic / MSB Premier & Premier PSU / HDX 2TB

I have been using a HP system for a few years now of a Innious ZENMini mk3 /LPSU and Chord Qutest DAC and Focal Utopia 2022.

Been working the numbers and I still keep coming back to either another ATC Active 50 or 100 or say a Kudos 606 and Supernait 3 or Pass Labs INT 60 / INT 250.

Just loved the Pass INT 60 when I heard it.

I also could stretch to a PMC Fact 12 and Pass INT as well.

Whichever way I was to go, the VFM always goes to the ATC active. I could even get a much better DAC or DAC/Pre and still be better off money wise over a traditional speaker / amp / combo as cables would also add to the cost a fair bit.

Anyone have a different opinion or thoughts on the best VFM vs sound quality as a higher end - final system purchase essentially from scratch ?

I did like the ATCSCM50A that I had, the MSB not so much TBH, was a bit too smooth and uninvolved in hindsight.

Sorry to hear about your divorce.

I was in a similar postion recently due to my wife and I retiring and so having some substantial money to spend on a nice final system for our retirement years.

The only advice I can really give you is to read lots of reviews, just as a useful guide, and to audition lots of equipment.

When spending this sort of money you really must make your own final choices in order to avoid making mistakes. This can be a pain and requires a lot of work and effort to audtion stuff. Borrow equipment to try at home if at all possible.

Above all trust your own judgment and do not be swayed by gushing over-the-top reviews of which there are many, particularly with regard to high end equipment. Or, with the greatest respect to this forum, by anyone’s opinions here. One man’s meat can very easily be another man’s poison.

Take your time. Don’t rush anything. Good luck and I hope you end up with something that really satisfies you.


Sorry to hear about your situation…re your system…there are very good strong arguments for active…if I were starting again I would be tempeted to listen to…the ATC’s, Kef LS60 and the Kii … I am sure with a really good source they would give a very good account … let us know how you get on…


Coming out of the other side of a bad situation (lost my wife and some serious spinal stuff) I really empathise. Anyway demo the SN3 and 606s, I think you’ll be impressed.



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Personally, I would stick with active ATCs. IMO they’re a real high end bargain. But as you know, they’re unforgiving of poor sources, so I’d be looking for a top Chord setup if that’s your bag, or Linn DSM with Organik DAC or wait another month to hear the new Naim streamer and pre.

Overall though, if you’re buying a complete system, I’d find and work with a good dealer (who stocks ATC, of course!) and will let you try out stuff at home. Assuming that’s possibly where you live.

Above all, have fun choosing.


I’d suggest you work out your budget, as some of your selections seem wildly different in price. The pass costs more than twice the SN3, and the PMC 12s double the Kudos 606. If you want active, the ATCs with either Linn Selekt Edition Hub or the new Naim 333/332 might be good places to start. On the other hand, an NDX2, SN3 and Kudos 606 might be all you need for a lot less. As suggested above, a good dealer to guide you is invaluable.


If your room can take ATC SCM50s, the active version must be worth a try. However, they will demand good boxes to supply them.

There is a reason that people here are often rude about others inadvertently building a mullet.

I am not a great tester and often take ages to reach sensible conclusions by myself. Fortunately I can borrow better ears.

If you don’t have that problem, a good dealer or two may be all the help you need.

Alternatively, listen closely to a few mate’s Hifis, and perhaps get a couple of people to bring boxes to your house to try a few A versus B tests. If that leads to a clear preference, then eBay or PFM may be your friend.

Good luck!

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The source first approach is, IMO, only good up to a point. I wonder how many people realise that it was actually a piece of marketing propoganda invented by Linn Products back in the 70’s to promote sales of the LP12?

That’s not to say that it’s without merit of course, but systems such as a fully loaded LP12 fronting a Tandy Realistic amp and a pair of Goodman’s Minimax 2’s were a little absurd.

IMO get the very best speakers you can possibly afford, since these will make the biggest difference to the overall sound you hear. Drive them with an adequate source and amplifier. The operative word being ‘adequate’. No point in attempting to drive difficult and very revealing speakers with a source and amp that’s not up to the job. So careful matching is vital.

If I had around £85K to spend I would buy a pair of JBL Everests at around £76K, a Supernait 3 and an ND5XS2 and some Powerlines. I reckon that would be a crackingly entertaining system.


Active ATCs with an Auralic front end? If it’s good enough for Hi-Fi demo rooms at shows it’s probably going to sound ok…

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I heard the Auralic Altair G2.1 with active ATC 50s at the NW Audio Show and though I enjoyed that system, I enjoyed the Linn Selekt DSM with active 40s more, even though the two setups are similar in price. I’m not a regular shopper at Mullets R Us, preferring system balance. But tastes in system building vary, which is why auditioning whole systems makes a lot of sense.


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Where are you based?

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If your asking me Nick, I’m in Perth, Australia.

No dealer in my State for either ATC or Kudos.

I’m reasonably happy to get the ATC without a demo. as I’ve owned the 50A before and I’m sure the 100A will also work.

I have a PMC dealer here and I’ve heard the Fact 12, a lovely speaker.

The Kudos is all that I cannot demo at all, let alone in house. However the local Kudos importer has just raised the prices.

So ATC is looking more attractive now TBH.

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I didn’t get on with Kudos at all so of course I’ll recommend against buying without hearing.


You have Focal and Vivid dealers as well (as the usual suspects), but I see the problem. As long as the boxes feeding them are good enough and there is enough room for them, I don’t think I have seen anyone on here (or PFM or Audiogon) who tried ATC and was not convinced.

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I compared these a couple of times at my dealers, and on both occasions I preferred the 50A to the 100A. To me they just seemed to present the music in a more coherent and enjoyable way. Neither my dealer, nor the ATC rep who was present on one occasion, seemed surprised by my findings or sought to try and change my mind.

I dare say others will have reached different conclusions, but that was mine. Sorry if that muddies the waters a bit for you!

Now that “is” interesting……

I just assumed the 100A would just be more of the same, but just better than the 50A.

I’ll have to think long and hard about that now.

Lots of people have compared 50 to 100 in other threads. If you can’t hear them first, and if the room is big enough, I’d definitely suggest some reading before spending that sort of money.

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Agree Nick.

If I had the money I would love to audition the ATC SCM50A’s with the Linn Klimax DSM Organik. I suspect that would be some system and highly attractive to boot


Thanks everyone for their thoughts and ideas.

I have opened up my budget to about £ 18,500 for the speakers / amp. only.

I am a bit hesitant to go for the ATC SCM50A , only for the reason that I will be moving house in the next 12-18m and I’ll be renting and will have no idea what the next room will be in size wise.

Although I cannot get to hear the Kudos 606, they appear to work in a lot of small to medium to large rooms very well, including lack of a lot of space behind them etc.

I like the Pass INT 60/ INT 250 enough to perhaps just buy blind and see how they go. The option to go active at some stage is also very attractive with the 606, I’ll not be stuck without an upgrade path.

I’ll have a final demo with the PMC Fact12 and the dealer has just taken on Magico, so I’ll also demo. the A3 when he gets them in about 3-5 weeks time.

Is a just out of curiosity type deal. Because I hear great things about them and the price in my country is very good.