Which Speakers for Olive & Metal?

Hi guys,

I own a Nac-72 + Hi-Cap + NAP180 and a Sondek LP12, speakers are self-built 20+ years ago.

I mainly listen to Hard Rock, Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal music and although I am reasonably happy with my old speakers, I am interested in exploring something new.
My current speakers have always been weak with bass, let’s say, they are fine if I listen to Pink Floyd, but I miss the typical punch you would expect with the heavier stuff.

During the years I also changed home and my listening room is much bigger: 28’L x 14’W x 7’.2"H.
I was thinking to add a REL T9/i but at the same time, I wouldn’t regret a new pair of speakers.

As far as my budget is concerned, I would say around 3000/3500 £.

I read good things about ATC, Totem, Vienna Acoustics as well as Martin Logan 60XTi but I am sure there is a lot more out there that can be a good match with my olives

I have also thought that my current power gear is too weak for the room, likely a couple of 250s would help, but I also know that there are good active ATC speakers, although I ignore if I could match them with my current amplification.

Anyways, I am interested in reading the opinions of the experts, I’ve got to start somewhere!

Thank you,

Active ATC’s would do really well but will be above your budget…
Dynaudio does really well for your music but you may need to pick up a 250 to give them the juice they need…Happy hunting!


Thank you for your feedback.

When you refer to the active ATC, you mean the SCM40A?

Thank you,

Sorry, was thinking more of the SCM50,100.
Yes, the 40’s may be in budget second hand?
Dynaudio rock out with enough current - worth seeking out a demo when dealers open their doors.

Passive ATCs are fantastic with Naim Amps

Hi Alex,

ATC and JBL will suit your music. Your room, you’ll need ATC 50 or bigger. If you go ATC active, you will not need to worry about amplifier. However, ATC 50 will exceed your budget. JBL L100 or better, a 4429.

Cannot speak on JBL, but ATC is revealing. Less than average recording is less than average recording.


Clearly, there are many who are very enthusiastic about ATC, but having tried the SCM 11 v2, frankly, I didn’t think much of them; clean, detailed, impressive sound, but they tell you more about the recording techniques than they do the music, IMO - so-so timing, rhythmically poor, and overall, rather bland and unengaging, to my ears. If this is (supposed) ‘accuracy’, then no thanks.

It has been said that they don’t come alive unless played at ‘healthy’ volume levels, so, as someone who prefers rather modest levels, I made a point of trying them ‘loud’, and while they do play loud with consummate ease, they were still as unengaging as they were at my preferred listening levels.

FYI, at the time, I was using 52/250, and I listen to plenty of hard rock/prog/metal, among many other genres.

You would likely get far more musically rewarding results from the likes of Neat, IMO - as ever, you’d have to try and see what you prefer.

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What about keeping your current speakers…that you are happy with
And adding a Sub …to help them out?

I run Active ATC 40s and to my ears they are far and away the best speakers I have had in my room. When they were first fired up at home I had a real wow! moment. What I find even more surprising is that I continue to get such moments months after they were installed. My room is smaller than yours (just under 4x6 m) but I doubt if that is an issue, at least as far as volume goes. I auditioned them first at the dealer’s and they filled that much larger space with ease. However, I don’t know if they’d give you the bass output you’re looking for. You could, at significant expense, go bigger. As you go up the ATC range the overall sound remains consistent but the bass goes lower. But the larger speakers are also in the pro range and perhaps a shade less forgiving of poor sources. However, you need to bear in mind that my musical tastes are very different from yours, mostly acoustic. What I want is for the musicians to be there in front of me, properly located, and to hear into fine details of the performance, which to me maximises engagement with them and gives most musical satisfaction. Others look for different things.

If more bass is fundamentally what you’re after, I agree with the suggestion of a high quality sub, provided you are prepared to devote time and resources to integrating it properly into your system.



That’s funny, my father owns a magnificent pair of JBL L112, at the time (1981) he bought those speakers and power them with a Pioneer SA7300, I was blown away by their sound, today both amp and speakers are still there, if I was living in the same country, I would simply try them but… currently there is an ocean in between us.
However, before building my own speakers, I had a pair of JBL XPL160, I was not happy with them, not sure if the speakers were not as good as the L112 or simply not a match with Naim, but I ended up to sell them.
Those L100 look like the L112, exterior only of course, so that triggered old memories :slight_smile:

…which is why I am also considering a REL T9/i :slight_smile:

Thank you Roger, I really appreciate your advice.
I will see what’s on the used market, sometime you need to be patient and wait, certainly it is not that frequent to see ATC Active speakers on the used market.

The first time I listened to them was actually in the UK, from the dealer who sold me Naim & Sondek, but honestly, I do not remember how they sounded to my ears then…30 years ago :(.


You might also consider Monitor Audio Gold 300s - should be big enough to load your room and I would think a 180 will drive them sufficiently. I have the older GX300s and they work brilliantly in a fairly large volume house.

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