Loudspeaker audition booked

After some deliberation I have decided to book a loudspeaker audition this coming Saturday. I will be comparing the ATC SCM11 and the Russell K red 50. I fully anticipate it to be a close call between them, as I'm led to believe they both have a fairly similar sonic signature. Either way I am really looking forward to having one of them in my system very soon. Additionally if anyone else has compared them side by side in the same system, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts. I will update this thread with the results shortly after the demo.
 
Ian.
Original Post

Didn’t @Simon-in-Suffolk have a good dive into these small but high quality boxes (perhaps not that) recently? I recall his high praise for Russell K, but some issues with sibilants on boys’ choir chorale (where he had live experience and very specific expectations) led him back to ATC (or PMC, totally different I know, but neither is common here, in my defence!). 

Enjoy your demo!

Regards alan

I auditioned these speakers and they are quite different in their presentation. The Russell K's are more lively and exciting, but at the expense of coherence - treble and upper bass had a prominence which really worked with driving music like rock and electronica. The ATCs were more refined with ultimately more detail and nuances coming through, although would reveal a poor recording for what it was. Where they were similar is in their timing where both speakers excelled.

alanbass1 posted:

I auditioned these speakers and they are quite different in their presentation. The Russell K's are more lively and exciting, but at the expense of coherence - treble and upper bass had a prominence which really worked with driving music like rock and electronica. The ATCs were more refined with ultimately more detail and nuances coming through, although would reveal a poor recording for what it was. Where they were similar is in their timing where both speakers excelled.

Thanks for this information. I'm looking forward to hearing the difference between them. It's the timing/speed which I'm wanting for my system.

Ian.

At the end of the day, you probably will want to try the one you like best at home, before spending your money.

I haven't heard the Russel K's myself but a friend of mine who auditioned several loudspeakers recently to use with his Naim system said they were too course at the top end for him.

best

David

David Hendon posted:

At the end of the day, you probably will want to try the one you like best at home, before spending your money.

I haven't heard the Russel K's myself but a friend of mine who auditioned several loudspeakers recently to use with his Naim system said they were too course at the top end for him.

best

David

Thanks David that's quite interesting to hear. I've heard this about the Russell K's a couple of times now. My living room is fairly forgiving with carpeted floor etc. But the ATC may just be better suited at the end of the day.

Ian.

I auditioned the Russel K120,s, they certainly get your attention and grab you by the throat and make you listen . I felt they would be tiresome and not something I could live with, and went for PMC 25.26. As ever, you need to listen for yourself, many people like these speakers.

Hi Ian

I know it's easy to spend other people's money but with your electronics, i.e. DAC- V1/NAP200, I'd be raising the budget to around £2K min. if you're looking for a worthwhile upgrade. Have you considered PMC? Not cheap but for good reason I think. Perhaps second hand is an option?

Dave

dave4jazz posted:

Hi Ian

I know it's easy to spend other people's money but with your electronics, i.e. DAC- V1/NAP200, I'd be raising the budget to around £2K min. if you're looking for a worthwhile upgrade. Have you considered PMC? Not cheap but for good reason I think. Perhaps second hand is an option?

Dave

Thanks Dave, I have considered PMC along with several other speakers. I'm sure they are superb with Naim electronics. But I've pretty much convinced myself that the ATC SCM11 would be just perfect for my ears. And from all accounts, sonically they punch way above their price. But as always the proof is in the listening. Let's see what Saturday brings, you never know I'm may decide they are not for me and end up going with something I've not yet considered.

Ian.

joerand posted:

I'd suggest the approach of listening to more than two different speaker manufacturers while at the dealer. Seems the natural matter of events to me especially if you can immediately discount one over the other.

Thanks joerand, yes I'll definitely see what's available and audition accordingly.

Ian.

Ian, be sure to exhaust all speaker candidates without becoming fatigued. Also important to get time alone in the room with the music you want to hear. I've found dealers typically play speakers at volumes much higher than I want. Their rooms are well-damped and they tend to select only tracks with best SQ. Play some edgy recordings you're familiar with.

I suppose you know all this, but having been there/done that, just wishing you a successful audition. It's hard for me to relax and evaluate the musicality of a speaker while the dealer is looking over my shoulder or others are in the room. I make it a point to go in during the relatively idle mid-week, mid-day times for speaker auditions before deciding what I want to get home for demo. Hope your Saturday demo goes well and good luck!

Ancient Mariner posted:
David Hendon posted:

At the end of the day, you probably will want to try the one you like best at home, before spending your money.

I haven't heard the Russel K's myself but a friend of mine who auditioned several loudspeakers recently to use with his Naim system said they were too course at the top end for him.

best

David

Thanks David that's quite interesting to hear. I've heard this about the Russell K's a couple of times now. My living room is fairly forgiving with carpeted floor etc. But the ATC may just be better suited at the end of the day.

Ian.

In the summer I considered Russell K 50 and 100, ATC scm11 and Neat Motive 2 speakers to replace my PMC 20.21s. Easily the best in a carpeted room of roughly 21ft by 10ft were the ATCs. The Russell K 100 and Neats could not compare. The smaller 50 I did not listen to at home. The only reason I did not buy the ATCs was because an oak finish was not available.

Eventually, only a few weeks ago I purchased the new ProAc Tablette 10 which suited me perfectly, perhaps you could give those a listen also.

 

joerand posted:

Ian, be sure to exhaust all speaker candidates without becoming fatigued. Also important to get time alone in the room with the music you want to hear. I've found dealers typically play speakers at volumes much higher than I want. Their rooms are well-damped and they tend to select only tracks with best SQ. Play some edgy recordings you're familiar with.

I suppose you know all this, but having been there/done that, just wishing you a successful audition. It's hard for me to relax and evaluate the musicality of a speaker while the dealer is looking over my shoulder or others are in the room. I make it a point to go in during the relatively idle mid-week, mid-day times for speaker auditions before deciding what I want to get home for demo. Hope your Saturday demo goes well and good luck!

Many thanks joerand for the very good tips, much appreciated.

Ian.

Charles44 posted:
Ancient Mariner posted:
David Hendon posted:

At the end of the day, you probably will want to try the one you like best at home, before spending your money.

I haven't heard the Russel K's myself but a friend of mine who auditioned several loudspeakers recently to use with his Naim system said they were too course at the top end for him.

best

David

Thanks David that's quite interesting to hear. I've heard this about the Russell K's a couple of times now. My living room is fairly forgiving with carpeted floor etc. But the ATC may just be better suited at the end of the day.

Ian.

In the summer I considered Russell K 50 and 100, ATC scm11 and Neat Motive 2 speakers to replace my PMC 20.21s. Easily the best in a carpeted room of roughly 21ft by 10ft were the ATCs. The Russell K 100 and Neats could not compare. The smaller 50 I did not listen to at home. The only reason I did not buy the ATCs was because an oak finish was not available.

Eventually, only a few weeks ago I purchased the new ProAc Tablette 10 which suited me perfectly, perhaps you could give those a listen also.

 

Thanks Charles44 unfortunately as good as the new ProAc Tablette 10 is. I'm almost certain the dealer I have booked the audition with doesn't sell ProAC speakers. I would have to book a separate audition elsewhere. Which of course is no major problem.

Ian

 

joerand posted:

Ian, be sure to exhaust all speaker candidates without becoming fatigued. Also important to get time alone in the room with the music you want to hear. I've found dealers typically play speakers at volumes much higher than I want. Their rooms are well-damped and they tend to select only tracks with best SQ. Play some edgy recordings you're familiar with.

I suppose you know all this, but having been there/done that, just wishing you a successful audition. It's hard for me to relax and evaluate the musicality of a speaker while the dealer is looking over my shoulder or others are in the room. I make it a point to go in during the relatively idle mid-week, mid-day times for speaker auditions before deciding what I want to get home for demo. Hope your Saturday demo goes well and good luck!

Such a lot of hard earned wisdom and good advice in this post ... Obviously well worn experience for Joe! Dealers play what they think sounds impressive and sadly, that’s rarely good music. They will probably use a streamer, so ask in advance if you can bring 4 or 5 of your own CDs for them to rip into their system for you to listen to, just in case their selections are all ‘marginal’ for your tastes. Equally, make sure your selected discs are your favourite music as opposed to what sounds impressive on your current system. Pretend your taking along your desert island discs. This is the music that long-term you really want to hear sound as involving as possible. Above all, relax, take it at your pace and have fun. 

kevin J Carden posted:
joerand posted:

Ian, be sure to exhaust all speaker candidates without becoming fatigued. Also important to get time alone in the room with the music you want to hear. I've found dealers typically play speakers at volumes much higher than I want. Their rooms are well-damped and they tend to select only tracks with best SQ. Play some edgy recordings you're familiar with.

I suppose you know all this, but having been there/done that, just wishing you a successful audition. It's hard for me to relax and evaluate the musicality of a speaker while the dealer is looking over my shoulder or others are in the room. I make it a point to go in during the relatively idle mid-week, mid-day times for speaker auditions before deciding what I want to get home for demo. Hope your Saturday demo goes well and good luck!

Such a lot of hard earned wisdom and good advice in this post ... Obviously well worn experience for Joe! Dealers play what they think sounds impressive and sadly, that’s rarely good music. They will probably use a streamer, so ask in advance if you can bring 4 or 5 of your own CDs for them to rip into their system for you to listen to, just in case their selections are all ‘marginal’ for your tastes. Equally, make sure your selected discs are your favourite music as opposed to what sounds impressive on your current system. Pretend your taking along your desert island discs. This is the music that long-term you really want to hear sound as involving as possible. Above all, relax, take it at your pace and have fun. 

Thanks Kevin, yes I'll definitely be taking along some of my favourite music with me. It's a good way of comparing things, to some degree anyway. Really looking forward to it, not long to go now.

Ian.

Ancient Mariner posted:
Decided to go with the ATC in the end, just edged for me. So I've ordered them in cherry and will take approximately 4 weeks to arrive. I'll be doing a more detailed write up tomorrow.

Congrats Ian! Looking forward to your write up. I've been waiting almost seven months for the lone ATC dealer in my region to get in a pair of SCM40v2 for demo. They are reportedly in shipment now (fingers crossed). I suppose you'll be getting the 12 or 19, but I'll still be very interested to hear the factors in your decision to go with ATC.

Ancient Mariner posted:
Yetizone posted:

So how did the demo go? 

Thanks Yetizone. Decided to go with the ATC in the end, just edged for me. So I've ordered them in cherry and will take approximately 4 weeks to arrive. I'll be doing a more detailed write up tomorrow.

Ian.

Good stuff - look forward to reading about the dem. Cherry will look lovely! Have to admit to being quite taken with the white & black grilles option in the current ATC range as its so different. Four weeks is quite a surprising lead time though.

Congrats to all, I do think for the money, even for a lot more money, it's difficult to find speakers that over the long term could provide more enjoyment than ATC. My SCM40 actives are just perfect for me, smooth detailed top end, mids where the timbres just sound real, tight controlled bass, good depth and soundstaging, accurate and true to the music, forgiving (not forward or irritating over extended listening, low noise and distortion), and easy to position. I'm unable to identify any weaknesses. Perhaps the secret is in their sealed design, and custom built drivers and amps. Everything is made to order hence the lead time. ATC are also used in professional recording studios around the world for monitoring and mastering.

Good things come to those who wait.

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback and good advise I was given prior to the audition.

 

Yesterday turned out to be a fine day overall. My journey took approximately 50 min in what could be described as very inclement weather conditions, sleet snow and heavy rain throughout. I also had a tricky walk on icy pavements, which thankfully I was able to negotiate fairly well and reach my destination without slipping. So upon my arrival soaking wet and cold I was handed a nice hot cup of coffee and relaxed on the sofa while thawing out somewhat. It was at this point the dealer left the room and just left me to it to sit back relax and take as long as I like to make my decision.

 

The dem room was already setup conveniently with the same Naim electronics I have in my system. DAC-V1 NAP200 NACA5 all placed on a Fraimlite. The Russell K red 50 were also setup and ready to start.

 

The Russell K red 50 performed really well, fast agile and a clean overall balance. I was very surprised that a loudspeaker of this size could produce such a huge sound (coming from my current floor standers anyway). Instruments and vocals were clear and to my ears there was no sign whatsoever of any harshness in the upper registers even when pushed. I was constantly thinking throughout my audition of the Russell K that these really are special speakers for the money. Although the bass was fast and tight there was also some slight warming to it which added a little extra weight and extension. The Russell K red 50 has a very good overall balance and in the right system and room will no doubt excel really well.

 

Next up were the ATC SCM11, which in all honesty blew me away. The clarity, speed and midrange was very impressive. To me they were much more open compared to the Russell K which in comparison surprisingly sounded a little shut in. The ATC SCM11 bass was truly excellent, super fast and tight and doesn't get in the way of the music. The neutral balance and exceptional midrange really brings instruments and vocals to the forefront. When playing Tom Sawyer by Rush, you could pick out Geddy Lee's bass lines more clearly on the ATC's. To me ATC is definitely trending towards (if not already there) a more flat earth presentation. But the openness insight and honesty of the music from the ATC is remarkable. As impressive as they were to my ears, a full demonstration is imperative as their signature may not suit everybody. Some may prefer a more powerful bass with added weight and extension. 

 

So with my decision made I have now placed an order for the ATC SCM11 in cherry. The delivery time is estimated to be around 4 weeks. Hopefully just in time for Christmas.

 

Ian.

 

Ancient Mariner posted:

.. So with my decision made I have now placed an order for the ATC SCM11 in cherry. The delivery time is estimated to be around 4 weeks. Hopefully just in time for Christmas.

Congratulations, I'm sure that you'll be very satisfied with your choice 

NewNaim16 posted:
Ancient Mariner posted:

.. So with my decision made I have now placed an order for the ATC SCM11 in cherry. The delivery time is estimated to be around 4 weeks. Hopefully just in time for Christmas.

Congratulations, I'm sure that you'll be very satisfied with your choice 

Thanks NewNaim16, I fully expect the next 4 weeks to drag a little. I'm really looking forward to having them installed in my system.

Ian.

dave4jazz posted:

Hi Ian

From one DAC-V1/NAP200 owner to another, glad to hear you have got yourself sorted.

If there was an ATC speaker stockist closer I'd be tempted to have a demo.

Happy listening.

Dave

Thanks Dave, they were everything I expected them to be. I really do like their neutral presentation. But an audition is a must.

Ian.

Ancient Mariner posted:

Next up were the ATC SCM11, which in all honesty blew me away. The clarity, speed and midrange was very impressive. The ATC SCM11 bass was truly excellent, super fast and tight and doesn't get in the way of the music. The neutral balance and exceptional midrange really brings instruments and vocals to the forefront. But the openness insight and honesty of the music from the ATC is remarkable. 

Some may prefer a more powerful bass with added weight and extension. 

Hi Ian,

I had a chance today to hear the 11s big brother, the 19s at a dealer fed by a 272 signal into a bare SN2. I'd say your assessment of the 11s above is spot-on for what I heard from the 19s. Very impressive speaker for neutrality, speed, and clarity. At the same time, not intended for deepest bass.

Being a floorstander guy, I do prefer added bass weight and extension, as you suggest. I ended up going home with a pair of Devore Super 8s which sounded superb at the dealers. Listening to the Devores in my room now, I'm still in want of a little more bass weight in the overall tonal balance. Amazing how much the room plays into the speaker interaction. I'm still holding out hope the SCM 40v2 will be the ticket for me, but the dealer now tells me January until they arrive in his demo room.

Enjoy your purchase. The ATCs sounded very true and in cherry are beautiful speakers.

joerand posted:
Ancient Mariner posted:

Next up were the ATC SCM11, which in all honesty blew me away. The clarity, speed and midrange was very impressive. The ATC SCM11 bass was truly excellent, super fast and tight and doesn't get in the way of the music. The neutral balance and exceptional midrange really brings instruments and vocals to the forefront. But the openness insight and honesty of the music from the ATC is remarkable. 

Some may prefer a more powerful bass with added weight and extension. 

Hi Ian,

I had a chance today to hear the 11s big brother, the 19s at a dealer fed by a 272 signal into a bare SN2. I'd say your assessment of the 11s above is spot-on for what I heard from the 19s. Very impressive speaker for neutrality, speed, and clarity. At the same time, not intended for deepest bass.

Being a floorstander guy, I do prefer added bass weight and extension, as you suggest. I ended up going home with a pair of Devore Super 8s which sounded superb at the dealers. Listening to the Devores in my room now, I'm still in want of a little more bass weight in the overall tonal balance. Amazing how much the room plays into the speaker interaction. I'm still holding out hope the SCM 40v2 will be the ticket for me, but the dealer now tells me January until they arrive in his demo room.

Enjoy your purchase. The ATCs sounded very true and in cherry are beautiful speakers.

Hi joerand,

I hope you enjoyed your demonstration of the SCM19. I'm sure the SCM40v2 will be just superb. I'm coming from floorstanders (Rega R5) and to be honest in my room the bass can occasionally be a little too much, hence my desire for a more neutral presentation. As you quite rightly say the room does play a significant roll regarding speaker interaction. I'm absolutely certain the SCM11 will be perfect once installed into my living room. Additionally I hope you continue to enjoy the Devore super 8s.

Ian.

Hi Ian,

Again, congrats on the purchase. Thanks for posting your thoughts too - made for interesting reading, especially switching from Rega (I'm a fan - still own Ela, Kytes & R-VOX) floor standers to bookshelf size speakers. 

I’m a fan of the Russell K speakers, enjoying them each time I’ve heard them, so I’m now very curious to hear ATC speakers! I did hear a pair of ATC SCM50SL at a show and was not that impressed, but then, that’s a show environment and all of the compromises involved.

The ATC 11 and 19 are definitely on my demo list now!

BTW, did you listen to alternatives to the RK and ATC beforehand ?

Yetizone posted:

Hi Ian,

Again, congrats on the purchase. Thanks for posting your thoughts too - made for interesting reading, especially switching from Rega (I'm a fan - still own Ela, Kytes & R-VOX) floor standers to bookshelf size speakers. 

I’m a fan of the Russell K speakers, enjoying them each time I’ve heard them, so I’m now very curious to hear ATC speakers! I did hear a pair of ATC SCM50SL at a show and was not that impressed, but then, that’s a show environment and all of the compromises involved.

The ATC 11 and 19 are definitely on my demo list now!

BTW, did you listen to alternatives to the RK and ATC beforehand ?

Hi Yetizone,

Thanks, yes I have had my Rega R5s for 12 years now and I have enjoyed them. But for me I've always felt that the midrange was slightly recessed somewhat, again this could be attributed to the room environment? I had been considering going for a loudspeaker with a different presentation for some time, one that has a little more leading edge attack and a faster bass. So the ATC were on my radar for some time.

The Russell K were very good indeed and I could fully understand why some people may prefer them to the ATC. The bass from the Russell K was definitely more prominent but still fast and tight. However the ATC just shaded it for me with their more neutral presentation and I'm sure better suited to my room.

I can fully understand why the ATC may devide opinion and as ever an audition is absolutely necessary. But for me they're exactly what I wanted and I'm fairly confident they will impress even more in my room.

I didn't listen to any other speakers to be honest. As soon as I heard the ATC I knew there and then I was always going to buy them.

Ian.

Interesting. I think speaker choice has to be the most personal and subjective of all components in the chain and quite hard to get right - plus room acoustics and boundary restrictions to add complications!

When you hear set of speakers that grab your attention and don’t get in the way of the music, or their flaws draw attention to themselves, then its a lovely thing and to be embraced - it must have been very satisfying to end the search.

Look forward to thoughts when they arrive - and perhaps a comparison with the Rega floor standers too.

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