Speakers at Bristol Show

Hello

I planned to go to the Bristol Show this year for a first look and listen to several speakers. I am considering buying new ones to replace my well-loved n-Sats which I have owned from new 9 years ago. Unfortunately a nasty chest infection prevented me going so I am seeking comments from anybody who went and heard any of the speakers below or others that impressed them. Next step will be shop dems and finally home trial

The speakers will be attached initially to a Nova/250DR sited in a small 3m x 3.5m dedicated hifi room. The ones I particularly wanted to hear were the ATC SCM 11, Dynaudio Special 40 and PMC 25/23.

Outside my price range but not my interest are the new Iota Xplorer and the Kudos 505 and I would also be particularly interested in views on the ATC SCM40A active setup.

Lastly were there any other speakers there that impressed.? All contributions gratefully received?

Bob

Original Post

Neat Iota Xplorer impressed many who heard them. The amp used was quite a bit less powerful than a 250 - Heed Elixir, 50w and £750 ish. I also thought the Kudos 505 was the best speaker I've heard by them, but personally I'd baulk at £6.5k. I also heard the active ATC 40s but not my cup of tea.

I heard the Dynaudio Special 40s and they sounded very good indeed, but with a full-blown Classic Naim rig behind them.

The Kudos 505s were even better and so they should be and I realise these are out of your price range. I mention it though because they were being driven by a 'bare' Nova and this combo was rather special IMHO. Here's an off the wall idea. If you sold your 250DR, would you be able to afford the 505s? Bonkers I know but bare Nova/505 combo is superb to these ears. This also goes against the grain of the 'source first' mantra which I have always leant towards. I guess however there are exceptions to the rule.

Did any of you heard these JBL Model 4312SE paired with Primare amp? Wow these speakers sounded fantastic. Sort of old fashioned clear and relaxed sound. For me this was the biggest surprise during Bristol show. Shame that these speakers, as far as I could find, are only available in the US.

Mercky posted:

Did anyone see the new Spendor A7's in the flesh? There is conflicting photos online with some showing at as 2 way similar to the A6R and another showing a 2.5 way similar to the D7. Which is correct?

More like the A6R nothing like the D7 not sure what they were using to drive them but they were not doing them any favours.

1GiantLeap posted:

PCD - yes, that's not sounding encouraging for Spendor is it?
I am looking for something that gets very close to the D7. I'll want to listen to them with my own Naim kit before I make any decisions mind.

Wise move, I was quite disappointed at some of the sounds I heard at the show heard much better in previous years.

Woj posted:

Did any of you heard these JBL Model 4312SE paired with Primare amp? Wow these speakers sounded fantastic. Sort of old fashioned clear and relaxed sound. For me this was the biggest surprise during Bristol show. Shame that these speakers, as far as I could find, are only available in the US.

Woj, these are available at a dealer in Copenhagen, I have long been tempted to go and hear them, your comments are refreshing and very welcomed.

I have allways been a fan of the old JbL sound even many of them have compromises they are in some ways great, perhaps more on modern or rock. I listen primarily at jazz and classical but have a lot beat/rock on vinyl from younger days, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple etc..

Strange if these speakers are not UK available ?

They are priced in the €3K region here, so not cheap

Last year I went to see my friend how has got an old JBL Model 112. These sounded fantastic as well but these 4312 were just amazing - made me feel exciting possibly because they reminded me the sound from my youth.... We went to each room at the show but we only spent more time listening to these JBL's and the Audio Note. Although AN are not my favorite speakers (I think they are a little bit dull - lacking highs) but they had a live performance of cello player (Vincent Belanger). This was a good experience (which actually confirmed to me that AN speakers are lacking high frequencies) to listend to this musician. I even bought his LP which is beautifully recorded with a very good classical/jazz music.  Anyway...i think JBL should sound good with non-rock music. In the room we were listening to some rock and jazz actually and both genders sounded stunning. I found that these JBL 4312 can be purchased in the US just for over £600 pounds....If I only did not build my own speakers last month.....

Thanks for all the comments so far. Any more support for ATC SCM 11 - if they were on dem as promised in show catalogue? I heard higher spec Dynaudio Contour floorstanders partnered by, I think NDS/252/300, at Acoustica Show a couple of years ago and the sound was fabulous. I also heard cheap Dynaudio?? and Atom making a wonderful sound at, I think,  Bristol last year

A bit left field, but I thought the Harbeth SHL5+ were a welcome musical relief from the cacophony of many rooms. I’m seriously tempted to put these on my possibles list. Too laid back and not enough bass for most on this forum, but I found the longer I listened to them the more I wanted to stay listening. The exact opposite of almost every other room I visited. 

Shropshire Hills posted:

Thanks for all the comments so far. Any more support for ATC SCM 11 - if they were on dem as promised in show catalogue? I heard higher spec Dynaudio Contour floorstanders partnered by, I think NDS/252/300, at Acoustica Show a couple of years ago and the sound was fabulous. I also heard cheap Dynaudio?? and Atom making a wonderful sound at, I think,  Bristol last year

I also heard the Dyn Contours at the Acoustica show and greatly enjoyed the sound.  Likewise the Dynaudio Emit M20s driven by an Atom were a fun combination.  However, I would not give up on the ATCs without hearing them first; at least I think they deserve a listen.  You might note that Acoustica now stock ATC and have indicated that ATC will be exhibiting at this year's show (April 14-15).  Why not pop up to Chester and have a listen either at the show or at the Acoustica showroom?

People's tastes in speakers vary so much that you need to take all assessments of speakers, mine included, with a pinch of salt, but the one thing nearly all listeners seem to agree on is that ATC's active speakers really are something special.  And that includes the active 19s which might suit your small room better than the 40s.

Roger

Hi Roger

Thanks for your input. Yes I recently realised that Acoustica now stock ATC and so I will certainly head along and listen to both ATC and Dynaudio and perhaps a few others at their March show. ATC appeals as they are sealed boxes, like my n-Sats, and so can be positioned close to a rear wall and they seem to generally get plenty of approval.  Active ATCs would be great but too expensive for now although as they include power amps there is a considerable saving in money and boxes there. An updated 272 with the new streaming platform (if it ever comes) and ATC 19A should be rather tasty

Bob

nigelb posted:

I heard the Dynaudio Special 40s and they sounded very good indeed, but with a full-blown Classic Naim rig behind them.

The Kudos 505s were even better and so they should be and I realise these are out of your price range. I mention it though because they were being driven by a 'bare' Nova and this combo was rather special IMHO. Here's an off the wall idea. If you sold your 250DR, would you be able to afford the 505s? Bonkers I know but bare Nova/505 combo is superb to these ears. This also goes against the grain of the 'source first' mantra which I have always leant towards. I guess however there are exceptions to the rule.

Always told you so Nigel - right speakers right room

Hi Nigel

i don’t really need the 250DR with the Nova but I am hoping there will eventually be a new 272 with the updated new platform. If so I will trade the Nova in and go for a 272/250DR plus maybe a power supply on the 272. If the 272 is not updated then probably a NDX2 and either a Supernait 2 with the 250DR traded towards a power supply on one of the boxes or, heaven forbid, go better with 282/250DR. Short answer it’s staying for now and keeping all options open and decide later in the year

Bob

kevin J Carden posted:

A bit left field, but I thought the Harbeth SHL5+ were a welcome musical relief from the cacophony of many rooms. I’m seriously tempted to put these on my possibles list. Too laid back and not enough bass for most on this forum, but I found the longer I listened to them the more I wanted to stay listening. The exact opposite of almost every other room I visited. 

Yeah, I don't know what it is about this speaker. Every time I have spent time listening to it I am always a bit captivated. Almost zero fatigue...

It's so important to demo speakers at home as they will sound completely different to what you hear at a show. Your shortlist of ATC SCM 11, Dynaudio Special 40, and PMC 25/23 is a good one. I would also add SCM19, SCM40, SCM19A, and SCM40A if budget and room allows.

I own SCM40A and consider them a masterpiece  

Shropshire Hills posted:

Hi Nigel

i don’t really need the 250DR with the Nova but I am hoping there will eventually be a new 272 with the updated new platform. If so I will trade the Nova in and go for a 272/250DR plus maybe a power supply on the 272. If the 272 is not updated then probably a NDX2 and either a Supernait 2 with the 250DR traded towards a power supply on one of the boxes or, heaven forbid, go better with 282/250DR. Short answer it’s staying for now and keeping all options open and decide later in the year

Bob

Bob, very sensible approach. I got a bit carried away with how superb the Nova is with the new Kudos 505s. If you are interested, try and get a demo one day of the Kudos 505s with either your Nova or your planned amplification. I think you will be amazed.

kevin J Carden posted:

A bit left field, but I thought the Harbeth SHL5+ were a welcome musical relief from the cacophony of many rooms. I’m seriously tempted to put these on my possibles list. Too laid back and not enough bass for most on this forum, but I found the longer I listened to them the more I wanted to stay listening. The exact opposite of almost every other room I visited. 

With your present choice of speakers, i'm not surprised. I'll be interested in what you end up with, Kevin. 

James

 

Halloween Man posted:

It's so important to demo speakers at home as they will sound completely different to what you hear at a show. Your shortlist of ATC SCM 11, Dynaudio Special 40, and PMC 25/23 is a good one. I would also add SCM19, SCM40, SCM19A, and SCM40A if budget and room allows.

I own SCM40A and consider them a masterpiece  

Thanks Halloween

I will certainly add the SCM19 and 19A to the list. The 40’s will definitely be too powerful for my small dedicated listening room. The 19A looks a good choice and the saving by omitting the power amp makes them very competitive. Do you have a pre-amp or use your Hugo for this purpose? Is there a good ATC dealer in the Midlands you can recommend?

Out of interest, a few years ago I spent many happy hours listening to a fine pair of ATC SCM40s in the company of a couple of ex-pats who live on the edge of a small village at 2000’ on the west side of La Palma, a small island in the Canaries. Rob, the owner, could not find any Spanish dealer who could supply the speakers. ATC came to the rescue and shipped a pair direct to him at what he told me was a very decent price 

Bob

Shropshire Hills posted:
Halloween Man posted:

It's so important to demo speakers at home as they will sound completely different to what you hear at a show. Your shortlist of ATC SCM 11, Dynaudio Special 40, and PMC 25/23 is a good one. I would also add SCM19, SCM40, SCM19A, and SCM40A if budget and room allows.

I own SCM40A and consider them a masterpiece  

Thanks Halloween

I will certainly add the SCM19 and 19A to the list. The 40’s will definitely be too powerful for my small dedicated listening room. The 19A looks a good choice and the saving by omitting the power amp makes them very competitive. Do you have a pre-amp or use your Hugo for this purpose? Is there a good ATC dealer in the Midlands you can recommend?

Out of interest, a few years ago I spent many happy hours listening to a fine pair of ATC SCM40s in the company of a couple of ex-pats who live on the edge of a small village at 2000’ on the west side of La Palma, a small island in the Canaries. Rob, the owner, could not find any Spanish dealer who could supply the speakers. ATC came to the rescue and shipped a pair direct to him at what he told me was a very decent price 

Bob

Hi Bob, yes, when you consider separate power amps are already inside the active speakers they are very good vfm. I have no need for preamp as I only have a single digital source (Macbook). If this is also your situation then I would strongly recommend a DAC with preamp and remote such as Hugo TT, Naim 272 (this also is a steamer), Naim V1, Benchmark DAC 3, etc.

Great story about your friends, sounds like good times. ATC customer service is as good as I've experienced. Very nice people.

I've used Castle Hifi in Nottingham before and had no problems. Fidelity Sound and Vision in Doncaster currently have a mint pair of SCM19A in stock that might be worth an audition.

I moved into a tiny listening space of 3x3.5 metres and my ProAc D15's simply did not do at all.

Because of my remote location (Orgiva in the Alpujarras) away from any normal hifi demonstration facility, I selected replacements based largely on advice from my local shipment agent plus Googling reviews and bought a pair of ATC SCM19's.

My gob has never been so severely smacked. Buy with confidence fellah. 

My setup:

Shuko wall plug/Graham's Hydra/Isoblue racks/ND5XS/XP5XS/NAC282/'Theodorehat'/NAPSC/NAP250/Chord Epic/ATC SCM19/Quadraspire stands...

Chord Chameleon+ and two standard NAIM interconnects. The NAIM soon to be replaced with Chord Clearway cables.

Hi Halloween - thanks for the info on the ATC SCM 19A. The cost is good, especially ex- dem but they are quite large and maybe too much for my small room. Certainly I will try and have a demo of them as well as the SCM 11.

Mike thanks for the info on the SCM 19. I had thought that they would be too big for my small room but your experience gives me the confidence to have a listen to them as well

Bob

I went to Bristol specifically to hear the Dynaudio S40's.  I've already had them on home dem and know I like them but Dynaudio always put on a good show and NDS/252/300 didn't disappoint. That's a £2.5k pair of speakers on a > £15k system and they were in no way outclassed.  My buying decision was strongly reinforced.

Otherwise I didn't go to listen to speakers specifically but other systems I heard and enjoyed were

Primare/JBL.  This was a bit of a surprise, a very natural unforced presentation. The JBL's aren't the prettiest speakers though. 

Naim/Proac. Tablette 10's with a CDX5XS & Nait 5si I think. Foot tappingly good. 

Leema/ATC. SCM 50's (?) with Tucana Anniversary & Sirius streamer.

Systems I heard and didn't much care for

ATC - ATC were playing an all ATC system.  It was bit like the recording was under a microscope, easy to inspect and analyse but there's not much enjoyment in looking down a microscope.

Nova/Focal.  When I went in there was a piano piece on.  Another couple already there obviously weren't impressed and asked for another piano piece.  Some Keith Jarrett was served up, it wasn't a great improvement and I left.

Totem.  Don't remember what the system was but it didn't do it for me.

I didn't listen to PMC or (sadly based on reports here) Nova/Kudos.

Olly

nigelb posted:

I heard the Dynaudio Special 40s and they sounded very good indeed, but with a full-blown Classic Naim rig behind them.

The Kudos 505s were even better and so they should be and I realise these are out of your price range. I mention it though because they were being driven by a 'bare' Nova and this combo was rather special IMHO. Here's an off the wall idea. If you sold your 250DR, would you be able to afford the 505s? Bonkers I know but bare Nova/505 combo is superb to these ears. This also goes against the grain of the 'source first' mantra which I have always leant towards. I guess however there are exceptions to the rule.

Nigel 

The 505s are unfortunately too far above my price limit but I will be listening to an ex-dem pair of their lesser cousins, the Kudos Super 10As, in the next few days and have high hopes that they may be the one for me. If not its a second listen to and hopefully home dems of ATC 11/19 and Dynaudio Special 40s

Bob

Shropshire Hills posted:
nigelb posted:

I heard the Dynaudio Special 40s and they sounded very good indeed, but with a full-blown Classic Naim rig behind them.

The Kudos 505s were even better and so they should be and I realise these are out of your price range. I mention it though because they were being driven by a 'bare' Nova and this combo was rather special IMHO. Here's an off the wall idea. If you sold your 250DR, would you be able to afford the 505s? Bonkers I know but bare Nova/505 combo is superb to these ears. This also goes against the grain of the 'source first' mantra which I have always leant towards. I guess however there are exceptions to the rule.

Nigel 

The 505s are unfortunately too far above my price limit but I will be listening to an ex-dem pair of their lesser cousins, the Kudos Super 10As, in the next few days and have high hopes that they may be the one for me. If not its a second listen to and hopefully home dems of ATC 11/19 and Dynaudio Special 40s

Bob

Bob, that sounds like a very capable shortlist of speakers. Personally I have only heard the Dyn Special 40s and was very impressed.

Yes, I was getting a bit carried away with the Kudos 505s, but I was simply stunned how these sounded in a crappy hotel room being driven 'only' by a  bare Nova. That at least goes to show how capable the Nova is.

I am pretty sure you will find a match made in heaven between your speaker shortlist and your Nova/250DR.

Enjoy.

The ATC SCM 11 is a superb speaker. I adore mine. Some people don't love it immediately because it's so neutral; it just presents you the music, any music, with an even hand. If you're used to warmer coloration that neutrality can be off-putting at first. Also, because of its closed design and unique woofer, it makes many other speakers sound sound slow and lugubrious.

I haven't heard that PMC, but in general I like them a lot. I would have it on my short-list too.

I've had Dynaudios before and liked them, BUT . . . you must hear them in your room. I've banged on about this before, but it'a still true. Rear ported speakers are very dependent on the room. They sound great at the dealer with flexible positioning, but that may not be practical at home. The closed box ATCs and front-ported TL PMCs will be somewhat less demanding of the space they're in.

Thanks chaps for further advice and suggestions. Solid Air I was aware that the ATC SCM 11s are a sealed box and that should be a plus point in my small room - the others all have rear ports and I need to listen to them at home before making a decision. My current n-Sats are also sealed boxes - they are now boxed up and awaiting collection by DPD 

The n-Sats duly went to a new owner last week  - they still look immaculate after 9 years of ownership but it was time for a change.

I was preparing for a round of speaker demos in store and later at home. However, I decided to first try a pair of ex-dem Kudos Super 10As and they arrived today on a 30 day trial. After 30 minutes of playing music through them I think I have found my next pair of speakers. I will spend a few more days listening to them and adjusting the positioning but the improvement over the n-Sats and the Iotas is so great I don’t think I can be bothered to look elsewhere.

The cherry veneer would not have been my first choice but it has grown on me and the speakers are beautifully made. It will be a serious listening weekend and next step is to order some suitable stands

 o 

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