ATC SCM11s: any alternatives?

The Harbeth speakers are very different from the ATCs in character.. I know I flirted with the for a while.. the C7ES3 I had had an enhanced soft sweet upper mid.. which can be quite attractive.. but the bass tightness and dynamics just didnt compare to the the ATCs.. even though I really tried to learn to love them.. in the end I sold them and returned back to ATC... I guess it depends on how you listen... I did find the newer tweeters of the current designs  that ATC build in house reduced the difference in upper mid sweetness considerably... the older ATC Seas tweeters  (I think it was Seas) could be a little hard, and their crossover was quite demanding on amps... hence the old legacy reputation of needing beefy amps I believe 

Corry posted:

Living with Mana's a bit of a pain, but the phase 4 shelf is the best sounding support I've heard under my Linn. I should be doing the rebuild a couple of times a year, but I can't summon the motivation.

Curious about multiple phasing of Mana but I came to sense that's more trouble than they are worth so I stopped at a meager Phase II.

I have two Wall shelves with each Reference top. Neither of them needed a major rebuild to date so far. ( knock wood )

Yes, I don’t think the bass on the 30.1 is as good as SCM40, but saying that I would probably say the same about most ported speakers. The bass on 30.1 is certainly not bad.

I would imagine the bass timing and accuracy on P3ESR is very different to C7ES3 as the P3ESR is a sealed box design, much smaller, and I would expect the bass to be much tighter.

kuma posted:
Corry posted:

Living with Mana's a bit of a pain, but the phase 4 shelf is the best sounding support I've heard under my Linn. I should be doing the rebuild a couple of times a year, but I can't summon the motivation.

Curious about multiple phasing of Mana but I came to sense that's more trouble than they are worth so I stopped at a meager Phase II.

I have two Wall shelves with each Reference top. Neither of them needed a major rebuild to date so far. ( knock wood )

About 15 years ago I switched from a Sound Org table to a Mana phase 1 out of necessity (footfalls). On balance I found it less good than the table, although some musical genres benefitted (electronica, oddly). I then went to Phase 2, and that evened things out. I then thought "screw it" and jumped to Phase 4, and that was better in all ways. A combination of common sense and the length of my T-Kable stopped me going any further.

I’ll bet if you can motivate yourself to rebuild your Mana you’ll hear a worthwhile benefit.

Halloween Man posted:

Harbeth P3ESR is another alternative to SCM7/SCM11. A small sealed design monitor based on the BBC LS3/5a design.

I’ve recently moved from SCM40 to Harbeth 30.1 due to room issues and love the Harbeth sound. I think they do vocals and piano as well, if not better, than ATCs.

I auditioned the P3ESR around the same time as the SCM7. They have a lovely delicacy in the upper mid that’s quite beguiling, but I found the SCM7 to be better all round, and just more fun, especially when cranked up a bit. As always, these things are entirely subjective. My brother has P3ESRs, and I always enjoy hearing his system; it reminds me of why some people run multiple systems, or just swap speakers out from time to time.

Corry posted:

I’ll bet if you can motivate yourself to rebuild your Mana you’ll hear a worthwhile benefit.

Nah..

I'm afraid my geeky tweaky days are over. ( or I should say I do it in a limited term ) Learn to live with 'good enough' is the order of the day.

Altho, I am still hoping  I can get the magic of Miyabi back some day...

 

P.S. Is this yours?

kuma posted:
Corry posted:

I’ll bet if you can motivate yourself to rebuild your Mana you’ll hear a worthwhile benefit.

Nah..

I'm afraid my geeky tweaky days are over. ( or I should say I do it in a limited term ) Learn to live with 'good enough' is the order of the day.

Altho, I am still hoping  I can get the magic of Miyabi back some day...

 

P.S. Is this yours?

Yep, that's mine!

Corry posted:

I auditioned the P3ESR around the same time as the SCM7. They have a lovely delicacy in the upper mid that’s quite beguiling, 

100% agree on the delicate beguiling sound with the Harbeth,  but its all in the mid to treble,  not much upper bass & nothing below that.    I did prefer the SCM7,  a hint of more bass,  pin point imaging & seemed to be bomb proof.  But none are an alternative to SCM11,  cabinet size & no bass means its going the wrong way for my tastes.    It looks like I will be going down the ATC road when I change,  SCM19A or 40A is short listed.

Corry posted:
Ghettoyout posted:

To my eyes, the LP12 on top of four layes of racks just seems crazy even verging on sad. But each to their own.

It is a little sad. But the world of hi-fi is inescapably tainted with sadness.

This thread is coming over a bit Reggie Perrin all of a sudden. 

.sjb

Sloop John B posted:
Corry posted:
Ghettoyout posted:

To my eyes, the LP12 on top of four layes of racks just seems crazy even verging on sad. But each to their own.

It is a little sad. But the world of hi-fi is inescapably tainted with sadness.

This thread is coming over a bit Reggie Perrin all of a sudden. 

.sjb

I feel something of a madeleine moment coming on.

I skip all the posts above..... Suggest to try ProAc Response 2 or Tablette Anniversary or Tannoy Speaker. These speaker has more open sound that ATC but never has harsh sound on the high frequency. After all, your other components matching also important for choosing a speaker. Enjoy Music.

“Maybe they needed a bit more up em.“

Now, this may not be directly applicable, because although my speakers are ATC’s, they’re SCM19’s, changed from Proac D15.

However, after buying them, I upgraded my power amp from the NAP200 to a NAP250DR.

It was obvious that what my dealer said, that these speakers are working best when they have at least 80w punching them, was evidently true.

This basic injunction may well apply across the range.

 I use the Quadraspire “lean back” stands. Plenty of detail, attack, bass clarity and all that malarkey.

Indeed and the new ATC SCM range are quite comfortable with lowish power - in the 30 to 50 watt range. The older SCMs (say older SCM12, and older 11 & 19) I would say at least 80 Watts - probably best 100 Watts - its amazing the difference a redesigned crossover can make. 

The Nait XS2 and NAP250 seem to go well with the new ATCs (SCM 11,19) with a lovely open and delicate sound with great balance and dynamics (though the XS2 is a little flatter). The 250 gives you more presence and authority (as well as oodles more detail and timbre), and the XS2 seems to give you a lot of bounce and times well in my experience with some attractive warmth - I found the NAP200 a little too lean for my tastes with the neutral ATCs and perhaps the 200 is more at home with a ported speaker with a subtle bass lift and a tad added warmth  (the Russell K 50s spring to mind)... at least that is what I found.

Mike-B posted:
Corry posted:

I auditioned the P3ESR around the same time as the SCM7. They have a lovely delicacy in the upper mid that’s quite beguiling, 

100% agree on the delicate beguiling sound with the Harbeth,  but its all in the mid to treble,  not much upper bass & nothing below that.    I did prefer the SCM7,  a hint of more bass,  pin point imaging & seemed to be bomb proof.  But none are an alternative to SCM11,  cabinet size & no bass means its going the wrong way for my tastes.    It looks like I will be going down the ATC road when I change,  SCM19A or 40A is short listed.

Am still happy with Ovator 400s being driven by a NAP 300 (non-DR), but if and when I look to change, those two ATC actives will be on my short list.

Kevin ,

I've owned either PMC or ATC for the the last 6 years , I love and recommend  them both . I did find however that the better my amplification became the more I leant towards ATC , I felt my old 250DR was a bit too much for PMC Twenty 23s but an excellent partner for passive ATC SCM19s on Custom Designs open stands and my room seemed much happier probably due to their sealed box design . This isn't to say that your NAP 180 won't power ATC 11s , it will easily but you could happily introduce something else later if opportunity knocked . Interestingly I had a conversation with Richard Newmann of ATC at the Acoustica show regarding suitable on wall ATC HTS speakers for a Uniti Atom ( for my parents) and he said the SCM 11s were easier to drive than the SCM 7s to my surprise . I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for , just let your ears and room decide . 

I've currently got the PMC Twenty5.21 (on their dedicated stands) on home demo. They seem quite fussy about where they are put, and getting the toe-in right to find the sweet spot. It's funny seeing them there, where the HB1s were - they are so small in comparison.

I like the PMCs a lot, they seem to work pretty well with my system. They're really good at low volumes, which is important if you live in a flat as I do. They are really detailed and give out an awful lot of bass for just a small cabinet. They're also fast and fun. I played Ese and the gang hi-res digital files of the "Up In Smoke" album, as well as the 50th anniversary "Electric Ladyland"; on CD, chunks of the Bobbie Gentry box set, the Erykah Badu live album, Floyd's "Meddle"; and "Elvis Is Back!" on vinyl. Everyone was very impressed, and I certainly enjoy the presentation of the music.

But in a way, I'm not sure if they're as good as the Heybrooks. This may sound odd, comparing a £2,000-plus pair of modern speakers with ones which cost £99 and which are 35 years old. Maybe it's because I've lived with those HB1s so long, I've got used to a very particular sound and getting my head and ears around something else is proving tough.

I can understand why people find choosing new speakers so difficult!

You would be able to form a better impression after some extended listening sessions. I used to own the PMC LB1 Signature many years ago and similarly find them to be bass heavy. After more than a year l decided to let them go as the unbalanced mid-bass which is causing a slight muddiness in the midrange was bothering me. Tried several amps to salvage the situation but to no avail. The Twenty 5.21 should be an improved version of the LB1s but was just relating my experience on the older PMC that I've owned.

Christopher_M posted:

Is chopping in the NAP180 for a NAP250, and going for the ATCs of interest?

Chris, I've been thinking about this today, while on an extended listening session.

I really like these PMCs but everything feels a bit underpowered - maybe my 180 is supplying enough juice to the speakers, which probably aren't as efficient as the HB1s. With the Heybrooks, I never had to turn the 72 up past 10-11 o'clock for vinyl. Now I'm having to have it on 12 or 1 just to get a bit of volume and welly. Even CD I have to have a couple of notches higher. Then I start to wonder if the amp is being pushed too hard. Music seems either underpowered or shouty. Not a lot of control going on.

Maybe a second hand olive 250 is a way out...

Kevin-W posted:
Christopher_M posted:

Is chopping in the NAP180 for a NAP250, and going for the ATCs of interest?

Chris, I've been thinking about this today, while on an extended listening session.

I really like these PMCs but everything feels a bit underpowered - maybe my 180 is supplying enough juice to the speakers, which probably aren't as efficient as the HB1s. With the Heybrooks, I never had to turn the 72 up past 10-11 o'clock for vinyl. Now I'm having to have it on 12 or 1 just to get a bit of volume and welly. Even CD I have to have a couple of notches higher. Then I start to wonder if the amp is being pushed too hard. Music seems either underpowered or shouty. Not a lot of control going on.

Maybe a second hand olive 250 is a way out...

Seems possible...  But then, how would the ATCs be with a bit more up 'em? At some point you've got to plump for something so you can just get on with the rest of your life.

Kevin-W posted:

 

But in a way, I'm not sure if they're as good as the Heybrooks. This may sound odd, comparing a £2,000-plus pair of modern speakers with ones which cost £99 and which are 35 years old. Maybe it's because I've lived with those HB1s so long, I've got used to a very particular sound and getting my head and ears around something else is proving tough.

I can understand why people find choosing new speakers so difficult!

Kev,

Why not send the Heybrooks back to Wilmslow for a full recondition.That's another option with the way to go and you would save financial out lay with getting a 250 if you stayed with the PMC's .More money for vinyl and a speaker that you have always got on with.Might be the way to go.

Cheers Ian

Slightly off-topic, but the 250 is certainly an amazing product, isn't it? This one I've just bought hasn't been serviced since 2002 and has been sitting in its box for months, but as soon as I swapped the 180 for the 250, I noticed the difference: more open, more boogie factor, more speed. No wonder it's become such an iconic product. Naim's equivalent of the LP12, I guess.

MDS posted:

I very much enjoyed my 250.2, Kevin. I've heard a chrome bumper 250, too. As you say, the 250 has 'boogie'.  

So, does that extra oomph bring the PMCs to life? 

A bit, Mike. But I'm still not sure  I could live with them long-term. I might try SCM11s  or even 19s, to see if they're better. Or I might take up my dealer's suggestion of Neats. Or even Ian's idea of sending the HB1s over to Wilmslow Audio and having them fitted with new drivers and crossovers.  I could then use the spare cash to get a Lingo 4 and/or a Krystal.

Speakers are funny, being more subjective than any other components.  We can become so comfortable with their signature that even hearing others that are obviously 'technically' better isn't necessarily enough to ensure they please.  A bit like a favourite jumper that's getting worn and old.  Others say 'why don't you throw it away and get a new one?'. But we feel comfortable in it.  Nothing wrong with that.

A refurb of the Heybrooks would be a lot cheaper and 'source first', as the saying goes.      

Kevin, if it’s not been serviced since 2002 I’d get it sent to Class A for recapping forthwith. Not only will it sound a lot better, it will ensure there isn’t a failure that takes out your speakers. That nearly happened with an Olive 250 that I left for too long before recapping. Speakers-wise, have you considered SBLs? They are perfect with a 250. 

Nigel - SBLs are indeed a possibility. In fact I was thinking about those - they are the only Naim speakers I've heard that I really like. Do they come up S/H very often? And is it the Mk1 or Mk2 that's the one to go for?

Yes, good advice re servicing the 250. Will look at getting that done this week.

They come up quite often, though many are a bit tatty. The Mk 2 is the best - these have the all over veneered cabinets, including the backs. If getting Mk 1s you want sone with the Mk 2 bass unit, which is made by Naim rather than Mordaunt Short. The Mk 2 unit has thicker flat metal edges, rather than thin ones with a raised edge. I’m sure you are aware, but they need a solid brick wall behind them. Tom Tom Audio are a good source of decent pairs, or maybe Pink Fish. I’d be wary of eBay. 

Kevin-W posted:

Thanks Nigel. Speakers are one thing I'd never buy off The Well Known Auction Site! Yes, there would indeed be a solid brick wall behind them.

No reason at all why not - the same care required as anything else secondhand. I found my present soeakers through eBay, took my old speakers amp with me to do a comparative audition, spent a pleasant few hours at the owner’s house, took my speakers away and did some further auditions elsewhere on a big road trip, decided on the EBs and had the owner ship them to me. I could have gone back to collect, but having enjoyed the seller’s hospitality and through my time at his house deciding I had confidence in him to send and to properly package - received satisfactorily.

Just popped into my dealer for a quick chat about this protracted saga (the PMCs I'm auditioning, I'm not really getting on with after being initially impressed), and Dynaudio Special Forty was mentioned as a good match for olive 72-Hi-250. Lovely looking speakers, great build and finish, and from the briefest of listens, they reminded me a little of the HB1s - but much better of course.

Got them on home dem from Monday on.

I auditioned the ATC SCM 11 and 19 in a home demo last year. I bought the 19s and think they are very good value at their price point. I found the SCM19 to be the more refined of the two and could not warm up the SCM 11s - which are great but a perhaps a bit hifi?  Its possible the 11s from the dealer were not fully broken in.  ATCs seems to take some time to break in and  be their best.  The 19s required more power than my then Non-DR NAP 250 whereas the 11s were fine with the 250.  A subsequent up grade to a NAP 250DR was much improved with the 19s. I recognize the 250 and 250DR are similar power ratings but the DR version is somehow subjectively a more powerful amp.  I have since moved to a larger amp and the ATCs love the additional control.  I use Skylan stands, a low mass speaker stand made in Canada from fiberglass posts.  Seems to work very well with the ATCs. I have not tried the ATC 7s so can't comment on those.  I'm a convert to close boxed speakers and the ATC brand since my purchase of the SCM  19s.  

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