ATC 11 versus LS50

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mike catucci, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Not sure anyone can help but I am trying to decide between two bookshelf speakers. I have both in the home for an audition and the clarity of the ATC SCM 11 (2.0) is stunning. That said there is something about those darn LS50's that had I never heard the ATC's I'd keep the LS50 in a heartbeat. I know the ATC's are 1,000 more than the LS50's but I have found that price does not always determine the winner. The LS50's have this gift of disappearing which is really very cool but those ATC's let you see deep inside the recording. Ironically they sound more alike than different.

    I need to send one back and have no idea which at this point and it's been almost a month. Anyone have any sage advice to offer? :D
     
  2. Not to add another wrinkle but I preferred the Harbeth P3ESR over KEF LS50 when I auditioned them w/ a Rogue Cronus int amp (similar or same as the one in your profile).
    If you're near Pgh. you can check out my Harbeths or compare w/the ATC/KEF.
    I've never heard the ATCs.
     
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  3. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Diehard

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Recommending speakers 'blind' is useless, really (don't know your tastes, room, other gear, etc. etc.) but for me the ATC's would probably be the keepers, with one caveat: you've got a muscular amplifier to drive them. Probably goes for both speakers, really, but ATC's generally are known as a heavy lift.
     
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  4. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Flip a coin?
    One dealer we visited told us to not drive ourselves crazy listening to too many songs on too many speakers, because something will always be better on the "other" speaker.
    Now it sounds to me like you prefer the ATCs except that the LS50s can disappear more. Which begs the question, for another $1000, is there a step-up KEF that might do both things for you? Or how about the powered version of the LS50?
    Personally, while I have long admired and liked KEF, the LS50 surprised me by leaving me feeling rather cold towards them. I haven't heard ATCs in a long time so I can't comment about those...I prefer the LOOK of the LS50 over those ATCs.
     
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  5. ChrisR2060

    ChrisR2060 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Tough Choice Mike - that's why I keep multiple pair of speakers on hand so I can rotate... Keep both ! Interests rates are still low if you can't lay down the cash...
    I have had the LS50s. My impressions on the LS50s is that they are stretching the driver's bass capabilities with a chebyshev-like bass reflex alignment to make it sound acceptable without a sub; the upper-bass to bass is just not even. I am sure you have better bass with the ATCs..
    BUT, the coaxial has its advantages and KEF perfected it like nobody else. Except maybe for the ELAC Adante 61 ?
     
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  6. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    I've only heard those Harbeth's online and they sounded great. They are just a hair above my price point and will probably be the next jump I make. Unfortunately I live on the other side of the state in Bethlehem.
     
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  7. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    I know it is, but I just needed some words of wisdom from like minded individuals. My wife is really no help with all things audio :D
     
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  8. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    Like @ChrisR2060 I also keep more than one pair of speakers on hand for a change of flavor every once in a while. One of those speaker pairs is the LS50. I'm actually on my second pair as the pair I bought initially struck me as a bit bright, but I missed that wonderful imaging and when a pair showed up locally on the used market, I couldn't resist. This second pair I seem to love.
    The Revel M22 is the other speaker that gets the most play time. Just love these guys for their natural sound and deep bass for a stand mount. I use a sub with the LS50s and turn it off with the Revels.
     
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  9. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I can't speak for the ATCs but I prefer the LS50s to numerous speakers under $5K. As you've noted, their imaging is tough to beat. I think they nailed the tonality as well.

    I would keep whichever pair allows me to relax and focus on the music instead of system performance.
     
  10. Mrtn77

    Mrtn77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    European Union
    I auditionned the LS50 against the ATC SMC7 and went with the ATC, mainly because I felt they handled complex material and were better suited to my room, but both were very nice.
     
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  11. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Diehard

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Two great speakers, probably can't go wrong either way! But, to me the LS50's have a smidgen (scientific term, there) of romantic quality to them; the SCM11's, unvarnished truth; "just the facts, sir". I see you're a Floyd fan -- ATC's are the monitors of choice amongst various Floyds (Gilmour, also James Guthrie who's been [re]mastering the Floyd lately).
     
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  12. noladaoh

    noladaoh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    I auditioned the LS50s with a Cronus Magnum II and the ATC 11s with a Line Magnetic 211. Got the ATC. Superb clarity and better bass. BTW, I thought the CM II sounded like solid state.
     
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  13. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Diehard

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Does the LM 211 have the 'grunt' to drive the SCM11's? I would have thought it'd be more for higher-efficiency speakers ... not my area of expertise, though, hence my asking.
     
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  14. noladaoh

    noladaoh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Actually it does. I’m in a 12x12room with 9 foot ceiling and I rarely get past 9 position on the volume. Poorly recorded albums are revealed, but so are good ones. Thoroughly enjoy the system.
     
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  15. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I'v owned the LS50's, Harbeth P3ESR's, ATC SCM 11 (most recent version) and Harbeth C7's. This is my second go around with the LS50's. All of these wonderful speakers have their strengths.
     
  16. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Not sure if you'd be willing, but I'd really enjoy hearing what you consider their strengths to be.
     
  17. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    The CM II does indeed sound solid state. It is a great amp but requires some expensive rolling to reach its potential in regards to true tube goodness.
     
  18. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I haven’t heard ATC speakers. I’d love to. However I do have the LS50W. I agree with comments on imaging. Superb. I also hear more texture vs. my prior gear.
     
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  19. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    The LS50s get my vote because of the superb imaging and sound stage if you set them up correctly. Something about the coincident midrange / tweeter makes them incredibly coherent. Just follow the manual for placement - especially stand height max 24" and distance from walls / using the port plug options to smooth the bass to preference. The LS50s also sound better far field and are more suitable to a larger room if you ever have a need.
    I would bet that they make more of your bad recordings sound decent too. Good luck!
     
  20. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Tried the LS50s in my shallow room through my Arcam AVR350 and wasn't impressed. Perhaps they need a deeper room and/or a better amp to truly shine and show what they're capable of.
     
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  21. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    My experience is similar. My system is in a 12x12x8 spare bedroom, set up in a diagonal configuration, and if I move my chair closer than 6 feet from the speakers the imaging seems to collapse. Move my chair back to get my ears 7+ feet away and, depending on the recording, it can be magical. Oddly enough, when I move my chair up with the Revels, this doesn't happen. In fact quite the opposite. With the Revels, no matter how close I get to the speakers, the image seems to come more in focus.
     
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  22. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I will address it later. Sorry, as Joe knows, I’ve been struggling with a bug of late.
     
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  23. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    They are very revealing of source and amplification. The Arcam is a splendid AVR but it’s not going to enough to show what the LS50s can do.
     
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  24. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    All of the speakers that I listed are quite good. They all have strengths and weaknesses. The Harbeth P3 was probably the most natural sounding. I had a man over to my house to buy records and I was playing a CD in my music room with the door closed. Very small home. He kept looking distracted...finally he said “your band is quite good. I’d better hurry and let you get back to practice”. He was dumbfounded when I told him that what he was hearing was my stereo. He quickly informed me that he is a musician and has never been fooled like that before. It was a perfect storm. He though it was further away than the room next door so he wasn’t bothered by the lack of scale. The natural sound of the acoustic instruments got him. The only real problem I had with the P3 is that it always sounded small and it is.

    The Compact 7 has a very similar naturalness to the P3. The primary problem with the C7 is the box itself. Unless you feed the C7 enough power the bass is always a little slow. I never returned from a concert and listened to them and said oh yeah I recognize that. Great speakers though.

    The ATCs were very natural in timbre. Bass was nice and tight. Driver integration wasn’t as good as with Harbeth but I felt that the drivers themselves were top shelf. This speaker is very revealing and can be a bit bright. My wife didn’t like them at all. She liked the C7. ATC speakers are far better than Harbeth at revealing everything connected to them. Don’t bring a Marantz AVR to the dance.

    The LS50 strikes a nice balance. Not the king of timbre, but damn good. Not the most revealing...they will sound at least nice with nearly anything. However they can sound stunning with the best. Like many LS50 owners it took owning them twice to really get how special they are. The LS50 is a modern classic.
     
  25. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Just an update for anyone who still cares :D

    I returned the LS50's this week. The ATC's are just so darn good I had to keep them. If I had never heard the ATC's the LS50's would have had a home with me for a long time. I really wanted to keep both but needed funds for a new phono stage opportunity so off it went. On the plus side, I know Music Direct is going to have a pair of LS50's that were treated immaculate on demo sale soon....
     

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