ATC vs Harbeth?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ls35a, Jul 17, 2017 at 3:09 PM.

  1. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, Idaho
    Here's an interesting speaker - bigger than a P3ESR and smaller (and cheaper, by far) than a Compact 7.

    So what's the skinny on ATC vs Harbeth, Spendor, Proac, and the other usual suspects?

    ATC SCM11 (2013) review

  2. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    ATC make excellent speakers, I own two pairs and I spent many hours auditioning some very nice speakers, none of them bettered my ATC 50s, having said that I've really liked every pair of ProAcs I've spent time with and although I'm far less familiar with Harbeths and Spendors they also make good speakers, you need to audition them all for yourself and decide which comes closest to what you are looking for and which works best in your system, there are no bad speakers in your list so it really will be down to your personal preference.
    sfoclt, noladaoh, Helom and 1 other person like this.
  3. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Include Stirling Broadcast, Graham, and maybe even Epos on that list.

    I haven't heard ATC or ProAc but have heard the rest and they make very competent speakers. I am most curious about ProAc, though it appears they don't make large standmounters like the C7ES or SP2.

    Epos is by far the best value IMO.
  4. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Corvallis, Oregon
    I owned the ATC SCM11 v2 and Harbeth Compact 7ES3 at the same time and preferred the Harbeth's. A little more natural sounding. Both were great speakers. I also have owned the Spendor A6R and ProaAc Studio 110. All good speakers but the Harbeth's and ATC's stood out.
  5. Seafinch

    Seafinch Well-Known Member

    I too owned the ATC SCM11 v2 and Harbeth Compact 7ES3 at the same time. Kept the Harbeth's - they're special.
  6. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member

    Houston TX
    I never heard any of them except the Proac's and those were great. The higher the price, the more skeptical I get.
  7. TheRealMcCoy

    TheRealMcCoy Well-Known Member

    Chicago, IL
    I've had my ATC SCM 19 V2s now for about 3 months.... Just love them! Everything about them is awesome... I considered the Harbeth's but once I heard the ATCs I was sold... The music is so alive with them... You can place them anywhere close to a wall further from a wall still sound great... Harbeth's I've heard are not good being close to walls...
  8. scotto

    scotto Forum Resident

    Another vote for Harbeths, but it all depends on what you like and what you're playing, etc. I auditioned ATCs at the same time and they weren't my cup of tea. I have the 7ES-3s in an all-analog setup and they're perfect. They do benefit from lots of space from the wall.
  9. Steve0

    Steve0 Well-Known Member

    It would be wise to listen to what PMC offers in this area as well, since they go head to head with ATC on a daily basis around the world in pro audio circles.
    sennj, bhazen and Ivand like this.
  10. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    I've never had the chance to audition either ATC or Harbeth speakers but I did have the chance to audition PMC's studio 22's last year. Stunning!
    sennj likes this.
  11. Shivermetimbers

    Shivermetimbers Forum Resident

    I demoed the Harbeth 30.1 and P3s and have heard them again since. Wonderfully voiced and very easy/non-fatiguing to listen to. They did seem unwilling to not sound smooth and refined though, for better or worse, and didn't like being pushed. (Something that personally steered me away from them). Maybe the larger models are different?

    I really like ProAc voicing and the general balance they achieve. Weighty, nuanced, and very open sounding. Revealing tweeters though that probably won’t favour otherwise bright systems – at least the silk dome tweeters; haven’t heard the ribbon ones. The D2s are a joy to live with and what's cool is they manage to respond well at any given volume.

    Haven’t heard small ATCs. Couple of larger models though which seemed neutral and punchy.

    PMC twenty.21 and .22 are also well balanced and easy with nice hanging imagery.
  12. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    Although I'd agree they are worth a demo and that their latest speakers are a definite improvement on earlier models in my experience the smaller PMCs were all outclassed by similar sized ATCs, it was only when you got high up the PMC range where they could compete with ATC, big studio monitors and even then I personally preferred the ATCs, although ironically I use Bryston amps to drive my big ATCs.
  13. Steve0

    Steve0 Well-Known Member


    Best to let his ears decide :)
    Dubmart likes this.
  14. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, Idaho
    I'm a big fan of PMC and have owned four of their models. But they have priced themselves out of the market (IMHO). Their current prices are just nuts.
  15. Steve0

    Steve0 Well-Known Member


    the 50% dealer margin does not help either
  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    FWIW I have heard the larger ATCs at shows a few times and was really disappointed. They had a colored non-transparency to the sound.
    Conversely I own and absolutely will not part with a pair of Harb C7s.
    Ivand likes this.
  17. Raffy Raff

    Raffy Raff Member

    I've only heard them side-by-side at a retailer in Japan (driven by Rogers tube integrated -- based on memory, an EHF-200). Based on that brief demo (a couple of songs on a couple of different models), I thought that the ATCs, particularly the SCM 19, were really special. They sounded open, fast, and dynamic, with very natural decay to cymbals. Transparent. On the other hand, I was disappointed by the Harbeths I heard, particularly the Super HL5+, which I thought sounded quite colored in the lower midrange/upper midbass and slightly "airless" up top.

    I had never heard either brand in person before, but to me the ATCs were real eye-openers. Likely on my shortlist next time I consider speakers (which may be a while from now).
    Shivermetimbers likes this.

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