Matching AMP for new ATC SCM19 MKII Speakers, please advice

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Fekx, Nov 24, 2021 at 8:27 PM.

  1. Fekx

    Fekx Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Hello dear community,

    I want to ask for some advice for an new amplifier for my upcoming ATC19 speakers.
    I will order the speakers this week and want to buy the AMP aswell, since I have no old one.

    Not looking for active speakers at this point, I want to build an traditional stereo setup.

    I'm from europe, budget for the AMP is around 3000€, few hundreds more or less is fine.

    What I have read up now is, that the ATC speakers are very sensitive and need atlot of power to shine, I'm researching since weeks and found some AMPs but I'm open for any suggestions beyond these models.

    I gladly will take advice and help since I'm very ignorante with audio hardware but I love music!!! (rock, pop 60s,70s, punk, alternative).

    What models I found till today:

    Rotel RA-1592MKII
    Naim NAIT XS3 (hate the looks but only read good things about naim in combination with ATC).
    Musical Fidelity M6si
    Musical Fidelity M6-500i (can be had for under 3000€ here in germany, feels like a power plant too, overkill?)
    Yamaha A-S2200 (like the aesthetics but not a good feeling about matching with the ATC)
    ATC owns AMPS (Very hard to get here in germany, I have to order them from the UK which will a hassle)


    Thanks a lot and please excuse my poor english skills!
     
    Toneh likes this.
  2. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Location:
    London
    How big is the room you are listening in?
     
    Fekx and rednedtugent like this.
  3. rednedtugent

    rednedtugent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Funk, Ohio
    I think the Yamaha A-s2200 would work just fine in a smaller room.
    Source is gonna be important as well to get the sound you like.
    The ATCs don't have a ton of deep bass and don't try to fake it.
    I consider them large heavy monitors in a way...

    Your English skills are very good!
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021 at 9:09 PM
  4. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    hi fekx,
    do you have access to a Parasound Hint6 ? The combination of smoothness and power should work well with your ATCs.
     
    Fekx likes this.
  5. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Firstly – great speakers! I’ve owned ATC’s before and as I’m sure you’re aware they are ruthlessly transparent and will tell you the unvarnished truth of whatever is coming downstream.

    We can talk about what “sort” sound you’d like to achieve later – because all manufacturers have a sort of “house sound” as tuned by their designers. And this is important to consider because of how revealing ATC's are.

    But I’d say that - as a general approach - you will want lots of good, clean current to really bring those speakers to life. They are not easy to drive properly… sure they will work with almost any of the options you’ve listed but my personal feeling is that you should scratch any options under (at least) 100w off the list along with any that don’t have good, beefy power supplies and current reservoir capacity. Ideally, I’d be aiming for 200w and above.

    Then other questions of room size, preferred volume come into play too… but my comment has less to do with achieving high SPL’s and more to do with control and having enough power on tap to flesh out their sound. Too little and they can sound a bit etched and lean.
     
  6. Linger63

    Linger63 Forum Resident

    Location:
    AUSTRALIA
    That's a shame as their active models are what ATC is renowned for!!!!:agree:

    Any particular reason you want to go the "traditional" route?
    Are you a gearhead that likes changing amps and speaker cables regularly?

    I was until I heard ATC actives...........now not any more or ever again......:)

    I strongly suggest you at least hear a set of their actives BEFORE pulling the trigger.....:laugh:
     
    Fekx likes this.
  7. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    Fekx likes this.
  8. Fekx

    Fekx Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Hey guys,

    thanks for the anwesers.
    Room is small, around 410 square feet.
    My volume is mostly medium and quiet in the evening.
    Rarely I will crack it up but not for long because I live in an apartment.

    I get the benefits of active speakers but I really want to build something from the ground...
    The Parasound Hint6 looks really good! Thanks for that.

    Regards
     
  9. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Location:
    London
    410 sq ft is quite a large room! I think with a room of that size and those speakers you will need a solid state amplifier.

    Your list is a good list. The only thing I would probably add to it would be a Rega Elicit-R or Aethos, or one of the excellent Devialet amplifiers, although you would probably have to buy second hand for the latter.

    Of your list I would also try the Naim and the Yamaha.
     
    Fekx likes this.
  10. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hi @Fekx

    A few points to make:

    Your room is LARGE, this is a serious factor.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, with these speakers choosing a powerful amp isn’t the choice you make because you want to play your music loud. In fact it is the choice you make for the exact opposite reason :)

    ATC’s “smaller” passive designs - such as the SCM 19 - are a bit different to regular hifi speakers because their heritage is actually in professional recording applications where they have to be capable of playing LOUD for extended periods while maintaining linearity. They can really soak up the watts - and they do!

    What this means in practice is that you need LOTS of power to make them sing at low to medium volumes. If you use an amplifier with too low power output the sound will shrink and become quite dull and lifeless at regular listening levels.

    And generally please be aware of the nature of the speakers you are purchasing. They are transparent in the extreme!!! There is no softness, warmth or frequency roll-off designed into the speaker to make them more pleasant to listen to. As I said, their heritage is in the studio where they are designed as tools to allow a recording engineer to hear deep into the mix.

    This means care should be taken to ensure you enjoy the quality of the upstream components because the speakers won’t tell you any “pleasant lies” to cover up their faults. Also prepare to (possibly) not like some of your favourite albums as much when you hear them for what they really are, haha.

    But on the flip side - prepare to hear deeper into the best recordings than you have previously. That is the upside!

    I cannot tell you which route to take in this situation - I can only offer this advice as a previous ATC owner :)

    So my two cents regarding your amp selection: Of the amps on your original list (with respect to the opinions expressed by shug4476) the Naim would be the FIRST amp I would cross off that list. Not because it isn’t a fine amplifier - it will simply not be capable of delivering sufficient current to these speakers to drive them well.

    And of the amps on your list that would meet the basic criteria for suitability - I.E they’d have a high enough output - that would be the Rotel & the two Musical Fidelity models. If it is possible to hear them in combination with your speakers before you make your purchase this would be highly advisable.

    And even though I personally own a Yamaha integrated amplifier I wouldn’t recommend this pairing. My current speakers benefit from the injection of mild brightness that characterises the Yamaha sound. I think that’s something best avoided with these ATC’s. Besides - while the A-S2200 is a pretty plucky amplifier with good current reserves, my preference remains for an amplifier of at least 200wpc or more!

    For speaker cables may I recommend another “pro audio” product - the Canare 4S11. I got my most recent pair made up by Blue Jeans Cable based in Seattle. I was introduced to them by the ATC dealer I bought my speakers from years ago and they have remained my first choice since then. Don’t let the price fool you! They are excellent cables (made in Japan) that will do a fine job of passing signal between your amp and speakers.

    I hope that helps.
     
    Mad shadows and Fekx like this.
  11. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlskrona- Sweden
    I have a pair of ATC smc20 mkI. I agree with previous posts. They are very reveling and they need lots of power.
    I recommend that you go for a pre/power amp combo. Aim for at least 100 wats. I use Hovland HP-100(tube)/Threshold S200(solidstate) to power my ATC.
     
    Toneh and Fekx like this.
  12. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Location:
    London
    I am a current ATC owner and I actually disagree with the two previous posts (partially) - the amps do not need lots of power and I have drive them very successfully with low powered amplifiers in small rooms.

    However, for your particular room, which is far larger than mine, you will need a fairly (although not massively) powerful amplifier. Any of those on your shortlist will do the job nicely.
     
    Fekx likes this.
  13. Fekx

    Fekx Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Hello guys,

    thanks for the opinions.

    @Toneh
    Thanks a lot for your big post, I'm very thankful!

    So what about this:
    I'm going to get the Rotel RA-1592MKII from my dealer and will test it in my room, if I like it I will keep it.
    If not im going to try one of the Musical Fidelity ones.

    Later dowm the road I will add a pre-amp to my setup.
     
    Toneh likes this.
  14. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Mate - that sounds like the ideal scenario and you're welcome, just offering opinions to (hopefully) get you a good result.
    Let us know how things turn out once it's all set up! Cheers

    PS - Edit @Fekx - assuming the speakers are new they will need some time to "run-in" and loosen up... see if you can arrange with the dealer to keep the amps for at least a couple of days and run as much signal through them as possible so they can loosen up a bit, good luck
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021 at 6:45 AM
    Fekx likes this.
  15. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Location:
    London
    The Rotel is a very nice amp and will suit the ATCs well. Please post back and let us know how you get on!
     
    Fekx likes this.
  16. Fekx

    Fekx Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Getting kind of second thoughts about the rotel, it has all these digital and streaming features I will never ever use. (I'm a physical media kind of guy lol).
    Bluethooth and other connections I really don't need in my stereo setup.

    The Musical Fidelity M6si is also 400€ cheaper at my local dealer.

    Thoughts?
     
  17. TheRealMcCoy

    TheRealMcCoy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I had a Rotel amp for awhile it was OK... when I got my McIntosh amp boy was it worlds better... I don't know anything about Musical Fidelity, probably better than the Rotel.. I have the same speakers and LOVE them driven though my McIntosh Amp... which is 300 watts pretty of juice
     
    Fekx likes this.
  18. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I don’t know about European dealers but here in the U.S., it’s common for dealers to grant discounts between 15 and 25%, sometimes more or less depending on the brand and inventory.

    If that’s the case where you live, I would look into the Gato Amp-150. It’s a bare-bones integrated that looks great and should have sufficient power. At €3995 it should come within your budget if you can manage a discount.

    Review Gato AMP150 integrated amplifier - Alpha Audio NET

    Gato Audio AMP-150 Integrated Amplifier and CDD-1 Compact Disc Player - The Absolute Sound
     
    Fekx likes this.
  19. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I thought you wanted to start with the Rotel based on my assumption that it was the cheapest of the options, haha

    If the M6si is actually cheaper - based on listening experiences with both brands and given your own preference for being a "physical media kind of guy" (good for you, nothing to be ashamed of lol) and therefore not needing any of the Rotels additional functionality - I would probably start with the Musical Fidelity too!!

    If your audio dealer is willing to loan you both however there's probably little harm in trying both - that way you can be sure you made the best choice for yourself?
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021 at 1:52 PM
    Fekx likes this.
  20. Fekx

    Fekx Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks @Toneh, will do and report back how its working out!
     
    Toneh likes this.
  21. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I look forward to it!
     
  22. Brand X

    Brand X Active Member

    Location:
    Northeast US
    About 4 months ago, to replace a pair of Dynaudio Special 40s, I bought a pair of SCM19 MkII speakers. I'm very, very pleased with them. I would never call them "ruthlessly revealing." To my ears (ears that don't like 'ruthlessly revealing'), everything about their sound is musical and pleasant, but yes, they are more revealing than the Dynaudios, in a good, pleasing way, not a ruthless way. I think the SCM19s are great speakers. Folks will often say they're shy on bass, but in my very average living room they do bass that's outstanding. Yes, I use subwoofers with them, but if I turn the subs off for some reason I can sometimes go days before I remember they're off, because the SCM19s bass is so good. One of the reasons I bought them is because I wanted the kind of pure, wonderful bass that only a sealed box speaker can give, and the 19's don't disappoint.

    As far as amplification, I used them for 3 months with my Luxman L-507uX, which is rated 110 watts into 8 ohms. It sounded very nice most of the time, but I did hear some strain that told me more power would be better. I went a little crazy and spent a chunk of money on a 15-year-old Conrad Johnson Premier 350sa, a 350 watt solid state amp that's blowing my mind with it awesomeness. I run it off the pre-amp section of the Luxman. The SCM19 MkIIs absolutely love all that excellent power.

    So what do I recommend? I'd say a good, beefy 200 watts or more, even for average listening levels in an average room, if you want to hear all the incredible dynamics and beauty that these great speakers can deliver.
     
    Steve356, Mad shadows and Toneh like this.
  23. Toneh

    Toneh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I stand by my comment that they are ruthlessly revealing… but I suspect you may have misunderstood my meaning.

    If by describing them as I have you think I mean that they are bright, etched or in any way unpleasant or fatiguing to listen to - that is 100% not what I meant.

    What I mean when I say that (having owned ATC’s myself) is that unlike many other speakers that are “tuned” to sound a certain way, be it warm or rolled off or made to emphasise certain parts of the frequency band… these speakers are not! They merely tell the unvarnised truth of whatever is coming downstream without “editorialising” it.

    I add the “ruthless” bit to make first time owners aware that care should be taken to partner them carefully, specifically because they won’t hide or gloss over the character of the upstream components.

    Other than that I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about their bass performance, a fine example of the best qualities of sealed enclosures. And likewise (as I’m sure you picked up from my previous posts) I couldn’t agree more regarding having a big, solid amp driving them! As I (literally) said above “my preference remains for an amplifier of at least 200wpc or more!”

    I think the Musical Fidelity amps the OP has already arranged to try them with will do nicely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021 at 6:40 PM
    Steve356 and Mad shadows like this.
  24. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    If you have not yet ordered anything, some other things to consider.

    As indicated above, your room is quite large for small 2-way monitors like the ATC19s. How are you intending to use them? If you will only use a small part of the room for nearfield listening, then the 19s make sense. If you plan to use them to play to the entire room, my feeling is that they will be too small (especially without sub-woofers).

    I have considerable experience with ATC speakers, but ONLY with the active models. At various times I have used the 25, 40, 50, 150 and 300 models. The 25 is the smallest, and that is a 3-way design intended for use on top of mixing consoles -- that is nearfield. The 19 is even smaller!

    Given the size of your room, I would consider the SCM40, and, since you do not have electronics, I would suggest opting for the active version. You would still need a pre-amp, but ATC's amplifiers are a perfect match in the active models. Of course, the SCM40 is considerably more expensive, but it is also considerably more capable (the 50, 100 and 150 even more so!).

    I think you definitely need a home demo before pulling the trigger to avoid disappointment.

    If you do go the passive route, I would agree with the posters above that you need stiff amplification. The ATC integrated amp would tick all the boxes, but I note your comment about availability. There are lots of capable options both in traditional Class AB and the new digital amps. Other than global brands like Marantz, Yamaha, Technics, etc. it can be difficult to make suggestions due to local availability. Europe has some excellent manufacturers like Copland, Electrocompaniet, Gryphon, etc. but they are all pricey, and likely a more expensive option than active ATCs.

    I don't know what the used market is like near you, but buying a used integrated or pre-power combination might save you some money -- amps from the likes of Bryston are pretty much bullet-proof, so you could buy with confidence.
     
    Mad shadows and Linger63 like this.
  25. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlskrona- Sweden
    I would go for the smc 19 since it has the SL bas/mid element. I have both smc20 mkI and smc 35. The smc 35 is basically the same as the current smc 40 with an other tremble element. The smc 20 is imho an all together a better speaker. It has better tonality, soundstage etc. I think it's in large part due to the high quality mid/bas element. I believe if you pair the smc 19 with a stout amplifier it will handel your room.
     
    Toneh likes this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine