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Yesterday, to my wallet's extreme misfortune, I heard the ATC SCM40 speakers at the Studio inside the Pearl Hotel Casino. While the 80 track control room was very impressive (in a look but don't touch way like the cockpit of a old 747 aircraft), it wasn't the highlight of the morning as I was expecting it to be.

Instead, the new ATC SCM40 speakers stole the show.



The SCM40's were being driven by the 100w/ch ATC SIACD integrated amp/cd player.



Speaker wire was 12 gauge stranded copper wire, haphazardly set on the floor, even crossing over itself on the right channel speaker. Power was supplied by an orange 50' extension cord… In other words, while the studio power was conditioned, no extra care was taken to the equipment setup. The focus was on the speakers.

Source materials were cd's and a macbook pro playing iTunes songs. He also used some other software to play a 192/24 source or three, but mostly it was just plain apple lossless or CDs.

The ATC SCM40's were very detailed. This is both good and bad. The good is that you hear exactly what the studio engineer/producer intended you to hear. The bad is you hear poorly engineered recordings and will hate them.

We had a very good presentation on some of the variables a studio engineer has to deal with such as choosing the correct microphone for the singer (to avoid sibilance, etc.). TransAudio Group, the US distributor for ATC, President Brad Lunde made the presentation. He was very knowledgable and personable (you can meet him at CES and make your own judgement).

Several songs really stood out with the ATC SCM40's: The opening acoustic guitar riff from Pinball Wizard by the Who played crystal clear on the right speaker, with the electric guitar coming in at full force on the left speaker. Imaging and soundstage, as well as the musical emotion came through and grabbed the listener. James Taylor's Fire and Rain raised the hair on my arms. The strings were clear, audible, and provided depth to the song. Jame's vocals were superb. It was astonishing to me. I'd never heard music sound this good short of a live performance (I've had a string quartet play in my house and I played the trumpet throughout college). One other song stood out, one I wasn't familiar with: Lorde "Royals". The deep bass notes came through deep, clear, and strong enough that you felt them.

Given that these speakers are ATC's entry range, I am very curious what their active speakers sound like. I'm going to have to find out!

The bad news is that speakers this good have a price point north of $6k per pair (roughly). I'm saving my money as I haven't heard anything better (and I've heard big Maggies, Martin Logans driven by Conrad Johnson tube gear, top line Ushers driven by 1.2kW McIntosh amps, etc.). These speakers were truly impressive to me.
 

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Very interesting... wish I had somewhere around here to listen to speakers like these. I suppose that is one of the drawbacks of living in Alabama. :huh:
 

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All the ones I've seen before have a black speaker baffle, I really like this look and would love to hear them.
 

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All the ones I've seen before have a black speaker baffle, I really like this look and would love to hear them.
This is their new speaker and it does look so much better than the older ones, plus the midrange is the 's' version (that's the good one).

The new grills are iffy though, from a WAF standpoint.

I'm trying to score a pair for an 'in home' eval. Probably have to wait until after CES. I really want to hear them in house before plunking down that kind of $$$. I want to eliminate the studio from the equation to ensure it wasn't a larger part of how well they sounded. I can't do too much more of this :spend: without repercussions. :D

I'm telling you, they were astonishing. I'm somewhat emotional, but it takes quite the sound to get the hair standing up on my arms. That has only happened before at live events in acoustically excellent venues (The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, for instance).
 

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Just found out that the pair of SCM40's that were demo'd are now in the owner's house, replacing his older SCM40's (sold to someone who is picking them up at CES). :crying:

Good news is he has some SCM50's coming in. Maybe those will end up being demo'd in the house instead. They'll have to be pretty special to beat out what I heard from the SCM40's though.
 
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