A pair of super expensive active speaker in a non treated room?

Hi all,

Everything is in the title.
Just to give a little bit of context, I am looking at offering myself a superb pair of speakers for my 40th birthday :sunglasses:
I will likely choose an active pair of speaker. Atc scm 40a and 50aslt have kept my attention (buchardts as well). Even if budget is not an issue, I am wondering if the bigger/ more expensive model, scm50aslt , would be unjustified for my untreated living room (40m2)?
What do you think?


I’m sure you’ll be pleased with whatever you buy yourself at that level and the scm50aslt look lovely, even if you never get the chance to turn them up fully :slight_smile:

Not as living room friendly as the ATC’s, but if your room has complex acoustics you may find that active monitors with built in automated Room EQ (like the Genelec Ones/GLM) helps gets the best out of them in a less than perfect space.

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You may not be getting all their potential extracted, but could always add treatment and/or room correction at a later stage.
If you’ve got the money to blow, go for it and have fun… of course there are alternatives, but it ultimately comes down to your tastes.

I have a pair of ATC SCM50 ASLTs with the Anniversary amp pack in an untreated 6.4 x 5.2 x 3.3m room. They are utterly magnificent, worth every penny and then some. Don’t hesitate. You and they are worth it. The 50s and above have the pro midrange and tweeter units and SL bass drivers, so more power handling, less distortion. Whether you pick the towers or the stand mounts is down to your taste. Towers maybe look nicer domestically, stand mounts give you the option of more easily varying the height of the speaker. The midrange unit should be at or above ear height, so work back from that. I’ve had SM100ASLs and SCM25s. Once you’ve seriously listened to music on ATCs you’ll find it hard to live with anything else. Cheapo drive units in a box with DSP to mask inadequacies they are not.

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Thanks a lot!
40a seem already great, and obviously a twice more expensive speaker will not be 2 times better, especially in an untreated room (hard to evaluate).
I will try to negociate a double demo at home :sunglasses:
Any scm40a users?

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… not obvious to me! The 40As are certainly a sweet spot in the domestic range, but the 50s are worth the money too.

Have you tried both?

As my Grandad used to say: A speaker in a tiled bathroom will still sound like a tiled bathroom.

So you should ask yourself how bad or good are your rooms accoustics? If you cant answer that with confidence then measure it to confirm. Then treat to fix.

Any speaker (of any price) will be more enjoyable in a room which accoustically allows them to sound their best. Otherwise you’re just listening to the room and not the speaker.

Treatment and positioning should not be overlooked. And apart from WAF, positioning is free.


Happy owner of 50s active here. Previous house listening area was small and untreated but good wood floor to help.

These speakers are very balanced and forgiving of the room. The port is in the front, which is helping for positionning.

Bass extension is better obviously with the 50s vs the 40s. So depends what you are listening to and your taste.

As these speakers have low distorsion especially in the low end area, people used to artificial boomy bass would need time to appreciate and readjust to more neutral sounding. The 50s are helping here with more bass extension.

I have added an ATC C4 sub to the team recently. It is blending very well with the mains. But not such a dramatic improvement. Just more support because I have now a very large listening room. That is to say that the 50s are already more than enough and would not need a sub in a more standard size room.

I was driving them with the ATC preamp CA2, then SCA2 and currently just directly with the Trinnov ST2-Hifi. I would be carefull with the preamp choice. One of my friend didn’t like them drived by a tube preamp for instance. Look for matching impedance.

The ATC passives are difficult to drive, so the actives are (relatively) a bargain and the best choice.


I have had SCM100ASLs and SCM25As before I got my SCM50ASLTs. The SCM25As have I believe the same bass and midrange units as the 40s, but in a smaller cabinet. There are very good. But they aren’t 50s. The 50s have a different midrange driver and the SL bass driver. I’ve also heard 40As and 50ASLs side by side. Both speakers are recognisably ATC, and both are good, but the 50s are just an awful lot better, as they should be. The 50ASLs are recognised as an industry standard. Take your time deciding. Nobody has a perfect room. Doesn’t mean if Eric Clapton came round and offered to play for you you’d say you’d rather listen to someone half as good because your room wasn’t perfect.


Hey there. I’ve had many different models over the years, and a producer friend recommended the Klipsch Heresy IIIs and they are AMAZING! Quite a change from my towers and bookshelf models. I do have a bias for Klipsch, but for the price compared to boutique models they are stellar. They cover so much frequency range that my subwoofer doesn’t respond. I’ve got a pretty beefy Arcam receiver/amp and it sounds great.
[edit] Sorry, I didn’t realize you were looking for “active” speakers. I’ve got a pair of Tascam 10" monitors that are pretty good, but not for hi-fidelity.

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I have the Buchardt A700, they are brilliant. They also have and room EQ function, works really well.

There have been some issues with the HUB for some users, I haven’t had them but some have. Buchardt is working on their own HUB, but I do believe it is some time away.

I use it via. Chromecast, but you can also use your own streamer and connect it to the hub, all in all it is a neat setup.

It really sounds hard to go wrong with those SCM50 ASLTs. The price is… well, I’ve always found that the sting of paying for something really good fades pretty quickly, while doubts about something bought as a compromise can last for quite awhile.

If you get those speakers then find that the room is intruding horrifically, you can investigate room treatments (or DSP, which Roon can do once you’ve done your measurements and coefficient creation), all in the context of helping those magnificent speakers sound their best.

I don’t really want to try to talk you off your ATC plan, because those are damned fine speakers, but for others shopping for some exceptionally good active speakers who’d like a few brands to consider – note that the less generally well known Swiss company PSI makes some really engaging-to-listen-to speakers.

I have a pair of the A21-Ms – which are smaller and more affordable than the ATCs you’re considering, so not a direct comparison, but there are very interesting options higher in the PSI line. The PSI speakers do a remarkable job of delivering me incredible amounts of information from a recording – helping pull me into the music’s energy and flow – without the listening fatigue I associate with some other transducers which seem subjectively high-detail. PSI pay a lot of attention to controlling phase for all the drivers, which helps them convey lots of un-muddied detail and helps them image startlingly well – but they do this all in the analog domain, so you needn’t fret about an extra analog to digital to analog sequence buried in your loudspeakers.


If budget isn’t an issue, what about Kii Three with BXTs?

I have the Kii Three without the BXTs in an untreated room and it sound splendid, and even better with room correction. With the BXT bass modules I would believe it’s fabulous.

Thanks, likely one of the best pair of speakers on the market.

The problem is that having them in the livin room means WAF should be above a certain threshold. I am afraid Kii + BTX stands quite below that threshold :sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

Just imagine how lovely they will look in metallic pink! If that’s not WAF, then what is?

:joy::joy::joy: so lovely!

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I agree with Jez, once you’ve seriously listened to music on ATCs, you’ll find it hard to live with anything else.
I trialled both the ATC 40 actives and the 50 actives. The 40s sounded great in a small demo room but were a bit less impressive in my 50 sq m room. I opted for the 50s in my untreated 7 x 7 x 2.2 m room and have no regrets whatsoever (that I spent twice the original budget).


About 2 months ago I got a pair of ATC SCM40A. I am waiting (4 months now) for a Bryston BP26. When that comes in I intend to get a pair of REL T9x. I’ve got a large open room and the base from the 40As is just not enough. Overall I’m happy with the ATCs.

Sad part is I can’t here above 7 KHz.

On a side note, this past spring I got two small near field Adam Audio speakers and the associated sub for my computer. They are VERY CLEAR. A real enjoyment.

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ATC are awesome but for the money I would suggest trying to find some where to listen to Barefoot Sound MM27 etc,. before I dropped the coin. Flatter down to 20Hz without a port.


This is what you will find in most recording studios.