Question Active LS50's vs passive ATC's

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
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Hi guys,

Hope you're all keeping well during these crazy times.

I'm currently using active LS50's with an Innuos Zenith MK2 server which I'm very happy with, apart from one issue...

Due to my relatively small living room, the KEF's are quite boomy with the bass on certain tracks which ruins the listening experience for me.

I've looked around for a sealed box design speaker which has led me to the ATC SCM7 speaker's, which I would probably pair with the ATC SIA100 integrated amp (100 watts per channel). The amp has a USB input so I could continue using the Innuos as a source.

Question is, would the ATC combo be a good alternative to the active KEF?

Obviously a demo is in order but I thought I'd ask on here just in case someone has experience of the ATC's.

Thanks guys.
 
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ast2312

Active member
May 3, 2020
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Hi,

I can offer some experience with ATC SCM7's but unable to compare to LS50 Actives. I too am trying to put together system for a small room and have tried the ATC's with a Brio amp. Worked well in a small room (2.5 x 3.5) once I adjusted the treble/bass in the Bluesound (not preferred but improved the sound). Worth also mentioning that the room itself is terrible for acoustics, almost a cube in shape with all hard reflective surfaces.

What I would say is that the speakers are not fussy with placement at all and this may help with your selection. Once set-up they worked really well but I guess putting more power in them will also control them better.

Hope this may help.
 

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
16
5
25
Hi,

I can offer some experience with ATC SCM7's but unable to compare to LS50 Actives. I too am trying to put together system for a small room and have tried the ATC's with a Brio amp. Worked well in a small room (2.5 x 3.5) once I adjusted the treble/bass in the Bluesound (not preferred but improved the sound). Worth also mentioning that the room itself is terrible for acoustics, almost a cube in shape with all hard reflective surfaces.

What I would say is that the speakers are not fussy with placement at all and this may help with your selection. Once set-up they worked really well but I guess putting more power in them will also control them better.

Hope this may help.
Hi, thanks for replying.
My room is around 6x3.5 but the speakers are placed along the long wall so not ideal to start with.

Good to know the ATCs aren't fussy about placement as they will be placed as close to the wall as possible.
 

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
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If you can afford them I found the larger SCM11s to be a better speaker all round.
As the speakers will be placed up against the long wall of my living room (around 6x3.5m) the 11's may be too big for the room.

How do you have yours setup?
 

Al ears

Moderator
Nov 23, 2008
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As the speakers will be placed up against the long wall of my living room (around 6x3.5m) the 11's may be too big for the room.

How do you have yours setup?
As you may notice from my signature but when I did it was in a room smaller than yours, on good stands (pretty essential) and about 10cm from rear wall.
 

SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
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18,545
Hi guys,

Question is, would the ATC combo be a good alternative to the active KEF?
In the room you describe, with the speakers against the wall, boomy bass is going to be a problem. I think that the ATC-based system you describe is fantastic, probably an upgrade (somewhat) over what you have, and a sealed box will be generally less boomy. But you really won't solve this problem by throwing money at it, and you have great kit already.

My first choice would be to try to deal with the room. Can you put something on the wall to absorb some bass? There are commercial products that mount on wall or ceiling that absorb bass, and you could increase the amount of fabric in the room.

Second choice, try stuffing the ports on your KEFs. If you get some acoustic felt and lightly stuff the ports, it will give you an aperiodic tuning. Stuffing them tightly with the same felt, or with a wad of tissue, will give you a sealed box. Definitely try this - each will sound different and it will cut the bass for sure.

Tuning your system to your room is the most overlooked part of all this. People expect that there is some perfect set of speakers out there. And maybe there is if you're really lucky. But think of it like buying a suit. The high rollers will always go for bespoke. A pro sound engineer can make your living room sound however he wants - enough DSP, tuning, and budget and it sounds how you want. Then there are the guys who buy suit after suit off the rack, hoping to find a brand that fits.

The right move if you're on a budget is buy a suit you can afford, and find a great tailor. Move your speakers around. Stuff the ports. Tack a white blanket to the ceiling when your wife is away. Try to tune what you've got to your challenging room because, chances are, new speakers just will restart the same process.
 

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
16
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25
My first choice would be to try to deal with the room. Can you put something on the wall to absorb some bass? There are commercial products that mount on wall or ceiling that absorb bass, and you could increase the amount of fabric in the room.

Second choice, try stuffing the ports on your KEFs. If you get some acoustic felt and lightly stuff the ports, it will give you an aperiodic tuning. Stuffing them tightly with the same felt, or with a wad of tissue, will give you a sealed box. Definitely try this - each will sound different and it will cut the bass for sure.
I have got some GIK panels behind the sofa which improved slap and flutter echo significantly. Unfortunately there's only so much you can have on the walls before the 'WAF' comes into play!
I think I'll try putting some of the panels behind the speakers on Sunday and see how that goes.

Oddly, the bass issue improved the closer I place the speakers to the wall. Would've liked to get closer but my mains cables on the KEF's prevents that.

Have tried stuffing the ports but was never 100% happy with what it did to the sound.
 

SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
33
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18,545
Check the distance from the side walls too - that matters a lot. And if you get new speakers, try to book a home demo first. With ATC, their dealers are high quality so it should be possible. I also echo another poster above - don't rule out SCM11s. They are way better than the 7s, I love them, and I don't think the bass will be too boomy (check it out in any case). With the sealed box, the 7s might be too far the other way.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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Doesn’t the active LS50 have some sort of bass shaping function in the software, to account for front wall proximity?
 

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
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Check the distance from the side walls too - that matters a lot.
Mine are around 2m from the side walls.

Spoke with a dealer today who said he'd sort out a home demo for me so we'll see how that goes.

Quite intrigued to see how a more 'traditional' setup compares with a one box KEF system.
 

Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
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Doesn’t the active LS50 have some sort of bass shaping function in the software, to account for front wall proximity?
You're right you can use the KEF's app to set how closely they are to the wall. It's a -6db to +6db swing.

You can also adjust the bass extension, depending on how small/large your room is.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
108
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18,595
You're right you can use the KEF's app to set how closely they are to the wall. It's a -6db to +6db swing.

You can also adjust the bass extension, depending on how small/large your room is.
So is that any help? Much as I like ATCs - I have a pair of SCM40 - I’d have expected the KEF to be amenable to placement issues.
 
There aren’t many sealed box loudspeakers around, although there are some ported ones that can work against a wall, and some which are designed to.

While the the SCM7 might help solve the bass issue somewhat, you'll find them less forgiving and may find them a little on the ‘dull’ side compared to what you're used to. Dull may be a little too negative and slightly strong word to use, but I can’t think of any other way to convey it. Plus, most KEF users tend to settle in to the UniQ presentation. Plus you’ll get the benefits of active.

If you like the sound you get from your LS50s, then the LS50 Wireless will help solve that for you as you have the DSP controls to reign in the bass. One of my customers is in a specific situation where virtually all speakers produce boom, but when he tried the LS50 Wireless, he was able to set them to work to his liking.

Have you tried using the outer part of the provided foam bung? Take out the inner bit and it still allows airflow, but doesn’t completely stifle it, so helps retain the sound of the speaker - usually a full foam bung kills the natural sound of any speaker.
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
While the the SCM7 might help solve the bass issue somewhat, you'll find them less forgiving and may find them a little on the ‘dull’ side compared to what you're used to. Dull may be a little too negative and slightly strong word to use, but I can’t think of any other way to convey it.
ATC designs and build monitors. How might curved SCM7 passive monitors sound dull. They are flat and honest. They have been designed to reveal the quality of what they are fed with as effectively as possible. The only way around this look at speakers which warm up the sound. However this warmth is distortion. So there’s your choice.

To the OP (Stickboy1985). Please take at ATC's Corporate brochure for a background on ATC's take on loudspeaker design -

http://atcforums.co.uk/pdf/ATC CORP BROCHURE.pdf

Page 6 -

"The aims of the forefathers of the industry seem to have been completely forgotten and many loudspeakers of today's manufacturers are described as being musically involving, having pace, rhythm and slam or as just being a musical experience, words which might have a definite subjective meaning to the originator, cause confusion and suspicion in the mind of the public, and provide the less scrupulous with a cover for rather cynical products poorly engineered."

ATC Transducer. A precision monitoring instrument.
 
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Stickboy1985

Active member
May 7, 2020
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There aren’t many sealed box loudspeakers around, although there are some ported ones that can work against a wall, and some which are designed to.

While the the SCM7 might help solve the bass issue somewhat, you'll find them less forgiving and may find them a little on the ‘dull’ side compared to what you're used to. Dull may be a little too negative and slightly strong word to use, but I can’t think of any other way to convey it. Plus, most KEF users tend to settle in to the UniQ presentation. Plus you’ll get the benefits of active.

If you like the sound you get from your LS50s, then the LS50 Wireless will help solve that for you as you have the DSP controls to reign in the bass. One of my customers is in a specific situation where virtually all speakers produce boom, but when he tried the LS50 Wireless, he was able to set them to work to his liking.

Have you tried using the outer part of the provided foam bung? Take out the inner bit and it still allows airflow, but doesn’t completely stifle it, so helps retain the sound of the speaker - usually a full foam bung kills the natural sound of any speaker.
I have tried the KEF's DSP settings but I'm still getting issues. It may just be that I have a defective room. I also tried using the outer part of the foam bung but couldn't live with it, sounded too unnatural for me.

However I will give the ATC's a try just to eliminate the possibility it's the KEF's that's giving me grief.

I was lucky to hear a few pairs of ATC speaker's at an event a few months before COVID struck and I liked what I heard.

Have spoken with a dealer and he's offered the SCM7's and a Hegel H120 amp for home demo. Not had the pleasure of hearing an Hegel amp in person but I've only ever read good things about them.

All the reviews of the KEF's, said how good value for money they were so I guess we'll see how true that really is!

I'll update the thread when the situation develops. Watch this space!
 
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MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
but I'm still getting issues. It may just be that I have a defective room.

the SCM7's and a Hegel H120 amp for home demo.
As you're potentially having issues with your room then you might be interested in the following which i posted on here in another thread a couple of weeks ago -

***** I'll keep this as brief as possible.

I was asked by a client to visit him because he wanted to show me and listen to his new single chassis £3k amplifier which according to our client"wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps costing many times more.

First, we heard the DAC, pre amp/mono's and B&W 805's with a B&W ASW675 sub. This system sounded pretty damn good to me (y)

Next, the DAC and the pre amp/mono's were substituted for Lyngdorf Audio'sTDAI-2170 digital amplifier. Before playing something our client asked me to put my ear next to the 805's with the TDAI-2170's volume on max. I heard nothing. No noise, no hiss and no hum. Nothing. The TDA-2170 was dead quiet. Next with the volume now turned down our client hit play on the CDP. The result was WOW :) Our client wasn't kidding when he said the TDAI-2170 "wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps (which are all massively built and impressive to look at btw).

Things were set to get even better because our client now activated the ace up the TDAI-2170's and Lyngdorf Audio's sleeve. Lyngdorf Audio's Room Perfect room correction. RoomPerfect maps and corrects the acoustic errors of the room and importantly without changing the characteristics of the loudspeakers. I'd read about RoomPerfect and now i got experience the technology first hand. The 805's/ASW675 were now locked together, without a change in their presentation, playing as one and simply breathing. My jaw hit the floor.

With the restrictions in place and being at home i got a hold of the daddy in the range the TDAI-3400. Sure enough the qualities of the TDAI-2170 which to put it mildly impressed me so much are carried over to the TDAI-3400 and then some. The TDAI-3400 is stunning. Just stunning.

Anyway, based on my experience of the TDAI-2170 and the TDAI-3400 if you want to stay around £2k, 60w of power, digital amplification and the bee's knees of room correction then Lyngdorf Audio's new TDAI-1120 streaming digital amplifier at £2190 is also worth bearing in mind. *****

There you have it. If possible please also try and hear the SCM7's with a TDAI-1120. Based on my experience RoomPerfect will map and correct the acoustic errors of your room while preserving the qualities of the SCM7's. Fwiw, i am using a TDAI-3400 (listed in my signature) and have the speakers either side of a cabinet and right against the wall and with the subwoofer in the corner. With RoomPerfect there is no boom, bloom , gloom, tizz, brightness, flatness or any other nasties. RoomPerfect has simply snapped my system into focus.
 
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SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
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The weakest link in all of our systems is our living room, and yet audiophiles are very hesitant about room correction. It is an absolutely essential part of every pro audio setup, and is just as important during the soundcheck these days as getting the mix right. Audiophiles will spend a fortune on cables, looking for a tiny uptick in performance, and meanwhile products like RoomPerfect could completely transform their system beyond any cable or possibly even component. It ought to be the future but we keep saying that.
 
ATC designs and build monitors. How might curved SCM7 passive monitors sound dull. They are flat and honest. They have been designed to reveal the quality of what they are fed with as effectively as possible. The only way around this look at speakers which warm up the sound. However this warmth is distortion. So there’s your choice.
Maybe go back, re-read my post, and read it for what it says, rather than what you want to take from it.
 

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