Sound Signature of British HI-Fi Speakers.

rana_kirti

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Oct 24, 2009
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Hi,

I'm trying to helping a friend buy some bookshelf speakers. He's lives in a remote place and has no chance to hear/demo any of these. He's keen on these brands/models...

1. ProAc Studio 110
2. ATC SCM 11
3. PMC DB1i
4. Spendor SA1
5. Spendor S3/5R

Can anyone who has heard these speakers or these above brands in particular put in a few words the sonic/sound signature of the above in terms of bright/clinical/dynamic/warm/smooth/musical etc.

Thanks,

Rana.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
rana_kirti said:
Hi,

I'm trying to helping a friend buy some bookshelf speakers. He's lives in a remote place and has no chance to hear/demo any of these. He's keen on these brands/models...

1. ProAc Studio 110
2. ATC SCM 11
3. PMC DB1i
4. Spendor SA1
5. Spendor S3/5R

Can anyone who has heard these speakers or these above brands in particular put in a few words the sonic/sound signature of the above in terms of bright/clinical/dynamic/warm/smooth/musical etc.

Thanks,

Rana.
From your list I've only heard the PMC DB1i, Spendors SA-1 and ATCs.

PMC: Well balanced, detailed. The tonally they can verge on smooth and have crunching bass for such a small monitor.

Spendor: Very detailed, neutral and slightly smoother than PMC. Wonderful little speaker.

ATC SCM11: Only heard briefly. Immensely neutral (some would describe them as cold) and a good speaker with a gutsy and smooth amp.

The PMCs and Spendors I've heard with my current set-up (Leema Pulse, Arcam CD73T) but ATCs heard via Naim Nait 5i and Cyrus 6SE combo.

Edit - Spendor and ATC are a closed or sealed enclosures. They are harder to drive than the PMCs, resulting in some low volume deprivation.

All these three are capable with the right amp and room acoustics.
 

Inter_Voice

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Oct 5, 2010
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It depends on the type of music your friend loves and any constraints in placement of the speakers. If your friend has to place the speakers near to the wall buy speakers with sealed box design, however if he can spare about 2 ft from the wall and corner then speakers with rear ports should not be a problem and they will provide better bass than the former.

If your friend loves vocals, jazz, acoustics and classical music then I would recommend Spendor SA-1. I also bought it blind without audition. Just bear in mind that SA-1 is not a sensitive speaker and needs some juice from the amplifier, something like 80W should drive it with ease. Its bass is just down to 60-70Hz nevertheless it is very tight due to its sealed box design. A good small sub-woofer can certainly extend its bass department down to 30Hz, say using products from MK or MJ Acoustics.

PCM and ProAc are also very good speakers and worth considering.
 

rana_kirti

New member
Oct 24, 2009
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:) thanks inter and plastic for your inputs. David i'd be looking forward to an input from you when you have time for same.

i spoke to my friend and he gave me some more info. He'd like the speakers for Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop. Also he said he'd like a smooth/musical sound with the treble recessed/rolled off. Some thing easy on the ears and suitable for long listening sessions. He does not want something too dynamic/energetic or clinical/bright/forward sounding.

Do the above bookshelves fit the bill or are there some others he should consider in the same price range of about upto £ 1200...?

Thanks
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
rana_kirti said:
:) thanks inter and plastic for your inputs. David i'd be looking forward to an input from you when you have time for same.

i spoke to my friend and he gave me some more info. He'd like the speakers for Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop. Also he said he'd like a smooth/musical sound with the treble recessed/rolled off. Some thing easy on the ears and suitable for long listening sessions. He does not want something too dynamic/energetic or clinical/bright/forward sounding.

Do the above bookshelves fit the bill or are there some others he should consider in the same price range of about upto £ 1200...?

Thanks
Out of the ones I've mentioned, PMC have a slightly recessed midrange and the Spendor SA-1 are just slightly smoother throughout the whole frequency. If the amp is sub-£1500 for long listening sessions (and all for occasions) PMC and Spendor fit the bill perfectly. The ATC is a cracking speaker if you want to annoy the neighbours but not much good if you have a young family and you play at low levels.

The Spendors are pretty much amplifier orientated, but not as demanding as the ATCs.
 
"The ATC is a cracking speaker if you want to annoy the neighbours but not much good if you have a young family and you play at low levels "

Hi plastic penguin

I find ATC monitors to be quiet at all listening levels ;) :)

Merry Christmas

Rick @ Musicraft
 

Inter_Voice

New member
Oct 5, 2010
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rana_kirti said:
:) thanks inter and plastic for your inputs. David i'd be looking forward to an input from you when you have time for same.

i spoke to my friend and he gave me some more info. He'd like the speakers for Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop. Also he said he'd like a smooth/musical sound with the treble recessed/rolled off. Some thing easy on the ears and suitable for long listening sessions. He does not want something too dynamic/energetic or clinical/bright/forward sounding.

Do the above bookshelves fit the bill or are there some others he should consider in the same price range of about upto £ 1200...?

Thanks
If your friend likes Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop then PMC should be a better choice due to its better bass department. For SA-1 you will find it lacks its low freq. which will certainly disappoint rock music listeners. A budget of £1200 should be okay for a pair of PMC.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
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18,890
rana_kirti said:
1. ProAc Studio 110
2. ATC SCM 11
3. PMC DB1i
4. Spendor SA1
5. Spendor S3/5R

Can anyone who has heard these speakers or these above brands in particular put in a few words the sonic/sound signature of the above in terms of bright/clinical/dynamic/warm/smooth/musical etc.
The two Spendors are probably going to be the most limited in terms of their LF driver size, and as mentioned, being sealed cabinets they're going to struggle with the likes of his musical tastes. I would say those particular Spendors tend to suit 'real' instruments, particularly the likes of string quartets and woodwind instruments. Because of their small bass driver and relatively small cabinet volume, they will come across as lean, but are very tuneful and fast, and are very easy to place. The SA1 is the better speaker, but the S3/5R2 comes pretty close.

The ATC's will be similar to the Spendors in some respects, but their bigger LF driver packs more of a punch. Again, their sealed design does mean they're not going to reach the loest notes, but they are very articulate like the Spendors, but sound meatier. The SCM11's and the SA1'a and S3/5r2's are naturally inefficient due to their sealed cabinet, so do require a dynamic ampifier to 'bring them to life'. None of these will be the best for low level listening (again, a usual drawback of being a low efficiency, sealed design).

The DB1i's are more efficient, and are probably the most energetic and lively sounding of this bunch, making them one of the better choices for low level listening. Even though they're front ported, they will like a little bit of space to breathe, especially if higher volumes are required. They do have a bit of warmth to them, more so than those previously mentioned, and this along with their lively sound gives them probably the sweetest sound of the bunch.

The ProAcs have a bit of an advantage due to their cabinet volume (as does the ATC, but it's sort of cancelled out as they're sealed), and seem to possess all the positives of the speakers mentioned so far. They're a sweet, slightly warm sounding speaker like the DB1i's, but have better bass and midrange performance than the smaller speakers on this list due to it's larger bass driver, which will reach deeper than the others thanks to the ported design, which is situated on the front, so are easier to place than rear ported speakers.

I'd say they're all 'musical', and all dynamic within their own limitations.

For a waide variety of music, and in particular more demanding music, I'd have to say it's between the ProAcs and the ATC's. Which would be the most ideal depends on his personal tastes, and also his existing amplification, and quite possibly, placement requirements.

I hope this (subjective) view helps :)
 

datay

New member
Nov 19, 2008
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
rana_kirti said:
1. ProAc Studio 110
2. ATC SCM 11
3. PMC DB1i
4. Spendor SA1
5. Spendor S3/5R

Can anyone who has heard these speakers or these above brands in particular put in a few words the sonic/sound signature of the above in terms of bright/clinical/dynamic/warm/smooth/musical etc.
The two Spendors are probably going to be the most limited in terms of their LF driver size, and as mentioned, being sealed cabinets they're going to struggle with the likes of his musical tastes. I would say those particular Spendors tend to suit 'real' instruments, particularly the likes of string quartets and woodwind instruments. Because of their small bass driver and relatively small cabinet volume, they will come across as lean, but are very tuneful and fast, and are very easy to place. The SA1 is the better speaker, but the S3/5R2 comes pretty close.

The ATC's will be similar to the Spendors in some respects, but their bigger LF driver packs more of a punch. Again, their sealed design does mean they're not going to reach the loest notes, but they are very articulate like the Spendors, but sound meatier. The SCM11's and the SA1'a and S3/5r2's are naturally inefficient due to their sealed cabinet, so do require a dynamic ampifier to 'bring them to life'. None of these will be the best for low level listening (again, a usual drawback of being a low efficiency, sealed design).

The DB1i's are more efficient, and are probably the most energetic and lively sounding of this bunch, making them one of the better choices for low level listening. Even though they're front ported, they will like a little bit of space to breathe, especially if higher volumes are required. They do have a bit of warmth to them, more so than those previously mentioned, and this along with their lively sound gives them probably the sweetest sound of the bunch.

The ProAcs have a bit of an advantage due to their cabinet volume (as does the ATC, but it's sort of cancelled out as they're sealed), and seem to possess all the positives of the speakers mentioned so far. They're a sweet, slightly warm sounding speaker like the DB1i's, but have better bass and midrange performance than the smaller speakers on this list due to it's larger bass driver, which will reach deeper than the others thanks to the ported design, which is situated on the front, so are easier to place than rear ported speakers.

I'd say they're all 'musical', and all dynamic within their own limitations.

For a waide variety of music, and in particular more demanding music, I'd have to say it's between the ProAcs and the ATC's. Which would be the most ideal depends on his personal tastes, and also his existing amplification, and quite possibly, placement requirements.

I hope this (subjective) view helps :)
Excellent summary David but you've got mixed up - the DB1i's transmission line is ported out the back, not the front.

I owned that speaker and as an all-rounder in a small room with the music listed above I'd say it's a strong contender. Certainly not fatiguing in any way, sweet sounding and lively, excellent at low as well as higher volumes.
 

iceman16

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2011
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18,620
MUSICRAFT said:
"The ATC is a cracking speaker if you want to annoy the neighbours but not much good if you have a young family and you play at low levels "

Hi plastic penguin

I find ATC monitors to be quiet at all listening levels ;) :)

Merry Christmas

Rick @ Musicraft
+1
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
rana_kirti said:
1. ProAc Studio 110
2. ATC SCM 11
3. PMC DB1i
4. Spendor SA1
5. Spendor S3/5R

Can anyone who has heard these speakers or these above brands in particular put in a few words the sonic/sound signature of the above in terms of bright/clinical/dynamic/warm/smooth/musical etc.
The two Spendors are probably going to be the most limited in terms of their LF driver size, and as mentioned, being sealed cabinets they're going to struggle with the likes of his musical tastes. I would say those particular Spendors tend to suit 'real' instruments, particularly the likes of string quartets and woodwind instruments. Because of their small bass driver and relatively small cabinet volume, they will come across as lean, but are very tuneful and fast, and are very easy to place. The SA1 is the better speaker, but the S3/5R2 comes pretty close.

The ATC's will be similar to the Spendors in some respects, but their bigger LF driver packs more of a punch. Again, their sealed design does mean they're not going to reach the loest notes, but they are very articulate like the Spendors, but sound meatier. The SCM11's and the SA1'a and S3/5r2's are naturally inefficient due to their sealed cabinet, so do require a dynamic ampifier to 'bring them to life'. None of these will be the best for low level listening (again, a usual drawback of being a low efficiency, sealed design).

The DB1i's are more efficient, and are probably the most energetic and lively sounding of this bunch, making them one of the better choices for low level listening. Even though they're front ported, they will like a little bit of space to breathe, especially if higher volumes are required. They do have a bit of warmth to them, more so than those previously mentioned, and this along with their lively sound gives them probably the sweetest sound of the bunch.

The ProAcs have a bit of an advantage due to their cabinet volume (as does the ATC, but it's sort of cancelled out as they're sealed), and seem to possess all the positives of the speakers mentioned so far. They're a sweet, slightly warm sounding speaker like the DB1i's, but have better bass and midrange performance than the smaller speakers on this list due to it's larger bass driver, which will reach deeper than the others thanks to the ported design, which is situated on the front, so are easier to place than rear ported speakers.

I'd say they're all 'musical', and all dynamic within their own limitations.

For a waide variety of music, and in particular more demanding music, I'd have to say it's between the ProAcs and the ATC's. Which would be the most ideal depends on his personal tastes, and also his existing amplification, and quite possibly, placement requirements.

I hope this (subjective) view helps :)
David is pretty much on target, given his taste in music I'd go for either Proac or PMC. I love my Spendor's but they're really optimised for acoustic instruments and female voices, when playing pop/ Rock even my Wharfdales leave them in the dust, same goes for the S3/ 5R. The PMC will pump out most bass and it'll be quality as well as quantity, my gut feeling is these would be the one to plump for without audition as they're a good allrounder. Sadly I've never heard the ATC's, can't comment.
 
Spectre said:
Sadly I've never heard the ATC's, can't comment.
Hi Spectre

ATC's SCM11 monitors are low distortion, flat and honest designs. In my experience SCM11 monitors reproduce (amongst their other qualities) the stability and the power of the sound in an uncoloured and natural manner :)

Merry Christmas

Rick @ Musicraft
 

rana_kirti

New member
Oct 24, 2009
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i must offer a sincere thanks to members above who have taken out time to write in detail the traits of the speakers in question. It's because of such helpful members that the forum moves forward. I'm grateful for the help.

It seems to me that the speaker to buy without being able to demo will be the Proac Studio 110. I read a bit more and seems they have been replaced by 115 which should be better than the 110.

So keeping in mind that my friend decides to go for the Proac Studio 115, which integrated amplifier whould be ideal match ? Kindly keep in mind he avoids bright/forward/lean/clinical sound and instead prefers a musical/warm sound with the treble reccesed/rolled off which is easy on the ears and comfortable for fatigue free long listening hours. The budget for amplifier would be about £ 500 - 1000.

Regards,

Rana.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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At a little over budget, look at Unison Research Unico R and Audio Analogue Crescendo.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
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rana_kirti said:
:) thanks inter and plastic for your inputs. David i'd be looking forward to an input from you when you have time for same.

i spoke to my friend and he gave me some more info. He'd like the speakers for Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop. Also he said he'd like a smooth/musical sound with the treble recessed/rolled off. Some thing easy on the ears and suitable for long listening sessions. He does not want something too dynamic/energetic or clinical/bright/forward sounding.

Do the above bookshelves fit the bill or are there some others he should consider in the same price range of about upto £ 1200...?

Thanks
Based on that description I think he's headed for a disappointment. I don't think any of his choices are wise. Dynaudio Excites would be much more likely to make him happy. The X16 would be idea based on that description. If he insists on that paricular list, than I would say PMC.
 

amro200

New member
Aug 11, 2011
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jaxwired said:
rana_kirti said:
:) thanks inter and plastic for your inputs. David i'd be looking forward to an input from you when you have time for same.

i spoke to my friend and he gave me some more info. He'd like the speakers for Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop. Also he said he'd like a smooth/musical sound with the treble recessed/rolled off. Some thing easy on the ears and suitable for long listening sessions. He does not want something too dynamic/energetic or clinical/bright/forward sounding.

Do the above bookshelves fit the bill or are there some others he should consider in the same price range of about upto £ 1200...?

Thanks
Based on that description I think he's headed for a disappointment. I don't think any of his choices are wise. Dynaudio Excites would be much more likely to make him happy. The X16 would be idea based on that description. If he insists on that paricular list, than I would say PMC.
I also agree, am currently using SCM11 with Cyrus Pre/Xpower, they are perfectly suited for Jazz, Classic and Vocal music, but will never suite your friend's, I did the same execise before but sadley after buying my system, I have the same taste of music as him and it was a big disappointment for me as i didn't have the luxury to audition them also, am currently looking to get me a subwoofer to improve the bass or change the speakers.

My advice to you is to avoid the SCM11 and all closed box speakers in general, the floorstanding is better option as it give deeper bass, I've heared the Dynadio has good bass, try to something like PMC GB1i, Dynaudio Excite X32 or at a lower price B&W 684.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Avoid closed box speakers as a general rule? Bizarre IMO. I'd be all over them like a shot. Far easier to place than rear ported speakers and the bass is just as good.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
the record spot said:
Avoid closed box speakers as a general rule? Bizarre IMO. I'd be all over them like a shot. Far easier to place than rear ported speakers and the bass is just as good.
Ported speakers of the same proportions definitely produce more bass. If its a question of quality, speed , integration then I'd agree, infinate baffle are very good.
 

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