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Bass response of ATC SCM100ASL

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Hi Team,


I'm new to this forum.


Narrowing my speaker search to Dynaudio Contour 60i and ATC SCM100ASL. I'm very interested to hear from anyone who has lived with either of these speakers for a reasonable amount of time and would appreciate any / all impressions you wish to share.


I have spent some time listening to both, and IMO both are fantastic. ATC to me is the more organic and convincing in terms of presenting the natural timbre of instruments,  particularly piano, but Contour was also excellent, very balanced and had more depth to low bass. All else equal - I think I would choose the ATC; however, bass response of ATC was not as satisfying or as complete as the dynaudio - and I like bass (organ, large symphony etc.). Hence - keen to hear from folks living with ATC and specifically whether you are satisfied with the low bass performance over time. 


I fully understand room will play a big factor - but I'm really just keen to hear folks genuine feedback on overall real world satisfaction with the sound having lived with the speakers for some time - I will of course be mindful that room may be playing a role in the different opinions. And I am thinking about this aspect carefully in my decision, but not necessarily seeking for it to be the focus of this discussion. 


Just for context on my potential biases / hi-fi journey to date:

In the past, I've spent a lot of time with B&W 801 S3, and 800D, and I'm currently listening to Focal Clear headphones with Burson Audio 3XR DAC/Amp - a combination I am extremely impressed with. In general, I'd say I'm biased to a slightly 'warmer' presentation in the top end (strong aversion to anything too harsh or bright), but that said, I highly value overall balance.

For me it's all about the music, not the system - I love to play (bass and piano) and listen in equal measure - and whilst I am passionate about great sound - I'm certainly not obsessed with trying to find 'perfection' in hi-fi. 


As I'm sure many do here, I take my time to try to find good recordings both in terms of the actual performance and recording quality. I predominately listen to classical (piano concertos and symphonies), organ, choir, blues, and jazz. 

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Welcome to SNA! I don’t usually post much, but as Dynaudio & ATC are brands I have listened to and love, I’ll give my 2 cents worth. 

Firstly I would say that’s a fairly big price difference between the 2 speakers, 18k vs 33k? I’m guessing you are probably going to set aside a fairly big chunk for an amplifier for the Dynaudio, seeing as the ATC 100ASLs are active? 

In terms of house sound, ATC has this special sauce in the mids which I have not come across in other brands so far in my travels. ATC bass can come across as lean, however my experience is that if the music has bass, you will hear/feel it, and it will be TIGHT! This is from listening to the active 19A, 50ASL & 50SL. Of course bass is also very room dependent. 

My experience with Dynaudio is mostly limited to the older series, not the newest Confidence or Contour i series so take it with a grain of salt. They need amplifiers with balls to sound anywhere close to their potential. I currently own C1 IIs, it took a 350w amp for the sound stage not to compress during louder orchestral passages. I actually feel that the Dynaudio midrange is probably slightly more neutral while the ATC is more natural. The bass on Dynaudios in general is probably more pleasing to most people, however I think the bass on the ATC is more accurate. 

If you can listen to either of them in your own listening environment that will probably help you with your decision better, as bass is VERY dependent on the room in my experience. I would be happy with either personally, with a slight nod to the ATCs for the genres of music you mentioned. 

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Thanks for the response - appreciate it.


Very much agree with you on all points. 


I tried both ATC 50ASL and 100ASL - and both were fantastic. 100 was just slightly more open and effortless to me, but I actually haven't completely ruled out 50ASL (if I do side with ATC), as I recognise speaker / room synergy is probably more important than outright (on paper) speaker capability, and I suspect my room may actually benefit from the smaller speaker - but as you very rightly point out - there's only one way to confirm this!


I agree, I found the ATC bass to be accurate and very tight, but almost at the expense of giving me that sense it was digging beneath the notes and delivering the fundamentals in a balanced way - if that makes sense? And I think I've even heard ATC discuss this in a random video, where it was discussing how ATC engineers deliberately trade outright frequency response (range), in favour of synergy b/w the bass & mid - which I guess also supports why the mids are so spectacular. I think it's this trade off that I'm ultimately trying to determine whether I can live with. I.e. will the Dynaudio at the end of the day just be that little bit more fun. Like you, I genuinely think I could be happy with either - paradox of choice. 


Anyway - thanks again for your thoughts - it's appreciated. 

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ive listened to the older ATC 50 passives and current ATC 100 Actives.


the older 50 passives to me wasnt there but i almost purchased the 100s the mid range is so magical.


unfortunately, i have no experience with Dynos.

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@Jeremy2020I've had the ATC 100ASLT's for a bit over a year and love the fast, tight, detailed and textured bass they provide.

With ATC's the bass is very program dependent - as the speakers definitely don't promote the bass range -  but it's satisfyingly potent when recorded that way.


A great feature of ATC speakers is how they allow the unique sound of each recording to be heard.

For me this holds much more long term satisfaction than any over emphasis which will dominate the individuality of recordings. This also allows the ATC's to shine on all types and genres of music.


Acoustic bass sounds wonderful with the 100's - to the point that I specifically sought out music featuring it in solo or duet settings as I'd never heard it reproduced in such a tuneful and expressively textured manner. As you might guess, this greatly benefits jazz arrangements.

Frankly I wouldn't give up this sort of control and tunefulness for any amount of extra low frequency heft - not that the 100's sound deficient in low bass anyway. 


Edited by Tobes
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Many thanks @Tobes - if you haven't already listened to it - check out the acoustic bass solo at 1m25s mark on Laila Dalseth album 'Time for Love', track 'Nature Boy'. Hope you enjoy.


And thanks for the response - I really appreciate hearing from you given you've lived with them for a good amount of time. I can well imagine that they would continue to impress over time. Glad to hear you're so pleased with the 100s.


@genkifd - I have never come across the Hulgich Dukes - they look great - SB Acoustics drivers and Göran Niréus of Audio Excite seems to know the maths behind it all if his website is any measure - this is one of the great things about joining this forum - coming across new ideas / brands that had not previously crossed the radar. Nice that they're local too.


Anyway - thanks both for your input - appreciate it.

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Dukes are a beautiful speaker in both looks and sound. if you like the sound of a neutral speaker then these are a must in your listening venture. Many Australian brands perform / complete above their competitors from overseas at the same price point.


have a listen and you maybe surprised how good Australian speakers are.

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I've listened to the ATC SCM150ASLT - tower series - powered.

Amazing mids - arguably one of the best mids on the planet.

Warm, detailed, fast, textured, deep sound stage - amazing!


The new in-house tweeter and the mid driver are world class.

But even with the 15" woofer of the SCM150 - it was not a bass heavy presentation.

Bass was not a strong point of the ATC speaker - but mids are 5 star.

It's a matter of taste - but ATC is a great speaker.


As a good comparison - the PMC BB5se has killa bass with its 15" driver and transmission line configuration.

But the mids are far superior on the ATC. Both great speakers however.


Also - the active amps that come with the speakers - hard to beat for performance and value ratio.

You'd have to go much much more expensive in electronics to beat the factory active setup.

ATC SCM is hard to drive.


Have listened to a few Dynaudios - C4 Platinum and Confidence 20. Sub6 as well.

Agree with Alex87 - ATC100 is much more expensive than the Contour60 - ATC100 is in a different league.


On Youtube - watch ATC review by Streaky. Spot on - I agree with his experience - very similar to mine.

His PMC BB5 review also - same experience to mine.


Between the ATC and Dynaudio - I'd go ATC.

With any 2 channel speaker setup - I would also add a subwoofer or two or four.

If you love bass and piano - you need a subwoofer.

Lots of information is missing without a subwoofer in the system.


Hope my 2 cents helps.

Good luck with your future speaker choice.










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Thanks haygeebaby - appreciate the comments. Yes I've seen the Streaky review and just about every other video I could find on YouTube.


If perfected... I don't disagree with you re subs; however, I owned a Rel G2 for about 3 years or so, which I tried and tried to integrate as best as I could. I bought it in the hope of just very subtly supporting the very deep material in music such as Saint-saens Symphony No 3. I definitely do not like over emphasis in bass, if I had to choose, I'd choose lighter presentation with better overall balance than boosted bass all day long, but that said, as you say, I like that 'missing' material to be there. It is very satisfying.


Whilst I did achieve 'moments' that were fantastic - I had a very very hard time achieving synergy / balance - and eventually gave up and sold it, as I was tired of mucking around with it all the time.


I am very willing to accept it probably had more to do with the hopeless user than the equipment !


Perhaps I'll try again in future, but for now, I think I'm going to settle for a full range speaker with excellent balance, and if that means there's slight roll off on the very deepest material, I'm content with that.


Thanks again for your comments.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I added a quality sub to my ATC smc40’s because I love bass.

There’s plenty of adjusting required to get the balance right but when you do that’s it, you’ll never buy another set of speakers In your life. 

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