ATC SCM 50 P Classics > Excitingly honest!
The ATC SCM50PSL play astonishingly unspectacular – as long as there is only porridge on the recording, the British only serve bland soft food. A spectacle for the sake of a spectacle is not what the SCM50PSL does, they claim to be too civilized, too neutral, too correct on the whole. But woe, the canned clay has tonal flavor – then it gets fiery.
With their famous mid-range speakers, the ATC SCM50PSL prove that correct does not have to mean without irritation. These broadband drivers lift several veils in front of the voice of Jarvis Cocker in “Belle Boy” on the mega album Room 29 by Chilly Gonzalez (thanks for the tip goes to Armin Kern from ATR). They reveal even minimal sound details so effortlessly and unobtrusively that I wonder how I could have missed them so far. And that’s what I say as the former owner of Lansche No.3.1 (from 18,500 euros), whose weightless plasma tweeter plays clearly down into the presence and upper mid-range, but does not achieve this level of sparkling transparency. Even in tracks that are not necessarily audiophile, such as Moloko’s “Pure Pleasure Seeker” (album: Things to Make and Do), the ATC simply reveal more. More creaking of the saxophone, more creaking of Wurlitzer, more clicks of electronics.
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This almost uncanny attention to detail is not all that defines the transmission range of the “bear nose” of the ATC SCM50PSL. They accompany the airy dissolution with an acoustic solidity that may seem contrary to the terms lightness and openness. It is exactly what defines real voices and instruments: They neither emphasize nor neglect one or the other aspect. The extremely dynamically captured piano strokes by Chilly Gonzales on the album mentioned have a sparkling and intentionally hard quality without any discoloration, dynamic limitation or rounding off of the transients in the presence area. And with all openness, the SCM50PSL also serve voices (David Bowie, Patricia Barber, David Sylvian) or snare drums (Porcupine Tree, “The Sound of Muszak”) with exactly the right substance and energetic vehemence. Mind you, tonally everything stays in the lush green area; the ATC SCM50PSL do not sound, so they do not “construct” the sound with accentuation or break-ins, but simply let it through unhindered.
The result is a realism of the midrange and presence reproduction, an effortless naturalness of this musically essential area, which I would neither expect nor expect from speakers of this league in such high quality. I wouldn’t have thought it would, but with the ATC SCM50PSL I even listen to audio books with passion and fascination. Not only to follow the story with excitement, but also to experience the fantastic level of detail of the voice reproduction with goose bumps on the upper arms – not to mention the aura of the space that the ATC spans.
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A prerequisite for the optimal operation of these loudspeakers is, of course, to serve them a lot of power: The amplifier can deliver three-digit amounts to 8 ohms per channel in order to explore the dynamic capabilities of the ATC SCM50PSL, and more than 200 watts does not hurt to slow down To reach the maximum. The ATC SCM50PSL pass through the tonal character of the playing partner without comment and sometimes mercilessly. Neutral cutlery is certainly a good choice. And as far as the size of the room is concerned: the ATCs should feel most comfortable in 20 to 50 square meters.
Yes, I admit, the ATC SCM50PSL turned me on quite a bit. For me they not only embody something like the archetype of the dynamic loudspeaker, they also combine everything that I would like from such a loudspeaker. At a high level and at a more than fair price. But not only that – it also made me fall in love with my electronics anew and learned to appreciate their capabilities even more. What that means is clear: The ATC SCM50PSL will move in with me permanently. Naturally chic in wood veneer.
The ATC SCM50PSL …
- are almost perfectly neutral tonally tuned speakers.
- play earthy and solid bass with physically noticeable energy without emphasizing. The focus, which is slightly shifted towards the upper bass compared to the larger ATCs, would also not be described as an emphasis.
- reproduce this bass range in an exceptionally well structured and audible manner and sound out the deep bass in the listening room further than the manufacturer’s measurement data would suggest.
- have the most transparent, most open, most detailed and at the same time most solid, energetic mid-range that I have experienced in this price range – and a good bit beyond that.
- resolve very well in the treble. Even if others may have a little more information and air to offer here, ATC has succeeded in interacting with the midrange driver exceptionally well – even critical listeners shouldn’t miss anything.
- sound very homogeneous and closed, no transitions between the drivers can be made out.
- Starting from the loudspeaker baseline, three-dimensional sound bodies project freely to the front, back, left and right. The stage area looks wide and deep, but somewhat limited in height.
- play finely dynamically subtle and differentiated. The transient playback comes out quickly and accurately without drawing focus. In order to fully explore the coarse dynamic capabilities, one should have steadfast performance in the three-digit range.
- can play very loud, but also sound completely quiet, with intact tonality and a stable, large spatial image.
- show themselves to be more gracious to bad recordings than to electronics that are not in keeping with their class.
– Michael Bruss, FairAudio | May, 2021