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ATC scm20asl pro mk2 - actual user reviews? Studio Monitors
Old 3rd November 2016
  #1
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ATC scm20asl pro mk2 - actual user reviews?

Hello all,

I have been really interested in these monitors for quite some time. However, I haven't found many user reviews. Who is using them? I am curious about how they translate with such a small-ish driver. How is the bottom end for mixing various styles of music? I've used the SCM25's a bunch and like them but think they will be too much for my room. I am looking for a very neutral to dark speaker. I work long hours and the top end on most current offerings wears me out. I hear the Amphion line is quite amazing as well. All real user thoughts are much appreciated!
Old 4th November 2016
  #2
I have a pair of the SCM20MKII PSL's with a Krell KAV500 and they sound exceptional in my room. I've found barefoots/focaltrios/psi's a tad fatiguing to me, but im overly sensitive to that. I did grab a second pair of monitors though as they really dont have a tonne of low end. But even compared to larger ATC's they have a very nice midrange on them. Super detailed and accurate. I'm going to be trying them out paired with a sub in January, but until then I cant comment on that setup. For acoustic and such I've had 0 issues, but electronic/rock/some orchestral I had found I was missing that sub 60hz range. That said I wouldnt be willing to give them up. Mixes on them translate very well, I'd just advise having a way to check bass even even if its just headphones. The Amphions for sure do have more low end. I've got a chance to try most of the amphion line up (havnt tried the one12's). Both are great options.
Old 4th November 2016
  #3
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Thanks Celinara,

I am torn between the Amphion one18 and the Atc scm20 MKIIs. I already have a sub I could use with the ATC's if needed.
Old 6th November 2016
  #4
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Big fan of my SCM20 mk2 actives

Had the passive (mk1) version before driven by a Hypex amplifier, and the actives are a big, big improvement. Soundstage, midrange transparency, louder, for some reason tighter bass too.

IMO I actually find them closer to the bigger ATCs than the SCM25s. There's a lightness about the lower mids (in a good way) which gives the soundstage a similar space and dimension that I'm used to on the SCM50, 100 etc.
The top end is also a big step up over the SCM25s. I've done the comparison and the ATC tweeter in the 20 makes the 25 feel a little too sat-back up top. This doesn't mean they're bright, they really aren't, they're just flat and smoooooooth up top. I also prefer the bottom end on the SCM20s over the 25s. Yes, 25s will put out a lot more low end, and you can turn them up without clouding the mids (the 20s will start to get cloudy as the driver excursion increases with bass input at higher volumes); but the SCM20 just has spectacularly tight bass and they do tell you what's going on down low, even if it's not going to rattle your windows.

Of course bass response is so hugely dependant on the room, but I've noticed the SCM20's super-gentle LF rolloff means you rarely find they really clash with a boomy room. On the other hand, they can sound very bass light if your room works against you...

Downsides - they aren't cheap and even with the wooden cabinets, they're incredibly heavy...

Make sure you put them on decent stands...
Old 7th November 2016
  #5
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Thanks AlexK, I am really leaning towards the ATCs. What type of music are you mainly working on?
Old 7th November 2016
  #6
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For me it came down to Amphion One15, PSI A17, and the ATC SCM20s. I really wanted the active MK2s but they were ridiculously priced here in Canada because of the CAD. My decision not to go with the passive ATCs was because I felt it wouldn't be doing them justice like the active would be. So went with the Amphion One15, Amp100, and Amphion cable.

The total package has been very easy on the ear this past year. The sealed passive radiator allows for very good linearity across different volume levels. While it doesn't throw the biggest soundstage like other bigger full range monitors, it never ever sounds boxy as if the sound is coming from a small cabinet. Even for casual listening, the bass is always there in a tight, punchy accurate way. You can also move around the room and the tonality doesn't change, especially in the horizontal plane.
Old 7th November 2016
  #7
i was so happy with my 20s mkii i sold them and now just ordered the 45's without ever hearing them i hope ill be happy (also the pound is mad low in the uk right now so got a great deal)

any 20's users heard the 45's? how do they sound?
Old 7th November 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Knob View Post
Thanks AlexK, I am really leaning towards the ATCs. What type of music are you mainly working on?
A mixture. I work on and track everything from Jazz (straight ahead studio and live work towards more rock crossover/fusion) to something I mixed last month which was like a Pet Shop Boys record...

A good speaker design should work well with all kinds of music. Sometimes something like an NS10 will help point you in the right direction with some kinds of music, but otherwise the ATCs are just totally with everything...
Old 7th November 2016
  #9
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I own the 20's and really enjoy them. Like all ATC's they're brutally honest in the midrange, so they may not demo the best if you're just listening to program material. Mixing on them almost feels like cheating though. Problem frequencies stick out like a sore thumb.
Old 8th November 2016
  #10
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Interesting, thanks for all the replies thus far. It seems like there aren't many users out there. I wonder why?
Old 8th November 2016
  #11
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I know tonnes of people using them, they just don't all post on Gearslutz...

This forum is frequented by home or project studio users more nowadays and the SCM20s are somewhat outside of their budget for a small speaker...
Old 8th November 2016
  #12
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FWIW I find mine both incredibly easy and incredibly difficult to mix on, in all the right ways.

Easy in that I never have to second guess what they're telling me, ever.
Difficult in that they tell you *everything* that's wrong with your mix, so you have to work hard.
Old 9th November 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
FWIW I find mine both incredibly easy and incredibly difficult to mix on, in all the right ways.

Easy in that I never have to second guess what they're telling me, ever.
Difficult in that they tell you *everything* that's wrong with your mix, so you have to work hard.
Perfectly put.
Old 10th November 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
I know tonnes of people using them, they just don't all post on Gearslutz...

This forum is frequented by home or project studio users more nowadays and the SCM20s are somewhat outside of their budget for a small speaker...
Exactly Alex- we ship them every week, they are selling well. But its an older customer - typically one who has owned several pairs of other speakers prior to their 20ASL purchase. The 20 seems to solve the "small with resolution" quest.
Old 16th November 2016
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
Exactly Alex- we ship them every week, they are selling well. But its an older customer - typically one who has owned several pairs of other speakers prior to their 20ASL purchase. The 20 seems to solve the "small with resolution" quest.
Very very true. My ATC 20's are a permanent fixture in my mix room. Their smooth presentation and detail are addicting. I admit I'm probably among the younger side of ATC owners, but thats more due to my having started young and being around high end monitors a lot. Most people I've talked to that have them have 10-20 years on me. But I've yet to talk to someone who doesnt love them after having worked on them.

It's funny that when you first swap to the ATC's in an A/B comparison with many different monitors, they sound kinda blah and dull. But the longer you listen, its not that they are dull, but that they are not faking detail by being bright. It's just a very detailed and smooth presentation that is as non-fatiguing as it gets.

Excellent monitors that are stunning when the mix is perfect. Brutal when its not.
Old 16th November 2016
  #16
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I'm demoing a pair now in my mix room. They are very bass light. Also seem to be quite picky about room placement. I am leaning a little more on my sub than I have with other monitors. I've just been listening to familiar material so far. I will be mixing on them in a few days to get a really good idea of how they will translate.
Old 30th November 2016
  #17
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I own scm 25s and earlier this year added some scm 20 mk iis as a secondary pair for working at another facility.

Quite remarkably (to me at least) I find I am leaning towards preferring the 20s.

I read on here somewhere that they take a long time to break in - this was certainly my experience. I had been quite disappointed in them - and simply put it down to they're being a cheaper model. I found them way to forward in the 300/400 territory. But after about two weeks of light/moderate use they totally came to life.

The most apt comment I've seen in this thread is that only good mixes sound good on them.

Another thing I notice is that there is a lot of emphasis placed around here on the low end extension - to my ear the low end on the 20s is super focused but more importantly I find it very well balanced against the mids and highs. Not at all hyped - and the low end I arrive at on the 20s seems to translate everywhere. (No sub involved).

One final observation - and to me probably the most important one. I find these monitors incredibly good for basic balancing. It's just so fast to get a basic balance working on them. If I had one criticism of the 25s (of which I am very fond also) - is that below a certain level (maybe 60-65) the balance changes - they become a bit hollow. With the 20s I find the balance remains totally coherent until practically silence.

From my experience - and I've listened to quite a number of monitors over the years - this company doesn't make a bad speaker - it's just a matter of finding the one that best suits your needs.

Jude
Old 30th November 2016
  #18
I'm looking to upgrade my monitors to either the 20's or 25's my room is 15x10.5 w 8 feet ceiling.
Wondering if the 25's are too big for my room.
I'm also worried that the 20's will lack low end.

Last edited by vsthalion; 30th November 2016 at 07:00 AM..
Old 30th November 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
I'm looking to upgrade my monitors to either the 20's or 25's my room is 13x10 w 8 feet ceiling.
Wondering if the 25's are too big for my room.
I'm also worried that the 20's will lack low end.
With 20s, an ATC mid dome is grafted to the woofer cone, so that is why it has the best mids of any 2 way I know of. So you get that ATC midrange and the new ATC tweeter above.

One could buy a subwoofer pros sub to give you the stuff below 95 if its so necessary (for clients or for you?).

Know that low end in a room that small is often reported as a problem. "Not enough bass" even from a good low end speaker is a comment we've heard more than once. Based on the smaller room dimension, the 20s may actually work better for you.

Brad
Old 30th November 2016
  #20
Tnx brad!
I actually made a mistake my room is actually 15x10.5 to be exact but I'm sure that makes no diff. I just wish I can demo a pair but atc is hard to demo in Montreal. I've heard great things abt atc mid range. I have a 15" tannoy studio sub but if I get the atc 20 I would opt for the atc sub or the focal sub.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
With 20s, an ATC mid dome is grafted to the woofer cone, so that is why it has the best mids of any 2 way I know of. So you get that ATC midrange and the new ATC tweeter above.

One could buy a subwoofer pros sub to give you the stuff below 95 if its so necessary (for clients or for you?).

Know that low end in a room that small is often reported as a problem. "Not enough bass" even from a good low end speaker is a comment we've heard more than once. Based on the smaller room dimension, the 20s may actually work better for you.

Brad
Old 30th November 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Tnx brad!
I actually made a mistake my room is actually 15x10.5 to be exact but I'm sure that makes no diff. I just wish I can demo a pair but atc is hard to demo in Montreal. I've heard great things abt atc mid range. I have a 15" tannoy studio sub but if I get the atc 20 I would opt for the atc sub or the focal sub.
Seems like if you ring HHB they should be able to arrange a demo via a dealer. Or, call the dealer Franciois at Studio Economic- doesn't he have a set to try?

Brad
Old 30th November 2016
  #22
Got Mario from economik setting me up a pair of 20's and mm45's to demo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
Seems like if you ring HHB they should be able to arrange a demo via a dealer. Or, call the dealer Franciois at Studio Economic- doesn't he have a set to try?

Brad
Old 20th February 2017
  #23
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Any new thoughts about the 20's?
Old 21st February 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
Got Mario from economik setting me up a pair of 20's and mm45's to demo
Not sure this is the ideal comparison. I think 20s -plus a a sub are the correct comparison. 20s at 5k vs 45s at 6k. 20s in the US with subwoofer pros studio sub 12 are 7K.

Brad
Old 27th February 2017
  #25
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Im curious as an AMphion One15 owner if anyone has done any direct comparisons between the 20asl mk2 and One15?
Old 28th February 2017
  #26
For what it's worth I tried the 20s alongside the 25s for our editing room and kept the 25s. I thought the 20s sounded nasty in the mids compared to the 25s, not enjoyable to listen to. We've got 50s in our two other rooms and playing them alongside the 25s, they're brighter, so I can understand a few comments about top end above, seems like the 25s don't feel as forward or present. To me the 25s sound way fuller than the 20s, more like a full range speaker. They're a really nice speaker. I didn't recognise the 20s as being part of the same family, I didn't think anything sounded very good on them, but the 25s are much more the little brother to the 50s. I guess try them for yourself, they might be just what you want. I didn't want them as a main speaker but I can see they might be useful as a reference. Depends what you like to hear.
Old 28th February 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveAliveHQ View Post
For what it's worth I tried the 20s alongside the 25s for our editing room and kept the 25s. I thought the 20s sounded nasty in the mids compared to the 25s, not enjoyable to listen to. <SNIP>
That's a very unique experience, can't say I had that comment before. Was it 20 mk2's? active? Maybe older 20s with VIFA, which I thought was harsh. But that was almost 20 years ago and before ATC made their own tweeter. The next upgrade brought a SEAS tweeter, which was smoother and nicer.

The 25s do indeed go lower than 20 mk2s The 20 mk2s have the same tweeter as current production 50s and they are sonically very similar to 50s as they use an ATC SL woofer and ATC tweeter. The 25s use the same midrange as the 50s, but different tweeter and different kind of ATC woofer, more similar to our new SCM12. Warm is a the feeling of this woofer.

Brad
Old 28th February 2017
  #28
Hi Brad,

It was only about 2 years ago so I'm guessing mkii's, and yes they were active. They were demo models too so should have been well worn in. It could just be that the 25s sounded so much nicer to me it left me feeling the 20s were nasty, and I might not have thought quite as strongly had I not heard side by side, but I remember I put the 20s up first and thought they sounded really hard & prominent between 800hz to 3k, not nice to listen to. Reminded me more of computer speakers in that they sounded plastic. Maybe I got a duff pair. I was so used to the sound of the 50s, I felt what I got was really very far removed from that with the 20s.
Old 28th February 2017
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveAliveHQ View Post
Hi Brad,

It was only about 2 years ago so I'm guessing mkii's, and yes they were active. They were demo models too so should have been well worn in. It could just be that the 25s sounded so much nicer to me it left me feeling the 20s were nasty, and I might not have thought quite as strongly had I not heard side by side, but I remember I put the 20s up first and thought they sounded really hard & prominent between 800hz to 3k, not nice to listen to. Reminded me more of computer speakers in that they sounded plastic. Maybe I got a duff pair. I was so used to the sound of the 50s, I felt what I got was really very far removed from that with the 20s.
Interesting. Sure isn't my experience with customers here in the US but demos are confusing things: sometimes you get an odd result. Rooms, front end and music choice on the demo can so affect perception. I have had some demos "not work" before, demos that don't fit with the collective result. I found when I revisit it later, under different set of circumstances, I got results more in line with experience.

I know quite a few customers that prefer 20s to 25s! They think the 20s are MORE like the 50s than 25s.

Brad
Old 28th February 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
Interesting. Sure isn't my experience with customers here in the US but demos are confusing things: sometimes you get an odd result. Rooms, front end and music choice on the demo can so affect perception. I have had some demos "not work" before, demos that don't fit with the collective result. I found when I revisit it later, under different set of circumstances, I got results more in line with experience.

I know quite a few customers that prefer 20s to 25s! They think the 20s are MORE like the 50s than 25s.

Brad
I will back up what Brad said - I have 50's, and have demoed the 20's, 25's and owned the 45's for a year.

The 20 mkII's are most definitely the closest in tone/voicing to the 50's than the 25s or 45's. They just don't have the low end like the 50's do.
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