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ATC 100A Upgrades Studio Monitors
Old 15th November 2017
  #1
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ATC 100A Upgrades

Hi there, I have an older pair of 100A, with a 13xx serial number.

Can anyone advise me of possible driver\amp upgrade path, such as their SL Super Linear drivers, etc.? I have not been following enough lately, so any advice or sharing is much appreciated.
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ATC 100A Upgrades-img-20130904-wa0002.jpg  

Last edited by breadvan; 15th November 2017 at 08:18 AM..
Old 15th November 2017
  #2
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Your speakers look in pretty good condition (from the back) for how old they are. The SL upgrade and amp pack change are the obvious ones that will show immediate results (which raises the question of when the last time your speakers were re-coned/drivers evaluated which at their age, should have happened at least once.) For a continuous working studio, re-coning every 6-10 years is a good idea to keep still in spec. (this is true for most speakers in professional use though many companies won't admit that degradation happens.)

There have been two tweeter changes (Vifa -> SEAS -> ATC) but that will also involve replacing your front baffle to go from Vifa to SEAS or ATC.

The best changes are a change to the SL woofer and replacing your tweeter -- at their age and if they have been in use, the ferrofluid is now seriously evaporated. I'm not even talking about the more expensive swap to a newer tweeter version which involves a baffle change but still keeping with a Vifa. Since you don't mention where you are located, that's the best recommendation. If you are in the UK, getting a complete overhaul at the factory might make more sense.
Old 15th November 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Your speakers look in pretty good condition (from the back) for how old they are. The SL upgrade and amp pack change are the obvious ones that will show immediate results (which raises the question of when the last time your speakers were re-coned/drivers evaluated which at their age, should have happened at least once.) For a continuous working studio, re-coning every 6-10 years is a good idea to keep still in spec. (this is true for most speakers in professional use though many companies won't admit that degradation happens.)

There have been two tweeter changes (Vifa -> SEAS -> ATC) but that will also involve replacing your front baffle to go from Vifa to SEAS or ATC.

The best changes are a change to the SL woofer and replacing your tweeter -- at their age and if they have been in use, the ferrofluid is now seriously evaporated. I'm not even talking about the more expensive swap to a newer tweeter version which involves a baffle change but still keeping with a Vifa. Since you don't mention where you are located, that's the best recommendation. If you are in the UK, getting a complete overhaul at the factory might make more sense.
Thanks for the excellent info. What will be the most cost effective upgrade without also replacing the baffle? SL woofer and amp pack? Can the SL woofer be upgraded without the amp pack? I am from Hong Kong by the way. Cheers.
Old 15th November 2017
  #4
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This is the front of the speaker if it gives any useful visual clue.
Attached Thumbnails
ATC 100A Upgrades-img-20130919-wa0000.jpg  
Old 15th November 2017
  #5
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Nice rosewood (?) domestic version. Really great shape. The cones/dome look to be in good shape (possibly both have been redone in the past 10 years or just the speakers have been used only under a domestic workload?)

Yes, SL woofer will make a big difference. And I believe you need the amp pack upgraded for that anyway. No need for a baffle change for either of those. Only the tweeter would require it. And your tweeter is ferrofluid filled so that should be refilled or the tweeter replaced (which is near impossible on that vifa model if I remember right since it is out of manufacture and there aren't NOS in warehouses anywhere.) Replacing the fluid is a trivial matter -- SEAS gives instructions on their website somewhere and which fluid to use. I believe Vifa would give you the same info.
Old 15th November 2017
  #6
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My advise is to contact Brad Lunde, ATC distributor in USA. Open some ATC related threads around here and you should see his posts. For sure he can come up with the best options available to you. Cheers!
Old 15th November 2017
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post
. . . I am from Hong Kong by the way. Cheers.
Telephone ATC in the UK, if there is no local dealer. They have top-notch support and service.
Old 16th November 2017
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thanks guys for the most useful information. The cabinet was simply maintained with Old English, and it was for domestic use only. I actually bought them used a few years ago and considering upgrading the SL driver, will see what kind of option I will be offered.

Incidentally can the SL upgrade be done by the end users or they have to be done by ATC technicians?
Old 16th November 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post

Incidentally can the SL upgrade be done by the end users or they have to be done by ATC technicians?
If the amp packs need to be adjusted, it's going to need to be done by an ATC technician.

And quite frankly, getting out that woofer is a real pain; I've done it once with an ATC technician but it is massively heavy and you need to work on soft surfaces to keep from damaging things and being able to unplug the cables from the back -- 2 people are needed. Only the tweeter is an easy driver to work with -- the midrange and woofer take a lot of work and care to remove because of the weight, the size of the magnet, and the tight tolerances on how things are fit together.
Old 16th November 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
If the amp packs need to be adjusted, it's going to need to be done by an ATC technician.

And quite frankly, getting out that woofer is a real pain; I've done it once with an ATC technician but it is massively heavy and you need to work on soft surfaces to keep from damaging things and being able to unplug the cables from the back -- 2 people are needed. Only the tweeter is an easy driver to work with -- the midrange and woofer take a lot of work and care to remove because of the weight, the size of the magnet, and the tight tolerances on how things are fit together.
Thanks a lot again. Will follow up with ATC, cheers.
Old 16th November 2017
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from what I understand the new tweeter is really worth the upgrade as well as the SL woofer.
Old 16th November 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphythecat87 View Post
from what I understand the new tweeter is really worth the upgrade as well as the SL woofer.
There is a long thread about the tweeter, and I am the somewhat regretful person who started that thread. I have SCM50ASL and in the end replaced the SEAS tweeters with new replacement SEAS.

I am quite happy with the improvement in sound, due to the ferrofluid in the prior SEAS having dried/evaporated somewhat.

While I am very pleased with the SEAS, in a few years I'll send my monitors up to ATC to have some capacitors replaced in the amps and at that time will probably ask them to replace the SEAS tweeters with their own.

But if one is going to the trouble to replace other drivers then why not do the tweeters too?
Old 16th November 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swing View Post
But if one is going to the trouble to replace other drivers then why not do the tweeters too?
Going from the Vifa tweeters to the SEAS or (the retrofit) ATC requires the front baffle to be completely replaced. The SL woofer change does not.

If he goes the route of replacing the tweeters (which would require sending them to the UK) then he should go straight to the ATC tweeter (non-retrofit) and get the baffle that matches that.

The non-retrofit ATC tweeter s placed closer to the midrange slightly since they can; the retrofit ATC tweeter has a bigger surrounding plate to fill the exact same space as the SEAS tweeter and is located in the same location as the original SEAS.

My general thinking is that the OP does not want the extra shipping and insuring costs of sending the 100A speakers from HK to UK. That could easily be an extra US$1K in costs (probably more when dealing with customs brokerages)
Old 16th November 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Going from the Vifa tweeters to the SEAS or (the retrofit) ATC requires the front baffle to be completely replaced. The SL woofer change does not.

If he goes the route of replacing the tweeters (which would require sending them to the UK) then he should go straight to the ATC tweeter (non-retrofit) and get the baffle that matches that.

The non-retrofit ATC tweeter s placed closer to the midrange slightly since they can; the retrofit ATC tweeter has a bigger surrounding plate to fill the exact same space as the SEAS tweeter and is located in the same location as the original SEAS.

My general thinking is that the OP does not want the extra shipping and insuring costs of sending the 100A speakers from HK to UK. That could easily be an extra US$1K in costs (probably more when dealing with customs brokerages)
If there is a dealer in HK that can do the work, they might be able to handle the tweeters too (even with a new baffle). If they can only handle the SL woofer alone then I'd agree with you; but is it sure the amp levels do not need to be changed to handle the SL woofer? If not then I agree with you again.

All the questions are easily answered by contacting ATC.
Old 17th November 2017
  #15
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Thanks guys. Ben is probably very busy, no reply despite a reminder. Will try again.
Old 17th November 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post
Thanks guys. Ben is probably very busy, no reply despite a reminder. Will try again.
You are calling, right? They are really bad at emails but really good at phone calls. Ben was recently in Spain for a tradeshow so that might delay a response. Video of uncrating:
https://www.facebook.com/welcome.to....XKi0ssEoItIjPM

(A 100 tower, no less)
Old 17th November 2017
  #17
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The only way to contact Ben is to call ATC in the UK and ask for him directly.

He is busy as FU*K but seems to be kind of guy that will always pick up the phone - if he can.


The SL upgrade does require the speakers to be sent to the factory.

The offers are changed, and a new pipe is fixed to the inside of the port. Amp packs are adjusted for the new woofers.

I sold a similar pair about 3 years ago that were upgraded.

The sound of the tweeters is IMO minimal when in a domestic environment.

getting your MIDS replaced is WAY more important - not to say you shouldn't replace the tweeters, just that I would not bother with the baffle upgrade etc.


Also I see you don't have the grills on the front of the speakers. - maybe for the picture?

the grills are important to keep on to reduce edge distortion from the high and mid over the baffle edge.

I hated the material on mine so just sliced it off with a Stanley knife.
The grills look interesting without the material on and the speakers sound better.
Old 17th November 2017
  #18
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Have you reached to Sherry from HK Concepts? The ATC Hi FI importer to Hong Kong? That would be phone call #1 . Ask for Sherry herself.

Then see what she suggests. That will determine the next steps.

Brad Lunde
Old 17th November 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
You are calling, right? They are really bad at emails but really good at phone calls. Ben was recently in Spain for a tradeshow so that might delay a response. Video of uncrating:
https://www.facebook.com/welcome.to....XKi0ssEoItIjPM

(A 100 tower, no less)

Understood, he was very responsive in the first couple of messages, perhaps he's out of town or something. Thanks.
Old 17th November 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
The only way to contact Ben is to call ATC in the UK and ask for him directly.

He is busy as FU*K but seems to be kind of guy that will always pick up the phone - if he can.


The SL upgrade does require the speakers to be sent to the factory.

The offers are changed, and a new pipe is fixed to the inside of the port. Amp packs are adjusted for the new woofers.

I sold a similar pair about 3 years ago that were upgraded.

The sound of the tweeters is IMO minimal when in a domestic environment.

getting your MIDS replaced is WAY more important - not to say you shouldn't replace the tweeters, just that I would not bother with the baffle upgrade etc.


Also I see you don't have the grills on the front of the speakers. - maybe for the picture?

the grills are important to keep on to reduce edge distortion from the high and mid over the baffle edge.

I hated the material on mine so just sliced it off with a Stanley knife.
The grills look interesting without the material on and the speakers sound better.
SL upgrade needs to be sent back to factory, even for overseas customers? That would no doubt be a major undertaking to send close to three hundred pounds of speakers half way across the world.

Anyway thanks for the very useful info. Will contact ATC or local agent to know better.
Old 17th November 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
Have you reached to Sherry from HK Concepts? The ATC Hi FI importer to Hong Kong? That would be phone call #1 . Ask for Sherry herself.

Then see what she suggests. That will determine the next steps.

Brad Lunde
Thanks Brad, I did contact them couple years ago but didn't get a very active response so I didn't pursue. Will try again as suggested.
Old 17th November 2017
  #22
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midmost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post

Yes, SL woofer will make a big difference.
Is that really the case?
Have you A/B'd old and new SL woofers directly?
Is there is huge difference, and if so, what kind of?
Old 17th November 2017
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post
Thanks Brad, I did contact them couple years ago but didn't get a very active response so I didn't pursue. Will try again as suggested.
Tell her you talked to me/I sent you there to figure out what to do.

She's a distributor for like me. Some of this we can do, some of it we can't. We can get the parts but the calibration is harder and evaluating exactly what you have, years before we were both involved is a challenge. Getting the serial numbers to ATC helps us know what to do, what the age is.

That amps looks similar to a Mark 4 but it may be a Mark 3, which means it needs recapping at the very least. Not sure it needs replacing.

The mid could be a non S, but not sure- only the serial number could tell that. Tweeters are old, and there is a kit to replace them with an adaptor plate to fit the VIFA sized hole and fits the new tweeter. [New production places the tweeter closer to the mid because the diameter of the tweeter flange is smaller and you can so they do it]. Calibration is still a problem in the field (to 100% match what ATC does internally) and this is the main reason to return the speaker to ATC, to be 100% sure.


Brad
Old 17th November 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
Is that really the case?
Have you A/B'd old and new SL woofers directly?
Is there is huge difference, and if so, what kind of?
I have. Clarity and transients below 380Hz are quite different (actually all the way to 760hz). Measurements show up to a 15-35dB reduction in 3rd harmonic distortion.

A big step forward sonically to my ears, especially at high dynamic ranges such as those in recording studios.


Brad
Old 17th November 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post
Understood, he was very responsive in the first couple of messages, perhaps he's out of town or something. Thanks.
I was visiting him for a number of days and I know some other distributors were visiting him before me. If he's with us, he's not doing emails as we are 100% sucking his time up. Plus he has a new baby at home.

Brad
Old 17th November 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
Have you A/B'd old and new SL woofers directly?
There isn't an old and new SL woofer. There is the SB75-314(SC) woofer which is not "super linear" and the SB75-314(SC) SL woofer which is super linear. [SC stands for "short coil" in both cases -- there's also a LC version that hasn't been used in the classic series/pro 100]

The OP has a speaker that was manufactured before the SL woofer was developed (because today, all the classic 50/100/150 use the SL woofer)

The SL woofer has less harmonic distortion. The change is very audible. I have heard old and new 50A vs 50ASL. I have also heard the non-SL version driver used in other speaker maker's speakers (ATC sells the non-SL drivers to other makers). Search for "super linear" "ATC" and you'll find out what the design change is.
Old 18th November 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
There isn't an old and new SL woofer..
I know, I know.. unhappy expressed by myself.
I just was trying to figure out if there is a big difference between SB75-314SC (normal) and SB75-314SC/SL (super linear) woofers?
Anybody heard both and can share his impressions?

thanks
Old 21st November 2017
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
Tell her you talked to me/I sent you there to figure out what to do.

She's a distributor for like me. Some of this we can do, some of it we can't. We can get the parts but the calibration is harder and evaluating exactly what you have, years before we were both involved is a challenge. Getting the serial numbers to ATC helps us know what to do, what the age is.

That amps looks similar to a Mark 4 but it may be a Mark 3, which means it needs recapping at the very least. Not sure it needs replacing.

The mid could be a non S, but not sure- only the serial number could tell that. Tweeters are old, and there is a kit to replace them with an adaptor plate to fit the VIFA sized hole and fits the new tweeter. [New production places the tweeter closer to the mid because the diameter of the tweeter flange is smaller and you can so they do it]. Calibration is still a problem in the field (to 100% match what ATC does internally) and this is the main reason to return the speaker to ATC, to be 100% sure.

Brad
Thanks again. Will certainly contact her and see what options I have. Much appreciated.
Old 21st November 2017
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
I know, I know.. unhappy expressed by myself.
I just was trying to figure out if there is a big difference between SB75-314SC (normal) and SB75-314SC/SL (super linear) woofers?
Anybody heard both and can share his impressions?

thanks
Didn't Brad answer your question in post #24 above?
Old 21st November 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swing View Post
Didn't Brad answer your question in post #24 above?

he certainly did!
as the only one ...
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