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Nearfield choice: ATC SCM20SL or K&H 110
Old 15th November 2009
  #1
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Nearfield choice: ATC SCM20SL or K&H 110

Hi guys,
I am thinking about getting a high quality, small nearfield setup. I have large speakers for the main/midfield as well as crappy nearfields (HS50) which serve their purposes very well. The Yamahas are great for setting levels but I would never do critical EQ or dynamics settings on them. What I am missing is super high quality nearfields, they do not have to play loud, do not have to extend extremely low. What I want is the highest class of midrange & highs to be able to hear every subtle EQ or compression parameter tweak, actually what I am getting from my distant monitors at a closer distance with less room influence. I have narrowed down the contenders to...

K&H O110 active or
ATC SCM20-SL passives (I have a Bryston 4BST to power them)

...which both are in the maximum pricerange I want to afford.

Has anyone had a chance to compare those two or good/bad experiences with one of them? Any experiences welcome!
Rock on!
Pat
Old 15th November 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 

Hey Pat,

I'm running a pair of ATC SCM-20s with a Bryston 4B SST, so I can speak specifically to those. I haven't listened to the Klein & Hummels.

My control room situation is pretty poor (shallow but wide room, low ceiling), but with some careful listening, a (very judicious) little bit of EQ using a Meyer CP-10S and some carefully placed OC 703 panels, the ATCs have proven useful and pretty darn accurate in a way nothing else has, up to a moderate volume. The bottom isn't 'big' — they're not ported — but it's very controlled and delineated, and the low mids are separated and detailed. I rarely find them 'fun'. But they match great with the Bryston (honestly better than with the amps in the powered 20s), and counterpoint well with NS-10s (which I still totally love for no good reason other than sheer familiarity). The 20s are notoriously inefficient, though, so know that if you set them up on a switcher next to any other speaker there'll be a dramatic volume change.


The K&H is a ported speaker, correct? Kind of a different world; if your room isn't too naturally resonant they might be beautiful. Have you had a chance to audition either pair in your space? Barring a perfect listening environment, I bet one pair is instantly appealing, but which one is anyone's guess. I'd love to know where you end up.

- Chris
Old 15th November 2009
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

I would add the Geithain RL906 to your list although they are more expensive you could probably find a second hand pair for around the price of the K&H 0110.
Old 15th November 2009
  #4
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Aisle 6's Avatar
I have the SCM20SL and they definitely need a whack of juice up them to get them going. As said, notoriously inefficient. They are not the most flattering speakers you will hear, but as I have learnt, they do not lie. Shit sounds like shit, you are just able to hear the detail of the shit. ; )
Easy to listen to for long periods and very balanced.

Interested to hear your experience with the K&H though.
Old 15th November 2009
  #5
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Thanks guys,
the Geithains are interesting too, but slightly too expensive. The equator Q8 also seems very interesting but it is such new and relatively unknown product...also heard good things about the Emes Black tv. Anybody think these are in the same
league as the K&H and ATC? I think it would be safer to go with one of those two as they are proven champs...
Rock on!
Pat
Old 15th November 2009
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
CaptCrunch's Avatar
 

I've got the ATC SCM20SL/Bryston 4B-ST combo as well and strongly recommend the pairing. The minimum amp for the ATCs will be in the 200wpc and up range. My mains are the ATC SCM150ASL and the differences between the two siblings are in the ability to drive a room to full levels. You could also try a pair of B&W 805 nautilus or diamond series monitors as they are fantastic for nearfield use and are similar to the ATCs in quality. I also would recommend giving Quested a listen if possible.
Old 16th November 2009
  #7
Captain, have you heard the 805 Nautilus against the original 805s?

I had the originals, briefly, in '93 and quickly got rid of them as their bass was so resonant it overshadowed differences in bass program material and I felt I couldn't trust them in that range - a bit like my expensive Grado headphones of the time which I replaced with Etymotic Research ER4S.

I currently run K+H 0300s as near/mid fields and find the bass outstanding in its articulation.
Old 16th November 2009
  #8
I had the Emes Black TV, used them for 2 1/2 years, had a lot of jobs remixing dance tracks at that moment (mainly techno and breakbeat stuff).
They have a very nice stereo image, very accurate bass-lower midrange, but then I got my K&H 098 and these are clearer and more accurate in the whole mix. The lows on the o98 go deeper than the Emes. The Emes go pretty low, but the ported design craps out at some point. (don't like ported myself YMMV) The Black TV is still a very good speaker, much better IMO than most in that price range (800 euro per pair) The o98 as you know is the forerunner of the o300, softer, slightly less detailed but overall the same "vibe" as the o300 (different drivers, front baffle, amps). I've heard the o300 and they're "better" but I don't really feel the need to get rid of the o98 (ever). They are absolutely perfect to mix on very low volume, the balance between frequencies is never lost (like on dynaudio BMp5 that do change when pushed) And they are not fatiguing at all, I could listen to these for years continuously.
The o110 I have heard, same K&H sound, balanced across the range, but with less seperation (less able to "look into" a mix) than the 3 way speakers. Still very nice, and better IMHO than most in that price range.
I also got some tiny ATC (I was on a budget) paired with an old but beautiful and capable K&H amp, and have heard the SCM50 in another studio. ATC sound is very different. Compared to ATC, the K&H sound "muffled" and laid back, but sometimes that is exactly what you'd want. The highs and mid on ATC are much more forward, I can hear reverb much better, and bad mixes are easy to spot. Low end is not flattered, I find that K&H give me more idea what is going (balance of lows in a whole dance mix -- not too much not too little) on so I can make descisions, but the ATC is showing more the mistakes (tonally as well - very transparent) than my old o98. The o300 is probably better in this respect.
A comparison between the o110 and ATC SCM20SL is not fair IMO since the ATC need fat (expensive) amps to drive them, otherwise nothing at all will happen, so value this into your budget. They seem to have much stiffer drivers. They also don't change character when pushed, but the sound is jumping at you, instead of that you have to go into it yourself. Since you got the Bryston, IMO go for the ATC.
They complement each other very well.
Hope this is of any use. Try them first for a while, they both need getting used to. (a day or two for each is enough probably)
Old 16th November 2009
  #9
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Haha, it looks like it´s not getting easier, it´s getting more difficult to make a decision the more information I get :-)

Anyways, thanks so much for your feedback guys, it is very interesting. The thing is, I personally like the mid&high forward sound, so the ATCs will be something I like. On the other hand I have my main speakers (ADAM S4A) voiced like that already, so something different like the "duller" K&Hs might compliment my existing setup better. Speakers that focus more on the bass and low midrange might be the ticket for nearfield useage as the room modes are interfering mostly in that f-area on the distant speakers. I can dial in great mids&highs with the main monitors anyway...then again if I do not like the mids&highs as laid back I could end up putting in too much .....aaaaargh! It looks like I would really need to audition every speaker, theory simply will not lead me to a satisfying decision. It really hurts that the dealers in my city do not have such uncommon speakers in stock, it would be so easy to grab them, listen to them and return the ones that I do not want to keep.

btw where do you get a pair of EMES black tv for around 800.-? I see them for 700.- per speaker.....


Rock on!
Pat
Old 16th November 2009
  #10
had two pairs, both passive (used Bryston 3b) for that.
first pair from Emes direct (refurbed with new drivers), second pair (I figured I needed spares) from ebay. price you've seen is probably active.
a lot of my stuff is "recycled" from german broadcast studios.
Old 16th November 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
CaptCrunch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Dawkins View Post
Captain, have you heard the 805 Nautilus against the original 805s?

I had the originals, briefly, in '93 and quickly got rid of them as their bass was so resonant it overshadowed differences in bass program material and I felt I couldn't trust them in that range - a bit like my expensive Grado headphones of the time which I replaced with Etymotic Research ER4S.

I currently run K+H 0300s as near/mid fields and find the bass outstanding in its articulation.



I have heard the original 805 speakers. Unfortunately, too much time passed between hearing them and the subsequent nautilus (and diamond) series for me to make an informed comparison. FWIW, I own a pair of the 805 Nautilus and really enjoy listening to them. I do vaguely recall having a feeling similar to your own that the original speakers, just like their cabinet, were "boxy" sounding. The later design with the rounded back is, in my opinion, among the very best speakers at that size. Steve Albini uses the original 805 as nearfields at his studio Electrical Audio . As an aside, it's funny you mention the Grado headphones, I purchased a pair of HP-1000s around the same time I got the 805s; I still love those headphones!
Old 16th November 2009
  #12
Abbey Road used the original 805s as well - part of the reason I got them!
I know that I wished I had got the vertical model - I got the horizontal version on the assumption that it would sound the same as the vertical one which I had auditioned. It was fundamentally inferior, though, and I used to think the configuration was part of it.

The Grado headphones - I had the top of the line model with the polarity switches on the back of the earpieces. More than one person who "just had to hear" what my $1000 pair of headphones sounded like wound up buying a pair, and $1000 was a lot more outrageous then than now for headphones!
Old 16th November 2009
  #13
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World Studios's Avatar
Pat! Get the atcs! I have owned the active 20 asl. I have tested the kh's in the same room, but not at the same time. No contest. The kh are actually a lot more forward sounding. One thing about the atcs is that they are very clean and unhyped in the highs, so that they come off duller sounding in a way.

Both monitors do not have much low end, but the atc midrange is the shit. Not far from Adam, btw.

They are not flattering, so if it sounds good on the atcs it IS good!
Old 16th November 2009
  #14
I don't know if the SCM20 sounds better than the SCM50 and I have never had the chance to do a proper A/B between them, but the owner of one of the major studios in Slovenia has, and the result was he sold his entire ATC surround monitoring system and went with K+H - 3x O410's (L-C-R) + 2xO810's + 2xO300's (RL-RR).
Here's part of what his friend who was attending the comparo said:

We all preferred K&H monitors without a doubt. All the others were brighter, and less linear and more hyped. Klein & Hummels sounded natural, without hype and still open and detailed. ATC's were over exaggerated in the high mids for my taste, they were very detailed but they emphasized the content, that is not very important and that cannot be heard on most of the systems. They were also missing the lows.

What I am suggesting you take from this is: try to get an opportunity to hear for yourself with familiar material.

To my ears the mids on the 0300s sound flat, neither pushed or scooped. That is a large part of why I chose them for myself - midrange tonality is extremely important when you are working with seasoned classical musicians. They have spent a lifetime working on their sound and subtleties count, big time.
Old 24th November 2009
  #15
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Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptCrunch View Post
I've got the ATC SCM20SL/Bryston 4B-ST combo as well and strongly recommend the pairing. The minimum amp for the ATCs will be in the 200wpc and up range. My mains are the ATC SCM150ASL and the differences between the two siblings are in the ability to drive a room to full levels. You could also try a pair of B&W 805 nautilus or diamond series monitors as they are fantastic for nearfield use and are similar to the ATCs in quality. I also would recommend giving Quested a listen if possible.
Hey Capt. You think that the Bryston 4BST is the way to go with the ATC SCM20's???
I cuurently run them with a 200W per side Ashley amp which is convection cooled, and it really does not quite light them up properly. You can begin to hear the amp sound as it is working at near capacity quite a lot of the time.
Old 25th November 2009
  #16
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cheu78's Avatar
In your price range (and nature of the speakers) I'd seriously consider the Focal Solo's 6..
They translate everything you need to ear. It's an amazing speaker, specially considering the price.

Do you a favor and try them... I've discovered things that I never thought listening through them!!!
Reverb tails, "secret chords", etc... very detailed!!
After listening you could always decide to not buy them.. btw it's very important to give them a long break in period (try to get a demo pair for testing already broke in).. the tweeter it's very stingy at the beginning... but after the break in period they kicks serious ass!

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Old 25th November 2009
  #17
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tomdarude's Avatar
no doubt about it....for the purpose you posted

United Minorities - Ginkos





United-Minorities


perfect 1-way 4" system, stunning impulse response, no midrange coloration from any x-over network....must be heard to be believed

those are NOT something like auratones etc., there´s no midrange honk etc, those are as flat and true as the best ATC´s, they just don´t get very loud!

PM me if you want to know more, I´m using them (with a seismo) for some time now!
Old 25th November 2009
  #18
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
no doubt about it....for the purpose you posted

United Minorities - Ginkos


!
Looks interesting, but through the mountains of poetic and ecstatic words on their website I could not find two basic information: 1) are they active or passive ? 2) price ?
Old 25th November 2009
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Well said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Looks interesting, but through the mountains of poetic and ecstatic words on their website I could not find two basic information: 1) are they active or passive ? 2) price ?
Hee Hee. I too would like to know the answer to 1 above. The answer to 2 is about 3500 Euro I believe in Germany.

Since we are OT, anyway, I use these rethm for listening to music and am totally converted to listening to music through single driver systems.

To the OP, very happy with the K+H 110. Tried the ATC for a while and though I liked their mid field speakers a lot, preferred the K+H for my use - mostly accoustic, vocal and small ensemble type music.

Baithak
Old 25th November 2009
  #20
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tomdarude's Avatar
there´s 2 versions basically:

ginko pair (passive) + 2ch. amp = 1035,- + 350,- = 1385,- (+vat)

(they´re tuned slightly different an naturally roll of below something like 65Hz or so....don´t know exactly)


ginko pair, seismo (sub) + 3ch. amp = 3200,- (+vat)

(ginkos roll off naturally below around 118Hz, where the seismo gradually takes over until down to something like 30Hz)


...I hope I remember those figures right
Old 25th November 2009
  #21
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildCowboys View Post
K&H O110 active or
ATC SCM20-SL passives (I have a Bryston 4BST to power them)

...which both are in the maximum price range I want to afford.
Two excellent units.

I know the metal active ATC units - they are hernia giving and excellent quality.

If the passive SCM 20-SL sound the same they should be excellent.

But, I think, quite a bit larger than the O110.

Personally I use the O110D for location monitoring as they are the perfect size for moving around and very trustworthy.
Old 29th November 2009
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
there´s 2 versions basically:

ginko pair (passive) + 2ch. amp = 1035,- + 350,- = 1385,- (+vat)

(they´re tuned slightly different an naturally roll of below something like 65Hz or so....don´t know exactly)


ginko pair, seismo (sub) + 3ch. amp = 3200,- (+vat)

(ginkos roll off naturally below around 118Hz, where the seismo gradually takes over until down to something like 30Hz)


...I hope I remember those figures right
Do they weight them up with gold? Price wise they seem to be more aimed at the hifi market...a bit steep for what you get in reverse, don't you think, tom? Their description looks to me like some drops of snake oil were used.
Old 29th November 2009
  #23
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Aisle 6's Avatar
Ordered a Bryston 4BSST this week for my ATC SCM20SL's. Very excited. Hope to improve their performance a little.
Old 30th November 2009
  #24
Gear Nut
 

i can vouch for the o110 as well. a pleasure to work on. linear, detailed, great stereo imaging and most importantly, they translate. but either way it looks like you'll end up with a quality set of monitors...happy days.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #25
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mixerguy's Avatar
I have compared various ATC to various other speakers and I always find myself preferring ATC, generally.

:-)
Old 2nd April 2013
  #26
ATC SCM 20SL passives!

BIG Thumbs up on those!!!!!

Old 5th April 2013
  #27
Lives for gear
 

I spent a week working at a studio that had 20's for nearfields.
Really great, natural sounding speakers that compared very favorably to my 25's.
Every eq/mic choice made that week held up beautifully. Wouldn't change a thing.
Old 5th April 2013
  #28
good comparisons here between many of the usual suspects - many useful charts on a wide variety. ATC, K&H and one of the JBLs look good; some other respected brands come off surprisingly poorly:
http://tinyurl.com/ckotn92
Old 7th July 2013
  #29
Lives for gear
 

FWIW - I have 150's in my room, 25's for my home rig. The studio I'm in has a set of 20 passives floating between A and B rooms and every time I hear them I like them a lot.
If you like ATC's flavor of neutral then the 20's are certainly worth a good demo.
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