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ATC SCM25a vs ATC SCM20a mk2 Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 28th November 2014
  #1
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ATC SCM25a vs ATC SCM20a mk2

I've been debating between PSI, Focal and ATC monitors for a small highly treated room 13 x 12 and I'm not sure if I should go with 2 way or a 3 way monitors. Both have their advantages. I've always been a big fan of electrostatic speakers because they are incredibly detailed, and holographic albeit bass shy.

So taken cost out of the equation for a moment and given the room size do you think I would better off with ATC 25s or 20s. Other than the latters ability to go a little louder and deeper, with regard to mids soundstage transient response are they comparable.

Other options I'm considering are the psi 21s and 25s and the focal sm7s. It seems that their is no 2 way focal that is comparable to the sm7s

Any thoughts here would be appreciated. Btw, I've experienced the big ATCs, can't recall the model and while they weren't near fields I thouhgt they were outstanding in just about every metric you could apply to monitors
Old 28th November 2014
  #2
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Try them out is my advice. They're both superb, I have 20s and use 25s regularly.

SCM 25 has the edge when it comes to midrange transparency, the (albeit scaled down) mid-dome has all the amazing advantages it comes with.

The SCM 20 however has a lean-ness and utter tightness to the bottom-end which I just love. It's like listening on 50s but with less bass, while the SCM 25s don't quite have the same bottom-end detail.

Not sure why that is, might be the SL or the really heavily damped box/driver relationship in the SCM 20. I love it either way. I'm used to the 20 over the 25 and prefer it but the 25 is definitely better in a lot of areas.


Both go stupidly loud for such small speakers.
Old 29th November 2014
  #3
QRS
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scm20 is a sealed system. scm25 is ported... or you can use the "damper" to close the port and have a sealed box then. i like that flexibility in a few rooms or when it comes to integration with other monitors.
i have not heard the new scm20 mk2 yet. the new high driver should be great.
on paper i read that scm20 is almost as loud spl as scm25 and also both weight almost the same.. they are heavy.
i've compared the "old" 20 to scm25 and liked the 25 much better because it was like a more of everything scenario...for me anyway. i dont know how it would be with 20mk2.
you have to try both and decide then.
Old 29th November 2014
  #4
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I agree that the SCM 25 is more or less 'more of everything', but there is something about the low-mids and bottom end on the 20 which I don't quite get from the 25.

Try them out!
Old 29th November 2014
  #5
Getting over the room size will probably be the greatest challenge when investing that much in speakers.
I'm not a big fan of ported designs but the Atc25a's are really nice. Haven't heard the others but try before you buy if possible. Good luck.
Old 29th November 2014
  #6
QRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
I agree that the SCM 25 is more or less 'more of everything', but there is something about the low-mids and bottom end on the 20 which I don't quite get from the 25.

Try them out!
hi AlexK ,
reading your other posts i see you really like the 20's !
are you talking about the "old" or "new" ones ?
i think about getting a demo pair of the new 20mk2 next to my 25's.
Old 29th November 2014
  #7
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Hey thanks everyone: Alex, Walt, QRS, for the feedback.

I'm thinking, given my room size, that the 20s might be the better choice. I've always been a fan of the simplicity of two way designs especially in high end audio. However with active monitors I believe the effects of the crossover is somewhat mitigated. Two very important things to me is coherence and midrange clarity. I find it distracting if the integration between drivers isn't relatively seamless, almost akin to driving with a blind spot. However if the midrange clarity of the SCM 25 is decidedly better than I'm back to the 25s. And if I'm back to the 25s, I may as well look at the SM7s.
Old 29th November 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
hi AlexK ,
reading your other posts i see you really like the 20's !
are you talking about the "old" or "new" ones ?
i think about getting a demo pair of the new 20mk2 next to my 25's.
I have older passive ones (going Active soon! Will also be upgrading to the new tweeters.)

As I say, I do think the 25s are better speakers overall, but the 20 has this super-lean-greyhound-like lower midrange and bass performance which allows me to hear kick drums, bass guitars and (especially) vocal proximity etc... like no other compact speaker.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
Hey thanks everyone: Alex, Walt, QRS, for the feedback.

I'm thinking, given my room size, that the 20s might be the better choice. I've always been a fan of the simplicity of two way designs especially in high end audio. However with active monitors I believe the effects of the crossover is somewhat mitigated. Two very important things to me is coherence and midrange clarity. I find it distracting if the integration between drivers isn't relatively seamless, almost akin to driving with a blind spot. However if the midrange clarity of the SCM 25 is decidedly better than I'm back to the 25s. And if I'm back to the 25s, I may as well look at the SM7s.
The crossover in active 20s is completely seamless IMO. There is some slight vagueness or something going on around the x-over on the passives but I hear that in every 2-way passive, usually to a much higher level than I do on my SCM 20s.

Haven't heard the SM7s so couldn't comment on them directly. From my experience with other Focal speakers, they're pretty much the polar opposite of what you'd get from ATC.
Old 29th November 2014
  #9
Gear Addict
room size in mind, i'd go with the 20s, myself. the bottom, while not deep as 25s they are at least tight and very good for outside translation.
i know it defies logic (and specs), but ported cabinets often leave me unsure with decisions re. bottom.
big atc love here overall though.
Old 30th November 2014
  #10
QRS
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you can turn the scm25 from ported to a sealed design using the dense foam coming with the speakers.
Old 30th November 2014
  #11
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Total system Q is lower in the SCM 20 which results in a shallower roll-off (albeit starting from a higher frequency).
Old 30th November 2014
  #12
QRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
, but the 20 has this super-lean-greyhound-like lower midrange and bass performance which allows me to hear kick drums, bass guitars and (especially) vocal proximity etc... like no other
thanks for info AlexK!
hmm, i really have to try the 20mk2 with my 25's...
Old 30th November 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
thanks for info AlexK!
hmm, i really have to try the 20mk2 with my 25's...
Make sure it's the active version to give it a fair chance. The active vs passive difference is rather large.
Old 30th November 2014
  #14
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hi there! having the active scm 20 mk2 for 4 weeks now i have to say that they are exceptional! atc typical midrange clarity and that new in house developed tweeter is really a different beast than the one on the scm 25. if you dont need to get really loud i would highly recommend them on everything!
Old 30th November 2014
  #15
QRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_stickle View Post
hi there! having the active scm 20 mk2 for 4 weeks now i have to say that they are exceptional! atc typical midrange clarity and that new in house developed tweeter is really a different beast than the one on the scm 25. if you dont need to get really loud i would highly recommend them on everything!
hi stickle, how different is the new tweeter sounding to the 25...and how is the mid- and bass region of the new 20 compared to 25 ?
Old 30th November 2014
  #16
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hi qrs! i had not so much time with the 25....but it seems to me that they (scm 20mkII) have a bit more hi end resolution beacause of the new designed tweeter. if you are familiar with larger atcs u will find yourself at home immediately in the mid range. when it comes to bass, i use them with a subwoofer and that works perfectly well for me.
Old 30th November 2014
  #17
QRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_stickle View Post
hi qrs! i had not so much time with the 25....but it seems to me that they (scm 20mkII) have a bit more hi end resolution beacause of the new designed tweeter. if you are familiar with larger atcs u will find yourself at home immediately in the mid range. when it comes to bass, i use them with a subwoofer and that works perfectly well for me.
thanks for info stickle!
Old 4th December 2014
  #18
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I have 150's in my mastering room and 25's in my home composing studio. Had the 25's for several years now.

Last week I got to hear the 25s next to the new 20 passives. The 20's are excellent speakers. 25's are smoother sounding. Warmer with more low end. Plus the mid dome.

I'm going to get a set of 20's at some point just to have a two-way reference speaker in my room. But either the 20 or 25's are good options. If you can spring the extra cash for 25's -the mid range with the mid dome is worth it. But I could happily spend my life on the 20's with no problem.

FWIW - I often have the 25's sitting next to the 150's and they hang ..... really. Kinda crazy how much so. Of course not as extended in the low end but giving the absurd difference in size ......
Old 7th November 2018
  #19
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bump!
Any new thoughts?
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