Steeping from the studio into a more domestic setting, can the pro specialist work its magic in the real world?. Read our ATC SCM19 Review.
|2-way infinite baffle standmount loudspeaker
|265 x 438 x 300mm
|25mm soft, dome tweeter, 150mm mid/bass driver. Quoted sensitivity: 85dB/1W/1m(8ohm)
TC is a purveyor of professional monitor systems to recording studios and live venues, and a prolific drive unit manufacturer of nearly 50 years standing. For much of this period, it has also offered a range of domestic hi-fi speakers and these have garnered a cult following. The SCM19 you see here is the company’s take on a mid-price, mid-size domestic standmount and is characteristically quirky.
The first thing that strikes any keen observer is that it’s the only speaker here with a sealed cabinet – in other words, it’s a closed-box with no bass reflex port. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Closed – so-called ‘infinite baffle’ designs – tend to have faster, tauter bass with less bottom-end boom. Reflex-ported designs are said to be easier to drive with superior bass extension given the same size cabinet and sensitivity.
ATC is famous for making its own drivers, and here has fitted its 25mm SH25-76 tweeter, which is a soft dome type. This crosses over to a long-throw 150mm mid/bass unit with a heavy magnet system and slightly sticky doped fabric cone. The crossover features metalised polypropylene capacitors, large air cored inductors and ceramic wire-round resistors.
The super-sturdy 19-litre cabinet is one of the heaviest here; braced, laminated and curved at the back, it sports excellent real cherry or black ash finishes done to a very high standard. ATC claims a sensitivity figure of 85dB, making it one of the least efficient in the group, so a beefy solid-state amp is needed for it to give of its best. Thanks in no small part to its closed-box design, the SCM19 proves surprisingly easy to position, requiring a sturdy stand and placement close to a rear boundary wall, with a little bit of toe-in.
The SCM19 sets a high early bar for the group, across all types of music played. Its key positive characteristic is musical enjoyment; it has a deft knack of digging into the recording, whatever it may be, and then eking out the rhythmic aspects, as well as conveying dynamics impressively. This means that, with programme material that majors on these two facets of sound reproduction, it works very well indeed.
It really sings with songs such as Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs. This reggae relies on a hypnotic groove courtesy of legends Sly and Robbie on bass guitar and drums; the timing is superb on this track and the SCM19 tells you so in no uncertain terms. Its infectious, lilting sensation is really well done. Ditto Manix’s Reach Out; there’s a sense of power and force from the electronic beats that’s just fabulous to hear.
This is the only speaker in the group with a sealed cabinet, so no bass port
Tonally it’s not quite as pure as some in the group; there’s a slight opacity to female vocals, for example. This is only a subtle sensation, but it’s fractionally more nasal than clear speakers like the Neat Majistra. Nor do the lyrics to Led Zep’s The Rain Song quite have the purity they deserve – yet it’s still a great sound because you become immersed in the brooding power of the track and its thumping crescendos. Felt’s Primitive Painters is carried exceptionally, with the ATC majoring on the emotional impact of the song, but it doesn’t cut through the dense and slightly muddy mix as deftly as the Paradigm or Neat offerings.
The SCM19 images impressively, serving up a big, expansive sound -partly helped by its excellent, tight but powerful bass performance that’s class leading; it brings real thump with very little overhang. Yet it can’t match the pin-point precision of some here. Overall, a great rock and pop speaker if you like raising the roof
A super engaging and great fun standmount
- tight and punchy sound
- Slight opacity to midband
Best ATC SCM19 prices ?
See also TOP 10 Subwoofers