SCM25A Review – Tape Op
Thom Monahan has reviewed our SCM25A compact 3-way monitor in Tape Op edition #101.
Here are a few outakes from the review:
“Crafting sounds on the SCM25As was a joy; the clarity and openness of the midrange had me pulling back compression, as it was easier to identify artifacts and smeariness.”
“The SCM25As contributed to a better mix flow as I was able to set something and move on, instead of having to approximate and then see-saw back-and-forth between monitors in order to build solid mixes.”
“The biggest payoff was experiencing the best translation I’d ever gotten out of my studio when I took the finished CRB record to JJ Golden at Golden Mastering.”
You can read the review in full on the Tape Op website.
SCM25A product details can be found here.
Stereophile SCM19 Review
Over the pond in the US the chaps at Stereophile have been casting their ears and eyes over more of our new models. The latest magazine (and now also featured online) reviews the new SCM19 which features the new ATC Dual Suspension tweeter, 6.5″ SLmid/bass and revised crossovers. Read John Marks’s review here on the Stereophile Website.
HiFi Choice Group Test Winner – SCM7
The SCM7 comes out as group test winner in the £639-£810 category in the May 2014 edition of HiFi Choice magazine!
Read the group test verdict here.
ATC SCM150ASL Pro makes mastering clear as day at Jacob’s Well
“The biggest strength of the ATCs are their ability to present the midrange at its best, which helps me a lot in terms of evaluating the mix and deciding what to do with it.”
– Sangwook ‘Sunny’ Nam (Owner, Jacob’s Well Mastering)
WEST LEBANON, NH, USA: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that Grammy®-nominated mastering engineer Sangwook ‘Sunny’ Nam has installed a pair of custom SCM150ASL PRO three-way active loudspeakers at his unique Jacob’s Well Mastering facility founded in 2012…
“The reason I decided to go with ATC is that I had used ATC speakers during my time at The Mastering Lab.” So states Sangwook ‘Sunny’ Nam, a protégé of mastering legend Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab in Hollywood (and, later, Ojai, California) from July 2005 until flying solo, setting up shop towards the Eastern Seaboard at a scenic riverside location in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. How, why, and when Korean native Nam needed to seek out a mastering mentor before becoming an internationally sought-after mastering engineer in his own right makes for fascinating reading.
“I began my career as a recording engineer in 1998,” Nam begins. “Establishing myself as a top producer for classical music recordings and as an engineer for audiophile recordings in Korea, I worked with well-known musicians, such as Myungwha Chung, Daejin Kim, and Yeol Eum Son, and also a range of orchestras, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Symphony, and Nashville Symphony. I also got involved in the mastering process to preserve the quality of my audiophile recordings, but then I was able to enjoy mastering recordings produced by other people. Even though my interest in mastering stemmed from classical music, I mastered many musical styles, ranging from hip-hop to heavy metal. My passion to become a better mastering engineer drove me to e-mail Doug Sax, asking him to be my mentor. Doug generously allowed me to work with him and I also had the honour of working with great engineers like Al Schmitt, Bill Schnee, James Guthrie, and Don Murray when I joined The Mastering Lab.”
By the time of Nam’s noteworthy tenure, The Mastering Lab (TML) was equipped with ATC loudspeakers, which speaks volumes about their perceived quality when considering the unique transfer system employed there. “TML has a very unique signal chain,” notes Nam. “While it’s a commonly held belief that one has to have the cleanest signal path to be of service as a top-quality mastering studio, this is easier said than done. TML has ploughed its efforts into realising this simple but demanding belief since 1967, designing and building equipment in-house to achieve the cleanest possible signal path. A lot of elements in the signal chain there are quite unconventional, requiring extra effort from mastering engineers — unlike using modern equipment in other mastering setups. So the most important thing that I learned at TML is how to evaluate the elements of the signal chain that can serve to implement the best transfer system.”
Which was exactly what Nam took with him when family commitments compelled a cross-continental move: “My wife was hired by one of the Ivy League colleges and wanted to take our kids with her. I sort of commuted for about a year before deciding to stay with my family. It was pretty hard for me to leave TML and Doug, but my priority lies with my family.”
Far from the madding crowd, Nam chose to build his own biblically-named Jacob’s Well Mastering facility close to his newfound family home: “My studio sits on a riverbank of the Connecticut. It was originally a big storage unit attached to a small office building, so I built the studio inside it from the ground up. My room is designed by Rick Ruggieri, who designed TML’s room in Ojai — basically, it’s the same design, but scaled a bit differently because my room is built for stereo channel mastering only. The uniqueness of my room lies in the placement of the equipment rack behind the engineer. To achieve the cleanest signal path possible, putting nothing between yourself and the speakers is pretty obvious. This makes it much harder for the engineer to work, but both TML and myself don’t mind going the extra mile to maintain our philosophy at every stage of the signal path, and, actually, once you’re used to that placement, it’s not that hard to work in that way.”
Specifying SCM150ASL PRO three-way active loudspeakers for Nam’s new room at Jacob’s Well Mastering may not have been a hard choice for its driven owner, but fulfilling the order was far from standard practice for manufacturer ATC since soffit mounting was the order of the day. Concedes Nam: “This is quite rare in mastering studios, but this setup works for me, and Rick did wonderful work to mitigate the problems that could come out of the soffit design. Also this enabled me to put in a big window through which I can enjoy the beautiful view of the Connecticut river without affecting the room acoustic. ATC handled all my requests for a custom wood enclosure and different placement of the mid and tweeter units with grace. The amp pack was also sent separately to JCF Audio, who built all of my custom transfer system, for modification to suit my needs.”
As for the finished result, Nam is clearly happy with his room and the custom SCM150ASL PRO setup within: “With the design of the room, the ATCs translate the sound that I’m getting into other speaker systems very well. When it comes to speakers, most of the time people talk about bass and high frequencies, but, for me, midrange is most important, because that’s where most of the music is. The biggest strength of the ATCs are their ability to present the midrange at its best, which helps me a lot in terms of evaluating the mix and deciding what to do with it.”
Dave Clarke, “The Baron of Techno”, chooses ATC
For quite a few years now Dave Clarke, DJ, producer and radio presenter, has been based in Amsterdam. During his long standing career, Clarke has remixed many of electronic music’s biggest names, including the Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Moby, Underworld, New Order and Depeche Mode.
Dave Clarke has also become a key player of the annual Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). He is a regular DJ presence at top global clubs such as Fabric in London, Berghain in Berlin, and Fuse in Brussels. He has also played a wide range of festivals including Glastonbury, Pukkelpop, and I Love Techno and hosts his own successful stage at Tomorrowland in Belgium since 2012.
It’s an understatement to say Dave’s floating studio is well equipped. He is the type a person that always keeps an open eye and ear for cutting edge technology. Along with the ever increasing audio quality of his studio equipment, Dave realized his existing monitor system no longer met his requirements.
Several audio monitors passed in review and to cut a long story short, the ATC SCM-25A turned out to be Dave’s favorite choice. Their detailed and distortion free sound was what appealed to him most.
Dave: “Though not super abundant in the low-end the SCM-25A produced an exact and very tight image of bass pulses and bass lines. Extremely important when producing low frequency dependent club music. The mid range reveals lots of detail but is never obtrusive, the detail you can hear in the reverb tails in complicated mixes was a complete surprise and highs are frosty & crisp but never harsh or edgy. This is a monitor that tells it like it is but doesn’t bring about any listening fatigue. In fact, it is a real pleasure to listen to them and finally hear everything in the mix even if it is a complicated one.”
The ATC SCM-25A monitors where supplied and installed by Helios Pro Audio Solutions.
Stereomojo review the new SCM11
Dr. John Richardson reviews the new SCM11 for Stereomojo.
The review can be read in full here SCM11 Stereomojo Review
SCM11 Review – Hi-Fi Wigwam
Jason Kennedy has reviewed our new SCM11 for the Hi-Fi Wigwam website.
The review can be read in full here: SCM11 Hi-Fi Wigwam Review
Here’s a little taster of what Jason had to say:
“This speaker is capable of communicating the message in the music to a greater degree than virtually all the competition at the price… I suggest that you listen to a pair of ATCs, if it’s this pair all the better because you’ll struggle to find more musical thrill power for your money elsewhere.” Jason Kennedy, Hi-Fi Wigwam, March 2014
Next week we’ll be making our annual trip to Frankfurt to attend Musikmesse 2014.
You can find us on the S.E.A. Vertreib stand in Hall 5.1. The stand number is C79.
We’ll be showing SCM100ASL Pro, SCM25A Pro and a the new SCM20ASL Pro Mk2 which is due for offical launch in May.
Award-winning Alchemy Mastering engineer Matt Colton connects with ATC SCM150ASL PRO
“They encourage me to work in a way that I like, and I’m very happy to be supporting ATC — a British company that
works hard to make good speakers.”
- Matt Colton (MPG Mastering Engineer of the Year)
LONDON, UK: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system
manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that MPG Mastering Engineer of the Year Award-winner
Matt Colton has installed a pair of SCM150ASL PRO three-way active loudspeakers for critical
listening in his room at Alchemy Mastering in West London…
Thanks to an always-widening array of ear-bending analogue and digital technologies, the mastering process is far from simple. Mastering means bringing well-honed listening skills to the table and for Matt Colton — named Mastering Engineer of the Year at last year’s MPG Awards — mastering is where his heart has been for quite some time. Indeed, time well spent mastering his craft with several tenures across London — including Porky’s Mastering, Optimum Mastering, Alchemy Mastering, and AIR Studios — led to the sought-after, award-winning mastering engineer relaunching Alchemy Mastering with original owners Barry Grint and Phil Kinrade at a new Hammersmith facility where he has succeeded in becoming a master of his own destiny with his own well-stocked mastering room to boot. Here he continues to build on his growing
reputation, mastering for the likes of Coldplay, James Blake, Gary Numan, and Metronomy. Like his career, Colton’s mastering CV is a long and accomplished affair.
For Colton, though, there’s more to mastering than simply having access to the latest and greatest ear-bending analogue and digital technologies: “The thing about kit is that the things that are really important are the acoustics, speakers, amps, convertors, power supplies, and the wiring that connects them all together — anything that affects the sound in the room. You cannot get around that. So I would rather have a great-sounding room and a workstation with a couple of plug-ins than every piece of hardware ever made and a poor-sounding room, because — no matter how much you say you understand the room — we all react to what’s coming out of the speakers and make our judgements based on how it sounds in the room. If the room is too bassy then the recording is going to be bass light — even if we know the room is too bassy, so that’s fundamental.”
Fundamental to Colton’s current way of working is a pair of SCM150ASL PRO three-way active loudspeakers: “Having worked at AIR on a really lovely pair of hi-fi speakers, I felt I wanted to go back to studio monitoring and have something that maybe sounded a bit less polished in terms of the actual sound that’s coming out of the speaker. So I’m working on a pair of SCM150ASL PROs. I’d previously worked on a pair of SCM200s many years ago, which I loved, but I think the 150 is a great speaker.”
An unconventional demonstration convinced Colton that the SCM150ASL PRO patently met his critical listening criteria: “I did a lecture at Westminster University in Harrow to over 100 people in a really big lecture hall with a massive ceiling height of 50 feet or so. Ben Lilly of ATC brought along a pair of SCM150s and I played some James Blake records with really low sub-bass — down at around 35Hz, and they just sounded glorious. It was a wonderful experience to hear those records played in that room only on a pair of speakers. So, on that basis, I’ve got the 150s in my mastering room — sadly, not quite as big as that lecture hall!”
With well-honed listening skills par excellence, Colton is perfectly positioned to provide honest insight into the stunningsounding SCM150ASL PRO in action at Alchemy Mastering: “They’re a direct and honest pair of speakers. If the mix sounds good, then it sounds good here; if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. There’s no flattery on the part of the speakers, though they can be wonderful to listen to when you get it right. I’m enjoying working on them. They encourage me to work in a way that I like, and I’m very happy to be supporting ATC — a British company that works hard to make good speakers.”