FOR Fine rhythmic drive; hugely transparent AGAINST Nothing
Since the ATC SCM11S’ first incarnation in 2006, they have gone from strength to strength, but with new rivals, such as the Proac Studio 118s arriving, can the ATCS retain their class-leading status?
We play Rodriguez’s I Wonder and, just when you think its rivals are getting to the core of a vocal, the ATCS manage to peel away another layer. You can really feel the guttural, aching quality of Rodriguez’s delivery. The SCM11S capture the subtle echo around each word and the rawness of the production, while remaining faithful to the recording.
Punchy and agile
The SCM11’S clean, neutral balance makes them easy to live with. No part of the frequency range is favoured, and the presentation is loaded with information. Treble is clear, while bass is textured and tuneful, the track’s bassline coming across as punchy and agile.
The ATCS have all the pep and pizzazz you’d expect at this price. They punch hard and sound solid, with a warm, full sound that’s not too rounded or without bite. Their natural agility and drive give them a real knack for rhythms, and there’s control at every turn.
The all-encompassing soundstage is alive with scale and authority, and power isn’t in short supply either. Stereo imaging is another strength; the song’s bass guitar, drum and vocal ensemble has clear depth and layering, and a lovely sense of cohesion.
You may have guessed by their Award count that nothing really lets the ATCS down. The solidly made cabinets that house the 15cm mid/bass driver and 25mm soft-dome tweeter look and feel as if they’d last a lifetime, and the wood veneer finish in cherry or black is immaculate. You get more than enough cabinet for the money – when it comes to size and weight, they’re well-endowed – so make sure to invest in sturdy stands.
It’s hard not to be totally and utterly enamoured of the ATC SCM11S. For the money, they seem to do everything right – and they look good too. Others may beat them in terms of their liveliness, but we are more tempted by the SCM11’S greater subtlety and transparency. When it comes to speakers, there are few better ways to spend £1200.