Review ATC SCM40 floorstanding speaker – Magic Midrange


  • Very coherent playback
  • No nonsense appearance
  • Very low distortion
  • Nice stereo image


  • Critical on amplification
  • No nonsense appearance :-)
  • Price: € 5250

    Build quality


    ATC actually needs no introduction. The British company has been making studio speakers at a very high level for decades. Of course with the famous ATC midrange dome. A unit that has more than earned its spurs. First of all in studios worldwide, but now also in the living room. This time we have the passive ATC SCM40 in front of us; a heavy floorstander of just under 6000 euros per pair.

    We previously had the SCM40A on a visit. During a livestream test. And there this active floorstander scored very high. Artist Tim Knol even found it the most pleasant of the three. No small compliment. However, with the ATC SCM40A the manufacturer can contro everything. And so, everything is matched. In a passive version this is not the case.

    The construction

    Like the SCM40A, the ATC SCM40 is a three-way speaker with a closed cabinet. The woofer measures a little over 16cm and has a crackling (yes, we can’t find another word) of a magnet. Then we see a 7.5cm midrange soft dome and a 2.5cm soft dome tweeter. Right… a dome midrange unit. That’s pretty unusual. We’ve had Infinity Kappa’s before that also had a midrange dome. And what a nice speaker that was.

    The crossovers are at 380 and 3500 Hz. So the vocal range is largely kept free, which is positive. The range of the three units together is 48 Hz – 22 kHz (- 6dB point). The ATC SCM40 is solidly built. The weight of 31 Kg each shows that. The pair is just under one meter high, 37cm wide and 30cm deep. Quite compact. In white it is still a charming pair to look at!

    Power hog

    Now we know that closed models usually demand a bit more from the amplifier. And we see that in the ATCs’ specifications as well. They recommend an amplifier with at least 75 watts at 8 Ohms. Consider an efficiency of 85dB and you will understand that there should be some current in the power amp. Our Bryston has absolutely no difficulty with driving them. Bt an average integrated amplifier will not always like it, we estimate. Keep that in mind. To wrap up. The entire cabinet sits on a nice base with spikes. We definitely recommend putting rings under the spikes, or perhaps separate feet. Think of Isoacoustics feet.



    1. (RE: ATC SCM-40 Review)

      Gentleman: A nice review to a often-reviewed loudspeaker.

      You mentioned that:

      ” The Bryston may not be the most refined power amplifier on earth”

      If you are referring to the 4B-3/Cubed?, I believe you should look elswewhere for the source of any “lack of refinement”.

      Also, the loudspeaker was tested/measured, a on/off axis response abberation was noted, yet we/ the reader are not provided any test/frequency response graphs. It’s difficult to offer any feedback to a ‘response’ graph when none is made available. Howwever, ATC themselves should be queried regarding the FR deviation/s noted.

      Additionally, at E6,300 (Euro)/pair, it’s disappointing to see the use of the most common/cheapest speaker connector terminals used on the SCM-40; that connector type is seen on very inexpensive loudspeakers. Or am I mistaken -regarding speaker terminal quality?

      Finally, at/around 6,300 Euro, consider the KEF ‘REF-1’ stand-mount loudspeaker for audition/ review. It’s always instructive to add/compare another highly rated loudspeaker in a similar price range.

      pete jasz

      1. If you go to the secition “Measurements and Samples” in the index, you find a gallery with all the measurements.

        The Bryston 4B SST3 is a very nice amp, but – in our opinion – not comparable with – for example – a Pass labs power amp in terms of finesse. That’s what I meant with that.

        I think termination was fine. I’m not impressed with very expensive terminals. If they are solid and make a good connection, that’s fine with mee. Big and bulky terminals don’t sound better… 🙂

        We will try the REF-1 for sure… The R7 was also a very decent speaker.

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