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ATC 20 active
15 Reviews
rating  4.6 of 5
MSRP  9350.00
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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by hifispeakerfan a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 15, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Hi this is a review for the scm20 towers. I had a dealer model which has passive connections as well as the active amps so I was able to compare both. First of all I would like to say that I install Hi end audio sytems daily so I get to hear some pretty good systems. The first time I heard these speakers they were hooked up to a relatively inexpensive amp and I bought the speakers then and there, although I really couldn't afford them. The word to describe them is accurate. I had never heard such an honest and direct speaker before. I will try to review them in two parts
Passive: When I first heard the speakers they were passive, and when I brought them home I hooked them up to a Primare 120 watt amp. Passively these speakers have so much slam. When you hear a speaker with accurate bass for the first time it can be quite eye opening. While they are not nearly as accurate as they are active, however somehow the sound running passive is a bit more fun. I ran them with and without a sub and a sub was not needed, in fact it was barely noticeable. Although an expensive power amp is preferable I have heard these things sound unbelievable with a modestly priced amp. However the amp should be at least 100 real watts but more is definately preferred. There seems to be a myth about spending alot on esoteric amps and not so much on the speakers. And although these speakers are not cheap I would certainly suggest spending the budget on these and starting with a cheaper power amp. The amp I first heard them on was an integrated Roksan and I bought the speakers based on that sound. They threw the soundstage to about four feet in front of the speaker and in the center. As I said I listen to and install very expensive hi end systems daily and I had never snapped to attention they way I did when I heard this system. When I brought the speakers home I hooked them up to the Primare amp and the bass weight increased. It was quite scary how loud they went without breaking up. I would not see a problem using these speakers with something like a Rotel or NAD integrated. Of course if you have the budget there are plenty of choices, but spend the money on these speakers and you can always upgrade sources later.

Active: A few weeks after I got the speakers I hooked them up actively. What happens when you do this is that everything becomes quite ruthless. Put on a compilation CD and one song will have tons of bass while the next song might sound like its coming out of a small bookshelf. They do not lie. What you are hearing is how the music was mixed. Active these speakers sound like 20 different speakers rolled into one. I consider this accuracy both fantastic but also a little bit intimidating. Our ears are used to hearing inaccurate systems with quite a bit of distortion. Usually home speakers are designed to colour the sound to a specific sound. If it is tuned to be bass heavy, everything you listen to will have a good deal of bass. When ATCs are active they have very very low distortion levels. When you listen a what you may think is a low volume, the sound is actually quite loud because of the lack of distortion. Because the sound is not coloured to a specific range, some recordings are revealed for how poorly they were mixed (or pressed). One gets tired of gushing reviews about products but if sonic accuracy is what you are after, and you are prepared to hear the truth from your recordings then ATC active is the way to go. I own a pair of active 10s as well as the active 100s. The 20s have the same character as the 100s however the 100s have a somewhat fuller sound. Not necessarlily better just bigger. But the same holds true for the 100s, they are a huge speaker, but can sound like bookshelf speakers if you put a badly mixed recording on them. You definately have to listen to ATC speakers to see if you like their sound. I feel I have found the holy grail of speakers, however they might just be too good. I listen to hundreds of systems and I have not heard better speakers period. Passively they are incredibly pleasing and a bit more listener friendly. You will need to feed them 120 to 300 watts to get them cooking. Actively they are as good as you can get. They will not lie to you. If you are prepared to be told the truth then go for this option. They love to be played loud they will always surpise you with their chameleon like ability to sound like the smallest speaker to the largest. They are not ported so they are very placement friendly. Hook these up with a "proper" sub and they will decimate just about any other system. ATCs were used to remix the SACD version of Dark Side of The Moon, so that should pretty much say it all. I hate to overdo this review as it gets pretty annoying when most reviewers tend to rave over the worst of equipment, it is just quite rare to find equipment of this build quality and sonic accuracy.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:2
Submitted by phlipvitan a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 21, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Just outstanding for a free standing enclosure

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $9500.00

Purchased At:   Hollywood



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Doug a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 24, 2000

Bottom Line:   
These are great speakers. They are very transparent and dynamic. The soundstage they threw was unbelievable, and this without having very carefull placement. The dealer coined a very good phrase for this. He called it the "plop factor". In other words, they sound good wherever you plop them down. However, they are very expensive. If the price could be cut in half, they would be a great high end speaker. As it is, there is just too much competition in this price range for these to be recommended.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:1
Submitted by E. D. a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 24, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I heard a carefully staged, 2-3 hour demonstration at the local Seattle retailer of the ATC20 active loudspeaker and all on hand, including the staff, agreed the sound was awful. Various cables, spikes and electronics were tried; no explanation surfaced. I auditioned favorite acoustic bass recordings (Haden, Meyer) and they sounded tubby, unnatural and were missing all the dynamics and the feel of the tempo-- a $10k failure.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Yee Fung a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 24, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I heard these at a friend's home theater. Absolutely incredible transparency. Considering their size, dynamics were downright startling. These little speakers had enough clean volume to do home teacher right. However in large rooms, they do need a sub. These ATC's, like all othersmall speakers, don't have much below 40 hz. My friend got excellent results with a F1800r crossed over fairly low.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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