LA Audio Show 2017: ATC brings pro sound into your home


I’ve long heard good reports about ATC speakers and electronics, but never seemed to be in the right place for a substantial demo.

I finally corrected that situation at the Los Angeles Audio Show, where Lone Mountain Audio was showing ATC’s SCM 50 passive tower loudspeakers ($20,999 USD), P2 amplifier ($4,599 USD) and CA2 Mk. 2 preamp ($2,999 USD).

laas9ATC, based in the UK, is an interesting company. Its history goes back to 1974 when engineer and working musician Billy Woodman created a business to manufacture custom drive units for the professional sound industry.

Woodman developed a 12-inch driver capable of handling a high amount of power while producing very low distortion at concert sound-pressure levels. The popularity of the speaker (it was used on Supertramp’s first world tour) helped Woodman to set up a second firm for the home audio market.


The SCM 50s on display in LA were finished in gloss black. The styling reflected the company’s stage and studio origins, with a rectangular ported-box design. (There also is an active version with built-in amplifiers.)

While the exterior may not be exotic, the speaker’s drivers are something special. The three-inch midrange, for example, is a soft-dome design, while the nine-inch bass driver has an ultra-linear magnet assembly. There also is a one-inch tweeter that recently was upgraded.

Frequency response is 40Hz to 22kHz. Sensitivity is 85 decibels.


Driving the SCM 50 in LA was the company’s P2, a dual-mono amp that produces 300 watts per channel. The ATC CA2 Mk. II analog preamp offered XLR and RCA outputs. My demo with the ATC consisted of a variety of rock and jazz tracks. First up was Stevie Ray Vaugan’s slow-burn “Tin Pan Alley.”

The ATC rig’s extremely low noise floor allowed me to better delineate the individual notes Vaughan played. I also could hear more of the reverberation from his Fender Stratocaster and the formidable Double Trouble rhythm section, much as I would imagine I’d have experienced sitting in the studio during the original recording.

Next was another well-recorded track, Diana Krall’s “Boy From Ipanema,” the gender-flipped version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s standard. The strings on the song had shimmer and depth, and Krall’s vocals were focused and textured.

laas-2017-triode-banner7We’re all trying to reproduce the sounds we hear live or that were recorded in the studio. It probably shouldn’t be too surprising that a company serving both worlds would come so close to fulfilling this goal. Whether you’re a rock star or just want to recreate one at home, you should check out ATC.




About John Stancavage 196 Articles
Contributing Editor for Part-Time Audiophile


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