Lone Mountain Audio, the US importer and distributor for ATC, had a nearly identical exhibit room to the one they featured at T.H.E. Show in Long Beach. Same speakers, same amps, same display materials. I could have used the same photographs from Long Beach and perhaps no one would have noticed the difference. In fact, maybe I did…just to see if anyone’s paying attention.
That’s not exactly fair to Lone Mountain Audio, because there was one crucial difference–the room. In Long Beach, the ATC SCM50SE Active Towers ($65,999/pair) and the CDA2 Mk II CD player/preamp/DAC ($4249) were displayed in a big downstairs room. I wrote, “The ATC system was powerful and gutsy, as expected, and I was especially impressed with the way the system reproduced massed strings. I also noted an unusually clean sound to kick bass drums, which added to the excitement.” At RMAF 2019, however, Lone Mountain Audio chose to exhibit the same ATC system in one of the standard rooms, and that made a bit of a difference in the presentation.
“Man, that’s vivid!” a reviewer shouted after hearing Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman,” and he wasn’t wrong about that. (I can’t say the same about his volume level.) The smaller room must have been better fit–bass was tighter and deeper, and the overall presentation was much more visceral and intimate. Another plus was the interactions I had with Lone Mountain Audio’s crew during this visit–in Long Beach I quietly sat and listened and took notes and left. At RMAF I received a little more insight into the designs and ATC’s approach to their impressive products.
For example, we were able to listen to the small system off to the side consisting of the SIA2-100 integrated amplifier/DAC ($3,749), CD2 CD player ($2,349) and the tiny SCM7 monitors ($1,649 in satin black). It was explained that the entire ATC loudspeaker line has the same sonic signature from the top to the bottom of the line–the differences were mostly in scale and frequency response. More importantly, I continue to be impressed with the simplicity of the ATC system presented by Lone Mountain Audio–just a pair of active speakers and a one-box amp/source/DAC. It still seems odd that the box costs just $4,249 while the speakers cost $66K, but it doesn’t matter when you hear the incredible results.