Alas, after much, much consideration, just today I decided to purchase another brand of monitor speaker.
In the end, I concluded that my amp (~100 WRMS/channel into 8 Ohms), simply is not powerful enough for the occasions I would want to play the SCM19's at high volume, and I really don't want to replace my amp (Spectral DMA-90, which I think is very special) at this time. Also, as I mentioned somewhere here before, the SCM19's to me don't sound particularly compelling at low volume, and I do much of my careful listening at night when my children are asleep.
Ah, but, the SCM19's sound amazing (to me) in my system at moderate volume, and if my listening space could be closed off from the rest of my house, I believe I would have purchased them (or the SCM20SL's).
Thanks, Loftarasa, for sharing your experience with your SCM20SL's. Let's see: In about eight years my youngest kids will be off to college. Maybe at that time I'll be ready to revisit the SCM19/20SL's!
I don't think you'll go wrong with either one cause they're effectively the same speaker - the SCM19 may be even better choice for home listening, and being able to hear it personally via demo eliminates the unknown factor of the SCM20SLs in your actual system.
Clarity at low levels is absolutely not an issue with the ATCs -- the only difference is the SPL. I listened at almost concert levels one night and the system just kept cranking, with no change in tonal balance or details, just volume. It was pretty awesome before I reached for the remote for the sake of my neighbors!
Thanks so much for the detailed response. It definitely will help me with my next decisions for my own system!
I spent several days listening to well-broken-in SCM19's in my own home (in a carpeted 12' x 22' room of similar size to your own) and really liked the sound. I haven't had the chance to listen to the SCM20SL (or the SCM40), though, and don't know whether I'll get the chance in the future, so your descriptions/comparisons are very much appreciated.
At this time, at the top of my wish list for speakers are the SCM19's and the SCM20SL's. However, most of my concentrated listening (most often to small scale acoustic music with vocalslike some of what you're listening to) is at moderate to low volume, occurring at night after my children are asleep. But the SCM19's seemed to want to be played louder and louder. So, if I get rid of my kids, and determine my amount of disposable cash, my decision makes itself, it seems!
Thanks! I did audition the SCM11, SCM19 and SCM40s. The SCM11 are just unbelievable for what they can do, but I wanted the SL driver for higher SPL and a bit more bass. The SCM40s midrange driver is unreal for clarity but I found to my surprise the integration across the tweeter and bass driver was not as coherent as the 2-ways. Maybe they were also not setup quite right when I heard them, as I should imagine correct seating height is quite critical to get the 3-way to work. I went for the SCM20SL as they are about the same price as the SCM19 but have a better/heavier cabinet and also come with a more expensive SEAS tweeter instead of the VIFA in the domestic entry levels. Also saw an internal shot of the SCM19's crossover and wasn't thrilled to see Bennic caps in there. The SCM20SLs come with the ATC marked Ansar caps. I can upgrade these myself in the future, but all those things considered I went for the Pro model. They are pretty much the same design though, apart from veneer, cabinet weight, tweeter and brand of caps.
Musically, I like a lot of electronica and female singer- songwriter stuff but the ATCs play any genre without prejudice. I listen at high SPLs until late evening cause i live in an apartment block. My neighbor downstairs must hate me! Room is about 15 x 12 -- pretty small (another reason I didn't go for the SCM40) but I got a big old rug on the floor and some GIK acoustic panels that I've not put up yet.
Great looking system! No doubt it sounds as good as it looks! Couple of questions, if you don't mind: Did you consider/audition the ATC SCM-19 monitors as well? If so, what was the deciding factor for the SCM-20SL? What type(s) of music do you favor? Listen mostly at high SPL, or low SPL? What are your room dimensions and construction? Thanks in advance.
Thanks very much. I'll post a pic in a couple weeks once I've chosen a DAC. And gotten more furniture! I considered the CDA2 but don't really need CD playback and am looking at the NAD M51, Benchmark 2 and Mytek 192, which all offer USB connectivity.