Ken Micallef was impressed by this British company’s CDA2 Mk.2 CD player/DAC ($4249) when he reviewed it in the January issue, and ATC were using it as the souce in their room at AXPONA. But pride of place went to their SCM50 tower speakers ($22,000/pair, far right in my photo) and the similar-looking SCM50SE powered towers ($60,000/pair, near right). Both speakers use a 9″ woofer with ATC’s traditional soft-dome midrange unit—all the drive-units are made in-house; even the coils for the crossover inductors are wound by ATC.

With the passive speakers driven by ATCs P2 dual-mono amplifier ($4999), I listened to first a Dire Straits track then Pink Floyd’s “Money,” following which I listened again to “Money” on the powered speakers. Superficially the presentations were very similar, but it became apparent that the SCM50SEs overall sounded cleaner, more authoritative.