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19A vs 40A vs 50A

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  • 19A vs 40A vs 50A

    I have a pair of 19A's and with the thought of upgrading was about to make an offer for some used 40A's. In the process, I've been picking the brains of recent 40A sellers (likes, dislikes, sale prices). One noted that while both he and the guy he sold his pair to found the 40A midrange dome to be fantastic, they both found the SL (Super Linear) bass driver, and thus the bass on the 19A, much better than the 40A's. I do like the 19A's bass a lot. He noted that the 50 active versions also use the SL driver, but obviously the 50's cost and weigh a lot more and don't often come up on the used market in the States. Any thoughts?

    Also, is there any difference in sound between the tower and stand versions of the active 50's? Do they have a bit of warmth, like the 19A and 40A?
    Last edited by highstream; 05-30-2021, 04:08 AM.

  • #2

    there is no difference in sound between the tower and stand versions, they use the same tec.
    Most of a difference to your 19s you will get by the middriver in bigger models. Its realy superb and makes more of a difference than in other speakers with middrivers i had before.

    The 50 in comparison to 40 have the new Tweeter in "S" Spezification, the better Middriver and a SL Bass, which is a bit more precise.

    But that does not mean, the 40s are bad speakers. In Relation for money/value, i think the 40s are fantastic. I heard them often at a friend.
    As a fan of active speakers for long time now, i would take the active version.
    Used 40 active are hard to find, cause they are "endgame" for most of the owners
    SCM45a (like mine) are a good alternative to the 40s (with better tweeter and a bit more bass, they sound very neutral and are total fun to listen)


    • #3
      Thanks, useful information. In the States, 40A come up more often than 50 actives on the used market. One thing I like about the 19A and from what I can tell the 40A is their touch of warmth. I’m not a fan of “neutral.” In reviews of active 50s, I don’t see that mentioned. In fact, one reviewer commented about their lack of lower midrange sweetness. True? A lot can be done to bring some warmth via other components, cables and tubes, but if it’s not there then it’s typically a losing battle.

      That would also seem to rule out the 45A as well, per your description. In addition, all the photos show it as a horizontal placed speaker. Do you use yours upright?

      Btw, I’ve read the 50’s new tweeters can be retrofitted. Is that factory only or can it be done in the field?


      • #4
        i use my SCM45a in horizontal position, upright looks strange and is not good for the sound, Tweeter shall positioned over Mid.

        The 45s have a "Touch of warmth", even if they are Pro Speakers for Studios. Some Producers wrote in Reviews, they are precise for working, but fun too and good for long sessions.

        The 50s have a little bit more exact bass (all differences homoöpathic ) and so, in the first moments they can sound as if they have less bass.
        But Bass is there, a more "unprecise" bass can sound warmer with a bit more bloomy sound (which is not in the recording)
        Room is a big factor too here.

        the 40s have the ATC inhouse tweeter, but the lower model without "S" spec.
        My 45s have minimal better highs than the 40s of a friend, but no big difference here
        I got the 45s for a good prize, cheaper than 40a and i liked the punchy bass more, so i took the 45s


        • #5
          Wow! Tough question to answer. If you are a keen bass fan and like well-recorded acoustic music such as jazz and small combos - I would go the 19A. The 19A's bass definition has the edge on the 40A and it doesn't really miss out that much on the mids compared to the 40A. Some prefer a classic 2 way for certain styles of music anyway. For pop/rock in a slightly larger room, I would go 40A - but not if I already had a pair of 19As. The 50A's are a significant upgrade on both. So the bottom line - if I had 19A's I wouldn't 'upgrade' to the 40A. Save your dollars and buy a preloved pair of 50A's.


          • #6
            I just had an offer accepted for 40A's... You're the second person who's told me today that the 19A is better for most, for the other person it was folk singers and classical; I think he meant orchestra. But he also said the 19A's are "neutral," which I don't find at all (or they would have been gone a long time ago). Older pop/rock is a fun occasional sidelight, but instrumental jazz and jazz singers, along with classical piano and smaller ensembles, are well played here, plus some symphonies and Opera. Here's the problem about the 50's: Physically, I'm 74 and single, but in good shape and can still handle the 19A's and likely the 40A's alone for my purposes, but no way the 50's. I don't see the latter as a good investment for an old guy, unless he's got a retinue of friends or employees.

            I'm thinking to give the 40A's a try and sell them if they don't cut it. The price I'm getting them for can likely be covered or closely so in the short run if I decide to stick with the 19A's. I also have a pair JL e-110 subs that I've just set up and help a lot.
            Last edited by highstream; 06-03-2021, 04:22 AM.


            • #7
              I don't know the 19s and I know that in simple formations (like folk music) two-way speakers can sound very intimate. Since I also had active 2-way speakers from Backes & Müller for a long time, I know that well. But the ATC midrange is so well connected to the tweeter in terms of sound that it is always an advantage, especially for classical music. I haven't heard the 50s either, but what the 40s can do in sound should make every music fan happy who doesn't want to afford a 50s for a lot more money.


              • #8
                The ATC midrange unit is one of the great achievements of hifi. 19s are good speakers, but 40s are a lot better, and 50ASLs are a whole different kettle of ball games (as Ronnie Scott used to say). Fwiw I am over 70, and can’t imagine the rest of my life without 50s as a minimum. The older you get the more it makes sense to spend money on the time you have left.


                • #9
                  The catch-22 is that the 50s weigh far too much for one over 70 to handle alone, even one athletic and in good health. At least the 40A can be slid or dragged around.


                  • PeteT
                    PeteT commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I had Passive 19's powered by a Naim 250DR for a couple of years and really liked them in that set up . I sold that system whilst doing major renovations with the intention of going Active once I moved back in . Long story short I now have Active 40s which I much prefer , if I had to I'd put most of this preference down to the Mid dome . They are wonderful speakers .

                • #10
                  Originally posted by highstream View Post
                  The catch-22 is that the 50s weigh far too much for one over 70 to handle alone, even one athletic and in good health. At least the 40A can be slid or dragged around.
                  Yep, true enough, I was a few years less than 70 when I bought my 50ASLTs, me and the mrs managed the unboxing, and I am still strong enough to lift one up completely unaided, but they are heavy. You can take the amp packs out - I did that years back when I sold my 100s - which makes them a bit lighter. I actually made some wheeled stands when I got them to make it easy to move them around to find the best location and as it turns out I’ve kept them on the stands which makes life easy. Sliders would probably work too. I will will just have to deal with moving apartment when I have to. I didn’t buy them lightly. I moved abroad, downsized from 100s to 25s which are easily moveable, but just hankered after what I had had with 100s. The 50s were a compromise!


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