2014 Product of the Year Awards: Stand-Mount Loudspeakers

Equipment report
Categories:
Stand-mount
|
Products:
ATC SCM19,
Epos K1
2014 Product of the Year Awards: Stand-Mount Loudspeakers

Affordable


Epos K1
$795


The crisp and classy Epos K1 is the smallest of the British brand’s newly minted and very affordable three-model K Series. This two-way compact embodies the values every audiophile on a budget is seeking with a sonic character that’s open, dynamically engaging, and tonally the better part of neutral. Its spectral balance is lighter overall as befits its pint-sized enclosure, but it’s no lightweight sonically. The K1 has superior balance and poise on small-to-medium-scale music, but can also rise—within limits—to the challenge of full-range symphonic pieces. The midrange has a slightly forward lean then descends smoothly into a nicely proportioned mid-to-upper bass region, which lends the sound a welcome warmth quotient and provides more lifelike foundation (an area often sorely lacking in smaller compacts). There are minor hints of darkness in an absolute sense, and less than a full load of the speed and detail found in the finest tweeters, but fundamentally the K1’s an amazingly potent little speaker that pretty much doesn’t know the meaning of the word “uncle.”

Mid-Priced

ATC SCM19
$4295


Serious loudspeaker spoken here. ATC has never been a brand to cater to the fashion and whimsy of the consumer marketplace. These stout professional-grade monitors are bolstered by heavy-duty, bespoke drivers that were born to do one job pure and simple—reproduce sound with pro-caliber accuracy. Still, in spite of ATC’s stellar track record, NG never expected the new and aggressively priced SCM19 to be as good as it is. A superbly defined midrange, a neutral tonal balance, and broad-shouldered micro- and macro-dynamics are its strengths. The surprise was the extent to which the SCM19 outshines its predecessors—specifically ATC’s passive consumer offerings—in voicing and seamless inter-driver coherence. There are no discontinuities, and no vestigial box colorations either. Also there’s more air on top, likely attributable to the all-new, in-house-engineered-and-manufactured, soft-dome tweeter, a real beaut. Simply one of the best compacts NG has heard to date.


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