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Sonic Occupation - Atlantic Technology AT3 Loudspeakers

04-15-2022 | By Michael Laurance | Issue 120

After considerable thought, I decided that I would begin this review in a somewhat unconventional manner. Normally, my articles launch with a clever anecdote, short tale, or muse to pull you, the reader, in closer. However, in this case, I'm going to begin right away talking about the challenges and ultimate rewards that came with having the Atlantic Technology AT3 loudspeakers in my listening room. If anything, it will keep you from skipping right to the conclusion as so many readers do in reviews. The meat and potatoes in-between are the stew that is served up for you to enjoy.


The AT3 arrived in two tall, individual boxes, well-packed inside, which was fortunate, because UPS was not kind in the handling of them. Frankly, I was relieved to find them completely unscathed once out of the cartons. Assembling the outriggers onto the bottom of the loudspeakers was simple, but the included spikes would not thread into them. Fortunately, I did have a solution waiting for this. Maneuvering the 57 lb. loudspeakers into place in my listening room was easy enough, as the loudspeakers had a solid feel, but I was gentle with the outriggers out of concern for breaking them.

Once in position, my solution for the spike issue was to place cork and rubber component isolation pads under each of the eight outrigger points. This provided decoupling from my floor as well as stability. I then removed the binding clips and chose to bi-wire them using a pair of Audio Art SC-5 e2 speaker cables. Immediate impressions were favorable—plenty of low end, especially when compared with the bookshelf units they had just replaced in my system, and a nice sound. I began breaking them in. After about 10 hours of playing music through the AT3, I was beginning to have my doubts. There was tremendous high-end roll-off. Imaging was completely lacking. I nearly boxed them up and sent them back with my regrets. However, I also had an amplifier that I wanted a little more time on before reviewing it. The break-in continued. And continued. And continued. Normally, I would not be this tenacious with a product, but I was starting to get a good feeling after 30 hours or so. I pressed on. After 100 hours of break-in, the Atlantic Technology AT3 became a completely different speaker. Imaging and soundstage opened up fully, and the high end blossomed. On the back of the speaker is a 3-way toggle switch for tweeter attenuation. I found that in the up (high) position, the AT3 presented a balanced spectrum, top-to-bottom. So, there was my great reward, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The Speakers

Now that we've covered all that, what are you getting with the AT3? Priced at $3629/pair, the Atlantic Technology AT3 floorstanding loudspeakers are slender, convex towers offered in a metallic black finish with a leather-like top. The 39.6" tall cabinets utilize Atlantic Technology's H-PAS design, which uses an internal inverse horn for the bass, coupled to an acoustic bass trap chamber. According to Atlantic Technology, "the chamber expands the effective enclosure volume at low frequencies, filtering out parasitic resonances and distortion to clarify bass exiting the front cabinet port." Bass originates from a 6.5" fiberglass concave formed woofer that, in this configuration, extends down to 29Hz (-3dB).

The tweeter is a 1" liquid-cooled silk dome. A foam frame surrounds the tweeter on the front baffle for improved dispersion. Crossover frequency is lower than usual at 2.2 kHz and uses second order parallel crossover.

Binding posts are gold, and as previously stated, allow for bi-wire or bi-amp configurations. The mini toggle switch attenuates the tweeter in 3 positions and can be set according to preference and room. As I have a somewhat deadened room, I found the top position to be the most effective for my system.


Since the AT3 reached this point of fully broken in, listening is a true pleasure, especially with delicate tracks like Arcade Fire's "Supersymmetry" (vinyl). The rhythmic pulsing bass has nautical depth coming from the Atlantic Technologies. Am I using a subwoofer? Yes, of course, I always do in my system, but in this case, it is dialed back to the bare minimum and only supporting frequencies below 50 cycles. The AT3 are the star of the show here. The soundstage hangs a bit right in this track and almost sounds as if it's coming from the doorway of the room rather than localized to the speaker. As more information filters in from the left, it bounces playfully in, toying with the sonic image. There is a great deal that the engineer wants you to absorb in this track, and all of that information is being circulated about my listening space at this moment. The track fades in and out, from complete blackness to sounds that dance around the room. The AT3 throw the sound behind my ears, tricking me into believing that the music is emanating from the far corners of my listening space.

One of the greatest bass lines in rock and roll lies in Supertramp's "School," and it is enormously apparent while spinning the original Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs pressing of Crime of the Century (vinyl). The Atlantic Technologies AT3 do not over-pronounce or over-weigh Dougie Thompson's aggressive attack, but enunciate fluidly, and in a manner that is powerful yet still controlled. Progressing on, the finger snaps in "Hide in Your Shell" are percussive and, sharp, emanating from above the speaker rather than just from it. The call-and-response vocals come from expansive points in the room, making my somewhat small listening room suddenly seem considerably wider than it actually is. Again, Thompson's bass becomes the leader in the song, rolling up and down, dropping to a depth the belies the size of the AT3's drivers. Most importantly, piano in "Asylum" sounds full and natural, more so than I have heard from many 2-way loudspeakers.

Two guys that can break my heart then mend it again are Waylon and Willie. Pulling up their 1978 self-titled album on Qobuz (Audirvana interface) and heading straight for "Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)" (24-bit/96kHz), I'm transcended above old smoky bars into something more intimate, like a really good bottle of bourbon in my own home bar. The slow-dance bass romances me into playing it a second time like I have a pocket full of quarters just waiting at this jukebox. A far cry from the old jukeboxes this song blared out of for years, the AT3 bring the music straight from the Texas studio into the listening space. Bass is full, round, pronounced, riding big in the center of the room. The guitar sits softly on top, even subtle in spots. The vocals are the stars in this track, indeed the whole album, and carve out their own hole to fit into, smack-dab in the middle of everything. Bold and clear, Jennings' voice is as smooth as… well… that aforementioned bourbon.

Something more like a punch to the chest, Elvis Costello's "Magnificent Hurt" (24-bit/44.1kHz) hits, and it hits hard. The Atlantic Technology AT3 loudspeakers show that they can really rock. Drums are punchy and particularly tight for a speaker exhibiting this much low end. Bass is remarkably powerful, but again, not overwhelming. Guitars come screaming through with passion and gristle, while keyboards stay fluid. Everything remains in its place without getting muddy or confused.

Wrapping it up

I opened the book wide in the beginning on this review purposely because quality loudspeakers are a commitment. The break-in period for loudspeakers is not a myth, and indeed a real thing. Not all will amaze and dazzle right out of the box. The reward that I achieved by "sticking to it" with the Atlantic Technology AT3 loudspeakers proved to be well worth my time and effort and yielded wonderful results. In the end, much time was spent listening to a high-quality pair of loudspeakers, as I did reward myself with as many recordings on them as time allowed. After all, I earned it, I felt. I believe you will too. The more time that the AT3 spend in my listening room, the more impressed that I am at how they handle a diverse range of tunes and sources- vinyl, CD, hi-res streaming, all while playing just about every genre of music.

AT3 Loudspeakers

Retail: $3629

Atlantic Technology