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post #241 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 12:01 PM
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Kal, I'm convinced that I should side-position, not rear-position, my surround speakers (I'm running 5.1) - both by your comments and also by reflecting on the fact that whenever I try to relax by putting my hands behind my head, elbows out, I can't hear the rear speakers!

The first thing I checked was that I could individually set the distance and level for each of the surrounds, since I'm going to be a lot closer to one than the other. Check! (On my previous receiver, there was only one set of controls - for both surround speakers.)

Now the trick is accomplishing that placement with a pair of older Paradigm Studio 20s in the tight confines of my theater!

The right surround is no problem - I can put it on a table on that side of the room.

However, if I moved the left surround, on its present tower stand, to be alongside my couch, I wouldn't be able to get past it to the equipment cabinet. My present idea is therefore to suspend it from the ceiling lying on its side so I can walk under it - it's a low ceiling at that point - cradling it in a pair of thick rubber bungee cords (not the thin luggage straps covered with cloth) hanging from toggle bolts in the ceiling. It has to be several inches away from the wall, since it has a rear panel duct that shouldn't be blocked.

(If this works, I may similarly suspend the right surround speaker, so its calibration isn't thrown off by guests moving it around on the table.)

Talk about a kludge! Anyone have any criticisms or other suggestions?

PS Is this placement as appropriate for SACD and DVD-A music disks as it is for movie soundtracks?

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post #242 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 01:02 PM
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I have been working hard to complete our first BD sampler/test disc, which will be bundled with a soon to be release consumer player. The disc has a number of tracks with 7.1 and 5.1 mixes...as well as HD Video of the sessions/performances (although these are live recordings there is no audience).

The 7.1 mixes are distinct from the 5.1 mixes. Since I use a lot of stereo pairs of microphones, I have the flexibility to create a "stage" mix, an "audience" mix and a stereo mix in HD Audio. The 7.12 "stage" puts you on the stage with the ensemble and the 7.1 audience mix moves you to the best seat in the house.

As for pricing, I'm not sure where to be. It's amazing to me that some people will pay $800 for a glass CD, $200 for a couple of reel to reel dupes from the master or $30-50 for a piece of vinyl...but complain about $35 for a full HD Audio/Video product.

The royalties and manufacturing costs are high but not killer...it's the tools to create these discs, the cost of shooting and posting everything in HD, doing multiple surround mixes, encoding in Dolby TrueHD as well as DTS-HD that takes all the time/resources.

I believe that audio only products that cost more than $50 are over priced. Our "Collectors Editions" have two double-sided discs (one DVD-14 and one Dualdisc), a 16-page booklet, multiple mixes, interviews, biographies of the artists, bonus footage, photos, "PBS" style edit, interactive side, 96 kHz/24-bit stereo mixes and a DVD-Audio presentation at 96 kHz/24-bits in 5.1 stage perspective surround.

They are priced at $50...and I believe sound better than any other format.

We should have Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander, John Gorka and Chamber Music Palisades out this summer. Stay tuned for the new sampler disc in BD format.

PS Don't know if this list cares, but MusicGiants is going out of business.
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post #243 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 04:57 PM
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Get ready for the first AIX Records BD Discs

Is it true that none of the songs on the sampler are complete?
If so, I'd never spend so much money on something that doesn't even have complete tracks.

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post #244 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 05:48 PM
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The idea of creating a sampler is to allow customers to experience a catalog of songs that they might not hear otherwise. Our existing sampler has 29 tracks presented in 4 different presentations, 11 videos, test tones, lots of information about high definition audio and demonstrations of stereo vs. surround etc. It was not intended to be a listening experience of entire tunes...or it would have been limited to 10 tracks or so, and even then in a single mix only.

Our new sampler does the same thing...except there are 47 tracks on it! A comprehensive set of tones for channel ID, speaker balance, phase, subwoofer crossover and more (DTS HD MA, Dolby TrueHD, LPCM 96/24). The tests are prepared for stereo, 5.1 mixes and 7.1 mixes. The video is in HD (on the Blu-Ray disc) and there are three discs (DVD-Audio/DVD-Video and BD). Even if the product had no tunes on it, the test themselves are worth the price.

For $35...this seems like a bargain from my perspective. Like before, I will provide it FREE with a minimum purchase and definitely do something special for the AVS forum people.

The bundled disc that we're preparing (and which is almost finished) has 7 tunes that are full length, a comprehensive set of tones and 20 minutes of introductory and setup video.

In my humble opinion, a sampler is just...a limited length taste of what the label offers. I've been very encouraged by the response that we've had for our 3 previous samplers...awards, bundle deals, 10K copies to Intel etc. That the old ones go for many multiples their original cost on eBay and Amazon speaks volumes.
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post #245 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

The idea of creating a sampler is to allow customers to experience a catalog of songs that they might not hear otherwise. Our existing sampler has 29 tracks presented in 4 different presentations, 11 videos, test tones, lots of information about high definition audio and demonstrations of stereo vs. surround etc. It was not intended to be a listening experience of entire tunes...or it would have been limited to 10 tracks or so, and even then in a single mix only.

Our new sampler does the same thing...except there are 47 tracks on it! A comprehensive set of tones for channel ID, speaker balance, phase, subwoofer crossover and more (DTS HD MA, Dolby TrueHD, LPCM 96/24). The tests are prepared for stereo, 5.1 mixes and 7.1 mixes. The video is in HD (on the Blu-Ray disc) and there are three discs (DVD-Audio/DVD-Video and BD). Even if the product had no tunes on it, the test themselves are worth the price.

For $35...this seems like a bargain from my perspective. Like before, I will provide it FREE with a minimum purchase and definitely do something special for the AVS forum people.

The bundled disc that we're preparing (and which is almost finished) has 7 tunes that are full length, a comprehensive set of tones and 20 minutes of introductory and setup video.

In my humble opinion, a sampler is just...a limited length taste of what the label offers. I've been very encouraged by the response that we've had for our 3 previous samplers...awards, bundle deals, 10K copies to Intel etc. That the old ones go for many multiples their original cost on eBay and Amazon speaks volumes.

Wow. That actually sounds pretty nice. I didn't realize that it was a calbration type tool.
What are the other samplers you speak of. If they are selling on Ebay for premium prices, then I assume they are not available for purchase from AIX and are no longer being made?
Do you have an expected release date for the new discs?... or when they'll be available for AVS members?
TIA for your feedback.

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post #246 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 08:04 PM
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My kludge worked. I wrapped a measuring tape around the speaker to figure out how long a bungee cord it would take, measured to make sure the speaker could be far enough from the wall and ceiling and not block the passage next to my couch, and headed off to Home Depot.

There I bought four 36" thick rubber tie-down straps (what they're called, as opposed to the round bungee cords) - two for each speaker - and eight swag hooks that mount with toggle bolts that open over the ceiling, and headed home.

I ran the rubber straps lengthwise under the speaker and up the wooden sides, leaving the front and the vented port in the back unblocked. I faced the swag hooks' openings outwards, away from the speaker, so the hook at each end of the tie-downs would be pulling against the curve of the swag hook.

The hardest part of the whole job was holding the left surround speaker in place midair with its wiring between the rubber straps and the wall, while hooking the two rubber straps to the two swag hooks at each end.

The right surround was easier - being over a table - since I could put a box under it to support it while I hooked the straps to the hooks.

The one that was overhead was a bigger trick - I dropped the speaker once, but it fell sideways and landed harmlessly on the couch, still playing. Line up a friend to help you with this step if you're going to use this method of mounting!

Readjusted the speaker distances in the amp, took out my sound pressure level meter and equalized all the channel levels, and I was ready to audition some source material.

I started with my SACD of Steely Dan's Gaucho - that was nice, and then moved on to Iron Man. When Tony Stark was having his picture taken inside the troop carrier by one of the soldiers, and the vehicle was hit by a rocket as the camera's shutter was pressed, I jumped!

It was worth the effort! The surround is much more immersive - I don't have to go listen at a rear speaker anymore to make sure it's active.

Thank you for arguing with me, Kal!

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post #247 of 260 Old 05-24-2009, 08:38 PM
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Philnick, pictures please.

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post #248 of 260 Old 05-25-2009, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philnick View Post

Kal, I'm convinced that I should side-position, not rear-position, my surround speakers (I'm running 5.1) - both by your comments and also by reflecting on the fact that whenever I try to relax by putting my hands behind my head, elbows out, I can't hear the rear speakers!

The first thing I checked was that I could individually set the distance and level for each of the surrounds, since I'm going to be a lot closer to one than the other. Check! (On my previous receiver, there was only one set of controls - for both surround speakers.)

Now the trick is accomplishing that placement with a pair of older Paradigm Studio 20s in the tight confines of my theater!

The right surround is no problem - I can put it on a table on that side of the room.

However, if I moved the left surround, on its present tower stand, to be alongside my couch, I wouldn't be able to get past it to the equipment cabinet. My present idea is therefore to suspend it from the ceiling lying on its side so I can walk under it - it's a low ceiling at that point - cradling it in a pair of thick rubber bungee cords (not the thin luggage straps covered with cloth) hanging from toggle bolts in the ceiling. It has to be several inches away from the wall, since it has a rear panel duct that shouldn't be blocked.

(If this works, I may similarly suspend the right surround speaker, so its calibration isn't thrown off by guests moving it around on the table.)

Talk about a kludge! Anyone have any criticisms or other suggestions?

PS Is this placement as appropriate for SACD and DVD-A music disks as it is for movie soundtracks?

It should be fine for all formats. To the side and no more forward than 90deg from the front center. I have my Studio/20s about 105deg so they are slightly behind my seat.

BTW, why have the Studio/20 on its side. It should always be vertical.

Kal Rubinson

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http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #249 of 260 Old 05-25-2009, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

It should be fine for all formats. To the side and no more forward than 90deg from the front center. I have my Studio/20s about 105deg so they are slightly behind my seat.

BTW, why have the Studio/20 on its side. It should always be vertical.

Two reasons. First of all, by lying it on its side, it doesn't extend as far down from the ceiling, allowing more clearance under it. Second, by lying it on its side, the weight is spread out over a wider area, putting less of a stress on the drywall ceiling that is supporting it. (Think "snowshoes.") It appears more stable this way.

I positioned the tweeter ends of the surround speakers nearer to the screen, figuring that it would be less of a problem for the low frequencies, which are less directional, to be obstructed by the pinna of the ears - the high frequencies should have an unobstructed direct path. This was because I had noticed, when the surrounds were behind and to the sides (at about 150 degrees off front center) they were hard to hear and putting my hands behind my head made things worse. Because the lower frequencies are less easily localized, I don't think that I'm causing a problem by putting the surrounds horizontal. (My front right and left speakers, Studio/40s, are vertical, on poles flanking the screen. The center, a Studio/CC, is horizontal, as it's designed to be, over the screen, on a wireframe shelf, since the 5'4" tall image comes down to the top of the baseboard moulding. The subwoofer cube, a PDR-10, sits under the front right speaker's pole. The front left's pole sits on on a similar-sized box.)

By putting the surrounds at 90 degrees, tweeters forwards, that problem is eliminated. 105 degrees? The tweeters are at 90 degrees - the woofers at maybe 95. I can't move my couch much further forwards - I already sit closer than recommended (about 10 feet from my 9 1/2' wide screen) because I like immersiveness, but my fiancee doesn't.

Smarty-pants: Pix of the speaker mounts, including the front center channel's over-screen shelf, are in the next post.

I've had to solve numerous mechanical engineering problems to make this theater work! (I've already posted pix of my projector mounting method, which is quick, easy, cheap, and protective of the projector, wall and ceiling, in the Panasonic PT-AE2000 thread. Here's my most recent post on the subject there, which links to those photos: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post16454796)

If you have a Blu-ray of the recent movie Stranger than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal (along with Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Queen Latifah), check out the scene where Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) first meets Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) at her "Uprising Bakery." When Emma Thomson narrates Harold's budding fantasies about Ana, the surrounds first convey an intake of breath, and then, very quietly, his heartbeat! The film has a very subtle, but rich, 3 dimensional sound field throughout. For example, when Harold is brushing his teeth in the morning, you can faintly hear a shower running in another apartment.

Finally, let me put in a plug for my favorite Blu-ray for showing off my theater: the Legends of Jazz Showcase, hosted by Ramsey Lewis, which is a "highlights reel" of a year of his high-def PBS live in-studio series, Legends of Jazz, generally the parts where he gets his guests to play live together. It fires on all cylinders: exciting performances by great musicians, well-miked and well-mixed first-rate lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD), first-rate camera-work, and a razor-sharp, colorful 1080 picture.

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post #250 of 260 Old 05-29-2009, 09:53 PM
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Here are photos of the speaker mounting setups. The speakers are all from Paradigm. The front main speakers are Studio 40s, the center is the CC, the sides are Studio 20s, and the sub is the PDR-10.

The first photo is a detail of how the left surround speaker was mounted, down from the ceiling and away from the wall. (The rubber-edged door next to it covers a ventilating fan that's not used any more.):

The four swag hooks are mounted by toggle-bolts over the ceiling, and the speaker held by two 36" rubber tie-down straps. The reason for using the rubber straps is to soak up vibrations from the speaker, to keep them from weakening the ceiling mount.

I had expected to have to cobble together a toggle-bolt to hook or eye combination, but was pleasantly surprised to see swag hooks that came with two interchangable mounting screws that threaded into the back of the swag hook: the choice of a wood screw for studs and an approximately 3 1/2" long machine screw with matching toggle bolt for drywall. They were sold in pairs, so it took two packages for each speaker. The whole surround mounting project cost $10.50 to mount both speakers!

The second photo shows the same thing for the right surround speaker. You can see that it's over a table. The ceiling is much lower on this side of the room, which is why the clearance over the table is not very much:


The third photo shows the left surround seen from the right surround, showing its position relative to the couch. The distance from the couch to the rack of disks is just wide enough to walk through to get to the equipment rack behind the couch, which is why I went for the ceiling mount. (On the wall above the disks you can see my old "Third Phone" - the FCC license needed to run a student FM radio station when I was a jazz disk jockey in college from 1969-1972.):


The fourth photo is a shot from behind the couch, showing the projected 1080p image (the projector's focus test pattern) flanked by the front left and right speakers, with the center channel speaker mounted over the image. The front right speaker's pole is sitting on the subwoofer cube, and a similar-sized heavy wooden box is under the left speaker's pole for symmetry. To hide the speaker wiring under the screen, I put a long piece of black carpet runner - not perfectly flat, but a lot better than tape at concealing wires since it's thick and nonreflective. (The shadows of the speakers come from the room lights, and go away when the room lights are turned off.):

The image area is 9 1/2' wide by 5'4" high, starting just above the baseboard moulding, and consists of a screen paint composed of one part Craft Smart Metallic Silver to two parts Sherwin Williams Luminous White flat latex - a recipe called Cream&Sugar over at home theater shack. It required almost no tweaking of the Color 1 setting on my Panasonic PT-AE2000 projector when I calibrated it with the Blu-ray version of Digital Video Essentials - just a tiny boost to red. (Sadly, the silver paint's recipe has been changed since then, giving it a color cast and making unsuitable for this use - they've been reformulating their recipes over at the shack to keep up with changes in what's available.)

The fifth and last photo is a close-up of how the center speaker is mounted - since it's fairly heavy (almost 40 pounds) I mounted the shelf on three studs, using double-width shelf supports (each arm is U shaped). The speaker is mounted away from the wall, like all the others, with the wire-frame shelf allowing for free airflow, since these speakers have vented ports in back. (I snaked the speaker wire through a notch in the back of the track mount on the wall.):

LL
LL
LL
LL
LL


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post #251 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 01:39 PM
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In the course of helping folks in other threads on this board figure out the proper settings to get lossless audio, I found that there are numerous "gotcha" settings that reduce audio quality.

What I'm about to say comes from the manual from my Panasonic BD50, but according to Dave Vaughn, who's reviewed many Blu-ray players, it appears to be standard across the breed. (See http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post16515194)

First and foremost is the "Secondary Audio" issue: on many, and perhaps all, Blu-ray players, if the machine's setup is set to enable the user to hear the sound from menu sound effects and picture-in-picture commentators - which is the default - the machine will mix the principal and secondary audio tracks by downsampling the principal audio to PCM - and not DVD-Audio/SACD-quality 96kHz PCM but CD-quality 48kHz PCM - and then shipping that combination out as 48kHz PCM to the surround amplifier.

Worse, if the user configures the machine to bitstream the combined signal instead of using PCM, the package will be encoded as traditional lossy Dolby Digital!

That doesn't affect me, you say, because I use the multichannel analog output. Wrong! Even the multichannel analog output fails to carry the secondary audio unless it has been enabled in the setup for the digital output - and my ears can definitely hear the degradation of the sound caused by the fallback to DD - while listening to the analog outputs. (The fallback to 48kHz PCM is subtler, being a loss of "spaciousness" because harmonics above 24kHz are missing.)

What this tells me is that the analog output is a copy of whatever final package has been put together to encode for the digital jacks, and if that's been knocked back to DD, so is the sound quality of the analog jacks - even when there's no secondary audio track on the disk!

Since the manufacturers want to avoid getting a lot of support calls from customers who can't hear the secondary audio tracks, they ship the players out set up to compromise the quality of the sound, making it harder for customers to hear the improvement in sound represented by Blu-ray.


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post #252 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 01:47 PM
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The simple thing to do, is to turn secondary audio to OFF in your Blu-ray player, unless you are wanting to actually hear the secondary audio. If the latter is true, then there isn't even a need for lossless sound anyway.

FWIW, the new OPPO BDP-83's factory default setting for SA is OFF .
The beta testers for the player made sure of that one .

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post #253 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philnick View Post

Here are photos of the speaker mounting setups.

I think your speakers are too close to the ceiling which would have the same effect as putting them on the floor.

Kal Rubinson

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post #254 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

I think your speakers are too close to the ceiling which would have the same effect as putting them on the floor.

By which I assume that you mean that there will be bass reinforcement from the intersection of the two walls?

I'm ok with that - since the Studio/20 surround pair has less bass than the Studio/40 fronts and the Studio/CC, which have larger woofers. The "corner horn" effect helps to mitigate that disparity. I've never believed in using satellite speakers - that's why all my speakers are full range (except, of course, for the subwoofer).

If the ceiling were carpeted or acoustic tile, I'd be concerned about losing treble, but it's painted drywall.

Mounting up high is the only way I can have side surrounds. As I believe you commented a few posts ago, everyone makes compromises - though I actually think this is pretty close to optimum myself.

PS Thanks again for the kick in the pants to get the surrounds out of the back of the room!

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post #255 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

The simple thing to do, is to turn secondary audio to OFF in your Blu-ray player, unless you are wanting to actually hear the secondary audio. If the latter is true, then there isn't even a need for lossless sound anyway.

You know that and I know that, but most buyers won't unless they read their manuals carefully, or find a site like this to ask the question!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

FWIW, the new OPPO BDP-83's factory default setting for SA is OFF .
The beta testers for the player made sure of that one .

Good for them! Let's see how long that lasts, when OPPO starts getting the support calls complaining that "I can't hear the picture-in-picture's sound!"

PS I probably wouldn't have posted the photos of my speaker mounting methods without your request. I told my fiancee "My public wants photos!"

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post #256 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philnick View Post

By which I assume that you mean that there will be bass reinforcement from the intersection of the two walls?

Yup.

Quote:


I'm ok with that - since the Studio/20 surround pair has less bass than the Studio/40 fronts and the Studio/CC, which have larger woofers. The "corner horn" effect helps to mitigate that disparity. I've never believed in using satellite speakers - that's why all my speakers are full range.

What it suggests to me is that your center, being closer to the ceiling than the L/R will have a quite different tonal balance than they do. Also, as a former owner of a Studio/CC, I know it was a poor match to my Studio/60s, even in a more hospitable position.

Quote:


Mounting up high is the only way I can have side surrounds. As I believe you commented a few posts ago, everyone makes compromises - though I actually think this is pretty close to optimum myself.

Acknowledged! My optimum solution was to use a smaller display!

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post #257 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kal rubinson View Post

my optimum solution was to use a smaller display!

blasphemy!

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JBL LC2 (x3) ... JBL L820 (x6) ... SVS PB10-ISD (x2) ... SVS 20-39-PCI
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post #258 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

blasphemy!

In my main system, it is a 5" LCD. No kidding.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
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http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #259 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 06:01 PM
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Yup.

What it suggests to me is that your center, being closer to the ceiling than the L/R will have a quite different tonal balance than they do. Also, as a former owner of a Studio/CC, I know it was a poor match to my Studio/60s, even in a more hospitable position.

Acknowledged! My optimum solution was to use a smaller display!

I've never noticed any difference in tonality between the Studio/40 pair and the Studio/CC, which looks to me like the same speaker mounted on its side - but even if there was a difference, there's no way in hell I'd sacrifice my 9 1/2' x 5'4" image for that reason! I'd use equalization on that speaker if necessary, to roll off the bass. But wait a minute - we're all using subwoofers, right?

This discussion reminds me a little of an old song by the British comedy team Flanders and Swann, "A Song of Reproduction" (from either At the Drop of A Hat or At the Drop of Another Hat) in which they sing about amplifying their turntable, and then "grinding fibre needles to make it soft again." ("Who fixed you up with this mess? You'd only get the proper stereophonic effect if you sit in the bottom of that cupboard!")

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post #260 of 260 Old 06-09-2009, 06:03 PM
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You know that and I know that, but most buyers won't unless they read their manuals carefully, or find a site like this to ask the question!

Yes, but this is just the nature of the animal, ya know?
If they would have consulted us first before implementing it, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble .

Quote:


Good for them! Let's see how long that lasts, when OPPO starts getting the support calls complaining that "I can't hear the picture-in-picture's sound!"

Some of the best consumer manuals ever made are from OPPO. As long as the user actully reads the manual, they will find the answer they are looking for.
Just as well, OPPO also has the best customer service on the planet, so they can handle the questions ok too.
Much better to have SA turned off, rather than have all lossless audio downgraded from the start.[/quote]

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PS I probably wouldn't have posted the photos of my speaker mounting methods without your request. I told my fiancee "My public wants photos!"

Hmmm, I do remember requesting those pics, but now I can't remember why. I'll have to read back through to recall . Thanks for posting them though.

~Dave

...Theater Room Setup...
JVC DLA-RS40-U... Oppo BDP-105D... Toshiba HD-XA2... Uverse VIP-2250... Roku Streaming Stick... Emotiva XPA-3... Onkyo TX-SR805
JBL LC2 (x3) ... JBL L820 (x6) ... SVS PB10-ISD (x2) ... SVS 20-39-PCI
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