OK, so somehow I accidentally brought home Gorilla's Metallica disk.
I honestly didn't mean to. It was dark in his theater when I went to grab the disks I had brought along, and I must have picked it up by mistake.
Anyway... since I had it here... I thought I would just check it out on my system...
I set my Marantz 8801 at "0" dB or full Reference Level, toggled to the "One" track and hit "Play." WOW!
The on-stage fireworks display was awesome. The explosion at the finale' was incredible, with great percussiveness and impact. Then the band starts to play and the drum hits are recorded with incredible dynamic range. You can feel every "THWACK" of each drum hit. I thought to myself, "This sounds incredible, and if I hadn't just heard it on Andrew's system at +15, I would be overjoyed." However, I looked over at my amp and the clip lights were flashing RED RED RED!!! It was CRAZY loud in my theater at full Reference Level, and my system handled it just fine. There was no audible distortion, and nothing "broke." But that's probably approaching the limits of my system. In fact, I think my speakers can probably do more, but my amp is the limiting factor.
Nonetheless, Andrew's system went a full 15 dB
beyond that!!!! Let me say that again... 15 DB!!!
I still am having difficulty wrapping my head around that.
Admittedly, it didn't sound quite as "clean" at +15 as my system did at Reference, but I think most of that was the room "groaning" at the massive SPL's. Whenever you throw 130+ dB at a residential room, any residential room, it's going to excite the structure and cause some acoustic feedback. Andrew has done a hell of a job in his room, and it sounds terrific. But anytime you put the SPL's of jet engine inside an enclosure the size of a residential room, you are absolutely going to "light up" the structure of the building. I think the "wooliness" I heard at +15 over RL was not from his speakers or subs; it was from the structure of his house complaining at trying to contain that massive SPL, especially the bass SPL's which I think were boosted even more than the +15 the speakers were outputting!
Just the fact that his amps, speakers and subs can even hit those kinds of output levels speaks volumes about the quality of his system. I would like to hear it again now that he's done a full-blown, 8-position Audyssey calibration on it.
Anyway, thanks again Andrew for having us over on Saturday. It certainly expanded my own personal audio horizons. I learned a lot from experiencing your incredible audio system. I'm not sure I need or want to take my system to the extremes to which you've taken yours', but it is certainly fascinating to see what is "possible" and what others are doing with their systems.