Theta CB III HD in the house (with my ADA Mach IV)! - Page 6 - AVS Forum
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post #151 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 12:48 PM
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Evaluating audio gear is an inherently subjective excercise

Has anyone ever bought a piece of audio gear to replace another piece and they have sounded exactly the same?

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
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post #152 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 12:56 PM
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Great post Jeff- and thank you for sensibly replying in this thread without snide-tracking..

Pretty interesting even after your mention of inviting other folks to listen along with you - fanboys try to diminish the attempt, your system, or even shut down discussion (I found similar reaction among Meridian fanboys when they did not like the fact that Ken used QSC after 861- and disputed his hearing..lol). I know historical context Steve/BD refer to though

I personally would place more credence to comparisons when one has directly purchased with his/her wallet though but that is just me.

In your ranking below- I would rate speaker+room (whatever state it is in) interaction as most important factor. Better interaction reduces reliance/dependency on 'correction'. The electronics DACs et al influence but are not game-changers IMHO.

Best wishes for setting this up, and reporting your findings-it is an effort

For me, the results will be another data point.

As a Theta CB3HD owner, I agree xtreme DAC has outlived its value, and CB3HD is still a work in progress (I await internal processing upgrade). However flexibility/options in audio is simply amazing.

$0.02

Regards,
Kishore

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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Hi Jim,

I'm familiar with the Porsche analogies (i own a new Turbo S). But the Nissan GTR by many professional reviewers deem it better than my Turbo S on the track and nearly so in acceleration... At almost $80,000 less! Price is not always commensurate with performance. That's AVS 101. There are world beaters out there. No regrets on owning the more expensive car just like regardless of what I find here, the Theta in your own rig will still sound the same whether I find it better, worse, or the equal to the ADA.

My room is acoustically treated. The HT designer contracted out an acoustical company who spent 8 days fully treating my 'built from the ground up' room. This isn't a basement theater like the majority here. It's on the main from built as an extension to the main house. Its as balanced I room as I have ever seen.

Craig calls the Theta a great'multi use' processor. And I agree. But I am home theater only. If music was my thing I'd have your run of the mil $20K - $30K LCRs and I'd have ditch my Microperf and baffle wall (no way)!!!!!

But in working with Mark Seaton and having a goal to build the best home theater movie playback system I could, horns had to implemented. Tweeters no matter what the design (dispersion and dynamics) can't compete with compression drivers in my opinion. And yes, we had to do some EQing to tame the LCRs with DSPs but the results are amazing... Even with LCR monitors that retail at just under $10K for three of them. I have been doing room correction well before it was popular as I understand you just can't let the movie play and hope for the best even with pain stakingly placed acoustical treatments.

I don't know how the Theta will fare but I've never put a lot of Credit in the fact that the SSP is the most important factor in sound. I rank the room, acoustical treatments, DSPs and speakers far ahead a box with a power supply, DACs, and a few chips. Testing the Theta will prove or disprove my theory - that's my main reason for doing it.

Instead of attacking me for taking the time to do this, I'd hope the Theta guys would help with set up or make recommendations on setting slopes, etc or other buried settings.

I'm getting my cabling on Monday but with the holidays coming won't be around much over the next 2 weeks. I'm going to cable it and set up one of my blu Ray players on it.

I guess what many Theta guys don't understand is the choices I made in my theater were my own based on my own decisions, professionals, and my own research. I chose to use pro audio equipment in meting out the sound I wanted. If I wanted to spend more on a Theta, boutique amps and speakers, don't you think I would've. Heck, I spent $8000 on a piece of glass (ISCO). It wasn't a budget issue (my weekend car cost far more than Bulldogger and Bruzonky's equipment combined). These were my choices based on achieving a desired outcome. How can you bash someone for that? It'd be like me bashing someone's wife because she wasn't my type! Ive been critical to Theta Inc. for a long time but never personally to any Theta guy. So, let's cut the personal crap and try and be more constructive and grown up. A lot of arguing and I haven't even powered up the CBIII yet!

Let's get back to fun and civility. I'll do my best to set it up fairly and will have others from AVS to listen, too. All this bashing against someone taking the time to do a test that is long over due...

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post #153 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tjk3030 View Post

Has anyone ever bought a piece of audio gear to replace another piece and they have sounded exactly the same?

Let me reframe that. Has anyone ever bought a piece of audio gear believing the new pieces sounded better than the one it replaced, yet would not be able to pick the winner is a double blind test? Anyone who has been involved in this hobby that says no is kidding themselves. I certainly have.
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post #154 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

Great post Jeff- and thank you for sensibly replying in this thread without snide-tracking..

Pretty interesting even after your mention of inviting other folks to listen along with you - fanboys try to diminish the attempt, your system, or even shut down discussion (I found similar reaction among Meridian fanboys when they did not like the fact that Ken used QSC after 861- and disputed his hearing..lol). I know historical context Steve/BD refer to though

I personally would place more credence to comparisons when one has directly purchased with his/her wallet though but that is just me.

In your ranking below- I would rate speaker+room (whatever state it is in) interaction as most important factor. Better interaction reduces reliance/dependency on 'correction'. The electronics DACs et al influence but are not game-changers IMHO.

Best wishes for setting this up, and reporting your findings-it is an effort

For me, the results will be another data point.

As a Theta CB3HD owner, I agree xtreme DAC has outlived its value, and CB3HD is still a work in progress (I await internal processing upgrade). However flexibility/options in audio is simply amazing.

$0.02

Regards,
Kishore

Kishore, refreshing to hear from a Theta owner, committed to the platform, but without the rosy colored glasses.
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post #155 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Evaluating audio gear is an inherently subjective excercise. When is the last time you bought a piece of equipment based on a specsheet?

EVERYTIME. If I don't like the specs, I will not buy. And in case you haven't noticed, I take it apart too. Hey, I am not wealthy and don't have anytime for any company trying to blow smoke up my .... Good engineering is what I want to see. I don't think for one second that the specs tell the entire story. However, I want them. If there is a spec I don't see published, I will contact the company and ask. That sometimes, has meant engineering digging it up. Theta's been very good. Having someone like John Baloff at tech support is great for an "egg head," information junkie like myself. I didn't want to pick on ADA for not having specs posted. The Bland brings every company whose products he owns into this kind of spot light. Seriously, I'd never buy anything from ADA without getting all of the specs I wanted. They have them for sure.

And that's why too, I make my own cables or buy low priced well made ones. RAPE is an understatement for that technology you think you are paying for.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #156 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

And that's why too, I make my own cables or buy low priced well made ones. RAPE is an understatement for that technology you think you are paying for.

I buy very expensive cables, but fully depreciated at 20%-40% of MSRP (say a $4,000 cable for $1,000). The only one that got raped is the original owner that took the depreciation hit. I recently sold a few pairs I had left after taking out my preamp and actually made money.
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post #157 of 271 Old 05-12-2012, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

If you think my Aerials compress what dimension are you from????

Your comments like this prove your lack of knowledge when it comes to audio. Your shool of audio is "The Louder, The Better"!
My school is "Quieter with More Dynamics"!

When I play Iron Man 2 for example, every time the whip cracks or the boot rocket boosters flare, you can feel and hear it and it sounds just right! Ask Mani, he was here!

I can attest that Aerials and theta combination are extremely good . I have heard it in Steve's theater.
I just find it silly , that people fight so strongly for the brands they own. We are here in this hobby to enjoy audio/video, not to lobby for the Av companies. I have gone through enough manufacturers and dont feel emotionally attached to any . If I was building a room for serious 2 channel listening I would for sure prefer Theta over ADA any day . For movies , the difference is slight and I actually prefer some attributes of ADA for movies. I built my theater for 95-99% movie use , and most of the times with my kids and family , so everything had to be hidden /inwall/ in separate equipment room etc so I dont have to constantly watch kids , so that they dont touch the expensive equipment and poke their fingers / toys in the speaker drivers/dust caps. For my purpose ADA/Seaton combo is unbeatable for the price. If price was not a concern , I would go with Theta / Genelecs. I prefer genelecs over aerials ... my taste.
If I had to build a 2 channel room I would also consider Von Schweikerts - Thats the best sound I have ever heard in a Demo ( just by memory - no AB comparison)- I havent been that impressed with any speaker so far -- I dont know if it was the combo of the recording, the integrated tube amplifier that was being used along with Von Schweikert's,...but that was ahaa moment for me whiel listening to music. It was 3-4 years ago so cant tell all the details of models etc.
If I have to build a multipurpose room ( movies more than music)- I would use fully customised CAT solution, if I can afford one. ( not just buying a CAT speaker and placing it in a room, I mean ground up design by CAT , with custom drivers and crossovers for that particular room and final tuning of the whole system by CAT engineers). Thats the room I have been most impressed with while watching movies.
Regarding specs...I dont believe I pay much attention to them anymore. Even $500 receivers use DAC's with more than 120 dB S/N ratio and if any one claims that he can hear difference between 120dB and 128dB S/n , is just bluffing. There are dozens of speakers who have flat frequency response from 20Hz to 20KHz, that doesnt mean they all soud the same. My Sim2 Lumis HOST has native contrast ratio which is very modest and from what I recall very unfavorable to JVC's which have very strong following and any one who owns Sim2 Lumis can attest that JVC cant hold a candle to Sim2 , esp on a larger screen. And another example is Kscape, I tried very hard to get details about their video processing / DAC's etc etc to no avail, but I like their picture better than oppo and DVDO VP pro and iscan duo. So no if a company doesnt want to share the details about components doesnt necessarily mean that their performance is bad. Eventually yuo buy what looks and sounds good to you, not what looks good on paper.
For movies , active monitors like Genelecs or Seatons should have advantage because they are much more effecient because of active crossovers as most of the power using conventional consumer based processors and passive speakers with passive crossovers is wasted , because your sound output is determined by the least effecient link which will be your woofer or low frequency driver, and it is well documented that peaks and thus the dynamic range in movies is higher , so active monitors should perform better at least for that attribute. However I did hear more nuances in Steve's Theta / Aerial combo . So that comes to personal preference /taste and financial state. At the end of the day , speand the money you comfortably can on what you like .

PS : just to add the best 2 cahnnel sound I have heard in my home was with B&W 802's with Pass Labs XP 20 stereo preamp with external power supply and pass labs monoblocks , but that was before I had kids..
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post #158 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Great post, Mani.

It is what it is. I think I've had 4 different SSPs in the last 6-7 years. Each had its strengths and weaknesses. My loyalty to one brand is about as long as my attention span. Some might call so many a failure but that is my preference to try new things and seeing what else is out there. I couldn't drive the same car for 10 years either whether its upgraded, modded or what not (even 3-4 years for that matter). Variety makes for a lot of fun. I'm swapping out my QSCs for the internal PEQ. If I don't like it, then onto TEQ. After all, it is a hobby. Having a another SSP to compare to is exciting to me. Should be fun!

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #159 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Great post, Mani.

It is what it is. I think I've had 4 different SSPs in the last 6-7 years. Each had its strengths and weaknesses. My loyalty to one brand is about as long as my attention span. Some might call so many a failure but that is my preference to try new things and seeing what else is out there. I couldn't drive the same car for 10 years either whether its upgraded, modded or what not (even 3-4 years for that matter). Variety makes for a lot of fun. I'm swapping out my QSCs for the internal PEQ. If I don't like it, then onto TEQ. After all, it is a hobby. Having a another SSP to compare to is exciting to me. Should be fun!

Since you are a firm believer in eq/rc and having to spend 26k is not an issue, why not give the 861v6 a whirl?
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post #160 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Since you are a firm believer in eq/rc and having to spend 26k is not an issue, why not give the 861v6 a whirl?

The 861 V4 is like the Theta. Dated box and design with an add on (HDMI). Now if they release a new box, that's one thing but I'm not really looking really for anything right now and I generally only spend if there is really something that will impact my system. Personally, I don't think any SSP is worth the price of the Theta or the Meridian - soon I'll actually know this.

Right now, in the state of today's home theater, all SSPs are essentially sonically the same BUT the TEQ feature looks to be a game changer! DIRAC looks promising but little is known. I only just got the ADA, I imagine I'll keep it a while as it acquits itself well for HT. I'm also waiting for new features. E.G. the ADA had Dolby Volume which is nice for channel surfing.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #161 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

The 861 V4 is like the Theta. Dated box and design with an add on (HDMI). Now if they release a new box, that's one thing but I'm not really looking really for anything right now and I generally only spend if there is really something that will impact my system. Personally, I don't think any SSP is worth the price of the Theta or the Meridian - soon I'll actually know this.

From what I gather, the v6 is a complete rebuild. Pretty much only the chassis stays.
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post #162 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

From what I gather, the v6 is a complete rebuild. Pretty much only the chassis stays.

Well, like the Theta, if I get a chance to have it in my theater I'd certainly try it.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #163 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post

Let's get back to fun and civility. I'll do my best to set it up fairly and will have others from AVS to listen, too....

Amen!!! Lol, Jeff just make this your sig.[/quote]

Why not bring the Mcintosh MX150 to the party?

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #164 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

From what I gather, the v6 is a complete rebuild. Pretty much only the chassis stays.

I use to own an 861 V4.25 and can easily confirm that the 861 V6 is a new build as i) the upgrade program was via a "unit exchange" and ii) the V4.25 cards do not work in the V6 unit...

I, like Jeff, was having trouble spending $25,000+ on a pre/pro hence my move to ADA...

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post #165 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 04:45 PM
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of course you will hear a difference, it is a much better audio processor. i believe you will also agree the differnce is not worth ~15k for a mostly movies room.

put a prosumer denon/etc in front of a peq and you should get great results also
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post #166 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

of course you will hear a difference, it is a much better audio processor. i believe you will also agree the differnce is not worth ~15k for a mostly movies room.

put a prosumer denon/etc in front of a peq and you should get great results also

Theoretically, I Agree but the shoot out will give an objective e answer to me. Either I like it better or I don't. Either the other listeners will prefer it or not. And if I do, is it worth $15K?!

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #167 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Amen!!! Lol, Jeff just make this your sig.

Why not bring the Mcintosh MX150 to the party?[/quote]

The classe ssp 800, Cary cinema 12, krell...... A lot of great choices out there!
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post #168 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post

Why not bring the Mcintosh MX150 to the party?

The classe ssp 800, Cary cinema 12, krell...... A lot of great choices out there![/quote]

The Classe, Mcintosh and Krell perhaps. No thanks on the Cary. They lost my confidence a long time ago.
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post #169 of 271 Old 05-13-2012, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by adidino View Post

The classe ssp 800, Cary cinema 12, krell...... A lot of great choices out there!

The Classe, Mcintosh and Krell perhaps. No thanks on the Cary. They lost my confidence a long time ago.[/quote]

I followed your thread on that one and you were very patient with them, but they just couldn't get it together. Too bad it's a very nice sounding pre
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post #170 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post


Why not bring the Mcintosh MX150 to the party?

The classe ssp 800, Cary cinema 12, krell...... A lot of great choices out there![/quote]

Don't you own the Mcintosh?

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #171 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 04:48 AM
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I do not own the mx 150, but I do own the mx135
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post #172 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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I don't mind saying that the MX135 is a very nice piece of kit.
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post #173 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 07:57 AM
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I agree, i had the mx150 in my theater for a week for demo along with the mx135. And preferred the sound of the mx135 hands down.
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post #174 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ultra 150 pilot View Post

I agree, i had the mx150 in my theater for a week for demo along with the mx135. And preferred the sound of the mx135 hands down.

Your not supposed to say that around here. . The one with the best room correction is supposed to sound the best. The MX135 has no room correction therefore.... I agree,the Mx135 is extremely well built and top notch sound.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #175 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Your not supposed to say that around here. . The one with the best room correction is supposed to sound the best. The MX135 has no room correction therefore....

Your right, I'm waiting to get the boot any minute
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post #176 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Your not supposed to say that around here. . The one with the best room correction sounds best. The MX135 has no room correction therefore.... I agree,the Mx135 is extremely well built and top notch sound.

Correct.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #177 of 271 Old 05-14-2012, 07:00 PM
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I am a Theta CBIII owner (non HD version) with 8 channels of digital out and have been using my 4 piece dCS stack for the D2A of my front channels. I upgraded from the I to the II to the III. **My dedicated room was custom designed by Chris Huston of Rives Audio and sounds (and measures) incredibly well. *I was really interested in trying room correction (the non-PEQ variety) but have been disappointed with Theta's continued product delays (first the *HD upgrade and now the releasing of DiracLive. *(Current guess now the end of the year?). *My front speakers are Magico Q5's driven by Spectral amps and preamps

I wanted to take advantage of the new hi-res codecs NOW so I just took the plunge for an Integra 80.3 to see what all the buzz was about --- and now I know. *Even before implementing Audyssey room correction, the improvement over the Theta was huge. *Surround envelopment was greatly enhanced. *Center channel dialog was improved -- everything was just better. *And once I figured out how to get Audyssey up and running (I used Audyssey Pro), the improvement over what I was previously hearing was staggering. *Not even close.

Will a new Theta CBIII HD with DiracLive *and the Xtreme DACs in all channels be better? *I sure would hope so (at probably close to 7 times the cost for an upgraded used model over the $1999 I paid for the new Integra) but I must say, the bang-for-the-buck on the Integra is pretty amazing. *I will wait for at least a year after the new CBIII HD with room correction is in the field before I further investigate. *I'm good for now.
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post #178 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 03:20 AM
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Why is ADA not publishing specs like SNR and THD?

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post #179 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 03:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I am a Theta CBIII owner (non HD version) with 8 channels of digital out and have been using my 4 piece dCS stack for the D2A of my front channels. I upgraded from the I to the II to the III. **My dedicated room was custom designed by Chris Huston of Rives Audio and sounds (and measures) incredibly well. *I was really interested in trying room correction (the non-PEQ variety) but have been disappointed with Theta's continued product delays (first the *HD upgrade and now the releasing of DiracLive. *(Current guess now the end of the year?). *My front speakers are Magico Q5's driven by Spectral amps and preamps

I wanted to take advantage of the new hi-res codecs NOW so I just took the plunge for an Integra 80.3 to see what all the buzz was about --- and now I know. *Even before implementing Audyssey room correction, the improvement over the Theta was huge. *Surround envelopment was greatly enhanced. *Center channel dialog was improved -- everything was just better. *And once I figured out how to get Audyssey up and running (I used Audyssey Pro), the improvement over what I was previously hearing was staggering. *Not even close.

Will a new Theta CBIII HD with DiracLive *and the Xtreme DACs in all channels be better? *I sure would hope so (at probably close to 7 times the cost for an upgraded used model over the $1999 I paid for the new Integra) but I must say, the bang-for-the-buck on the Integra is pretty amazing. *I will wait for at least a year after the new CBIII HD with room correction is in the field before I further investigate. *I'm good for now.

Yes. Room correction is where it's at and in your case with a wonder dCS stack, even the room effects of Audyssey are game changing in the experience vs letting an SSP play without modifying the signal for the room. Congrats!

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #180 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Why is ADA not publishing specs like SNR and THD?

Why would they? Specs Shmecks. I've never found them relevant as the manufacturer is the one one who supplies them to the public. They always put their product in the best light and there's no easy way to refute them. Until there is a true third party that does the specs (never happen), they are useless.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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