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post #181 of 203 Old 05-30-2015, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Over a month ago picked up two used Theta Gen VIII Series 3 DACs, so now have three of them for 5.1 channels, and use a DH Labs Silver Sonic analog balanced splitter from the Theta CB4 SSP to my two JL Audio f212 subwoofers. Less than two weeks my new Media Server arrived, a CAPSv4 Pipeline as sold by Small Green Computer with an outboard HDPlex linear power supply. Now I use my prior CAPS3 Zuma (modded with larger case and an added Sapphire/ATI video card for multi-channel audio) only for multi-channel. On two channel, the CAPSv4 Pipeline is even much better than what I had luved with my CAPS3! Appreciably quieter, one can turn up the volume on the CB4 "higher and higher". Drums, bass, everything simply clearly sounds better. Bottom line is the CAPSv4 has appreciably less power consumption and EMI/noise thus that cleaner background and greater dynamics. I played several recent jazz recordings all in hi rez - "Jazz Funk Soul"; "Hacienda" by Jeff Lorber Fusion; and two albums by David Chesky and the New Harmonic Jazz. Oh - also an old but goodie Billy Cobham album and the improvement in dynamics is beyond what I could have expected. Don't get me wrong - the CAPSv3 has been terrific for stereo - but once one hears the CAPS4 Pipeline, one cannot go backwards!
For two channel now I almost always listen with the CB4 in multi-channel DTS Neo6! I have matching top dog speakers (Aerial 7t), monoblock amps (Theta Prometheus),
and DACs (Theta Gen VIII Series 3) at each channel including subwoofer, and I am finding that the "extra" extrapolated speakers only enhance the otherwise two channel presentation without taking away!!@@@
Yesterday and this AM finished recalibrating audio/speaker levels in my sytem. This is pre-Dirac. Will recalibrate with Dirac in near future.

In the past, I had calculated delays for all of my CBIV audio modes based on speaker & subwoofer distance from the front center row (two rows, front row three leather recliners, back row two leather recliners, with the front center recliner and the back left recliner having “me” or whoever is sitting there right in front of the front center Aerial 7t or right in the center of the front & surround left and right Aerial 7ts). But I have found that I like watching DirecTV at center front, but I like listening to music at the back left. And sometimes I like watching blu ray movies from the back left, too. So I thought – why not setup CBIV modes with calibrating “delay” and “level” for the speakers for both the front center and back left (again, only two recliners in back row, and the left is actually in the center of speakers from left to right)? So I did.

In the past, I have preferred using DTS Neo 6 for converting my media server USB 2 channel music (which I have set at 80 Hz 24 dB crossover and I always use my subs for 2 channel and every other music, movie and tv source in my system) into multi-channel. But now, after the above recalibrations, and with my new CAPSv4 Pipeline 2Ch music server being clearly more dynamic than my CAPSv3 modded Zuma music server, I find that there is a loss of dynamics using those modes. But I find that “Special Matrix” is simply wonderful to derive multi-channel from 2 channel music! No loss of dynamics at all. In order to always be able to on the fly compare 2 channel USB vs derived multi-channel using “Special Matrix”, using my Radio Shack analog sound level meter, I listened and raised the 2 channel (plus subwoofer) CBIV source up by 5 dB for each speaker & subwoofer level. Its obvious that I have noticed the loss of dynamics using the Dolby and DTS modes due to (1) now having three Gen VIII DACs for all channels, not just front left and right; (2) new CAPSV4Pipeline music server simply more dynamic than the CAPSv3 modded Zuma music server for stereo; and (3) my setting speaker distance and levels for the left back row (actually center as noted above).

I like to use the start of the blu ray movie “Prometheus” to hear and evaluate bass on my system for movies! WOW! Interesting I found the bass overall not as loud as before. But the bass is deeper, more musical, and so much more REAL! When the spaceship is hovering over the waterfall, I now hear the waterfall like when I visited Niagara Falls some years ago! I’ve always liked the back row for movies, liking the bass I would feel and hear – bass is great in the front row, but even better in the back row. Now that I have made a source setting for the CBIV based on my position at left back row (actually center as discussed above), with the proper speaker delays for that position, I found that the subwoofer speaker level for the back is quite a bit higher than the front, so I lowered the back subwoofer level to about equal the other speakers. And the result in doing this that I can really hear my system in all its glory!

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post #182 of 203 Old 05-31-2015, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
My bet knowing Theta is that the new Extreme D-3 DACs will sound great and appreciably better than the current top line Extreme D-2 DACs. But, the outboard Generation VIII Series 3 DAC is still a different beast, given its size, weight, other electronics, power supply, etc. So I sti/Aurll be on the Gen VIII which is why I have three of them. Nonetheless my bet is that the Gen VIII still sounds better. However, as far as internal DACs to a SSP go, currently the Extreme D-2s are the best out there; and the Extreme D-3s I'm sure will sound appreciably better. As for whether one gets "pretty close", really, that depends on your room and system, acoustic treatments, your use (movies/tv vs audio), and your own subjective listening ability/slills/perception. Theta's announcement of the new Extreme D-3 DACs I think temporarily lowered the used price for a
Gen VIII - but I think that's temporary because folks with real high end systems who are Theta luvers will realize that the Gen VIII gives you the absolute best sound from a SSP period! Of course, I am prejudiced as I have three Gen VIIIs!

Good points and you will probably be right. I suppose though a good % of what makes the Gen VIII so expensive is because it's not simply a DAC but a pre as well but still due to it's separate box solution there is simply more room to implement additional components that make up the DAC network.

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post #183 of 203 Unread 11-12-2015, 02:58 PM
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Steve I know your a big Aerial guy. I just posted some pictures of the new Aerial On/Wall In/Wall 7LCR on the Aerial thread. Michael Kelly stopped by AV Therapy in Nashua NH yesterday and dropped off the first speakers yesterday.
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post #184 of 203 Unread 11-13-2015, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Steve I know your a big Aerial guy. I just posted some pictures of the new Aerial On/Wall In/Wall 7LCR on the Aerial thread. Michael Kelly stopped by AV Therapy in Nashua NH yesterday and dropped off the first speakers yesterday.
Cool! I am considering 4 ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D - but the new Aerial 5ts are per Michael Kelly not really designed to be mounted on/real close to wall, and although the new 7LCRs are designed for on or in wall, that's a lot of $$ and overkill for ceiling Atmos/Auro 3D speakers!@@@ So I am pondering if and what to do. I wish Aerial would come out with a 5LCR for on or in wall designed specifically with Atmos/Auro 3D in mind!

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post #185 of 203 Unread 11-13-2015, 12:09 PM
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Cool! I am considering 4 ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D - but the new Aerial 5ts are per Michael Kelly not really designed to be mounted on/real close to wall, and although the new 7LCRs are designed for on or in wall, that's a lot of $$ and overkill for ceiling Atmos/Auro 3D speakers!@@@ So I am pondering if and what to do. I wish Aerial would come out with a 5LCR for on or in wall designed specifically with Atmos/Auro 3D in mind!
Agreed. I don't have any plan of hanging heavy and too-expensive speakers on ceiling either and I hope Aerial will eventually release something appropriate. IMHO 2 important parameters that you might want to keep in mind when selecting ceiling speakers are that one, at least the high frequency driver should be aimable towards hot seat, either by angled baffle or by moveable, aimable tweeter, and two, to have good sound quality and keep crossover 80 hz or below to prevent listeners' localization of low frequency info, the bass driver should ideally be 6 inch or larger.

2 examples of in-ceiling audiophile speakers with aim-able tweeter are Revel C783 Here and B&W CCM682 Here, both have 8 inch mid/bass driver and I actually am using the B&W. Both reasonably cheap at around 800-1000 per pair. In my low-ceiling hometheater, I prefer the in-ceiling type to keep the room looking a little neater.

Regards, Can
My System & Theta Casablanca CBIII HD Mini-review CBIII HD - the processor for music lovers: stunning 3D soundstage and imaging, rich & full sonics, "black" background, and of course off-the-chart dynamic range!
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Last edited by cannga; 11-13-2015 at 12:15 PM.
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post #186 of 203 Unread 11-13-2015, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Agreed. I don't have any plan of hanging heavy and too-expensive speakers on ceiling either and I hope Aerial will eventually release something appropriate. IMHO 2 important parameters that you might want to keep in mind when selecting ceiling speakers are that one, at least the high frequency driver should be aimable towards hot seat, either by angled baffle or by moveable, aimable tweeter, and two, to have good sound quality and keep crossover 80 hz or below to prevent listeners' localization of low frequency info, the bass driver should ideally be 6 inch or larger.

2 examples of in-ceiling audiophile speakers with aim-able tweeter are Revel C783 Here and B&W CCM682 Here, both have 8 inch mid/bass driver and I actually am using the B&W. Both reasonably cheap at around 800-1000 per pair. In my low-ceiling hometheater, I prefer the in-ceiling type to keep the room looking a little neater.
Actually, VGI/Craig Shumer strongly recommends KEF in ceiling speakers with Uni-Q driver which I believe retail in the $500 to less than $1000 range. and as you say they are aimable! Craig was just telling me recently about an Aerial owner who has done this and how great it sounded! I was very impressed the other week listening to the KEF Blade 2 stereo pair with Uni-Q driver array! Not sure which particular speaker Craig was singin' about! http://www.kef.com/html/us/showroom/...tml#filter=197

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post #187 of 203 Unread 11-13-2015, 02:34 PM
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Actually, VGI/Craig Shumer strongly recommends KEF in ceiling speakers with Uni-Q driver which I believe retail in the $500 to less than $1000 range. and as you say they are aimable! Craig was just telling me recently about an Aerial owner who has done this and how great it sounded! I was very impressed the other week listening to the KEF Blade 2 stereo pair with Uni-Q driver array! Not sure which particular speaker Craig was singin' about! http://www.kef.com/html/us/showroom/...tml#filter=197

Why do I have this feeling the KEF Blade 2 is in your NEAR future? YOLO Steve...

I can't seem to find an aimable speaker among the site you listed? Maybe this, under "motorised," & seems to be at around $1500/pair, KEF - Ci200.3QT Motorized In-Ceiling Speaker - 2 way with 8 inch mid/bass driver:
http://www.kef.com/html/us/showroom/...tml#filter=198

Regards, Can
My System & Theta Casablanca CBIII HD Mini-review CBIII HD - the processor for music lovers: stunning 3D soundstage and imaging, rich & full sonics, "black" background, and of course off-the-chart dynamic range!
High-End Speaker Impressions & Audio Comments Give vinyl and tube preamp a try, then let a tube amp complete your fantastic audio "journey" :-).

Last edited by cannga; 11-13-2015 at 02:43 PM.
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post #188 of 203 Unread 11-13-2015, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Why do I have this feeling the KEF Blade 2 is in your NEAR future? YOLO Steve...

I can't seem to find an aimable speaker among the site you listed? Maybe this, under "motorised," & seems to be at around $1500/pair, KEF - Ci200.3QT Motorized In-Ceiling Speaker - 2 way with 8 inch mid/bass driver:
http://www.kef.com/html/us/showroom/...tml#filter=198
Blade 2? Love 'em. But my theatre room with Michael Green Pressure Zone Controllers is set up and adjusted for Aerial full range speakers ever since I started out with Aerial 10ts back in 1997. Moving to Blade 2s would require a lot of setup and readjustment work, not up for this now. My 7ts sound great. And the Blade 2s are much taller, too. I am working hard to ignore how great the Blade 2s sounded and to be happy with my 7ts so long as I continue to own this home, for at least a few more years!

As for which in-ceiling KEF model, need to check with VGI/Craig Shumer on this.

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post #189 of 203 Unread 03-14-2016, 07:33 PM
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Why do I have this feeling the KEF Blade 2 is in your NEAR future? YOLO Steve...

I can't seem to find an aimable speaker among the site you listed? Maybe this, under "motorised," & seems to be at around $1500/pair, KEF - Ci200.3QT Motorized In-Ceiling Speaker - 2 way with 8 inch mid/bass driver:
http://www.kef.com/html/us/showroom/...tml#filter=198
I have an Aerial 5.2 setup and have added 2 of the KEFs for atmos. I have the CI200RR-THX. They are not aimable tweeters but rather a wide dispersion design with the concentric driver which should be great for Atmos. I have a pair of the KEF LS50's and love them in a near field 2 channel setup and they have a similar driver as the inwalls above. I have them in hand but not installed yet but looking forward to getting them up!
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post #190 of 203 Unread 03-16-2016, 12:17 PM
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I have an Aerial 5.2 setup and have added 2 of the KEFs for atmos. I have the CI200RR-THX. They are not aimable tweeters but rather a wide dispersion design with the concentric driver which should be great for Atmos. I have a pair of the KEF LS50's and love them in a near field 2 channel setup and they have a similar driver as the inwalls above. I have them in hand but not installed yet but looking forward to getting them up!
Very nice - which Aerial are you using for LCR?

Anyway I keep thinking eventually market requirement will force all speaker companies, including Aerial, to release ceiling speakers with aim-able drivers. I wonder if Mike Kelly has said anything about this.

Regards, Can
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post #191 of 203 Unread 03-16-2016, 03:39 PM
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Very nice - which Aerial are you using for LCR?

Anyway I keep thinking eventually market requirement will force all speaker companies, including Aerial, to release ceiling speakers with aim-able drivers. I wonder if Mike Kelly has said anything about this.
Hi, I'm using a pair of LR3's and a CC3 for fronts and SR3's for surrounds. Heard nothing on Atmos up firing but I would doubt it from Michael Kelly... He seems like an audio purist...
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post #192 of 203 Unread 03-16-2016, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Very nice - which Aerial are you using for LCR?

Anyway I keep thinking eventually market requirement will force all speaker companies, including Aerial, to release ceiling speakers with aim-able drivers. I wonder if Mike Kelly has said anything about this.
Aerial now has an onwall version of the 7t, MSRP $4.495 each. Surely one could mount the speaker to aim the tweeter if one wants. However, I simply can't justify having that much $$ in 4 Atmos/Auro ceiling speakers. Now if Aerial ever comes out with an onwall version of the 5t, I may consider!

http://aerialacoustics.com/portfolio/aerial-7lcr/

You mean you don't remember me? Back 1999 - 2003, I started and moderated the AVS Tweaks forum and also the AVS Special Guests forum.

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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
Aerial now has an onwall version of the 7t, MSRP $4.495 each. Surely one could mount the speaker to aim the tweeter if one wants. However, I simply can't justify having that much $$ in 4 Atmos/Auro ceiling speakers. Now if Aerial ever comes out with an onwall version of the 5t, I may consider!

http://aerialacoustics.com/portfolio/aerial-7lcr/
Check out psychodoc's pictures on the Aerial thread. He's using 5T's suspended on the ceiling for Atmos. Very interesting.
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post #194 of 203 Unread 03-16-2016, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Check out psychodoc's pictures on the Aerial thread. He's using 5T's suspended on the ceiling for Atmos. Very interesting.
I long ago discussed that idea with Michael Kelly. He discouraged this because the 5T is not designed to be mounted so close to the ceiling. (Though I have 12' high ceiling, so I could suspend them with strong strings. HA!)

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Hi, I'm using a pair of LR3's and a CC3 for fronts and SR3's for surrounds. Heard nothing on Atmos up firing but I would doubt it from Michael Kelly... He seems like an audio purist...
Nice - I also use an Aerial center speaker and love it, so very dynamic and punchy! Agreed that we won't likely see the ping-pong Atmos speaker from MK, and I didn't mean to suggest one.

What I would love to see is a smaller in-ceiling, or on-ceiling 8" two way with reasonable weight. Either aim-able tweeter or angled baffle, probably similar to what Steve B has in mind. Or like this Revel C783: http://www.designeraudiovideo.com/re...kers-c783.html. Aerial is a one man design team and he's getting older so I have this feeling it won't be coming.

Meanwhile I am slowly replacing all my floor level 7.1 speakers to near full range big boys. I've found this "bigger, deeper, better" upgrade :-) to improve sound quality quite a bit. More "hefty"/"weighty" sound, better resolution. I am trying to do it in such a way so as to not cause injury (falling heavy objects) to non-audiophile visitors to my audio room, like my wife. Will the madness ever end.

Regards, Can
My System & Theta Casablanca CBIII HD Mini-review CBIII HD - the processor for music lovers: stunning 3D soundstage and imaging, rich & full sonics, "black" background, and of course off-the-chart dynamic range!
High-End Speaker Impressions & Audio Comments Give vinyl and tube preamp a try, then let a tube amp complete your fantastic audio "journey" :-).

Last edited by cannga; 03-17-2016 at 08:10 AM.
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post #196 of 203 Unread 03-18-2016, 06:05 AM
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Meanwhile I am slowly replacing all my floor level 7.1 speakers to near full range big boys. I've found this "bigger, deeper, better" upgrade :-) to improve sound quality quite a bit. More "hefty"/"weighty" sound, better resolution. I am trying to do it in such a way so as to not cause injury (falling heavy objects) to non-audiophile visitors to my audio room, like my wife. Will the madness ever end.
I love the sound of floor standers primarily because you don't have the added complexity of adding a sub. If you can get past the heavy look in a room and have WAF then go for it!! I would love a pair of 7t's myself.
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post #197 of 203 Unread 03-18-2016, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I luv having the same floorstanders - Aerial 7ts - and same electronics, cabling, etc for each of my 5.1 channels! Having the same full range speaker for center channel in particular works phenomenal on tv and movies (and multi-channel music where a center channel is used)!
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post #198 of 203 Unread 03-18-2016, 05:21 PM
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I luv having the same floorstanders - Aerial 7ts - and same electronics, cabling, etc for each of my 5.1 channels! Having the same full range speaker for center channel in particular works phenomenal on tv and movies (and multi-channel music where a center channel is used)!
Agreed. I knew equal speakers all around are important for multi-channel music; where I was wrong was the thought that I could get away with smaller speakers in the surround channels for watching movies. Won't be the last time that I am wrong :-), but to be fair (to the me from last year), I am a lot more "aware/conscious" of the surround channels now as a result of frequent discussions on Atmos, etc.

It's interesting that the old "rule" of great sound quality remains true now as ever, whether 2 channel, or 7.1.4: as many good big speakers and good powerful amps as one's budget and space allow . IMHO.

Regards, Can
My System & Theta Casablanca CBIII HD Mini-review CBIII HD - the processor for music lovers: stunning 3D soundstage and imaging, rich & full sonics, "black" background, and of course off-the-chart dynamic range!
High-End Speaker Impressions & Audio Comments Give vinyl and tube preamp a try, then let a tube amp complete your fantastic audio "journey" :-).

Last edited by cannga; 03-18-2016 at 05:45 PM.
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post #199 of 203 Unread 03-19-2016, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Agreed. I knew equal speakers all around are important for multi-channel music; where I was wrong was the thought that I could get away with smaller speakers in the surround channels for watching movies. Won't be the last time that I am wrong :-), but to be fair (to the me from last year), I am a lot more "aware/conscious" of the surround channels now as a result of frequent discussions on Atmos, etc.

It's interesting that the old "rule" of great sound quality remains true now as ever, whether 2 channel, or 7.1.4: as many good big speakers and good powerful amps as one's budget and space allow . IMHO.
Actually, here's what I hear using the CBIV SSP with three external Gen VIII Series 3 DACs (each DAC is stereo) and with equal electronics/cabling/power, etc in each speaker vector:

1. The biggest improvement is actually video - tv (DirecTV), Amazon Fire & Amazon Prime, blu rays (Compli Blu 3D); and of course multi-channel music (using CAPSv3 Zuma via HDMI to CBIV SSP). The 3D holographic sonics is amazing. When I was using the CBIV SSP Extreme DACs for the center and surrounds, although it sounded great, in comparison to now (with three Gen VIII DACs), the sonics were being pulled to the front left and right as those speakers/vectors sounded the best.

2. I would characterize the improvement in using the CBIV SSP, with equal electronics and DACs each speaker/vector, to expand stereo from 2.1 to 5.1 as marginal at best.
Often I prefer simple 2.1, as often I can hear a tidbit of degradation of sonics, the expansion processing of the CBIV SSP, and I prefer the purer 2.1. Believe me, the 2.1 soundstaging and holographic imaging on music is superb. Sometimes, I may listen to stereo expended to 5.1, as it sounds a bit more like listening in a large nice sounding venue like the Mesa Arts Center which I frequent a lot! If my system was setup for stereo only (not home theater and multi-channel), I would say spend all the money on stereo plus subwoofer(s) for stereo music only.

Any Theta and/or Aerial luvers ever in Phoenix, be sure to AVS PM me if you have time for a demo!

You mean you don't remember me? Back 1999 - 2003, I started and moderated the AVS Tweaks forum and also the AVS Special Guests forum.

My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #200 of 203 Unread 03-20-2016, 12:16 PM
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Often I prefer simple 2.1, as often I can hear a tidbit of degradation of sonics, the expansion processing of the CBIV SSP, and I prefer the purer 2.1. Believe me, the 2.1 soundstaging and holographic imaging on music is superb. Sometimes, I may listen to stereo expended to 5.1, as it sounds a bit more like listening in a large nice sounding venue like the Mesa Arts Center which I frequent a lot! If my system was setup for stereo only (not home theater and multi-channel), I would say spend all the money on stereo plus subwoofer(s) for stereo music only...
Same here Steve, if anything I am even more xtreme (spelling like a true Theta addict ). If I could the system would be designed to go to automatic shut-off countdown (chair will eject listener in 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7... LOL) if upmixer is invoked for stereo music material. And I've been through them all: Yamaha (yikes), Lexicon, Krell, and finally Casablanca.

To me and IMHO, audio's immersion vs clarity is similar to motorsports's ride vs handling. It's a trade-off and as one quality goes up, the other is bound to go down. BTW I believe that "purity" you refer to is the same as my "clarity". Or immediacy - the sense that performer is there looking at you.

Regards, Can
My System & Theta Casablanca CBIII HD Mini-review CBIII HD - the processor for music lovers: stunning 3D soundstage and imaging, rich & full sonics, "black" background, and of course off-the-chart dynamic range!
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post #201 of 203 Unread 07-30-2016, 11:15 AM
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Hope you are still loving this system! Hopefully one day I will be able to visit during one of my trips through AZ! Would love to hear your system!
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post #202 of 203 Unread 07-30-2016, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Hope you are still loving this system! Hopefully one day I will be able to visit during one of my trips through AZ! Would love to hear your system!
You certainly have an invite anytime!!!@@@ You know, we could have some fun! Not only do I have 5 Aerial 7ts. But Esoteric Audio in Phoenix now carries Aerial, too, and they have 7ts setup with cabling and amps different than me - we could take a ride and listen!

You mean you don't remember me? Back 1999 - 2003, I started and moderated the AVS Tweaks forum and also the AVS Special Guests forum.

My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #203 of 203 Unread 08-02-2016, 08:52 AM
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I still haven't made the trek to visit you Steve. I have an open invite to you if you are out here visiting. I exited Facebook for a sabbatical so I don't see any of your posts.
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