For me, the most important component in HT sound is the center channel. Dialogue clarity and overall intelligibility are essential. This is how, budget be damned, I ended up with the massive Aerial Acoustics CC5 center channel. I built my entire system around that and paired the Aerial system with Halcro electronics (SSP200/MC50/MC20) and eventually McIntosh amps (MC501's). Prior to the Aerial, I had a full Revel Performa setup. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed with the center speaker, the C52.
I was perfectly happy with the Aerial system, but life intervened and I had to sell everything. In meantime, I picked up a Klipsch THX Ultra 2 system and a Wyred 4 Sound multi-channel amp to tide me over. Oh, and a Danley DTS-20 subwoofer, a "downgrade" compared to the cost of the Aerials and JL stuff, which turned out to be a major upgrade in terms of sound fidelity and output. You can read about my experiences with the Danley here
. The problem was that even though the Klipsch's are horns, they simply could not keep up with the Danley. The sound felt imbalanced. I was so impressed with the Danley that I figured, what the hell, why not jump in all the way with the "pro audio" stuff.
Enter the JTR Triple 12LF
. It measures 40"H x 16.5"W x 16.5"D and weighs 125lb (that's solid birch, not MDF). 4ohm, 100db sensitivity, 130db usable output, +-3dB 50hz-18khz.
My system: Wyred 4 Sound
500x3 / 250x4 (1225W into 4ohm for LCR), Integra DTC 9.8, Shunyata Hydra 8 with Anaconda Helix, PS3 bluray, XA2 HDDVD.
The first thing I noticed was the huge sound stage -- BIG SOUND. The second thing was PUNCH, and I'm talking mid-bass punch. My top end is now on par with the Danley's low end tumult. And the third: huge, mindblowing DYNAMICS.
Right away, I could sense the effortless nature of the sound, and its utter and total immediacy -- the sound felt so present and live that I briefly forgot I was listening to speakers. The sound envelops you, and the walls in the room melt away -- the Triple 12LF's make my room feel much bigger than it is (5000 cu sq ft). Yet the staging is noticeably more precise and distinctive than the Aerials. Want to feel someone whispering into your ear? No sweat with the Triple 12LF's -- the soundstage is uncannily realistic.
The Triple 12LF is by far the best center channel I've ever heard, surpassing the venerable CC5. The limitations of the CC5 (efficiency, dyanmic headroom) are no problem here. Dialog is crystal clear and neutral even when accompanied with percussion.
How about music? I am 99% movies and I have a different system for music, so I wasn't expecting anything from the JTR's. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Maybe I shouldn't have been, since these were probably designed for music reproduction with concert hall-like dynamics. Jazz sounded so live that I got up and started dancing. From classical to techno, the Triple 12LF's excelled: every instrument and voice had authority and distinction. They energize the room in an incredible way. The music is lifelike and electrifying. Organ music made my hair stand up on end. "The Poem of Chinese Drums", a purely percussion piece of acoustic overload from the Burmester Reference CD III, stomped with fantastic dynamism and clarity on the Triple 12LF's crossed over with the Danley at 60hz. No sweat. I have listened to this piece on everything from JM Lab Grande Utopias to Wilson X2's and the JTR/Danley combo vanquishes them all. It literally left my gut reeling. Power, dynamics, visceral impact, detail -- it's all there in spades.
The downside? They say it's in the eye of the beholder, but you might call the JTR's ugly. They are no frills, finished with truck bed liner. If you want your speakers to look like a work of art, these are not for you.
This past weekend, a friend with a $100k Wilson setup came over for a demo. He was floored by their performance and will soon be joining the JTR club.
They cannot be beaten for price/performance. In all my years as an audiophile, I'd say they're tough to beat for performance, period.
Bravo to Jeff Permanian and Mark Seaton! Job well done.