**The Official Seaton Sound Speaker Thread** - Page 35 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1021 of 1048 Old 05-16-2015, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post
Good afternoon fellas. I just made the jump and purchased a set of Cat 12's...
You and me both.

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First off, I currently have a denon 4520 which has only rca pre-outs. The general off idea I've always read is that rca's are fine for distances of 12'(I think) or less and xlr's do provide benefit for distances greater than that. Can any owners chime in with their experiences on this? Currently, I'd need the rca runs to be roughly 40ish'. If I relocate my av rack it could be even further.
I'm not sure I understand your question. The Catalyst's only have a XLR input. At some point you're going to need to turn the RCA output from your Denon into a XLR connector. Unless you already have RCA's run to where the Cats are going to go, my suggestion would be to get a appropriate length RCA to XLR cable. I plan to pick some up from Monoprice so I can use two of the Cat 12's until my theater is finished.

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Second, I've known that some brands of receivers have issues with the voltage that their pre-outs deliver (had big trouble with a couple pioneer units a few years ago). Are there any brands/models that have been known to be less than optimal with catalysts?
AFAIK, Mark has set the gain on the amps so that consumer gear won't have any problems driving them.
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post #1022 of 1048 Old 05-16-2015, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
You and me both.
Sweet!

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Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
I'm not sure I understand your question. The Catalyst's only have a XLR input. At some point you're going to need to turn the RCA output from your Denon into a XLR connector. Unless you already have RCA's run to where the Cats are going to go, my suggestion would be to get a appropriate length RCA to XLR cable. I plan to pick some up from Monoprice so I can use two of the Cat 12's until my theater is finished.
My apologies. Looking back it I see it wasn't very clear. I was asking about any potential problems from running what is effectively unbalanced for 40+ feet (even though it would be some kind of rca to xlr cable like this). Or am I mistaken and will using a simple rca to xlr cable make it a balanced connection?

I guess I was wondering if I might ultimately need to get a processor with xlr's outs because of the length of the cables I need to run.

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AFAIK, Mark has set the gain on the amps so that consumer gear won't have any problems driving them.
Good to know. Thank you.
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post #1023 of 1048 Old 05-16-2015, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post
My apologies. Looking back it I see it wasn't very clear. I was asking about any potential problems from running what is effectively unbalanced for 40+ feet (even though it would be some kind of rca to xlr cable like this). Or am I mistaken and will using a simple rca to xlr cable make it a balanced connection?
It's a little more complicated than that. The idea behind balanced connectors is that you have a + and - that are inverted relative to each other (from GND). At the XLR input side, the - channel is inverted so it's now identical to the + and no longer out of phase and the two are then summed. What this does is cause any noise coupled onto the cable to be cancelled out because you're adding the noise to it's inverted self. So, if you have a RCA to XLR cable that connects the GND and - only at the RCA plug, the cable should still give you the noise cancelling effect for any noise coupled into the cables (when used from an RCA output to an XLR input). Even though there is no signal on the - side, it would just contain any noise coupled onto the cable (which would also get coupled on the + side as well). I'm not sure if this is how most RCA to XLR cables are constructed though.

So, I'd definitely favor running a long RCA to XLR cable, or putting the RCA to XLR adapter at the receiver and running a long XLR cable, over a running a long RCA cable with a RCA to XLR adapter at the speaker's input.

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I guess I was wondering if I might ultimately need to get a processor with xlr's outs because of the length of the cables I need to run.
Maybe, but it's not very likely.

Last edited by Stereodude; 05-16-2015 at 06:20 PM. Reason: dang typos
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post #1024 of 1048 Old 05-17-2015, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
It's a little more complicated than that. The idea behind balanced connectors is that you have a + and - that are inverted relative to each other (from GND). At the XLR input side, the - channel is inverted so it's now identical to the + and no longer out of phase and the two are then summed. What this does is cause any noise coupled onto the cable to be cancelled out because you're adding the noise to it's inverted self. So, if you have a RCA to XLR cable that connects the GND and - only at the RCA plug, the cable should still give you the noise cancelling effect for any noise coupled into the cables (when used from an RCA output to an XLR input). Even though there is no signal on the - side, it would just contain any noise coupled onto the cable (which would also get coupled on the + side as well). I'm not sure if this is how most RCA to XLR cables are constructed though.

So, I'd definitely favor running a long RCA to XLR cable, or putting the RCA to XLR adapter at the receiver and running a long XLR cable, over a running a long RCA cable with a RCA to XLR adapter at the speaker's input.

Maybe, but it's not very likely.
Excellent. I just purchased the 4520 so I'd rather not go processor shopping again if it's not necessary.

Thank you for the explanation on balanced cables. Admittedly, it's something I should have learned after several years in this hobby, but never had the interest to search out the answer. It was just something I took for granted.
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post #1025 of 1048 Old 05-17-2015, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post
Excellent. I just purchased the 4520 so I'd rather not go processor shopping again if it's not necessary.

Thank you for the explanation on balanced cables. Admittedly, it's something I should have learned after several years in this hobby, but never had the interest to search out the answer. It was just something I took for granted.
I also recently bought 3 Cat 12's and 2 Sparks (old model, but Mark had them and sold to me). You will love them. I play as loud as my Klipsch (around 85DB) and they show no signs of any strain and sound musical.

Cheers

Raj
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post #1026 of 1048 Old 05-17-2015, 07:56 AM
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After we get the first version sorted we'll possibly make up a bookshelf version that is deeper with the amp in the back. In this case the 8" coax extends right to the back of the box. We will continue to develop and work on amplifier options where I expect to pack 4 speakers worth of power in a single box some time before the end of the year. I think 2 amplifiers for 8 surround speakers is plenty reasonable, with possibly one more for main speakers.
Whoa, whoa! Hold the horses here!!

"One more for main speakers"???

Mark.....Did you just drop the bomb that you are going to be designing the Cat's with a remote amp option???
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post #1027 of 1048 Old 05-17-2015, 09:12 AM
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Whoa, whoa! Hold the horses here!!

"One more for main speakers"???

Mark.....Did you just drop the bomb that you are going to be designing the Cat's with a remote amp option???
That's a lot of channels in a single box. 9 for the front 3 Catalysts. I realize there's will be 8 in the chassis for 2 pairs of the Spark HC, but I'd expect that the the higher wattage modules for the Catalyst 12C and 8C would need more chassis space.
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post #1028 of 1048 Old 05-17-2015, 12:42 PM
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Mark.....Did you just drop the bomb that you are going to be designing the Cat's with a remote amp option???
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That's a lot of channels in a single box.
It's also a lot of speculation
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post #1029 of 1048 Old 05-18-2015, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
Whoa, whoa! Hold the horses here!!

"One more for main speakers"???

Mark.....Did you just drop the bomb that you are going to be designing the Cat's with a remote amp option???
That was in reference to using any of the forthcoming Spark models as the mains rather than the larger models. That said, I intend to have the means to power the Catalyst family of products externally by the end of 2015. Until we get into the 8 amplifier channels or 4 speaker connection per chassis the external amplifiers are a little more expensive to build, but the flexibility of just running speaker wire out to the speaker locations is worthwhile. I will also have a version of the Spark's available which can be powered from a single pair of speaker wires for those who can't easily replace existing wire. These still require our specific DSP in each amplifier channel but allow us to maintain much higher efficiency for 80% of the bandwidth and very smooth frequency response vs. going fully passive. It will also allow for some less expensive amplifier options in the future.
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post #1030 of 1048 Old 05-19-2015, 04:37 AM
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Look what I found hitchhiking in PA.



I got home just after 3AM and didn't have the energy to do anything other than put them in the garage. I'm only up so early because I had to return the rental minivan by 7AM.
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post #1031 of 1048 Old 05-20-2015, 01:46 PM
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I had tentative pricing posted at the show that I think will be accurate, but I will have some of the last numbers verified by Friday. At this point in time the external amplification makes up a significant portion of the cost while we continue to develop some added value options for those using 3-4 speakers. Even so, the benefit of the form factor and attractiveness of the package was appreciated by many at the show, and I will be announcing additional variations to the Spark lineup very soon. With the internet having a longer memory on posted prices, I'm going to hold out confirming that until I get the last component price verified.
An update on that pricing Mark?
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post #1032 of 1048 Old 05-20-2015, 04:53 PM
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This is how you guys are using your Catalyst 12C's right? As workshop speakers in your basement right?

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post #1033 of 1048 Old 05-21-2015, 05:35 AM
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Whoa ... better hope those pipes don't burst from the intense impact of the 12Cs! Beats how I'm currently "not using" my Cat 8Cs, and won't be for several weeks until I move.



Though I did take one of them up for some cameo shots with my one of my subs just to see how it looked.







Excuse the "smartphone" quality of the shots!

 

My DIY Subs ... http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1233892

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J Dunlavy:.. if you stop to think about it, no loudspeaker can sound more accurate than it measures.

 

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post #1034 of 1048 Old 05-21-2015, 07:35 AM
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^ pbc, nothing wrong with your shots and the 8C's look great!

Quick tip: Place those 8C's as far forward as possible on the sub to minimise diffraction off the top surface.

(Assuming thats where they'll be after the move.)
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post #1035 of 1048 Old 05-21-2015, 08:50 AM
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^ pbc, nothing wrong with your shots and the 8C's look great!

Quick tip: Place those 8C's as far forward as possible on the sub to minimise diffraction off the top surface.

(Assuming thats where they'll be after the move.)
I did not think about "diffraction" when I placed my 12C's on top of my SubM's. All I did was to align the grills.

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post #1036 of 1048 Old 05-21-2015, 11:31 AM
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Whoa ... better hope those pipes don't burst from the intense impact of the 12Cs!
Not to worry, the pipes are not pressurized, nor are they filled with water. They're cooling pipes for air from my air compressor in the garage to remove moisture from the air when I'm using air tools in the basement (which isn't often).

I haven't had a lot of ear time with my Catalyst 12Cs yet, but I've had a stupid grin on my face when I've been standing in front of them testing them at high SPLs and trying out the different programs (HT and full range). The clarity of the sound and other sonic qualities of them while they're loafing along playing crazy loud is something to behold. They do work a bit harder with the full range program in use, but that's to be expected.
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post #1037 of 1048 Old 05-21-2015, 12:13 PM
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An update on that pricing Mark?
I just posted the long answer in the Spark thread on our forum. The short answer is that we will have a Spark XC2 & Spark XC1. The XC2 will be the fully bi-amplified version selling for $750 each + amplification. This requires 4 separate conductors (wires) for connection which is commonly available as in-wall 4 conductor wire. The XC1 is a quasi-passive speaker which can operate over an existing single pair of wires. They are described as "quasi-passive" since they require DSP in the single channel amplifier powering them. The single channel Spark XC1 will sell for $795 each + amplification.

We have our own amplifiers which are optimized for the speakers where we can insure a low noise floor and consistent operation. The SSA-2x2 configured to power 2 Spark XC2's will be $1995 delivering 500W per speaker (200W-HF/300W-LF). Pro-audio options for those not concerned about fan noise and possibly higher noise floor will offer the potential of significant savings on the amplification with some examples we're testing delivering 4 channels of 400W for about $1000.
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post #1038 of 1048 Old 05-22-2015, 10:53 AM
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I just posted the long answer in the Spark thread on our forum.
Okay, thanks. I have read it over closely. I'm excited to see what other solutions you can offer. Two $2k amps for 4 of the Spark XC2's is a bit stiff. Fan noise or rack space won't be a problem for me, but I'm a bit skittish over having hissy speakers.
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post #1039 of 1048 Old 06-20-2015, 12:03 PM
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post #1040 of 1048 Old 06-20-2015, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
I haven't had a lot of ear time with my Catalyst 12Cs yet, but I've had a stupid grin on my face when I've been standing in front of them testing them at high SPLs and trying out the different programs (HT and full range). The clarity of the sound and other sonic qualities of them while they're loafing along playing crazy loud is something to behold. They do work a bit harder with the full range program in use, but that's to be expected.
So I tried to let the Catalyst 12Cs stretch their legs a few weeks back while I had a friend over to check them out, but my receiver kept shutting down around +7dB (playing bass heavy music). It would flash some sort of system error message on the VFD and power cycle itself. I guess it doesn't like putting that much voltage across the internal amps with no load. The DIY 15" subwoofer with 1kW and four 15" passive radiators I currently have paired with them couldn't keep up at those volumes either. It was stupid loud. The Catalysts were still cruising along and weren't drawing very much power either (meaning they had a lot left in the tank). I would be pretty surprised if anyone can find the limits of the 12Cs from ~6' away while not wearing hearing protection.
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post #1041 of 1048 Old 06-20-2015, 04:35 PM
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Wow those F18's look awesome! So I guess its safe to say that Mark will be using UM18-22's in his 18" subs now? After seeing what they can do from Josh Ricci's review at Data-bass that seems like a great driver!
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post #1042 of 1048 Old 06-20-2015, 06:02 PM
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So I guess its safe to say that Mark will be using UM18-22's in his 18" subs now?
No, it's safe to say Mark is using a driver with the same cone. Maybe the same basket / frame and surround. I very strongly suspect it's not a stock UM.
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post #1043 of 1048 Old 06-20-2015, 09:54 PM
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No, it's safe to say Mark is using a driver with the same cone. Maybe the same basket / frame and surround. I very strongly suspect it's not a stock UM.

Yes sorry, I should have said in my post that they would have custom T/S parameters to his specs.
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post #1044 of 1048 Old 07-01-2015, 12:08 PM
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post #1045 of 1048 Old Yesterday, 06:25 PM
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Ugh, so it looks like the amp on one of my Cat 12C's is toast. It won't power on, it just makes an odd whining noise. No protection light, just no power light and the whine. I swapped the fuse with the working tower and still no go, the other tower still works with the swapped fuse. So, I guess it's dead Jim .

Called Mark, I'm sure he'll get back to me soon, but don't expect immediacy given the holiday. But, in the meantime, I'm curious if I could swap the amp from my 8C into the 12C just so I have sound from both the front channels. I'm not currently using that 8C, so...it's not really a big deal. If not, I guess I can just haul down the 8C and pull the 12C off its stand and use the 8C on that side. It'll be really weird, but at least I'll still have a stereo image -- I'll just have to keep it down.

Anyone ever replace one of these amps? Is it pretty simple? Can I do it with the speaker on the stand, or will I have to set it on its face? Are the internal speaker wires pretty obvious where they connect on the amp, or will I have to prepare to label everything while it's out so I get it all back in the right spot? Never had this thing apart...so....

Argh -- of course it had to happen on a holiday. I've never had a problem with these things, ever...so I'm sort of surprised. I didn't have it any louder than I normally do...so I don't know what went wrong. But...$hit happens. Maybe just being at sustained levels overheated it, but I'd have expected it to go into protection, not die. Hopefully the drivers are fine. Probably, though...was sounding awesome up until it wasn't sounding at all, lol.
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Ugh, so it looks like the amp on one of my Cat 12C's is toast. It won't power on, it just makes an odd whining noise. No protection light, just no power light and the whine. I swapped the fuse with the working tower and still no go, the other tower still works with the swapped fuse. So, I guess it's dead Jim .

Called Mark, I'm sure he'll get back to me soon, but don't expect immediacy given the holiday. But, in the meantime, I'm curious if I could swap the amp from my 8C into the 12C just so I have sound from both the front channels. I'm not currently using that 8C, so...it's not really a big deal. If not, I guess I can just haul down the 8C and pull the 12C off its stand and use the 8C on that side. It'll be really weird, but at least I'll still have a stereo image -- I'll just have to keep it down.

Anyone ever replace one of these amps? Is it pretty simple? Can I do it with the speaker on the stand, or will I have to set it on its face? Are the internal speaker wires pretty obvious where they connect on the amp, or will I have to prepare to label everything while it's out so I get it all back in the right spot? Never had this thing apart...so....

Argh -- of course it had to happen on a holiday. I've never had a problem with these things, ever...so I'm sort of surprised. I didn't have it any louder than I normally do...so I don't know what went wrong. But...$hit happens. Maybe just being at sustained levels overheated it, but I'd have expected it to go into protection, not die. Hopefully the drivers are fine. Probably, though...was sounding awesome up until it wasn't sounding at all, lol.
Sorry to hear that. However, I don't think you can simply replace the 12C amp with a 8C amp because the DSP (if I am not mistaken) would probably be different considering the different drivers (8" vs. 12").
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post #1047 of 1048 Old Today, 01:28 PM
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Ugh, so it looks like the amp on one of my Cat 12C's is toast. It won't power on, it just makes an odd whining noise. No protection light, just no power light and the whine. I swapped the fuse with the working tower and still no go, the other tower still works with the swapped fuse. So, I guess it's dead Jim .

Called Mark, I'm sure he'll get back to me soon, but don't expect immediacy given the holiday. But, in the meantime, I'm curious if I could swap the amp from my 8C into the 12C just so I have sound from both the front channels. I'm not currently using that 8C, so...it's not really a big deal. If not, I guess I can just haul down the 8C and pull the 12C off its stand and use the 8C on that side. It'll be really weird, but at least I'll still have a stereo image -- I'll just have to keep it down.

Anyone ever replace one of these amps? Is it pretty simple? Can I do it with the speaker on the stand, or will I have to set it on its face? Are the internal speaker wires pretty obvious where they connect on the amp, or will I have to prepare to label everything while it's out so I get it all back in the right spot? Never had this thing apart...so....

Argh -- of course it had to happen on a holiday. I've never had a problem with these things, ever...so I'm sort of surprised. I didn't have it any louder than I normally do...so I don't know what went wrong. But...$hit happens. Maybe just being at sustained levels overheated it, but I'd have expected it to go into protection, not die. Hopefully the drivers are fine. Probably, though...was sounding awesome up until it wasn't sounding at all, lol.
The amp is not heavy, and I've not had problems removing them without laying the speakers on their face. Use the XLR & Powercon for handles (Unplug the other ends 1st) The speakers are connected by a single connector.
Mark created a PDF showing how to remove the amp on a Submersive, but the removal is very similar, the difference is the speaker connector is bigger for the more speakers.SubMersive Amp removal and return instructions.pdf

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain View Post
Sorry to hear that. However, I don't think you can simply replace the 12C amp with a 8C amp because the DSP (if I am not mistaken) would probably be different considering the different drivers (8" vs. 12").
I figured as much, but I wasn't sure if it'd have enough impact to matter, and certainly would be better than trying to run a single speaker. However, I ended up just bringing down the 8C and setting it on the 12C stand. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but it sounds enough similar that I don't notice a different voicing. The only thing that is off is the tweeter/mid driver height mismatch. I think sometimes this is having a comb effect of sorts which is sometimes noticeable. But, for now, it's certainly better than one speaker.

That said, despite how similar they may be in sound, they certainly can't hang. I quite consistently listen to music at +6/+8 and these started clipping around +3 while the 12C on the other side was cruising along happily (and doesn't clip at +8). So, I'm certainly glad I have the 12C's. Fortunately, when/if I end up using the 8C for a center, I never really get movies above reference. So, it should be a fine center. But, for music, I certainly desire that extra kick of the 12C.

That said, I did notice the tweeter in general on this one sounds a little better than on the 12C, which is weird because I think they're the same unit. But, I heard a little more detail on cymbals on the 8C's side than I recall. It could be tweeter height again, though...or maybe the different DSP -- maybe it's easier to blend the mid/high driver to the 8's...who knows.

The picture in my living room right now is a little funny, though -- like David and Goliath, lol. I had to front-load my wife with why I didn't just buy the 8C's before she had a chance to say, "that's one's so much smaller, why couldn't you just have bought that one." HAHA.
Quote:
Originally Posted by calentz View Post
The amp is not heavy, and I've not had problems removing them without laying the speakers on their face. Use the XLR & Powercon for handles (Unplug the other ends 1st) The speakers are connected by a single connector.
Mark created a PDF showing how to remove the amp on a Submersive, but the removal is very similar, the difference is the speaker connector is bigger for the more speakers.Attachment 813722
Good to know -- I was hoping it wouldn't be individual wiring -- of course this could be another reason why I couldn't just swap the 8C amp in, depending on how Mark wired the two connectors.
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