**The Official Seaton Sound Speaker Thread** - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 776 Old 07-14-2009, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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It's high time we at AVS had a dedicated Seaton Sound non-subwoofer thread and here it is!

The focus of this thread is discussion of Mark Seaton's current loudspeaker offerings, specifically the CATALYST and the SPARK. It can certainly be used as a repository of information and discussion area for any new speakers Mark designs.

First things first: Here is the link to Mark Seaton's forum: www.seatonsound.net. A great deal of information regarding technical specifications, sizes, prices, etc. can be found here in addition to a series of lively discussions.

Second: Here is the AVS link to Peter's (fugueness) excellent Catalyst thread. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1094517 Peter, who just this past weekend opened up his home once again for a large enthusiast GTG, is a great photographer and it is he who provided the "money shots" of the Catalyst in addition to insightful commentary. His observations of the Catalysts carry particular weight given he is "in the business."

As for me, I was fortunate enough to find out about Mark Seaton's other loudspeaker designs after investigating and finally purchasing a SubMersive subwoofer. Like many others I was so pleased with the performance of the SubMersive I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough to order up a set of 3 Catalysts for LCR and 2 Sparks for surround duty. I will admit some trepidation in placing an order for loudspeakers I had not auditioned (usually a big no-no) but decided after much research that I would place my trust in Seaton. While I am still waiting patiently for my Catalysts to arrive, I did receive my 2 Sparks early and am for now using them as a 2.1 system. Pictures below...








Well, I needn't have worried even a little. To MY EARS these are the best possible choice I could have made. They are EXACTLY what I was looking for in a loudspeaker! The dynamics are impossible to imagine for such a compact speaker. I'm sure this has much to do with the DSP controlled ICEpowered design (160W/140W). What is really striking is the unbelievable clarity of the Spark. A good quality female vocal leaves me slack-jawed. I have never experienced such perfect crystal clarity in all my years with audio.

Unlike most AVS'rs, my emphasis will be on music first, HT second. While I look forward to the arrival of the Catalysts, for now I am a very happy camper with the Sparks.

Let the discussions begin!

Chris
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post #2 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 11:35 AM
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Great stuff.... would love to hear more of your thoughts on the sparks....

I just got sparks setup in my theater monday with the help of mr. seaton himself. I would love to have a set of catalysts but my room and my budget don't currently allow for it.

I will be doing some eval against some AV123 Rocker 450's, X-SLS's, and my old reference Mirage M3si's over the weekend and will post more pics and details at that time....

I will say that I am quite impressed early on... They clearly have a lot of dynamics and can easily overpower my underdampened room....

more later....

Sean
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post #3 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 11:51 AM
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The Sparks look great. Small, but they seem to pack a pretty good punch with very good SQ. Hopefully someday I will get a chance to check them out.

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post #4 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 11:56 AM
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I'd love to hear the Catalyst and Spark speakers.
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post #5 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

Great stuff.... would love to hear more of your thoughts on the sparks....

I just got sparks setup in my theater monday with the help of mr. seaton himself. I would love to have a set of catalysts but my room and my budget don't currently allow for it.

I will be doing some eval against some AV123 Rocker 450's, X-SLS's, and my old reference Mirage M3si's over the weekend and will post more pics and details at that time....

I will say that I am quite impressed early on... They clearly have a lot of dynamics and can easily overpower my underdampened room....

more later....

Sean


Yes, and I'll be interested to get your take on the Sparks compared to your other speakers. I don't doubt at all the Sparks can be used as mains. There is plenty of effortless drive. Actually, IIRC Mark has made this very point numerous times.

How big is your new room Sean? I ask because mine is only ~1600 cf. Of course I have lots of room treatments in the works and it is a sealed room so I expect to have lots of slam and an abundance of headroom!
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post #6 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MIkeDuke View Post

The Sparks look great. Small, but they seem to pack a pretty good punch with very good SQ. Hopefully someday I will get a chance to check them out.


You know it's only a matter of time.
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post #7 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 07:32 PM
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Great thread - thanks Hudda! It's about time Seaton gets his own speaker thread.

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post #8 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 08:18 PM
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I guess this is a good thread to ask...

Who is Mark Seaton? Where are the speakers produced? Is there a trial period (like SVS)? What is the warranty? ...etc., etc.

What I've read so far has been very positive, but it would be nice to know a bit more about the man and his company for the "casual" AVS'er.
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post #9 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Great thread - thanks Hudda! It's about time Seaton gets his own speaker thread.


Agreed. I was surprised there was not an "Official" umbrella thread yet either. The timing is probably good as I suspect more and more people are discovering the Spark in particular.

Chris
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post #10 of 776 Old 07-15-2009, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambam View Post

I guess this is a good thread to ask...

Who is Mark Seaton? Where are the speakers produced? Is there a trial period (like SVS)? What is the warranty? ...etc., etc.

What I've read so far has been very positive, but it would be nice to know a bit more about the man and his company for the "casual" AVS'er.


Mark Seaton is one of a handful (the youngest I think) of Midwestern speaker designers coming out of the pro/live audio world who have started their own companies in the last 5 or so years. He and Jeff Permanian (JTR Speakers) had worked with Tom Danley at Servodrive until they all left to forge out on their own. Danley has his own company (and patents) which seems to specialize in very high-end large-scale projects. Jeff's products focus on very efficient passive designs while Mark's are amplified/DSP controlled. They each do great things for different segments of the market. Mark is probably best known as of now for his SubMersive subwoofer but he has other subwoofer options in addition to loudspeakers which are the focus of this thread, namely the Catalyst and Spark. Both of these speakers have been very well received.

Mark is based in the Chicago area. I do not think he offers a trial period as his company is still relatively small compared to the big manufacturers. He could answer that better than I. On the other hand, I have yet to hear of anyone who wanted to return any of his products. His warranty on the SubMersive is 3 years materials and workmanship except in cases of obvious abuse.

FWIW, Seaton has an impeccable reputation for his designs, quality or work, and general business dealings. Check out his site for lots more info. Link is in the first post.

Chris
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post #11 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 12:39 PM
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I'm glad that someone finally started this thread.

Mark is cursed with the drive to create amazing products and continually tweak/fine tune them.

I'm proud to have joined the Seaton Sound family -- Catalysts x 3 as LCR and Sparks x 4 as my left and right side/rear surrounds. I'm just waiting on my subs!

John

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post #12 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudda View Post

Mark Seaton is one of a handful (the youngest I think) of Midwestern speaker designers coming out of the pro/live audio world who have started their own companies in the last 5 or so years. He and Jeff Permanian (JTR Speakers) had worked with Tom Danley at Servodrive until they all left to forge out on their own. Danley has his own company (and patents) which seems to specialize in very high-end large-scale projects. Jeff's products focus on very efficient passive designs while Mark's are amplified/DSP controlled. They each do great things for different segments of the market. Mark is probably best known as of now for his SubMersive subwoofer but he has other subwoofer options in addition to loudspeakers which are the focus of this thread, namely the Catalyst and Spark. Both of these speakers have been very well received.

Mark is based in the Chicago area. I do not think he offers a trial period as his company is still relatively small compared to the big manufacturers. He could answer that better than I. On the other hand, I have yet to hear of anyone who wanted to return any of his products. His warranty on the SubMersive is 3 years materials and workmanship except in cases of obvious abuse.

FWIW, Seaton has an impeccable reputation for his designs, quality or work, and general business dealings. Check out his site for lots more info. Link is in the first post.

Chris

Nice little write up.

I have read that Mark has also been involved with AV123 subwoofer designs and Tweak City audio. Im sure his hand has been other great projects too.....

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post #13 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 01:00 PM
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What is the MSRP on the Sparks?

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post #14 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudda View Post

Yes, and I'll be interested to get your take on the Sparks compared to your other speakers. I don't doubt at all the Sparks can be used as mains. There is plenty of effortless drive. Actually, IIRC Mark has made this very point numerous times.

How big is your new room Sean? I ask because mine is only ~1600 cf. Of course I have lots of room treatments in the works and it is a sealed room so I expect to have lots of slam and an abundance of headroom!

I will have to measure but I beleive around 3,200 ft^3 but its open to the rest of the house....

This house I am living in was build in 53 and had many additions between now and then. There are sliding closet doors, regular doors and pocket doors everywhere... I have already removed 10 doors from the interior of the house and have some more to go..... I'll get some stuff posted this weekend....

Sean
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post #15 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

What is the MSRP on the Sparks?

Pricing info is here on Marks Site....

http://seatonsound.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=3364736

# Spark Powered Loudspeaker (First units back ordered, lead time 4 weeks)

* Internally Bi-amplified (160W-140W) loudspeaker
* 8" coaxial midrange w/Neodymium magnet 1" HF driver
* Compact vented 2 way design
* 17" H x 11" W x 11" D
* 36 lbs.
* Introductory Price: $1,395 each + shipping, pricing available through Friday, July 31st.
* Normal price after August 1st: $1,495 each + shipping.
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post #16 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I will have to measure but I beleive around 3,200 ft^3 but its open to the rest of the house....

This house I am living in was build in 53 and had many additions between now and then. There are sliding closet doors, regular doors and pocket doors everywhere... I have already removed 10 doors from the interior of the house and have some more to go..... I'll get some stuff posted this weekend....

Sean


Oh, you have MORE than enough room for a set of Catalysts. j/k. The Sparks should do just fine. I've been cranking some tunes with just my 2 and man, do they get LOUD! Still no distortion.

Chris
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post #17 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice little write up.

I have read that Mark has also been involved with AV123 subwoofer designs and Tweak City audio. Im sure his hand has been other great projects too.....


Thanks Penngray. Yeah, like Sean said the Sparks are on sale right now. When you look closely at what you are getting I think it's a bargain. There is a lot of value built into one of these.
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post #18 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Johnsteph10 View Post

I'm glad that someone finally started this thread.

Mark is cursed with the drive to create amazing products and continually tweak/fine tune them.

I'm proud to have joined the Seaton Sound family -- Catalysts x 3 as LCR and Sparks x 4 as my left and right side/rear surrounds. I'm just waiting on my subs!


Boy, you said a mouthful John. Mark is a very busy guy.

I'd love to hear more about your impressions of the Catalysts. I cannot freaking wait until mine arrive! The neighbors are going to just LOVE me.
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post #19 of 776 Old 07-16-2009, 03:45 PM
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Nice little write up.

I have read that Mark has also been involved with AV123 subwoofer designs and Tweak City audio. Im sure his hand has been other great projects too.....

Mark is no longer involved with Tweak City Audio, for the record.

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post #20 of 776 Old 07-18-2009, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Just as an update, I've been listening to a variety of music over the weekend and continue to be very impressed by the Sparks. Most listening has been in 2.1 mode with the SubMersive but even just by themselves, these little guys put out a BIG sound!

One thing I am curious about which I hope Mark can answer is what does he think about the new Trinnov optimizer? I know his speakers already have DSP but would they benefit from this new tech more from say, MCACC or Audyssey? I'm keeping an eye open for when Outlaw comes out with their Trinnov-based pre/pro and my curiosity is piqued with what seems like a breakthrough.

Chris
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post #21 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 12:05 AM
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Mark is no longer involved with Tweak City Audio, for the record.

Is anybody anymore? I don't think they've even produced anything. And in this economy, well, good luck.

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post #22 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 12:14 AM
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Catalyst looks interesting, but I'm very surprised at the spec's, with two 12" woofers the 'recommended' range is 55hz (really??) to 21 khz. It's an interesting speaker design but I guess he's got them tuned so you need to buy his submersive as well, right?

Also, with the built in amps, I guess you don't need any. Just use the balanced cable and plug directly from your source to your speaker. However, you'd need a lot of power outlets for each speaker (not sure I like powered speakers but it is an interesting concept).

Looks good for h/t, not so sure about music though (i.e. if you like tubes, what good is the tube amp going to be when it's eliminated from the setup - or am I missing the point on these). Interesting design though as I said, if you haven't started yet, you can save a lot of money on amp(s), which you probably wouldn't have anyway based on the price of these things (they ain't cheap).

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post #23 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 12:18 AM
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Everything I have heard suggest that they are not only exceptional HT speakers but that they are also every bit as good at reproducing accurate music.
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post #24 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpt_Krunch View Post

Catalyst looks interesting, but I'm very surprised at the spec's, with two 12" woofers the 'recommended' range is 55hz (really??) to 21 khz.

Looks good for h/t, not so sure about music though (i.e. if you like tubes, what good is the tube amp going to be when it's eliminated from the setup - or am I missing the point on these). Interesting design though as I said, if you haven't started yet, you can save a lot of money on amp(s), which you probably wouldn't have anyway based on the price of these things (they ain't cheap).

If you are into DIY, you'd know why they get down to 55Hz only. My drivers are bigger @ 15 inch and from the same family/stuff that the Catalysts are made of, and they get tuned to get down to 80+ Hz.

There is an interesting comment about audiophiles owning many top-grade equipment checking out the Meyer X-10D and mentioning that its one of the best stuff they have ever heard. But they just had to ask if it comes in passive version, coz they wanna plug in their tube amps. Why mess with something that is already like near perfect?

Then again, I am plugging my pro CD/horns to my 6C33C-B 18W SET, its active config. Don't blame me, I went down that route before stepping this way.

Yes, I do think I have previously read comments regarding the Catalysts are not for anybody who is serious about music (audiophiles?). For that you have to check with fugueness, who had a few audiophile toys totaling 6-figures and finally settling for the Catalysts after auditioning some other stuff when he wanted to upgrade his Aerials.
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post #25 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 06:10 AM
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Cool thread.

I don't own any Seaton products, but I have heard some and I'm glad there is another venue (AVS) to keep them on my radar.

Mike
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post #26 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpt_Krunch View Post

Catalyst looks interesting, but I'm very surprised at the spec's, with two 12" woofers the 'recommended' range is 55hz (really??) to 21 khz. It's an interesting speaker design but I guess he's got them tuned so you need to buy his submersive as well, right?

I doubt that was the point, but as many people have proven, the best position in a person's room for linear FR, pinpoint imaging and a wide sound stage usually won't be the best spot for in-room bass response. So you'd want a subwoofer anyway if you're doing critical listening or are as anal as I am about sound.

Quote:
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Also, with the built in amps, I guess you don't need any. Just use the balanced cable and plug directly from your source to your speaker. However, you'd need a lot of power outlets for each speaker (not sure I like powered speakers but it is an interesting concept).

Unless I am missing something, why couldn't you plug into your preamp as well? The "source" refers to the DVD/CD player or your streaming device. I don't know of many sources with balanced connections, so I'll assume you meant preamp/receiver.

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Originally Posted by Kpt_Krunch View Post

Looks good for h/t, not so sure about music though (i.e. if you like tubes, what good is the tube amp going to be when it's eliminated from the setup - or am I missing the point on these). Interesting design though as I said, if you haven't started yet, you can save a lot of money on amp(s), which you probably wouldn't have anyway based on the price of these things (they ain't cheap).

Not so much for music? Since when? Have you heard a pair and not liked them for music reproduction?

Instead of getting a tube amp, just get a tube preamp. Done deal, similar to same sound. Also, these speakers aren't "cheap" per se, but they aren't overpriced either. Just look what you get for the price (only thing that isn't great is the bass depth, but as I said, subs are better for that anyway). If I had a dedicated room and the extra coin, there is no question my theater would consist of all Seaton products. And my 2-channel (or rather 2.2 channel in this case) would consist of Salk speakers.

HA! Seaton and Salk - what's with me liking the brands that start with "S?"

Just my $0.02

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post #27 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I doubt that was the point, but as many people have proven, the best position in a person's room for linear FR, pinpoint imaging and a wide sound stage usually won't be the best spot for in-room bass response. So you'd want a subwoofer anyway if you're doing critical listening or are as anal as I am about sound.


Unless I am missing something, why couldn't you plug into your preamp as well? The "source" refers to the DVD/CD player or your streaming device. I don't know of many sources with balanced connections, so I'll assume you meant preamp/receiver.


Not so much for music? Since when? Have you heard a pair and not liked them for music reproduction?

Instead of getting a tube amp, just get a tube preamp. Done deal, similar to same sound. Also, these speakers aren't "cheap" per se, but they aren't overpriced either. Just look what you get for the price (only thing that isn't great is the bass depth, but as I said, subs are better for that anyway). If I had a dedicated room and the extra coin, there is no question my theater would consist of all Seaton products. And my 2-channel (or rather 2.2 channel in this case) would consist of Salk speakers.

HA! Seaton and Salk - what's with me liking the brands that start with "S?"

Just my $0.02



All good points Nuance. IMO there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding Class D amps sounding "sterile" compared to tube amps or A/B amps.

I suspect amplified speakers are the wave of the future.

Chris
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post #28 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudda View Post

All good points Nuance. IMO there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding Class D amps sounding "sterile" compared to tube amps or A/B amps.

I suspect amplified speakers are the wave of the future.

Chris

I said that years ago! Active loudspeakers are definitely gaining in popularity.

John

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post #29 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 05:19 PM
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I said that years ago! Active loudspeakers are definitely gaining in popularity.

Well, then you were right. Active is definitely the way to go if you can afford it, but I doubt they'll be standard for a while. One can hope, though.

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post #30 of 776 Old 07-19-2009, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, then you were right. Active is definitely the way to go if you can afford it, but I doubt they'll be standard for a while. One can hope, though.


Here is a recent article that I found illuminating.

http://the.sound-signal.com/index.ph...d=6:technology

It seems to me that active speakers used to be a problem for all the reasons laid out in that article, not the least of which was "Hi-Fi" systems marketers. Of course the technology wasn't there yet either.

Now that we have the right tech to pull off fine quality active setups there doesn't appear to be a valid reason for eschewing such systems except that amp manufacturers won't sell as many amp upgrades. The new action should be centered in processing. Now that is something to look forward to!

The quest which brought me to Seaton's loudspeakers was really just my best attempt to cut to the chase in making the weakest link in any setup (speakers) as strong as possible. Will it be perfect for HT, MCh or stereo? Nope. But it will be my best shot once I treat the room and use EQ.

Chris
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