What a fun G2G!
David Beck as G2G host? Double win! David I don’t know how you get buy in from your wife and family on these things but it’s amazing! David’s wife and family made a welcome poster, GADs of snacks, and a speaker cake! (of which I had several pieces and the rest of you just missed out – cause it was GOOD!). I don’t know how many pounds of beef were purchased but I’m thinking there must have been close to 20lbs of beef between chili for lunch and tacos for dinner. There was enough ground beef to have fed all 25ish attendees and David’s family twice over. There was no shortage of food or drink! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! The chocolate cookies were excellent, the chili was awesome and the tacos hit the spot! Wine and beer all supplied? Really It was over the top! Who sponsored that $100 amazon gift card, $25 itunes gift card, and $15 Starbucks gift card give away? The games were great, and the demonstrations by the venders were fun to engage in! Thank you and DesertDome for organizing everything! DesertDome – thank you for working the EQ and doing all the setup work. I saw cables, amps, hardware EVERYWHERE as we were picking up Saturday night. I imagine most of that equipment belongs to you and so I thank you for tearing up your equipment back home to set it up and share it with us at David’s house!
The music trivia game was the most fun ‘party game’ I’ve played in a LONG time – perhaps ever! That was a great idea, and I applaud whoever came up with it! Carp was on point for that contest! WOW. I felt like his brain was a Shazam super-computer,and mine was rolodex by comparison. Most times he had raised his hand and been called on to answer the question by the time I could even get my pea brain to process what I’d heard for .5 seconds – just 2 seconds ago. I’d swear one time I didn’t hear any music at all and he named the song. I exclaimed to the group –“ what the heck just happened? ---Michael did you even play the clip yet?” A couple times he answered a song based on the first second or two of distortion in a track (not even musical notes) and a dozen times he named a song on a single note or two it seemed. Ridiculous. I guess listening to music for four hours a night pays off. At least for a $100 Amazon gift card in this case! I suppose it’s not too much a chore though – to listen to music with the 212HT. :P At any rate – it was absolutely bizarre. Basically – the only time the rest of us had a chance was when David deliberately overlooked Sheldon’s raised hand as a mercy gesture, or on the rare occasion it was a song carp had never heard. If there was a national competition for this kind of thing I’d sponsor carp!
The meet was laid out really well. Planned really well, and implemented well! The blind listening section to a mono speaker was a great idea, and some quick fun, but sadly probably really didn’t really amount to much of anything for most people because the speakers were ‘arrayed’ across the front of the soundstage and as everyone knows room positioning and seating positioning REALLY can affect your impression of a speaker. Also there was no subs to sponsor the speakers that were not designed to run full range. So for those of you with less experience, take even your own impressions during the blind listening section with a grain of salt.
The stereo setup section was fantastic. Each of the vendors present got to setup their gear the previous day and could spend time making it right with EQ preferences and tailoring their gear to the room! Some oddities occurred with timing delays with the JTR S2 subs that maybe someone will elaborate on, but on several occasions I felt the timing delay on the S2’s was slightly off. The full range speakers without S2 integration probably had some level of advantage here because of this fact, but not across the board. The S2 integration with the 212HT was great. I heard Mark say that they had it all down pat during Friday’s setup date for each speaker they chose to run with subs, but that the room sounded much different with 25 bodies in it, than it did with just their setup gear. The vendors certainly expected this – but the early setup was a compromise to do the best they could to eliminate setup time and keep the meet’s pace moving. There wasn't too much down time between speakers, and when there was some downtime it was fun to meet new folk and catch up with old friends. There was bocce ball and ladder golf and a demo room upstairs showcasing Lynx equipment and both JTR Single 8 and Bamberrg monitors. I’m not really a separates kind of guy – my Onkyo AVR suits my needs just fine for theater use and connection to my HTPC through my Nvidia GTX670, but I appreciate that the Lynx representative, Roger Schermerhorn, both supplied superior hardware for the meet’s use, and was willing to share his knowledge on the Lynx DAC hardware. Roger also provided some helpful information about places to download or buy DSD files (a newer lossless format I was previously unfamiliar with). Steve did a great job of showing off the Irule. It looks to be an impressive tool!
Of course I thank Phil Bamberrg, Mark Seaton and Jeff Permanian for showing up, representing their products, and talking shop with the enthusiasts. You guys are heroes in the hobby! I’ve heard a lot of people say they like supporting vendors that support these types of events, and I agree with that sentiment! Thanks to SVS too for working out a low or no cost ‘loan’/’buyback’ of their SVS Ultra Towers with dlbeck for the purposes of showcasing their new equipment! This kind of support of the community goes a long way towards building respect and loyalty for your brand!On to my meet Notes!
I don’t think I’ll rate the speakers in an order. I’ll just let my comments speak for themselves to what I preferred. Speakers are so subjective. I may absolutely love something and be bowled over by its performance and you might find yourself unimpressed & vice versa. Speakers are probably one of the most subjectively evaluated things I’ve run into in any hobby I’ve enjoyed. What’s more --- our preference bias is based so much on what we’ve heard in the past, own, or have previously considered to be good equipment. If your gear at home is setup like ‘Y’, even if ‘Y’ is setup incorrectly then you are going to more closely identify with the setup that sounds similar to ‘Y’ – even if Speaker ‘Z’ measures more accurate. IE If I have a room null in my room in a midbass region and don’t’ know it – I might prefer and advocate speaker that has less midbass because it’s what I’m used to hearing . Speakers are something each buyer should listen to himself and make his own decision. These meets, especially when kicked off in this manner are absolutely excellent --- because the vendor gets to represent his speaker setup as he wishes. The previous day setup was a fantastic idea.
So --- summarily – my disclaimer is that my review notes are 100% honest from my perspective and absolutely biased to my subjective preferences and tastes. If you like loud, live, transparent, high quality sound and your favorite music genres are top 40, funk, bluegrass/folk, acoustic, vocal or accapella, dubstep, and various bass heavy tracks – then you might parallel my tastes. I listen to music at about -20 or -25, with the subs about 6dB hot. I watch movies at about -12dB from reference, but I like to replay my favorite demo scenes somewhere between -5dB to reference type levels with my JTR Captivator subs 6 to 9 dB hot. I do not like listening to speakers much above about +5 over reference -- even for very short demos --- it’s too freaking loud. + 20dB is too loud --- yes I’m talking to you carp, popalock,gorilla83, pennynike1,and Jeff P. . In the old days of manual EQ for speakers – I used to EQ a bit of a smiley face. I hate a bright treble bias –I don’t much like the sound of electric guitars. In guitar hero type games I’ll pick the bass guitar every time, and turn up the bass too boot. I do like subwoofers that measure flat and are accurate (thanks to Luke Kamp), but I do like the bass emphasized. Those are my preferences. Evaluate my write-up of each speaker through the lens of my preferences.
I moved all over dlbeck’s room during these demos. The demos were broken into sections and we’d all rotate seats. I had a center seat for a demo section on each of the speakers, but other times were spent off axis or perhaps in the back center. So each review is a bit of a mix of many different listening positions. I recorded my written notes under each speaker, and then summarized my thoughts on the overall presentation below that. This is the order we demoed them in - so the bullet points should be written with that in mind.Bamberrg Series 5 TMW
- Vocals sounded really good most of the time.
- Jazz female vocal with snapping fingers was fantastic in center front seat
- Very impressive lowbass in full range --- played without JTR S2 subs engaged
- Volume started inching up? – Now highs on the screaming female vocal track sounded pressed
- Got Chills on the Star Wars Track (1 of 4 speakers to do this during this track)
- Hallelujah track sounded ‘smaller’ than I am used to on my JTR 228HT at home (not ideal)
- Imaging is good from center seat area – not pinpoint focused – but of the larger soundstage type.
As the volume increased I was not a fan of these speakers, but they were excellent when kept within their limits. In limits – clear, detailed, very accurate – taken past limits sound strained easily. Phil said that it was because they were revealing on the tracks –using the example of vocal mic recordings being recorded too close to the mouth and overloading the mic. He said the Bamberrg would reveal the details of the recording to a fault – and that some of the tracks were recorded poorly and the Bamberrg was reproducing that. This may be the case and more detectable in a smaller listening environment, but my take was that the speakers were being played beyond their capability a little bit in a setting like we had. I don’t think that was anyone’s intent. David’s room is large,and I don’t think the speakers were quite up to the task of filling the room with the SPL levels requested. Phil asked us to back it off a bit at one point during the standardized playlist. Phil said the room might have been getting overloaded, but I honestly think it wasn't the room so much as the speakers -- evidenced by the fact some of the later auditions did not struggle on those same tracks and remained in character through their demos at the same or increased volumes. The 2011 Wisconsin speaker G2G came to my mind where some of the full range audiophile speakers were taken a bit past their comfort zones. Reason? -- Different design choices to meet different goals! Mark shared with me that Phil is a very competent audio engineer but that his products may not cater to some of the group’s volume preferences at this type of meet. That seems accurate. Phil appeared knowledgeable, and was willing to share tips with the attendees, his setup advice seemed to be followed by the other vendors at the meet in regards to in room speaker placement for the best imaging. His product sounded excellent and detailed at lower listening levels - I just don’t think his series 5 speakers would cater to the spl levels, and listening preferences I personally most enjoy. As a side note I did like the Bamberrg monitors upstairs that played alongside the JTR single 8. I don’t know much of anything about them and didn’t get to spend that much time with them, but from what I heard – they sounded really nice in David’s living room and if in the market for some passive monitors – these would be something to consider.SVS Ultra
- Same male vocal that sounded great on the Bamberrg sounded great on SVS. (In fact this male vocal sounded great on every speaker I realized as the day wore on.)
- I liked these speakers early in the audition. I’d own them. (this was my second written comment)
- I liked the female screaming vocals better on these than the first Bamberrg demo. I think these had a bit more spl headroom.
- I could tell the S2 subs were engaged on some of the lower biased tracks – which I liked, and complimented these speakers.
- I felt like these were not as detailed/clear/revealing as the Bamberrg, but actually liked their sound better subjectively.
- I got chills again on the Star Wars Track.
- They were a bit bright on the techno track intro (this was the first track they sounded a bit too bright)
- A bit ‘edgy’ on the Brandy Carlyle track
- A bit brash on some of the metal tracks (too bright)
The basic sound signature on these sounded like a bit of a smiley face EQ to me. I like that. I liked these. I’d own them, though I like my 228HT better for a bit more $. Some of the East Coast guys at the Gorilla83 meet said these speakers sounded boomy. I was curious so I asked at the end of the demo if we could disconnect the S2 subs and play the SVS towers in full range. The host obliged and we proceeded to play some bass filled tracks. I did not pick up on that boomy’ness characteristic at all with our demo session. Dlbeck played Black Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow and I stood up in the back of the room and walked around the room then then walked up to the SVS. The Ultra towers were doing fine. Notes sounded accurate and consistent volumes across the various bass frequencies. They did not sound boomy or bloated to me. Again, my subjective evaluation. I do not think they were hitting 28hz as they are rated for. They were just completely missing the lowest note on the Black Eyed Pea song, and I don’t think that note is lower than 28hz. I’d be surprised if the Ultra towers actually were playing much below 40hz in David’s big room in full range mode. Maybe when DesertDome posts the graphs we can verify, but I was talking to MrSmithers later and he had said he bet it was about a 45hz rolloff --- so our independent subjective evaluations aligned. On the east coast the speakers were effectively corner loaded. In David’s room they were out in the middle of the floor – about 8 foot from the back wall and 4 foot from the side wall --- the same placement for the other speakers. This would aide in a flat frequency response, but not assist in bass re-enforcement. No matter – these were an enjoyable speaker to me – and the lowest price of the day save the single 8. I’d recommend them.Seaton Catalyst 12C
- Found myself swaying to the fingersnaping blues song
- No harshness on the female screaming lyric (first speaker this sounded okay on)
- On the rap song with the ‘political introduction’ in sounded like I was in the auditorium during the concert among the audience! Excellent!
- At times there was a little edge of treble bias
- On one of the blues songs there were crickets in the background? Was that on the track? I didn’t notice that on any other speakers?
- Bass guitar solo sounded the best so far on these.
- They were a bit bright on the metal music selections
- Whistling track sounded the best on these by a long shot to me. The descending notes were unique and distinct.
- Saxophone song sounds excellent!
I don’t really have a lot to say about these speakers that hasn’t already been said innumerable times. Mark Seaton makes a classy and well engineered product. Seaton sound routinely wins best of show type awards for valid reason --- he makes excellent products. I’ve now heard 8c and 12c on multiple occasions at multiple meets. Mark Seaton was recently at the East Coast Gorilla83 meet (as was Jeff) and his 12C speakers were very well received there as well. They are a speaker that reproduces sound and just gets out of the way when doing it. Seaton products don’t add flavor or taint the material with any unique or identifiable characteristic. The 12C’s just sound great. Period. Phil Bamberrg clapped at the conclusion of the 12C demo. When a competitor applauds you publicly – you know you’ve made a sound product. I’d definitely be proud to own these. Mark is an excellent audio community supporter as well and attends a great many of these types of meets, and brings his products in to demo at no cost to the host. I hope his business is successful for long to come!GR Research – LS6 Line Arrays
- Gads of bass on the drum track – most bass yet from my seating positions– very impressive!
- Treble is silky smooth (ribbon tweeters for the win!)
- Off axis isn’t nearly as good as on
- Hotel California track with drum intro was Excellent
- Crowd cheering on some of these tracks sounds a bit odd? Small? Far away?
- Diana Krall type track sounds fantastic!
- Screaming female vocal sounds a bit harsh or annoying – forgivable because some of these other tracks have been excellent
- Muted trumpet was too bright
- Sherlock Holmes track was amazing
- Rap song was a bit ‘messy’ in the busy section – sounded muddy compared to Seaton right before it.
- Got chills on Star Wars again.
- Metal music boring and small sounding
- 1812 overture sounded best so far, but also sounded significantly quieter? Why is volume changing?
- Whistling track was a significant downgrade from the previously noteworthy Catalyst performance
- Saxophone track sounded excellent
- Add Hoc Demos at end by request - Sounded great on Shambala acapella track, sounded disappointing on Days of the New – Shelf in the room track(I expected acoustic guitar to sound awesome on these?)
Of all the speakers of the day this one was a mixed bag of great and poor review per each track. It was inconsistent across seating positions and tracks. I don’t know exactly why. I’d love it for one track and think it fell short for the next. I think this speaker ‘s performance is probably largely dependant on where you are sitting and room interactions --- more so than the other speakers based on the mixed bag opinions I and other’s shared. One point of note - these were by far the tallest contestant. During the normal demos – sitting in the back row I could still see thee of the eight 6.5” drivers, and two of the six ribbon tweeters – meaning that no matter where you were in the room – you’d still get access to the silky smooth treble of the ribbon tweeter – where as other speakers the 20 heads or so in front of you would likely be blocking the path of treble when sitting in the back row. I would think that would be a strong advantage – but it wasn’t so clear cut, they were still hit or miss for whatever reason. I bet in a room with a defined sitting area these are excellent. They have ridiculous bass for a full range speaker, knockout looks, and a sound that when firing on all cylinders was among the best of the day (but at times also among the worst – when something was off). On occasion vocals sounded mudded, bass sounded muddied, and treble was off. Love/Hate type thing. Although hate is too strong a word,and Love is appropriate. A three pack of these or LS9 behind an AT screen would be pretty darn nice with the height filling out the entire projector screen – but it’s also be hard to want to hide something so handsome! They also were not limitless. The eight 6.5” drivers were pumping during the times DesertDome took them to the brink (at least in the full range config we demoed them in). Regardless even with the multitude of drivers they aren’t SPL champions like the 12C or Noesis. Overall, I’d be happy to own a set of these too.Salk Veracity HT2-TL
- Excellent sounding speaker
- Screaming female vocal track actually gave me chills on this speaker (WOW!)
- Super Clean
- Very Nice Treble with ribbon tweeter\
- I’d run these speakers with subs personally rather than full range at these 85dB ish volumes
- The track with the sliding bass line was a bit weak on these compared to the LS6 and 12C
- Crisp guitar sounds
- An enjoyable speaker – one of the best of the night so far, especially when kept within its comfortable playback levels!
I’ve heard these several times now, both in the Wisconsin meet and a couple times in Des Moines meets. I like these. I’d own these for a 2 channel room. They’ve never been my top favorite in a meet, but I’ve always very much enjoyed listening to them. The ribbon tweeters are something special, and they are a gorgeous speaker in multiple finish options. They also have an uncanny ability to play full range. Phil was sitting next to me at one point and he almost refused to believe they were playing full range without the aid of the S2 subs. I think the design of the Salk tower – the transmission line namesake helps explain their capability –IIUC it’s a fancy horn like transmission line design that aides in depth of note. The Salk were played with no EQ and no subs. My most important note on these was that the screaming female vocal track actually gave me chills on this speaker. That’s huge! I can’t control chills I receive when listening to music, they just happen when I really like what I hear. Most of the previous speakers (except 12C) had really botched this track up – it was annoying, harsh, strained, or even in the case of the 12C – just reproduced neutrally without error. On the Salk – this track was engaging, emotional and chilling. This track defines the Salk – they always seem to sound phenomenal on female vocals, and you’ll hear owners rave about female vocals all over the forum boards.JTR Noesis 212HT
- Effortless on drum tracks
- Noesis horn sounds fantastic
- Joe Satriani track is startlingly clear
- Electronic intros are fantastic – best ofday
- Vocals on acapella men’s choral track are smooth – Awesome
- Smooth Jazz sounded great
- Clapping sounds on the Eagles track sounded so darn clear!!!
- Finger snapping clip is the best of the day (fever song)
- Volume levels are significantly increased over previous auditions (how much higher? 5dB?)
- Screaming female vocal was good even at seemingly higher volume levels than previous auditions when several others sounded strained at lower volumes.
- 4th row concert effect on rap song with crowd cheers – like 12C – this speaker’s clarity makes you think you are there. JTR sounds a bit muddy on the busy section of the rap song? Seems louder for sure than previous auditions.
- Almost got chills on the muted trumpet track, pre chills – almost ready to shiver – but didn’t quite get there. Didn't really care for the trumpet on any of the previous auditions.
- Techno track intro which sounded harsh on many of the other speakers sounded super clean on these and the volume had to be louder
- CLEAR, CLEAR, CLEAR
- Whistling was clear on whistle song (maybe 2nd of day behind 12C? on this track)
- Clean saxophone
These are the speakers I would most like to own from this G2G. We listened to some additional material on them following the regular demo. All sounded excellent. I liked these so much at my initial demo last year that I bought the little brother 228HT unauditioned from Jeff as it became available because I didn’t want to try to afford the $2200 per speaker these cost, but wanted as much of this sound as I could reasonably afford! The 228HT’s were released at a promotional price of less than half the 212HT cost, but if money were no object I would own the 212HT. My personal evaluation is that I think the 228HT are 98% of the movie performance of the 212HT (I’m not sure I could even tell the difference), but only about 75% of the music performance when we’ve A/B’ed them directly. The 212HT has a bit clearer, transparent high, and a larger soundstage in stereo imaging. My 228HT would compare favorably with anything I’ve ever heard pricewise from other vendors at their $1200 pricepoint, but I do like the 212HT a bit better. Never the less - - - I’m very happy with the 228HT (at least until I can get my hands on some 212HT)
The 212HT remains my favorite speaker I’ve ever heard. The speaker is transparent; the treble is just CLEAR, never harsh, never grating. The speaker has a bit of a live sound. I describe it as fourth row concert in a very large venue – right there in person! That does not mean it has a treble bias. The treble is the cleanest I’ve ever heard --- like it’s not even coming out of a speaker. Couple that with the fact that the speaker is basically limitless.
We listened to open range during post party play time at +16dB over reference powered by some a Cherry amp monoblock putting out 800watts to four ohm --- one for each speaker on the front soundstage and I don’t the speakers did much more than barely begin to visibly move the surrounds. We had my two JTR 228HT speakers on rears duty sharing a stereo Cherry amp with 400 watts to each and at the same volumes they were pumping. I had 15dB reduction earplugs in and it was still unbelievably loud. You could feel more impact from gunfire than if someone was actually shooting in the room. The JTR equipment is absurdity. If you like the sound at lower volumes (most do) then take comfort the sound quality just keeps raising linearly as you raise the volume dial. If anything the sound somehow gets better as you turn it up. Its counter intuitive and freakish. During play time we were frequently in the + ranges above reference. I went outside at one point and David’s vinyl siding on his house was audibly rattling like it was all going to fall off at any second. Stitch1 was standing on the aforethought sturdy wooden deck and he half joked he was scared thinking the whole thing was going to collapse! It’s a wonder that we didn’t have the cops called on us with our post party shenanigans in David’s upscale neighborhood. Those two JTR S2 subs (four high excursion 18” drivers powered by 8000 watts) and a full JTR soundstage was borderline insanity. At one point I yelled, (couldn't hardly hear myself over the speakers) to the group -- What are we doing? Looking around the room we all had earplugs in, or hands over our ears (some people with both earplugs and hands over ears), and we (by we – I mean Jeff or DesertDome either one) just keep turning it up + 5dB + 10dB + 15dB + 20dB – with the subs hot! David had multiple things broken in his house. Pictures were falling off walls, glass breaking, picture frames breaking etc. We were wrecking the place. I admit to feeling sheepish, embarrassed , and ridiculous. Hence my rhetorical question??? But when speakers seem limitless – I suppose it’s only human nature to want to figure out if you can truly find their limits. In the case of a full JTR setup like we had going?... I don’t think you can find the limits without hurting yourself or destroying things. I’m sorry David. I know you were part of this too and wearing a grin in the back of the room like the rest of us – but it might not be as funny as you start taking inventory of damage! Absolutely Absurd… YET--- I LOVE IT! BTW – Jeff was holding his hands over his ears. I've never seen that before, in attending a half dozen meets with the man. Heck, we hit 137dB peak in my room with a pair of grout cracking JTR Orbit Shifters at the 2012 KC subwoofer meet and he didn't have his ears covered. At this meet he covered his ears. When Jeff covers his ears you know things are getting serious. Carp tried to snap a picture of Jeff covering his ears several times so that others would know Jeff was actually human, but Jeff was having none of it. Carp said Jeff lowered his hands every time carp tried to snap a picture.
It’s okay Jeff. We don’t need a picture – your secret is out -- at least a handful of us now know you are bound by limits --- even if yours speakers aren't.