System Review: Seaton Catalyst 12C's and Submersive HP's - AVS Forum
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Introduction: First a little background. I'm actually a youngster. Yes, I confess. I invested in these speakers when I turned 23, and am now 24, but I've been into home audio for as long as I can remember. Starting with small home theater in a box systems when I was a kid. When I was younger, I got sucked into the "Bose trap," especially being as young and influential as I was. I broke my ass to get a Bose system, and I finally got one. To my disappointment and everyone else's surprise, the Bose system left me underwhelmed. I thought there was either something wrong with my system or my ears. After some research, I learned I wasn't crazy. It was a couple of years after owning the Bose system that I purchased my first REAL audio system. At a local audio boutique, I purchased Paradigm Monitor 7 v.3's with matching center and ADP surrounds with the PW2200 subwoofer and Marantz SR7500 receiver. This system made me see/hear the light. What a difference between this set up and the Bose Lifestyle 12 system I had. I owned this system for about 10 years happily, until I was able to purchase what I felt would be a significant upgrade. So I became a member of AVS and did a whole bunch of research, talking to people, looking and listening to all sorts of speakers like Aerial Acoustics, higher end Paradigms, Focal, Martin Logan etc. Through all the research, I was led to JTR and Seaton Sound. From all the positive reviews I have read on these speakers, regarding their power, dynamics, as well as audiophile clarity and accuracy, impressing many nay sayer audiophiles, I felt like I found the perfect upgrade. I like to listen LOUD on occasion, but not at the expense of clarity. It's like Mark made these speakers especially FOR me. It was a large chunk of money that I was extremely afraid to spend, especially since there was no way for me to audition them before I purchased them. I had to go by what I read and take everyones word for it. I'm by no means "rich" but I justified the cost because I knew I'd have these speakers for years and years to come. So I took the plunge...

Ordering: After I decided to take the plunge, I gave Mark a call and when he picked up, he was very enthusiastic, helpful and passionate about his speakers. This instilled further confidence in my purchase. Dealing with Mark was as smooth and as easy as anybody could ever want. He always answered my phone calls, and the one or two times he wasn't around, he always returned my calls. I placed my order for 3 Catalyst 12C's and 2 Subermsive HP's. A little while later, I ordered Sparks for surrounds, and not only did Mark help me with a method to mount them on my wall, but he actually had me ship the LCD monitor wall mounts he recommended to me, to him so he could mount them to the Sparks, so when they came, all I had to do was screw the mount in the wall, and mount the speaker. At the time, my theater room still wasn't completed, but the wait for the speakers was painful regardless.

Delivery: The day finally arrived. A UPS freight tractor trailer rumbled it's way down my residential block, hitting tree limbs and trying to maneuver the tight side streets. When he found the address, he pulled out a pallet that weighed about 750 pounds!!! He lowered the pallet and rolled it into my driveway. Once he got them where he wanted them, he looked at me as he wiped the sweat off his brow asking me what the hell was in the boxes. I told him home theater speakers and he just seemed dumbfounded. He just paused and said "okay, cool." I signed, and was left with this in my driveway, with the daunting task of bringing it all inside.

IMG-20120612-00184-1.jpg

Unboxing: First thing I noticed was the speakers were packaged really well. I found no shipping damage what so ever, even the boxes themselves were in tip top shape, so props to UPS freight for that. When I pulled the box off of them, I gazed at them for a while in amazement that I owned these monsters. I knocked on them and WOW! VERY solid build, completely inert. It seemed like I was knocking on a solid piece of beautiful oak wood. The black oak finish is very nice. The other finishes probably look really beautiful.

Hook up: Hook up was very straight forward. No need for an extensive right up here. XLR cables from my Integra DHC-80.3 to the speakers, plug in the speakers and that's it.

First Impression: My theater room STILL wasn't done at this point, so I lugged the speakers into the bedroom and hook them up. This room is less than ideal, to say the least, but it's the same room my Paradigms were in so for comparison sake, I guess it was good. As soon as the first sound came out of these speakers, I was smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, yet I couldn't stop smiling They completely annihilated the Paradigms in every way. Power and dynamics, obviously. That was a given as I was expecting that to be out of this world, but what really surprised me is the clarity of these speakers. The difference between my Paradigms and the Seaton Cat 12C's was MUCH more dramatic than the difference between the Bose speakers and the Paradigms, and that really is saying a lot. The Paradigms were wonderful speakers. I was able to hear every breath, every slight nuance of the recording that I never before heard from ANY speaker. The speakers surpassed every expectation I had. Imaging was wonderful, soundstage expanded past the outer edges of the speakers, even in the crappy bedroom, and every genre of music that I threw at it was reproduced with stunning accuracy, whether it be Folk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Hip-Hop, EDM etc. The Cat 12C's performed wonderfully with everything, and the Submersive HP's were punchy, tight, accurate and terrifyingly powerful. A perfect match for the Cat 12C's. Then I popped in Iron Man 2. The first movie I have ever heard on these speakers. The dynamics were so huge, they actually scared me. At the beginning when Iron man is flying through the air and he lands on the stage, his landing almost made my heart shoot out of my chest! The whole house jumped off the foundation and the dog was hiding under the kitchen table downstairs. From that moment, I knew I made the right choice. I continued to listen to these speakers like this until the theater room was complete. I didn't want to right a review immediately, I wanted to own the speakers for some time before I wrote a review so I would be more familiar with them and my review would be more accurate.

Long Term Impressions: Well, my theater room has been done for quite some time and I have owned these speakers for over a year now. Over a year of flawless performance. I never had one glitch or problem with the amplifiers or anything. Just flick the switch, and they are ready to rock.
I just treated my theater room a bit, which is still less than ideal with it's extremely low ceilings (about 7 feet). At first without treatment, the room acoustics were actually WORSE than they were in the bedroom. After some help from Bryan Pape at GIK, I ordered a few panels and started treating the room, although there is much more to do, re-ran Audyssey, and was ready to enjoy the great sound the Seatons had to offer. The sonic clarity STILL amazes me to this day, as well as the power and dynamics. I haven't had any itch to upgrade them. Maybe only the processor, but the speakers are here to stay for sure. I know I've said this already, but I can't stress it enough. Movies are crystal clear, dynamic and exciting and music sounds exceptional, accurate, lush, natural and dynamic, just as it should. And as for the Submersive HP's, I don't think I have ever heard bass this punchy, tight, defined and accurate before, not to mention the limitless power this sub seems to have. You can feel the bass pounding in your chest with these, and they don't even have to try. The bass is NEVER boomy or muddled, never sloppy. Just tight, defined and smooth from the crossover point at 80hz, to below what us humans can here (below 20hz). Owning these speakers now for over a year, I have YET to see the limit light come on, and I have tried. I popped in the blu ray of The Blue Man group, which is a fantastic sounding concert with an aggressive assault of percussion instruments to really show off the Seaton Cat 12C's and Submersive HP's. On my system the way it is set up, reference is 73 on the volume. I cranked this concert to 85, which is OVER 10db OVER reference!!!! I had a friend with me and he couldn't hear me as I screamed at the top of my lungs directly down his ear canal. That's how loud it got in my theater room with these. I walked over to the back of the speakers and subs, and the limit light was dark as night. I couldn't believe it. These speakers will play as loudly as any normal person, or even slightly crazy person could ever want, and they maintain their composure and sonic clarity at these ear crushing levels, which I find truly astonishing.

Using compression drivers, some may think that these speakers may become fatiguing or that they may sound harsh. Let me tell you, from owning and listening to these speakers for over a year, they are anything but. They are actually, to my ears, quite warm sounding. The sound is incredibly detailed, without being bright at all, lush and very natural sounding. It doesn't dissect the source material, like studio monitors showing every detail of music, as if to put a magnifying glass over the recording, but it sounds very natural, as if the the music was being performed right there in front of you. Every person I have shown these speakers to were all left amazed. These speakers are truly a hybrid between audiophile speakers and PA speakers. It's the best of both worlds.

Summary: So basically, these speakers have surpassed every expectation I had and continue to amaze me more than a year later. They sound more than good enough to satisfy audiophiles while being able to bring your room to concert like levels and beyond. The Submersive HP's are also the best subwoofer I have ever heard. They are extremely accurate and would sound phenomenal for ANYBODY, whether it be a hardcore audiophile who listens to jazz, or a EDM bass head who wants to rattle his house off the foundation.

If I had to list any downsides, the only ones I can think of that might be a limiting factor for some people is that you have to plug each individual speaker into a wall outlet, which I had no problem with. Maybe size, which again I had no problem with, but others might. And the last thing, and I'm being REALLY picky here, is the green lights on the back of the speakers can be distracting at times when listening to music with the lights out or during a dark scene in a movie. I wish there was a switch that could turn them off, but no biggie. I just stuck a little piece of tape over the lights which solved the problem.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with these speakers and recommend them to ANYBODY who wants all the dynamics that movies and music have to offer without compromising audio quality. I can't recommend them enough. Mark, thank you for building such wonderful speakers!

Here are some pictures of my theater:

20131113_203220_zps66867da4.jpg

20131123_155714_zps648c65c1.jpg

20131123_155743_zps1b712d30.jpg

20131113_203238_zps7608f878.jpg

20131113_203326_zps29fd57ed.jpg
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:30 PM
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Great theater and great post! I enjoyed reading your journey. biggrin.gif
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:41 PM
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So don't hold back, tell us how you really feel. wink.gif

I'm glad everything worked out for you. It sounds like you're really enjoying your setup.

If you take yourself too seriously expect me to do the exact opposite
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:46 PM
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What's nice is you have seen the light at such a young age. I wish I knew as much about audio when I was your age. Very nice!
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I'm enjoying it very much. Definitely, if I didn't see the light at such young age, I wouldn't have anything like I have right now. I don't know where I get it from, honestly. Nobody else in my family or any of my friends really care about audio, and my father is still drinking the Bose "Kool-aid"
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:06 AM
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Thank you Black' for the detailed storytelling of your journey/adventure. While we all get excited about the gear, the end result realized in your home is what it's all about.

Be sure to enjoy it over the long weekend! cool.gif

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Seaton Sound, Inc.
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood..." Daniel H. Burnham
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:12 AM
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Welcome to the cult. I've had my Cat12/Cat8/F2 setup for about a year now and I'm still amazed every time I turn these puppies on. Have to say that this was the best purchase that I've ever made. Enjoy!!!

-- Bill --
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

Thank you Black' for the detailed storytelling of your journey/adventure. While we all get excited about the gear, the end result realized in your home is what it's all about.

Be sure to enjoy it over the long weekend! cool.gif

Thank you Mark for the amazing speakers. I certainly will be enjoying them, I'm off until Monday biggrin.gif
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Originally Posted by rx-8 View Post

Welcome to the cult. I've had my Cat12/Cat8/F2 setup for about a year now and I'm still amazed every time I turn these puppies on. Have to say that this was the best purchase that I've ever made. Enjoy!!!

-- Bill --

Me and you are in the same boat. I can't get enough of them!

-Mario
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Old 11-28-2013, 11:13 AM
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sooooo, how much did mark pay you? wink.gif

i'm currently saving up for a seaton or jtr system like yours and one day i will definitely have it. I'm not spending any more money on middle of the line gear (i actually have very little middle of the line gear, mostly budget entry level stuff lol)

My HT: Onkyo 818, polk m60 Hsu HB1-MK2, HC1-MK2, svs pb12+/2, svs pc13
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Old 11-28-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by phatfreeza View Post

sooooo, how much did mark pay you? wink.gif

i'm currently saving up for a seaton or jtr system like yours and one day i will definitely have it. I'm not spending any more money on middle of the line gear (i actually have very little middle of the line gear, mostly budget entry level stuff lol)

It's definitely worth it! That's what I did. I didn't want to upgrade my Paradigm set-up until I was able to get equipment that I felt was a substantial upgrade. That's part of the reason why I had the Paradigm set-up for about 10 years.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post

Introduction: First a little background. I'm actually a youngster. Yes, I confess. I invested in these speakers when I turned 23, and am now 24, but I've been into home audio for as long as I can remember. Starting with small home theater in a box systems when I was a kid. When I was younger, I got sucked into the "Bose trap," especially being as young and influential as I was. I broke my ass to get a Bose system, and I finally got one. To my disappointment and everyone else's surprise, the Bose system left me underwhelmed. I thought there was either something wrong with my system or my ears. After some research, I learned I wasn't crazy. It was a couple of years after owning the Bose system that I purchased my first REAL audio system. At a local audio boutique, I purchased Paradigm Monitor 7 v.3's with matching center and ADP surrounds with the PW2200 subwoofer and Marantz SR7500 receiver. This system made me see/hear the light. What a difference between this set up and the Bose Lifestyle 12 system I had. I owned this system for about 10 years happily, until I was able to purchase what I felt would be a significant upgrade. So I became a member of AVS and did a whole bunch of research, talking to people, looking and listening to all sorts of speakers like Aerial Acoustics, higher end Paradigms, Focal, Martin Logan etc. Through all the research, I was led to JTR and Seaton Sound. From all the positive reviews I have read on these speakers, regarding their power, dynamics, as well as audiophile clarity and accuracy, impressing many nay sayer audiophiles, I felt like I found the perfect upgrade. I like to listen LOUD on occasion, but not at the expense of clarity. It's like Mark made these speakers especially FOR me. It was a large chunk of money that I was extremely afraid to spend, especially since there was no way for me to audition them before I purchased them. I had to go by what I read and take everyones word for it. I'm by no means "rich" but I justified the cost because I knew I'd have these speakers for years and years to come. So I took the plunge...

Ordering: After I decided to take the plunge, I gave Mark a call and when he picked up, he was very enthusiastic, helpful and passionate about his speakers. This instilled further confidence in my purchase. Dealing with Mark was as smooth and as easy as anybody could ever want. He always answered my phone calls, and the one or two times he wasn't around, he always returned my calls. I placed my order for 3 Catalyst 12C's and 2 Subermsive HP's. A little while later, I ordered Sparks for surrounds, and not only did Mark help me with a method to mount them on my wall, but he actually had me ship the LCD monitor wall mounts he recommended to me, to him so he could mount them to the Sparks, so when they came, all I had to do was screw the mount in the wall, and mount the speaker. At the time, my theater room still wasn't completed, but the wait for the speakers was painful
regardless.

Delivery: The day finally arrived. A UPS freight tractor trailer rumbled it's way down my residential block, hitting tree limbs and trying to maneuver the tight side streets. When he found the address, he pulled out a pallet that weighed about 750 pounds!!! He lowered the pallet and rolled it into my driveway. Once he got them where he wanted them, he looked at me as he wiped the sweat off his brow asking me what the hell was in the boxes. I told him home theater speakers and he just seemed dumbfounded. He just paused and said "okay, cool." I signed, and was left with this in my driveway, with the daunting task of bringing it all inside.

IMG-20120612-00184-1.jpg

Unboxing: First thing I noticed was the speakers were packaged really well. I found no shipping damage what so ever, even the boxes themselves were in tip top shape, so props to UPS freight for that. When I pulled the box off of them, I gazed at them for a while in amazement that I owned these monsters. I knocked on them and WOW! VERY solid build, completely inert. It seemed like I was knocking on a solid piece of beautiful oak wood. The black oak finish is very nice. The other finishes probably look really beautiful.

Hook up: Hook up was very straight forward. No need for an extensive right up here. XLR cables from my Integra DHC-80.3 to the speakers, plug in the speakers and that's it.

First Impression: My theater room STILL wasn't done at this point, so I lugged the speakers into the bedroom and hook them up. This room is less than ideal, to say the least, but it's the same room my Paradigms were in so for comparison sake, I guess it was good. As soon as the first sound came out of these speakers, I was smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, yet I couldn't stop smiling They completely annihilated the Paradigms in every way. Power and dynamics, obviously. That was a given as I was expecting that to be out of this world, but what really surprised me is the clarity of these speakers. The difference between my Paradigms and the Seaton Cat 12C's was MUCH more dramatic than the difference between the Bose speakers and the Paradigms, and that really is saying a lot. The Paradigms were wonderful speakers. I was able to hear every breath, every slight nuance of the recording that I never before heard from ANY speaker. The speakers surpassed every expectation I had. Imaging was wonderful, soundstage expanded past the outer edges of the speakers, even in the crappy bedroom, and every genre of music that I threw at it was reproduced with stunning accuracy, whether it be Folk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Hip-Hop, EDM etc. The Cat 12C's performed wonderfully with everything, and the Submersive HP's were punchy, tight, accurate and terrifyingly powerful. A perfect match for the Cat 12C's. Then I popped in Iron Man 2. The first movie I have ever heard on these speakers. The dynamics were so huge, they actually scared me. At the beginning when Iron man is flying through the air and he lands on the stage, his landing almost made my heart shoot out of my chest! The whole house jumped off the foundation and the dog was hiding under the kitchen table downstairs. From that moment, I knew I made the right choice. I continued to listen to these speakers like this until the theater room was complete. I didn't want to right a review immediately, I wanted to own the speakers for some time before I wrote a review so I would be more familiar with them and my review would be more accurate.

Long Term Impressions: Well, my theater room has been done for quite some time and I have owned these speakers for over a year now. Over a year of flawless performance. I never had one glitch or problem with the amplifiers or anything. Just flick the switch, and they are ready to rock.
I just treated my theater room a bit, which is still less than ideal with it's extremely low ceilings (about 7 feet). At first without treatment, the room acoustics were actually WORSE than they were in the bedroom. After some help from Bryan Pape at GIK, I ordered a few panels and started treating the room, although there is much more to do, re-ran Audyssey, and was ready to enjoy the great sound the Seatons had to offer. The sonic clarity STILL amazes me to this day, as well as the power and dynamics. I haven't had any itch to upgrade them. Maybe only the processor, but the speakers are here to stay for sure. I know I've said this already, but I can't stress it enough. Movies are crystal clear, dynamic and exciting and music sounds exceptional, accurate, lush, natural and dynamic, just as it should. And as for the Submersive HP's, I don't think I have ever heard bass this punchy, tight, defined and accurate before, not to mention the limitless power this sub seems to have. You can feel the bass pounding in your chest with these, and they don't even have to try. The bass is NEVER boomy or muddled, never sloppy. Just tight, defined and smooth from the crossover point at 80hz, to below what us humans can here (below 20hz). Owning these speakers now for over a year, I have YET to see the limit light come on, and I have tried. I popped in the blu ray of The Blue Man group, which is a fantastic sounding concert with an aggressive assault of percussion instruments to really show off the Seaton Cat 12C's and Submersive HP's. On my system the way it is set up, reference is 73 on the volume. I cranked this concert to 85, which is OVER 10db OVER reference!!!! I had a friend with me and he couldn't hear me as I screamed at the top of my lungs directly down his ear canal. That's how loud it got in my theater room with these. I walked over to the back of the speakers and subs, and the limit light was dark as night. I couldn't believe it. These speakers will play as loudly as any normal person, or even slightly crazy person could ever want, and they maintain their composure and sonic clarity at these ear crushing levels, which I find truly astonishing.

Using compression drivers, some may think that these speakers may become fatiguing or that they may sound harsh. Let me tell you, from owning and listening to these speakers for over a year, they are anything but. They are actually, to my ears, quite warm sounding. The sound is incredibly detailed, without being bright at all, lush and very natural sounding. It doesn't dissect the source material, like studio monitors showing every detail of music, as if to put a magnifying glass over the recording, but it sounds very natural, as if the the music was being performed right there in front of you. Every person I have shown these speakers to were all left amazed. These speakers are truly a hybrid between audiophile speakers and PA speakers. It's the best of both worlds.

Summary: So basically, these speakers have surpassed every expectation I had and continue to amaze me more than a year later. They sound more than good enough to satisfy audiophiles while being able to bring your room to concert like levels and beyond. The Submersive HP's are also the best subwoofer I have ever heard. They are extremely accurate and would sound phenomenal for ANYBODY, whether it be a hardcore audiophile who listens to jazz, or a EDM bass head who wants to rattle his house off the foundation.

If I had to list any downsides, the only ones I can think of that might be a limiting factor for some people is that you have to plug each individual speaker into a wall outlet, which I had no problem with. Maybe size, which again I had no problem with, but others might. And the last thing, and I'm being REALLY picky here, is the green lights on the back of the speakers can be distracting at times when listening to music with the lights out or during a dark scene in a movie. I wish there was a switch that could turn them off, but no biggie. I just stuck a little piece of tape over the lights which solved the problem.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with these speakers and recommend them to ANYBODY who wants all the dynamics that movies and music have to offer without compromising audio quality. I can't recommend them enough. Mark, thank you for building such wonderful speakers!

Here are some pictures of my theater:

20131113_203220_zps66867da4.jpg

20131123_155714_zps648c65c1.jpg

20131123_155743_zps1b712d30.jpg

20131113_203238_zps7608f878.jpg

20131113_203326_zps29fd57ed.jpg

Sick setup
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:36 PM
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Outstanding review and great pics!! Your impressions are in line with what I've come to expect from customers of Seaton Sound. You've got to post this on the AVS Reviews section, as well as the Seaton FB page buddy!
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Outstanding review and great pics!! Your impressions are in line with what I've come to expect from customers of Seaton Sound. You've got to post this on the AVS Reviews section, as well as the Seaton FB page buddy!

Thanks Matt! I didn't even think of that, I'll do that.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:26 PM
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Great review and cool setup! I love mine and can't imagine changing speakers again. I have a review on the Seaton Sound forum and compare them to my prrvious Martin Logan CLXs.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Great review and cool setup! I love mine and can't imagine changing speakers again. I have a review on the Seaton Sound forum and compare them to my prrvious Martin Logan CLXs.

YES! I remember your review, I believe I commented on it on the Seaton Sound forums. Your comparison is one of the reviews I read that helped me take the plunge and buy these speakers! So I thank you VERY much for your review/comparison!
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:12 AM
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Woah, great review man!

Like others have mentioned you are so lucky to have a system like this at your age - hell, anyone would be lucky at any age to have this setup. At your age I had a Cerwin Vega setup and thought it was the greatest thing ever.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:42 PM
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Nice review BD77. Your theater looks amazing! cool.gif

Chris
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudda View Post

Nice review BD77. Your theater looks amazing! cool.gif

Chris

Thank you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Woah, great review man!

Like others have mentioned you are so lucky to have a system like this at your age - hell, anyone would be lucky at any age to have this setup. At your age I had a Cerwin Vega setup and thought it was the greatest thing ever.

Thank you! Nothing wrong with that. I just got lucky that I was able to buy such a system. Downside is, were do I go from here! lol.


The review is also posted in the review section right here:

http://www.avsforum.com/products/seaton-sound-catalyst-12c/reviews/4590
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