First, for about the tenth time, I really want to thank Joe for opening his doors to us complete strangers. I'm in my own little audio-video bubble out here in Kelowna and it was a great opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and audition some equipment. I would have liked to talk to more of you about your systems, but time was tight.
Though listening to the various speakers was interesting my real goal was to experience a serious home theater. In that respect I was disappointed to find that Joe's was in pieces. I am at a cross roads with my current setup, and taking the next jump forward is going to require a complete rebuild. Even though I didn't get the full "show" so to speak, I was able to experience enough of the parts that I can answer the question "Will it be worth it?" with a resounding "YES!". Just like Donny, I came home and played one of the clips through my own system and had a rude awakening. My standard has been reset. The get together was very much worth the trip and a great start to a week of holidays.
A few random comments:
- Joe was unhappy that his sound treatment panels had not yet arrived, but from what I heard I don't think the room lacks absorption. Maybe the dozen sweaty guys were soaking up the reflections, with a few of us middle-agers absorbing more than our fair share.
- I agree with Ryan when he said that the bass response was all over the map depending on seat location. Though I cut out before hearing Joe's amazing sub-system, if it were my room I would slide each of those monster cabinets into one of the four corners, even if it sacrificed a back row seat or two.
- There was general agreement on each of the speakers, but above all else this was a casual listening evaluation. No pink noise level matching, no A/B switching and certainly no blind anything. Even the sub level varied widely between the different sessions. Deep bass shook the room during the Funk Audio demo's but barely hit for the 1099's. Even after a little bump I thought it needed more sub, and I'm sure Ryan agreed. (Not a criticism, I just think it is important to understand the conditions when reviewing the results.)
- I was surprised to find that several of the group were not avid movie fans. I think it is often the case that the equipment and build becomes the passion, not so much enjoying the end result. Maybe it is a personal character flaw that I can sit totally absorbed for hours watching a movie for the umpteenth time. Each to their own.
- I would like to thank C2K for giving me a quick demo of his own system before heading off to Joe's. Basic but impressive.
- Everyone there was friendly and polite. Donny made me bust a gut about three times with his not so subtle one liners and innuendo's. It was like spending the day with my teenage sons. Oh yeah, and his playlist was pretty much spot on as well.
On with my observations. It may seem like I'm parroting some of the great posts before me, but not the case. I left after the JTR's (wish I would have stayed a little longer to hear Joe's subs unleashed) and drove to meet my family who were camping in the cell-service-free hills above Kamloops. I had two days sitting on the deck of my summer shack drinking Sleeman's Cream Ale (girly beer) to solidify my thoughts.
FunkAudio 18.2 sub - Holy crap! My previous reference point is somewhat limited, but even a non-believer knows when he's been smited by the hand of God. During LOTR, Return of the King the Oliphant foot steps (yes, for those two of you who have never seen the movie that is the correct spelling) made my entire chair jump, as if the concrete foundation had moved.
FunkAudio 8's - Not sure what the problem was, but when you start checking the processor because it sounds like you are missing center channel information during stereo playback something is wrong. It wasn't the electronics.
FunkAudio 6's - A silky smooth, articulate presentation for each of the music selections. While not laid back, they were blissfully incapable of playing a single harsh or strident note. They held their own for the movie clips in stereo, but I would be concerned about dynamics if using a single as a center channel.
1099's - A big forward sound, just a hair aggressive for my taste, but easily tweaked to perfection I'm sure. The upper mid-range attack was likely made even more apparent after coming directly from the super-smooth FunkAudio's. I enjoyed the clean mid-bass that blended well with the sub, though sub level could have been set about 3db hotter.
JTR's - I was surprised at how right these sounded with music. In the middle of the Rihanna track I stopped analyzing and just enjoyed. Then during the movie clips I was snapped out of it with a thought that the mid-bass seemed a tad full. A minor and fleeting observation.
Would like to hear a direct switching A/B level matched comparison between the 1099's with the resistor mod and the JTR's. I'm sure with a little EQ the two could be made to sound virtually indistinguishable.
This is unfortunately where I had to hit the road.
In comparison to the sound from any of these systems, my own mid-level audio setup sounds harsh and fragile. Getting to Joe's on Saturday wasn't costly...but being there is certainly going to be.