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epiney's Avatar epiney 07:20 PM 03-09-2004
Quote:
Originally posted by thedeskE
An Anthem in a single box - I'd be pissed.


E
I was a little surprised, but fortunately it was well treated and it works fine. I had visions of cracked boards. My Sherbourn 7/2100 on the other hand was double boxed but it looked like they tied a rope to it and dragged it down the road because it was too bulky and heavy to handle properly. I was amazed it worked.

Now back to breaking in Bill and soon mcspeed's Panoramas
:)

hectic1: would love to hear your thoughts on the Sapphires and your Ref 1s after you have had some long and thorough listening sessions.

bob_m10's Avatar bob_m10 04:04 PM 03-10-2004
Mike,

>Now, if you goal is actually a system that can do both great two-channel and HT, then the Panorama or Talisman may actually be a better choice. They have better vertical dispersion, so combined with a great center the sweet spot is much wider. And, they have exactly the same mid-tweeter array as our centers so a perfect match across the front soundstage is possible.<

What about the Sapphire and the Emerald. Do they share the same tweeter as your centers or each other? It would be nice if this information was available on the Web site.

Thanks Bob
Evan S's Avatar Evan S 05:59 PM 03-10-2004
Quote:
What about the Sapphire and the Emerald. Do they share the same tweeter as your centers or each other? It would be nice if this information was available on the Web site
Going out on a limb here, but I am 99% sure that the Sapphires and Emeralds DO NOT have the same tweeter. I thought I read that the tweeter on the Sapphires was different for the 25th anniversary edition and more refined than that of the Emeralds (which is still a great tweeter as I have both speakers). The tweeter on my Essence sure looks like the one that resides in my Sapphires, but Mike will have to chime in on that one.
mcspeed's Avatar mcspeed 06:04 PM 03-10-2004
Just received an email that they will ship next week. The excitement is building:)

Also wondering what brand of speakers are being used in these units. May have been noted somewhere and I missed it? ACI's own crossovers?

Sent back the Polks (slight damage to grill-cartons very beat up and inadequate in my opinion). Sound was disappointing but likely caused in part by my placement too close to front wall. Too big anyway and failed the WAT (Wife approval test).

Can't wait to hear more feedback on the sound from Bill-99!

McSpeed
StevenGU's Avatar StevenGU 07:18 PM 03-10-2004
Thanks to topics like this one on the forum, I'm on edge while waiting for a notice that my Panoramas are ready as well. I've got two advantages though -- I've got a demo pair to tide me over until that happens, and I can easily drive and pick them up. Any shipping damage is going to be my own fault!

Even though I'm past the evaluation stage, I'm still very interested in Bill-99's thoughts on the Panoramas vs. the Sapphires. I only got a brief listen to the Sapphires before focusing on their bigger siblings, and it will be good to see a thorough comparison.

I'm not looking forward to the break-in though...

Steven
EMT's Avatar EMT 07:31 PM 03-10-2004
Quote:
the REAL question - did you unpack/move the Essence by yourself? if yes, are you a retired NFL lineman?
If you look up 98lb weakling in the dictionary, you will very likely find my picture. So if I could heave my Veritas up onto my entertainment center, you big strapping men should have no trouble with the Essence :D
Mike Dzurko's Avatar Mike Dzurko 05:31 AM 03-11-2004
Quote:
Originally posted by bob_m10
Mike,

What about the Sapphire and the Emerald. Do they share the same tweeter as your centers or each other? It would be nice if this information was available on the Web site.

Thanks Bob
Jaguars, Talismans, Panoramas, Essence, Veritas, Sapphires all share the same tweeters, (ScanSpeak). The Emerald and Protege have different versions of a similar tweeter by Vifa, parent company of ScanSpeak. Most importantly, they all share a very similar voicing or tonal balance so they can be successfully used together in multi-channel systems. Thanks for asking and have a great day!
DooDoo's Avatar DooDoo 05:44 AM 03-11-2004
If I really like the dynaudio sound would I like the ACI sound? I dont think I'll have the opportunity to hear ACI's unless I order them and was wondering if anyone has made comparisons between the two. Thanks for the help.
Harry P's Avatar Harry P 10:36 AM 03-11-2004
Doodoo:

I suspect that if you liked the Dynaudio Contour 1.3se you'd also enjoy the Sapphires. I own Sapphires and have heard the Danes many times. Not in the same system, but I think the two do exhibit a similar sonic mark.

Steven:

Did you get a chance to hear the mighty Jaguar LFM setup at the ACI showroom? I'd love to know what you thought of them!
StevenGU's Avatar StevenGU 04:11 PM 03-11-2004
Harry:

I did get a very brief chance to listen to the Jaguars, which were part of a custom home theater room setup within the showroom. To be honest, I was focusing more on the Titan subwoofer that was there as well. The Panoramas were stretching my budget, and I didn't want to let myself get tempted by a speaker pair that would have blown that budget out of the water! ;)

I can say, though, that the Jaguar/Titan combo sounds awesome playing the openings to Pearl Harbor and LotR:FoTR. :)
Mad Dog's Avatar Mad Dog 01:57 AM 03-12-2004
DooDoo,

I've had experience w/ both Dyns and ACI Sapphires...You have PM...
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 09:35 AM 03-12-2004
Mad Dog - nice to see you here
Feel free to add your thoughts - Rocket owners are people too ;^)
I had the 750s/200 and loved them - now it's ACI time.

Just installed a B&K, so Bill and I will have close setups to compare.
E
Bill-99's Avatar Bill-99 04:01 PM 03-12-2004
I would also be interested in your thoughts on Dyns vs. Sapphires. I haven't listened to the Dyns and am wondering if I should seek them out for an audition during the ACI evaluation period.

49 hours on the break-in so far...
mcspeed's Avatar mcspeed 05:49 PM 03-12-2004
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill-99
49 hours on the break-in so far...
Is this a tease?.......sooooooooooooo what do they sound like? errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr how do they sound?
Mike Dzurko's Avatar Mike Dzurko 06:09 PM 03-12-2004
Quote:
Originally posted by StevenGU
Harry:

I did get a very brief chance to listen to the Jaguars, which were part of a custom home theater room setup within the showroom. To be honest, I was focusing more on the Titan subwoofer that was there as well. The Panoramas were stretching my budget, and I didn't want to let myself get tempted by a speaker pair that would have blown that budget out of the water! ;)

I can say, though, that the Jaguar/Titan combo sounds awesome playing the openings to Pearl Harbor and LotR:FoTR. :)
Steven:

Just a slight correction. The left and right speaker you heard in the theater were the Essence Vs which were "hidden" in the main front cabinet. The Jaguar LFM system is wired into a two channel system completely separately from the HT system. What is interesting is that a number of people have been convinced it was the Jaguars and LFMs playing as the front speakers. I had to actually pull the speaker wires from the Jags to convince one fellow :) People just don't expect a "hidden" system to exhibit depth. Sometime we should plan a meeting so you can get a chance to hear the Jaguars. Sounds like people here would be very eager for your impressions :)

Happy Friday to All!
StevenGU's Avatar StevenGU 07:47 PM 03-12-2004
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Dzurko

Just a slight correction. The left and right speaker you heard in the theater were the Essence Vs which were "hidden" in the main front cabinet. The Jaguar LFM system is wired into a two channel system completely separately from the HT system. What is interesting is that a number of people have been convinced it was the Jaguars and LFMs playing as the front speakers. I had to actually pull the speaker wires from the Jags to convince one fellow People just don't expect a "hidden" system to exhibit depth. Sometime we should plan a meeting so you can get a chance to hear the Jaguars. Sounds like people here would be very eager for your impressions
Whoops!

I was actually wondering about that possibility when I posted that last comment. I guess I got taken in as well. I'll use my (admittedly lame) excuse that I was concentrating on the subwoofer at the time.

I'll correct my statement by saying that a home theater room outfitted with Essence V speakers sounds pretty incredible. :)

As to a chance to listen to the Jaguars, I'd very much enjoy the opportunity! Bill-99's descriptions on this thread far outshine anything I'd be able to write to describe speaker performance, but I'd be happy to share whatever comments I can should the opportunity arise.

Steven
Bill-99's Avatar Bill-99 04:46 PM 03-13-2004
Steven,

Thanks for the kind words. I'd be blushing but that won't get the last 90 minutes of break-in finished.

In any case, I would also be interested in your impressions of the Jags if you get a chance to audition them.

-Bill
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 05:49 PM 03-13-2004
OK, you've got 30 minutes left ......................
............................................................ .........


Well?


;^))
tonygeno's Avatar tonygeno 05:51 PM 03-13-2004
Bill-99:

Am I to understand you haven't listened to these speakers because you're breaking them in? Just what is breaking in? I am interested in your impressions but am lost as to what it is that can take 60 hours to break in in a speaker.
Bill-99's Avatar Bill-99 08:27 AM 03-14-2004
Sorry, still trying to get that last 90 minutes done. My goal is to wrap that up this morning, tweak the system for the best sound I can get, and then write up my notes. Yeah, this takes a while. Look for more later today.

Re: break-in, the following is from the Panorama Owner's Manual.

"Allow at least 60 to 70 hours of playing time before your new ACI speakers will sound their best. The adhesives and materials used in manufacturing must stretch and flex properly before a speaker will sound its best. After the break-in the bass will be tighter and go lower, imaging and transparency will improve and the midrange and highs will sound smoother and more natural."

I agree 100% with the above statements in terms of changes that were observed on the Sapphires. As for my observations on the Panoramas and Essence center, soon...

-Bill
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 11:15 AM 03-14-2004
All things being not equal in the speaker world, break in could be 40-50 hours or 150 hours or more in some systems. I don't believe there's a finite point when the hammer falls for any speaker. Some recommend 100, Aci - 70......It's has to be a guesstimate.
Just an opinion from down south.

Looking forward to the 70hr report.

E
Bill-99's Avatar Bill-99 07:23 PM 03-14-2004
Caveat: This notes are IMHO, in my system, in my room, with my ears, etc. Bottom line is YMMV.

03-05 Break-In Total: 0h
Out of the box, the Panoramas sounded kind of thumpy in the mid bass and bass. Treble sounded very good and hasn't changed much. The Essence clarity was a mess initially, with kind of an overall fizziness. Over the period of an hour or two, some of this faded. By the end of the evening, the Panoramas were sounding much better and the thumpiness changed to fullness and punch. It seems to be following the pattern of the Sapphire break-in and, if so, it should continue to evolve. They sound bigger, richer, fuller than the Sapphires, with a higher degree of presence. They don't sound dark or heavy, which happened on the Von Schweikerts and the PMCs to a lesser degree.

The Essence sounds a lot like the Protege right now. Only more break-in will tell if it will turn the corner.


03-06 Break-In Total: 5h
Ack! Schedule conflicts, didn't get much play time.


03-07 Break-In Total: 8h
See yesterday -- too many other time conflicts. Not much to report.


03-08 Break-In Total: 18h
I spent some time listening to the Panoramas more critically, and even this early, one thing is obvious: this is a much better speaker than the Sapphire. Take what the Sapphires can do, add fullness, presence and detail, and that starts to describe how they sound. They expose things in recordings that I've never heard before, recordings that I know well, things that just weren't there with the Sapphires. Detailed, non-fatiguing, you can listen into the music more getting you closer to the music. I've read about this kind of thing in very end reviews, but I've never experienced it in my own home before. It'll be 12 more hours to the half-way mark on break-in. epiney said that they really need 60 hours of break-in. What the heck will these sound like after 60 hours?

I tried substituting MITerminator2 speaker cables for the DH Labs T-14 tonight. Being a frugal (ok, cheap) kind of guy, I really, really wanted the MIT cables I own to sound as good as the cables being auditioned, but they don't. It wasn't even close. The MIT2 inserted a layer between the music and the listener that obscured detail. Nuts. Now I'm trying to avoid listening too closely to the MITerminator5 connected to the surrounds. That could lead to a wallet hemmorage.

At epiney's suggestion, I removed the grills in search of a grill vibration issue that he experienced. While I'm not sure about the vibration issue (still investigating), it was a shock to hear how much better the speakers sounded without the grills. I should know better. Even ACIs doc says to do this.

As for the Essence, I just don't know yet, but I'll go the distance on break-in. It definitely sounds better without the grill, though.


03-09 Break-In Total: 29h 15m
Short on time again, so the listening sessions wasn't very long. For the 30 minutes I did listen, the sound was essentially unchanged. That makes sense. With the Sapphires, the biggest change occurred in the first 20 hours of break-in, then it was more of a gradual evolution out to the 200 hour mark.

One observation -- These speakers seem to encourage you to listen at higher volumes. When I pulled out the sound level meter, I was surprised to find that I was up 8 to 10db over my normal listening level. Gotta watch that!

It looks like the right room position for the Panoramas may differ from the Sapphires. In their current location, the Panoramas aggravate a bass / mid-bass room resonance. I'll try adjusting the location after the 60 hour mark.


03-10 Break-In Total: 34h 10
Short changed again on break-in time today and probably for the next couple of days. No significant change to report, but it's been less than 5 additional hours.

Spent some time listening to / surveying a variety of music in my collection. There's a lot of stuff on my rack that is simply unlistenable -- bad recording, bad transfer, whatever the cause, it doesn't cut it. The sound coming out of the speakers is irritating. ACI speakers are reputed to be forgiving for most material, but it looks like they can't cure the ills of terrible recordings. No reason they should, really. That said, some of my oldest recordings sound superb, but they were also wonderful sounding albums. It shouldn't be surprising that a better master produces superior sounding CDs. It does make me consider acquiring more SACDs and DVD-Audio disks. One would expect them to be a cut above.

This is one darned expensive hobby.


03-11 Break-In Total: 42h 30
After a 45 minute listening session, I have no keen insights. I'm having trouble finding differences between days at this point. I did hear something I've never heard before on one of my test tracks. Bizzare. I thought I knew these tunes really well.

The mid-bass hump is still present. Gotta get to moving the speakers around and doing some of receiver and DVD player parameters. The latter is likely to make it more difficult to directly compare the Panoramas and the Sapphires since optimal settings for each may vary.

The Essence still has me worried.


03-12 Break-In Total: 49h 30
Spent quite a bit of time trying to tame that mid-bass hump. After 2 hours of screwing around with parameters on the receiver, everything sounds really whacked out. Time to give it a rest for the evening! One note -- these changes seem to have affected how the Essence sounds. All of a sudden it now sounds more like a center channel should. Looks like I stumbled across some relevant parameters.


03-13 Break-In Total: 58h 30
No time today for much of anything but break-in. Fortunately, we're near the finish line.


03-14 Break-In Total: 60h
OK, break-in is done. And BTW, the 60 hours was the total on an FM station. In off times, there was a good bit of TV viewing and a couple of DVDs were watched, too. Actual hours is likely 75+.

I spent a couple of hours with Stereophile CD #2 and the warble tones trying to dial in speaker position and deal with any remaining humps. That turned out to be time well spent. The B&K has a couple of filters that can be applied -- think of it as a limted graphic equalizer -- and they tamed a hump in the bass and another in the treble. It isn't perfect, but it's a lot better. The Panoramas and Essence are dialed in now. The boxy, fizzy sound from the Essence has at last been tamed, and now it sounds... well, more "right". What exactly was the problem? Too much bass routed to the center? Not sure, but I don't miss the old sound.

It seems likely that more tweaking is in the cards. I'm still not happy with the final sound in the sense that I'm pretty sure I can get more out of the equipment. But at this stage, I'm very happy with the Panoramas, and looking hard at the Essence. With both TV and DVDs it's now sounding more natural.

Overall opinion at this stage is favorable pending additional tests.


NEXT STEPS
- Continue dialing in the position
- Continue tweaking parameters
- Directly compare Panoramas and Sapphires

That's it for this round, everyone. Hope someone finds this useful.

-Bill
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 08:23 PM 03-14-2004
Thanks Bill
I find it useful. Sounds like the Essence is the only Question mark. Perhaps more time is needed.
E
danbry39's Avatar danbry39 09:38 PM 03-14-2004
Really loved your evaluation report thus far. I'm jealous. If I had only known, I'd probably have ordered the Panoramas. They sound pretty sensational. Great report and great speakers!!!

PS: Still love my Sapphires though.
mcspeed's Avatar mcspeed 07:55 PM 03-15-2004
Bill99,

Thanks for the thorough report....the time and effort are much appreciated. The Essence concerns me a little but may be a non-issue in my room.

I look forward to the arrival of my Panorama's/Essence (191lbs bundle of fun) in the next week or so.

McSpeed
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 11:48 PM 03-15-2004
mcspeed
Nice order. My Essnece should arrive within the week as well. Looking forward to your thoughts. Our break in time frame will be close.
E
EMT's Avatar EMT 03:21 AM 03-16-2004
Have any of you heard both the Essence V and the Panorama? How would you compare and contrast them? My gut says that for a dedicated multi-channel system where one will always use a sub, the Essence might be a very good fit. With its sealed cabinet roll off and F3 around 80Hz, it would seem to be a good match to the standard 80Hz second order high-pass crossover in most a/v processors. The Panorama would seem better if you ever wanted to use your system without a sub as its vented cabinet goes quite a bit deeper than the Essence V. Any comments about the differences in the speakers above the low end on the Vs? Would you say they sound more the same than different? I believe that the tweeters are the same, but I'm not sure about the midrange or midbass drivers. I currently own a set of four Essence Vs and a Veritas center. But all of this talk about the Panoramas is getting to me.
Bill-99's Avatar Bill-99 10:37 AM 03-16-2004
You're welcome. Actually, I want to thank you and everyone else that has contributed to this thread. Your feedback and encouragement helped me to take a more disciplined approach to evaluating ACIs wares than I probably would have done on my own. Your insights and suggestions helped tremendously, too.

This upgrade cycle has been a long haul. While the first post was on 01-25, I've been working on upgrades since 12-01 (earlier if you count product research). Almost 1/3 of a year, and the evaluation still isn't complete. You know, this is another area where working with a company like ACI pays big dividends -- that 30 day evaluation period. If this was a local b&m, it would more likely have been 7-day return policy, thanks for buying, good luck, next customer please. With the speaker upgrades I've done, ACI has been very flexible about extending the evaluation period to cover everything, not just the latest acquisitions. But after listening to this equipment, it's hard to imagine that very much equipment goes back to their warehouse.

-Bill
Harry P's Avatar Harry P 01:02 PM 03-16-2004
ACI never ceases to amaze me with their level of dedication to their customers. Want custom finishes? Can do. Want time to evaluate? Got it. Want an extension of time? Yep. Want to sent something back and get something else? Yes you can. Compare this to the inflexibility of so many companies, well beside the great sound quality and looks, this just makes ACI an outstanding company as far as I'm concerned.
I think it very cool that this thread has featured a lot of really great information from a lot of people. No attacks, just a good honest bunch of discussion.

Mike D. I really think you should start advertising. Just my two cents, but I think you could really pick up a lot of business if you just had your logo flashing on a handful of these forums.
danbry39's Avatar danbry39 02:08 PM 03-16-2004
Just to add to your post, they always do it with a smile on their face and without any hassle whatsoever. There are other great companies out there that provide great customer service, but they aren't, from my experience, in the majority.
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