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post #1 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Virtually all AVS members know the agony—and the ecstasy—of an affliction called upgraditis, the unquenchable desire to upgrade their AV gear and room with whatever will perform better than what they already have. Rob Kyhn (RMK!) is no exception, and he has indulged his obsession more than most.

 

Rob's home theater was essentially built out of thin air. His house in Carmichael, CA, didn't have a room for this purpose, but it did have a 20-foot-high family room that he divided vertically by installing a ceiling—which became the floor of a now-separate room on the second floor. "I was single at the time, so I wasn't concerned about sound containment," he recalls. "I did use full R19 insulation in the floor, extra floor joists, and a double-thickness subfloor. There is only one common wall with a spare bedroom." He added three 20-amp electrical circuits to the existing 16-amp service, some lighting, and a few modifications to the HVAC system, and voila—a home-theater room was born! The process took only about two months with the help of a licensed contractor and cost under $10,000.

 

Rob's new second-floor home-entertainment room was ready for gear in only a couple of months.

 

The first iteration was relatively modest, though quite nice by most standards. "I started off wanting to create a multiuse space with a large wall-mounted plasma behind a retractable screen for a projector," he recounts. "I had a very nice Revel Performa surround-speaker system and two JL Audio Fathom subs." Because it was a multipurpose media room, Rob didn't feel the need to fully control the ambient light.

 

Phase 1.1, as Rob calls it, included a wall-mounted Panasonic TH-58PZ700U 58" plasma along with his existing Revel Performa F52s (LR), C52 (center), F32 (side surrounds), and an Embrace rear-surround speaker along with two JL Audio F113 subwoofers. An Emotiva preamp/processor and Sunfire 7/400 power amp rounded out the audio system. Source devices included an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player and Toshiba HD DVD player.

 

An Elite manual screen could be pulled down in front of the plasma TV for a Panasonic PT-AE700U projector that was quickly replaced by a Mitsubishi HC4900.

 

The seating was a big sectional sofa and ottoman. Notice that the F32 surrounds are pretty hidden behind the sofa, which isn't ideal acoustically.

 

In Phase 1.2, the Performa speakers were replaced with Revel Ultima Studios (LR) and Voice (center) along with installing some acoustic treatments from GIK Acoustics. Rob also added two JL Audio F112 subs for a quad configuration and replaced the Emotiva pre/pro with an Integra 80.1. Not seen in this photo, the Elite screen was replaced with a Stewart StudioTek 130 powered screen.

 

The Performa F32s were replaced with Revel I30 in-wall side surrounds, and another Embrace was added to the rear-surround duties.

 

The next upgrade, dubbed Phase 2.0, replaced the front speakers once again, this time with Revel Ultima II Studios (LR) and Voice (center).

 

After deciding that the sectional sofa was not all that comfortable for watching a long movie, Rob replaced it in Phase 2.0 with four Berkline powered recliners. He soon added three more in a second row on a riser, along with more GIK acoustic treatments. Two more Revel I30 in-wall speakers replaced the Embrace speakers for the rear-surround channels.

 

In Phase 3.0, Rob replaced the front speakers yet again, this time with a move to professional-audio models—JTR Triple 12s (LCR) and two JTR Captivator subs in front. More GIK acoustic treatments finally covered the entire front wall. Not seen in this photo are two JTR Slanted 8 speakers for the height channels.

 

Another upgrade in the front of the room was to build an equipment closet in a side wall that could be accessed from the back, outside the theater room itself.

 

The side surrounds were replaced with wall-mounted JTR Triple 8s—no mean feat with such bulky speakers.

 

In Phase 3.2, Rob kept the JTR main speakers and replaced the Captivator subs with two Danley THSPUDs up front. He also upgraded the pre/pro to an Integra 80.3 and the power amp to a Wyred 4 Sound MC configured for 9-channel operation. Shortly after this photo was taken, he ditched the plasma and installed a 110" Seymour AV Center Stage acoustically transparent screen. Also new was a Sony BDP-5000ES 500-disc changer.

 

During Phase 3.2, Rob moved the Danley THSPUD subs from the front and placed them under the second-row riser; he also added a pair of JTR Slanted 8 speakers for the rear surrounds. Another upgrade was a JVC DLA-RS35 front projector as well as more acoustic treatments, some decorative panels, and full light control thanks to custom-made panels from ATS Acoustics that block all light from the windows.

 

Phase 4.0 saw the replacement of the JTR Triple 12 LCRs with JTR Triple Noesis 212LPs sitting on top of two JTR Orbit Shifter subwoofers, along with new JTR Triple 8LP side-surround speakers. New source components included a Comcast HD DVR and Assassin HTPC with two Blu-ray drives and 9 TB of hard-disk storage. Rob also added a Sony VPL-HW50ES projector.

 

Rob ended up deciding to forgo separate subwoofers altogether, so the current system—Phase 5.0—includes three full-range JTR 215 LCRs, each with two 15" subwoofers built in. "I am hoping the new full-range speakers reinvigorate my music listening in the space," he says. These huge speakers are taller than friend and fellow AVS member HTPCat.

 

In Phase 5.0, the screen has been enlarged with a 137" Seymour AV Center Stage acoustically transparent screen. Also new is a Netgear NeoTV streaming player. I hope his dog is house-trained!

 

Rob hosted a get-together at the end of March 2014—his third hosted GTG—to demonstrate the latest incarnation of his incredible evolving theater. A grand time was had by all.

 

Aside from the equipment itself, I'm especially impressed with the acoustic treatments that have made their way into the room. "Keith Yates gave me some advice during one of my get-togethers," Rob says. "I have 30 2'x4' panels (plus the two removable custom 50"x30" panels for the window wells) as well as six bass traps in the room, on the back wall and in the corners. Virtually all first-reflection points on the walls and ceiling are treated with 2- and 4-inch-thick panels. The decorative diffuser panels are hand-carved Chinese camphor wood. They are hung on top of 6" bass traps according to Keith's back-wall diffusion-plus-absorption recommendation."

 

Rob's upgraditis isn't merely a case of upgrading for its own sake. "It's the pursuit of a reality experience in the home theater. I want explosions and gun shots to sound realistic. For music, I like rock and roll, and I want a Stratocaster to sound like it does at a live event. I could never get there with commercial speakers no matter how much I spent. The move to pro-audio designs got me closer to that ideal sound."

 

What about the overall cost? After all, it's tremendously expensive to replace equipment so often. Fortunately, upgraditis provides its own solution to this problem—you simply sell the gear you're replacing. Rob figures he has spent about $50,000 over the years, but he has recovered about $20,000 of that by selling what he wasn't going to use any more. In addition, he says, "On the big-ticket items, I usually found dealer-demo equipment at a discount. That took some effort, but it saved a lot."

 

I have no doubt that Rob's system and room will continue to evolve—after all, there is no cure for upgraditis. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

 

For much more detail about how Rob Kyhn's home theater came together, check out the build thread here.

 

If you'd like your home theater considered for HT of the Month, PM me with the details and a link to your build thread if available.

 

CURRENT EQUIPMENT LIST

 

Sources

 

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

Panasonic DMP-BDT220 3D Blu-ray player

Comcast Xfinity HD-DVR cable box

Netgear NeoTV streaming player

Assassin HTPC with 2 BD drives and 9 TB running J River Media Center

 

AV Electronics

 

Integra DHC-80.3 surround processor

Rane RPM 88 audio processor

Wyred 4 Sound MC 9-channel power amp (1100 Wpc for LCR, 500 Wpc for surrounds)

 

Projector

 

Sony VPL-HW50ES

 

Screen

 

Seymour AV Center Stage XD (137" diagonal, 16:9, acoustically transparent, gain 1.2)

 

Speakers

 

JTR 215T (front LCR, full range with integrated 15" subs)

JTR Triple 8LP (2, side surround)

JTR Slanted 8 (2 rear surround, 2 front height)

 

Cables

 

Blue Jean

12 awg speaker wire (in walls)

 

Control

 

Logitech Harmony 890 RF universal remote

Lutron lighting controller

 

Power Conditioning

 

APC 3020J surge protector

 

Acoustic Treatments

 

GIK Acoustics (30 2'x4' panels)

ATS Acoustics (2 removable 50"x30" panels for window wells)

GIK bass traps (6)

 

Seating

 

Berkline 45008 powered recliners (4 in front row, 3 on second-row riser)

Bean-bag chair for kids

 

-----------------------------------

 

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post #2 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 01:17 PM
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Sweet!!!
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post #3 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 01:33 PM
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Pretty cool but I still question the need for less than 40-80hz sound out of the main speakers... You can control bass response in a more consistent way when they are separated from the mains in small environments like this. Subwoofer placement and final room response are really highly correlated and you don't want to be stuck with the main speaker positions for the subs necessarily if you have the space.

Those JTR's should give you a great SPL response. Anything besides midrange horns is a compromise in home theater or actual cinemas... most people don't realize this since they either haven't tried horns properly setup or have a very small listening space. I would love to hear the opinion of the owner of this theater comparing the Revel's to the JTR setup in music and movie playback. I'll bet money the horns are better...

In either case, nice progression of speakers and ideas! I hope its working out great!

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post #4 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Pretty cool but I still question the need for less than 40-80hz sound out of the main speakers... You can control bass response in a more consistent way when they are separated from the mains in small environments like this. Subwoofer placement and final room response are really highly correlated and you don't want to be stuck with the main speaker positions for the subs necessarily if you have the space.

This comment would probably be better served being posted in the JTR thread not here.
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post #5 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 02:36 PM
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Subwoofer placement and final room response are really highly correlated and you don't want to be stuck with the main speaker positions for the subs necessarily if you have the space.
He was placing his subwoofers in pretty much the exact same spot his speakers with built in subs are located now. Either that's the best spot for them or there's no other spot to put them.

However, I too am interested in hearing his opinions on the JTRs vs the Revels. I've heard a lot of awesome stuff about JTR speakers but haven't really gained any insight into their more "audiophile"esque characteristics, imaging, soundstage, detail, etc.
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post #6 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 02:46 PM
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Very nice!

I like the pic of the guy standing next to those JTR speakers because it shows how big those JTR's really are!

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post #7 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 02:58 PM
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See the shoulder in the yellow shirt on the far left of the last picture - that's me. I made it into a Theater of the Month thread. cool.gif

I had a chance to attend Rob's GTG in March and his theater is wonderful. As you can tell from the picture, the theater is a very open, well lit, inviting place to be. However, it can be completely darkened for movie watching. His system has excellent dynamics, great bass, and is very detailed with a picture that matches the audio quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Pretty cool but I still question the need for less than 40-80hz sound out of the main speakers... You can control bass response in a more consistent way when they are separated from the mains in small environments like this. Subwoofer placement and final room response are really highly correlated and you don't want to be stuck with the main speaker positions for the subs necessarily if you have the space.

The center speaker is always acting as a subwoofer - even for stereo sources. He actually gets a single wave of bass from the front of the room that measured very smooth from seat to seat.
ellisr63, RMK! and its phillip like this.
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post #8 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by desertdome View Post

See the shoulder in the yellow shirt on the far left of the last picture - that's me. I made it into a Theater of the Month thread. cool.gif

I had a chance to attend Rob's GTG in March and his theater is wonderful. As you can tell from the picture, the theater is a very open, well lit, inviting place to be. However, it can be completely darkened for movie watching. His system has excellent dynamics, great bass, and is very detailed with a picture that matches the audio quality.
The center speaker is always acting as a subwoofer - even for stereo sources. He actually gets a single wave of bass from the front of the room that measured very smooth from seat to seat.

Hey Michael,
I gave Scott a photo of you giving your excellent JRiver presentation to the GTG Group and, a photo of John Hamm with the Pono Player giving his talk and demo. Both of you ended up on the cutting room floor. Oh well, such is show biz ... smile.gif

But seriously, your working your magic with JRiver is one of the reason the system sounds so sweet now. Great software and an amazing value. cool.gif

Regarding Revel vs JTR. I did a short comparison back in 2009 or 10 when I first got the JTR's. I think the JTR Forum Home Theater Section contains that post. That said, these newer JTR's with their larger horns and lower distortion compression drivers put these speakers right in middle of any true audiophile speaker discussion (bring on the DBT). For some they fall short on aesthetics but I like the industrial, utilitarian look and and have a dedicated space so, no harm, no foul. Safe to say, it would be a very rare woman who would allow these into her living room. wink.gif
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HToM

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post #9 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RMK! View Post


Hey Michael,
I gave Scott a photo of you giving your excellent JRiver presentation to the GTG Group and, a photo of John Hamm with the Pono Player giving his talk and demo. Both of you ended up on the cutting room floor. Oh well, such is show biz ... smile.gif
 

 

Sorry about not using those photos, but I wanted this piece to be about the theater, and I already had more photos to include than I normally do in a Home Theater of the Month. I'm sure both presentations were excellent!


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post #10 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:34 PM
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Holy crap that was quite the transition. Nice Theater!!

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post #11 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:35 PM
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Sorry about not using those photos, but I wanted this piece to be about the theater, and I already had more photos to include than I normally do in a Home Theater of the Month. I'm sure both presentations were excellent!
Doesn't bother me. I love all the pictures you included and the progression of the theater.

Rob, do you have a picture from before the floor was installed?
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post #12 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:36 PM
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Really nice theater RMK! I listen to more music than HT so the full range JTR's are very appealing. I agree with you in going back to more traditional speakers is a no go once used to the dynamics of these types of speakers.

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post #13 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 03:39 PM
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That rug really ties the room together.
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That rug really ties the room together.
I'm trying so hard to contain my LOLs
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RMK!, congratulations on making HToM. Those speakers are BEASTS, but I bet they sound super sweet.


Find out more about Mark Henninger at www.imagicdigital.com
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post #16 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 04:13 PM
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That rug really ties the room together.

Too funny tongue.gif
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

RMK!, congratulations on making HToM. Those speakers are BEASTS, but I bet they sound super sweet.

Thanks Mark, the sound is a bigger (soundstage height and depth) and more detailed than I have ever heard before. The bass is perfectly integrated for 2 channel music listening and lacks nothing for movies. Yeah, I like em ... cool.gif
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post #17 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by desertdome View Post

See the shoulder in the yellow shirt on the far left of the last picture - that's me. I made it into a Theater of the Month thread. cool.gif

I had a chance to attend Rob's GTG in March and his theater is wonderful. As you can tell from the picture, the theater is a very open, well lit, inviting place to be. However, it can be completely darkened for movie watching. His system has excellent dynamics, great bass, and is very detailed with a picture that matches the audio quality.
The center speaker is always acting as a subwoofer - even for stereo sources. He actually gets a single wave of bass from the front of the room that measured very smooth from seat to seat.

Interesting, maybe another good reason for me to build a full range center DIY with sub drivers built in! I will probably need to setup an active system with electronic crossover since I dont know the first thing about passive crossover design...

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post #18 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 04:29 PM
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Doesn't bother me. I love all the pictures you included and the progression of the theater.

Rob, do you have a picture from before the floor was installed?

Just spent 20 minutes looking and no dice. Several crashed laptops and external drives have thinned out the photo collection. frown.gif

HToM

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post #19 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 04:31 PM
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Just spent 20 minutes looking(
I just won my bet that I could keep you out of the JTR thread for at least 15 minutes. tongue.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #20 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 04:48 PM
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I just won my bet that I could keep you out of the JTR thread for at least 15 minutes. tongue.gifbiggrin.gif

Yeah well, you'll all miss me when I'm gone ... tongue.gif

HToM

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post #21 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 05:17 PM
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Interesting, maybe another good reason for me to build a full range center DIY with sub drivers built in! I will probably need to setup an active system with electronic crossover since I dont know the first thing about passive crossover design...

You'd also need a third party processor to route all of the LFE content to the speaker because your receiver will not do that.

That's why Rob uses the Rane RPM 88 audio processor.

My Gear:

JTR Noesis 228HT (LCR)
Axiom Audio QS8 surrounds
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Falcon Screens FVHD105
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post #22 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 05:24 PM
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great result, but that's too many speaker changes.

I feel that if you shop smart, you shouldn't have to replace speakers often. I think you're better off adding extra channels, or spending that money on upgrading displays or processors that actually advance year to year.

but if you've got the cash to spend, who am I to criticize.

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post #23 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 05:39 PM
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great result, but that's too many speaker changes.

I feel that if you shop smart, you shouldn't have to replace speakers often. I think you're better off adding extra channels, or spending that money on upgrading displays or processors that actually advance year to year.

but if you've got the cash to spend, who am I to criticize.

LOL.... huh? confused.gif

Yes he'd be far better off upgrading a display every other year because they're constantly becoming outdated rolleyes.gif

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See the shoulder in the yellow shirt on the far left of the last picture - that's me. I made it into a Theater of the Month thread. cool.gif

smile.gif
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And to think I have been on there with ya half the journey.... well, at least 'reading' about the journey...

Congrats RMK on your 'FINAL' final configuration... dare I say?tongue.gif



ps: I remembered those THSpuds.. I almost bought one myself upon your recommendation...
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post #26 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I love all the pictures you included and the progression of the theater.
 

That was the whole idea with this HToM; glad you like it!


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post #27 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 07:43 PM
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Impressive!
Another theater of the month that is orders of magnitude beyond my own aspirations, but still an interesting read.
The equipment upgrade path left me drooling at each step.
Where do you go when you have the absolute best?
I guess it is finally time to just sit and enjoy. Hopefully the destination is as satisfying as the journey.
Congratulations on Theater of the Month. A worthy addition.
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post #28 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 08:59 PM
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I'd be curious to see something like a /10 ratings for each setup. Like "adding acoustic treatment" took my setup from an 9.0 to an 9.5"
"The final upgrade has made me truly content and I would give it a 10/10"

Maybe a few steps before the end it would be a 10/10 it's just the sound signature of the speakers wasn't to your liking or the Subs didn't fit in seamlessly?? There are threads that do this with headphones over at Head-Fi, this can all be very confusing without auditioning and people don't know whether they are in "Mid-Fi" territory or "Hi-Fi".......but then again I guess it's all subjective? confused.gif
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post #29 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 09:42 PM
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Ok when he had revel Salon 2 I thought ok very nice, but seriously going to the last speakers definitely not my taste.

Why no using JBl Synthesis http://www.jblsynthesis.com/Products/Details/233. then that would do it or these f the idea is the maximum volume rather than good sound

http://www.jblpro.com/www/products/cinema-market/high-power-screen-array tongue.gif
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post #30 of 216 Old 05-06-2014, 10:00 PM
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