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'Bright' room - Casablanca II or TAG AV32R?  

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

I'm trying to narrow down my AVP choices and wonder what people think about this. My listening room for 50/50 music/HT is the short end of an L shape - about 12 feet wide and 18 feet deep with 8 foot ceilings.

I'm planning on having Martin Logan Aerius i fronts, Cinema center, and Script rears. Surrounds will be the bipolar PSB Image 10s speakers, and a Velodyne HGS-10 sub.

The front of the theater is at the part of the L where the right side of the theater opens up into the long arm of the L, so there is no wall along the right front side of the theater. The left side of the theater is floor to ceiling glass for about 2/3 of it's length. Floors are hardwood (although we have 3 big oriental rugs down and leather couches in the space), and walls are all concrete.

I'm a bit concerned from an acoustic point of view that the listening space is going to be 'bright' and my wife is not going to let me apply any treatments.

What I'm wondering about is, given my room constraints and my desire to go with a mostly electrostatic setup which AVP should I go with?

I've been following discussion on the Casablanca II and TAG's AV32R closely. Seems that the TAG, in a thread that compared it with the Meridian 861 was found to be a bit more aggressive and dynamic, particularly in the upper midrange. This should be qualified by saying that this was in comparison with the Meridian, as I suspect both processors (and this has certainly been reported for the TAG) tend to be very neutral and musical. The Casablanca II has received almost nothing but praise for it's audio capacities, but comes in at a heftier price tag....

Anybody audition these two processors side by side? Any thoughts on which one would be a better match for a room that will tend towards brightness acoustically?



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Dave
post #2 of 14
Hi,

Your problem seems to be the room acoustics. The bright sounds is caused by early/too many reflections and not by the processor. Too many reflections generally will sound bright and harsh. The processor-sound charakter can NOT handle this problem. Only digital room correction can solve the problem, if you are not allowed to work with some room tuning elements espacially aside the left glass side.

Therefore the TacT TCS processor is your only option at the time. One advantage: The Martin Logan's have lesser problems with early reflections from the side because of their bipolar acoustics. To avoid reflections from the rearwall you can also use a carpet with strong nap - I use a wonderful Fachralo-Kasak at my rear wall, which has a high WAF...

Aside the glass wall some plants can help - sound difussion. Also you can work with reflection - maybe with a transparent acrylglass-panel - to lead off the early reflection.

Greetings, Walter

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Graz, home town of the Terminator...
post #3 of 14
Walter is correct about the room acoustic. But I fear there is no electronic technology on the market that will "de-reverb" the room. The orientals will help a lot. As will the couches.
Plants can help a bit as well. Essentially, almost everything you put into the room will help. Absorption is good, but even picture frames, lamps and bookcases help diffuse the sound.
So the good news it you can get the processor you like the features and operation of, with little concern for room acoustic (insofar as the processor is concerned).
I'd say the bad news is the room acoustics, but somehow I have a vision of this room looking so nice that the visual may assist with the auralhttp://www.avsforum.com/ubb/cool.gif

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Buzz Goddard
TAG Mclaren Audio
post #4 of 14
Hi Buzz,

I agree with you, because the Tact digital room correction can only work correct at one seat in the room - not very suitable for HT...

Most dangerous are the early reflections coming from the side-walls, or even rear-walls, if their timedelay versus the direct sound is no more than 5msec ( ~ 1.7m ). Our brain can not different these early reflections from the direct sound out of the box. The sound is then bright and harsh and seems to come from each loudspeaker - you also can not hear a wide-opened soundfield with depth.

The best is to reroute these first reflections from the glass-wall with a reflector, so it doesn't come to your seatplaces. Soundreflection works like optical reflection. Easily you find the correct place for an absorber/reflector using a mirror aside the walls. When you see your speaker in the mirror, sitting at your seat, you find the right place for a reflector/difussor/absorber.

You can make DIY-absorbers suitable to your furniture. A transparent acryl-glass reflector asides the glass-front, ~40cm with and 1m height should also have a high WAF.

Best regards, Walter

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Graz, home town of the Terminator...
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank Buzz, thanks Walter. Good comments about some room treatment options.

I'll pass on your comment about a nice looking space to my wife Buzz.....she's an architect with a marked preference for modern, minimalist decoration. She's fantastic (of course), but what a challenge for designing the system!

While you both point out that I have an (almost) inescapable problem with the general characteristics of the room I was actually wondering if people had comments on the sonic characteristics of the TAG versus Theta. I am generally interested in this compariston because these are the two units I'm giving my most serious thought to.

However, over and above general comments on these two I'm interested in comments that might even be speculative in nature that might give me some guidance about the suitability of either unit for my particular room. For example, when applying THX processing the TAG will progressively roll off frequencies. Theta is not a THX licencee and will handle this another way.

It just seems to me that any AVP imparts something of a sonic signature. What I'd love is if anyone who has auditioned either or both of these units could comment on their suitability for a room that will tend towards being bright.



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Dave
post #6 of 14
Hi Dave,

it's difficult to compare the Theta CasablancaII with the Tag AV32. There is a big price-difference. I am a Theta owner, so it is clearly my preference. Theta's typical dynamic slam and the smooth timbre are the advantages.

Theta surround-pre's have also the most extensive bass-management. A nice option is to integrate a standalone stereo dac. I own a Theta Gen.Va-96 dac and want to upgrade to surround in the near future - combined with a Theta surr.-pre I can use my dac for the r/l frontchannels - to have the best possible sound in stereo.

Greetings, Walter



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Graz, home town of the Terminator...
post #7 of 14
Dave,

If the room is bright then I would worry more about the "bright" speakers that you are choosing instead of the sonic characteristics of a surround processor. The processors have controls that can help compensate for brightness. The speakers do not. Martin Logan may not be a good choice based on the room problems.
post #8 of 14
Look into room treatments from RPG , Echobusters and Acoustic Sciences aka Tube Traps

All company references are links.

I see numerous issues with this room, hardwood floors, glass along one side of the room, etc.

I hope your wife is designing in blinds / drapes otherwise this will be a terrible room visually and sonically. Sorry to be so blunt, but this is being factual. You have at least two surfaces with major reflectivity -- one is essentially a glass wall, the second is the hardwood floor.

If you were to go with full range ESLs, you wouldn't have to worry so much about floor / ceiling reflections.

What about compromising with some room treatments that are mobile for serious listening / viewing?

Without fixing these room problems, you'll be wasting the investment on either the TAG or the Theta gear to be honest.

Also, mixing the PSBs with the MLs will sound, well atrocious -- the sonic characteristics are nowhere near similar.

Just my $0.02 thrown into the game.




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Contributing Writer,
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
post #9 of 14
I have heard the Theta and I own the TAG, but I could not give you any meaningful comparisons between the two, as I have never compared them under identical conditions, therefore providing a level playing field. At this level of performance, I feel that you would be hard pressed to find much fault with either unit, and I would recommend buying the one which best suits your needs in terms of features and listening modes which are important to you. They both sound absolutely great!!

I agree with everyone else in this thread in that room treatment would be in order or you might find yourself quite disappointed with just about any gear you install. I also have an "L" shaped room for my theater, and I found it very tough to place the speakers optimally, and even now my setup is compromised, and my room is a lot easier to manage than the room you have described, as I have an acoustic ceiling, a thick carpet, and the room is in my cellar, surrounded by concrete and earth.

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STOP DVI/HDCP/5C/DFAST!
post #10 of 14
One thing to consider with the Theta, is that they will supposedly provide a digital EQ in the future to deal with acoustic issues. I own a theta CBII, spent the $$$ on an upgradeable unit, because I was tired of buying new AVPs everytime something new came out. The idea of simply replacing a card to incorporate a new DAC, or providing a digital EQ for example, make the theta very attractive to my needs. Now, only if Theta could upgrade their customers in a timely matter.....
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the helpful comments.

I've known all along that the mix of our room and my need to fly this all past my wife's sensibilities was going to be perhaps one of the biggest challenges.

Bill, I'm not sure I would call MLs 'bright'....I've had a long time love affair with electrostatics and I know there are those that love them and those that hate them. Do you call them bright perhaps because they are particularly revealing of the upper mid range? I, for one, am attracted to their upper midrange, transparency, and handling of transients. Still, it is difficult for me to audition MLs here in Switzerland, and my auditioning of MLs (and Apogees) is dated and was in rooms that are very different to mine. So.......I'm not absolutely rigidly fixed on MLs, but I do think that I am after electrostatics and if anyone wants to throw in a suggestion or two that would be well suited to this room then I'm all ears. So to speak http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif.

Equally well, John, I take your point about the PSBs having a different sonic character. I wanted bipolars for surrounds because I appreciate a bit more directional cues on those channels.....the PSB's are relatively innocuous looking, have had good reviews, and come in white....more of my trying to balance what my wife will accept going into our living room. If anyone has other suggestions for surround speakers, or a whole line of speakers for such a room I'm open to suggestions.

Still, my preference for electrostatics is something I would have a hard time giving up.....I love the sound, they actually have less ceiling/floor reflections, and with judicious toeing in and perhaps a few more plants I am hoping to be able to deal with my glass wall 'problem' in a way that my wife will be happy with.

Heck, maybe I should re-post this as a request for best music/HT design for the room I am stuck with? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/confused.gif

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Dave
post #12 of 14
Dave,

I'd agree with you if you were using full range electrostatics. But the MLs you've mentioned are hybrids, so everything above the crossover frequency is less problematic than everything below. So what you'll end up with in the vertical direction is reflections only from the woofer to the floor/ceiling.

Also, you haven't really taken into account the dipolar dispersion and worried about side wall reflections which will come into play. In this case, one of your sidewalls is a set of glass doors. Ouch.

I've had ESLs in my system for 12+ years now, so I'm quite familiar with their dispersion characteristics, and obviously have a preference for their sound http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Good luck with your challenges, it can be done -- but the way I managed to work this out with my wife is that the listening/HT room is the one room in the house where I make the decor decisions. It works to my advantage that I'm not too concerned with decor http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Regards,



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Contributing Writer,
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi John,

Thanks again, I take your point about full range ESLs, and I'll look into that angl. As for your solution (elegant as it is) I'm afraid I don't really have anywhere else in the house to set this up.......Europe man, you gotta love it but most people live in teensy tiny apartments here. We are lucky to have what would be called a townhouse back in North America....definitely have more space than most people but I'm afraid there's not really another option for me. So reflections or not.....I'm stuck with the space that I's got. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


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Dave
post #14 of 14
Dave,

Yeah -- that's one thing I don't complain too much about.

I wish I had a better solution, but without room treatments of some kind, I don't know that you'll get tremendous help for brightness.

Hmm. Can you get something behind the mains to help diffuse the sound? It wouldn't have to be a diffusion panel per se.

Just a thought.

Best of luck in your quest!

Regards,



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Contributing Writer,
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
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