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The Ever-Changing HT

post #1 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Wilson Benesch Trinity, Centre and ARCs + JL F112 Home Theater

























I came almost full circle with these speakers, re-buying Wilson Benesch after going through Canton, B&W, Dynaudio, and Audio Physic speakers before I decided that I would keep my modestly priced electronics (relatively speaking) and go back to WB. Except, instead of going with the WB Discovery speakers again, I decided to take a gamble on the Trinity. As stand-alone speakers, the Discovery is a more well-rounded speaker than the Trinity because they are closer to full-range speakers, but with my JL sub mated to the Trinity, things become closer to equal. With my system judged on the whole, with the sub, I'm as happy as I've ever been with the final result. And that end result is a unstrained, full range, expansive sound with a natural sounding and detailed midrange, delicate highs and deep, taught bass. One thing that I really appreciate about the WBs is that their drivers are very well behaved and free of any sort of audible resonances or edgy, aggressive distortion I've heard in too many high-end speakers. It makes for an always listenable sound, while still providing the sense of realism and detail you expect from audiophile gear.

My rack currently consists of:
  • Denon AVR-5308
  • Denon BDP-2010 BluRay Player
  • Mac Mini "Music Server" running iTunes and all music files ripped in Apple Lossless format on a 2TB Lacie HD (and another 2TB HD for back-up)
  • Motorola FiOS HDTV box

Some background....
When I started this thread, it was after a year-long search for a set of speakers that I felt were a clear step-up from the Paradigm Signatures I used to own. It turned out to be a major pain in the "arse", but exciting at the same time. The thread has since morphed into an (ongoing) account of my attempt to assemble a world-class system, while also attempting to cut through all of the hype.

I'm an avid audiophile, that's a given, but I have always been very skeptical of many of the claims made about high-end gear, especially tweaks. Until about 5 years ago, I fell squarely into the objective / measurement / hard-science audiophile camp. You know the type, if you can't measure it, then it didn't happen.

Through a lot of reading and hands-on experience from early 2000 to present, I felt I had gained a strong grasp of what was needed technically for a audio component to sound good. Based on what I knew or thought I knew, it also seemed that most of what was being peddled by the high-end just didn't make sense. But one can't really argue the one side if they have never experienced the other, so with an open mind, I set out to find out for myself if there really was something to all of the seemingly outlandish claims being made by professional reviewers and the "subjectivists" in the hobby. This amp changed my life, that cable made the sound more liquid, this CD player sounds much more musical, etc., etc. , etc.

The search begins.

Starting with a base point of a Denon AVR5800 and Paradigm Signature speakers that I owned in ~2005, I started trying out different high-end processor/ amp combos. First up was the NAD M15 prepro and M25 amp, then the Anthem D2 and matching Anthem Amp, and a few years later the Lexicon MC12HD and the Lexicon LX7 amp. In regards to innate sound quality (sans processing) I heard slight differences between them, but none of the differences were significant enough to result in a strong preference from me. The NAD stuff was a little smoother, the Anthem a bit brighter / more clinical, and the Lexicon being somewhere between. However, the Logic 7 surround processing in the Lexicon was significantly better than the processing in the other two, so I stuck with that for a while.

In my next attempt to take my system to the next level, I borrowed a Linn Unidisk and a Classe Delta series CD player from a local dealer. I ran both players into the Lexicon prepro via coax digital and analog connections. Again the differences were so slight (none at all?) that I felt no compelling reason to buy these to replace the Lexicon RT-20 player I owned at the time, which incidentally is a re-badged Marantz player.

After the CD players, I decided to try out a few different amps. The Lexicon LX-7 amp was my current amp (Lexicon design, Crown made), which I compared to a pair of Bel Canto Ref 1000s, a Parasound Halo A51, and a pair of Classe CAM-400 monoblocks. Four very different designs, and four very different price points. At the time, these amps were all paired to the Lexicon MC12HD prepro and Revel Studio2 speakers. You would think that the $10K a pair Classe monblocks would have stomped all over the other amps. I mean, these are small-refrigerator sized, 400-watt amps that run in pure Class A mode for the first 100 watts! An audiophile wet dream if there ever was one. Even though I'm skeptical of high end gear like this, there is a part of me that really wanted them to sound clearly better than any other amp I'd ever heard. But, sigh ... they didn't. I honestly had a very hard time telling these four very different amp designs apart based on their sonics. Were four amps identical? No. Were they within 15% of each other? To me, yes.

Not being completely satisfied with the sound quality of the Lexicon / Revel combo; on the recommendation of a friend, I bought the Classe SSP-800 and CA-5100 amp to try out. I did find the sound of the Classe stack to be a bit smoother and more analog while also more resolving than the Lexicon with the Revels, but it still wasn't what I was after. The Revels still sounded too clinical. It wasn't until I switched from Revel's to Wilson Benesch speakers that got my sound system closer to where I wanted it than I ever had before. But the funny thing is, when I auditioned the Wilson Benesch speakers, I was waiting for the Classe gear to arrive and the only thing I had to power the Wilsons was a $400 Harmon Kardon AVR borrowed from my bedroom! The truth is, in stereo, I liked the sound of the WB's + $400 HK AVR better than the Revels with a $19K Lexicon processor and matching amp! Looking back on that really does help cement the importance of speakers vs. electronics for me.

Even though my faith in high-end audio was waning by this time, I still stuck with the Classe front-end because I wanted a system that looked "the part" as much as it sounded "the part". No brainer there, the Classe / Wilson Benesch system looked and sounded fantastic. While I was happy with the sound of this beautiful system, all was not well. The Classe prepro was full of operational bugs, and my particular unit exhibited several hardware problems that required dozens of hours of troubleshooting and months of waiting while it was repaired and later replaced. Combine this with some speaker issues that also took months to get resolved, and I was getting fed up with high-end audio. So much so that I said f**k it, and sold it all off. I didn't need the heartache, and I figured that I could do just as well sound quality wise in the "mid-fi" category.

The trend of hearing only small differences between front-end components didn't change when I auditioned several AVRs and separates in 2010 to replace the Classe, though I was surprised that with the quick switching available at the dealer it was a easier to hear the differences that where there. Between the Denon AVR5308, Arcam AVR600, Primare separates, Naim, Classe, Plinius, Audionet, Amarra and Marantz AV8003, the only two that really stood out of the pack were the Primare (not favorably) and the Marantz (favorably), but again this is in relative terms. There was no quantum shift in sound quality between these pieces to my ears. That's not to say that I would just randomly choose one, as every little bit helps, BUT based on my preference for the affordable Marantz, "moving up the ladder" and spending more money is no guarantee of subjectively better sound.

I know that this all probably sounds like just another all-amps-sound-the-same, whistle-blower, but I would be the first in line to drop $10K on a new processor, amps or whatever, if the sound quality was CLEARLY better than mass produced AVR. Not just some incremental, subjectively questionable difference.

As for what I consider more tweaky solutions, I've tried an assortment of power cables, ICs and power conditioners, including XLO, Kimber, Van Den Hul, AudioQuest, PS Audio, Element Cable, Wire World. If there were differences between these things, they were lost on me. The only one that made even a slight difference (I think) was the PS Audio Power Plant and I believe that is because it is not just a passive device. It converts the AC to DC and back to AC again. In my experience, it made low level details easier to hear like being able to see fine shadow detail in a video display, but don't hold me to this. Further investigation is probably needed.

Based on this collection of experiences, my focus remains on speakers, recording quality, proper calibration / set-up, the room, EQ, build quality and style (the components must be well made and look good ). The rest is gravy to me.

With all of that said, this thread is simply a collection of my experiences, and for all you know I may have tin ears or I may be completely insane, so make of it what you will. I'm not selling anything, and if your experiences are different, that just makes for interesting conversation.

In the posts that follow, is a short account of the various speakers I've owned, the rather unconventional acoustic room treatment I had installed, and the some of the electronics that have passed through my home.
post #2 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Wilson Benesch Discovery

The Wilson-Benesch "Discovery" speaker is an unusual design that essentially takes the performance of a small floorstanding speaker and compacts it into a standmount design. WB affectionately refers to the Discovery as a "micro-floorstander". They actually managed to fit three 7” drivers into the space of a larger standmount speaker.

In 2008 I spent a year searching for a set of speakers to replace the Paradigm Signatures I owned at the time. I finally settled on speakers from a little known maker out of the UK by the name of Wilson-Benesch. Their specialty is the use of carbon fiber cabinets combined with custom in-house drivers and various bits of extruded / CNC machined aluminum. I chose the "Discovery" standmount speakers for the L/R, the "Centre" speaker for you guessed it the center speaker, a pair of "ARC" speakers for the surround channels, and a single JL F112 subwoofer. The first thing that really sucked me into the WB sound, was the massive soundstage they throw. In my room, it extends out beyond the left and right speaker by a couple of feet and while listening to some of my favorite tracks, I could literally “see” instruments playing two feet to the left of the left speaker. Good stuff. The Revelator tweeter has always been one of my favorite soft domes (that and the Dynaudio Esostar2) because of its “delicacy” and ability to convey the trailing edges and finer details of things like cymbals, chimes, and strings, without ever sounding etched, grainy or dry. I owned the Discoverys from November 2008 to February 2010.


Audio Physic Virgo 25

The Virgo's, which I owned just after the Dynaudio's, exhibited some of the quickest and tightest bass I've had in my room. They were more lively, more dynamic and more expansive than the Dyns, but in the end, the side firing woofers did not want to play nice with my admittedly cramped placement options. I knew this was a risk going in, but I though I would just have a peak to pull down with EQ. What I discovered was that despite the right-wall acoustic treatment, there was a good amount of destructive interference from the near-wall speaker placement on the right side, much more so than with the monitor speakers I've had in this same location. The most evident problem is a deep and wide suck-out in the lower midrange. I even moved the right speaker into the left speaker position and measured just to make sure that the right speaker was functioning properly, and once in that position the lower mid dip goes away and it measures identically to the left speaker. While I've had good success in using EQ to address speaker / room interaction problems, the starting point was just too far off the mark. It's no fault of the speaker, but it explains the lean midrange character and it is a good reminder of just how important proper placement is, especially with a multi-driver tower speaker. Luckily, the person that bought them from me was local and we set them up in his open floor plan to audition before purchase. They sounded phenomenal. The presentation was relaxed, good top to bottom coherence and excellent detail. There was a slight lack of mid-bass, but this is something that can often be corrected with a fine tuning of the speaker positions.


Dynaudio C1

Until I owned the Dynaudio C1's, I thought speaker break-in was mostly in the mind, and most of the time I still think it is, but I went through a real rough spell with these guys. In the beginning the tweeter sounded a bit coarse / edgy, coupled with a midrange that sounded "shouty" and lean. Let's just say that the resulting sound was not always pleasant. However, after about 300 hours they completely shed their somewhat offensive character. And if you want to hear a monitor with a 7" that can do very close to full range, you need to listen to a set of these. I had 5 AVS members in my home to listen to the C1's, and they were very complimentary of how good my JL F112 subwoofer sounded. The only problem was, the subwoofer was not even plugged in. No exaggeration. Unfortunately, and I still can't put my finger on it, but after break in, while they left with me nothing to complain about, I found myself indifferent about their sound. Not great, not horrible, just sort of "there". Looking back at it though, I think I had reached my saturation point and was burnt out on all of the analyzing, which affected my ability to enjoy any form of listening. I wish I could hear these again, but alas I can only afford to go through all of this gear by selling off what doesn't appear to be working.


B&W 805Di


The the bass is tight, punchy, well-timed, tuneful and just much better than a speaker this size has any right to have. The diamond tweeter has simply amazing resolution and transient response. Clearly better than the Be tweets in the Focals and the Revels that I've owned. Both of those lacked the sparkle I was after when I bought them. The strike and the decay of things like cymbals, chimes, and bells are more clearly delineated than I've heard before, even when there are other sounds or instruments layered on top. From the midrange on up, every element of sound is cleanly separate from the others. The Monitor Audio Platinums had similar resolving power, but their soundstage was compressed and I didn't like the tonal quality of that speaker in the midrange.

I've never placed a lot of value on pinpoint imaging. I guess because I've never really had it that good in my room, and I'm more concerned with tonality and the size of the soundstage. While listening to one of my reference tracks thrugh the 805Di's, a Dianna Krall song that I listen to for vocal quality, I realized for the first time that she was sitting at the piano to sing, slightly off center to the left and facing to the right. I swear that I could hear her shift from singing directly into the mic in front of her to shifting to face the audience. In other words I could hear her sing diagonally out into the room. That was a first. Up til now, her vocals were just a phantom center image.

All wasn't perfect though. My last system, the Wilson Benesch / Classe rig, had a smoothness / naturalness that sounded closer to "real" than anything else I've owned. The B&W 805Di / Denon combo is a more vivid and but also more synthetic sounding presentation. The vivid part I liked, the synthetic part, not so much. It's not offensive, but there is that somewhat etched, sharp quality to the sound. And as I spent more time with the B&W's, I found that the highs and the mids tended to sound too different in character from one another. The character of the treble being a bit sharper / more detailed than the mids. In the end, I found the etched quality and the slight lack of cohesiveness between the drivers enough of a distraction that I decided to keep trying other options.

Revel Studio2s

A great speaker in all respects, but frankly, this was the end of my big-ass speaker kick. I thought I needed big speakers to get a big sound, but as I later found out, I got the expansive sound I was after in the stand-mount Wilson Benesch speakers. My wife also thanks me for finding smaller speakers. The Wilson's not only sound big for their size, but they project a bigger sound than any of the large floorstanders that preceded them. The moral of this story is: bigger is not always better. I've found that a good sub / bookshelf system can actually outperform larger speaker in many cases. I also found that the Revels, while dead accurate, sounded too clinical for me. They reproduced everything on the recording, but there was no "suspension of disbelief", no "performer in the room".

Dynaudio Sapphires

Another great speaker, and surprisingly, I preferred the soft dome tweet in this speaker to the high-tech Beryllium tweeter in the Revels. The one thing that I find common about the Dyn sound is that are all pleasingly neutral for the most part, but the sound stage is a bit more confined to the space between the speakers. It will project out more on really spacious recordings, but not as much as the best speakers in this area (like the Wilson Benesch). I probably would have chosen these over the Revel Studio2's, but the Dyns didn't pass WAF and there is no matching center or surrounds, so they were a no go.

Monitor Audio Platinum 300's

I'm tech-head, and I was sucked into all of the tech in these speakers. The C-CAM ribbon tweeter, and those hi-tech honeycomb ceramic/aluminum sandwich cone woofers, the platinum coated WBT speaker posts, and other assorted aerospace materials. Man they just seemed so damn cool. I listened to them for several hours at the local hi-fi shop before taking the plunge and was really impressed. The ribbon tweeter on these speaks is amazing. You could hear the finest details, but they didn't sound hot in the treble in the slightest. Unfortunately, once I lived with them for a while I found them a bit aggressive in the mids; they were a bit too stout in appearance; and the imaging seemed to make all of the instruments smaller than most speakers I've owned. Since they sounded fine in this regard at the dealer, I can only conclude that they need a fairly good spread between them to open up.

Focal Electra 1037 Be

I heard some Focal Utopia Be speakers a few years back and loved them, so when I had the funds the Focal Electra's were the first on my list. I had to travel two hours to the only shop in my state that had them on display to listen to them. I didn't pay much attention to this at the time, but they had them connected to a tube amp during the audition, which is why I believe they sounded more to my liking than when I got them home. Unfortunately, in my system there was an etched, overly hot quality to the low treble. Voices, horns and strings sounded strident. I waited months for these speakers to "break-in", but ultimately their character didn't change much if at all. In the end, I was quite deflated when I realized that I should probably go with something that was a better personality fit. Still the one of the best looking speakers out there, IMO.

Monitor Audio GS

I actually liked these speakers a lot. I probably would have stuck with these for a while, but I a got a big bonus from work shortly after I bought them, and wanted to find my "dream speakers". They had transparency close to an electrostatic speaker, with the dynamics of a dome and cone speaker. They could be a little sibilant, but I wouldn't kick them out of bed for eating crackers.

Paradigm Signature

Great all around speakers with no glaring faults, but I had owned them for a few years and I wanted to see if I could get something better. Little did I know how much of a challenge that would turn out to be. I liked the change in perspective that in the Monitor Audio GS's offered, though that came a slight cost in neutrality. The Paradigms were the end of my first journey down the speaker upgrade path. I would recommend these to anyone looking for a great dual purpose HT / music speaker.

KEF Reference (V1)

I bought these based on stellar reviews and impressive FR graphs, and because of their cutting-edge tech at the time. The Uni-Q driver arrangement is a great idea, especially for HT, and it does deliver on the promise of excellent dispersion. You can sit well off to the side of the speaker and the character of the sound doesn't change at all. They also featured a super tweeter, and since this was right around the time that DVDA and SACD were being introduced, I wanted to get all that these formats had to offer. After living with them for a few weeks, I found that voices sounded nasal and thin. This was the start of my realization that perfect measurements do not necessarily equal perfect sound.

Martin Logan Aeon-i

You won't find a more transparent speaker than an ESL. This particular model was about in the middle of the size range available at the time. I later found out that you really need to get into the bigger panels to get decent dynamic capability. Feed these a minimalist vocal or small jazz trio recording and it sounds like they are in the room with you. But feed a smaller ESL panel like these some rock, and things get a little messy. The very thin ESL membrane used for the mids and highs just doesn't have the excursion needed for rocking out. And while they are great for 2CH "in the sweet spot" listening, they are really too directional for multiple listeners in an HT setting. If you are looking for a great jazz / vocalist speaker, and you are setting up a 2Ch system, you can't do much better.

I actually had a few other speakers prior to the Paradigms, but I don't have any pics. A couple that come to mind are Vienna Acoustics and Aerial Acoustics. I loved the Viennas, but the center speaker that went with them at the time was not up to snuff. My wife was constantly complaining that she could make out what people were saying while watching TV and movies. I think the current Vienna's are much better though. The Aerials sounded more reserved and even "dark" than I expected. Just not what I was after.
post #3 of 1722
Thread Starter 
While searching for the right set of speakers, and coming up short on several occasions, I wanted to make sure that the room wasn't the problem, so I decided to do what we all know that we need to, and that was to acoustically treat the room. The hurdle for me and many others I gather, is that I didn't want to turn my living room into something that looks like a recording studio. I didn't know how to go about this, so I hired a professional to come out and offer up some options. Glad that I did because I never would have thought of placing the majority of the treatment on the ceiling! Enter the "acoustic cloud"......






















You can read the full details of this project here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1047573
post #4 of 1722
Thread Starter 
In the last post, you can see that off the left side of the room, I have all of my front-end electronics in an enclosed cabinet. The cabinet is actually a built-in that I converted to hold my AV gear. At first this didn't work out so well because the furnace was right behind this cabinet, so there was no rear access and I had to use a mirror and a flashlight to make all of the equipment connections. There was also no ventilation within the cabinet, so it could get rather hot in there.

About two years ago, I had the furnace moved, cut out the back of the cabinet and installed a door to get access to the rear of the components. This sure made things a hell of lot easier to hook up and move around.

Then, around the same time that I bought the WB speakers, I purchased the Classe SSP-800 prepro and matching Classe CA-5100 5 channel amp. The amp runs in Class A mode for the first 30 watts, so it can get quite warm (even out in the open), and the prepro has several high-speed processors buzzing along inside which also generates a good amount of heat, so it was time to install a more serious cooling system.

My rack consists of:
Classe SSP-800 prepro
Classe CA-5100 5 x 100 watt amp
Mac Mini "Music Server" running iTunes and all music files ripped in Apple Lossless format
Sony BDP-S550 Blu Ray Player
PS Audio "AC Regenerator"
Motorola FiOS HDTV box







Prior deciding to go with the Mac Mini music server, I had a reference Classe CD player. But after comparing Mac to the dedicated player for hours (a CD in the Classe and ALAC files of the same CD in the Mac), I felt that there was no clear improvement in the sound provided by the Classe player, so I ditched it. The Mac Mini has to be the best $800 I've spent. I probably listened to 10% of my CD collection when I had to load each one into a single disc player, now I can listen to all of it with just the touch of button. It's awesome!

Here's some shots of the cooling system I installed.

The blower


Above the cabinet before the install


Duct added to connect to blower in the attic


The cooling system is temperature controlled, so the blower only comes on at low speed when the temp reaches a certain point, and it kicks up to a higher speed if I really push the system hard during an action flick. With the door shut, the fan is inaudible.

The shot below shows you how truly anal I am about having everything just right. Most of the cabling was made by me to precise custom lengths so that there is no slop.



Oh and one last pic of my TV mount. Because I know that having a TV between your speakers ruins the imaging of the speakers, I installed this articulating mount so that I can push the TV against the wall when listening solely to music. And from the front, it loooks like the TV is floating above the console below, which is pretty cool.

post #5 of 1722
Thread Starter 
I'm in the video game biz, so it only seemed appropriate to have a room dedicated to staying up on my company's product and to perform "competitive market analysis". I managed to squeeze a 5.1 system into a 10 x 10 foot spare bedroom, and you know what? It sounds amazing! Having each speaker under five feet away from you really creates an immersive surround sound field. It was tough finding small speakers that met my expectations though. I was originally going to go with a cheap HTIB solution, but they all sounded shrill. However, the moment I heard the Monitor Audio Radius speakers, I knew that I couldn't settle for less. These are just fantastic little speakers.

One last thing. What they say about square rooms is true. They wreak havoc on sound quality. When I first set-up the sub in this room, there was a huge peak in the upper bass that made the sound very woofy and boomy. The only way to get the sound in check was to add a Velodyne SMS-1 EQ to the system. I ended up having to put a -12 dB filter at 70Hz to even things out.



post #6 of 1722
Tim,

I was lucky to get a preview of your A/V cabinet when you posted pics with all your Classe gear in Nuance's amps and preamps thread! If I may suggest it, can you show here some of the close-ups you posted in the other thread?

First, that cabinet looks like something out of Star Trek! Classe gear sure looks good!!

Glad to hear the Wilsons are there to stay! They are truly beautiful speakers, and although I haven't had a chance to give them a listen I hear really good things about them.
Question: do you use your sub for 2 channel listening?

Congratulations, you have a great setup!!
post #7 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Hey ddg -

Good to "see" you.

I was in the middle of adding the pics of the Classe front end while you wrote your post. The pics are now up in post #2. I have wanted to own a Classe Delta series component since they were first released, and I'm just glad that I could finally make it happen. They are some of the most stylish components I've seen. Very minimalist modern, which I'm a big fan of. Of course that would mean nothing if they didn't sound great too. The SSP-800 is simply an amazing sounding prepro.
post #8 of 1722
Nice! I love the cabinet enclosure. Really tidy's things up. Those speakers are gorgeous not to mention the Panny. The Sound Art and Cinema Tresures books are a nice touch also!
post #9 of 1722
Wow !
Thanks for sharing.
post #10 of 1722
Classy and clean! Thanks for the post.
post #11 of 1722
I am not impressed. <-----That's jealousy talking
post #12 of 1722
You had Revel speakers and thought they weren't good enough!!!!!
post #13 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasmattack View Post

Nice! I love the cabinet enclosure. Really tidy's things up. Those speakers are gorgeous not to mention the Panny. The Sound Art and Cinema Tresures books are a nice touch also!

Good, eye on the coffee table books. They seemed appropriate since I wanted gear that was as pretty to look at as to listen to, hence the Sound Art book.

Like your set-up too. I wish I could be a bit closer to my TV, like your set-up.
post #14 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

I am not impressed. <-----That's jealousy talking

You've got nothing to be jealous of. Your set-up is top shelf!

I'm a big fan of the VA sound. Very easy to listen to, but still of verve. That's a tough balance to achieve.
post #15 of 1722
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Good, eye on the coffee table books. They seemed appropriate since I wanted gear that was as pretty to look at as to listen to, hence the Sound Art book.

Like your set-up too. I wish I could be a bit closer to my TV, like your set-up.

I like that idea a lot. I am going to follow suit (hope you don't mind) with similar reading material to add to the ambiance of the place . You chose the right gear for both because it is amazing looking and I'm sure the sound is right on par with the eye candy.

I do like how close I am to the Panny. I would sit on the tv stand if I could . I absolutely love your clean shelving with rear access. That is just plain awesome. I've been debating on displaying my stuff or hiding it and you've got the right touch of both. Did you say you built those shelves or just modded them?
post #16 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasmattack View Post

I like that idea a lot. I am going to follow suit (hope you don't mind) with similar reading material to add to the ambiance of the place .

Glad to offer some inspiration.


Quote:


You chose the right gear for both because it is amazing looking and I'm sure the sound is right on par with the eye candy.

Yeah, this system was as much about owning some audiophile jewelry as it was about the quest for great sound. Prior to this, my front end was always Denon AVRs, which were great, but the Classe stuff is industrial art.

Quote:


I do like how close I am to the Panny. I would sit on the tv stand if I could .

LOL. The screen can never be too big now can it. I have a similar set-up in my video game room. I sit just 5 feet from a 46" LCD. And the little Monitor Audio speakers I have in there are simply amazing.


Quote:


I absolutely love your clean shelving with rear access. That is just plain awesome. I've been debating on displaying my stuff or hiding it and you've got the right touch of both. Did you say you built those shelves or just modded them?

I just modded them and added the textured glass. The one thing that still sucks though, is that the opening on the face of the cabinet is just under 17". Because all components are usually 17.25 - 17.50", I can't just slip them in. I have to disconnect everything and put them in through the back. Oh well, good thing I don't change front end components all that often.
post #17 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by techlvr33 View Post

You had Revel speakers and thought they weren't good enough!!!!!

Hard to believe, I know.

The Revels were very close to the sound I was after, but not quite. I also realized that large floor standing speakers just look too big in my room and I wanted to go back to stand mount speakers.

The funny thing is, I thought I needed big speakers to get a big sound, but as it turns out, the smaller Wilson Benesch speakers actually have a larger soundstage than the Revels and I can play the WB's louder than I could the Revels. There seems to be virtually no limit to how much power they can take. The higher I push the volume, the better they sound.

But then the WB Discovery's are more like a small tower speaker than a trypical stand mount speaker, since they managed to cram a tweeter, a midrange, and TWO bass drivers into the small enclosure (one of the bass drivers is on the inside of the cabinet hidden away.)
post #18 of 1722
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I just modded them and added the textured glass. The one thing that still sucks though, is that the opening on the face of the cabinet is just under 17". Because all components are usually 17.25 - 17.50", I can't just slip them in. I have to disconnect everything and put them in through the back. Oh well, good thing I don't change front end components all that often.

I thought about creating a video game room but I don't know if it would pass WAF . When I get the PJ up later this summer I'm going to try gaming on it, not really sure what to expect there to be honest. I would imagine I will like it. If I ever do a separate gaming room I thought about the Klipsch Quintet III's for some smaller sound. I bet your monitors rock out in that room. That room looks awesome as well.

That is too bad on the shelf sizes but they're worth it either way. The look is real tight and clean. The minimalist in me has been bearing his head lately seeing all of these clean and streamlined systems. If we end up staying in this house a little longer while the economy shapes up maybe I will build in some shelves. Your setup really has my wheels turning .
post #19 of 1722
Wow I am very jealous.
post #20 of 1722
Tim nice to finally see some pics of the whole install. That speaker history is also going some !

I have to say that is some seriously tidy cabling at the back. I wouldn't call it anal.....I'd call it being a perfectionist - and there's nowt wrong with that boss !

V.jealous of your 2 pugs also lol. Can't beat an animal lover mate.

Cheers
Jon.
post #21 of 1722
Wow...................and I thought I was a perfectionist. Very, very nice and impressive.
post #22 of 1722
Great stuff! I truly admire your details with the acoustic cloud, wall, etc...btw, does your blower cool the equipment enough? My Classe amp runs super hot even at moderate levels (-25.0dB on the SSP).

Thx for the pix.
post #23 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedge-Hog View Post

Great stuff! I truly admire your details with the acoustic cloud, wall, etc...btw, does your blower cool the equipment enough? My Classe amp runs super hot even at moderate levels (-25.0dB on the SSP).

Thx for the pix.

Yeah, the fan (there are four of them in sequence) actually does keep the amp from getting hot. There is a duct just above the amp that sucks all of the hot air out of the cabinet into the attic.
post #24 of 1722
Wow! That is a really beautifully organized room Tim, i can see that you've put a lot of work getting to where you are now, love it!! All the gear is fantastic as well, all the classe's look yummy together in the rack!

Also looks like you went through lot of speaker iterations, so im sure the current speakers you have must be very good, they surely look very beautiful. Thanks for sharing your setup
post #25 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daman S View Post

Wow! That is a really beautifully organized room Tim, i can see that you've put a lot of work getting to where you are now, love it!! All the gear is fantastic as well, all the classe's look yummy together in the rack!

Also looks like you went through lot of speaker iterations, so im sure the current speakers you have must be very good, they surely look very beautiful. Thanks for sharing your setup

Thanks for the kind words. It has been a labor of love as they say, and yes finding the right set of speakers certainly made for a trying year, but it finally worked out in the end.
post #26 of 1722
Thread Starter 
5/5 update: added comments to the acoustic treatment (post #3) and speaker history (post #4) sections above.
post #27 of 1722
Thread Starter 
5/6 update: Added comments to game room set-up (post #5).
post #28 of 1722
Wow very nice setup, tastefully done and sexxxy speakers. I dig it
post #29 of 1722
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb450r View Post

Wow very nice setup, tastefully done and sexxxy speakers. I dig it

Thanks for stopping in.

Seems people either love the look of the Wilson Benesch speakers or they just don't get it. The Discovery's are an unusual speaker design, but I think that they are beautiful in a technical / industrial way. They have the same sort of visual appeal to me as an exotic sports car. Probably because of the aggressively curved carbon fiber cabinets, exposed drivers, the dual port tubes, and the extruded aluminum stand. Yeah, that might have something to do with it.

You'd think that they would sound like they look--cold and aggressive. But they are the most musical and natural sounding speakers I've owned.
post #30 of 1722
Couldn't agree more with that! I have not had a chance to hear them in person but have always wanted to. They look like a high end sports car.
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