Originally Posted by Hudda
Thanks so much for the extended review Sean. I appreciate your observations and your obvious attempt to be as impartial as possible. That's rare considering most people get so caught up with their own investment in audio that it colors objectivity to a point where it just becomes fanboyism. Good job.
It's important that you stressed the forward treble is something YOU personally don't care for as a rule but that it wasn't fatiguing especially with Audyssey engaged. Personally, I love that quality in the Sparks. My own opinion is that it helps with intelligibility for both HT and music. To each his own.
On the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to music in particular, I strive very hard to keep the bass super-clean because I find even a HINT of boominess to be offensive as hell. Can't stand it! Like I said, to each his own...
I'd say your review is very positive on the whole. I'm glad you like your new setup. Question: Do you think some of the issues you had with transparency, big soundstage, or imaging would be "cured" more or less in a different room than what you are using? Maybe with more extensive absorption and diffusion? My understanding is that properly designed, certain room treatments can make even a small space "sound big." Just curious.
My room certainly could benefit from more absorbtion. Right now we only have 4 tri traps, 4 x 2'x'4x4" panels, and 8 2'x4' 2" panels and 4 x 2'x2' x2" panels..... Room acoustics play a big part in how any speaker sounds...
That said I have had the mirages in 4 different rooms. I have had the other speakers in 3 out of 4 of those rooms. And in even in the room in Los Altos when Mark was here we rotated the setup orientation 90 degress to that the plasma is on the long wall and not the short wall (for WAF reasons).
regardless of the characteristics of the room I have had them in the mirages always beat the others in image spaciousness. Its one of their design goals. So the overall sound of the speakers I have has changed dramatically from room to room but the pecking order never changed. Its not like one speaker like a room the others didn't. They all dealt with the issues room in a similar way and their absolute performance changed accordingly. Just rotating the room by 90 degress had a pretty big effect on the way the mirages sound. They sounded better the other way for sure.... They sounded even much better in the heavily treated theater in raleigh.
I can ruin the minis and make then sound crappy by simply moving them 1.5 feet closer to the wall behind. Totally flattens the 3-d sound stage they create... I did this yesterday afternoon to see for WAF reasons how close the wall I could get them and still find the sound acceptable. The answer was 39".
So IMO we can improve the room but I dont think it would ever make the sparks outclass the mini's or mirages in imaging. Those speakers were designed to do that very well and they met their design goals... No one speaker will probably ever do it all at least in my price range
. The sparks are tremendously impressive as they are....
regarding the forward treble being caused by my untreated room and my onkyo. Its not, these speakers are just more forward in the treble than the others I compare it too.... Just because its not my preference does not mean its bad. They are just different. I am very condifent you can put the mini's and sparks in any room with any electronics and the mini's will be the more laid back of the two.
That said I want to add a further comment. I was playing around yesterday with ref100 as a center channel compared to the spark. What a difference....., The ref 100 is far from laid back but the overall difference SQ was amazing. The spark has a tremendous advantage over the Ref 100 as a center. I would not have expected such a difference but compared to the spark it sounds grainy and lifeless.
Mark, please correct me if anything you think I said is incorrect.... I certainly dont have the breadth of experience or knowledge you have....
and BTW: your last 2 posts re-kindled my catalyst envy....