Originally Posted by ChopShop1
Craig, I certainly am particular about he sound, but am coming to realize that I can't have all of one aspect and all of another as well. When I spoke to Mark, he said based on this info he thought the Seatons were a good fit. Now I know this is his product and he isn't in the business of talking a customer out of a purchase. That said, I would think he wouldn't want someone to purchase and then be unhappy with the product if that could be avoided.
I said a while back in the Submersive thread that, in my experience, Mark spends a lot of time "doing the right
thing." This includes things like holding back products until they are absolutely ready for production and shipment, and including optimization discs with his products. It also includes giving out lots of "free" advice, most of which is just that... knowledgeable and heart-felt free
advice, not a self-serving sales pitch. Mark is one of the smartest guys in this industry. His open willingness to share his expertise for the benefit of us all is refreshing. Here's the post I made: http://www.avsforum.com/t/759877/seaton-sound-submersive1/6720#post_22009041
If Mark is giving you advice, I'm sure he believes
what he is telling you. You can't ask for more than that.
Originally Posted by ChopShop1
Being that you have actually heard the Legacys, how would you compare them with the Cats?? I know the CDand ribbon will be different, but I don't have any first hand experience on how different and in what particular ways.
Obviously, the ribbons vs. the CD is a primary difference between these speakers, but there are lots of other differences between the Cat's and the Legacy's:
First, the Cat's will have a lot more overall headroom than the Legacy's. The Legacy's will get loud, no doubt, and they'll likely do full Ref. Level, depending on the size of your space and the listening distance. Nonetheless, the Cat's will have more output for sure. Where the Legacy's are beginning to compress, the Cat's will just be hitting their wheelhouse. IOW, the Cat's will do very
high volumes without strain. For the big, blockbuster movies, the sound affects, (gunshots, explosions, etc.), there is nothing better than the Cat's. The Legacy's are very good on this stuff, but it's not their "forte."
Another major difference is the dispersion pattern of the Cat's vs. the Legacy's. I think you experienced the sweet spot with the Legacy's and I'm sure it was stellar. However, ribbons have a tendency to "beam" the upper mid's and highs. When you get out of the beam, the response drops off considerably. I think you experienced this as well. The Cat's don't have this issue at all. They have a wide, even dispersion pattern that easily covers a large listening area. If your theater is a social area, the Cat's will do a better job of covering the whole area with smooth, even sound. OTOH, if your habit is to listen from just one listening position, and the Legacy's can be optimized for that one position, they can sound fabulous. They just won't sound quite as good in other LP's.
Another major difference is the bass response. They are definitely different designs in this regard. The Legacy Focus SE's use dual 12" woofers and a ported cabinet to provide extension down to about 22 -24 Hz. For HT, 22-24 Hz is good but not great, (for music, it may be more than low enough depending on what kind of music you listen to.) But, if you're going to use subs anyway, why would you need, or want to pay for bass response to 22-24 Hz??? For example, if you use an 80 hz crossover, the 2 big 12" woofers are only outputting 80 to 120 Hz, (the woofers in the SE's are crossed at 120 Hz to the mid-woofers). That's less than half an octave. All the response below 80 Hz won't be utilized, (or it will only be utilized at greatly reduced levels.) Why pay for that if you're not going to use it. This is where, to me, a speaker like the Focus SE is a less than ideal choice for an HT environment. For a music system, I understand the concept, but for HT with subwoofers they don't seem like an efficient use of resources. The Cat's, OTOH, are *designed* from the ground up to work with subs. They're optimized for about 60 Hz extension. The dual 8" woofers in the Cat8c's do the mid and upper bass with authority. Below that, all the bass should go to the sub(s) anyway, (presumably Submersive HP's or one of the other, newer Seaton offerings.) This just seems like a much more logical and efficient approach for an HT system.
Another huge design difference is the "powered" vs. "passive" nature of the designs. The Cat's have built-in, very powerful amps that are not only mated to individual drivers, but they have customized DSP applied that Mark uses to shape the response to his specifications. To get similar amplification for the Legacy's, one would need to spend some significant $$$, and there is virtually no way to get Mark's DSP tweaking expertise and experience.
Overall, if I were putting together a music system, I would give strong consideration to the Focus SE's, especially for a 2.0 system . They have a beautiful, "open" and "airy" and "musical" sound, and they have enough bass response to satisfy almost any music enthusiast. However, for any system that includes a subwoofer, (i.e, 2.1, or a multi-channel music or HT system, the Cat's would be my choice. For HT, the Cat's are almost incomparable, especially to anything that uses ribbon drivers.
Check out audioguy's system: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1196040/our-theater-third-and-final-one
PM him and ask him what he thinks of his all-Seaton system.