Myself and a few other AVS guys were lucky enough to get a demo in Craig's room this last weekend. My good friend Jonathon (goes by Archaea) and I had flown out to the Philly area for a speaker GTG and were able to setup a time on Sunday to come over to Craig's house along with some other AVS friends - Mike (ironhead1230) and Ben (rush2049) and also Mark Seaton was able to make it (he was showing off his awesome Catalyst 12 speakers at the speaker GTG).
As soon as we met Craig I knew it was going to be a nice time. Very nice guy, friendly and very humble.
His room sounded great without anything playing - I could tell right away it was treated very well. It wasn't too dead either, just right IMO.
So, he starts off playing a blu-ray concert of some classical music. Unreal!! My immediate impression was that the image on the screen was the clearest I have ever seen. The movement of the musicians looked so real and the blacks! Wow, the blacks! Beautiful contrasts. Now, full disclosure, I'm not really a videophile guy, I'm much more into audio BUT I have been in a LOT of HT rooms and I've never seen a picture so life like. Wow!
Now, on to the sound. The concert blu-ray sounded great (understatement) but I hadn't heard that before so I couldn't really compare to past experiences. Next we watched some movie clips starting with King Kong. I noticed he had the volume set to 0 so I was expecting it to be VERY loud. It was not. I've heard movie clips at and above reference many times and I can never take that volume for very long. I have VERY sensitive speakers capable of incredible dynamics in my room but still going to reference is not something I do very often because it sounds so loud. In Craig's room reference sounded perfect for King Kong. Now, later we watched scenes from Terminator Salvation at -3 and this is a much louder movie IMO but still -3 in Craig's room reminded me of more like -10 in my own.
The surround effect was equal to the best I've ever heard (Randy Bessinger's room here in Kansas City, he has Trinnov) and the dialogue crystal clear and very life like.
Now about the bass.... I have a bit of an addiction to bass. I'm currently in therapy
for the condition but it's not going away any time soon. Did I miss the crazy bass that I have in my room during the movie demo's? Well, yes and no. Having the bass more level matched had some benefits that's for sure. It made the movie clips seem more realistic and I got lost in the movies more than I do with boosted low bass in my own room. I really liked that!
Now on to music. I listen to music A LOT in my room. I love sitting in the sweet spot and listening to stereo music and enjoying the soundstage from that spot and have spent a lot of time tweaking the exact settings of my speakers, postition of my main LP, toe in of the speakers, treatments on the walls for first reflections of each speaker as well as the ceiling half way between me and my mains, etc not to mention the constant upgrades in speakers for the past 3 years or so - oh yeah, and also eqing the subs to have just the right frequency curve that I like. I am now at the point where I like how music sounds in my room better than any room I've been in. I am not saying that I have the best speakers or my room has the best treatments or anything like that, it's just that I am used to the sound so it's what I prefer to anything I've heard - until now.
2 channel music in Craig's room is now my all time favorite. We did hear some songs I've familiar with so I can say that for sure. Why do I like it better? Here is where I fall short. I'm terrible at describing what I like about one setup over another.... all I know is the feeling I get while listening to music on a system and Craig's system does it for me.
My one regret is not bringing some heavier music over to sample. I do listen to all kinds of music now that I have some great speakers but I am a metal-head though and through. Most of it isn't recorded well, but a lot is. I would have loved to have heard any heavy bands like Metallica, Opeth, Dream Theater, Tool, Slayer, Black Sabbath etc. just to see how it compared to my room but I didn't have any of that with me.
What a cool afternoon though, Mark Seaton was spewing out advice left and right both in Craig's room and on our drive back to the airport - I think I can speak for Craig that it was so cool to have him along for the demo!
Later in the day Craig had a friend of his come over (Dennis -DMark1 - also a very nice guy!) and then we went back to his place to get a demo of his Legacy Whispers. That was great too! The room wasn't as well treated but I did love a lot of the music I heard from the Whispers. I would say that the singer was more defined in the soundstage with the Whispers than I have ever experienced. It's hard to explain what I mean. The voice was more distinct from the other instruments. Another thing I noticed was that the singer was higher up than I have heard before. I'm used to the singer being right in the center right in front of me. With the Whispers it seemed the singer was not only right in front of me but also higher up. I'm not sure if I preferred this or not, but if you think about it that's pretty cool because if the singer was in the room they would be standing, and it sounded like that's where the voice was. Now, maybe I'm nuts because I asked Jonathan if he noticed this and he did not so maybe it was just me.
I also liked the bass from the Whispers. They were run full range and no subs and the bass was very good. From what I have learned about bass frequencies and the many measurements I have taken in my own room I know that the chances of the frequency response being smooth at our LP was very low, but the bass still sounded great IMO.
I did get to hear Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath and NIB and thought it sounded fantastic. I like more bass (shocker:D) but I could have listened all day. I prefer how Sabbath sounds in my room, but not by much and i was loving it! I did think that Journey sounded thin but I blame this on Audyssey - I think we had Audyssey on for Don't Stop Believing (hmmm were we listening to the Whispers at that point or the other Legacy speakers?)
Oh yeah, the Submersives in both rooms sounded fantastic. I've owned dual Submersives and heard a ton of subs and IMO it's the best sounding sub you can buy.
One more thing. My ears should have been pretty fried from all the music I heard the day before at the all day GTG and then the day before that movie and music at another AVS friends house in DC. However, I had no fatigue at all listening to either system which says a lot IMO.
Jonathan will come along and post a much better/detailed review of both rooms than mine (including videos I believe), he's much better at that than I am, but I wanted to at least put in my 2 cents.
Thanks again Craig and Dennis!!Edited by carp - 1/21/14 at 4:35pm