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Central Iowa Spring Audio GTG - JTR/Bamberg/Seaton/Salk/GR Research - Page 9

post #241 of 284
Impressive!
post #242 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by djarchow View Post

On to the speakers. I certainly didn't take as good notes as Archea but do have some thoughts.

No shame in that; Jonathan always writes volumes after a GTG. I'm not sure how he remembers all that stuff, but he makes Steven King seem like a short story novelist... biggrin.gif
post #243 of 284
I really should try to post my impressions first - going after the stellar postings so far really is going to make mine seem blech. smile.gif One thing that was definitely not blech - David pulling this all together. Nicely done mate.

Up front - I am a predominant HT guy with a small percentage of music listening - probably about a 70-30 split so take that in to account with my thoughts.

First up was the Bamberg Series 5 TMWs which were run full range. They have a very unique design - definitely a shift from the standard rectangle and the finish on them was very well done.

They had a very open, airy sound that I enjoyed very much - they image beautifully which was especially evident on one of the tracks which was a female duet - you really could visualize each person's position when the track was recorded. That said, I do believe that they were being run a bit too loud as I felt that some female vocals just sounded shrill - as well as one specific track with a solo horn. When horns were mixed as part of an overall orchestra, they sounded much better. Male vocals sounded excellent with great dynamic range.

Midrange was spot on - the snap of a block being struck or the snare drum - it just did not matter the Series 5s just played them so crisp and clean. The detail was excellent as well - from the audible breaths to the sound of the cymbols on Hells Bells.

There was a slight degradation in soundfield off-axis - just barely noticeable though. As far as the low end, they did pretty well here, but I felt that the cannons on the 1812 track lacked impact.

Where these really stood out for me was in the aesthetics, midrange, and dynamic range (especially male vocals). If I were in the market for a 2 channel system, I would definitely give these a second, longer audition.

Next up was the SVS Ultras which were initially crossed to subs and at the end (with requested tracks) were run full range.

Another beautiful speaker - the piano black finish was exquisite and the cabinets have enough contouring to give it some character. The soundstage for this speaker was excellent - there was no noticeable degradation off axis. That said, they did not image very well for me - I never felt that there was any point where I could forget the speakers were there.

Vocals sounded OK, but I felt they were just a little flat - they just did not engage me at all. They also lacked the detail I crave - not being able to hear those minute details like breaths almost makes me wonder what else I am missing that I missed. wink.gif

Midrange was OK, but I did not hear the noticeable snap that I was able to hear on the Bambergs on the same tracks. Low end was good - I did not notice the effect that the NE group was talking about where they felt the bass was too boomy. The cannons on the 1812 track sounded good - slightly more impactful than the Bambergs.

The characteristics that stood out most for me on these were the aesthetics and the soundstage. A saying brings itself to mind with these speakers - jack of all trades, master of none. They did everything well, but there just was not that one thing that made them stand out from the rest.

Next up was the Seaton Catalyst 12Cs which were intially crossed to subs and then Mark switched them to run full range and played requests.

This is the third chance I have had to hear the Cat 12s, and they have not disappointed on any of those occasions. Directly from my AXPONA experience:

At AXPONA, I had a chance to hear the entire system together. First off, the Red Cherry finish is beautifully done - every speaker just really popped out. As with the previous audition, detail and clarity were phenomenal and vocal dynamics were handled really well. They imaged really well - it really felt the vocalist was right dead center. I think the biggest difference was that with the entire system, it just all blended so much better. And, I did not feel the same sense of fatigue that I did the last time I heard them - and this was after all day Friday as well as most of Saturday of listening to other systems.

Another interesting feature - the Catalyst 12Cs can be set up to crossover to subs or they can be run full range. It only takes a push of a button and a power cycle to switch them over.


Nothing at the GTG changed any of that - every instrument I specifically listen for - horns, piano, and cymbols - sounded amazing. Vocals were clean, incredibly dynamic and no sense of them struggling with the female vocals at the top end. They are incredibly detailed - this is the first set of speakers that I noticed a male "vocal" on the last track (Janet Chapin - sounded like he was huffing or something like that smile.gif).

They image wonderfully - locked dead center and seemed right on a line with the speakers. I also noticed more detail with the cannons in the 1812 track - you could hear what almost sounded like the powder flash.

When swapped to full range, they had a nice, impactful low end. It may have just been my hearing, but I thought that the mids may not have had the same snap. However, we did not play the same tracks so I would take that with a grain of salt.

All in all, a fantastic speaker. The characteristics that stood out most for me were the aesthetics (gorgeous cherry finish), clarity, instrument handling, midrange, and vocals. Definitely speakers I would not mind owning at all...

On to the LS6s - these were run full range. They have 8 6.5" mids and 6 tweeters and are about 6' tall - crazy! These have a gorgeous Brazilian Rosewood veneer and, even though they have the standard rectangle shape, the fact that they are that tall with all those drivers presents a uniqueness all its own.

Throughout the audition, I kept wondering if the subs were actually engaged - these just had that much presence in the low end. The only time I felt they struggled was on the very lowest notes - they sounded a bit muddy down there. However, very little music reaches that low so it is not a deal-breaker at all to me. On the 1812 track, you could definitely hear the detail of the blast, but it lacked the impact of the Cat 12s.

Instruments sounded fantastic - piano was just so pure and you could hear the strike of the cymbols. I just LOVE that level of detail. They image beautifully - on that female duet track, you could again visualize their location. As I expected, there is no noticeable degradation off axis.

Vocals were crystal clear and very dynamic - the male vocal track (was a group - do not remember the name) showed this to a T for me. Midrange was utterly insane - they just SNAPPED right off and had that "punch" sound I just adore.

The characteristics that most stood out for me were the midrange, aesthetics, imaging, soundstage, and vocals.

I remember thinking about 2/3 of the way through the playlist about whether or not I could tackle building these on my own. At $2,000 for the kit, they would present excellent value if you can manage the build. However, for at least $5,000 for them already built, I would probably look for something that managed that low end a bit better for a 2 channel system.

Time was starting to be of the essence, so the Salk Veracity HT2s audition was cut a little short. They were run full range. While they have the standard shape, there is nothing standard about the finish - beautifully done.

I have heard several different Salk speakers, and one thing stays consistent - the RAAL tweeter is a fantastic performer. Vocals are so smooth and warm and detailed - breaths are plainly audible as is every nuance of the vocals themselves. Female vocals were splendid - no shrillness at all.

This was the other speaker I was not sure if the subs were running - very nice thump. However, I did feel that these also struggled with the very lowest notes. Great midrange punch - and so clean! I cannot recall the specific track, but there is a point where there was a repititive striking of the snare (?) drum, and you could hear each and every strike - awesome!

They imaged beautifully - all the speakers except the Ultras did IMO - and the soundstage had just a slight degradation off axis.

The characteristics that stood out most for me were the midrange and vocals. Would I like to own Salks? You bet I would - but I have a new love, and they will be along shortly... :bigsmile:

Last up was the JTR Noesis 212s - these are created to be crossed to a sub so running full range really changes the sound (as I discovered quite well during the blind audition). I heard them earlier in the week as Jeff's shop is 40 minutes from me - I spent a solid 2 hours there and was very impressed. I was looking forward to hearing them in a different room to see how they performed.

From an aesthetic point of reference, these are finished for home theater use - they have a very dark finish and have a little texture to them. In my opinion, they are designed to disappear. Note - I am pretty certain that we were running these louder than any other speaker - maybe 5 db higher if I had to guess.

From the outset, I was enthralled. On the very first track, I heard a midrange note that I did not notice on any other speaker. That just continued throughout the playlist - midrange notes just popped and were just so clean. Instruments - again, piano, horns, cymbols - were just so engaging and pure. Low end was very impactful - as expected since they were crossed to a pair of S2s :bigsmile: - which was very evident when we hit the 1812 cannons.

They also image really well - that female duet track was a fantastic choice to show how well each speaker imaged. There was a slight degradation in the soundstage off axis.

Both male and female vocals were very dynamic and engaging - no shrillness or flatness at all. The detail of the selected tracks came in clear as a bell - I especially noticed the plucking of the guitar on the Eagles track and the male "vocal" in the last track.

I was all set to save up for Salk Soundscape 8s, but after reading through reviews, the impressions from the New England area GTG, and hearing these in two different rooms, I am sold.
post #244 of 284
Thread Starter 
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
post #245 of 284
Awesome write ups everyone!
From Desertdome's post, it seems digital is the future. With 99.99% of media sources being digital, it's only logical to EQ in the digital domain before running through a DAC.

PS. Those are some expensive equipment you guys used. eek.gif at the price of those monoblocks.
post #246 of 284
Desertdome, your setup notes and writeup were excellent and I thank you for your effort to ensure we were all clear on what occurred behind the scenes'. You did an excellent job with your knowledge and tools! Thank you for your work!


ALMFamily, djarchow, dragoson, and others who have posted long reviews. Thank you! I certainly enjoy reading your opinions!
Edited by Archaea - 4/29/13 at 9:20pm
post #247 of 284
Thanks for all the hard work David and Michael put in organizing and to the men supplying the speakers - good times!

It was nice just being an attendee at a GTG, I haven't ever been a total guess/non-organizer/participant yet and it was nice to relax and just hang out.

Those cakeballs were amazing.


***Things overheard during the day***


Dbldeck instructing guests on not to peek walking into a pitch black basement "Close your eyes as you walk down the stairs so your eyes can adjust to the dark."

Desertdome on initial EQ/playback struggles "Do Over."

Mark Seaton on initial EQ/playback struggles "Stop It! You got A and B."

Funny attendee during initial EQ/playback struggles - Cricket sound via cellphone.

Speaker A or B "I want my MTV.....x60."

Dbldeck on repeating speaker A a few times while ironing out J River playback "That was just a test."

Desertdome nerd humor regarding speaker cake "That's because it is passive, not active".
___________________


The design of the blind testing was probably as good as you were going to get given the situations and goals. I liked it.

During the blind testing, I was in the back right seating in the rear of the room. Directly in front of me after the reveal were the SVS and Salk speakers which I favored 3rd and 2nd, respectively during the blind auditioning. I favored the Catalyst #1, and the LS6 #4. I could tell that the Single 8 was Speaker D when we were going through tracts, especially Song #1. That was the only speaker I could identify and to me it was obvious the subs weren't playing....maybe the benefit of hearing them before.

During the formal demos, I found great things in most of the speakers.

I thought the LS6s performed better at Desertdome's house during the Omaha Home Theater Tour this past year. There were song tracts I thought were too bright, though the bass was awesome. The kick drums in a few songs were the best of the day. At one point, I was sitting in the rear of the room and I think even Mark was shocked to know the dual S2s weren't active.

I liked the Bamberg speakers for what they are - I'd consider them for a 2 channel listening room setup or a living room if I were more into sitting and listening to music. Since I'm all about home theater and would rather watch a high impact film than listen to classical music, my goals are different. They were pushed a bit too hard, but when we had lower db music tracks they were a nice pair.

The Catalyst I didn't hear many things I'd want improved at all. They seemed to be able to handle any of the material. It was fun when Mark tuned the dual 12" woofers with his DSP to try and match the curve of a submersive in response. They seemed to handle that pretty well. The finish was very nice on these. I thought these would be a great compromise if you wanted something to handle home theater demands as well as music. Probably the most attractive speaker to me.

The Single 8 I had heard before and when paired with a sub they are highly effective and efficient speakers. I'll throw a pair of these on my deck down the road.

I left before the Noesis were set up and played. I got to spend a week with these this past year and they are perfect for home theater. At their price point I would probably take them over the Catalyst if I was buying today and had an AT screen. When matched with the subs I have I had no flaws in my front stage when I demoed last fall. Clear, powerful, no real negatives. I thought they were a tad harsh in my blind listening notes though. FWIW.

The SVS towers I was impressed with blind and thought they were fine for a 999 speaker during the formal presentation. I didn't think the bass was flabby, maybe it was seating that day as I know Michael said something about that, but Archaea didn't hear it either. For 999 they seemed like a nice bargain.

I didn't get to hear the Salks in the formal setup but during the blind presentation these were "smooth" to my ears. I think they would be awesome for music. Not sure how they would handle home theater demands though.


Great time and thanks for hosting dbldeck. Well done.
post #248 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

This was NOT during the formal auditions. Almost everyone had left, it was after midnight, and it was play time and it got stooooooopid. biggrin.gif


I have to say though, I was VERY impressed with the 228's as surrounds were the rest of you guys that were there? I have never experienced really high sensitivity/powerful surrounds and it made a difference for sure. Still when I do replace my surrounds i think I'm going with single 8's. They are crazy good for their size and I don't want to have to hang 228's on my walls.




It was stoooooooopid, and I would do it again in a second. biggrin.gif

I was super impressed with the 228's as well for surrounds. They kept up and were STILL barely working when we were getting crazy. I plan on building them into some columns when I start my theater build.

Based on what I heard I believe I will be going with the 228's for the rears with the 212's for LCR to start. Now I’m just trying to decide on the HT vs. LP for the Noesis (Does Jeff make the 228's in a LP form?) and CapS2's vs. OS. If any of the have heard both can you weigh in, what's the difference between the two? I always see a lot regarding sealed vs. horn subs. I really enjoy the "thump" feeling against the chest and the pressurization of the room with bass, which one would give me more of that and less vibrations or houses falling on me? wink.gif
post #249 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoson View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

This was NOT during the formal auditions. Almost everyone had left, it was after midnight, and it was play time and it got stooooooopid. biggrin.gif


I have to say though, I was VERY impressed with the 228's as surrounds were the rest of you guys that were there? I have never experienced really high sensitivity/powerful surrounds and it made a difference for sure. Still when I do replace my surrounds i think I'm going with single 8's. They are crazy good for their size and I don't want to have to hang 228's on my walls.




It was stoooooooopid, and I would do it again in a second. biggrin.gif

I was super impressed with the 228's as well for surrounds. They kept up and were STILL barely working when we were getting crazy. I plan on building them into some columns when I start my theater build.

Based on what I heard I believe I will be going with the 228's for the rears with the 212's for LCR to start. Now I’m just trying to decide on the HT vs. LP for the Noesis (Does Jeff make the 228's in a LP form?) and CapS2's vs. OS. If any of the have heard both can you weigh in, what's the difference between the two? I always see a lot regarding sealed vs. horn subs. I really enjoy the "thump" feeling against the chest and the pressurization of the room with bass, which one would give me more of that and less vibrations or houses falling on me? wink.gif

Excellent combo! ^ The best I've ever heard.

As to your question if anyone had compared the orbit shifter to the s2s? Yes - a bunch of people at the blind subwoofer shootout in KC in 2012 - linked in my signature
post #250 of 284
I would venture the orbit shifter has more 'chest thump' than an S2. The ported captivator might have more 'chest thump' than an s2 too.
post #251 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I would venture the orbit shifter has more 'chest thump' than an S2. The ported captivator might have more 'chest thump' than an s2 too.

As you guys already know (so I guess this is for anyone else reading this that may not) the chest thump will be much more dependent on what the frequency response is at the LP. I highly suggest getting an omnimic so you can make sure you don't have dips that could make the mid bass suffer. Also having near field subs can really help.

I have found in my room that having a ton of subs helps with the mid bass punch for sure, I assume because it smooths the frequency response better. I still have a mbm-12 right behind my seat and I turn it on when I'm in the mood for extra tactile feel. However I never have it on for movies, and just sometimes for music.

Last 2 nights I've had it off and liked the music better that way.
post #252 of 284
Chest thump is usually kick drum frequencies. 70-80 hz
post #253 of 284
dual 18's should be better than a single ported 18 in the 70-80hz range, not so at the tuning frequency. The OS is horn loaded above 20hz so has a 6 dB advantage.
post #254 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

dual 18's should be better than a single ported 18 in the 70-80hz range, not so at the tuning frequency. The OS is horn loaded above 20hz so has a 6 dB advantage.

Hey MK,

This is slightly off topic but what PEQ are you using for your speakers?
post #255 of 284
Jeff - what is the SPL capability of the
S2 vs. Orbit Shifter vs. Captivator 2400?

This was the 4000 watt Captivator spec sheet from when I bought my units. (mine are passive ported models purchased in 3rd quarter 2011 timeframe)
http://web.archive.org/web/20110416042918/http://jtrspeakers.com/home-audio/captivator/

Jeff said on that link above the 4000 watt ported captivator could hit mid 130's dB usable output at 60hz.

It appears that later page updates don't include those dB numbers per frequency like the original pages a couple years back. Perhaps I was thinking of some conversation with the S1 instead of the S2 in regards to max output at kickdrum (chest thump) frequencies vs. the captivator. Toy2machyne told me in some recent conversations that Jeff recommended he go with a couple of ported captivators or orbit shifters over a couple of S2's for a big room application from a strictly high output perspective - but I don't know all the details on that recommendation and I've heard that from Toy - and not from Jeff himself. Maybe Jeff will clear this up. I don't know all the details.
post #256 of 284
Hey RMK!,
I use the DCX 2496.
post #257 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Jeff - what is the SPL capability of the
S2 vs. Orbit Shifter vs. Captivator 2400?

This was the 4000 watt Captivator spec sheet from when I bought my units. (mine are passive ported models purchased in 3rd quarter 2011 timeframe)
http://web.archive.org/web/20110416042918/http://jtrspeakers.com/home-audio/captivator/

Jeff said on that link above the 4000 watt ported captivator could hit mid 130's dB usable output at 60hz.

It appears that later page updates don't include those dB numbers per frequency like the original pages a couple years back. Perhaps I was thinking of some conversation with the S1 instead of the S2 in regards to max output at kickdrum (chest thump) frequencies vs. the captivator. Toy2machyne told me in some recent conversations that Jeff recommended he go with a couple of ported captivators or orbit shifters over a couple of S2's for a big room application from a strictly high output perspective - but I don't know all the details on that recommendation and I've heard that from Toy - and not from Jeff himself. Maybe Jeff will clear this up. I don't know all the details.

I recently emailed Jeff about how the Ported Cap (with 2.4K amp) compares with S2 in terms of the output and received the following response:

"They have the same output above 18hz however the Captivator S2 have much more output below that. Basically, for an etra $500 you gain the ultra lowend."
post #258 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

Hey RMK!,
I use the DCX 2496.

Thanks, for some reason I thought you had a different processor...
post #259 of 284
That is for EQ and DSP only, I use a meridian 861.
post #260 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

That is for EQ and DSP only, I use a meridian 861.

And crossover for your mains, no?
The Meridian looks like an interesting processor but how do you handle HDMI and uncompressed HD audio sources with the Meridian?
Edited by RMK! - 5/1/13 at 7:06am
post #261 of 284
So I just ordered my new set-up from Jeff based off of my experience at the meet.

3x Noesis 212HT
2x Noesis 228HT
1x Captivator S2

I can't wait! biggrin.gif

Again, a very gracious thanks to David for hosting and for all of the attendees that made it.
This was a great experience and I look forward to attending the next GtG close by and maybe even hosting one in the future. wink.gif
post #262 of 284
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoson View Post

So I just ordered my new set-up from Jeff based off of my experience at the meet.

3x Noesis 212HT
2x Noesis 228HT
1x Captivator S2

I can't wait! biggrin.gif

Again, a very gracious thanks to David for hosting and for all of the attendees that made it.
This was a great experience and I look forward to attending the next GtG close by and maybe even hosting one in the future. wink.gif

That's so awesome. How exciting!!! Let us know when they arrive and start planning a spot for a 2nd S2 :-)
post #263 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbeck View Post

That's so awesome. How exciting!!! Let us know when they arrive and start planning a spot for a 2nd S2 :-)

Actually another Cap S2 and a couple more 228's are already on my list for upgrades in the next year or two. Shhh! tongue.gif
post #264 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoson View Post

Actually another Cap S2 and a couple more 228's are already on my list for upgrades in the next year or two. Shhh! tongue.gif

Oh man congrats on a kick a$$ setup. Your neighbours are going to hate you tongue.gif
post #265 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoson View Post

So I just ordered my new set-up from Jeff based off of my experience at the meet.

3x Noesis 212HT
2x Noesis 228HT
1x Captivator S2

I can't wait! biggrin.gif

Again, a very gracious thanks to David for hosting and for all of the attendees that made it.
This was a great experience and I look forward to attending the next GtG close by and maybe even hosting one in the future. wink.gif

Congratulations Dragoson! You are going to love it man, but you already know that. smile.gif

Very very cool, I was bummed for Jeff that so many left before the JTR demo but it looks like it sure was worthwhile.

I'm curious - what size is your room and can you post pics of your current setup? I'm very jealous of your soon to be surrounds...
post #266 of 284
Yes. Excellent choice!
post #267 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Congratulations Dragoson! You are going to love it man, but you already know that. smile.gif

Very very cool, I was bummed for Jeff that so many left before the JTR demo but it looks like it sure was worthwhile.

I'm curious - what size is your room and can you post pics of your current setup? I'm very jealous of your soon to be surrounds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Yes. Excellent choice!

They hear em, they buy em ...

Congrats Dragoson cool.gif
post #268 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoson View Post

Actually another Cap S2 and a couple more 228's are already on my list for upgrades in the next year or two. Shhh! tongue.gif

Congrats mate!
post #269 of 284
I wonder if Archaea was getting any "pee stream finishing chills" from this Captivator. biggrin.gif

post #270 of 284
I don't know, but he looks skinny for him. Must have been off the creatine at the time or doing a lot of cardio.
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