Got some landscaping work done this morning along with a few other chores and then have been listening again since. I decided to toe the Bostons in a bit more to see if that would improve detail and reduce room interaction, and same for the Titans per DS-21s recommendation to increase room interaction. Level matched both to 85db with pink noise from the cd again, both receivers in pure direct.
Ode to Humanity (also known as Aria) - the Bostons are slightly clearer on the female vocals, especialy when they sing together, you can make out distinction
Bizette - this was really meant to be a dynamics test, its instrumental only, and for as loud as I want to go, neither speaker exhibits any advantage here
Fever - the toe in on the Bostons has made the speakers sound almost identical. I can switch speakers without pausing the music in just a couple seconds and you would think I wasn't actually switching speakers if you weren't concentrating. The main difference is that the Titans are only able to place vocals in one dimension of depth. They can move it left and right, but in terms of front and back, you are kind stuck with all vocals about 3 feet in front of your seat on most songs. The Bostons can vary it more, and they have Ray a bit further back on the mid left and Natalie a bit further up on the mid right. You lose that detail with the Titans. Advantage Bostons.
Babbino Caro - dead heat, speakers sound virtually identical, even in quick switch
All I Really Want - Bostons with a clear advantage here, more energy and more engaging, her voice sounds so real.
9th Symphony - Bostons again, more energy when the choir sings. The harshness that came from the extra brightness from the other night is gone by toeing these in more, what's left is more detail and more energy.
Get Out of My Dreams - Billy Ocean was meant to be played on these VR3s, because the Titans seem a bit flat in comparison, mostly in the vocals and horns. Best way to describe it again, like with Caribbean Queen, is the Bostons make you want to move your feet, but the Titans don't generate that engagement.
O Fortuna - neither speakers exhibits a dynamics advantage, but with the choir vocals, the Bostons sound clearer and more realistic. At this point I was wondering if I calibrated correctly, so I skipped back to the pink noise and triple checked, and they were both right on 85db, C weighting, slow response time.
Bulls On Parade - wow, something has to be amiss, the Bostons sound a LOT better on this, even just in the first 10 seconds guitar intro. Titans just sounding flat in comparison. I put the toe in back to the way it was last night with the Titans AND I went ahead and gave it an extra 0.5db just because they should not be losing as bad as they were on this song. I tried it again, and the advantage is still to the Bostons, they are just clearer.
I'll spare every single song on the disc, but this pattern continued. Either the speakers sounded identical with no clear winner, or the Bostons sounded clearer, more realistic, or more engaging. For All Seasons, Green River, Daniel's Triumph, all going to the VR3s.
Hold My Hand - wow again, I wish someone else was here to listen with me to see if I am crazy or what, but the detail and clarity on the VR3s is easily standing out over the Titans. Like not subtle. The Titans still sound great, but there is that thin veil, the VR3s sound like a REAL guitar on the first 16 seconds. I decided to go back to the beginning of the track to see if the Bostons fared any better with the songs it lost on last night with the more aggressive toe in. They did, the trend continued even with yesterdays songs. The overt brightness was gone and exchanged for more detail and clarity. As mentioned, the Bostons can place things in depth and the Titans struggle in this area, and the Titans are being controlled by the more audiophile, beefier receiver. This is honestly what I was fearing, to my ears, the way they are positioned right now, these things are world beaters, I'd match them up against anything, and I should have known better than to buy without listening first.
What to do now. The Titans aren't by any means bad - they are right there with the VR3s, but they are missing that last 5%. The sensitivity isn't any issue, they are separated by 6db. For me, max output capability has never been an issue, I listen to movies at -12 and the VR3s don't sweat it, and music is much easier than that.
I could use the Titans as LCR for movies, the VR3s as wides, and when I want to listen to music, pull the VR3s in a bit from each wall and use them as the mains. Music sounds a bit better not being behind the AT screen anyway, though I'm sure Audyssey can overcome that....I just never had the VR3s toe'd in this aggressively behind the screen before.
I could sell the Titans locally too I guess. Thoughts? I won't rush to a judgment, it's only day 2.