My TLAH LCR build. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 40 Old 06-01-2019, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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My TLAH LCR build.

Well, the little Polk towers and horizontal MTM center were not cutting it in the movie room. Honestly, for what they cost and everything, I can't really complain about them. However, I've got two rows in the movie room without a riser (at the moment) and really didn't want to build one tall enough for an under the screen center.

So I went looking for plans that would let me wall mount, have the LCR match, and be shallow enough to not make me build a false wall. My room is 20x20x8 and making the room wider than long doesn't appeal to me or the wife, and an tall riser doesn't sound good with the projector over the back row and 8ft ceilings. So all of my compromises led me down a path to find the BFM TLAH speakers.

I had purchased the plans and sat on them for a little while, contemplating components and future plans and all that indecisive stuff that keeps us awake at night lol. Then the day came where one of the LF drivers I was eyeing went on a significant sale and still let me use coupons at PE. Woo-hoo!!! I think I figured them to be just under $8 each, score!





Next I wanted to build a test baffle with a few drivers to confirm spacing and mounting them on the rear. Had I not done this step, I probably would have scrapped 3 or 4 full length baffles. The other thing I did, but didn't picture, was make some test baffles to see what diameter opening looked good. I was also a little concerned with the effects of having them reverse mounted and wanted to try them side by side with surface mounted. They seemed pretty good and measured ok with some of my very unscientifically valid measurements including about 45 degrees off axis. Again, I didn't control a lot of the variables so, don't consider posting anything about that more than misinformation. It just made me feel a little better doing something. Also, I got my LF hole making template/jig made up to router 27 of these dang holes.







At this point, I was pretty stoked with the look of the drivers and the roundover and mounting depth. Time for production!!
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post #2 of 40 Old 06-01-2019, 03:19 PM
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Yeah, that roundover looks awesome.

I'm not familiar with TLAH. What is it?
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post #3 of 40 Old 06-01-2019, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jcmccorm View Post
Yeah, that roundover looks awesome.



I'm not familiar with TLAH. What is it?


It’s essentially a line array, transmission line and horn loaded enclosure all in one.

https://billfitzmaurice.info/TLAH.html


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post #4 of 40 Old 06-01-2019, 04:34 PM
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Subscribed. I keep coming back to this design. Looking forward to hearing your impression of them

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post #5 of 40 Old 06-01-2019, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, one sheet of Auroco 1/2" ply was more than enough to make three full enclosures with some material left over. Rough cut dimensions for each piece were all plugged into cutlist. Compared to the dual THTs, this was child's play for ripping down plywood.

Once I made the final dimension cuts, it was time to set up a station for the baffles. I used a jig saw to rough cut the openings for the mids and a forstner bit for the tweeter holes. For the mids, using a straight cut bit with a roller guide followed by the 3/8" round over worked pretty good. For the tweeter holes, the forstner cut cleanly and they just needed a round over with a guide clamped below the baffle for the roller to follow.



I had to work on this in the evenings and weekends when I could get a couple of hours set aside. If these were surface mounted instead, all three could be done in a day or less minus wiring and crossovers. Speaking of which, I then had to make my follow up order for the crossover parts and tweeters, per Bill's plans.



It was around this time I learned about the whole sock puppet thing and kinda left a sour taste in my mouth regarding his business dealings. And if you're not familiar with this subject, it can be found by searching, but I'm not going to spread it either. I want this thread to be about the speakers I built, but don't really care to promote questionable business either, so I was a bit torn about making the thread at all. However, I am proud of the work that I did, so figured why not.

Anywho, now it was time to start making the components come together. You can see where I took a little material off the back of the baffle where the mids mount to keep the "horn" effect of the reverse mount down some. Watching @tuxedocivic 's youtube video regarding diffraction and reverse mounting was another factor that put me at ease. (BTW, check out his channel, pretty good stuff over there). I still wanted to have as little impact on sound as I reasonably could while keeping a nice look, so I moved the drivers into the baffle a little bit. The mid drivers were test fitted and came back out to remove material for the tweeter array as well.

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post #6 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 04:11 AM
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Pics aren’t showing on Tapatalk for some reason


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post #7 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Pics aren’t showing on Tapatalk for some reason


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Hmm, that's odd because they're being hosted by AVS. I'll see what I can find on it.
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post #8 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 07:29 AM
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No pics in that last post here either.

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post #9 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Just added Tapatalk to my Android phone and all the images are showing up for me. Ugh, technology is great until it's broken lol

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post #10 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 08:24 AM
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Just added Tapatalk to my Android phone and all the images are showing up for me. Ugh, technology is great until it's broken lol

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Weird. I DO see pics in your first post... but for your other one this is what I see.



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post #11 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 08:26 AM
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Weird. I DO see pics in your first post... but for your other one this is what I see.



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Same here.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #12 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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By this point, I was getting pretty excited with the form factor of the speakers. The idea of wall mounting them and creating a particular look was feeling pretty real!!



I made the center channel first so there wouldn't be a lot of finish work done before I could listen to my first line array of any type. Even though it was going behind the screen, it seemed to make sense to use all the same build techniques to all 3 speakers. So I applied the round overs to the driver openings and baffle edge.



The mid drivers have some screws that were blunted square on the tips to minimize depth and all the holes pre-drilled of course. I used RTV on the metal edge of the frames to seal them against the baffle. For the tweeters, I applied a liberal amount of RTV to the flange behind the baffle. Then I pushed each one down and centered them in the opening for all 12 drivers. Once all of them were in place, I used a straight board to press them down overnight with weight on the board. After this, some hot glue was also laid down for a little more strength. When I pulled on the drivers after this process, it seemed it would take some serious prying to remove them, so they should be ok with only adhesive. The other advantage of using RTV as the glue was any "squeeze out" on the front side was easily peeled off without affecting the seal or gouging the tweeter.



EDIT: For some reason, the images in the second pic did not have the attachment urls when I went to edit the post, yet they all did show up even in the edit window. I re-uploaded them and now the image links are in the "Attach files" section. Let me know if they still don't show up, @EndersShadow @Nalleh @Russdawg1
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post #13 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notfastenough View Post
By this point, I was getting pretty excited with the form factor of the speakers. The idea of wall mounting them and creating a particular look was feeling pretty real!!







I made the center channel first so there wouldn't be a lot of finish work done before I could listen to my first line array of any type. Even though it was going behind the screen, it seemed to make sense to use all the same build techniques to all 3 speakers. So I applied the round overs to the driver openings and baffle edge.







The mid drivers have some screws that were blunted square on the tips to minimize depth and all the holes pre-drilled of course. I used RTV on the metal edge of the frames to seal them against the baffle. For the tweeters, I applied a liberal amount of RTV to the flange behind the baffle. Then I pushed each one down and centered them in the opening for all 12 drivers. Once all of them were in place, I used a straight board to press them down overnight with weight on the board. After this, some hot glue was also laid down for a little more strength. When I pulled on the drivers after this process, it seemed it would take some serious prying to remove them, so they should be ok with only adhesive. The other advantage of using RTV as the glue was any "squeeze out" on the front side was easily peeled off without affecting the seal or gouging the tweeter.







EDIT: For some reason, the images in the second pic did not have the attachment urls when I went to edit the post, yet they all did show up even in the edit window. I re-uploaded them and now the image links are in the "Attach files" section. Let me know if they still don't show up, @EndersShadow @Nalleh @Russdawg1


Those are turning out really well. Quite the undertaking.


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post #14 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 09:39 AM
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Pics aren’t showing on Tapatalk for some reason


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I’m using Tapatalk and they’re showing up at this time.


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post #15 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 09:39 AM
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@notfastenough

Looks great!
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #16 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 09:59 AM
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Yup, pics work now, thanks

WOW, those look awsome, nice job.
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post #17 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan611 View Post
It’s essentially a line array, transmission line and horn loaded enclosure all in one.

https://billfitzmaurice.info/TLAH.html


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Thank you! Very interesting stuff! I anxious to see how these turn out.
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post #18 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 10:24 AM
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those tweeters they seem recessed ... will it affect the dispersion pattern ?

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post #19 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcmccorm View Post
Yeah, that roundover looks awesome.

I'm not familiar with TLAH. What is it?
Quote:
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Subscribed. I keep coming back to this design. Looking forward to hearing your impression of them
Quote:
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Those are turning out really well. Quite the undertaking.


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Thanks guys!! Yeah, they were a good bit of work, but just because it's tedious. I figured building the THTs was going to be the way harder build, but these gave them a run for the money! If I had just surface mounted them and made grills, it would have been a piece of cake by comparison. The finish work on the L & R really made it drag out more than I thought it would. More on that........

So I listened to the one center speaker as a Left speaker with the Polk Monitor 50 as the right and just did some tried some music and movies with both going. It was sooo much clearer than the Polk in the mid and upper frequencies, I didn't understand how the Polks made me happy in any way LOL! Running them both full range in pure mode, it was very clear that the TLAH was no 2 channel speaker haha. It absolutely got trounced in the extension department, but this isn't a concern for me since HT is my focus and I always run the subs. This was also my first chance to experience the line array vertical pattern control and they aren't kidding. When you are sitting in the correct range, it was a pretty cool effect even in mono. However, when you stand up, the response changes completely!! At any rate, I was very happy with the clarity of the high frequencies and how much better sounding male voices sounded. I really found this out by connecting my one completed speaker to the center channel. For me, this was a game changer and gave enough motivation to push forward with the plan for the L&R.

I also ran sine waves around 50hz and used a stethoscope with tube on the end to check for air leaks around the drivers, back panel, and terminal cup. This method did unfortunately find that a few of the tweeters are not sealed and were leaking air through the driver housing one way or another. So, hot glue to the rescue!!! I sealed all the openings on the backs of all 36 of them (12 already installed ). That seemed to take care of the air noise I could hear.

So I made the next two baffles and built them to be the same, but wanted to put a finish on them. Although putting all three of these behind the screen would have been the "easy button" I really wanted to see some speakers in the front and also wanted a little more channel separation than those distances would have offered. Now I did like the silver baffles from the Polks and thought the contrast from the black drivers would look pretty cool. Onward and upward then.

The rest of the box got flat black brushed on with the face masked off. Once that dried, it was time to finish the front. I used drywall spackle and primer with OH-SO-MUCH sanding + reapply. If I were to do these again with the same type of finish, I think I'd use solid wood like @MKtheater did with his custom arrays. The layers were very rough where the round over was applied and took a lot of spackle to get smooth. That and the surface of the plywood made a smooth finish pretty tough to get "good enough" for me.



After that, more crossovers assembled on pegboard, speakers installed, and lots and lots of terminal soldering. I had lined all of these with a combination of denim insulation (salvaged from Amazon cold pack insulation lol) and poly batting. Nothing scientific here either, just used what I had on hand. Also, I was not good about grabbing pictures here cause I was close to the end!



And since I had planned on hanging these and changing to an AT screen, it was a bit of work to get them into place and actually get to appreciate the work put in. Next was spandex for the screen along with moving the screen off the wall by about 2.5 inches and embedding the center into the wall. If you are interested in using the Silver Ticket frame with another screen material, I showed materials and methods used over in the DIY Screen section: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/110-d...d-spandex.html









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post #20 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 11:49 AM
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Nice!
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post #21 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 11:53 AM
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Those look amazing. Great job!

The one question I have is, are the tweeters not lined up on center with the woofers for any particular reason? Is it aesthetic, or is there some type of audible advantage?
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post #22 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 12:13 PM
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Looks great. I've been interested in the TLAH's for quite some time. Do you have any plans to do some sweeps in REW? I'm also wondering if they will have any compression as you approach reference level for movies.
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post #23 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulls View Post
those tweeters they seem recessed ... will it affect the dispersion pattern ?
It does have an affect that's able to be measured, but I didn't go through the process of a/b comparison. A really good question is how they affect the summing of the array as well, but I'd probably still have chose to reverse mount even if there was slight improvements with the surface mounting. Horizontal off axis doesn't change the same way the vertical does, that's for certain!!

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Those look amazing. Great job!

The one question I have is, are the tweeters not lined up on center with the woofers for any particular reason? Is it aesthetic, or is there some type of audible advantage?
Thanks! Them not being aligned doesn't have an affect after a certain distance away from the speaker. The affects of a line array need a little distance to come together as I understand it. You'd have to ask Bill, but I'm sure the number of drivers used is a compromise for overall dimensions and how they are wired together for the design. If anything, I think this design has disadvantages compared to longer line arrays, but one of his goals is always based on low cost with relatively good performance (one other factor for my budget limited upgrades).

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Originally Posted by JDontee View Post
Looks great. I've been interested in the TLAH's for quite some time. Do you have any plans to do some sweeps in REW? I'm also wondering if they will have any compression as you approach reference level for movies.
Thank you! I can do sweeps (UMIK and REW), but I'm not as well versed with sweeps for non-subs. Also, I'm sure having them outside will isolate the speakers the best, but I really don't want to go through all that. If anyone could offer some guidance for getting meaningful in-room sweeps, I'd be glad to give it a shot.
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post #24 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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And everything in it's place. I've got the L&R toed in a little. When I had them on the ground, a little toe in made them sound a little more balanced when sitting on the end seats. The center is flipped upside down compared to the sides. If I'd have planned it slightly better, the tweeter array would have been shifted to the other end of the woofer array so the port would be pointed down like the sides. Also, since keeping the screen as close to the wall as possible was a major WAF factor, angling the center down wasn't really in the cards either. So flipping it and pointing straight out seemed like the best compromise.







After this I was doing some measurements for the subs and found I could rotate the mouth up and pull them out to the walls to open up the front stage a little. This is how it rests now. Very happy visually for me and the wife is on board too!!

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post #25 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 02:58 PM
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Those really look fantastic. Great work!

Could you mention a little bit about your finishing process? Is that just primer, paint, and sanding? What kind of paint did you use?

Again, really great looking.
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post #26 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 05:10 PM
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My TLAH LCR build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notfastenough View Post
And everything in it's place. I've got the L&R toed in a little. When I had them on the ground, a little toe in made them sound a little more balanced when sitting on the end seats. The center is flipped upside down compared to the sides. If I'd have planned it slightly better, the tweeter array would have been shifted to the other end of the woofer array so the port would be pointed down like the sides. Also, since keeping the screen as close to the wall as possible was a major WAF factor, angling the center down wasn't really in the cards either. So flipping it and pointing straight out seemed like the best compromise.















After this I was doing some measurements for the subs and found I could rotate the mouth up and pull them out to the walls to open up the front stage a little. This is how it rests now. Very happy visually for me and the wife is on board too!!





Those turned out amazingly. I dig how you finished them. I’m more interested to hear your thoughts on how they sound for movies.

Now you need to build 2 more THTs


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Damn! Awesome build!

I would've tried the left and right behind the screen. The silver paint may get distracting. Can always paint them black and make a grill so they blend in better if it's a distraction.
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post #28 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 07:19 PM
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Very nice! They look fantastic. I really like the TLAH, they perform well above their price to build. Bass? No, but they are theater speakers meant to cross at 80hz.
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post #29 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcmccorm View Post
Those really look fantastic. Great work!

Could you mention a little bit about your finishing process? Is that just primer, paint, and sanding? What kind of paint did you use?

Again, really great looking.
Sure, I sanded the plywood with a palm sander on the flat parts and sanded by hand for the speaker holes. Used 120 grit for all of the pre-primer work. Then went to the spackling and sanding. Once that was as good, threw down 2 coats of Rustoleum 2X Primer, sanded with 120 again, then one more coat of primer and sanded it with 200 grit. Then rustoleum metallic aluminum with 2 full coats. Unfortunately, I had a couple of runs from trying to get the speaker holes covered and had to sand and reapply. Fortunately the paint was forgiving for this and didn't require respraying the whole thing.

https://www.rustoleum.com/product-ca...a-cover/primer
https://www.amazon.com/Rust-Oleum-Br.../dp/B00KXWTLFA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan611 View Post
Those turned out amazingly. I dig how you finished them. I’m more interested to hear your thoughts on how they sound for movies.

Now you need to build 2 more THTs


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Sound for movies has been great!! Considering what they were replacing, increased capability was going to happen no matter what haha! I rarely listen at reference, normally -10. At these levels they don't sound strained like the Polks did. Everything sounds very clear and the front stage is pretty cohesive when sounds are panning. Mad Max and Deadpool were treats!! I'm ready for Alita: Battle Angel to come out, should be fun as well. The Atomic Blonde was fun, especially when the music came around, great soundtrack.

I've also watched the John Wick 2 tunnel scene at reference and it was certainly loud, yet it didn't hurt your ears from being shrill or sharp. I'd say they are very capable HT speakers and sound good for music too. I really enjoyed Eagles in Melbourne, great sound and clarity. It was really cool to distinguish the sound of different instruments with such a busy stage. Guitars sound so great on these speakers, especially the songs where they were using 12 strings.

Honestly, having the center match and sit at screen level has really improved the movie watching experience. Adding the absorption has really helped the room as well. I feel like dialogue shouldn't be an issue for any seat in the house. All in all, I think the combination of changes along with reasonably good speakers made the difference in this area.

And when I built the THTs, I never though I'd consider adding any more, yet here we are. Upgrading as if a room really NEEDS 4 horned subs lol.
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post #30 of 40 Old 06-02-2019, 08:28 PM
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My TLAH LCR build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notfastenough View Post
Sure, I sanded the plywood with a palm sander on the flat parts and sanded by hand for the speaker holes. Used 120 grit for all of the pre-primer work. Then went to the spackling and sanding. Once that was as good, threw down 2 coats of Rustoleum 2X Primer, sanded with 120 again, then one more coat of primer and sanded it with 200 grit. Then rustoleum metallic aluminum with 2 full coats. Unfortunately, I had a couple of runs from trying to get the speaker holes covered and had to sand and reapply. Fortunately the paint was forgiving for this and didn't require respraying the whole thing.



https://www.rustoleum.com/product-ca...a-cover/primer

https://www.amazon.com/Rust-Oleum-Br.../dp/B00KXWTLFA







Sound for movies has been great!! Considering what they were replacing, increased capability was going to happen no matter what haha! I rarely listen at reference, normally -10. At these levels they don't sound strained like the Polks did. Everything sounds very clear and the front stage is pretty cohesive when sounds are panning. Mad Max and Deadpool were treats!! I'm ready for Alita: Battle Angel to come out, should be fun as well. The Atomic Blonde was fun, especially when the music came around, great soundtrack.



I've also watched the John Wick 2 tunnel scene at reference and it was certainly loud, yet it didn't hurt your ears from being shrill or sharp. I'd say they are very capable HT speakers and sound good for music too. I really enjoyed Eagles in Melbourne, great sound and clarity. It was really cool to distinguish the sound of different instruments with such a busy stage. Guitars sound so great on these speakers, especially the songs where they were using 12 strings.



Honestly, having the center match and sit at screen level has really improved the movie watching experience. Adding the absorption has really helped the room as well. I feel like dialogue shouldn't be an issue for any seat in the house. All in all, I think the combination of changes along with reasonably good speakers made the difference in this area.



And when I built the THTs, I never though I'd consider adding any more, yet here we are. Upgrading as if a room really NEEDS 4 horned subs lol.


I’m glad they’ve changed the experience for you. I’ve never heard a TLAH or any line array. I am very curious about them.

As for the subs, think about it this way; 2 more reduces the strain on the first two drivers by almost half, plus adds 6 more dB. Not to mention if you can put them in the back, much better coverage for the whole theater. I love having 4. Hell, if I could talk my wife into it, and if I had the time, I’d build 4 more. They’re so much value for what they cost to build.




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Last edited by Rowan611; 06-02-2019 at 08:41 PM.
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