My 'Bland' New Theater: JBL Synthesis... With Help From My Many Friends Here. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 76 Old 06-05-2019, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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My 'Bland' New Theater: JBL Synthesis... With Help From My Many Friends Here.

It's done! (well 99% done )

It's been an almost 2 year process fraught with set backs, cost over runs, disappointments, undos, re-dos, equipment swaps, short circuits and many, many delays. But last night, I forgot all about that and enjoyed a truly awesome movie experience! 13.8.8 JBL Synthesis (w/ M2 LCRs), 4 Wisdom mid bass subs and 4 Seaton F18s to dig deep in an amazingly crafted space. I was sold on the M2s after a couple trips to Art Sonneborn's incredible theater.

I'm going to do a short build thread here as the room has been finally completed. Planning started in July 2017.Construction started in August, 2017. I'm just getting together photos I took over the past 2 years. I wanted to thank all those who contributed to this room I've so long desired to build. Many are here on AVS.

After selling our previous home, the new owner wanted all the equipment in my theater - so he wrote me a check after the home sale and I was free to look at all new gear. The Demo scene from Everest was the clincher on the sale of it all! Almost 20 years in our last home, it was time for something new with less maintenance.

But in the new theater, Adam Pelz's mastery was on full display as he put together my entire theater this past weekend (audio, video, racks, remote, wiring, LCR positioning, sub installation, projector, etc). A couple nights ago, we went through demo clips that emphasized bass, surround effects, dialog intelligibility, dynamics, etc last night... All incredible. It was my first glimpse at this long awaited theater. Blade Runner 2049 was crazy (bass, surround effects), Bohemian Rhapsody... What a recording - puts you right there! And what a screen! This time it was right Mike G. It seemed like the ideal combination of screen size to seating distance to sound. Very, very pleased. The bass is solid, strong and in control. Dynamics galore and a true sonic bubble. Very nice work, Adam! The M2s are just singing!

Theater Construction (2 phases) began last summer. Phase I (build out to drywall) was completed a year ago. All room isolation materials were placed double drywall, green glue, clips, resilient channels, acoustic floor mat, not to mention double drywall and GG placed between joists under the above subfloor to quiet foot falls from above, etc).. Phase II was completed 2 months ago with room being trimmed out, acoustical panels installed, fabric, electrical finishing, speakers placed, 2 solid (heavy), custom acoustical doors (for theater entry and projection room), projector, etc... to physical completion. There is just one thing left to do, however - install a rear bar (with stools). We moved into the house 8 weeks ago and haven't had time yet to design and source.

In paying homage to Peter - Cineramax - AVS ex-member who has to be reinstated, I am naming the theater Elara as it was Peter's inspiration to push the design boundaries and to basically cram as much equipment as possible into a small theater space - classic Peter! And yes, it is a true 'Selfish Bastard' design. We started with the room designed for 2 prime, adjoining seats and then added the other row (front) where most ideal. So, the front row is a bit close (but ideal for Art ) but so be it... as the main seats are ideally placed - as 9/10 movies are just my wife and I.

New theater is a more modern, contemporary design. No columns were a priority this time around. Wanted a clean, modern look. Added splayed walls for esthetics and acoustics. A bit smaller in depth than the previous theater but taller and a similar width (17' X 25' X 10'-11')... but with more speakers, subs, etc inside (29 speakers and subs total). We dug the entire basement down 12' deep to accommodate the height needed for the theater (Sound containment, wall and ceiling isolation, higher height speaker placement, etc). 2 Rows and bar top and stools as a 3rd row.

The room's look is one of the best I've ever seen. Dennis Erskine handled that and the room is looking exquisite. I described in concept what I wanted in terms of esthetics and this was what came of those conversations. I'd seen similar designs but not quite like this. Great work! We had a lot of changes in the design along the way but I love the outcome and this was worth the wait. A gorgeous design, very quiet HVAC, and gorgeously lit LEDs. The adjacent equipment room leaks no sound - it is pretty amazing.

I have to say that Steve Kujala - Heartwood Custom and his group are the hardest working, most precise builders I've seen. He's very dedicated to excellence. I think Steve was on his computer for as much time as he was installing - just amazing technology and precision. The entire theater was designed in CAD and all the pieces precut and shipped out from his shop. He and his crew did it all from HVAC to low voltage to build out. I think he could build the Taj Majal. We had issues with the entry foyer steps in concept but Steve figured it out on site. A big problem averted. If you've seen Ash's theater, you know what I mean. Just an incredibly built professional space.

Moreover, a recent visit to Rob Hahn's home was an experience I will not soon forget. There is nothing like it I've ever seen (or heard). And what a gracious couple hosting my wife and I that weekend. After seeing and hearing his home theater, in my opinion, I came away knowing it is the greatest home theater ever built. It caused me to rethink my speaker placement for bed channels and heights. We watched a number of demo clips and then watched all of Gravity (it was there that I knew I had to invest in K-Scape). The presentation of Gravity really demonstrated every parameter desired in an ideal theater. Very, very quiet scenes, 3-D sound and directional effects, a large, large 19' wide screen, dynamics and powerful bass. To say it was the best home theater experience of my life seems an understatement. My wife was gobsmacked and for once, didn't fall asleep before the end of the movie (and we were up late). The planning, the detail and the whole story of this build was captivating, especially told over a gorgeous, aged 1st growth Bordeaux and his wife's incredible beef Bourguignon. Just an incredible experience from a most generous and kind couple. A wonderful time.

After leaving Rob's, I couldn't sleep. It was such an experience and I was near the end of my project, but I finally had the impetus to do what was needed. So, I contacted Curt Hoyt. I had worked with Curt a few years ago in a redesign of my previous theater. In fact, Curt briefly introduced me to Kevin Voecks through this process - who also employed and recommended Curt's speaker placement / orientations. Curt made modifications to my side wall speaker positioning and tweaked many ceiling speaker locations, orientations to fall in step with his philosophy for creating that sonic bubble only a multi-channel Trinnov can do. Prior, most all speakers were to lay flat on the walls or slightly turned per JBL spec.. and I was never fully comfortable with it - now all speakers point at the MLP. Curt modified and added some ceiling acoustical treatments as well. It now more closely approximates the speaker positioning I saw in Rob's theater (and in my previous theater after Curt reworked it). Steve Kujala's group did a lot of extra work to accomplish this (and it was not easy at that point in the build to dig out the side walls speakers and orient them towards the MLP). Curt really helped me out here in a pinch. Always on it. He's into it and a smart guy. I owe much credit of the demos I heard the other night to him and his influence on speaker placement.

Adam has been busy here. He's awesome and a true professional as we all know. He's been out 3 times for this project - his second home . He recommended the 4 Wisdom S90i subs - they met the form factor ~ 6" deep but ~ 7' tall. All placed at the 1/4 points along the side walls (Seatons placed at 1/4 points along front wall). Adam brought it all home with his unique mastery. Though the JBL does not have PEQ available, his work and sub integration has made for an awesome experience using the QSC DSP. He is a good guy to know and it is obvious that he is the best in the business.

Mark Seaton handled the ultra low bass like he has for many years with his custom 18" subs. Placed stacked in pairs in the front of the room. The bass is crazy good integrated with the 4 Wisdom subs. What a difference from my previous room - it's all about the placement and a clean slate to design from to allow such.

Even at very loud volumes, the room directly above the theater (kitchen / great room) is very, very quiet save for some bumps and low vibrations and tones from the ultra low frequencies below. The sound containment worked! There can be a movie at near reference and you might hear some bass thuds, vibrations now and again but still wife approved ! Physics and a good build team did it. Thanks [b]Ted White{/b] from The Sound Proofing Store for all the room isolation advice and materials (green glue, clips, acoustic floor mat, etc). The room is truly isolated!

Really a great group who helped with this theater and what a result! I've made a lot of friends here at AVS over the years and I feel lucky I had so many of them directly contribute to this project. The room turned out better than I could've hoped for.

Equipment List:

JBL Synthesis SDP-75 - 32 Channels
JBL M2 (3) LCRs
JBL SDA 4600 (3) - 1 SDA 4600 each LCR
JBL SDA Amplification all other channels (2 X SDA-8300)
JBL SCL-4 (8)- Wides, Surrounds(4), Rears
JBL SCL-3 (8) - Top Fronts, Front Heights, Middle Heights, Rear Heights
Wisdom S90i in-wall Subwoofers (4)
Seaton custom F18 subwoofers (4)- Seaton Amplifier
QSC 110F DSP (subwoofers)
Sony 5000ES 4K Projector
Panamorph Paladin Anamorphic Lens
K-Scape 24 TB Terra server
K-Scape Strato S 10TB player
Panasonic 4K DP-UB820 BD/4K player
Stewart 14.5" wide VistaScope / Sno-Matte MIcroperf
Crestron Control
Lutron Grafik Eye lighting control (8 zones), Radio Ra2 Lighting system
Lutron HVAC control (Radio Ra2)
Equi-Tech 10-WQ 200 Amp 'Balanced Power' Panel (350 lbs ) - Thanks Ted C - Ted was a huge help here with the issues my electricians had with wiring!
Sanus 44U racks (2)
Palliser Seating
Quest Acoustical materials



DESIGN CONCEPT:



COMPLETED THEATER:










Front of Theater (Screen Wall):



Theater Entry Foyer and Equipment Room:



Theater Entry Door (from family room):



JBL M2 (LCRs)



JBL SCL-3 (Heights)



JBL SCL-4 (Wide, Side, Rear channels)



Seaton F-18 Subwoofer:



Wisdom Audio S-90i Subwoofer:



Resilient Channels (side Surround):



Resilient Channels (Rear Wall):



Resilient Channels (Side Wall, Wisdom Subwoofer):



Drywalling, Framing:





More pix to come soon!!
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

Last edited by thebland; 06-13-2019 at 12:01 PM.
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post #2 of 76 Old 06-05-2019, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Entry to Theater from Family Room:



Work Site: Had to put off family room until theater complete (we were living in the home here)



Early Equipment Room photos:




Rear Theater Entry (SCL-4s):





Screen Wall:



Side Walls with Quest absorption/diffusion:






More to come... I took so many photos...
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

Last edited by thebland; 06-06-2019 at 08:54 AM.
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post #3 of 76 Old 06-05-2019, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Ceiling and Front:





350 lb Equi-Tech 200 AMP balanced Power - a true beast:



200lb Sealed Door at theater Entry:





Lights!:


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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

Last edited by thebland; 06-06-2019 at 10:48 AM.
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post #4 of 76 Old 06-05-2019, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Fabric starts!





















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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

Last edited by thebland; 06-07-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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post #5 of 76 Old 06-05-2019, 09:49 PM
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Congratulation

Hi Jeff,

Congratulations on your new theater. The aesthetics are absolutely beautiful. I know you have been waiting a long time for this day! I hope to someday be able to experience your room!

Bryan
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post #6 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 03:44 AM
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Congratulations Jeff,
Definitely worth the wait, first class all the way. Now its time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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post #7 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 04:16 AM
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Ah , wow ! I have been eagerly awaiting your getting there. Looks like the added height really made for an incredible look to the room. IMO, this is what it's about. Such a place ,even before any of the great gear is fired up, you feel special just walking in and having a seat. Congrats !



Art

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post #8 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 05:11 AM
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WOW!!

Congrats. Given the room design, equipment list and the folks involved, I'm sure it is probably one of the better theater out there.

One question: I did not see a Lumagen Radiance Pro on the equipment list. Given it's well thought of abilities (Dynamic Tone Mapping and upscaling of 1080P material), I was sort of surprised one was not included. Any specific reason why you chose not to include one?
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post #9 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 06:47 AM
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Absolutely gorgeous theater Jeff, its time for you to enjoy now!!! I recently had the privilege to me Steve Kajula and his staff and I can't tell you how impressed I was with his workmanship. He built and installed a custom hush box for me with some variations to have a glassless port. I am glad you took Curt's advice on speaker locations and angles, it's difficult to implement but the end results are well worth it. Adam is also a master at his Art.
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post #10 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
In paying homage to Peter - Cineramax - AVS ex-member who has to be reinstated,
Amen!!

There are all kinds of folks who post on various AVS threads who stir up all kinds of trouble and appear to get great joy from it -- and are apparently allowed to continue to do so. The word "troll" comes to mind in many cases. Why are those folks not banned?

What egregious sin did Peter commit that caused him to be permanently banned? Is there anything we can do to get ask to get him re-instated? While I was not able to "translate" much of what he posted, he added a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to this forum and to this hobby - and it has yet to be replaced.

Sorry for the OT post.
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post #11 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 07:03 AM
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You've come a long way since the G150CL DILA+Leeza + SDI modded Panny Rp62 days circa 2003

There's hope for you yet

Long Live SDI!
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Please post some finished pictures, would love to see them. I would pay to experience a theater like this and Rob's just to compare and see how the speaker distribution sounds. Great writing btw, nice accolades for what sounds like some real craftsman. I wonder how often these guys get work in the higher end market, the entire write up is fascinating to me.
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Reserve...
Jeff,
Awesome.... will be landing in Qatar in a couple of hours....
Will read through and comment.
What a beautiful place - you knocked the ball out of the park.
Ash

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post #14 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. More photos above...

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #15 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:30 AM
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Thanks guys. More photos above...
Jeff... looks gynormous .... how many cubic feet?
Noticed you got the DCR Lens ... what does Adam think of that??

Last edited by Ash Sharma; 06-06-2019 at 08:37 AM.
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post #16 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Jeff... looks gynormous .... how many cubic feet?
Hey Ash

Approx 25.5' Deep X 17' wide X 10'11" tall - we dug down our basement foundation 12' deep instead of the standard 9' to accomplish such. My neighbors really didn't like me due to the earth crumbing away from their property lines... In town, the homes are but 14' - 18' apart.
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #17 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Sleeve View Post
Please post some finished pictures, would love to see them. I would pay to experience a theater like this and Rob's just to compare and see how the speaker distribution sounds. Great writing btw, nice accolades for what sounds like some real craftsman. I wonder how often these guys get work in the higher end market, the entire write up is fascinating to me.
Agreed - a picture looking from the screen towards the projector... and once the rack is done completely..
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post #18 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I should be able to get all out today. I didn’t plan so well. I’m resizing all the photos, etc. PITA!

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #19 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ash Sharma View Post
Agreed - a picture looking from the screen towards the projector... and once the rack is done completely..
Just added (above).

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #20 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 09:08 AM
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Looks awesome! Can't wait to see actual pics of the finished product. That is a lot of speakers in a room similar length x width as mine...I'll have to show my wife. She was "shocked" that I needed more speakers when I added the 4 height ones, lol. My ceiling height is only 8ft though. Still daydreaming about the next theatre build but won't be anytime soon (3 daughters to grow up and take care of!)

Design by Rives...dollars by The Bogg

Click for my build thread
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post #21 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 09:23 AM
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Jeff, you need to change the title of this thread! Your new theatre is not bland in the least, more like "SUPER"!!! Very, very nice!

Your finished theatre's dimensions are the same as the audio room that Robert Harley of Stereophile fame recently built! More than nice!

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...eid=6d86416133
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https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 No dealer is authorized to tell you I refer to them - any referrals I make will be done personally by me. Over the years I have found certain dealer(s) who I cannot recommend for good reason.
! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade starts end of July 2019!

Last edited by Steve Bruzonsky; 06-06-2019 at 09:41 AM.
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post #22 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 09:47 AM
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Outstanding job !!
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post #23 of 76 Old 06-06-2019, 08:16 PM
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Awesome room ... congrats !

Cheers,
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post #24 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 05:42 AM
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Congratulations, Jeff!! From one unbelievable HT to another Enjoy!

Steve
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post #25 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 05:58 AM
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@thebland are you planning a GTG once finished?



I know I would absolutely love to check out your new theater space!

Wisconsin Home Theater Enthusiasts Meet: Main Thread l Gear For Sale
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post #26 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 06:20 AM
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The more pictures the more impressive it gets ! I'm sure by now you just want to get in and start using it but I have to believe you are getting quite a rush (do people still say that ?) just being in there. The look is incredibly beautiful even in the rough state you've posted so far ...clean, and architecturally gorgeous. I'm not sure how you came to the design but Dennis certainly did an impressive job there.

Art
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post #27 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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All pictures loaded! Including final!
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #28 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 09:06 AM
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Glad to see that Art's influence is strong, Jeff! Having been to Art's now on 2 occasions, I couldn't help but to also purchase a Trinnov and JBL's!

I am sure your system will sound amazing with that equipment!!
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For sale: 4 Mackie c300z speakers, Sony HW40es projector, Tag Mclaren av32r preamplifier
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post #29 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 10:15 AM
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Fabric starts!

Those subs are massive .... this one will go on 'Robb Report'.
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post #30 of 76 Old 06-07-2019, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Those subs are massive .... this one will go on 'Robb Report'.
Robb Report??? Let's save that spot for Rob Hahn or IMAX!!!

But thanks so much. It sounds even better than it looks!!

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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