Starke Sound Speakers, Sub, and Amp at CES 2016 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Starke Sound Speakers, Sub, and Amp at CES 2016

As I made my way through The Venetian at CES 2016, I kept an eye out for the Starke Sound suite. I was looking for something new at the show, and I had heard about this new speaker company putting on a highly impressive Atmos 5.1.2 demo.

When I walked to the door, I was greeted by Scott DeLoache, Chief Design Director and Dan Wiggins, Chief Technical Officer and Starke. Respectively, they are the architect and the engineer behind the speakers. And then there were the speakers themselves, indeed they are hard to miss due to their bold design and generous dimensions. The new company's gear didn't just include speakers. There's also a subwoofer, as well as an amplifier. This is no ordinary amp. Rather, the A7-450 is a 450 W per channel, seven-channel pure class A amp that’ll cost you $13,000. In the demo I attended, the company used two of the amps to power nine channels in total, in a 7.2.4 speaker configuration.


The front end of the Starke system.

The speakers in the system included a pair of IC-H5 Elite (IC stands for in-cabinet) speakers, which run $11,600 per piece. The center was a IC-H5C Elite and cost $10,800. The side and rear surrounds were IC-H3 Elite speakers, which sell for $5,400 each, and the two Atmos elevation channels were IW-H3 Elites (IW stands for in-wall) that retail for $5,200 each.

The IC-H5 Elite specs include a +/- 2dB frequency response of 28 Hz to 30 kHz, 4 ohm impedance, 92 dB anechoic sensitivity (2.83 v at 1 m), and 60-500 watt power handling. The driver compliment consists of a 1" Beryllium dome tweeter, twin 4" carbon fiber midranges, and three 8" aluminum woofers along with a 12" passive radiator. Crossover points are 290 Hz and 3000 Hz.

Starke's IC-H5C Elite specs include a +/- 2dB frequency response of 32 Hz to 30 kHz, 4 ohm impedance, 92 dB anechoic sensitivity (2.83 v at 1 m), and 60-500 watt power handling. The driver compliment consists of a 1" Beryllium dome tweeter, twin 4" carbon fiber midranges, and dual 8" aluminum woofers. Crossover points are 290 Hz and 3000 Hz, and overall it's a very close match for the IC-H5 towers.

Specs for the IC-H3 Elite speakers are 38 Hz to 22 kHz +/- 2dB, 4 ohm impedance, 90 dB anechoic sensitivity (2.83 v at 1 m), and 40-300 watt power handling. The driver compliment consists of a 1" dome tweeter, twin 4" carbon fiber midranges, and dual 6.5" aluminum woofers. Crossover points are 300 Hz and 2900 Hz. The IW-H3s used for the elevation channels feature the same specs.

Starke’s subwoofer is the SUB36, which sells for $3500 and features three 12" drivers—two active and one passive. It has an 800-watt amp. The demo system also featured an sub from another manufacturer, which can be seen in the photo. Regardless, the system sure could boogie—we reached and exceeded reference levels in no time at all while playing various Atmos clips from Dolby’s latest demo disc. From the staccato gunfire in John Wick to the laser blasts and explosions of Star Wars: Battlefront, not to mention the various elevation effects in Dolby’s own clips, the system showed of its home theater chops. Furthermore, the system was barely flexing his muscles while offering dynamic performance typically associated with horn-loaded pro audio offerings. Perhaps its output is achieved with brute (yet simultaneously delicate) force instead of ultra-high sensitivity, but in the end it's the result that matters.

Clearly, the prices of Starke’s offerings position the products squarely on the high-end of the audiophile and AV enthusiast spectrum. But, what you get for the money is a speaker system that shares none of its components with other speakers—Starke designs and builds its own drivers. Furthermore, the crossovers are things of beauty—check out the photo below.


Crossover porn.

Now, a system that runs $98,300 for speakers and amplification had better sound great, but the icing on the cake was that the pre/pro was a comparatively humble Onkyo PR-SC5300. Anyhow, if Starke Sound wanted to make a strong first impression, it succeeded.
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Last edited by imagic; 01-11-2016 at 07:42 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 07:33 PM
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I love the bold look, hate the price lol. Interesting that he builds his own drivers, I'm assuming they are all XBL2....

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #3 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 08:48 PM
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Great looking speakers. Makes me hate I ever traded my venerable AR9's in the 1980's. Looked just like them except for the color. I used to Bi-amp my 9's (4 side firing -12" woofers). The best speakers I ever owned. Apparently they were ahead of their time. Especially on the core design side of things.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 09:55 PM
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Wow, everyone including their grandmother is gluing woofers onto wooden boxes in their basement, selling the whole thing for $50 000, getting a dirt-cheap domain name on the internet, and calling themselves a speaker company now. Coming soon: "Basement Audio", "Air Audio", and "Emperor's Clothes Audio."

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post #5 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 10:26 PM
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The speakers look great....the prices? I'd rather buy a Tesla.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 02:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Wow, everyone including their grandmother is gluing woofers onto wooden boxes in their basement, selling the whole thing for $50 000, getting a dirt-cheap domain name on the internet, and calling themselves a speaker company now. Coming soon: "Basement Audio", "Air Audio", and "Emperor's Clothes Audio."
Lovely.

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post #7 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 04:23 AM
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I wish my grandma built crossovers like that...though she did make a mean apple pie.
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 05:20 AM
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Starke Sound Speakers, Sub, and Amp at CES 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Wow, everyone including their grandmother is gluing woofers onto wooden boxes in their basement, selling the whole thing for $50 000, getting a dirt-cheap domain name on the internet, and calling themselves a speaker company now.

"Everyone" didn't jumpstart the DIY subwoofer movement*, patent a linear-BL motor topology and develop several lines of drivers based on it, and then do transducer design for Sonos.

I haven't heard the speakers but it's fair to say the brainpower behind them is not found in "everyone."

*Ken Kantor was arguably first by offering the woofer in the NHT 3.3 to hobbyists, but IMO it exploded with Wiggins' Shiva/Tempest line.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
"Everyone" didn't jumpstart the DIY subwoofer movement*, patent a linear-BL motor topology and develop several lines of drivers based on it, and then do transducer design for Sonos.

I haven't heard the speakers but it's fair to say the brainpower behind them is not found in "everyone."

*Ken Kantor was arguably first by offering the woofer in the NHT 3.3 to hobbyists, but IMO it exploded with Wiggins' Shiva/Tempest line.
Thank you for that!

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Last edited by imagic; 01-12-2016 at 05:59 AM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


The front end of the Starke system.


The demo system also featured an sub from another manufacturer, which can be seen in the photo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
"Everyone" didn't jumpstart the DIY subwoofer movement*, patent a linear-BL motor topology and develop several lines of drivers based on it, and then do transducer design for Sonos.

I haven't heard the speakers but it's fair to say the brainpower behind them is not found in "everyone."

*Ken Kantor was arguably first by offering the woofer in the NHT 3.3 to hobbyists, but IMO it exploded with Wiggins' Shiva/Tempest line.
Thanks, I'll have to read up on Dan Wiggins' achievements/innovations.

Interesting too that out of all they must have had at their disposal to underpin their system, Starke chose a Rythmik Audio FV15HP Direct-servo sub.


Thanks for the write-up Mark. Comprehensive as usual sir.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 11:41 AM
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Is it just me or ????

100V Electrolytic caps and iron core inductors in the XO? I figured they'd at least run with poly caps and maybe big air cores if trying to create XO porn. Interesting choice.

Looks to be an 80's retro exercise with the vivid colors and oversized, power hungry amplifiers laying on the floor. My wife saw the speakers and started laughing--can I assume that is a no?
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
Is it just me or ????

100V Electrolytic caps and iron core inductors in the XO? I figured they'd at least run with poly caps and maybe big air cores if trying to create XO porn. Interesting choice.

Looks to be an 80's retro exercise with the vivid colors and oversized, power hungry amplifiers laying on the floor. My wife saw the speakers and started laughing--can I assume that is a no?
Actually, the amps only ramp up the power when needed, so they run fairly cool. These are not Class A space heaters.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-12-2016, 12:17 PM
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Actually, the amps only ramp up the power when needed, so they run fairly cool. These are not Class A space heaters.
Good to hear, although no my style in amps--if I was going to that level, I'd look at Benchmarks--nothing worse than space heater amps in the summer! Could be a reason there are so few Atmos ready 11 channel tube amps around I'm sure if a tube amp like that becomes available, AVS will be all over it!

Next up, a water cooled 1,000 watt 3 phase powered subwoofer tube amp--now that would be cool.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-19-2016, 12:57 PM
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I was at The Venetian and visited the Starke room. I was very impressed with the demo, listened to scenes from Mad Max and John Wick among others. After the demo I was surprised to find the amps where not excessively warm considering the amount of power they put out. It was also impressive they where using an Onkyo Pre.

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