At long last, having owned the 88A unit for the last month, I managed to find the time and an excuse to have the house all to myself to enjoy the new setup. As soon as I finished helping my wife and 2 small kids pack for a sleepover at the in-laws, I grabbed my buddy
to join me in a serious listening session with the 88a unit. I've been a long time Audyssey (xt to xt32) user in my mildly treated large room. With many subs, I've never had an issue with my frequency response as I've always managed +/-3db from 13hz-120hz by setting delays only. My current speakers are from DIYSoundGroup, the Fusion-15T (build thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-di...l#post40768482
) along with custom Radian coaxial side and rear surrounds. Outside of the schroeder frequency, my response with my LCR's are also within +/-3db before any eq/room correction.
We started off with the usual high-res music files through my oppo, songs like Voodoo Child, Money For Nothing, Hotel California, Against All Odds, Queen, etc. Typical volumes within the 2.1 setup ranged from +3MV to +10MV with subs +6db hot and xo'd at 80hz. What I noticed immediately was how much more focused the sound was, just superb imaging! The vocals were just smooth and incredibly balanced. When toggling between Dirac and XT32, the most immediate difference was the well controlled sibilance. I never thought I'd be able to listen to the same materials at the ridiculous volumes we were exposed to last night without my hands covering my ears. Dirac was just pure magic in this aspect -- both of my FR Dirac vs XT32 are within +/-2db of each other.
Aftter the crazy music session, we popped in the Deadpool Bluray, employed my movie setting (6db house curve + 6db bass hot overall) and watched the entire movie at reference volumes. Man, it was just so pleasing and very easy to listen to. The intelligibility and realism was just WOW
! I've listened to a lot of systems and my buddy Dave, a movie critic has been to many screening rooms and top notch theatres. Both of us kept looking at each other and giving high-fives the entire time. The one thing I've also noticed was how the off-axis response was MUCH better. I moved seat to seat during the movie, and adjusted my seat height. The imaging just really locked you in there, while providing a more expansive sound (especially in the vertical plane) -- it sounded as if I had heights. And the bass... holy! Like I mentioned, my bass response by default, pre-anything is awesome. With Dirac, it takes it to the next 2 levels. For one, I no longer have to adjust my delays to correct the crossover section like what I've done with Audyssey. With Dirac, it didn't matter 60, 80, 100, 120hz, it will always set it perfectly. Secondly, the bass is much more tighter and impactful. When we measured, the GD appeared to have improved vs. Audyssey XT32 from what I've remembered measuring my system hundreds of times. The improvement on the precision from the mains to the subs is also attributed to the IR. Everything was just tight, smooth and cohesive as if you were in a sound bubble.
I LOVE this system! Outside of my main speakers, the 88a has been the best investment I've made so far in this hobby. Looking forward to getting a second 88a when I implement atmos/dts-x.