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Discussion Starter #1
If I compare the Seaton Sound Catalyst 8C and the Klipsch RF-7 II, will the Klipsch speakers sound "bigger"?
 

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I don't know the answer to your specific question (Seaton vs Klipsch) but, your more generic question bigger speakers for bigger sound, I'd say is essentially yes.

 

My understanding is it's about output and coverage.

 

Example....  I once asked a Klipsch engineer what the difference in sound I was hearing.  The setup was, setting a Klipsch Heresy in the room and turning the volume up to where it's (for example) 100 db's at my ear.

 

The 100 db's isn't the important part, we can use 80, 90...

 

Then, if we switch to the Jubilee's and listen to them at the SAME output at the same listening position, why do the Jubilee's sound so much BIGGER?  (note I did not say louder)

 

The answer I received back was coverage.

 

Think of a variable lens flashlight.  If the Heresy's can put 100 db's at your ears then they would be similar to the flashlight on a narrow focused beam.  Step outside of the beam and the intensity of the light (sound) falls off dramatically.

 

The bigger (constant coverage) speaker puts out more of a floodlight of sound.  As long as you are in the floodlight of the sound, you will have the higher output and since the floodlight of sound covers more of the room, it's more difficult to step outside of its effects.

 

So if you compare two speakers and one has a better dispersion pattern and sound control and technical things (that are beyond me to be honest) it seems that they will sound 'bigger' from more listening locations than lessor designs.

 

Of course, when staying in the same brand, a bigger speaker also tends to have more output as well so my vote is yes, there is definately a correlation of big speaker to big sound as long as said speakers are designed for constant coverage and have the horsepower to create the output.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.


Does "big sound" relate to the driver sizes used in the speaker or does speaker cabinet size also factor into the equation?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22925158


If I compare the Seaton Sound Catalyst 8C and the Klipsch RF-7 II, will the Klipsch speakers sound "bigger"?

I think the first question to answer is: "What is big speaker sound"?


I think that the technical features that correlate with the perception of "Big speaker sound" is good bass extension and controlled directivity.


Controlled directivity implies that speakers will be on the larger side, especially width.


On those grounds the Seaton products look like they have a lot of potential. While they are obviously garage products and seem to be very expensive, I see a lot of advanced technology that if executed well, could be wonderful.
 

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disclaimer.. I don't have first hand experience with the klipsch mentioned.. but did have the older rb75's rc7.. and do have catalyst 12c's now.


However, I'll say this.. It will depend on your goals and how you plan to implement them.


I would go as far to say that if you are using in a HT with any reasonable crossover say ~80HZ, the catalyst 8C will eat the klipsch for lunch. It's simple physics. The catalyst has been optimized for a typical HT crossover to be implemented meaning that it's sound reproduction goals have been optimized to put it where it counts and not waste effort in a pursuit of a lower frequency reproduction. Since the RF7 has an -3db point at 34Hz the woofers have been optimized over a greater bandwidth. Note they also need to play all the way up to the crossover frequency which is a LOT of ground to cover and maintain high performance. In contrast the catalyst has a dedicated 8" to handle the midrange. and dual 8" woofers to handle down to the crossover region. I'm sure the klipsch woofers are high quality, but I'd also consider the woofers in the catalyst have close relations to drivers considered to be among the best anywhere. Also take into account the cats are a fully active implementation with large amplifiers so the effective power reaching the available drivers is going to be much greater in most cases.


Now if you were to run both full range side by side the klipsch would have a good chance of sounding "larger" at moderate listening levels purely due to the frequency response characteristics.. It will have more bass simply. Regarding coverage profile the cats should have a superior polar response throughout the frequency range due to the coaxial mid/tweeter and the crossovers employed.


Finally I'd say credit is due where it's due. The Seaton Sound operation is far from a garage product. It may be small business with low qty distribution but It is a full blown manufacturing operation with solid OEM supply chain from what I can tell. Considering the square footage of their facility and their continued growth they may take slight offense at being labeled a "garage" operation. Small internet and word of mouth based direct market company yes. The man deserves props considering that the company has grown from nothing to where it is today and that he continues to deliver an expensive yet very high value product that serves a market that wasn't well represented by the other offerings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboniman  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22925912


disclaimer.. I don't have first hand experience with the klipsch mentioned.. but did have the older rb75's rc7.. and do have catalyst 12c's now.


However, I'll say this.. It will depend on your goals and how you plan to implement them.


I would go as far to say that if you are using in a HT with any reasonable crossover say ~80HZ, the catalyst 8C will eat the klipsch for lunch. It's simple physics. The catalyst has been optimized for a typical HT crossover to be implemented meaning that it's sound reproduction goals have been optimized to put it where it counts and not waste effort in a pursuit of a lower frequency reproduction. Since the RF7 has an -3db point at 34Hz the woofers have been optimized over a greater bandwidth. Note they also need to play all the way up to the crossover frequency which is a LOT of ground to cover and maintain high performance. In contrast the catalyst has a dedicated 8" to handle the midrange. and dual 8" woofers to handle down to the crossover region. I'm sure the klipsch woofers are high quality, but I'd also consider the woofers in the catalyst have close relations to drivers considered to be among the best anywhere. Also take into account the cats are a fully active implementation with large amplifiers so the effective power reaching the available drivers is going to be much greater in most cases.


Now if you were to run both full range side by side the klipsch would have a good chance of sounding "larger" at moderate listening levels purely due to the frequency response characteristics.. It will have more bass simply. Regarding coverage profile the cats should have a superior polar response throughout the frequency range due to the coaxial mid/tweeter and the crossovers employed.


Finally I'd say credit is due where it's due. The Seaton Sound operation is far from a garage product. It may be small business with low qty distribution but It is a full blown manufacturing operation with solid OEM supply chain from what I can tell. Considering the square footage of their facility and their continued growth they may take slight offense at being labeled a "garage" operation. Small internet and word of mouth based direct market company yes. The man deserves props considering that the company has grown from nothing to where it is today and that he continues to deliver an expensive yet very high value product that serves a market that wasn't well represented by the other offerings.

Thanks.


I currently have the original RF-7, RC-7, and RS-7 speakers with a SubMersive. I am just toying with the idea of replacing them with three Catalyst 8C speakers for LCR and two Spark speakers for left/right surround. My room is not big enough for 7.1 or higher.


Do you miss any of the horn speaker characteristics of your Klipsch speakers when comparing them to the Catalyst 12Cs? How much of an improvement (and in what ways) is the Catalyst 12C as a center speaker over the RC-7 you had?
 

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Speakers sounding "big", ... reminds me of the old Maggnepan adds.


I'd suspect that big sound, depending how each individual defines that themselves, can result from so many factors. Some of those may even include the loudspeaker. I really don't know enough about what makes a speaker sound "big". I'm aware of ASW, or apparent source width,.. which is a combination of coverage pattern and the acoustic characteristics of the space. Also, IACC, interaural cross correlation coefficient, measures the cross correlation between the signals that arrive at the two ears of a listener. The greater the difference, the listener perceives a higher level of spaciousness. I mention that too, as I'd guess that everything enters into the equation, when we perceive a "big" sounding loudspeaker.



I've used, and still own, a few different Klipsch models. I own JBL, QSC, and some others including Polk, Cerwin Vega.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22925366


On those grounds the Seaton products look like they have a lot of potential. While they are obviously garage products and seem to be very expensive, I see a lot of advanced technology that if executed well, could be wonderful.

Arny,

I'm curious, your use of the term "garage product", is that negative (like made in one's garage), a positive (akin to a discriminating microbrew, etc)?


Seaton products not only have a great deal of potential, they deliver on all fronts. As we all know, loudspeaker design is a selection comprimise. The SubMersive can speak for itself. But Seaton's Cat12C, nailed the proverbial bullseye for me. The components utilized are first class, however I believe the finest element, and the essence of the product is Mark's DSP skill-set contouring the output into a fully coherent, top to bottom playback. The subsequent result combines all the extraordinary dynamic playback ability one could need, period,...with all the delicate transparency and nuance needed.


I've been around this hobby for decades, with the majority of my interest focused on loudspeakers. I find these ideally suited for the rigors of both realistic HT playback, and wonderful musical enjoyment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22925366


I see a lot of advanced technology that if executed well, could be wonderful.

I find Seaton's advanced technology both well executed, and quite the value.




Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22926034


Thanks.


I currently have the original RF-7, RC-7, and RS-7 speakers with a SubMersive. I am just toying with the idea of replacing them with three Catalyst 8C speakers for LCR and two Spark speakers for left/right surround. My room is not big enough for 7.1 or higher.


Do you miss any of the horn speaker characteristics of your Klipsch speakers when comparing them to the Catalyst 12Cs? How much of an improvement (and in what ways) is the Catalyst 12C as a center speaker over the RC-7 you had?

That's a fun upgrade you are toying with



No I do not miss any of the horn characteristics.., keep in mind the catalyst tweeter is still a compression driver like the klipsch, it's just mounted on a different horn size/shape. I wouldn't label the catalyst as having a "horn characteristic" though. What I would say is yes it has a titanium compression tweeter similar to the RC7 and it has all of the ability that comes with that design. I'd label the cat as being a more refined implementation. It's also voiced to not "melt your head off" so it's not going to jump out and say hey you are listening to a horn (which becomes fatiguing quickly after the impressiveness).


Large improvement in another league over the RC7 like comparing a knife to a gun it's not an apples to apples comparison. 1. Dialogue intelligibility. 2. Dynamic Capability. 3. SIZE of the sound (IT"S BIG), but it's also a way bigger speaker than the RC7. 4. Really an improvement in all areas I can think of.


The bottom line that's the biggest reason I upgraded. The RC7 was one of the largest disappointments to me in past owned speakers. It was just "OK" in my opinion. The problem is that it was hyped up as being the end all be all at the time.. the "flagship" of centers if you were after a dynamic klipsch style speaker and weren't shopping outside of the typical HT market segment. I read for hours on it and it had quite a following talking it up. In practice I was underwhelmed. For a 1.75" compression driver and a couple 8" I expected more. It had a bit of hollow boxy sound to me that really showed up if pushed. On paper it's some serious firepower but I just didn't get that from it.. tried big pro amps etc.. Of that vintage it was really a large center speaker and that's what I wanted in my newly constructed dedicated theater space. The center channel carries the weight of the movie sound track and I wanted something that would handle it with ease.. I wasn't limited by space in a typical living room so I figured lets get the big one. Well it didn't deliver.


Then Mark introduced me to the Catalyst. I had heard the prototype at Art Sonneborn's theater and was really impressed (His place seats something like 14 comfy or like 100 standing room
) Then I had the luxury of a production catalyst test drive in my theater during a theater meet that I hosted.. Same day demos of the klipsch setup... and then mid day tore it down and put the Cats in. NIGHT AND DAY difference.. needless to say the Cats never left my house. I'll put it this way.. the wife who's not into this stuff at all said they are staying and wouldn't let them leave. Who was I to argue.



I'll never be the same after Mark queued up Open Range and had control of the volume knob. Almost needed to change my pants.
 

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Few more quick thoughts that have come to me.. one of the single best audio upgrade moments in my theater evolution was matching 3 identical LCR speakers across the front using a acoustically transparent screen. I did the screen before the cats.. it was a 2 level huge upgrade.. first the screen bringing the RC7 where it should be front and center... was still just OK sounding but at least in the right place. then swapping the klipsch with the seatons = WOW.


All my gear is hidden in my room. The pedestrian lay person listener that I may entertain with a movie almost universally comment on how clear the dialogue is and how remarkably good everything sounds... these are uncoached people that have no idea what they are experiencing... no preconceived anything. I let it speak for itself and just let people enjoy the presentation.. I don't talk about the gear unless asked etc.. Most folks don't care to hear about the how just the end result.. I'm not talking about being loud either. I don't play my system loud very often most times running movies around -20. It's plenty loud and perfectly clear and articulate to just sit back and enjoy. The point is that most typically have no idea the firepower hiding behind the screen.. could be a HTIB could be klipsch could be seaton... doesn't matter.. it jumps out at you and sounds wonderful and is effortless. I'll sum it up with this.....


The catalyst upgrade was such a significant leap to me it is the first audio purchase I've ever made in this hobby that has halted my desire to change or "upgrade".
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Awesome, thanks for the feedback!



My home theater room is about 11.5 feet long x 11 feet wide x 9.5 feet high. Will the Catalyst 8C as LCR and Spark as left/right surround be able to reach reference level and beyond in this room with ease or will I need the Catalyst 12C for that? I've been told that rooms that are squares or close to squares are actually bad for sound. Is this true? Will this be a problem?
 

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The 8C would have no problem meeting and exceeding reference in your space. The primary difference between the 8 and 12 is a more capability down low and a bit more power. I think the 12 would be overkill in your space as it's well suited for large rooms that seat multiple rows.


regarding room shape.. the truth is ALL rooms have sonic problems. The shape and dimensions will determine what those problems will be. The key is to ensure that your seats aren't located in a major problem spot especially a large bass null. In that case it's a losing uphill battle. No matter what the room or speakers are the fundamental goal is delivering the sound to the seating position.
 

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A snippet from Mark regarding the cat 12c. The 8c should only be a few dB less. When absorbing the below information know that the list of speakers that can claim similar numbers and aren't designed for commercial use is very VERY short.


Copied from Mark Seaton's forum - "For SPL/Dynamic range, at any single frequency in the operating range the '12C's can produce a 123-128dB sine wave at 1m. When all 3 driver sections are playing music or pink noise, the playback capability is about 130-133dB @ 1m.


Remember that when many specify SPL capability, they don't give much consideration to delivering the entire frequency range, nor at any distortion level, just whatever gets loudest. The 12C's drivers never exceed their intended operating limits even with full power delivered, which makes all of the power on tap useful for real listening. "
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks. Seems the Catalyst 8C and Spark combo should be plenty for my room.


Are there any significant sound quality differences between the 8C and 12C or is it virtually the same with the 12C having the ability to go a little louder and a little deeper (thought going deeper shouldn't matter since I'll be crossing over the speakers at 80 Hz)?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22929894


Thanks. Seems the Catalyst 8C and Spark combo should be plenty for my room.


Are there any significant sound quality differences between the 8C and 12C or is it virtually the same with the 12C having the ability to go a little louder and a little deeper (thought going deeper shouldn't matter since I'll be crossing over the speakers at 80 Hz)?

I would say that there are no significant sound quality differences between the 8C, and the 12C. This similarity, was a fundamental design goal in the execution of the 8C. Mark is on record stating the 8C is actually much better suited for small spaces combined with the use of Audyssey, or other automated EQ'ing tools.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22929894


I've been told that rooms that are squares or close to squares are actually bad for sound. Is this true? Will this be a problem?

The manner in which the modal influences in each axis of the room is the issue. When the height, width and length are nearly the same, the axial modes (standing waves in each axis) over-lay one another, thus they become additive.


Check out this Room Mode Calculator , plug in your info an examine the outcome. Be mindful the axial modes are most significant.



Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks!



I too remember Mark saying that the 8C is also more favorable for smaller rooms.


By the way, if powered/active speakers have quite a few advantages over passive speakers, why aren't they more common in the marketplace?
 

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$

These lovely items, are high quality, US made, high performance pieces.



Seriously, who knows, I don't. Profit, expenses, ... market acceptance, etc. In the pro, and studio world, they're commonplace.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22926034


Thanks.


I currently have the original RF-7, RC-7, and RS-7 speakers with a SubMersive. I am just toying with the idea of replacing them with three Catalyst 8C speakers for LCR and two Spark speakers for left/right surround. My room is not big enough for 7.1 or higher.


Do you miss any of the horn speaker characteristics of your Klipsch speakers when comparing them to the Catalyst 12Cs? How much of an improvement (and in what ways) is the Catalyst 12C as a center speaker over the RC-7 you had?


The Klipsch speakers don't have problems with dialogue unless they are not setup properly. If you will be using a Submersive in the system, I don't think you will see a night and day difference by replacing them.I use an RF 7 setup and have heard other speakers that I like, but Klipsch are the best all around speaker for me since my HT does double duty.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by derrickdj1  /t/1456456/do-you-need-big-speakers-for-big-sound#post_22932034


The Klipsch speakers don't have problems with dialogue unless they are not setup properly. If you will be using a Submersive in the system, I don't think you will see a night and day difference by replacing them.I use an RF 7 setup and have heard other speakers that I like, but Klipsch are the best all around speaker for me since my HT does double duty.

Having owned several Klipsch models, I'd largely agree,.. they don't have problems with dialog. However, that said they are different .. their tonal character is somewhat different from the characteristics of Seaton's Catalysts. I've A/B'd them, comparing three different Klipsch models, as well as QSC and JBL loudspeakers with the Cats, they're different. All the products are acceptable with dialog. But the extraordinary clarity designed into the Seaton Catalysts is evident even at moderate playback levels.


The room, the inherent coverage of the speaker, and ultimately the power response at the LP, also changes what we experience. But yes, I'd agree, the Klipsch models have no problem with dialog. I was quite happy for a long period of time with Klipsch mains, as part of a properly set-up, well executed 5.2 system. I don't agree with any harshness, brightness, issues often cited. Clearly they possess a limit output wise, especially compared to the Catalysts. But they're fine in a bass managed/subwoofer supported, HT/music system.


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the responses.



I have attached an extremely rough and crude drawing of two rooms that I can use for my home theater. The one on the left is "Room 1" and is my current home theater room. The one on the right is another room that I could use for the home theater. Which do you think is better? I will get better stereo separation in the second room due to it being possible to place the front speakers more wider apart.


Green = speakers

Brown = couch

 
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