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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Official Ultra Off-Topic Thread :) : In retrospect, this thread should be so named considering all the off topic stuffs we've had. Feel free to add - anything goes,, please just try to be nice :).

Some interesting & important posts:
*** My very good :) mini reviews of a few ultra high-end speaker systems (Wilson, Magico, etc.) post 168: Here
*** My List of the greatest demo Blu-ray's: For some of the very best and MUST-HAVE movies for showing off your system click Here
*** Paul Hales's GREAT interview on room correction Here
*** Not important, just interesting :), my Review of automobile Dirac post 160: Here
*** Atmos speaker placement and importance of center speaker (Grimani interview): post 748 & 749 Here
*** Roger Dressler's & sdurani's comments on surround speakers (type, setup, issues, etc.), post 604 to 607: Here

Besides the jaw dropping bass that goes to 18 hz per data-bass (my wife at one point thought we had another earthquake - no kidding, since we just had one here in Southern Cal), did anyone notice the flies buzzing overhead starting at 1:21:16? Right after Sandra Bullock surfaced from underwater, at 1:21:16, first a fly buzzes *directly* over audience right side, then over audience left rear, then it flies towards the screen where you now see it on screen. In the mean time, space ship debris race right to left in the sky. WOW... what a SPECTACULAR visual and audio treat! I love the effort and talent of movie sound engineers.
BTW Gravity is a theater Atmos/home DTS (on blu-ray) mix. The faces behind the scene for Gravity's sound: production mixer Chris Munro; re-recording mixers Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, and Christopher Benstead; scoring mixer Gareth Cousins; ADR mixers Chris Navarro and Thomas J. O’Connell; and Foley mixer Adam Fil Mendez. Together the team is 2014 Oscar winners for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Very well deserved.
Interesting articles here and here.

The "overhead flies" sequence is among most distinct overhead sound maneuvers that I have heard, and of note, is more pleasing in 7:1 setup than in 5:1 setup. The 7:1 setup makes the effect more distinctly in mid air above us in my system. It also pulls sound effect rearward and expands the sound-scape, extending it to the 180 degree space behind audience. Very spooky. My wife and son/daughter laughed incredulously when I pointed out the buzzing creatures circling above us. If you are at 5.1, I would highly recommend to give 7.1 expansion a try as the difference is obvious and quite enjoyable. That said, I should warn that upmixing must be used cautiously as it changes the soundstage presention, direction of foleys, etc. Upmixing is not a benign process as at the same time that it increases spaciousness/envelopment, upmixing invariably affects adversely image clarity/focus ("native is the filmmixer's intent, upmixing is the engineer's intent" :)). All 4 modes Dolby music/movie, DTS music/movie, increase spaciousness and the soundfield is "bigger," more impressive, and more ENVELOPING with atmospheric/ambient now behind you as well. BUT... at the same time upmixing IMHO decreases focus and clarity of the front soundstage's imaging.

From crystal clear conversation, to jaw dropping bass, to spectacular sound effects, yes, all the audiophile engineers have abandoned music for the theaters! :) I have never had my chair vibrate so much in a movie LOL. In fact the whole floor was vibrating.

Gravity is another example of why whether your system is 5.1 DTS or 7.1.4 Atmos, to play with the "big boys," the front 3 speakers - left, center, right - should be as large, full range, and good sounding as one's budget allows. Yes, the enveloping effect is nice, yes the flies sound effect is fun to listen to, but... they are "surround" sound in support of the "primary" sound from front 3 speakers, where the screen and action reside. Whether it is Gravity, or Super 8, or Smaug, the front 3 channels are the ones that dominate the sound and provide the ultimate sonic drama (turn off your LCR speakers in Super 8's train wreck and you'll notice there is almost zero sound from the surrounds). We are fascinated, of course, by the latest technology since it is so much fun to talk about, but remember neither room correction, nor Atmos, nor Auromatic, will turn a bad speaker into a Wilson, nor an inexpensive receiver into a Theta. It's a whole system approach and audio fundamentals (capable amp, good speakers, etc.) are still the first, and most critical, step.


Scene of the vibration :):
Linn Sondek Turntable w/ Lyra and Koetsu Cartridge, Conrad Johnson Premier 10 Phono Stage and Premier 16 Preamp, Theta CBIII HD, Krell FPB 600 Amp & Classe CA 400 Amp, Thiel CS5i, and the pièce de résistance :), Theta Casablanca.








 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Please allow me to share my humble opinions on speaker selection and placement for a good hometheater setup. :)

How many channels and which channels are important? Before you answer this question please look at picture above, movie is front screen centric (80-90% of sound from left-right-center). It's not a competition to locate click test-sound in the ceiling. Surround effects do enhance the experience, but sound in front matters most and a good system must begin with great LCR and subwoofer as this is where ALL the drama is. I believe in higher quality of sound, NOT in higher quantity of channels. That the 7.1.4 layout is used in Dolby Atmos Bluray mixing room (see blow) is a reminder of the law of diminishing return beyond 7.1.4. Directors of *good* movies are not going to allow much discrete sound off screen or on ceiling because it is very distracting - spend your money wisely.

If at all possible, front seat should be in exact middle, not to the side: In other words, 3 front seats, with MLP the middle seat, is better than 4 front seats with MLP off to one side. All surround sound algorithms, Dolby, Atmos, etc., render sound with the assumption that you are seated in the middle; stereo panning depends on this. If you are off middle, clearly sound would pull to one side. It doesn't make sense to measure angles and place speakers so carefully then sit off center. The smaller the room, the more critical it is to be in exact middle. Sorry, sound pull to one side does drive me bonkers :eek:.

Bigger is better: Surround speakers are no different from 2 channel audio speakers: use the biggest and best speakers and amplifiers that fit your budget and space. Small speakers simply could not provide the dynamic headroom that is necessary for the sonic drama of movies. IMHO, do not be sloppy, and do not use cheap ceiling speaker with your $ 5k main tower for example. The minimum I would consider is speaker with around 5 1/2 inch mid/woofer driver - below this your jet may sound like a toy airplane. Bigger surround speakers allow you to crossover at 80 hz or below, which is important since bass starts to become localize-able around this frequency.

There is a second reason that I would vote for big surround speakers: whereas audiophiles use 10-12 inch woofers for music (subjectively tighter bass), hometheater geeks use 15-18 inch woofers, which subjective sound slow, and which do NOT integrate well with tiny speakers. Matching theses 15" big subwoofer with tiny speaker results in what is called "hole in the middle" - to my ears and in my experience, the crucial area around 100-400 hz (the chestiness of male voice around 300 hz) sounds like it's MIA - the louder the volume, the worse this will be.


Where exactly are Atmos ceiling speakers and the DTS's "height speakers" at 45 degree azimuth and 45 degree elevation?

For me the main idea is that the 4 ceiling speakers of a 7.1.4 system should form a square *approximately* 7-8 feet for each side, with listener in the middle of this square. This forms the 3rd dimension dome of sound above listener. Smaller square would probably result in better central image/imaging, big square better peripheral image/immersion, but I doubt listeners would notice or care about the difference, within reasons. I believe larger/taller rooms with more rows should spread the ceiling speakers further apart, also within reasons.

Although Dolby Atmos called for the ceiling to line up with main speakers, IMHO it is better to have it closer together than the main speakers, because this is how theater Atmos is set up. AFAIK Roger (Dressler) also has his ceiling speakers closer together than the mains.

A note on "room correction": Room correction is ONLY for low frequency. If you are altering frequency response above 300-400 hz, it is no longer *room* correction. You are basically messing with the speaker's power response and altering the sound that the speaker designer wants you to hear.



A note on "target curve": My "favorite target" curve has an over/under point at 3 khz, taken after the B&K curve by Henning Moller below. Basically: a shelf of 3 dB high in the bass, then a gentle drop of 3 dB in the midrange (to the zero point), then a further 3 dB drop in the treble.





[/quote]






 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24546095


I highly recommend it that you give 7.1 expansion a try.

7.1? Really? Where have you been..? You Theta guys take this waiting approach far too seriously - but then again you just got HDMI a couple years ago.



I'm gearing up for a 9.2 or 13.1 system now.. see you there in 10 years!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
It's like I would take one Porsche over 13 Yaris's Jeff.

I know you are kidding w/ me, but in general, it's quality over quantity, starting with speakers, amplification, etc. I would very likely just prefer 1 mono center speaker of this system over your 13 speakers. Kidding - your system is very good and not to suggest "mine is better" of course, just a matter of preference.

BTW, excuse me, it's 8 years, not 10 for Theta to get multi channels above 7.1. :)




More interesting graph and pictures:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 

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I'm giving you **** for sure. Nothing personal...



But 7.1 is a great thing. Glad you [finally] found it.


My Porsche is now 3 years old. Just took it out of storage this weekend. Boy, did I miss it!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24546095


worthy test of our "Ultra" processors & speaker setups!!


Besides the jaw dropping bass (my wife at one point thought we had another earthquake - no kidding, since we just had one here in Southern Cal), did anyone notice this overhead flies sequence at 1:21:16? Right after Sandra Bullock surfaced from underwater, at 1:21:16, first a fly buzzing DIRECTLY over audience right side, then over audience left rear, then it flies towards the screen where you now see it on screen! In the mean time, space ship debris racing right to left in the sky. Wow what an audio treat! I LOVE the effort and talent of movie sound engineers!


The "overhead flies" sequence is THE most distinct overhead sound maneuver that I have ever heard, and of note, much more pleasing in 7:1 setup than in 5:1 setup, as the 7:1 setup makes the effect more distinctly in mid air above us in my system, pulls sound effect rearward, and expands soundstage, from besides audience to both besides and directly behind audience. Very spooky and my family all laughed incredulously when I pointed out they had just heard the flies overhead.


If you are at 5.1, I highly recommend it that you give 7.1 expansion a try. Even using cheap B&W in-ceiling speakers (1200/pair), I have been able to expand my system to 7.1 and dramatically change the soundscape.


I also have never had my chair vibrate so much in a movie LOL. In fact the whole floor was vibrating. From crystal clear conversation, to jaw dropping bass, to spectacular sound effects, yes, all the audiophile engineers have abandoned music for the theaters! :)

But was it "high end"?
 

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Can, glad you're enjoying the effect, but it isn't unusual. If I stretch a piece of string between the tweeters of my L/R speakers, I can see where their soundstage will be. Any sounds that are the same in both front speakers will be heard at the centre of that soundstage (directly in front of me). If I stretch a piece of string between my 2 side speakers (mounted a couple feet above ear level), I can see where their soundstage will be. Any sounds that are the same in both side speakers will be heard at the centre of that soundstage (directly above me). Nothing more complicated than that.


Most people I know with 7-speaker layouts hear the effect routinely. The opening chapter of 'Transformers 3' has a nice helicopter flyover near the very end of the chapter (you hear the first helicopter somewhere around you, but the second helicopter can be heard above you).


There is also a scene in 'Ratatouille' where Remy is floating on a cookbook down a drainage pipe and water is falling from a crack overhead. It is a brief moment, but the sound of the leaking water moves along the centre line of my ceiling, from directly above to the back of the room. Easily repeatable for guests.


In the first few minutes of 'Star Wars', when Vader's giant ship is drawing in Princess Leia's little ship, some metal clanging sound effects can be heard from above the listening area. Heard that one back in 1997 (almost 17 years ago) when I picked up the 'Star Wars: Special Edition' laserdiscs with 5.1 AC-3 (old name for Dolby Digital) soundtracks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24555403


My Porsche is now 3 years old. Just took it out of storage this weekend. Boy, did I miss it!

Out of storage? Why put a runabout in storage?


Shame that Gravity sucked as a movie. The sound track was the best part of it indeed.


BTW I am sure you guys have it but I just received my copy of Modern Cool by Patricia Barber on Blu Ray Audio. A fabulous piece of surround sound recording. Mastered with Egglestonworks speakers of course.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24556889


Out of storage? Why put a runabout in storage?


Shame that Gravity sucked as a movie. The sound track was the best part of it indeed.


BTW I am sure you guys have it but I just received my copy of Modern Cool by Patricia Barber on Blu Ray Audio. A fabulous piece of surround sound recording. Mastered with Egglestonworks speakers of course.

92" of snow in this winter. We haven't seen our lawns in 4 months and the roads are full of salt and potholes. At $2500 a rim, I can't afford to drive in the snow!
 

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Yikes - well understood.


Well my runabout got broken into. They stole the front seats, the steering wheel and the gear shift - left everything that was in the glovebox etc. Cretins. At least an hour and a half to remove all that and no one noticed. A further 5 cars in the body shop with the same problem. Go figure.


Funnily enough you crossed my mind this evening as I has sipping (quaffing is probably a better description) a 2006 Amon-Ra from Ben Glaetzer. Not a pinot but a bloody good drop of plonk - even if it is Australian. If you can find some, it's well worth a try.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24557014


Yikes - well understood.


Well my runabout got broken into. They stole the front seats, the steering wheel and the gear shift - left everything that was in the glovebox etc. Cretins. At least an hour and a half to remove all that and no one noticed. A further 5 cars in the body shop with the same problem. Go figure.


Funnily enough you crossed my mind this evening as I has sipping (quaffing is probably a better description) a 2006 Amon-Ra from Ben Glaetzer. Not a pinot but a bloody good drop of plonk - even if it is Australian. If you can find some, it's well worth a try.

Good to know. I've had it. I looked it up and recognized the bottle. It is available locally around here. Will pick one up next time at the wine shop.


I haven't had anything of consequence lately. I did pick up a Nickel and Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot 6 pack. At $45/bottle, it the least expensive merlot they make but is is a single Vineyard drink and very, very good. I've been getting back on the Merlot train.
 

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On a similar topic, I recently switched from Coke Zero to Pepsi One.



(Just recently read about high levels of carcinogen, though, and will be switching back, now)


But seriously. My wife and I always remark that we would really enjoy drinking wine (or even coffee for that matter), but just have never acquired the taste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24556967


92" of snow in this winter. We haven't seen our lawns in 4 months and the roads are full of salt and potholes. At $2500 a rim, I can't afford to drive in the snow!

Jeff, just to make you jealous, this is what I am looking at year round. Other than the occasional earthquakes :), California = perfect land for Porsche drivers.


Re. Porsche, yes there is nothing better. I recently picked up a BMW M3; fantastic sports sedan, more comfortable, and I love it, but overall still not quite the level of a Porsche.


 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24559785


Jeff, just to make you jealous, this is what I am looking at year round. Other than the occasional earthquakes :), California = perfect land for Porsche drivers.


Re. Porsche, yes there is nothing better. I recently picked up a BMW M3; fantastic sports sedan, more comfortable, and I love it, but overall still not quite the level of a Porsche.



Hey we reached 40 degrees today!! And about 80% of the snow has finally melted.


That's my same car in Guards Red!



I do love my car. There's no doubt about the feel and power compared to my clunky SUV!


That said, the M3 is no slouch. It's a performance car in a sedan's body. I have driven them a couple of times and it certainly feels and rides like a racer (unless the newer ones have a lighter suspension mode for daily driving)? Congrats!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24557014


Yikes - well understood.


Well my runabout got broken into. They stole the front seats, the steering wheel and the gear shift - left everything that was in the glovebox etc. Cretins. At least an hour and a half to remove all that and no one noticed. A further 5 cars in the body shop with the same problem. Go figure.


Funnily enough you crossed my mind this evening as I has sipping (quaffing is probably a better description) a 2006 Amon-Ra from Ben Glaetzer. Not a pinot but a bloody good drop of plonk - even if it is Australian. If you can find some, it's well worth a try.
 

At an hour and a half?  That's more than enough time to strip 3-4 cars down to the Monocoque.  They don't sound like professionals, or they just had a shopping list.

 

Sounds like your were lucky.  That would be something well under 5 minuets work for the guys in Detroit.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24560194


At an hour and a half?  That's more than enough time to strip 3-4 cars down to the Monocoque.  They don't sound like professionals, or they just had a shopping list.


Sounds like your were lucky.  That would be something well under 5 minuets work for the guys in Detroit.

Thankfully it wasn't an American car. That's how long the repair technician reckoned it would take. But I suspect you are right and that it would be faster. They were only interested in the race seats, racing steering wheel and the gear lever. I'm still waiting for parts. They use a key reprogrammer to get around the alarm system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24560269



Thankfully it wasn't an American car. That's how long the repair technician reckoned it would take. But I suspect you are right and that it would be faster. They were only interested in the race seats, racing steering wheel and the gear lever. I'm still waiting for parts. They use a key reprogrammer to get around the alarm system.
 

I don't think there are any boundaries regarding point of origin for the car.  I recall a video of a Honda Cvic being striped of all body panels, doors, wheels, bumpers and the interior by a team of three guys in less than six minutes.

 

Assuming your London location is the UK, ironically, your Daily Mail had a story today about striping cars for parts.  The article reckons you can remove the whole engine in 10 seconds.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2223414/Car-thieves-steal-motors-just-10-seconds--times-faster-decade-ago-black-Audis-favourite.html

 

The alarm systems are at most a minor inconvenience for the professionals
 

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LOL! In the UK a "motor" is slang for a car. Yes, they can steal the car rather quickly. The article is not suggesting you can remove an engine in 10 seconds.


But there are also gangs nicking parts to order. RS seats and steering wheels are favourites at the moment. Mine is going to have to have an extra alarm fitted.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Snyder  /t/1524924/gravity-did-you-notice-t...orthy-test-of-our-ultra-systems#post_24559354


On a similar topic, I recently switched from Coke Zero to Pepsi One.



(Just recently read about high levels of carcinogen, though, and will be switching back, now)


But seriously. My wife and I always remark that we would really enjoy drinking wine (or even coffee for that matter), but just have never acquired the taste.

Time to give up the box wine!!



Seriously, buy a couple $30-$50 reds as recommended by your local wine shoppe. But do not drink until the end of a long day when the kids are in bed and your sitting down to relax. Decant it for an hour and let it get to near room temp. Cozy up to your wife. Pour a glass and just sip and recollect the day and not focus on the taste. It will all come together and you'll see what've been missing. It's part of good living.

Now I'm in the mood for a glass:).
 
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