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All I can say after over three decades working as a guitar player and recording/live sound engineer, is you guys who listen "loud" need to be careful to protect your hearing. If you are concerned that the Salon2 will not play loud enough for you without some compression, you are probably listening at levels that can cause permanent hearing loss after prolonged exposure.

If you are at or near reference level sitting through a 2 hour movie that has a lot of high level transient response (explosions, gun shots etc) in a room where you are only 12 feet from the speakers, you can cause damage to your hearing. If you experience ringing in your ears or even a temporary threshold shift (can't hear soft sounds as well as before) after prolonged exposure to high level audio playback, you are potentially damaging your hearing.

I use an SPL meter and monitor level when mixing (studio or live sound) and when listening for pleasure at home. https://ask.audio/articles/hearing-damage-a-guide-to-ear-protection-for-musicians

I rarely listen at average levels over 96 dB SPL with peaks at 105 dB SPL. I've mixed FOH for a lot of bands and if I go over that, some people complain it is too loud. When I'm working in mastering control rooms, I check my work at the same levels. When I listen to music loud for pleasure, average level over 96 dB SPL for very long hurts my ears and fatigues me.

When I mix music, I check spectral balance of the mix, EQ on instruments etc at 85 dB SPL because that is where the ear's frequency response is most linear.

Playing loud in a large commercial theater is different than in a small room because of the distance from the speakers. Blasting transients when the speakers are close to you affects you more than when you are much further away.

I love loud as much as anyone, but I want to be able to continue enjoying it for as long as possible. Stay safe.
 

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Jeff,

Salon2s were one of the many, many speakers I listened to during my three year speaker quest. I had about an hour with them in a very nice room in Singapore. Whilst I found them to be one the best speakers I had ever heard, the tweeters do not defy the laws of physics, and ultimately like all lower efficiency speakers I sadly crossed them off my list. This particular listening day also included mbl, Kef, Thiel, ML, Magico, Klipsch, Dali, Dynaudio, Genelec, Tannoy and a few others that I'm forgetting.

Cheers,
You can't beat physics... at any cost. Domes are domes...

I have to tell you the M2s in Art's theater were magnificent!

What are you using for speakers?

Thanks!
 
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All I can say after over three decades working as a guitar player and recording/live sound engineer, is you guys who listen "loud" need to be careful to protect your hearing. If you are concerned that the Salon2 will not play loud enough for you without some compression, you are probably listening at levels that can cause permanent hearing loss after prolonged exposure.

If you are at or near reference level sitting through a 2 hour movie that has a lot of high level transient response (explosions, gun shots etc) in a room where you are only 12 feet from the speakers, you can cause damage to your hearing. If you experience ringing in your ears or even a temporary threshold shift (can't hear soft sounds as well as before) after prolonged exposure to high level audio playback, you are potentially damaging your hearing.

I use an SPL meter and monitor level when mixing (studio or live sound) and when listening for pleasure at home. https://ask.audio/articles/hearing-damage-a-guide-to-ear-protection-for-musicians

Playing loud in a large commercial theater is different than in a small room because of the distance from the speakers. Blasting transients when the speakers are close to you affects you more than when you are much further away. safe

I love loud as much as anyone, but I want to be able to continue enjoying it for as long as possible. Stay .
One of favorite items is my little purple ear plugs from Walmart. ;) I have been plugging my ears for 30 years since I was in the Marines. When I ran the rifle range, I wore both plugs and ear muffs. People thought I was crazy.

The last time I was in a Dolby Cinema the sound was way to loud. Ironically, JBL turns their Cedia demos up to ear crushing levels.

So what did you choose?
You can't beat physics... at any cost. Domes are domes...

I have to tell you the M2s in Art's theater were magnificent!

What are you using for speakers?

Thanks!
Since he is probably asleep, I will answer. :) He went with Procella. IIRC Seaton was his other top contender at the time.

Also, Peter was the one that initially told me to look in JBL's direction. IIRC he thought JBL was one of the best in show at Cedia '11.

Not sure if you remember him, but IIRC he came to that AVS dinner in Atlanta.
 

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Discussion Starter · #604 ·
In my local Cinemas, intellectually, I know there are voilins but they do not sound like real violins.
Violins sound real (think Pleasantville)on the Salon2's.

When I rewatched Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was amazed at the score. This movie is like a musical without the singing (my favorite kind :p).

- Rich
YES!!! Sometimes during my film music presentations I play the Truck Chase scene from Raiders sans sound effects and dialogue. It's amazing how many emotional and action beats Williams hits during the sequence, while at the same time making sure it all makes sense musically.

Other scenes I do this with:

Bike Chase and Finale from E.T.

Helicopter Rescue from Superman the Movie

"You're gonna need a bigger boat" from Jaws

And that's just Williams. Plenty of other stuff from Goldsmith, Barry, Herrmann, and others :)
 

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If I remember correctly, from one of the results summary posts, three listeners consistently preferred the M2. Maybe I missed it, but have any of those participants posted their impression?
 

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YES!!! Sometimes during my film music presentations I play the Truck Chase scene from Raiders sans sound effects and dialogue. It's amazing how many emotional and action beats Williams hits during the sequence, while at the same time making sure it all makes sense musically.

Other scenes I do this with:

Bike Chase and Finale from E.T.

Helicopter Rescue from Superman the Movie

"You're gonna need a bigger boat" from Jaws

And that's just Williams. Plenty of other stuff from Goldsmith, Barry, Herrmann, and others :)
You are listing some of my favorite music cues.

I'm a huge soundtrack fan - I blame my father introducing me to Stravinsky as a child, and then falling in love with the movie Jaws and the soundtrack when it came out. I'm an addict. (I just received J Barry's Moonraker soundtrack, the original vinyl release, and in this case it sounds distinctly better to my ears than the CD issue).

Every time I audition a new set of speakers I am sure to have some soundtracks on hand, especially Bernard Herrmann.
If a speaker doesn't produce those low growling Herrmann woodwinds (Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad, many others..) convincingly, they are immediately off my list. (My current Thiel speakers excel in this regard).
 
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If I remember correctly, from one of the results summary posts, three listeners consistently preferred the M2. Maybe I missed it, but have any of those participants posted their impression?
I did. Post #395

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #608 ·
My thoughts on the whole "will the Revels hit reference level in a large room" discussion.

I think the evidence is pretty substantial that they will. As I've mentioned ad nauseum, you can see the Salon2s in this pretty large reference room at Dolby in San Francisco - this is one of the rooms where they do critical listening and standards work:



Sometimes pictures can distort apparent room sizes, but this still looks to me like a good sized home theater.

That said, I know several here at not so concerned about whether or not they can play loud enough, but if they can play loud enough without dynamic compression or distortion (at least, as compared to the M2s). That I don't have a hard answer for, but I can offer the following "educated guesses":

I doubt that the Salon2s could play the shotgun blasts from "Open Range" as dynamically and intensely as what we heard during our Synthesis demo Saturday morning. At least one person in the room said they felt like they had actually been shot (I think it was @goskers, who also said he couldn't wait for the demo to be over ;)). That particular mix has a lot of dynamic energy in the mid and treble ranges. My guess is that the Salon could keep up in the mids and bass as compared to the M2, but would not give the same dynamics as the M2 in the treble region. It would most likely compress and some of the intensity of the gunshot would be lost. Depending on your point of view and tolerance for extremely loud sound effects, this may or may not be a good thing.

With many - if not most - other film mixes, much of the dynamic energy seems to be loaded into the LFE track, and in that case the Salon2 will have no trouble keeping up.

So, my tentative, personal conclusions:

For those who listen to music and movies both, and value smoothness and silkiness over raw dynamics, I would suggest the Salon2. This makes them perfect for a person like me, who listens far more intently to the music elements in the film mix than all the explosions and gunshots. While I enjoy those elements as well - and love the intensity I get out of the M2s when it comes to the booms and impacts - my ears will always be most attuned to the music. And I do just as much, if not more, music listening in my theater than I do movie watching. So for me, music absolutely is king.

For those who love the visceral intensity of most modern action movie soundtracks and want a speaker that is still absolutely outstanding in music reproduction, the M2 and its siblings fit the bill. Let's not forget that many of us here - me included - fell in love with the M2s for music listening for good reason. By no means should it even remotely be construed that the M2s were anything less than excellent in this regard.

That said, I think the results show that the Salon2s were preferred pretty strongly for music listening for most, but not all, listeners. I fall into the category where the music reproduction characteristics of the Salon2 cause me to make it my speaker of choice for HT and music.

At least one person has been wondering how a fully executed home theater will sound with a Salon2 / Voice2 LCR. Soon I will be able to comment upon that from personal experience. I have moved the demo Salon2s into the front L&R positions and am going to order in a Voice2 center (not sure what I am going to do for surround speakers yet). I will also be selling off my M2s. BUT, before anyone draws any hard conclusions about that, I think I am going to finally do what I've threatened to do for a year now and put in an acoustically transparent screen with JBL SCL2s behind (for anyone not familiar, the upcoming SCL2 is essentially an "in-wall" M2, pictured here on the extreme right):



This way I can demo the intensity and visceral experience of JBL Synthesis as well as the refinement of the Revel Ultimas, and can switch back and forth at my leisure. Such is one of the perks of having my own home as our showroom :)

Part of me is happy that the Revels "won" the shootout, as aesthetically my wife and I find them much more attractive :). The M2s, honestly, looked too big in my space and definitely drew attention to themselves. With the setup described above, I can have aesthetics and raw power in the room at the same time.
 

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Playing loud in a large commercial theater is different than in a small room because of the distance from the speakers. Blasting transients when the speakers are close to you affects you more than when you are much further away.
I don't understand why 100dB (or whatever) at the ear would be more harmful if originating 3m away vs 20m away?
 

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Discussion Starter · #610 ·
You are listing some of my favorite music cues.

I'm a huge soundtrack fan - I blame my father introducing me to Stravinsky as a child, and then falling in love with the movie Jaws and the soundtrack when it came out. I'm an addict. (I just received J Barry's Moonraker soundtrack, the original vinyl release, and in this case it sounds distinctly better to my ears than the CD issue).

Every time I audition a new set of speakers I am sure to have some soundtracks on hand, especially Bernard Herrmann.
If a speaker doesn't produce those low growling Herrmann woodwinds (Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad, many others..) convincingly, they are immediately off my list. (My current Thiel speakers excel in this regard).
My obsession with film music started with "Lost in Space" when I was very young (possibly a surprise, but many may not know that John Williams composed both Main Title themes plus the scores for many of the first season episodes), then some of the disaster movie scores (Airport - Newman, plus Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, both Williams). Loved Goldsmith's work on two of the Planet of the Apes movies, plus many others.

Dig this full concert arrangement of the William's Lost in Space themes, with commentary:


Then Jaws and Star Wars hit...

Love the Herrmann scores you mention as well.

Believe it or not, it was also Akira Ifukube's Godzilla scores that grabbed my attention when I was just a kid. Little did a know that he was an internationally well-regarded concert music composer...


Sorry - dragging this way off topic...
 

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Discussion Starter · #611 ·
I don't understand why 100dB (or whatever) at the ear would be more harmful if originating 3m away vs 20m away?
Lots of posts about this in the Synthesis thread, but the reference level target for mixing in small rooms is usually 76 db to 79 db at -20, with corresponding peaks that hit 96 - 99 db (vs. 85 / 105 for theater sized dubbing stages).

Theatrical reference in an home theater sized space just sounds way too loud for most people. We demoed some tracks at theatrical reference at our shootout, and it's LOUD. Notice that two or three attendees here thought it was too loud for their tastes (awediophile and nowickia, for example).

As I've said many many times in the Synthesis thread and elsewhere, the quick and easy way to set reference level is to find a section of the film with lots of dialogue. Set the volume where the dialogue is clearly intelligible and just "sounds right." Then leave it there.

Films are mixed the same way - dialogue intelligibility is king, so mixers set all other elements relative to dialogue. If the dialogue sounds right, everything else should just fall into place :)
 

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If you are at or near reference level sitting through a 2 hour movie that has a lot of high level transient response (explosions, gun shots etc) in a room where you are only 12 feet from the speakers, you can cause damage to your hearing. If you experience ringing in your ears or even a temporary threshold shift (can't hear soft sounds as well as before) after prolonged exposure to high level audio playback, you are potentially damaging your hearing.

I use an SPL meter and monitor level when mixing (studio or live sound) and when listening for pleasure at home. https://ask.audio/articles/hearing-damage-a-guide-to-ear-protection-for-musicians

I rarely listen at average levels over 96 dB SPL with peaks at 105 dB SPL. .


Even 96db spl average is TOO LOUD!


btw, There is a lot of deafness around HT enthusiasts and bassheads. I witness it first hand when I invite HT friends over and give them control of the volume. Invariably, they turn it up painfully loud and I can only imagine there is one reason- permanent hearing loss.
 

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As I've said many many times in the Synthesis thread and elsewhere, the quick and easy way to set reference level is to find a section of the film with lots of dialogue. Set the volume where the dialogue is clearly intelligible and just "sounds right." Then leave it there.

Films are mixed the same way - dialogue intelligibility is king, so mixers set all other elements relative to dialogue. If the dialogue sounds right, everything else should just fall into place :)


That doesn't work anymore. Directors want their sound effects Loud, so if you set the dialogue right, on some movies( great example interstellar)then the overall volume level of the movie will be way too loud.


Many films are not mixed for dialogue intelligibility any longer. US films especially have started mixing for maximum M&E volume.


Example, if you go to film-tech.com a lot of the cinema projectionists constantly complain about this, and you will frequently find many turning the fader level down from 7 (reference) to 5.5, or 5, or sometimes even 4!!! a big complaint is that now the movie is not deafening but then the dialogue is too soft.
 
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I dont know and really dont put much merit in judging other than I like observing for myself. my point I thought would stand on its own but I guess not. Yea, you need to hear obviously...but being trained to hear or jump thru hoops to hear might lend itself to certain bias imo.
Well it seems Harman does both. They do the hearing test for everyone (necessary I would think), but they also have "trained" listeners. The training could introduce some bias sure, but they conduct tests with both trained and untrained listeners. If you look at the results of their tests, the trained listeners generally agreed with untrained listeners as to which speakers were best. The only difference is that the trained listeners were way more consistent in their scoring than untrained. I.e., they gave the same speaker in separate blind tests similar scores much more regularly than the untrained listener, who would vary wildly between separate blind tests of the same exact speaker. It's all in Toole's presentation if you haven't listened to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #615 ·
That doesn't work anymore. Directors want their sound effects Loud, so if you set the dialogue right, on some movies( great example interstellar)then the overall volume level of the movie will be way too loud.


Many films are not mixed for dialogue intelligibility any longer. US films especially have started mixing for maximum M&E volume.


Example, if you go to film-tech.com a lot of the cinema projectionists constantly complain about this, and you will frequently find many turning the fader level down from 7 (reference) to 5.5, or 5, or sometimes even 4!!! a big complaint is that now the movie is not deafening but then the dialogue is too soft.
You point is well taken in regard to overall volume - Dr. Toole addressed this either here or in the Synthesis thread a while back. But dialogue intelligibility is still the priority to the vast majority of film directors, unless their name happens to be Christopher Nolan :)

I still think that my rule applies 95% of the time to HT mixes, which are often modified from the theatrical.
 

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Well it seems Harman does both. They do the hearing test for everyone (necessary I would think), but they also have "trained" listeners. The training could introduce some bias sure, but they conduct tests with both trained and untrained listeners. If you look at the results of their tests, the trained listeners generally agreed with untrained listeners as to which speakers were best. The only difference is that the trained listeners were way more consistent in their scoring than untrained. I.e., they gave the same speaker in separate blind tests similar scores much more regularly than the untrained listener, who would vary wildly between separate blind tests of the same exact speaker. It's all in Toole's presentation if you haven't listened to it.
thats cool. I like what this thread did, open to one and all kind of and let the results speak for themselves. according to Dr toole or harman (no disrespect) this test would fall into the 14% they couldnt predict based off the spinoramas or flattests measuring or whatever the company calls it. my memory is bad so dont quote me on anything :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #617 ·
thats cool. I like what this thread did, open to one and all kind of and let the results speak for themselves. according to Dr toole or harman (no disrespect) this test would fall into the 14% they couldnt predict based off the spinoramas or flattests measuring or whatever the company calls it. my memory is bad so dont quote me on anything :)
Actually, no - this test if anything helps bolster the Spinorama measurement. Remember, it's not just about flat response on axis - the Spinorama shows such things as off axis response, sound power, etc. Looking at the Spins you can see that the Salon2 will have greater dispersion and will energize more room reflections, which can very well account for the extra"silkiness" and spaciousness we heard in the sound.

RE: "silkiness" as a quality. Dr. Toole had commented to me that the greater amount of direct sound coming from the M2 could very well account for the slight "lack" of this quality coming from the M2. As he put it:

The Revel will excite more room reflections, as happens in live performances. I suspect that this is responsible for the "silkiness". Dominant direct sound is less forgiving and less natural. In a concert hall a few rows back the direct sound is buried in reverberation. However, if the listener is less dedicated to classical music and movies are the thing then the rules can change.

I've noticed this over the years too - as you move your ear up closer and closer to a tweeter, you will hear less and less reflections, and the speaker sounds more and more artificial. Our ears expect to hear more of the room / listening space, and we are somewhat confused without it.
 

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You point is well taken in regard to overall volume - Dr. Toole addressed this either here or in the Synthesis thread a while back. But dialogue intelligibility is still the priority to the vast majority of film directors, unless their name happens to be Christopher Nolan :)

I still think that my rule applies 95% of the time to HT mixes, which are often modified from the theatrical.


I would like no more than 6-8dbs of dynamic range over and above the dialogue, and I would say only about 5% of modern mixes are in this range.


it seems the others want to use the full 20 dbs of dynamic range on ALL channels, so you have vocals at (for example) 85dbs and effects can hit 112+ decibels
 

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Lots of posts about this in the Synthesis thread, but the reference level target for mixing in small rooms is usually 76 db to 79 db at -20, with corresponding peaks that hit 96 - 99 db (vs. 85 / 105 for theater sized dubbing stages).

Theatrical reference in an home theater sized space just sounds way too loud for most people. We demoed some tracks at theatrical reference at our shootout, and it's LOUD. Notice that two or three attendees here thought it was too loud for their tastes (awediophile and nowickia, for example).

As I've said many many times in the Synthesis thread and elsewhere, the quick and easy way to set reference level is to find a section of the film with lots of dialogue. Set the volume where the dialogue is clearly intelligible and just "sounds right." Then leave it there.

Films are mixed the same way - dialogue intelligibility is king, so mixers set all other elements relative to dialogue. If the dialogue sounds right, everything else should just fall into place :)
Having listened to speakers of my own design in spaces ranging from tiny to outdoors, the "reference is too loud" almost always comes down to acoustics. At the outdoor theater I had visiting to assist Keith Yates setting up, 0dB to +5dB sounded great and comparable to listening in more lively indoor spaces at -10 to -5dB. Bigger rooms with more broad band treatments and control of reflected sound are much more comfortable at higher playback levels. Of course then we need the speaker to not be adding a bunch of extra sound through distortion, be it on average or brief peaks. In my experience listeners tend to pull back on the volume sooner with speakers that softly compress and overload vs those that have much more capability (headroom) beyond what is needed, especially when the room is not highly reverberant.

You bring up the matter of dialogue intelligibility, which is one area I think was completely overlooked in the comparison, especially since a mono speaker was being used. Given the majority here are interested in a mixed purpose system, and some systems being almost exclusively multi-channel playback with video. From the impressions I've scanned through, the overall spectral balance between the two well behaved speakers was one of three major differentiators. The second was the low frequency extension and response shape in-room, with the 3rd being the dramatic differences in directivity vs frequency and the related size/placement of drive units and how they interacted with the space.

It would be very interesting to have gone back for a final comparison using the SDP-75 to match the overall spectral balance of the M2 to the Salon 2. I would expect these two speakers to have subtly different balances by design for the target market and application, and it's clear the balance of the Salon 2 was a better target for John's room. I might have missed this previously, but are there any pictures of the treatments in the demo room?

It's clear many of the listeners preferred the more spacious quality of the Salon 2. Ultimately there is some minor outer edge diffraction from the large horn, and even crossed relatively low for a 2 way with horn, and reduced through the DSP executed crossover, there are some minor compromises in the large 15" woofer crossing directly to the horn. Acknowledging that, these are very well executed and good sounding horns. While some may prefer the spaciousness of the Salon 2 exclusively on music cuts at closer listening distances, I wouldn't automatically this to a large multi-channel system.

As the room size gets larger and listening distance increases, the M2 will see the reflected energy become more significant vs the direct, while a speaker like the Salon 2 will see even more reflected vs direct energy delivered to the listener. A few listeners did note the 2nd row being more favorable for the M2, which is an observation that shouldn't be discarded. If we now start including dialogue and a multi-channel Atmos mix into the comparison, we might see additional differences between the two speakers. Remember that music was originally utilized to overcome poor intelligibility in houses of worship. Music tends to not subjectively suffer as much from modest decreases in intelligibility, where such changes can be readily apparent with soundtrack dialogue clarity and the audibility/clarity of discrete effects placed in a surround mix. This is where directivity offers significant benefit. If we now move from stereo recordings to modern Atmos mixes, we find that the surround mix contains the ambient and spacial ques of the space the sound mixer is trying to immerse you in. In such cases we don't want the room providing too much extra spaciousness, else it dominates that which the soundtrack is attempting to create.

I agree the comparison, as all other related one's I've attended or read about, offers some great insight and information. I would just suggest a bit of restraint from applying a very specific comparison to be 100% indicative of all cases, comparisons, and applications.

Case in point: @thebland - Given your past systems, room size, acoustics, and preferences, you would absolutely be left wanting if we swapped Art Sonneborn's M2's with Salon 2s.
 

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thats cool. I like what this thread did, open to one and all kind of and let the results speak for themselves. according to Dr toole or harman (no disrespect) this test would fall into the 14% they couldnt predict based off the spinoramas or flattests measuring or whatever the company calls it. my memory is bad so dont quote me on anything :)
Yeah! Makes you wonder what is preferred about the Salon2 that isn't being measured.
 
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