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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I am looking for advice on my upcoming equipment change. I have the AV123 focus Line source LS9's due to land shortly. I currently own a Sunfire TGA7400 amp and dual SVS PB13ultra's. I am looking to make a change to either the amp or the subs as I can't afford to do both. I want to change to whichever will make the biggest difference in my system. The subwoofer change would be to the Seaton Terraform XL which Mark Seaton said would mate very nicely with the soon to arrive LS9's. The amplifier change would be to quantity three (3) Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks for left, center and right channels and an older Rotel RB-980BX amp (temporarily) for the surrounds as it is only 120W per channel, until I can afford the XPA-2 for the surrounds. Which would make the more significant difference? Please HELP thank you!
 

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I'd go with the amps. From all I've heard about the LS9's, good amps really make them shine. Also, I don't know that going from dual PB13 to a single Terraform is necessarily an upgrade. I've never heard a Terraform so I don't know that for sure. I don't think very many have heard the Terraform yet. Actually, I'd run that question by Mark Seaton. He is a most likely an ethical enough guy to give you an honest answer even if that answer were to cost him a sale.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16951721


Also, I don't know that going from dual PB13 to a single Terraform is necessarily an upgrade. I've never heard a Terraform so I don't know that for sure. I don't think very many have heard the Terraform yet.

Its Terraform XL not Terraform, really low 12Hz or so tune, big cab (think like 500L easily)....forgot the dimension but you can custom specify to fit your needs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2100 /forum/post/16951752


Its Terraform XL not Terraform, really low 12Hz or so tune, big cab (think like 500L easily)....forgot the dimension but you can custom specify to fit your needs.

I realize that, but I still don't know that going from dual PB13's tuned to 15hz to a single Terraform XL, even if tuned to 12hz, is an overall advantage. While it may have a depth advantage of a couple of hz, I'd imagine the output of the single vs the duals to be similar, but you would lose the advantages you get from the room response of duals.
 

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I'm not going to claim to be familiar with the amp, but from what i've read of it, its capable of 400w/ channel at 8ohms?


I can't possibly imagine you needing more power than that for the LS9's, unfortunately i couldn't find any power ratings on the LS9's so im not really sure.


If someone who is more familiar with that speaker feels that it needs more than 400w, then i'd probably go with the amps. The PB13's are fantastic subs, but i can understand the desire for more.


Did you consider a pair of submersives?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrimnir /forum/post/16952493


I'm not going to claim to be familiar with the amp, but from what i've read of it, its capable of 400w/ channel at 8ohms?


I can't possibly imagine you needing more power than that for the LS9's, unfortunately i couldn't find any power ratings on the LS9's so im not really sure.


If someone who is more familiar with that speaker feels that it needs more than 400w, then i'd probably go with the amps. The PB13's are fantastic subs, but i can understand the desire for more.


Did you consider a pair of submersives?

Yes, I have considered that and I spoke with Mark Seaton who felt that the Terraform XL might be the better fit than the submersive with the LS9's. Your correct in the power ratings I cannot find any either. I spoke with the designer of the speakers (Danny Richie) who reccomends Dodd Audio tube amps however I like extreme volume at times and don't feel the tube amps will be able to deliver in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16951788


I realize that, but I still don't know that going from dual PB13's tuned to 15hz to a single Terraform XL, even if tuned to 12hz, is an overall advantage. While it may have a depth advantage of a couple of hz, I'd imagine the output of the single vs the duals to be similar, but you would lose the advantages you get from the room response of duals.

The room response with the dual PB13's in the fronstage area right now is fairly linear. Due to the size of the Terraform XL (52") if I put it in the fronstage area also it would just about cover the same footprint as the dual ultra's and with the Terraform XL driver compliment I am thinking that the FR would be very similar to the ultra's.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] /forum/post/16952934


The room response with the dual PB13's in the fronstage area right now is fairly linear. Due to the size of the Terraform XL (52") if I put it in the fronstage area also it would just about cover the same footprint as the dual ultra's and with the Terraform XL driver compliment I am thinking that the FR would be very similar to the ultra's.

What aspect are you trying to improve upon?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16951721


I'd go with the amps. From all I've heard about the LS9's, good amps really make them shine. Also, I don't know that going from dual PB13 to a single Terraform is necessarily an upgrade. I've never heard a Terraform so I don't know that for sure. I don't think very many have heard the Terraform yet. Actually, I'd run that question by Mark Seaton. He is a most likely an ethical enough guy to give you an honest answer even if that answer were to cost him a sale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16951788


I realize that, but I still don't know that going from dual PB13's tuned to 15hz to a single Terraform XL, even if tuned to 12hz, is an overall advantage. While it may have a depth advantage of a couple of hz, I'd imagine the output of the single vs the duals to be similar, but you would lose the advantages you get from the room response of duals.

Hi Mike,


A pair of PB13s are indeed quite powerful. I'm confident there will be no loss in headroom, and it gets done with much less power per driver in a significantly different design/alignment. Also consider the Terraform XL still has more port area than the pair of PB13s tuned to 15Hz in a single port rather than 4 separate. One of the most startling qualities of the Terraform designs is the very low operational noise and audible distortion below 20Hz. The Terraform XL will not play music dramatically louder than the pair of PB13s, but dynamic linearity will be very good and with useful output to below 11Hz that makes for a notable bit of extension and room excitement which in my experience is readily identifiable. Do keep in mind that how much lower we extend isn't a function of how many Hertz, but rather the fraction of an octave we move. 1-2Hz below 15Hz is like a 4-8Hz at 60Hz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16952960


What aspect are you trying to improve upon?

Can only afford to make one change a year so I am trying to take my system to the next level with whichever will make the most significant difference between the amp(s) or the subwoofer.
 

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The Terraform XL sounds like it would be a terrific performer, but it's still tough to say what aspect of your system would be best to upgrade. The most pragmatic approach would to wait until you actually get the LS9's, set them up with the PB13's, allow them to break in for a couple of hundred hours, and then listen critically for weak points.


I don't know anything about your room, but a potential upgrade that can be the best bang-for-the-buck is room treatments if you don't already have them.
 

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Since you would be making the change for HT use, rather than music use, changing amps is not worth it. Once you get to 200 watts per channel, adding more power simply isn't necessary. The Sunfire 7400 can meet any need for more than 200 watts anyway, just not into all 7 channels simultaneously. 400 watts from the Sunfire is easily enough.


I think you would be disappointed with changing amps. I have tried numerous receivers and compared them to power amps. The differences are miniscule.


Even when a difference can be heard with music, the frequent bass in sound tracks masks the just barely noticeable difference in sound quality from "high end" monoblocks.


Do you find your current subwoofers lacking in any way? It doesn't sound like it.


There is also the question of sound quality from your subs. More than a few people have found the Rythmik subs to have some of the finest sound quality around, even with movies. Rythmik has the best servo going, and the difference is audible.


If you talk to the right people, they can help you set up a multi-sub setup with perhaps 3 subs up front and 2 behind the listening position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyboy /forum/post/16955986


Since you would be making the change for HT use, rather than music use, changing amps is not worth it. Once you get to 200 watts per channel, adding more power simply isn't necessary. The Sunfire 7400 can meet any need for more than 200 watts anyway, just not into all 7 channels simultaneously. 400 watts from the Sunfire is easily enough.


I think you would be disappointed with changing amps. I have tried numerous receivers and compared them to power amps. The differences are miniscule.


Even when a difference can be heard with music, the frequent bass in sound tracks masks the just barely noticeable difference in sound quality from "high end" monoblocks.


Do you find your current subwoofers lacking in any way? It doesn't sound like it.


There is also the question of sound quality from your subs. More than a few people have found the Rythmik subs to have some of the finest sound quality around, even with movies. Rythmik has the best servo going, and the difference is audible.


If you talk to the right people, they can help you set up a multi-sub setup with perhaps 3 subs up front and 2 behind the listening position.

Actually most of the time my viewing is not movies but concert dvd's especially the blu-ray concerts dvd's recorded in the dts-hd or dolby true-hd formats. Also been buying several sacd's and dvd-a's lately even though it appears as if they are dying formats as I love the SQ. You did remind me of something however which was a few years ago I had a Denon receiver and bought an Aragon 8008X5 HT amp which was EXTREMELY highly reviewed and regarded as one of the best sounding amps PERIOD talking to industry insiders. Upon purchase I used the pre-outs to the Aragon and used the Denon as a SSP only and the difference between the Denon internal amps (AVR-4308) and the beastly Aragon was not NEARLY the difference I expected! Yes their were differences but they were more SUBTLE not really that big. The difference would probably be more pronounced now with the upcoming LS9's as at that time they were M&K S150THX speakers but your point is WELL NOTED. As Mark Seaton told me last week himself the law of diminishing returns definitely applies with an amp already the caliber of the Sunfire TGA7400. Differences yes but probably subtle as you noted, though the law of diminishing returns also will probably apply to the subwoofer change. Maybe I'm splitting hairs trying to make the decision but that's why I am seeking some advice which I TRULY appreciate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16955854


The Terraform XL sounds like it would be a terrific performer, but it's still tough to say what aspect of your system would be best to upgrade. The most pragmatic approach would to wait until you actually get the LS9's, set them up with the PB13's, allow them to break in for a couple of hundred hours, and then listen critically for weak points.


I don't know anything about your room, but a potential upgrade that can be the best bang-for-the-buck is room treatments if you don't already have them.

This is a great point Mike in regards to the break in time/critical listening. I did speak however with a gentleman who owns the LS9's that were already somewhat broken in from the factory and also owned the PB13ultra (at the same time) and SOLD the PB13. He said it was "slow" compared to the LS9's although Ed Mullen said it could be a "phase differential" between the speakers and the sub that he was experiencing and interpreted as "slow" bass.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] /forum/post/16957421


This is a great point Mike in regards to the break in time/critical listening. I did speak however with a gentleman who owns the LS9's that were already somewhat broken in from the factory and also owned the PB13ultra (at the same time) and SOLD the PB13. He said it was "slow" compared to the LS9's although Ed Mullen said it could be a "phase differential" between the speakers and the sub that he was experiencing and interpreted as "slow" bass.

I would definitely try the speakers in your room first. Also play around with the sub integration, including moving the XO way down. I would consider trying a crossover point at 40hz or even 30 hz if your receiver is capable. Even if the LS-9 is that much better than the SVS at the upper bass region, it should be much less audible when you push the XO down. Get below 40 hz and you are below most fundimentals in your concert DVD's so any loss in quality due to the SVS would have to be pretty minimal.


Even better, you will be able to determine for yourself if the amp is runnign out of steam before your ears. If you find the amp power is enough, get the sub. If the amp power is lacking for your tastes, then you have a decision to make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by m-fine416 /forum/post/16957707


I would definitely try the speakers in your room first. Also play around with the sub integration, including moving the XO way down. I would consider trying a crossover point at 40hz or even 30 hz if your receiver is capable. Even if the LS-9 is that much better than the SVS at the upper bass region, it should be much less audible when you push the XO down. Get below 40 hz and you are below most fundimentals in your concert DVD's so any loss in quality due to the SVS would have to be pretty minimal.


Even better, you will be able to determine for yourself if the amp is runnign out of steam before your ears. If you find the amp power is enough, get the sub. If the amp power is lacking for your tastes, then you have a decision to make.

I would LOVE to crossover the subs at 40Hz however my Integra DTC-9.8 lowest crossover setting is 80Hz nothing lower. From what I understand using the subs internal crossovers might compromise SQ and also possibly dissable the improvements that audyssey has made to the bass. I did some research and most of the ssp's don't offer crossover settings below 80hz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] /forum/post/16958359


I would LOVE to crossover the subs at 40Hz however my Integra DTC-9.8 lowest crossover setting is 80Hz nothing lower. From what I understand using the subs internal crossovers might compromise SQ and also possibly dissable the improvements that audyssey has made to the bass. I did some research and most of the ssp's don't offer crossover settings below 80hz.

I just took a 2 min look at the DTC-9.8 manual and please read pg 99:

With the Speaker Configuration settings, you can specify

which speakers are connected and a crossover frequency

for each speaker.

The following crossover frequencies can be specified:

Full Band, 40 Hz, 45 Hz, 50 Hz, 55 Hz, 60 Hz, 70 Hz,

80 Hz (THX), 90 Hz, 100 Hz, 110 Hz, 120 Hz, 130 Hz,

150 Hz, or 200 Hz.



I do recall the older DTC-9.4 only having a global crossover setting which was adjustable, but not per speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton /forum/post/16958396


I just took a 2 min look at the DTC-9.8 manual and please read pg 99:

With the Speaker Configuration settings, you can specify

which speakers are connected and a crossover frequency

for each speaker.

The following crossover frequencies can be specified:

Full Band, 40 Hz, 45 Hz, 50 Hz, 55 Hz, 60 Hz, 70 Hz,

80 Hz (THX), 90 Hz, 100 Hz, 110 Hz, 120 Hz, 130 Hz,

150 Hz, or 200 Hz.



I do recall the older DTC-9.4 only having a global crossover setting which was adjustable, but not per speaker.

Thanks Mark, I did find this late last night also as I had a hard time believing that the lowest crossover setting was 80Hz so I double checked and there it was. My eyes skipped right over this section as I was speed reading through it what a DORK!
 

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There is another caveat here. You need to be careful NOT to change more than one component in your system at a time. Otherwise, you will never be completely clear which new component in your system is making what change in the sound.


For example, you should leave everything else the same until you get the LS9's and listen to them with your current electronics and subwoofers. I would say a minimum of 2 weeks.


Then, if you think you really are missing something you can resume your debate about new amps vs. new subwoofers.


Now that I know that you listen to a lot of music rather than movies on this system, I would encourage you to explore the Rythmik 15 inch subs. Sound quality is very high apparently due to the servo. And I would discuss with the company owner how many of their subs it would take to get the job done.


For what it is worth, when J L Audio hosted a factory tour, the room that was used for demos for the group had about 7 subs in it. Something like 5 up front and 2 at the rear of the room. And as you know, the F112 and F113 are powerful subs.


You could start with 3 of the 15 inch models and add as desired.


But once more, do yourself a big favor and do NOT change two components at the same time.
 
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