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  1. #1
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    An honest personal evaluation of your system

    I was doing some testing on my systems audio with a old but very good Sheffield test CD last night, and walked away extremely impressed with the results. So I began asking myself "what could I do overall to improve the performance of my system, and what are it's weak spots.

    As far as audio goes I have no weaknesses, but some omissions that I can live with. I do not have EX or ES, or PL II in my system. I realize these are the latest in sound formats, but I am not ready to part with my perfectly good(and reliable) receiver just for the enhancements to 5.1. Speaker wise I don't think I can squeeze any more detail out of a soundtrack. The imaging is there, soundtrack micro detail is there, with room treatments and 6 channels of eq my entire system is -+2db in room, and the dynamic range is there(in kudos I might ad) bass wise my subs play full volume to 20hz, -3 at 18hz(with a quick circuit related roll of below that). Unfortunely I have so tweak the audio protion of my system that I now hear alot of VERY unflattering things in soundtracks such as dialog punchouts, the eq of different microphones, the difference between live dialog and ADR in post, and worst of all dialog sometimes sounding disjointed from the overall soundfield.

    If there is any weak area(which is not weak at all) that would be I am using a modified analog RPTV. I will be purchasing a new HDTV RPTV in about 2 months, but I am finding it VERY hard to justify the expenditure as my current RPTV puts out one of the best analog pictures I have seen outside a studio. Last year in a college like prank, several buddies of mine(in the name of TV calibration) volunteered to give my RPTV a major calibration. What they ended up doing was tearing my entire television apart and leaving the pieces all over the living room. Of course when I got home I was floored. They laughed their crazy heads off, and put the dang thing back together again, but with new larger CRT's, a new enternal screen, they painted the inside black to reduce internal reflections, and updated some of the motherboards. When they finished calibrating it, the difference was definately a night and day improvement. The picture looks so good now that I almost cannot justify getting rid of it. However I know that I must get a digital widescreen in the near future so that this part of my system can catch up with the audio side.

    Be honest with yourself, what are the strengths and weaknesses of your system?
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  2. #2
    cam
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    Need more power cam's Avatar
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    To the point, my Paradigm ADP 370's which are di-poles as you know are by far the best part in my system. I have them set up perfectly to my sides about 3.5 feet above my listening position up on the wall. I have tried more speakers to accomplish EX and ES but it wasn't for me. Now, with my huge, awesome sound I get from my surrounds, I have that matched to my weakest part of my system, my Panasonic GAOO 27 inch 4:3 analog TV I bought in 1995. I was waiting for technology and prices to sort themselves out. Last year I was planning on buying a bigscreen of some sort at about this point now, but I had to spend $2900 in November for a new furnace which set me back. And then, my 18 year old cedar shake roof began to leak in February, POOF, $8800 later I have converted my cedar shake roof to ashpalt shingles and replaced my 3 skylights also. Lets just say that my tv will be my weakest link for a while longer. My Pw-2200 sub would be my next favourite piece within my system followed by my Paradigm Mon 7's and cc370. To me there are no glaring reasons for me to upgrade any of my speakers. I would then rate my Denon 1804 to be the next piece I would upgrade after my tv. I find my Denon to have adequate power for movies but for cd playback, not very thrilled. I feel if I had something like a Denon 3805 I would have plenty of audio and processing power to halt my itch for a new receiver. All in all, I am very pleased with my system, but no matter how big my sound gets, it's hard to get that movie theater larger then life experience when you throw in a 2.35:1 widescreen dvd on my 27 inch tv. I'm feeling a little bummed out now, thanks alot TT.

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Good thread idea!

    I'll limit this to my HT system, not my stereo.

    For starters my RPTV has finally been given enough break-in time that I need to go in and do a service menu convergence, along with a few others tweaks. Must say though, I'm quite impressed with the picture quality as is. My Yamaha C750 DVD player does quite well. I should have done the widescreen TV thing years ago.

    My RX-V1400 does a pretty good job of processing, and apparently even takes care of the bass management for the multi-channel inputs from the DVD player for SACD/DVD-A playback. The YPAO thing is handy, but since all my speakers are the same, with measured, matching drivers, there it doesn't really do much other than act as a glorified auto-setup device...but it's pretty accurate except for picking up the sub. I run 3 power amps off it currently, they're not all the same, one's different than the other two...I'd like to add 1 more for the center channel, but the receiver's power supply has no problem with powering only 1 speaker loud and clean. I have an old NAD 2200 or something, I could fix up, but it's a bit bigger and uglier than the others. And no, there are no apparent audible differences between the speakers as a result of different amp sources, though I suppose YPAO might be compensating? The room position would make a much bigger difference anyway.

    My speakers were built with matching paired drivers, except one pair, but my own measurement tests show them to be very, very, close to the others, with a slightly higher Fs in the woofers at 48 Hz or so Hz instead of 43 Hz...the tweeters were bang on. Oh well - in box response reaches mid 40's before rolling off. I'll take apart the front mains and build towers with the same drivers, just to look better up front, but the sound won't change at all. At some point I expect I'll build a better HT system but for now I'm quite happy, I think I'll focus on better 2-ch projects and gifts for the relatives until I find something that really wows me. Besides, it's way easier to build a pair at a time instead of 3 pairs and a center channel!!! All the fun is in the first pair.

    In room measurement from my seat is 200-10,000 Hz +3/-0 dB. I get an extra dB or two of sibilance above the 10KHz mark, but it's not the speakers, they measure flat - I'm sure it's the bare walls and exposed hardwood floor that reflect the 4 surround speakers high frequencies. The front speakers are fine above 10KHz, it's only when the surrounds are engaged... I haven't decided whether to pursue room treatments by hanging more stuff on these 3 walls and buying some more area rugs, or just to increase the resistor value on the tweeters + terminal by an ohm or two on these four to tame it down above 10,000Hz. Resistors are cheap. Maybe I'll go with an L-pad. Dunno yet.

    The bass is handled by the 15" sealed sub I just finally completed. (This thing is big, almost as big as Sir Terrence's center channel!!!) Low xmax design, this thing plays loud but clean, fast, and accurate. And runs deep...I can actually hear 19 Hz, I never could with PW-2200 despite the specs I might add another one in the future to smooth out the response in the room, and gain that extra bit of SPL, but it's more than loud enough for my purposes, and has no problem with 110 dB for that rare occassion I send it there. The PW-2200 is finally gone next week!!! I'll kind of miss it in a way...lots of good memories.

    Below 200 Hz my response gets admittedly sloppier. The speakers are xo'd at 60 Hz, but I still get some room gain at higher frequencies, 80 Hz and again at 170 if I remember right. A bass trap or two is in the future to handle these I also have a couple of bad dips and peaks between 20 and 70 Hz, but I have a BFD that should take care of most of those problems if I ever get the time to take it out of the box.

    Gear wise I don't think I'm gonna improve much without spending a mint. I'll invest my efforts for the next few months or so into fine tuning the room acoustics. And room lighting, I think nice subtle side wall lighting would be better than the dimmer swith/overhead setup I have now. I can honestly say though, with all the HT gear I've owned (several different complete systems now), I've never been more satisfied than right now.
    Upgraditis has gone almost completely into remission (although probably only temporarily). Unfortunately it's been replaced with sever case of the DIY bug...I'm spending more money building stuff for other people than on me these days!!! All in good fun!

  4. #4
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    My system is fine for what it is but i could improve it with a better placement of speakers but with a WAF,i live with it as is.
    Look & Listen

  5. #5
    asdf bjornb17's Avatar
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    Well, my system is as follows:

    HK AVR130
    Fronts: MTX Monitor12
    Center: MTX Monitor6C
    Surrouds: 2 MTX Monitor 10s and 2 Monitor 6s
    Sub: Velodyne CHT-12

    Im very satisfied with this budget home theater system which sounds much better than you might expect for $1000. Perhaps not a Hi-Fi system, buts i couldn't be happier with it.

    Im very satisfied with the bass response of it all. The only gripe i have is that on certain types of music, the highs can sound a bit raspy. Condsidering the money i paid, I can't really complain though.

  6. #6
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    Talking It's my baby and I love it!

    Best parts:

    #1: Comfort. Capri leather theater chairs from Douglas furniture. Nobody wants a sore butt when you watch a long movie. Have 5 chairs, 3 across the front connected, and 2 free
    standing off to the sides. When you kick back in these babies, life just melts away!

    #2: Big picture. 65" Mits HDTV. Sure plasma, dlp, lcd, lcos are all the rage, but sometimes just a honkin' big ol big screen does the job. So I have to check the convergence every couple of months. No big deal. DVD's look great and HD looks awesome.

    #3: Big sound. Good quality Infinity speakers all around. Towers in the front and side,
    book shelf on stands in the back for 7.1. Very smooth, nice sounding speakers. Dialog is clear and mids are where they are supposed to be.

    #4: Huge Bass. SVS PB12-ULTRA/2. Do I need to say anything more??

    Worst Parts:

    #1: Windows. My whole north wall is windows. I have covered the lower one's with curtains but the uppers cannot be covered. Glass is not the best surface to have in a theater room. Ambient light is also bad during the day.

    #2: Ceiling. 13 foot vaulted ceiling. Makes for a huge amount of space to fill with sound.
    Sound reflection is not too bad other than the triangle of windows (see #1). It is really
    cool around Christmas though, you should see my 12' tree!!!

    #3: Room. 18x18 square. Square is bad. Have curtains over the windows and door, room treatments (homemade sound panels) on front, left, and back wall. Tube traps in all 4 corners.

    The first word in Home Theater is Home. My family and I enjoy this room on a daily basis. My wife accepts pretty much whatever I do in this room and my kids (and their friends) love it. Wether it's a movie on Friday night, Cartoons Saturday morning, or the Game on
    Sunday, this theater gets used!
    JVC RXDP-10 Reciever
    7 OutlawAudio M-200 monoblocks
    Infinity IL-60 Mains
    Infinity IL-36c Center
    Infinity IL-50 Surrounds
    Infinity IL-10 Back Surrounds
    SVS PB12-ULTRA/2
    Mitsubishi 65" hdtv
    Douglas theater seating

  7. #7
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    Well I will keep this short and sweet.

    NAD - C352 - Integrated Amp
    NAD - C541i - CD Player
    Paradigm Studio 40v2 - Speakers - Matching 20" Premier Stands - Sand Filled

    This combo works for me and sounds very nice.

    But the all time biggest problem with my systen is my room and it being a square. This is the biggest hurdle im having to overcome. However I have added a small Auralex kit. Which did wonders for the mids and highs. Bass traps are the next item to install to smooth out the bass peaks. Room acoustics can be the biggest perfomrance robbing aspect of a system. In the end I will have spent 500 dollars on room treatment but its the absolute best investment I have made.

    Considering alot of people have to deal with WAF's and GAF's this can be difficult. But there are creative ways around this with curtains and rugs.

  8. #8
    asdf bjornb17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96

    Considering alot of people have to deal with WAF's and GAF's this can be difficult. But there are creative ways around this with curtains and rugs.
    I'm beginning to fear the GAF. Although i used to think my girlfriend would let me do whatever i want with a home theater (we've talked about looking for a place togehter a few years down the road), but suddenly she doesnt like the idea of my 8 speakers everywhere. i hope it doesnt cause problems between us

  9. #9
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    After hours of evaluation on what I could upgrade to improve the overall sound of my system. I determined that I didn't have matching treble and tweeters between my front and rear speakers. Hence the upgrade to Studio 20's for rears and 470 cc and an additional power amp. Once everything was tweaked to satisfaction, I spun some high octane adrenaline pumping electronic music by Dr.Didg ( Made Ya Mine, Serontonality-long version,and Dust Devils ). Ohhh my #%&*%! God!! Does it get any better?

  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Update on my system

    As much as I couldn't see parting with my great analog RPTV, I made the plunge and purchased a 65" Toshiba HIDef RPTV(crt based). I have done some pretty extensive research, and listened to Woodman's recommendation in purchasing a Toshiba, and I feel that I cannot go wrong for $1500 on clearance sale. It does have a HDMI/HDCP input which should be ready for either BlueRay or HD DVD. Thank God that it wasn't a floor model, but it was the last Toshiba that they had in box.

    This was really difficult decision to make this purchase, however this is the last video piece that I needed to complete the video upgrade of my entire system. Plasma was out of the question based on what I have seen at my job. The big plasma's we use at the station both suffer from screen burn in already, and they are only three years old. DLP and LCD was out of the question because I didn't really care for the picture quality even if the television was well calibrated(the picture always looked a little watery). Based on what I have saw at the store and online, this will probably be the last CRT based RPTV that I will own. Sad, because even with black chips DLP and LCD just cannot approach CRT's black levels at this time.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

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