PDA

View Full Version : M2 Master Reference Monitor Purchase



Don McRitchie
06-27-2014, 07:08 PM
Well, I've just pulled the pin. Today, I called up my local JBLPro dealer and ordered a pair of M2's and a pair of Crown iTech 5000HD amps. They should be here in a week or two. I did this as a result of my recent trip to Los Angeles to attend Titanium Dome's LH Awards function (thanks again TD) which I followed up with a visit to Northridge. There, I was given an extended audition of the M2's in one of Harman's sound rooms. The quick summary is that the M2's impressed me as the finest JBL loudspeakers that I have ever heard, and I have spent considerable time with E2 and various K2's. Don't get me wrong; E2 in particular has the potential to exceed M2 if is coupled to the same level of DSP used in the latter system. However, in their current configurations, M2 has my vote for the most accurate and dynamic loudspeaker wearing a JBL logo.

Consider this the opening post of what will hopefully be an enlightening journey to set up, tune, experiment and ultimately enjoy this state-of-the-art JBL system.

BTW, anyone interested in a slightly used pair of Altec Model 19's?

grumpy
06-27-2014, 07:32 PM
Congrats Don! Should keep you busy and smiling for quite some time :)

4313B
06-27-2014, 07:43 PM
Excellent choice! :)

Mr. Widget
06-27-2014, 10:25 PM
BTW, anyone interested in a slightly used pair of Altec Model 19's?Naughty, naughty!

You know you should post that in the Market Place! ;)

Sounds exciting... waiting to hear about the entire journey! :bouncy:


Widget

Don McRitchie
06-27-2014, 10:50 PM
Naughty, naughty!
You know you should post that in the Market Place! ;)
Widget

My last sentence was meant to be in jest, however I neglected to add the appropriate smilie. A local friend has already claimed first dibs on the Altecs and I hope to have them moved out before the M2's show up. If for some reason, it doesn't pan out, I'll post a formal sales notice in the Market Place.

Don

Mostlydiy
06-28-2014, 03:38 AM
Congratulations on the purchase! Looking forward for some images, experiences etc

/Mostly

Mr. Widget
06-28-2014, 08:22 AM
My last sentence was meant to be in jest...I was just being a smartass!


Widget

Don McRitchie
06-29-2014, 10:23 AM
This will be my first request for input (with likely many to follow) in setting up an M2 system. I would appreciate advice on buying a measurement platform that I would like to keep under $1k. Is it possible or even desirable to go for a multi-mic setup within this budget or am I better off with one higher quality mic recognizing that tuning becomes more complex? I will be using a Win7 laptop with a generic motherboard based sound processor. I know a multichannel input/sound card would be required for a multi-mic setup and could use recommendations for one if that approach is viable. Otherwise, I am led to believe it is possible to use a single mic if it has a usb connection with no additional soundcard. I could use confirmation and/or suggestions.

As for software, JBLPro has used both Smaart and EASE to set up M2's and both are effective but pricey solutions. I am aware of the freeware REW and that would be my first choice. Does anyone have any concerns with using that software? I would like to have a measurement platform in place before the M2's arrive either late this week or early next so any timely input would be appreciated.

Ed Zeppeli
06-29-2014, 07:32 PM
Congratulations! I look forward to following this thread; these would be my 'goal' speaker as well.

Don C
06-29-2014, 09:41 PM
So I guess there's no more rush to finish up project May? ;) Congratulations on the purchase.

pos
06-30-2014, 01:23 AM
Hello Don,

If you already have a PC and plan to use REW or other free measurement softwares (I use HOLM Impulse, but it is not very stable with windows7), then the only thing you need to build your measurement platform is a mic (with its calibration file) and a good soundcard (with phantom power), that is if you did not choose a USB mic to start with...
I don't think you need several mics: you can still get multi point measurements by moving the mic around, and moreover I don't think any of the free software around would let you measure using several mics at once.

As for the mic any cheap 1/4" measurement mic will do as long as you have the calibration file (do not rely on the ones provided by manufacturers, they are almost always unreliable, short of earthwork and the like of course...).
Of course if you plan on also doing distortion measurement things are different, but I don't think you are looking for that.

I would recommand cross-spectrum as a good source for you calibrated mic.
If you want to do "sound power" measurement (sorta) then you will have to ask for the "plus" offer that also include a 90 calibration (for vertical placement). You can also use that program to generate the 90 calibration based on the 0 one, for any 1/4" mic : http://www.minidsp.com/forum/umik-questions/10088-translate-0-degree-calibration-to-90-degree

If you did not choose a USB mic (for direct+mic inputs measurement purpose for example), then you will also need a soundcard with phantom power.
I use a tascam 144mk2 and I am quite happy with it. It has two mic inputs.
If you do not need the digital output then the 122 will also do.

Hope that helps, and good luck with your journey :)

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 04:50 AM
This will be my first request for input (with likely many to follow) in setting up an M2 system. I would appreciate advice on buying a measurement platform that I would like to keep under $1k. Is it possible or even desirable to go for a multi-mic setup within this budget or am I better off with one higher quality mic recognizing that tuning becomes more complex? I will be using a Win7 laptop with a generic motherboard based sound processor. I know a multichannel input/sound card would be required for a multi-mic setup and could use recommendations for one if that approach is viable. Otherwise, I am led to believe it is possible to use a single mic if it has a usb connection with no additional soundcard. I could use confirmation and/or suggestions.

As for software, JBLPro has used both Smaart and EASE to set up M2's and both are effective but pricey solutions. I am aware of the freeware REW and that would be my first choice. Does anyone have any concerns with using that software? I would like to have a measurement platform in place before the M2's arrive either late this week or early next so any timely input would be appreciated.

I would put all my dime with ARTA acoustical measurement program. Well suited for both room and loudspeaker measurements. Any soundcard that is listed on ARTA web will do and recommended mics are any of Behringer, Earthworks, Dayton, dbx and so on. Omnidirectional mics so to speak.

Inluded are STEP and LIMPS programs as well.

I have REW as well but my felling is that ARTA is the superior one.

What is it that you want to do, measure the rooms acoustics or check the loudspeakers?

Don McRitchie
06-30-2014, 09:44 AM
If you already have a PC and plan to use REW or other free measurement softwares (I use HOLM Impulse, but it is not very stable with windows7), then the only thing you need to build your measurement platform is a mic (with its calibration file) and a good soundcard (with phantom power), that is if you did not choose a USB mic to start with...I don't think you need several mics: you can still get multi point measurements by moving the mic around, and moreover I don't think any of the free software around would let you measure using several mics at once.

Thanks pos, this is exactly what I am looking for. Based on your feedback, my inclination would be to go with REW and a single calibrated MiniDSP UMIK-1 USB microphone from Cross-Spectrum Labs. This USB based mic should eliminate the need for an outboard soundcard since I have a digital out through an HDMI interface that I will connect to the Dennon Pro DN-500AV Processor that I will use as the front end to the system. According the the REW website, using the HDMI output should be doable with their software.


If you want to do "sound power" measurement (sorta) then you will have to ask for the "plus" offer that also include a 90 calibration (for vertical placement). You can also use that program to generate the 90 calibration based on the 0 one, for any 1/4" mic : http://www.minidsp.com/forum/umik-questions/10088-translate-0-degree-calibration-to-90-degree

I'm not aware of the benefits of doing a sound power measurement so I am not sure if I want to do this. I only have a rudimentary understanding of sound power based on the Wikipedia entry that I just looked up.

Thanks again for your input.

Don

Don McRitchie
06-30-2014, 09:53 AM
What is it that you want to do, measure the rooms acoustics or check the loudspeakers?

Hi Bobecca

My intent is to solely measure room acoustics. I am familiar with how the M2 speaker tuning was developed with extensive analysis and input from the best minds at Harman from both the Pro and Consumer side. I have no intention of messing with that.

Based on this elaboration on my intent for measurements, would you still recommend using ARTA over REW? From my response above, you can see that I like the simplicity offered by the REW setup where I would not need an external soundcard.

Regards
Don

gtimbers
06-30-2014, 10:38 AM
REW 5 is the way to go. Be sure to get the Beta version that corrects the curve averaging method. For Mac, it is Beta 20. I use a Scarlett i212 as an external sound card. Most PC's have lousy frequency response so if you want to use your internal card, just do a loop back with the REW software to be sure things aren't too bad. I have a B & K mic, so I cannot comment on the suggestions others have made for mics. Since you don't have the ability to calibrate your mic, I would suggest sticking with something that is good quality or at least a known entity. If your mic has a non-flat characteristic (smoothed over the full frequency range) you will end up with less than desirable results. You need to be able to correct the Octave to Octave balance of your mic to less than 1/2 dB from 100 Hz to 10000 Hz. I plan to provide steps for in-room measurements and EQ soon, but not today. For now, consider REW 5 to be your software. It is excellent. Get a good mic, or at least one with flat (or known) response. REW has the ability to do a loop back correction for your electronics and it also takes a Txt file for mic calibration.

You will need to set up a mic array (one measurement at a time is just fine) around your listening position. 3 to 5 positions will be sufficient. If you try to include too large an area, you will cause more problems than you fix. I started with 5 positions and found that what I measured and what I heard did not agree. I found 3 positions that much more closely agreed measurement and sound wise. Just luck. I would start with 5 positions. one at your listening point, and the other 4 as a square or rectangle around the first mic. I typically space the mics about 2 feet from each other. One possibility is like the number 5 on a die (or dice?) Each of the 4 perimeter mics would be 4 ish feet from each other with the center mic in the middle. You should choose the same height for all mics and that height should be your ear height in your actual listening posture. REW can simply measure each mic position individually and then you can average the 5 into a single measurement. REW only has 30 bins so you need to throw away the individual measurements after the Average has been done (to save space).

Your M2/Crown setup will come with the recommended crossover and EQ already configured. The configuration is for flat response in a chamber and is not correct for a listening room without some adjustment, particularly in the 400 Hz and below region. There are several views regarding EQ above 400 Hz or so. I have had very good results correcting things above 400 Hz if you know something about your loudspeakers directivity behavior. I have a suggested in-room target shape which is not flat. I will publish my suggestion anotherday as I don't have the curves with me today.

This should be a fun project and you will end up with spectacular results.

Don McRitchie
06-30-2014, 11:10 AM
Hi Greg

I really appreciate your input. Given your comments on the non linearity of PC's, the Scarlette 2i2 looks very attractive with its low cost (~$160 on Amazon). The mic remains an open question since I would now be moving away from the USB approach. The Cross Spectrum Labs (http://www.cross-spectrum.com/) products still look attractive as per pos's suggestion. They purchase mics, calibrate them and then resell the mics with their specific, individual calibration file.


You need to be able to correct the Octave to Octave balance of your mic to less than 1/2 dB from 100 Hz to 10000 Hz.

To be honest, I am not clear on what this means. Is this something that calibration would take care of or a completely independent correction process? If the latter, is there a web resource you can point me towards to accomplish this?


Your M2/Crown setup will come with the recommended crossover and EQ already configured. The configuration is for flat response in a chamber and is not correct for a listening room without some adjustment, particularly in the 400 Hz and below region. There are several views regarding EQ above 400 Hz or so. I have had very good results correcting things above 400 Hz if you know something about your loudspeakers directivity behaviour. I have a suggested in-room target shape which is not flat. I will publish my suggestion another day as I don't have the curves with me today.

I got some preliminary info from JBLPro about the in-room target shape they used for the system I auditioned at Northridge. As in your case, it is not flat. If I have remembered it correctly, it has a gentle shelving of the HF along with a gently rise in the LF response that corresponds with room response recommendations that Dr. Toole developed. They also optionally apply another shelving starting at around 3k if it is subjectively assessed that the midrange has a degree of harshness in a particular room. Other than this, the room tuning has been directed towards correcting room modes below 400 hz as you suggested. I hope to follow-up with Pro to gain the specific target settings used. Other than the shelving, I don't believe Pro hasn't been addressing the response above 400 hz so I am very keen to hear more details on your experience.

Thanks again for weighing in.

Don

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 11:51 AM
Hi Bobecca

My intent is to solely measure room acoustics. I am familiar with how the M2 speaker tuning was developed with extensive analysis and input from the best minds at Harman from both the Pro and Consumer side. I have no intention of messing with that.

Based on this elaboration on my intent for measurements, would you still recommend using ARTA over REW? From my response above, you can see that I like the simplicity offered by the REW setup where I would not need an external soundcard.

Regards
Don

Good to know. I was just asking to be sure:).

I have both the REW and ARTA and keep ending up using ARTA all the time when room measurements is performed.

Problem with REW is that everytime one change a mic position, a check of levels has to be performed. For an example, measure at the listening pos after the check levels has been performed and then move that mic near the loudspeaker, there will be a input clipping of that level and measurement invalid. A new check level has to be performed. Then this two measurements cant be evaluated side by side to see any deviation. That problem does not excist in ARTA.

Another problem is the waterfall plot that has been taken in a room to be compared from a diffrent waterfall plot from another room due to that the preassure level isnt the same. Cant be compared side by side.

ARTA has burst decay and a waterfall plot and it is always starting from zero on a x-scale. Dosent matter if it is from diffrent rooms, the measurements can be evaluated in respect to room acoustics.

REW is a good tool if the measurements is performed for that room only. Or if room treatments is involved then one can see the improvement has been acompliched or not, like before and after measurements for that room in specific.

Hope it makes sence.....

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 11:59 AM
My gear with the Cinema screen array and Mctwins system with the PRX and 4429 speakers. Just for reference.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-traps-acoustic-panels-foam-etc/651132-my-room.html (http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-traps-acoustic-panels-foam-etc/651132-my-room.html)

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 12:09 PM
REW 5 is the way to go. Be sure to get the Beta version that corrects the curve averaging method. For Mac, it is Beta 20. I use a Scarlett i212 as an external sound card. Most PC's have lousy frequency response so if you want to use your internal card, just do a loop back with the REW software to be sure things aren't too bad. I have a B & K mic, so I cannot comment on the suggestions others have made for mics. Since you don't have the ability to calibrate your mic, I would suggest sticking with something that is good quality or at least a known entity. If your mic has a non-flat characteristic (smoothed over the full frequency range) you will end up with less than desirable results. You need to be able to correct the Octave to Octave balance of your mic to less than 1/2 dB from 100 Hz to 10000 Hz. I plan to provide steps for in-room measurements and EQ soon, but not today. For now, consider REW 5 to be your software. It is excellent. Get a good mic, or at least one with flat (or known) response. REW has the ability to do a loop back correction for your electronics and it also takes a Txt file for mic calibration.

You will need to set up a mic array (one measurement at a time is just fine) around your listening position. 3 to 5 positions will be sufficient. If you try to include too large an area, you will cause more problems than you fix. I started with 5 positions and found that what I measured and what I heard did not agree. I found 3 positions that much more closely agreed measurement and sound wise. Just luck. I would start with 5 positions. one at your listening point, and the other 4 as a square or rectangle around the first mic. I typically space the mics about 2 feet from each other. One possibility is like the number 5 on a die (or dice?) Each of the 4 perimeter mics would be 4 ish feet from each other with the center mic in the middle. You should choose the same height for all mics and that height should be your ear height in your actual listening posture. REW can simply measure each mic position individually and then you can average the 5 into a single measurement. REW only has 30 bins so you need to throw away the individual measurements after the Average has been done (to save space).

Your M2/Crown setup will come with the recommended crossover and EQ already configured. The configuration is for flat response in a chamber and is not correct for a listening room without some adjustment, particularly in the 400 Hz and below region. There are several views regarding EQ above 400 Hz or so. I have had very good results correcting things above 400 Hz if you know something about your loudspeakers directivity behavior. I have a suggested in-room target shape which is not flat. I will publish my suggestion anotherday as I don't have the curves with me today.

This should be a fun project and you will end up with spectacular results.

Sign me up, would like to take part of that slope and directivity behavior. I also agree that flat is not the best freq response.

Earl K
06-30-2014, 12:38 PM
Don, I also use the Focusrite 2i2. (http://www.shop.ca/c/interface-focusrite-scarlett-2i2-CSINFOCSCR2I2-22149127?gclid=CjkKEQjwlcSdBRD3wva3-KOAo80BEiQAjNIhidCAjeZSH1JH2qDaIIUm00CVpbyC7K5oajT oh6yl6mbw_wcB) It's a good quality soundcard ( plus it has nice wrap-around, multi-colored metering ) .

The calibrated EMM-6 from CSL (http://www.cross-spectrum.com/measurement/calibrated_dayton.html) will more than do the job . For the extra monies, get the Premium Plus calibration package . Note ; I see these mics are out of stock till mid July .

The usb powered UMIK-1 test mic (http://www.minidsp.com/products/acoustic-measurement/umik-1)is another way to go ( the calibrations are reputed to be "alright" ) . One doesn't use any external soundcard ( with this mic since it's "built-in" ) / though the drawback is the built-in pre-amp is set to a somewhat lower gain ( than what you can achieve with using "separates" ). I just received one ( I won it ) though haven't had any real time to suss out it's strengths & weaknesses .
- FWIW, the usage of a USB test mic usually triggers the caution that one loses the ability to use a second channel ( within REW ) as a timing channel . That is technically true though there is a lash-up "work-around " ( using ASIO4ALL (http://www.asio4all.com/) and your computers builtin soundcard ) .

FWIW, I use REW ( 100 times more than my licensed ARTA or HolmImpulse softwares ) . I believe ARTA ( which is quite affordable ) is worth owning ,( even if for no other reason, than to help one appreciate the GUI of REW ) .

:)

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 01:00 PM
Don, forgot to ask.....

What kind of room do you have? Will there be any in room treatments? or allready treated?

Just curious how the approach will be when adressing room acoustical problems.

bubbleboy76
06-30-2014, 01:40 PM
I plan to provide steps for in-room measurements and EQ soon, but not today. ...
I have a suggested in-room target shape which is not flat. I will publish my suggestion anotherday

Wow, waiting for this! Do you have the curve in the format REW can use as "house-curve"?

Will you provide steps for room-eq only, or for a full active crossover setup? I would really appreciate the latter. I am playing with a full active crossover setup on my 4365s, with the dbx driverack 260. Using REW, scarlet i2i and a dbx rta-m mic with a generic calibration-file for that mic I found on the REW-forum.
I am especially interested in your recommendations how to measure/setup delay in the crossover with REW.

pos
06-30-2014, 03:29 PM
Don, look slike you are in good hands :)

What correction hardware will you be using?

If I may suggest an option, miniDSP provides goods solutions for stereo correction, with both IIR and FIR capabilities.

Their openDRC box comes in digital in/out and analog in/out flavors, and they also have "dirac live" version with the included licenced software ($$) that provide automated corrections based on a target curve, with included measurement software.
If you prefer the DIY approach, the openDRC is probably the way to go, and its FIR capabilities will even let you correct phase shifts induced by the speakers themselves.

Bobecca
06-30-2014, 03:47 PM
Don, look slike you are in good hands :)

What correction hardware will you be using?

If I may suggest an option, miniDSP provides goods solutions for stereo correction, with both IIR and FIR capabilities.

Their openDRC box comes in digital in/out and analog in/out flavors, and they also have "dirac live" version with the included licenced software ($$) that provide automated corrections based on a target curve, with included measurement software.
If you prefer the DIY approach, the openDRC is probably the way to go, and its FIR capabilities will even let you correct phase shifts induced by the speakers themselves.

I was under the inpretion that the speakers phase shifts has been taken care of in the Crowns DSP.
Why bother to correct for the speaker when it is the room itself that has to be dealth with.

Just saying.....

pos
06-30-2014, 04:36 PM
Hello Bobecca,

AFAIK the M2 preset only consists in IIR filters, so no phase correction there.

I don't want to pollute Don's thread as room correction is a vast topic, but suffice to say the room cannot be dealt with independently of the speakers, and direct signal is still prevalent in how we perceive sound.
Having a good source with a "tight" impulse (phase linearization helps there) and controlled off axis response (this is where the M2 shines) clearly makes the integration job easier.

Don McRitchie
06-30-2014, 04:50 PM
Don, forgot to ask.....

What kind of room do you have? Will there be any in room treatments? or allready treated?

Just curious how the approach will be when adressing room acoustical problems.

The three pictures illustrate the room. The M2's will be going in my living room to replace the Altec Model 19's currently shown. As the space is my living room/dining room, there is no real opportunity for physical room treatments. Hence the reliance on DSP and room EQ.

Mctwins
06-30-2014, 10:24 PM
Hello Bobecca,

AFAIK the M2 preset only consists in IIR filters, so no phase correction there.

I don't want to pollute Don's thread as room correction is a vast topic, but suffice to say the room cannot be dealt with independently of the speakers, and direct signal is still prevalent in how we perceive sound.
Having a good source with a "tight" impulse (phase linearization helps there) and controlled off axis response (this is where the M2 shines) clearly makes the integration job easier.

Hallo!

You are not correct here, in Crowns there is both IIR and FIR filters. Quoting from the manual under features on page 5.

5. Onboard high-definition DSP with 24-bit, 192 kHz Cirrus Logic SHARC A/D
and D/A converters. Advanced IIR filters and linear-phase FIR filters.

Mctwins
06-30-2014, 11:01 PM
Hallo!

I did some test with the REW and posted a thread on GS and come to the conclusion that REW is very sensitive to enviormental noice. ARTA's is more stable here in this regard.

Read here.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/studio-building-acoustics/869303-rew-measurements.html (http://www.gearslutz.com/board/studio-building-acoustics/869303-rew-measurements.html)

I have seen many measurements with REW on GS with various SPL level, some has 160dB and some has 50dB. It is very difficult to compare these two measurements. In my own case with two different rooms with the same settings on REW and with same setting on the preamp and using the same soundcard and the check level is done there is more SPL level with the Cinema Screen than with the PRX600, go figure:confused:. Here the waterfall is totally useless to compare because of the difference in SPL level.

On ARTA, the Waterfall(CSD) and Burstdecay starts from 0 and down(0, -10,-30) despite the SPL level on the freq response, easier to compare various measurements.

For example, I can't use REW to tune my Varitunes(Helmholtz) devices because inside the Varitunes there is so much preasure that the REW is totally wortless. The signal goes into clipping and I tried to check level with no succes. Maybe becasue REW is using sweep and ARTA is using periodic noice exitation. Like thishttp://www.gearslutz.com/board/10017494-post372.html

In my opinion, the REW stands no chance compared to ARTA.

Mctwins
06-30-2014, 11:35 PM
The three pictures illustrate the room. The M2's will be going in my living room to replace the Altec Model 19's currently shown. As the space is my living room/dining room, there is no real opportunity for physical room treatments. Hence the reliance on DSP and room EQ.

Nice looking room......

My advice, you will have a hard time adjusting your room with only EQ and DSP. NO EQ or DSP will decrease or solve your modal resonances in the room, wheater it is called FIR or IIR filters. You may achive smoother freq response but the resonances will still be there. You have to, wheather you like it or not, solve your room anomalies and not your speaker, two differen't things.

pos
07-01-2014, 03:41 AM
Hallo!

You are not correct here, in Crowns there is both IIR and FIR filters. Quoting from the manual under features on page 5.

5. Onboard high-definition DSP with 24-bit, 192 kHz Cirrus Logic SHARC A/D
and D/A converters. Advanced IIR filters and linear-phase FIR filters.




The I-Tech HD amps indeed have FIR capabilities, but they are not used in the M2 preset, and for good reasons:
The control software (System Architect) only allows for a very limited FIR interface where you can only choose between LR4, LR8 and brickwall linear phase FIR filters in place of the IIR ones.

This would not be practical for the M2 (or any real world loudspeaker really) as you cannot take into account the natural (minimum-phase) response of the transducers.
Obtaining an amplitude-complementary and phase-coherent crossover with these would be quite tedious (you would have to add all-passes to some channels!), and would not result in a linear-phase response anyway. To get something usable and close to linear-phase you would have to cross the drivers several octaves inside their passband...

It would be nice if System Architect could let the user load FIR coefficients generated by external programs, such as DRC-FIR or Align2 for room correction, or rePhase for crossover and manual amplitude and phase corrections (I am the developer of that software).
The openDRC platform let you do just that.

Bobecca
07-01-2014, 05:27 AM
The three pictures illustrate the room. The M2's will be going in my living room to replace the Altec Model 19's currently shown. As the space is my living room/dining room, there is no real opportunity for physical room treatments. Hence the reliance on DSP and room EQ.

Very nice room you have and even if this will be hard to say but there will always for certain be room anomalies that DSP or room EQ cant handle.

I understand that room treatment is of no option for you, but there is no short cuts here. If a problem is related to a room acoustical problem there will always be around despite the use of EQ. If a say to take the rooms problem out of the equation, it will let the speaker or system perform for the better.

I prefer that the rooms anomalies is to be dealth with first and then apply any necessery EQ to tail your own subjective listening tuning knowing that the rooms problem is fixed, just makes that job easier.

I also see that the speakers will be in their respective corners to close to sidewalls creating side reflections to your disadvantage. The bass will trigger all the room modes and there is no space to move them around. The measurements will show if this is the case or not.

I hope that you dont have that mush of problems from the room and wich you best of luck.

pos
07-01-2014, 06:16 AM
Of course passive treatment is the best option, but even without this the M2 is at an advantage compared to other speakers because its off axis response is coherent and smooth.
That will make reflexions less intrusive.

The room is not that bad already, it is symmetrical where it needs to be, with a heavy rug on the floor and exposed beams on the ceiling. And there is even a cat.
Speaker placement (distance from the walls), toe-in (reduction of first reflexions) and/or a little bit of passive treatment on first reflexions specular positions (heavy curtains on the sides, that can be gathered in the corner when not listening) will already go a long way in obtaining a very good response in the upper range.
Low frequency modes can clearly not be handled here, and EQ will help reducing the most offending ones at the listening positions (cut, no boost there).

Regarding the corner placement, the existing Altec speaker is much larger than the M2. The M2 will see a larger frequency range radiated to the rear wall behind the speaker (higher baffle step frequency), and this might cause problems in the ~100-300Hz range (comb filtering from the direct+reflected signal from the rear wall).
Placing an absorber panel behind the speaker might be a good solution, and not too intrusive visually (Primacoustic or GIK Acoustic broadband panels, the thicker the better...)

Valentin
07-01-2014, 12:16 PM
This will be my first request for input (with likely many to follow) in setting up an M2 system. I would appreciate advice on buying a measurement platform that I would like to keep under $1k. Is it possible or even desirable to go for a multi-mic setup within this budget or am I better off with one higher quality mic recognizing that tuning becomes more complex? I will be using a Win7 laptop with a generic motherboard based sound processor. I know a multichannel input/sound card would be required for a multi-mic setup and could use recommendations for one if that approach is viable. Otherwise, I am led to believe it is possible to use a single mic if it has a usb connection with no additional soundcard. I could use confirmation and/or suggestions.

As for software, JBLPro has used both Smaart and EASE to set up M2's and both are effective but pricey solutions. I am aware of the freeware REW and that would be my first choice. Does anyone have any concerns with using that software? I would like to have a measurement platform in place before the M2's arrive either late this week or early next so any timely input would be appreciated.

congrats Don

if you have a ipad or iphone i can recomend the studio 6 digital software and the itest mic wich is sold by audiocontrol and has been calibrated

it is recomended for the measurments of the REVEL subwoofer system and software


http://www.studiosixdigital.com/audio-hardware/iprecisionmic.html

Titanium Dome
07-01-2014, 04:04 PM
congrats Don

if you have a ipad or iphone i can recomend the studio 6 digital software and the itest mic wich is sold by audiocontrol and has been calibrated

it is recomended for the measurments of the REVEL subwoofer system and software


http://www.studiosixdigital.com/audio-hardware/iprecisionmic.html


Another forum member here and I (following his enlightened example) purchased the Dayton Audio iMM-6 calibrated mic. I purchased the Studio 6 Audio Tools, successfully loaded the mic's calibration file, and the darn thing works like a charm.

I'm too ignorant to give any advice on using this with the M2, but I will say I can get some very accurate info on what the Timbers Arrays are doing in my big-ass room where I can't do any significant room treatments. It's way more info than I'm qualified to use, so cold-tuning just speaker placement and toe-in as my control methods, the iPad/Dayton mic combo really lets me see the changes wrought by even minute adjustments.

Of course, I'm focusing on one listening position, not multiples, because I want the "perfect" seat, and everyone else be damned.

Don McRitchie
07-01-2014, 08:32 PM
Don, look slike you are in good hands :)

What correction hardware will you be using?



I'll be using the DSP's in the Crown iTech 5000HD amps.

Don McRitchie
07-01-2014, 08:40 PM
Very nice room you have and even if this will be hard to say but there will always for certain be room anomalies that DSP or room EQ cant handle.

I am under no illusions about the capabilities of DSP and room EQ. As with all things in life, I will be working with a degree of compromise. I do not have the option of a dedicated sound room so the M2's will have to fit into the environment of my living/dining space pretty much as is. I'll just learn to live with whatever issues the electronic processing can't address. Regardless, the end result will be an order of magnitude better that what I am currently listening to.

Don

Don McRitchie
07-01-2014, 08:46 PM
The room is not that bad already, it is symmetrical where it needs to be, with a heavy rug on the floor and exposed beams on the ceiling. And there is even a cat.


I actually have two cats - one for each speaker. I'm a big stickler on symmetry.

Seriously, the absorber panels behind the speakers could be doable. I just need to determine how big an issue it is.

Valentin
07-02-2014, 10:25 AM
62558
from what i have read the gray line should aproximate the in room reasponse

Bobecca
07-04-2014, 09:59 AM
I am under no illusions about the capabilities of DSP and room EQ. As with all things in life, I will be working with a degree of compromise. I do not have the option of a dedicated sound room so the M2's will have to fit into the environment of my living/dining space pretty much as is. I'll just learn to live with whatever issues the electronic processing can't address. Regardless, the end result will be an order of magnitude better that what I am currently listening to.

Don

No problem, I understand the dilemma. Been there and lucky with an dedicatet room:p as long one can keep it.

Still, it will be intresting to follow your next step

Bobecca
07-04-2014, 10:00 AM
62558
from what i have read the gray line should aproximate the in room reasponse

Any good links out there to share? I like to read.

4313B
07-05-2014, 10:01 AM
http://www.hraplanet.com/content.php?193-Jungle-Studios-HRA-Demo-Sessions-Part-I

Valentin
07-06-2014, 09:52 AM
Any good links out there to share? I like to read.


http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduction-Acoustics-Psychoacoustics-Loudspeakers/dp/0240520092

SEAWOLF97
07-06-2014, 09:55 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduction-Acoustics-Psychoacoustics-Loudspeakers/dp/0240520092

My library has it ... on hold for me now :D

Don McRitchie
07-07-2014, 03:20 PM
Status Update

Had a bit of a snafu with shipping. That's been fixed and I was told that the speakers and amps were shipped out today by truck from JBL's Canadian distributor in Montreal. The road distance from Montreal to Winnipeg is about the same as from New York to Kansas City, so they'll take a few days to get here. I am told they should be delivered on Thursday. That works out OK as the measurement gear and preamp/processor are all arriving at the same time. The Altec Model 19's have just been sold so they should be departing the day before their replacements come through the door. More to come as all the pieces come together.

Don

Mr. Widget
07-07-2014, 06:49 PM
Status Update

Had a bit of a snafu with shipping. That's been fixed and I was told that the speakers and amps were shipped out today by truck from JBL's Canadian distributor in Montreal. The road distance from Montreal to Winnipeg is about the same as from New York to Kansas City, so they'll take a few days to get here. I am told they should be delivered on Thursday. That works out OK as the measurement gear and preamp/processor are all arriving at the same time. The Altec Model 19's have just been sold so they should be departing the day before their replacements come through the door. More to come as all the pieces come together.

DonExciting!!!

Keep us posted... Model 19s to the M2s. That'll be huge!


Widget

Don McRitchie
07-08-2014, 05:02 PM
Not sure if this has been posted previously, but attached is JBLPro's guide for setting up the M2/Crown system.

Robh3606
07-08-2014, 07:53 PM
Hello Don

Can't wait to see how you like them in your room and how flexible you find the DSP for the room EQ. Based on the DSP I have installed in a Crown XTI amp it should be quite impressive and intuitive once you get the hang of it. Download the Harman System Architect Software and just start playing around with it on your PC. If it's anything like the Band Manager HiQ net software you will be surprised at how user friendly it is.

Rob:)

Don McRitchie
07-08-2014, 10:22 PM
Two more sleeps and they should be here!!!

4313B
07-09-2014, 04:50 AM
Two more sleeps and they should be here!!!Exciting! :)

Did you get a dedicated 20A circuit run?


Hello Don

Can't wait to see how you like them in your room and how flexible you find the DSP for the room EQ. Based on the DSP I have installed in a Crown XTI amp it should be quite impressive and intuitive once you get the hang of it. Download the Harman System Architect Software and just start playing around with it on your PC. If it's anything like the Band Manager HiQ net software you will be surprised at how user friendly it is.

Rob:)I think it is excellent. The XTI is pretty cool for an order of magnitude less money. It will run most of the M2 configuration, there are a couple things it can't do and it does have fewer PEQ points. I'd have to choose it over the DBX 260 and separate amps. Unfortunately for the $999 DBX 260, it isn't as good as the $99 miniDSP.

Anyway, the IT HD is the current king of the hill, certainly more desirable than the arguably tragic ML/SDEC "solution".

Don McRitchie
07-09-2014, 06:43 AM
Did you get a dedicated 20A circuit run?

No. $9 NEMA 5-20 to NEMA 5-15 adapters seemed way cheaper:bouncy:

Seriously, when I saw the 20A circuit requirement, it made me question the viability of this purchase. However, JBLPro told me that the use of adapters is all that they did for their soundroom setup and they have never blown a breaker. They also assured me that there is no safety issue with this kludge. Bottom line is that the Crown's output has so much headroom in this application that two of them should not draw in excess of 15 amps in a home environment. I do have a dedicated 15A circuit just for the two amps.

The other note that gave me pause in the setup document is the clear statement that there needs to be a separate "amp room" to isolate the fan noise. As you can see from the pics of my living room posted above, I have a dedicated equipment cabinet. I hope it provides enough sound isolation, but I won't know until I try. It is not designed for that purpose and has numerous air gaps to ensure proper ventilation that could allow enough noise leakage to be a problem. I have other options if it remains a problem, but they have issues of their own.

Don

4313B
07-09-2014, 07:50 AM
Worst case there might be replacement fans which are more quiet. I used to replace fans in my PC's with extremely quiet models and it was worth the effort. I can't imagine Crown going to the effort or expense of using the most quiet fan model given the originally intended application.

Mr. Widget
07-09-2014, 08:20 AM
Worst case there might be replacement fans which are more quiet. I used to replace fans in my PC's with extremely quiet models and it was worth the effort. I can't imagine Crown going to the effort or expense of using the most quiet fan model given the originally intended application.If the noise is an issue and finding exact replacement fans is too difficult, ATM has a lot of inexpensive cooling system choices... most with thermocouples. You may be able to disconnect the internal fans and cool the amps externally.

http://www.activethermal.com/

Cheesy site and some of their products are obviously garage built, but they are effective and extremely reliable.


Widget

Don McRitchie
07-10-2014, 09:34 AM
For now, just one crappy cell phone shot. I'll do some proper unboxing shots latter, but it might be a day or two before they're posted. I have to get to the parcel service just south of the US border (a 90 minute drive) that is holding all of the ancillary gear that I ordered from Amazon and Sweetwater. The last few pieces came in late yesterday so tonight is my first opportunity to get down there for a pickup and I'm not sure if my work schedule will allow me to get down there before it closes. If not, nothing much will happen until the weekend.

1audiohack
07-10-2014, 10:33 AM
There is typically very little green in my disposition but I am feeling a bit envious now!

Barry.

Bobecca
07-10-2014, 11:43 AM
For now, just one crappy cell phone shot. I'll do some proper unboxing shots latter, but it might be a day or two before they're posted. I have to get to the parcel service just south of the US border (a 90 minute drive) that is holding all of the ancillary gear that I ordered from Amazon and Sweetwater. The last few pieces came in late yesterday so tonight is my first opportunity to get down there for a pickup and I'm not sure if my work schedule will allow me to get down there before it closes. If not, nothing much will happen until the weekend.

Nice.....:applaud:

macaroonie
07-10-2014, 12:36 PM
Stunning cartons Don. You must be thrilled. :D

grumpy
07-10-2014, 02:36 PM
work schedule? priorities, man... ;)

4313B
07-10-2014, 02:58 PM
work schedule? priorities, man... ;)Yeah...! :p

Valentin
07-10-2014, 04:04 PM
you will not be disapointed

:applaud::applaud::applaud::applaud::applaud:

polar_bear_0104
07-10-2014, 09:54 PM
Awesome! We're living the thrill and excitement vicariously, looking forward to reading your experiences with these babies...:)

Don McRitchie
07-12-2014, 05:22 PM
The unopened boxes. As can be seen, the Altec Model 19's did not leave as planned so they got to meet their replacements. They'll be hanging around for another week or so.

Don McRitchie
07-12-2014, 05:25 PM
Unboxing a Crown iTech 5000HD

Don McRitchie
07-12-2014, 05:28 PM
Unboxing the M2's. They come appropriately dressed to attend a Klan rally.

Don McRitchie
07-12-2014, 05:30 PM
Removing the last of the packing.

4313B
07-12-2014, 05:45 PM
So cool! :yes:

You have to be totally psyched!

Don McRitchie
07-12-2014, 06:28 PM
To be honest, underwelming. It took a friend and me until late Friday evening to finish the unboxing. He left before I could get the system hooked up, debugged and running which went into early Saturday morning. Debugging took the longest time. There were only two issues, but they stymied me for quite a while. The first was that I could not get the Crowns to recognize the USB sticks with the device files for the M2's. After much anguish, I discovered the USB sticks that I had were formatted as FAT, where apparently, the Crowns only recognize FAT32 formatted sticks.

That solved, I powered up the system and got no output. This would take a while to diagnose, since it could be the source, the preamp, the preamp configuration, or incorrect setup on the Crowns. Since the preamp/processor is also brand new (it's a pro 7.1 channel AV model), I had no experience with the myriad of setup options and struggled to get up to speed with its complexity.

Ultimately, I discovered the problem on the internet. The Denon preamp has a voltage selector which is factory set to 220V even for the models destined for the US market. Since the preamp has a digital switching power supply, it will turn on, light up and respond to certain switches when connected to a 120V supply, but it is otherwise non functional. How do I know this? It's in the video on Denon's website where they brag that leaving the switch set to 220V for all models saves money - for which they pass on the savings to you!!!! There was nothing in the box that indicated the voltage setting needed to be changed for North America, even though the video stated there should have been a prominent notice. Thanks Denon!!!!

OK, so now everything is hooked up and its time to listen, albeit at relatively low volumes due to not wanting to disturb my condo neighbors at 2:00 am. Both speakers fire up and there is a high level of detail that is immediately apparent. However, I'm not wowed or in any sense blown away. The system seems to have a forward midrange and recessed bass response. Bass extension seems to be there, as I can recognize deep bass notes from familiar recordings, but they seem to be at significantly lower levels relative to the overall response. At this point, the source is an Ipod with 320kbs MP3's, so I'm thinking maybe its a data loss issue, but that shouldn't affect the timberal balance.

Imaging is even more disappointing. It's flat with no real front to back depth and it's not centered (this is a critical hint). This was not what I remembered from my two hour audition of the M2's. I tried many different types of music, and some seemed like it was approaching the sonic character I remembered, but most sounded completely different, and significantly worse. By now, it's 4:00 am and I'm beat. I go to bed, frustrated, and quite honestly, disappointed. I was wondering if I had made a colossal blunder with this purchase for my living environment since I was beginning to believe I had horrible room issues that potentially might not be addressable.

I was up and ready to have another go with the M2's around noon today. My first thought was that maybe I have an out of phase issue with the LF drivers. I begin to reexamine all of the speaker/amp wiring to ensure that I have not mixed up the driver phasing. On the very last wire, on the power amp connection to the right speaker bass driver, I discover it's completely free, with no contact with the post. DOH!!! I feel like an idiot. I spent two hours listening to one full range speaker and one with an 800hz high pass filter. Never having worked with biamped speakers before, I didn't think to initially check whether all drivers were working since I could hear two speakers and just assumed it had to be something else.

At this point I should launch into my second impressions - which I will later on. For now, I'm going back to just listen to the M2's and hope that this big fucking grin on my face, that developed shortly after noon today, doesn't leave me permanently looking like the Joker.

Valentin
07-12-2014, 09:22 PM
:blink::blink::blink::blink::blink::blink: jajajajajajajajaja


www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM)[/URL]

[URL="https://www.google.com.mx/search?espv=2&biw=1366&bih=628&q=related:www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dy6Sxv-sUYtM%26feature%3Dkp+happy&tbo=1&sa=X&ei=zBDDU4SvGIaa8QH8s4DgBg&ved=0CCAQHzAA"] (https://www.google.com.mx/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#)

Mctwins
07-13-2014, 01:16 AM
Hallo!

Looks great to me. The importance of checking the connections.:) Don't be so critical in the begining, it has to be broken in, some people say's it takes years:D. Just keep the system ON for a week and check that the settings is OK in Audio Architect 1.40 for the Crowns. I asume that you have downloaded it.

Are you using Speakon or binding post connection? Check also that the channel 1 and channel 2 from the Crowns is correct so that it goes to respectivly bass and tweeter.

What model is your Denon preamplifier? Are you using Balanceed or Unbalanced connection to the Crowns?

Titanium Dome
07-13-2014, 08:35 PM
Don, congrats and thanks for the detailed unpacking. :) Nobody likes a good unpacking more than I do, though a couple of nameless forum members have given me shit for it. (I'm sure now they'll say they were only kidding. :p)

Unpacking is a key part of the experience, opening boxes, removing packing, seeing the reveal bit by bit of the wonder that is now in your possession. It's also part of the build up when you move into new territory: did I do the right thing? am I ready for this? what if it's not what I expected? what if I eff something up?

You got to have all of that! You took the risk and now you're smiling! :D Well done and best wishes as you fine tune it all.

Mr. Widget
07-13-2014, 10:09 PM
Don, congrats and thanks for the detailed unpacking. :) Nobody likes a good unpacking more than I do, though a couple of nameless forum members have given me shit for it. (I'm sure now they'll say they were only kidding. :p)Not sure if I'm nameless, but I know I've given you a hard time for this sort of thing... and will probably again at some point. ;)

FWIW: When I saw Don's series, I immediately thought of you! :bouncy:

Personally I'm glad to see Don excited about JBLs and audio again and look forward to more of his impressions as he lives with these speakers.


Widget

ds23man
07-20-2014, 09:00 AM
Update???

Valentin
07-21-2014, 05:33 PM
I think Don is too happy :bouncy::bouncy::bouncy: just hearing music

Ed Zeppeli
07-26-2014, 04:56 AM
So how are you enjoying them?

Jonas_h
07-30-2014, 05:28 AM
Congrats with the speakers!

Any reason you went with two I-Tech's and not the 4x3500HD with 4 channels?

Don McRitchie
08-02-2014, 12:31 AM
So how are you enjoying them?

Short answer is that they are everything I hoped for. An unexpected turn at work has kept me away from the forum for the past couple of weeks, but I will make a detailed post of my experience to date with this system later this weekend.

Regards
Don

Robh3606
08-02-2014, 08:48 AM
Glad you are enjoying them looking forward to your impressions.

Rob:)

DingDing
08-02-2014, 09:12 PM
At this point I should launch into my second impressions - which I will later on. For now, I'm going back to just listen to the M2's and hope that this big fucking grin on my face, that developed shortly after noon today, doesn't leave me permanently looking like the Joker.

You took me for an emotional roller coaster with your post, but that punchline made me lol hard!

Congratulations on getting the M2. Albeit an entirely different league I'm keen to hear what you think about them in comparison to the 19's as I've heard those at my brothers house with McIntosh Mc602 several times (they rock hard). Also interested to know about the noise induced by the Crown amps, I'm using a QSC GX5 to power the woofers in 4343, and a fan mod was fairly easy and inexpensive, but the Crowns are probably harder, and I don't think you want to break the warranty (obviously), so probably get them to do it for you.

AussieSteve
08-03-2014, 12:34 AM
Removing the last of the packing.

Your room looks very cool! The speakers really blend. I tossed up between the S4700's and the M2's. In the end I figured it would take a little too much cash to set up the M2's. I am really keen to find out what they really sound like.

Don McRitchie
08-05-2014, 08:06 AM
Again, I've been sidelined with work issues. I should have a comprehensive assessment up by the end of the day. For now, some quick answers to a couple of questions posed above:


Also interested to know about the noise induced by the Crown amps,

I think any average person exposed the fan noise when the amps are out in the open would call it distracting. They start up at high speed, and thus very noisy, but then settle down to a more reasonable level. For the first week of listening, I had the amps out in the open. I could live with their noise level when settled down, but I doubt everyone could. When playing program material at a nominal volume level (say watching TV), the fan noise is masked. However, at lower volume levels, the fan noise is noticeable.

As you can see in the picture of my setup, I have a built-in equipment cabinet. I have now moved the amps into this cabinet and it completely eliminates the fan noise issue for me. After settling down from start-up, the fan noise is at nearly identical volume to the ambient noise levels in my condo and I have to stain to hear it even with no program material playing. However, care is required to deal with heat build-up.

I ensured that the cabinets were built with a comprehensive convection venting system that allows cool air to be drawn from the bottom and front and exhausted out the top and back. The Crown's cooling system draws air from the front and exhausts out the back so that this ties in with the venting setup. Unless my cats decide to curl up over the warm exhaust vents (which they have), the amps never heat up to the point that the fans have to speed up beyond their idle level. However, placing the amps in a closed cabinet without venting would result in the amps overheating, even when played at low volume levels.


Any reason you went with two I-Tech's and not the 4x3500HD with 4 channels?

I did this to prevent potential electrical overload issues, though in hindsight, the 3500HD probably would have worked without issue. I thought I had a potential problem when I saw that the 5000HD's had a stated requirement for 20 amp service and the 3500HD required 30 amp service. I only have 15 amp circuits and no ability to rewire my place to provide 20 or 30 amp service. I was told that the 5000HD's should work in a home environment on dedicated 15 amp circuits, but it was not clear whether the 3500HD would work on one 15 amp circuit.

In actual practice, this doesn't appear to be an issue. I currently have my entire HT setup on one dedicated 15 amp circuit (2-5000HD's, Denon HT Processor, Sharp 80"LED TV, PVR and Blu-Ray player. I have yet to blow a breaker.

Regards
Don

DingDing
08-05-2014, 11:05 PM
Thanks, Don! :) Very glad to hear that noise is not an issue now that you've got them inside of the cabinet!

About the cats, I've got no less than five snugglers (and yes, I'm single), lol. To keep cats away from certain areas you can put very, very little ammonium chloride (we use that here in Norway for cleaning purposes) on the areas you don't want them to be at. Their incredible sense of smell makes them avoid proximity to the place, but humans are not able to perceive the strong smell unless you go crazy with it.

Looking forward to reading your impressions. I've got to hear M2 one day. Considering the LSR308 or 305 for my desktop speakers.

Don McRitchie
08-06-2014, 09:06 AM
Sorry for the delay in putting up a detailed assessment of the M2’s. Just when the M2’s arrived, my home province of Manitoba was hit with a 1:300 year flood. I work for the Province and have been tied up with the flood response and cleanup ever since. This just past long weekend has given me the first chance to catch up but it still took until today to complete the write-up.

Overall Assessment

The impression that I had when first auditioning the M2’s at Northridge remains unchanged – the M2 system is the finest loudspeaker system I have heard to date from JBL. It’s up there with the finest loudspeakers that I have ever heard and could very well be at the pinnacle. It’s just that I have only had brief exposure to what I would consider to be other contenders at various audio shows, and some these I have not heard for over a decade.

Very broadly speaking, there are five attributes for which I am looking for a loudspeaker to maximize –dynamic range, imaging, bandwidth, timbral accuracy, and lack of distortion – and M2 exceeds at all five. Dynamics and imaging are what first impressed me at the Northridge audition. I’ve never heard a horn based system image like the M2. It truly is holographic.

At Northridge, the speakers were in the middle of the room away from any walls. This allowed a soundstage that was considerably wider than the separation between the speakers - the first time I have ever experienced this in a horn loudspeaker. My home placement has both speakers in corners. This restricts the soundstage width to the width of the room, but within that soundstage, the imaging is deep, precise and incredibly stable.

Regarding dynamics, I can’t play the system continuously at the volume levels experienced at Northridge – though I have pressed the threshold for eviction for shorter periods of time. Regardless, the dynamic response is unsurpassed by any system I have heard. It is absolutely devoid of any dynamic compression whatsoever so that it sounds the same regardless of volume. The system just shines on high dynamic range recordings, where loud transients appear fill blown out of nowhere and disappear with no overhang.

The attribute that I have grown to appreciate more than any other since having the system in my home is its bandwidth, and more specifically, its bass extension. There just is no JBL parallel to the M2 in this regard since the response is flat down into the 20’s and up into the 40kHz range. That JBL has accomplished this with a 2 way system is absolutely amazing to me. For example, the four-way 4345 with its 18” 2245 can’t plumb the depths of M2. The result is that I am hearing the full expression of recordings for the first time. Bass response is not just solid and lifelike, it has the ability to reproduce LF program material for which my previous speaker systems would just ignore.

Timbral accuracy is almost an order of magnitude greater than the speakers I have previously owned. Vocal reproduction has a degree of realism that I have not experienced before. The near absolute linearity in frequency response results in an ability resolve incredible detail that is masked by the vast majority of speakers that I have heard. Regardless, it is in this realm that I do have some issues with my home setup, and I am fairly confident that they are room issues and not speaker issues. I’ll have more on this later.

With regards to the final attribute - freedom from distortion, I have yet to detect any distortion products in M2 at any volume level. This is the most fatigue free speaker that I have ever experienced. I have listened continuously to the M2’s for hours on end where I have never been able to countenance more than a couple of hours of intense listening with any other speaker system before fatigue set in.

Audio Background

The following is my overall history as an audiophile which is intended to place my current assessment of the M2’s within a context. My audiophile days started in my teens in high school when a friend purchased a JBL 030 system and introduced me to the dynamics of the JBL sound. Even though the 030 could not be called an accurate loudspeaker, even in its day, it had a degree of sonic realism that exceeded anything that I had heard previously.

For the next two years, I scrimped and saved from part time work to the point that I could afford my first sound system in 1975. I initially lusted after the big floor standing JBL’s, and in particular, the L300. I could not afford this, and in seeking affordable alternatives, was introduced to Altec Lansing speakers. I was told that Altec and JBL were almost one and the same since they were both founded by someone named James B. Lansing. I ended up with Altec’s penultimate speaker of the day – the Santiago, which at half the cost of the L300, had a similar configuration. It had a 15” bass driver that was very similar to a JBL LE15A and a compression driver/horn crossed over at 800hz.

While the Altec’s had dynamics and decent bass extension, they were severely compromised in timbral accuracy. HF response was severely rolled off above 10k. Bass, while extended, was ill defined and boomy. Midrange response was overly pronounced and ragged. This was the single most fatigue inducing speaker that I have ever owned and it was that failing that led me to sell them after just one year.

I was so disillusioned with this experience that I swore off “West Coast” speakers for the next two decades. Instead, I followed down the path of the then newly defined “high-end” market. I started with a pair of SAE Mark XIV electrostatic hybrids and eventually settled on a pair of Dahlquist DQ10’s that were my main speakers for almost 25 years. These were driven by a Threshold power amp and GAS pre-amp.

Overall, I was relatively happy with this setup. It had a high degree of timbral accuracy, albeit within a restricted bandwidth – there was just no significant bass response below 50hz. Imaging on the DQ10’s was excellent and arguably its greatest attribute. However, dynamic response was its Achilles heel. Dynamic compression became readily apparent at only moderately high volumes.

I never lost my love for the dynamic response of the JBL’s that started my audiophile quest and it was a nostalgia for this sound that led me to start the Lansing Heritage website with a couple of friends in 2000. In 2004, I had the opportunity to acquire a pair of Altec Lansing Model 19’s, which were a significant improvement over the Santiago’s that I used to own. My desire was so great to recapture the dynamics that first got me into this hobby that I dumped the Dahlquists for these speakers which became my mains for the next decade. Around the same time, I also acquired a second system for my bedroom which consisted of a pair of JBL 4328P monitors and 4312P sub.

Comparison between M2 and Altec Lansing Model 19’s

I have to say off the top that this is in no way a fair comparison. We’re talking about a 35 year old speaker design compared to the current state-of-the-art in design, materials, and DSP. Nonetheless, many have asked for this assessment.

As I said above, the 19’s were a significant step up from the Santigo’s I used to own. They were the first Altec’s that I experienced to have a reasonable HF extension due to a redesigned compression driver diaphragm. Bass extension approached that of the Santiago through a much larger box with lower bass reflex tuning. However bass dynamics were greatly improved with the much higher efficiency 416B LF driver that provided much greater definition and punch than the Santiago’s 411 driver. The cross-over on the 19 was raised to 1200 Hz from 800 Hz which removed much of the coloration from throat distortion on the small diameter throat 811 horn shared by both systems. The 19 crossover was the first used in a large Altec system to contain equalization that smoothed out the midrange and HF response.

All that being said, the 19 still had major issues. Bass extension was still lacking in an overall sense. The 811 horn is notorious for ringing and this led to a very uneven midrange response. The midrange still seemed over prominent with the crossover EQ setting turned all the way down. Imaging was not great, coming across as two dimensional and restricted in width.

I did use an outboard parametric EQ on the Altecs that I thought was a great improvement. I could only EQ by ear since I lacked comprehensive measurement equipment. I won’t pretend that I could EQ an accurate response through subjective listening, but I was able to subjectively improve the overall timbral response to my liking and to the point that the system was satisfying for the time that I owned it.

Nonetheless, the M2’s have proven to be an order of magnitude improvement over the 19’s in four of the five main attributes that I listed at the start of this post. The fifth attribute – dynamics – is the only one where both systems are in the same ballpark, though the M2’s are still noticeably superior.

Bass extension on the M2’s is another octave deeper compared to the 19’s. I used to think that I had very significant room issues judging by the 19’s uneven bass response. I do have at least one room mode (more on this later), but the M2’s demonstrated that the uneven bass was largely an attribute of the 19’s and not the room. The M2’s untuned room bass response is remarkably flat in comparison with the exact same placement.

Timbral accuracy through the midrange and HF is probably where the 19’s and M2’s depart most significantly. The M2’s reproduce the human voice in a manner that is strikingly life-like. In contrast, there was never any doubt that you were listening to a compromised vocal reproduction through the 19’s. Again, the peaky midrange resulted in the onset of listener fatigue after only an hour or so.

Comparison between M2 and 43XXP Monitors

This one surprised me. I thought that the 4328’s had a fighting chance of besting the M2’s in timbral accuracy at moderate to low volumes. They are close, but the M2’s were immediately obvious as being superior. Again, vocal reproduction demonstrates this contrast. Joni Mitchell on her Both Sides Now LP is just mesmerizing on the M2’s. While there are no obvious errors in reproduction on the 4328’s it just doesn’t have the same level of nuance and detail as the M2’s.

I have been very happy with the 4328’s overall and highly recommend them, but they are no match for the M2’s and shouldn’t be at their price point and design objective. They can’t project a large soundstage like the M2’s, nor can they match the bass response of the M2’s even with the 4312 subwoofer. I do have significant integration issues between the 4312 and 4328, but this is probably placement more than anything. I have the sub located underneath the desk where the 4328’s sit, but I had to turn the sub around firing into a back wall so I wouldn’t inadvertently kick the unprotected bass driver.

M2 Issues

I have just two issues with the M2 that I am pretty sure are room related, but won’t be able to prove or rectify for a bit of time. The first is an apparent room mode somewhere in the 50-80 Hz range. There is a single bass frequency in this range where output is apparently doubled since a recorded bass note at that frequency comes across as noticeably pronounced. As I said above, the Altec’s led me to believe I had multiple room modes given noticeable bass peaks at more than one frequency. However, the M2’s are actually much better behaved in the bass frequencies than I imagined. If I had no ability to do room tuning with the M2’s, I could still happily live with the bass response as is.

The second issue is a small degree of edge in the upper midrange. Given that the vast majority of reflective surfaces in the room are hard, I think this is a result of the room construction (brick walls, large glass windows and hardwood flooring). Again, I am hoping that room tuning will have the ability to mitigate this to a large degree.

Room Tuning

I have yet to attempt room tuning as I have only now assembled the necessary gear and work issues haven’t allowed me the time to get up to speed on the technology, methods and practices. The gear I have assembled is as follows:

• Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 USB recording interface,
• Dayton Audio EMM6 measurement microphone calibrated by Cross Spectrum Labs,
• On Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand,
• Room EQ Wizard (REW) software,
• Harman System Architect,
• ASUS Windows 7 Laptop.

The microphone was back ordered and just arrived at the parcel service I use across the US border. I won’t be able to drive down there to get it until this weekend, so room tuning is still a bit of time away.

System Plans

It remains an objective of mine to use the M2’s as the centerpiece of a HT setup in addition to stereo playback. To that end, I have purchased a Denon Pro DN-500AV 7.1 channel pre-amp processor. Originally, I thought I would set up a 4.1 channel surround system, forgoing a centre channel speaker, but have now decided on a 5.1 system. I have a second pair of 4328P’s that I picked up inexpensively on EBay and plan to press them into service as rears. I’ll also move the 4312 sub from workstation duty (where it is overkill) to the HT system.

For a centre channel, I have ordered a single LSR305 that should show up later this week. This couldn’t be more of a mismatch in price at just over $100 for the centre and $25K for the L&R mains. However, since the 305 is described as the little brother of the M2 and just fits under my TV, I couldn’t resist giving it a shot. I need to have the measurement gear up and running to set up the HT system since the Denon does not have a built in level matching capability for the five speakers. Regardless, I am very impressed with the Denon unit both sonically and feature wise. I really like its ability to automatically disconnect the sub, rears and centre whenever stereo playback is selected. My current AV receiver attempts to distribute a stereo signal through all speakers unless the rears and centre are manually set to disabled.

The sole audio source that I am using is a Bluesound Node music streaming device and DAC. I long ago moved to music streaming as my primary source with the Logitech Squeezebox. However, that device recently died and Logitech has discontinued that product line. That led me to seek out a replacement which is where the Bluesound Node came in.

It’s been up and running for about three weeks and I am really impressed. It is the only high res streaming device currently on the market and is controlled through either iOS or Android apps. All of my music is ripped to a hard drive on my bedroom desktop PC as uncompressed FLAC files and I have a wired Ethernet connection to the Bluesound unit in the living room equipment cabinet. The Bluesound unit is wireless capable, but I like the stability of a wired connection. I also really like the convenience of having all of my music at my fingertips while remaining seated at my listening position.

As a bit of background, Bluesound is a Canadian company, owned by Lenbrook which makes NAD electronics and PSB speakers. As a result it was readily available in my home town of Winnipeg at what I considered to be a reasonable cost of just over $500.

Summary

As I have said numerous times, I could not be happier with the M2’s. It’s like I have finally reached the destination of a journey that I have been on for nearly 40 years. I still have a fair amount of experimentation and refinement ahead, but the current state is more than I could have hoped for.

4313B
08-06-2014, 09:08 AM
Considering the LSR308 or 305 for my desktop speakers.Just do it. Unbeatable bang for the buck.

Mostlydiy
08-06-2014, 09:33 AM
Thank you Don for the detailed review!

/Mostly

Don McRitchie
08-06-2014, 10:02 AM
Current setup pics.

DingDing
08-06-2014, 10:41 PM
:applaud: Excellent read :applaud:

Reading this sure makes me want to listen to them. Next time I go to Oslo, I hope they've got S3900, S4700, K2 S9900 and M2 on demo. Mostly the latter two, as it would be cool to listen to both in one day. As "young", very early 30's, the K2 S9900 is the best speaker I've ever heard to date. Can't afford it anytime soon, but some day (even if I've got to wait until it is vintage like my 4343b's are now! :))

You have a very nice place too. I think they fit in real well with your decor. Like the black look a lot. On youtube someone commented that the LSR series looks like Batman's speakers. :D

Had to smile when you told us you've gotten a single LSR305 @ ~$100 intended to be used as a center channel with these speakers. I'm 99,9 % positive you will be far better off sending the center channel info to the M2's because of dynamics, tactile impact, bass exstension etc. I wonder how a third M2 as center would work though.

You will have much fun with REW. In the early stages of playing with it myself. The ability of measuring in the home environment is really fun and educational.

Congratulations on purchase well done. Very happy for you, and always a pleasure to see someone find something special that they've been looking for after many years of having this hobby!

ivica
08-07-2014, 03:55 AM
Short answer is that they are everything I hoped for
Don
Hi Don McRitchie,

many thanks for your M2 presentation. it is very nice that you have been satisfied with them much.
some thing involked my hesitation
-bas response that can be comparable to 2245- "older brother"
-unexpetable horn loading for relative low frequency (700Hz) for the compression driver
-clear and wide UHF reproduction difficult to expact from the large horn without defraction coloration(congratulation to JBL engineers).

looking to your more expressions.
regards
ivica

shoshaw
08-07-2014, 06:02 AM
I have M2's in a similar arrangement as Don. My room is a bit wider but the arrangement is basically the same. Before my M2 purchase, I spoke with Charles Sprinkle about selecting an appropriate center channel to use with them. I ended up with a third M2! It sits behind my projector screen upside-down (furniture arrangement would not allow me to place it on the floor). The performance is awe inspiring.




:applaud: Excellent read :applaud:

Reading this sure makes me want to listen to them. Next time I go to Oslo, I hope they've got S3900, S4700, K2 S9900 and M2 on demo. Mostly the latter two, as it would be cool to listen to both in one day. As "young", very early 30's, the K2 S9900 is the best speaker I've ever heard to date. Can't afford it anytime soon, but some day (even if I've got to wait until it is vintage like my 4343b's are now! :))

You have a very nice place too. I think they fit in real well with your decor. Like the black look a lot. On youtube someone commented that the LSR series looks like Batman's speakers. :D

Had to smile when you told us you've gotten a single LSR305 @ ~$100 intended to be used as a center channel with these speakers. I'm 99,9 % positive you will be far better off sending the center channel info to the M2's because of dynamics, tactile impact, bass exstension etc. I wonder how a third M2 as center would work though.

You will have much fun with REW. In the early stages of playing with it myself. The ability of measuring in the home environment is really fun and educational.

Congratulations on purchase well done. Very happy for you, and always a pleasure to see someone find something special that they've been looking for after many years of having this hobby!

Don McRitchie
08-07-2014, 08:52 AM
I have no illusions that an LSR 305 centre channel is in any way capable of keeping up with the M2 mains. It's just that I have no ability to place another M2 as a centre and I just can't resist the fun factor of playing around with a $129 Mini-Me version. At that price, it can fail entirely in that role and still have value as a silent M2 homage art work, displayed on top of my equipment cabinet. It would look cute as hell sandwiched in between its much more massive brethren.

badman
08-07-2014, 02:51 PM
Just do it. Unbeatable bang for the buck.

Seconded- heard 308s at the heritage awards- very impressive indeed! I'm hoping to finagle a pair somehow, they'd be pretty slick combined with a minidsp and a big bass section

pos
08-07-2014, 03:18 PM
Seconded- heard 308s at the heritage awards- very impressive indeed! I'm hoping to finagle a pair somehow, they'd be pretty slick combined with a minidsp and a big bass section

So I guess you finally changed your mind :)
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/195124-what-ideal-directivity-pattern-stereo-speakers-265.html#post3852473

DingDing
08-07-2014, 06:28 PM
I have no illusions that an LSR 305 centre channel is in any way capable of keeping up with the M2 mains. It's just that I have no ability to place another M2 as a centre and I just can't resist the fun factor of playing around with a $129 Mini-Me version. At that price, it can fail entirely in that role and still have value as a silent M2 homage art work, displayed on top of my equipment cabinet. It would look cute as hell sandwiched in between its much more massive brethren.

Well, now I just feel silly, :D

The 20 Hz low frequency extension, dynamic capabilities and low distortion of the M2 sounds like something out of this world. Was talking with my brother (who has Model 19) about your review this morning and we both agree that it's insane what JBL has pulled off with this fairly compact two way speaker, and we've decided we'll be going to Oslo together to get a demo – which shouldn't induce the usual fight of being in the sweetspot :D


Just do it. Unbeatable bang for the buck.


Seconded- heard 308s at the heritage awards- very impressive indeed! I'm hoping to finagle a pair somehow, they'd be pretty slick combined with a minidsp and a big bass section

Yes, now it's a matter of which and when, not if.

audiomagnate
08-08-2014, 11:18 AM
My feeling on center channels is you have to go with the same quality as the "mains" because most of what you're going to hear during a movie is going to come from that speaker. I just go with 4.0 (4.3 actually) and sit in the sweet spot. The other people in the room usually don't give a fig about sound anyway.

I really am tempted to try out a pair of those LSRs. What's the gereral consensus on which is the better speaker, the 305's or the 308's (assuming the presence of sub[s])?

migman
08-08-2014, 11:43 AM
Great write up Don. They look fantastic in your room and I am sure they sound even better. I hope to hear a pair someday.


My feeling on center channels is you have to go with the same quality as the "mains" because most of what you're going to hear during a movie is going to come from that speaker. I just go with 4.0 (4.3 actually) and sit in the sweet spot. The other people in the room usually don't give a fig about sound anyway.

I really am tempted to try out a pair of those LSRs. What's the gereral consensus on which is the better speaker, the 305's or the 308's (assuming the presence of sub[s])?


I have a pair of 305s and the 310 sub coming next week to hook up to my office headphone amp's pre-outs. I will start a new thread when they arrive and give my impressions.

badman
08-08-2014, 11:50 AM
So I guess you finally changed your mind :)
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/195124-what-ideal-directivity-pattern-stereo-speakers-265.html#post3852473


Naw- I still think the profile pinches are unnecessary and was motivated by looks, and I still find the state of JBL's business dealings deplorable. Not unique but just because everyone's doing business the wrong way doesn't make it okay. The 308s sounded great though.

Mctwins
08-09-2014, 12:35 AM
Current setup pics.

Hallo!

Don, you have a great system, just enjoy:bouncy:

I would try to toe them in a bit more and pull the speakers more to the center/middle, towards your desk so the speakers moves away from the sidewalls.

You can try and see how it sounds.

pos
08-09-2014, 04:12 AM
It looks like the right speaker is a little bit closer to the side wall than the left one, because of the heater.
Moving the right speaker a little bit to the left might improve imaging, especially if your first specular reflection point at your listening position falls within the window area.

bubbleboy76
08-10-2014, 04:03 AM
Congrats Don! Wonderful system.

jblnut
08-12-2014, 09:24 AM
Congrats Don - I hope to post something like this myself someday. Until then I will listen vicariously through you :-)

On a related note, folks in New York City can now hear the M2 for themselves. The flagship Harman store on Madison Ave at 53rd (iirc) has M2's setup with a mixing board so you can play producer for a little while. I will post a more thorough review of the store and my brief time with M2's in another thread. But I wanted to give folks a heads-up that Harman has seen fit to put them into a high-traffic consumer space for all to hear.

jblnut