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Thread: JBL Performance Series

  1. #1486
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    Hi Mel.

    That's certainly a comment or question I get frequently from visitors.

    "Wow, you have a lot of subs here," or "Why so many subs?" From the LA Home Theater Group meets I sometimes host to individual guests, it's probably the most frequent point of discussion when they step into the family room. When they hear the system in action, there's no doubt in their minds that it works and works very well, but the question then mutates to something like, "Do I need to do this, too?"

    The answer is "I don't know," since I have not seen their rooms and do not know what sound they're looking for. Nevertheless, I can give them some information that helps them to see where I'm going in my system and the process that they can emulate if they want. It seems to be a path that Roger Dressler was familiar with, since he liked the Performance Series sound in my space a lot. (see a few posts above this).

    When I write "step into the family room," in our house it means take two steps down from the level of the kitchen and living room, which are two steps down from the dining room, with no interior walls separating them from each other. Here's a few shots of the empty space.
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    In.

  2. #1487
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    As you can see, it's a big space. The Performance Series is in the carpeted area, roughly 25% of the floor space. It's fairly easy to control the MF and HF with the directionality of the speakers and a few sneaky room treatments, but the LF can be quite challenging.

    Here's a current look at the living room/family room boundary. You can see the sneaky room treatments: the back of the couch and chair as absorbers behind the PS fronts, and the drop down shades on the big glass surfaces to break up early reflections off the glass.
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    In.

  3. #1488
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    With the highs and mids easily controlled, the real challenge in that big space was getting the LF addressed in four areas:
    1. Generating enough LF output energy to load the volume (cu. ft.) of the entire floor without being overbearing in the family room.
    2. Controlling the extensive and complex peaks and nulls in LF waves.
    3. Getting a smooth and well integrated LF house curve in the prime listening space no matter where guests were to sit.
    4. Meeting the placement restrictions for LF drivers placed by my co-habitant or addressing the GAF.

    So the first step was to place everything in the best location possible for those things that could go in those places. That was fairly easy with the mains and surrounds, and the quickest way to both get them at the correct height and get the directionally perceptible bass co-located was to put FL, FR, SL, and SR on top of PS1400s. That's how I ended up with four PS1400s in the room.

    The next step was to get the center up to the same level, which required a bit of innovation, and it turned out that the table that I used has two openings that would fit two HTPS400s very neatly underneath. This met the GAF, but was not ideal sub placement, but it seemed an acceptable compromise for getting a couple of subs in there, so I crossed over from PS1400s to HTPS400s at 80-100 Hz and ran the subs a little hot to get the impact I wanted at the primary seating position.
    In.

  4. #1489
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    An unexpected third step occurred when a couple of AVS buddies brought over a BassQ unit and Grumpy brought over his MacBook Pro and FuzzMeasure. We'd all recently been on the Harman International tour in Northridge and gotten the multisubs info reinforced, so we messed around with the BassQ trying to take the hotness out of my two-sub configuration while giving a more uniform bass response. It was OK, but not really getting us where we wanted to go.

    So Grumpy got out the Mac and the mic , and we dragged in two extra subs I had plus an amp and put them more or less in the midpoint positions of the sides, and it improved the sound and leveled it out quite a bit.

    Then it was bye-bye BassQ and hello more subs.
    In.

  5. #1490
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    so I crossed over from PS1400s to HTPS400s at 80-100 Hz and ran the subs a little hot to get the impact I wanted at the primary seating position.
    In my room, the PS1400 stacks are producing abundant peaks in the 60Hz range due to placement. They are attenuated close to 10db at 60Hz by my auto-setup EQ. Thus, I use a 40Hz crossover to my HTPS400 when I want some VLF bump in 2-ch listening. Otherwise I let the PS1400s run full-range with the HTPS400 used for LFE channel only in 5.1 listening. I use the HTPS400 behind the sofa as a butt-kicker and that's exactly what it does. I'd be happy to have another one to keep it company but would place it elsewhere in the room to "fill in".

  6. #1491
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    Leading to step four, I sought out an additional HTPS400 as I already had a spare in the garage, and I brought them in to replace the two subs we had temporarily installed. Of course, the GAF came into play again, and it was down into the rear corners for the HTPS400s.

    During some intervening AVS meets, the surround guys were insistent and correct in noting the PT800/PS1400 stacks needed to be where the HTPS400s were, so they came out of the corners and forward about 24" to allow the stacks to be in the right place.

    Subsequent to that, Grumpy was over to work on the PS250, and I asked him to help me recal the Performance set up. We discovered a nice hole in the LF response, surrounded by respectable peaks. This was probably a suck out by the room modes combined with overlapping output by so many LF drivers (Grumpy will remember better than I). This lead to changing the crossover points to allow the LE14H-3s to cover the hole better. He also got me to cut some of the heat in the LF, which I love, BTW, but which I also know is not to everyone's liking.

    At that point and not considering roll offs, we had everything below 60Hz going to the subs except the center, which was at 100Hz. The PS1400s were covering 60-130Hz for everything but the center.

    Guests who heard the system after that commented on how great it sounded, and especially those who had heard it before were saying how it sounded better everytime they heard it.
    In.

  7. #1492
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    Step five in this process was the visit from Roger Dressler, who as I noted, loved the Performance Series and spent some time helping to fine tune it as a complete system. His advice to lower the crossover to the HTPS400 to 40Hz, was challenging for me. After all, I've got four powerful subs and I'm only going to use them from 40Hz on down? Isn't that kind of a waste of all that power and ability?

    He was right of course. Now the LE14H-3s are handling 40-130Hz, the heart of their peak performance, and the HTPS400s handily and easily take care of everything below that, plus the below 80Hz output of the center channel. In addition, he had me raise the HTPS400 output +5 dB to compensate for loss to the huge space.

    There you have it for now. That's how it works in my odd, large space with the PS sitting in 25% of the open floor, yet producing an intimate and precise listening environment that one of the world's leading surround experts proclaimed "perfect for me."

    If placed in a more typical room, it might be way too much. It would certainly require extensive re-thinking and calibration.
    In.

  8. #1493
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    hey Doug,

    Many thanks for a most detailed explanation. As usual, your sharing is very insightful..having seen your listening area, I now understand how the 4 subs can combine to smoothen the output across. and you're right that in a smaller, more enclosed area, this may be overpowering. but then again, with the use of modern sound shaping tools to address room modes and nulls, having the 4 subs may actually be still the way to go---smooth, balanced and effortless bass around the room....yummy.....

  9. #1494
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    PT 800 / PS 1400 inquiry

    A Question to TD or other owner of the PT 800 / PS 1400 speakers –

    I am an avid two channel listener, no HT. Would these speakers give me “great” two channel performance with standard separates ( M.F. A5 pre and Bi Amp Hafler 9500 amps). I run Revel Salons in living room and JBL L100 T3’s in family room- most of the time I like the JBL’s. I have thought about getting a pair of the 250TI, but they seem a bit hard to come by. I do like the vocals on the Revels, but they seem a bit thin in the mid base for me- rock is probably 75% of my listening. Would you say after the years you have owned the Performance series speakers - are they clearly superior compared to the past JBL greats – not too shrill or forward for most rock recordings? Are you still very happy with them?
    Thanks for any opinion –
    Searat55

  10. #1495
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    I just received today a pair of new PS1400's to go along with a slightly used pair of PT800's that I bought a few months ago.

    What I didn't get is the docking kit, so I'm going to have to make some spacer blocks. Can someone please tell me the length of these so that I can duplicate them accurately ? I'm guess-timating ~3", but I'd like to know for sure.

    Thanks !

  11. #1496
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCM View Post
    I just received today a pair of new PS1400's to go along with a slightly used pair of PT800's that I bought a few months ago.

    What I didn't get is the docking kit, so I'm going to have to make some spacer blocks. Can someone please tell me the length of these so that I can duplicate them accurately ? I'm guess-timating ~3", but I'd like to know for sure.

    Thanks !
    Do you have the steel plates in the base of the PT800?

    2.5" from the top of the plate on the PS1400 to the mounting surface on that plate. If you don't have the plates it also 2.5" to the lower edge of the PT800 cab. the Pt800 should be centered over the mounting bolt holes. IOW, the plate on the PS1400 is the same shape and size as the PT800 and the PT800 should be exactly over it.

  12. #1497
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
    Do you have the steel plates in the base of the PT800?

    2.5" from the top of the plate on the PS1400 to the mounting surface on that plate. If you don't have the plates it also 2.5" to the lower edge of the PT800 cab. the Pt800 should be centered over the mounting bolt holes. IOW, the plate on the PS1400 is the same shape and size as the PT800 and the PT800 should be exactly over it.
    Yes, I have the PT800 plates. So, 2-1/2" it is - Thank you very much !

  13. #1498
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    Lightbulb Wow, sorry I missed this.

    Quote Originally Posted by searat55 View Post
    A Question to TD or other owner of the PT 800 / PS 1400 speakers –

    I am an avid two channel listener, no HT. Would these speakers give me “great” two channel performance with standard separates ( M.F. A5 pre and Bi Amp Hafler 9500 amps). I run Revel Salons in living room and JBL L100 T3’s in family room- most of the time I like the JBL’s. I have thought about getting a pair of the 250TI, but they seem a bit hard to come by. I do like the vocals on the Revels, but they seem a bit thin in the mid base for me- rock is probably 75% of my listening. Would you say after the years you have owned the Performance series speakers - are they clearly superior compared to the past JBL greats – not too shrill or forward for most rock recordings? Are you still very happy with them?
    Thanks for any opinion –
    Searat55
    You're talking about the original Salons, which are fine, fine speakers, but there were some small but noticeable shortcomings over time and exposure. I feel these were addressed in the Ultima2 Salons, which IMO is a significantly better speaker than the original.

    Now, on to your inquiry.

    If you limit the discussion to consumer models, then I would not find anything that would knock out the Performance Series except Array, K2 and Everest. My L250s do not, my L7s do not, my S/2600s do not, my SVA2100s do not, and my XPL200As come close but do not. Yeah, I've some other JBLs, too...not, not, not.

    FWIW, I've had extensive ear time with 250Ti, and maybe a pristine pair with solid drivers would be competitive, but I like the Ti inverted domes much, much better than the kit in the 250Ti, and the smooth-domed Ti tweeter, too. So I guess just the larger cabinet volume gets better bass from the 14 and it definitely looks better.

    Actually, I'm on a long, slow journey to putting Performance Series drivers in L250 cabs and actively quad-amping them. That should be the best of both (or the worst).

    As for the Ti10K, it would make a great competitor for your attention, but if you really want to rock, you'll need a sub; otherwise you're sort of reliving parts of the original Salon experience.

    The Performance Series is neither shrill nor forward. It's a very spacious, clean, and detailed system.
    In.

  14. #1499
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCM View Post
    I just received today a pair of new PS1400's to go along with a slightly used pair of PT800's that I bought a few months ago.

    What I didn't get is the docking kit,
    Did you get these from the factory? I have a pair in transit and sure hope the kits are in the box.
    The cure for almost anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.

  15. #1500
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Ronesia View Post
    Did you get these from the factory? I have a pair in transit and sure hope the kits are in the box.

    No, I bought my PT800's from a Harman employee and he was checking with JBL on availability of PS1400's. Last I heard they were supposed to have 10 pairs but wanted to put their eyes on them to be sure. When I didn't hear any more for several weeks I renewed my search. Found this pair in NYC.

    I believe the hardware is to be in a seperate box, not packaged with the PS1400's. Hope you get them, but it's easy to make something functionally equivalent. I found some 1/2" thick ,black fiberglass sheet at work and had the pieces cut on a waterjet yesterday. Drilled the holes and I'm good to go

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