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Thread: Preferred for movies: Array 1400 vs. SAM1/2

  1. #1
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    Preferred for movies: Array 1400 vs. SAM1/2

    Hi, I would once again like to use your knowledge of all the JBL products.

    If you were to setup a pure home theater system (room approx. 20' long and 13' wide), would you prefer three Array 1400 as LCR or three SAM1/2 modules? An SDEC4500 would be used for processing. (The array center is not an option, as identical frontstage is a requirement)

    The pattern when I have listened to speakers is, that I always prefer the speakers where everything up to about 700-900hz is handled by a >12" driver and a horn takes over so that gives a point to the Array's. But I would loose sensitivity and loose the bi-amp possibility.

    I would very much like to hear your opinions and why you would choose as you say.

  2. #2
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    As it turns out, I have both systems, though they are both L/R with an 880 Array Center to be used since my screen is not perforated. I haven't set my theater up yet, as I can't seem to find the time, but I plan on using the Arrays because I do not have an SDEC... even if I did... not sure.

    You obviously do not need the bit below 60Hz that the Arrays offer. You could substitute a woofer of your choice, even the LE14H-3 of the Arrays, below SAM1HF tops... but then the SDEC's pre-engineered speaker selections wouldn't be available and you would need to do far more work and possibly not match the stock SAM quality. I don't have the SDEC software, so I am not sure if they offer a 1400 Array biamp option. Since the speakers are wired with separate HF and LF inputs, you can biamp them, though all of the passive networks are still in the circuit.

    An interesting question. I wonder if anyone else has put time into this, or even made an actual comparison.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member JuniorJBL's Avatar
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    I have almost the same size room at 12.5' X 19.5'. I have tried DIY 1400's in the LCR positions and they were really good. I would also say that the SAM1HF XO is better suited for movies than the 1400 array XO. I have recently tried some JBL AS series and found I really like 3 AS2225's for LCR in my theater and 2 AS2216's for rear and 4 2242's for subs.

    I have also found I do not require 7.1 in that small of a room with these speakers. Overkill? Yes, but that is what I like.

    One thing I should note I do not listen to music in my theater just movies and I use a PC with a Focusrite Saffire pro 40 for I/O on the audio side and an Nvidia GTX550Ti with HDMI 1.4a for video and 40TB of storage. I use all ashly analog signal processing as well as some DSP from the computer which is running Jriver Media Center v18.

    Amps are Crown K2's and Hafler Transnova 9505's. In my opinion (which is probably worth a gain of salt at best) this has been the best my theater has sounded in it's entire existance. It has had many speakers including a full B&W Signature 800 7.1 system.

    I tweek it, then let my lovely wife tell me what she prefers and we have ended up with JBL pro cabs and drivers for a great theater that all can enjoy.

    BTW I am using a perf screen and have all the horns a bit above center screen so the voices seem to be coming from the actors.

    Just remember these are just my observations.

    Also my 1400's are in the 2ch room as my goto speaker for audio. They will be there for quite some time.

    Good luck with your theater and enjoy the journey as well.
    Always fun learning more.......

  4. #4
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    Thank for your answers.

    JuniorJBL: Can you elaborate why the crossover in SAM1HF is better suited for movies than the Array 1400?

    Interesting to hear about your path. I currently own 2226H enclosure with ScreenArray 4722HF on top actually, and I really enjoy it. No other system I have heard gives me the "cinema-feeling" I get from my current system. But lately I have been thinking about possible upgrades where I keep the cinema-sound but maybe get a little more articulation and HF-details.

    Do any of you know how the LE14H-3 compared to the 2226h from 80-800hz?

    Unfortunately the country where I'm from does not have any serious show rooms with these systems, so its not easy to review the systems myself.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JuniorJBL's Avatar
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    The SAM xo's seemed a bit more "present" than the 1400 xo and they were designed just for this purpose. Not quite as HiFi sounding.

    As far as the -3 and the 2226's well, the 2226 is a really great low and mid driver but the -3 goes much lower and seems to my ear just a bit smoother but does not have the "slam" that the 2226 has.

    The reason I am using the pro gear is the same reason you said "cinema-feeling". For example when the depth charges on U571 go off.... It is just unreal with the AS2225's and the 2242's!!
    Always fun learning more.......

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