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Thread: M2 Master Reference Monitor Purchase

  1. #1
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    M2 Master Reference Monitor Purchase

    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?
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  2. #2
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    Congrats Don! Should keep you busy and smiling for quite some time

  3. #3
    Obsolete
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    Excellent choice!

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie View Post
    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!


    Widget

  5. #5
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mostlydiy's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the purchase! Looking forward for some images, experiences etc

    /Mostly

  7. #7
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie View Post
    My last sentence was meant to be in jest...
    I was just being a smartass!


    Widget

  8. #8
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    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.
    Regards

    Don McRitchie

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ed Zeppeli's Avatar
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    Congratulations! I look forward to following this thread; these would be my 'goal' speaker as well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    So I guess there's no more rush to finish up project May? Congratulations on the purchase.

  11. #11
    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    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-qu...n-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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie View Post
    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?

  13. #13
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pos View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by pos View Post
    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-qu...n-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

  14. #14
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobecca View Post
    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

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    Rew 5

    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.

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