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Thread: There's a speaker parade in my Media Room...

  1. #1
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    There's a speaker parade in my Media Room...

    Here's a pic of my Media Room, 90% done, showing its "Standard" layout. Array1400's, 880 center, my DIY line array surrounds, some Triad in-ceiling Atmos speakers, and Array1500 subs.



    This system is great for movies, but I don't really love it for music, for several reasons, which I should probably deal with in a different thread, but really quick: 1. It's over-damped, between the sectional sofa, carpeting, and all the absorptive panels. 2. The Array1400's are awfully polite, a little too laid back in the highs, especially considering #1. 3. The Emotiva Pre/Pro sounds great after Dirac Live calibration for movies, but if you bypass all that and run it 2ch stereo, no EQ, it's a little dark sounding.

    Anyway, one of the reasons for building the room was to be able to start pulling speakers out of my storage/spare bedroom, listen to them, and decide if they are really keepers or not, which is more the purpose of this thread. To do this, I set up a second rack of equipment, just a Bryston BDA-1 D/A convertor, Bryston BP-20 Preamp, and Bryston 9BST amp. I play CD's ripped in ALC through this. As I pull speakers into the room for listening, I'll post a pic and give some impressions; should be fun

    Btw, this is roughly in order of how I can get stuff out of the room, and how much work I have to do to restore speakers to full working order. I think the grand finale will be a XPL200/DX1 vs 250Ti shootout, though it will be a while. I have refoamed the XPL's woofers and tweeters, but haven't got to the 250Ti's, and they're pretty deep in the room. Plenty of other fun things, though...
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  2. #2
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Name:  L100T3Resize.jpg
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    First up, a few months ago, are L100t3's. I have previously posted this pic in VinylGroove's 4343 thread. L100t3's were the first JBL speakers I ever owned, in college, but I had to sell them to make rent, and was always a little sad about that. About 12yrs ago I found a pristine pair, barely used, still in their boxes, and snapped them up. I recently had the woofers refoamed, and refoamed the tweeters as well, so I thought I'd give them a listen before they go back in the boxes.

    They're fun. Ragged in the midrange, but lots of fun. In my room, I have to get them close to the back wall to bring the bass up, which is a welcome change from the Array1400's, which I pull 3.5' out from the back wall and into the room for music listening, and then stuff the port and put them back to the sides of the drop-down screen for movies. Are the T3's keepers? Probably not for sound quality, but it's hard to argue with sentimental value, so they'll go back in their boxes soon, probably for another 10yrs...
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  3. #3
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Name:  JBL4343Resize.jpg
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    Since VinylGroove got me excited with his new found 4343's, I dug mine out, which is no easy task - I'm not sure I will ever own a pair of speakers that weigh this much again! They have to go up two flights of stairs to get into the Media Room, and I really hate asking friends for help, but I've thrown my back out too many times to try it by myself.

    How do they sound? That's a tough question, as they were really love/hate. I've brought maybe 10prs of speakers though the media room so far, which will all be shown eventually in this thread, but the 4343's had by far the best bass. I guess you can't argue with a huge enclosure. I also really like front ported speakers in this room, as I can put them close to the back wall. However, having grown up with my dad's S7 loaded homebuilds, which I still have (now in L200 enclosures, and bi-amped through an active crossover), I did not enjoy the midrange on these speakers on jazz vocals, and classical was a non starter. The only work I did on these was to clean the L-pads. I have heard these sound much better with modern crossovers, so I'm not going to condemn them outright, but for my taste, I prefer something else. Even if I loved them, they would still have to go - they're too wide to fit between the screen and the side walls. I had two pairs of these, one a little tired, and the other absolutely mint. The mint pair is now living in Wisconsin, and the tired pair went to L.A., where the new owner completely refurbished them in about 2 weeks, and already had some of the most beautiful outboard crossovers I have ever seen, just waiting for them. Both new owners are happy.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Next up, something maybe JBL adjacent - hereís a few hints. Originally used a JBL woofer, Made in Canada, company closed in 2002 after making about 500 speakers over a 16yr period. Any guesses?
    That the internet contains a blog documenting your life does not constitute proof that your existence is valid. Sorry.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    I think it's going to be Peter Aczel's favorite, the Waveform Mach.

  6. #6
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Name:  WaveFormMach17Resize.jpg
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    Yup, Waveform Acoustics Mach 17's. These are turning out to be more of a challenge than the others, as there are so many system variables. To those that don't know, the speakers are triamp only, and use an outboard, Bryston built active crossover, which also has some FR shaping equalization, including (I think) a JBL style low end boost on the woofers, and "Elementary room correction". The crossover has some adjustment for each driver, but it is not simply level, and the total adjustment range is very small, only a few db. When I first got them connected, the highs sounded like a JBL tweeter with shot damping foam - too much sibilance, but not a lot of detail. I swapped out the tweeters with the current, still produced model, and it seemed to change a little, but not much. I swapped the Bryston preamp for a Parasound Halo JC2BP and things got much better - they are now really pleasurable to listen to. They image like crazy, and the speakers disappear into the music better than just about any other speaker I've heard. I mentioned on another forum that I would like to hear them with a more modern tweeter - one of the Seas/Vifa ring radiators that are really sweet on the high end, maybe. Unfortunately, that's hard to even experiment with, as the tweeters have their faceplate scalloped to get them as close to possible with the midrange. The midrange frames were also notched to slot in the tweeter, and have a flat foam surround, so if they go, I may have a challenge getting a new pair in. Luckily, while Waveform seems to have done some testing/sorting on drivers to match them, the mids and tweeters seem to be widely available, still, from their original manufacturers (Audax and Vifa/Peerless/Tymphany). The woofers are Philips 12", that frankly don't look like much (stamped frame, 2" or 2 1/2" VC, 40ish oz magnet), but they sound fine. I am having issues getting them to blend with the mids, but I'm going to have to put more time into working that out. The woofers remind me of the time when I, as a speaker enthusiast college student, called VMPS speakers to discuss their speakers, and ended up telling them their speakers can't be any good if they used such poor woofers (similar construction to these Philips units). The guy at VMPS very nicely told me I didn't know what I was talking about, which was correct.

    Anyway, I'm going to keep playing with these for a while, though there's a pair of speakers with asymmetrical horns that are getting tired of waiting to be heard...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Odd's Avatar
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    Very nice collection you have.
    43XX (2235-2123-2450-2405-CC 3155)5235-4412-4406-4401-L250-18Ti-L40-S109 Aquarius lV-C38 (030) 305P MkII

  8. #8
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    I like the way you describe the L100T3's as ragged in the mid-range but lots of fun. It's the way wine bloggers describe a red that is wildly young and may never mature well.

    The medicine for midrange in my 4345's was TAD beryllium, which is now wildly costly. It might take selling the rest of your collection to . . . oh, wait . . . never mind.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

  9. #9
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    Very nice collection you have.
    Thanks, but most of it is going away - my youngest kid just went off to university, so now weíre ďEmpty nestersĒ. I want to build a smaller house, but my wife told me that there is no way weíre moving with speakers hidden in every closet of the house. So, Iím going through all of them, and trying to pare the total down to maybe 4pairs of speakers. It is hard because speakers are like your kids - you never like everything about each of them, but you can usually find something to like in each one. Unlike my kids, who all left me, Iím having to be more brutal with the speakers, and also really evaluate what my priorities are in a speaker. For me, the first priority is imaging - if I close my eyes and the speakers donít disappear, letting me pick out where all the performers are, the speakers probably arenít going to stay. The 4343ís were a blast - on highly processed pop or dance music, but not on jazz, classical, or vocal. I realize that devotees to the 4343 make great effort to make them better, with new crossovers, bypassing the bi-amp switch, etc, but if youíre after imaging, starting with a huge flat box, with drivers all over it, puts you at a disadvantage - the Waveformsí have the physics advantage of really good driver layout (and the completely non resonant egg), so I just have to fix frequency response, which should be easier (weíll see).

    So what do you do with the ones you donít like? Unfortunately for me, I get attached to these things, and while Iím OK selling them, I donít trust shippers. So, on one of my work trips to S.F. (Which I drive to), I took a ďDetourĒ one day and drove one pair of 4343ís to L.A. - is one day driving better than 2 days spent crating? The other set of 4343ís, along with 2 pairs of 4315ís, went in the van, the RV got hitched up, and we made a vacation out of driving them to Wisconsin. If I have to do that for each pair of speakers I get rid of, Iíll probably wear out at least one van, though it may be worth it fo the memories
    That the internet contains a blog documenting your life does not constitute proof that your existence is valid. Sorry.

  10. #10
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speakerdave View Post
    The medicine for midrange in my 4345's was TAD beryllium, which is now wildly costly. It might take selling the rest of your collection to . . . oh, wait . . . never mind.
    At one point, I considered doing a M2 build with a 476Be driver, which I think at the time were $7k/pr. I could kind of justify it by selling off a few pairs of speakers (one of my rules with this hobby is I canít put any more money into it - anything I buy I have to offset by selling something). However, I have learned a few things over the years:
    1. Throwing really good drivers into a project does not guarantee a really good outcome. (Corollary - buying really good camera lenses does not make you a good photographer)
    2. Itís easier to get your money back out of a complete speaker that you bought used than expensive drivers you bought new.
    3. While I really enjoy building speakers, and will build more at some point, there are people that are far better at it than me (especially in crossovers), and if thereís ďMagicĒ to be found, theyíre more likely to find it than I am, so I should enjoy the fruits of their labor.
    4. I donít tend to love horn loaded speakers; although I have several, and like them, I donít love them. So, throwing a bunch of money at a speaker in a format I donít tend to love probably wonít turn out well.

    All that said, Iíd love to hear your TAD/4345ís, as that solution may come up with one of the speakers that is in lineÖ

    Lastly, I really miss audio stores. Having worked in audio for years, I used to really enjoy the hours I spent in other stores listening to speakers - Snell Aís, Apogee Divas etc - It made the hobby much cheaper. These days, if you find something interesting, you have to buy it, ship it or pick it up, then bring it home to see if you like it.
    That the internet contains a blog documenting your life does not constitute proof that your existence is valid. Sorry.

  11. #11
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    In my experience listening to OEM speakers and DIY--equal amounts of money, with losses, and time can easily be involved--both follow the same arc, which includes a moment when you notice The Defect and thereafterwards rarely can not notice it. Trotting another pair in from the garage gets old, especially when you have remembered their defect while the second one is still on the handtruck. The advantage of DIY is that you can start fiddling around without tearing into a classic speaker, the product of compromises by someone vastly more skilled. There does come a time though, when you want to rest from your labors and just listen to music. That may take some determination and disciplined overlooking, but it can be done. (I hope).
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCSGuy View Post
    Here's a pic of my Media Room, 90% done, showing its "Standard" layout...
    Thanks for sharing the images, the thoughts, and the reviews. It is fun to sit back and watch the parade.

    One quibble though; embedded photo links are rarely still available months or years later... even here, we've already lost one of yours.


    Widget
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  13. #13
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Thanks for sharing the images, the thoughts, and the reviews. It is fun to sit back and watch the parade.

    One quibble though; embedded photo links are rarely still available months or years later... even here, we've already lost one of yours.


    Widget
    Just can't shut the moderator switch off, huh! First pic was copy/pasted, and didn't make it...

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    This is with your (Widget's) old Array1400 L/R and Array880 center speakers. One of these days, I'll set up an A/B comparison between the Emotiva RMC-1 Pre/pro vs my Parasound Halo JC2BP, but at this point, I am disappointed every time I listen to the Emotiva in "Reference Stereo" for music, though I am very happy with it and the Dirac room correction for movies. Current plan is to run the Emotiva through the Home Theater bypass on the JC2BP, as the dream is to use one pair of speakers for both movies and music (right now I slide the Array1400's in for movies, and slide them out and the Waveform Mach's in for music, but unplugging/replugging the triamped Mach's is getting old fast).
    That the internet contains a blog documenting your life does not constitute proof that your existence is valid. Sorry.

  14. #14
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    Nice collection of speakers, and dedicated listening room. I'm jealous of both.

    Quote Originally Posted by HCSGuy View Post
    ...For me, the first priority is imaging - if I close my eyes and the speakers donít disappear, letting me pick out where all the performers are, the speakers probably arenít going to stay. The 4343ís were a blast - on highly processed pop or dance music, but not on jazz, classical, or vocal. I realize that devotees to the 4343 make great effort to make them better, with new crossovers, bypassing the bi-amp switch, etc, but if youíre after imaging, starting with a huge flat box, with drivers all over it, puts you at a disadvantage - the Waveformsí have the physics advantage of really good driver layout (and the completely non resonant egg), so I just have to fix frequency response, which should be easier (weíll see)....
    I agree with you here. At this point, realism has become a high priority after being exposed to several systems that really make it seem like you're at the opera. I took a couple of friends who are equipment and speaker builders to hear one of those systems and one of them was so impressed he pushed aside his longstanding line array and woofer diy speakers (similar to Infinity IRS) and decided to clone the Mach 17s with newer drivers (SB Acoustics) and a DEQX. Here's a picture from an audio show they appeared at a couple years ago and a link to an article about them. (That will likely disappear) https://audioxpress.com/article/a-bo...-tom-perazella
    He then built a nice dedicated room and hired a acoustics company to create a room treatment plan for him to follow. He wrote an article that just appeared in the August 2021 Audio Xpress publication (no link available) about the treatment. Having heard the system in his previous house and now the new house with treated dedicated room, the speaker design and driver quality really comes through. Absolute transparency in the new room.
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