Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-11-13, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Hi Guys,

I don't get on here as often as I'd like, but would like to share the details and potential outcome of this event. It's being run at my place (3rd GTG here) and will consist of the following offerings:

ARX A5 Towers
KRK 10-3 monitors
Monitor Audio RX8
SVS Ultra Towers
Beast's LS6s
Legacy Focus SE
SEOS Fusion 8s
CHT SHO-10s
SEOS Fusion 10s
SEOS Tempests
SEOS Sentinels
JTR Triple 12s
Yorkville U215s
JTR Noesis
Seaton Cat 8Cs
Seaton Cat 12Cs

List of AVS members confirmed attendees:
Gorilla83, Andrew (cost)
JimWilson, Jim (co-host)
Jeff Permanian
Mark Seaton
logicators, Hassan
Sibuna, Adam
Beastaudio, Brandon
mikeduke, Mike
Ryansboston, Ryan
Rush2049, Ben
Popalock, Austin
mtg90, Matt
SeaNile, John
Chopshop, Jake
mhrischuk, Mike
Kadath, Sam
goonstopher, Chris
RX-8, Bill
ironhead1230, Mike
Imagic, Mark
wfmiller, Wayne
Gooddoc

We have a predefined clip list in FLAC format that is approximately 30 minutes long currently. We are looking to cut this down some tomorrow night during some dry runs.

Looking forward to sharing the results with you guys!

Original link - http://www.avsforum.com/t/1446450/ne...and-discussion

-Andrew
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-11-13, 04:09 PM
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Thanks for sharing that with us. Looks to be a good time and learning experience, Andrew.

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-13-13, 11:11 PM
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Hope you guys had better weather than we had in the midwest. This had to be an awesome time.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-15-13, 09:13 AM
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

I was following along and had the opportunity to go, but I just could not swing the trip. Looking forward to impressions and pictures - maybe theJman will chime in here with his thoughts too!


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post #5 of 8 Old 04-15-13, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Guys - this past weekend was a blast!! Here are some excerpts from the final writeup:

Full thread here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1468211/ne...-april-13-2013

As standard practice, we figured it would be wise to create a separate thread to gather many of our thoughts throughout the day. It will take some time for sure for us to gather all of our thoughts and notes, but in the meantime this thread can serve as a placeholder for the EPICNESS we experienced all day.

I had an ABSOLUTE blast - these events seem to get better every time. I love getting such a good group together and putting new faces to the screen names each time. It's obvious we're all extremely dedicated to this hobby and it's fun to collaborate and share thoughts and ideas as well.

I need to express my gratitude to all that helped make another phenomenal event come to fruition. Big thanks to Jim W. for helping coordinate everything and help make the day run smoothly. Ben - Thanks for all your hard work coordinating the track selection and dealing with all of our last minute additions and changes to the list. IronMike - Thanks for your help in grabbing all the omnimic sweeps! I hadn't seen many of these yet to look forward to checking them out. Thanks to Adam and Mark for all the photo documentation of the day. Really looking forward to seeing many of the pics and recapping the event. Another huge thanks to goes all to all those that contributed toward the massive beer and food selection. And one last big thank to all the attendees that drove (or flew out) to make the event a success. My ears are still a bit hollow from all the fun and the late night blast session. I'm sure I'll remember a few more thank yous in a bit which I will add shortly.

And last by certainly not least by any means - to all the participating vendors including Arx, Seaton Sound, JTR, DIYsoundgroup, and SVS. Without you guys this event just couldn't happen.

Some cool facts from the day:
-We had representation from 12 states and 1 Canadian providence
-I was trying to get an idea of the total beer selection, but could not get them all. But from a quick estimate we had over 30+ varieties of beer and some very interesting choices for sure from all over the country.
-I wore a pedometer yesterday and had over 20,000 steps.
-We ate Guinness oxtail stew (Thanks Ryan, that was great!), 7 different types of pizza, Hooters wings, Chic-fil-A nugget trays, and many other delicious snacks and treats


The details:


Note - Let me be clear up front - This was by no means a fully ideal comparison for all listeners and all setups. Doing a "proper" comparison for all attendees, in ideal locations, with each setup powered and dialed in properly would have likely taken 3-4 full days. With just 1 full day of listening, we had to make compromises in order to get to listen to everything on the list. Well, almost everything.

The following setups were auditioned, in the same room. Listening levels at the primary position were mainly between 85-90db for most tracks during the standardized section. We level matched as best as we could for each setup. The room width varies from 14' to 19' at the back of the room and is 44' deep. The primary seating positions are 15' back from the speakers and subs. The Denon was used as the source of power for all of the standardized listening sessions. No EQ or additional processing was used and Ben's laptop fed clean FLAC clips to the receiver via HDMI for everything. For the setups with subwoofers we crossed them all at 80hz. There was approximately 23 minutes of total musical content for each demonstration. We started setting up at 8:45 AM and played right through 10:30 at night. A few of us (Ben, Beast, Austin, and I) hung out until nearly 3 in the morning chatting about the highlights of the event. On Friday we had the first arrival at 1:30PM and were toying around with my setup and the clip list until 11PM or so.


The members:
Gorilla83, Andrew
JimWilson, Jim
Jeff Permanian
Mark Seaton
logicators, Hassan
Sibuna, Adam (plus Scott and Pat)
Beastaudio, Brandon
mikeduke, Mike
Ryansboston, Ryan
Rush2049, Ben
Popalock, Austin
mtg90, Matt
SeaNile, John
Chopshop, Jake
mhrischuk, Mike
Kadath, Sam
RX-8, Bill
ironhead1230, Mike
Imagic, Mark
351Carlo, Carlo (Friday only)
Reefdvr23, Dave
Rob from NJ, Robert
Newbie01, Alan
Gooddoc, Mark
easycruise, Dave

BTW - I'm expecting ALL of the attendees to post their impressions!

Final lineup list - we had a few additions and decided to move things around a bit to make the logistics a bit smoother. By popular consensus, we removed the Cat 8s, SEOS10s, and CHT-10s due to time.

Full Range
Monitor Audio RX8
Ascend Sierras
SVS Ultra Towers
Beast's LS6s
Legacy Focus SE
KRK 10-3s (played at the end of the event)

With Subs
Arx A5
SEOS Fusion 8s
JTR Single 8ís
SEOS Tempests
SEOS Sentinels
Yorkville U215s
JTR Noesis 212
Seaton Cat 12Cs
The finale - JTR Noesis, again powered by the EP4000 and the JTR S2's at full tilt (Thanks Dave for staying a while longer and letting us get to experience your toys in all their glory)

Listening

In all honesty there wasn't a bad setup there and each setup had it's unique strengths. It was amazing to get the opportunity to hear all of these setups in my room.

If I recall correctly we fired up the first setup and began calibrating around 9:15AM. We got through the majority of the full rangers (outside the Legacys) by lunchtime around 1PM. In fairness to our ears, we maintained the standardized volume until we got to some of the heavy hitter high efficiency setups. I thought we wound up with a very representative and diverse clip selection, IMO. We spent a bit of time plucking through the tracks on Friday night and got it to just the right length. Any shorter would have not been enough but any longer would have been a bit much considering the number of setups we had. In typical fashion, as soon as I got to my setups (the SEOS sentinels first) the standardized volume got raised just a bit. From there on out between Me, Jeff, and Mark I'll admit we dipped into the crazy territory. My apologies go out to those who were blasted out of the room at times.

Jeff brought a pair of S2s to provide LFE duty for the 'with subs' category. For most of the clips we had them turned down a bit. After all the focus of the event was on the loudspeakers, not subs so it seemed appropriate. At the end of the Day Jeff wanted to stretch the legs of the S2s and show off their capability so we did just that. Our 'finale' for the day was the Noesis powered with 750+ watts per channel off the EP4000 and the S2s run a bit hot. We listened to the clips again at some stupid volumes and then followed by 3-4 tracks off the Scuba steve blu ray demo disc. The pair of S2s are potent animals for sure. AWESOME!

It's not all that often one can come to a place and hear 14 phenomenal setups in the same listening enviornment and conditions. I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did.

Until next time.....
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-15-13, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Listening impressions

Note - (repeated from above post for emphasis) Let me be clear up front - This was by no means a fully ideal comparison for all listeners and all setups. Doing a "proper" comparison for all attendees, in ideal locations, with each setup powered and dialed in properly would have likely taken 3-4 full days. With just 1 full day of listening, we had to make compromises in order to get to listen to everything on the list. Well, almost everything.

Another disclaimer - I'll admit I'm a bit biased toward the higher efficiency setups as of late.

With so much to do I didn't get to listen to ALL of the setups as much as I would have liked to. I enjoy talking to other members and vendors as much as I do listening to the gear so that did consume some of my time as well. With that said, I did get to spend some time in the hot seat for a few of the setups. I will share my thoughts below:

Monitor RX8s

These were a list minute addition as Dave offered to bring them down. I'm glad he did as I enjoyed listening for sure. I was still running around the room helping others but listened to a few clips up front and thought "OK - these were probably too nice to start the meet with!" I was most impressed/surprised most with the bottom end of these guys - much more than I was expecting considering their size. Jim Wilson and I were outside and he asked if the subs were really off - that should tell you something. I didn't get to spend much time in the hot seat, but from the middle of the room they offered a clean and refreshing sound. In terms of dynamics they seemed to be lacking compared to the larger offerings but that is expected. It's hard to say what they would sound like when cranked up to the levels of the others later in the day so I can't comment on that aspect. Last I checked these listed for around 850 each (someone call me if this is inaccurate). In terms of value I'd say they are mid-pack if that price is accurate.

Ascends
It wouldn't be fair to comment on these since I didn't spend too much time in the ideal positions. From what I heard walking around the room, I thought they had a nice laid back sound, but seemed to offer less bottom end than the Monitors.


SVS Ultras

I had spent about a month (on and off some nights) listening to these in my upstairs setup. Upstairs I thought they sounded average and at times a bit anemic to be honest. But when moved downstairs the sound completely changed - more so than I expected. The sound was much fuller and the bottom end was substantially better than the prior two offerings. I saw that some commented these to be "boomy" but I didn't think that was the case IMO. These could easily be run for music for many without subwoofers added in. They have a nice balanced sound (albeit with a pronounced bottom end), but didn't quite hit the "magic" mark for me that some of the later speakers did. Awesome looking speaker overall though.

LS6s
First thought - What a gorgeous speaker. Like the others, I wish we had the time/energy to give these babies several hundred more watts. It was surprising how much less efficient they were vs. specs on paper. I thought they had a huge soundstage and much better off axis response than the prior offerings in this class. Would have liked to had the chance to crank them up with more power - maybe I'll have to visit ufokillerz to do so shortly. Beast - Thanks for lugging these monsters up our way to share - many including myself enjoyed watching and listening to them - even if not in the ideal scenario.

Legacy Focus SE
My favorite looking speaker of the day. Thanks to Mike for hauling these MASSIVE beasts over to share with us. Being I've spent some time designing my own crossovers, I can appreciate the complexity of these beuties. I spend about 4-5 minutes in the "hot seats" with these during the demo. I concur with many of the other comments in that they are one of the most balanced setups, but did have quite a narrow sweetspot for such a large speaker. Would have loved to have cranked them up some more with proper power. Will have to come visit Mike one of these days soon.

Arx A5
Unfortunately missed alot of the demo time of these as I was running around the house again.

Fusion 8s
We spent a bit of time listening to these upstairs on Friday night - I was/am very impressed! More similar than different than the larger brother SEOS offerings, especially when run with capable subs. Don't expect thundering bass without subs in a home theater environment, but they will play loud and clean for any sane individual and they won't need more than an average receiver to do so. Top 5 value of the day IMO.


JTR Single 8's

I only got in the hot seat for 1-2 tracks of these. I was also impressed with the output and detail for these guys considering their size. Not sure how they would sound without subs, would love to compare them to something like the fusion 10s or fusion 8s in an A/B/C comparison. I can't help but wonder though, for the small difference and price and size, why not step up to the Noesis 228s? Blind test next, anyone?

SEOS Tempests / Sentinels
I'm going to combine these together because they were/are more similar than different. They both play clean, loud, and clear with very little power required. The one mistake we made I believe was not letting the group experience them full range. This is where they provide the most value and differentiation from the rest of the peers in this group. Extension and output <80hz is fantastic with these guys and wish we would have let them shine in that area. Austin asked a few times during the demo to do so, to which I agreed but got sidetracked by the end. ADD for the loss, lol.

I do believe if these speakers were to sell as a completed offering by an ID company they would be unrivaled at twice the cost to build. Don't expect Noesis level output, but for 95% of the population (especially with proper power) these will blow you out the room. The big advantages here are extension, nice looks (IMO), and extremely high value.

Yorkville U215's
These were one of the last minute additions and I'm super glad they were picked up to share with the group. Many of us (10-11 or so) got to spend a lot more time with them on Friday. They surely aren't going to win any awards in the looks department - although the raw look kind of suits its personality. If you're like me and going to run them behind a screen this isn't as much of a concern vs. a living room user. These are straight no-nonsense, blow your hair back beasts. Again I think I made a mistake by not letting the group witness them full range. After the event (Sunday) I had them hooked up to the EP4000 and the midbass is staggering! Like the Cat's, something that must be experienced in person vs. an online review. Clarity is fantastic, but slightly less detailed than the Noesis and Cat offerings IMO. I'll agree without EQ they are a bit more bright in my room vs. the Noesis and Cats. Awesome, awesome value for what you can buy them for. Hadn't initially planned on it, but now I'm going to look for a 3rd matching center or another pair if I can find them.

Noesis
This was my second time listening to these guys. Like the others have said, when Jeff builds a flagship speaker he doesn't mess around. A phenomenal combination of raw output, detail, and clarity. They can be powered by an average receiver which is a huge plus in not having to require expensive amps to push them. Excellent overall package when combined with something like Jeff S2's.

Cat 12s
As I told Mark, these are the "end game" speaker for me. Favorite of the day with ease. They had absolutely no audible flaws that I perceived. I almost feel like buying these would be "cheating" since I would have no where left to experiment that would not be disappointing. In full range mode, simply jaw dropping. Well done, Mr. Seaton. They are not inexpensive, but in this case you really do get what you pay for.

KRKs
This was my second time hearing these as well and again I was impressed. It's not an easy task to follow the "kings" of the day and they did not disappoint. Impressive output while remaining totally clear - Ben had them cranked up to reference for a few tracks. Awesome value for the money as they include active tri-amps in each!

Final thoughts
- Like I said there really wasn't a bad setup there that I thought performed poorly. The differences in the higher end setups were more subtle than drastic and realistically once EQ'd in a decent listening environment many would sound more similar than different. Like I said above I'm heavily biased toward the high efficiency setups and I'm mostly a DIY kind of guy these days so weight that into consideration when reading my thoughts. My room isn't perfect but I thought it represented many of the setups quite well.

Everyone looks for something specific when they're shopping for a speaker, or designing their own. For me it's a combination of high dynamics, clarity, the ability to play clean and very loud, and strong value. Looks and the extreme levels of detail are of secondary importance to me, personally.

Gorilla's Value picks, full range in no particular order - KRK 10-3, large SEOS offerings if you're willing to DIY (these were not demoed full range but I have listened to these models extensively)
Gorilla's Value picks, with subs in no particular order - Yorkville U215, JTR Noesis 212
Gorilla's favorite of the day - Seaton Catalyst 12C
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-15-13, 10:33 AM
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Thanks for the great write-up Andrew!

Hopefully, you do another GTG sometime - I am going to make sure I sign up in advance!


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post #8 of 8 Old 04-15-13, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Northeast Spring Loudspeaker shootout - April 13th

Quote:
ALMFamily wrote: View Post
Thanks for the great write-up Andrew!

Hopefully, you do another GTG sometime - I am going to make sure I sign up in advance!
You're very welcome. It's unfortunate you couldn't make it out but surely this won't be the last event like this.
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