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Discussion Starter #1
I just received my Rockets and have been listening to them for a few hours. Right now, I have a single pair of RS850's connected since I am waiting on my new entertainment center to hold Bigfoot. But I thought I would share my initial impressions and a comparison to my other speakers, the Mackie HR824mk2 monitors. I have the Onkyo PR-SC885 Pre/Pro + Emotiva XPA-5 driving them. They are placed about 6-1/2 feet apart in a roughly 15' x 18' room with a 9' ceiling and which is open to the kitchen and dining area. Please keep in mind that these are initial impressions since they are not yet broken in and I've only been listening to music so far.

The single biggest difference between these two speakers is the midrange. Compared to the Mackies, the Rocket's midrange is:

1) more articulate - more definition in voices and instruments
2) better dispersion - leading to a noticeably larger soundstage on most music
3) smoother - they can be played significantly louder (about 10 dB by my ears) without listener fatigue

Another thing that I noticed is that the mid-bass on the Rockets is indeed what it is talked up to be - very quick and impactful when the music calls for it. The Mackies' mid-bass is less present and not quite as quick. Even though the soundstage is bigger with the Rockets, it seemed that the Mackies have a larger sweet spot (albeit not as sweet). The one thing I've always thought that Mackies excel at is the top octave or two, and here I give the advantage to them. I think there is a little more air to this frequency range in the Mackies. As far as dynamics are concerned, the Rockets win here by a good margin. The Mackies are actually a pretty dynamic speaker when crossed over above 60 Hz but that upper midrange rings when pushed beyond moderate levels, causing listener fatigue.

In closing, I'd say I'm overall quite happy with the Rockets. They are a very well balanced speaker, with no distinct weaknesses. Are they ultra-articulate with a huge expansive soundstage that makes you forget you are listening to speakers? No. But for the price I paid, it's hard to imagine a better speaker for my tastes. I'll have more to say after they've broken in more and the center and surrounds are hooked up.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Some additional observations about my new Rocket RS850's:

Now that I've taken a closer look, I'm a little disappointed in the quality of the finish. I had read so much about the beautiful rosewood veneer, "pictures don't do them justice", etc. Well, maybe I got ones from a bad batch b/c I see white smudges all over mine, as well as many light scratches. There is even a fingerprint cemented into the finish! Wiping with a damp soapy towel helped on some parts but not everywhere. There is even a small (1/4") chip in the veneer near one of the ports as well as clearly visible glue smudges on one of the ports. Overall, I'd grade the finish as a "B-", with my SVS PB13-Ultra subs getting an "A+" for reference - the finish on them is gorgeous and flawless.

One other thing I noticed today when listening to the RS850's is that I can definitely hear an improvement in the top octaves dispersion with the grills off. Unfortunately, I have a 10 month old son who would certainly take advantage of such an opportunity. Also, they benefit quite a bit from a decent amount of toe-in in my room - I'd estimate about 20 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Just to give a reference point for my reviews and opinions, I am an engineer and a bit of a perfectionist. I've been at this hobby for about the past year when I went HD, but have always enjoyed a good sound/home theater system. Also, I recently spent about an hour auditioning the Focal Grande Utopia Be driven by top-of-the-line McIntosh monoblock amplifiers, which may have ruined me for anything but ultra high end stuff. These speakers make music sound better than live, IMO. Dynamics are effortless. The soundstage was so wide, deep and tall, I could close my eyes and forget there were speakers in the room. The sound was literally coming at me from all directions. Every instrument, voice and sound effect was presented without the slightest sense of smearing. On Metallica's "One", I could clearly hear Lars Ulrich wailing on the drums in the back right corner of the room. The thing that impressed me most was that even the end part of the song with all the instruments jamming ferociously, I was able to just as easily pick out any one instrument and identify it's location.

As I type this, the verdict is still out whether I'll keep my Rocket system. Realistically, they're everything that I thought that they would be but they're a little less than what I hoped they would be. Maybe I'm ready for a bigger step up than I thought I was...
 

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I'm glad you like the sound of your new babies! And I'm bummed that you have a set that has smudges/chips/et al. Have you contacted avs123? I would have thought they'd make amends somehow.

But again, I'm glad you're loving your new toys!

And of course, I expect pictures. :waiting: :paddle:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My system setup, waiting on my new entertainment center:




Finish comparison (AV123 Rocket RS850 and SVS PB13-Ultra):


Close-ups of scratches, chips, ingrained fingerprint/smudge and glue on port:




 

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Yeah,... not good. I would not find that condition acceptable from any new speaker. I wonder if perhaps they shipped you some "B" stock by mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bad news, I opened the other two RS850's and more problems:

1) the shades of rosewood are a total mismatch with my first pair and Bigfoot - much lighter and a better match to the SVS subs actually,
2) two small dents in woofer cones,
3) a scuff on the bottom of one of the faces,
4) smudges and handprints all over.






I actually am thinking to return them all and get a pair of LS6's instead. I'd keep my Mackies for home theater which they've never disappointed me with, and use the LS6's for 2-channel. We'll see what kind of deal AV123 can work out for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No response yet. I've spoken with Kyle over the phone and he said he would check what he could do for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Well, I just learned something new. I decided to do a direct A/B comparison of the Rockets and Mackies. My initial impressions were without A/B comparison. I learned that I had EQed out way too much upper midrange in my Mackies in an attempt to make them less fatiguing at high volumes. The result was a perceived loss of soundstage. Once I brought the mids back up, the soundstage blossomed (to my ears). They sound noticably bigger than the Rockets now and image better, although the Rockets are overall a more detailed speaker top to bottom, but not by a lot. However, at lower volumes I'd have to say I enjoy the Mackies bigger sound more. I seriously doubt I will keep the Rockets at this point.
 

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That's such a bummer that the product came in such poor condition. I feel for ya.. to have the excitement go sour like that is a total bummer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's such a bummer that the product came in such poor condition. I feel for ya.. to have the excitement go sour like that is a total bummer.
Thanks, man... Maybe something good will come out of this after all. I know I've learned more about what kind of sound I like. Also, I understand more about the compromises made in designing a speaker at a given price point.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The issue with the Rockets has been resolved. They agreed to return all of them with shipping included and apply my original payment towards LS6's. I got the Piano Black finish, and was told that these are all assembled and tested on site in Denver - so no mishaps likely. I am completely stoked!
 

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The issue with the Rockets has been resolved. They agreed to return all of them with shipping included and apply my original payment towards LS6's. I got the Piano Black finish, and was told that these are all assembled and tested on site in Denver - so no mishaps likely. I am completely stoked!
Ok, it's been a while.. any news?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, it's been a while.. any news?
As a matter of fact, my LS6's just shipped today :yay2:. I should have them within a week or so. I actually auditioned a pair this past weekend with very few hours on them, and the sound wasn't as smooth as I was expecting. But nevertheless, detail, dynamics were very nice. It was hard to judge the imaging as they were placed too far apart and close to the back wall, but it was clear that the dispersion was very wide. I will start a thread posting my thoughts on this forum or AVS once I've had some time to listen for awhile. Regardless, I will provide a link on this thread.
 

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You LS6 types are my heroes. :hail: I got a chance to hear a pair, and I just love their ability to play large - but there's no chance I'm going to swing those $$. I just have to settle for my sub/sat setup with RS1Ks and two 12" subs. :bigsmile:

Looking forward to hearing how they work out for you.

enjoy,
 
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