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Reading several of the replies so far I can already tell this event will be a big success. Sonnie, you truly seem dedicated to the community here. Love that Cedar Creek Cinema space, you've created - great name too :) !

Like everyone else, I'm looking forward to the reviews, but mostly I hope everyone involved enjoys themselves and becomes that much better off for having participated.
 

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Discussion Starter #122
One thing about shootouts is that it looks like you’re asking each product to do the same thing, which implies “fairness” or a level playing field. Except that everyone has different taste. This might manifest as a preference for one type of material for the participants in this “shootout”, i.e. action movie, drama, fantasy, etc. This is going to be true of all reviewers, so don't take this personally.

If you subject all of the systems to “one” type of movie, you might miss out on qualities that will revealed by and appreciated by a different type of listener. You may well reveal to your readers what your preferences are, but that may not be the same profile of preferences as your readers.

If you can, I’d suggest that your evaluations be further focused on reporting that might read “On drama with a lot of dialogue, the X system, dialogue intelligibility was higher making for a more relaxed, intimate experience; while on action movies the dialogue intelligibility didn’t matter, but the speakers shortcomings on macro dynamic swings was more evident; and finally, with music videos . . . .
We will be watching several different movies with the home theater system we will be reviewing, but for the two-channel evaluation speakers, it will be strictly music. I may toss the $20,000 speaker system into my home theater system, but that will be later on after the evaluation.

For music listening, we use several types of music. :T


I'd love to be a part of a shootout like this! Those MartinLogan's in the back sure make the ElectroMotion ESL's look small LOL. It'll be interesting to see how the ML EM ESL's compare to the Magnepan's (well the others too).
I know it... don't they. I was thinking the EXACT same thing when I was setting them up and standing back from them to take the photo. It is amazing how much smaller they are. Those Maggies are pretty big too.


No reason to limit this concept to speakers. Could also do receivers at various price points (low, mid, top end) and TVs/displays. Although TV are a bit tougher because of the complication of calibration for best performance. I'm sure people would love to see a properly staged apples-to-apples competitive comparison of the major top end AV receivers. Denon, Pioneer Elite, Onkyo, Yamaha, Anthem, maybe Cambridge if avaialbe
I have done a couple of receiver reviews (Denon 4520 and Yamaha 3010) and man... those things take a LOT of time to review properly. The setup alone is very time consuming. I think we would need at least a full day with each one to make a fair comparison... as there are too many features to compare. I think it would boil down to comparing features and room EQ results, otherwise I think they all have about the same amp sound when played "Pure" or "Direct".


This looks like a great speaker evaluation. I'm looking forward to the results. I'm assuming you're evaluating the speakers by themselves full range without the addition of a sub? Also, I'd like to see a list of the music you're going to use for the evaluation.
Yes... full range and no sub. We will list the music as soon as we nail it down.


I was wondering since you are using a Oppo and it proally has SACD/DVD-Audio capabilities are you going to play and multichannel disks either SACD or DVD-A??
I have a couple of each, but have not given it much thought since this is two-channel. However, it maybe that we can squeeze in some time for an SACD song. We try to streamline the listening process by having all of our music on a single source so that we don't have to get up and change media.


I wonder if, it may sound crazy, but if internal cabinet design could be explored and commented on. I am sure most people would think :unbelievable: when reading about opening up a set of $2000+ speakers to see its guts, I just find it interesting what the big players do to the guts, if they brace them, if they are double baffled, material thickness etc etc etc.
That would get rather time consuming and perhaps something that would be more suited for a reviewer who is going to have a set of speakers for 30 days or more with plenty of time to do so. Not a bad idea though.


I would absolutely LOVE to see a blind comparison of the CABLES used in this test versus generic, if only a quick one. I notice that you are using XLR cables, which I always thought were only a benefit for longer runs between components, is that the case for this test? If you could at least test the speaker wires versus generic 12 gauge wire from Monoprice or whatever. Not sure how much of a premium the RAM cables command, but it adds up fast when you are running a 7.x or 9.x system. I realize that RAM is a sponsor, but I would hope that you could indulge us. Especially when it comes to digital cables, like HDMI, I fail to see how one cable could be better than another, so long as it actually works, since they transmit only 1s and 0s.
I have never been able to identify differences in cables... not saying they do not exist, but I have not heard any. It would have to be proven to me via a DBT to confirm it. The RAM cables are not very expensive (at least what I consider expensive), although they cost more than the Monoprice cables. The primary reason we suggest RAM is quality of build, quality of parts used, functionality and looks... and they are indeed a sponsor. There are some who are simply not going to buy Monoprice, but will quickly buy Blue Jeans cables because of the wire and connectors used... and the build quality appears to be superior. This is where we believe RAM will be of benefit... to those seeking that type of quality in a cable and having piece of mind about it. Compare RAM before you buy BJC or other similar cables.

I don't think we will have time to do a properly conducted DBT.

I believe one of the benefits of balanced cables is to reject noise and interference... perhaps a more stable signal to noise ratio is maintained, but technically I will defer to someone more in the know than myself.


Coincidentally, I am neck deep in my first paying DIY speaker build for my #1 client.... I have invested apprx $2500 in drivers and xover components from PE... Wishing my design could be evaluated at your event (sigh) I was up til 2 am last night wiring the cabinets as Im pushing for a delivery and install next weekend... I have certainly learned alot from my time spent reading speaker reviews and studying the speaker build projects here at HTS.... Ill be posting up my project soon and am looking forward to reading the results of your evaluations.... Maybe the next trip could have a member sponsored to attend.... Thanks again for all you that contribute... I benefit much as do my clients, and it is highly appreciated... Thanks again Sonnie... :T
All hope is not lost... as the DIY speaker comparison is something we have discussed and hope to work out. We will continue to discuss it and see what we can eventually come up with. It is good to know you may be interested in having your speaker involved. We will definitely keep that in mind.


I'm mostly looking forward to the $20,000 two channel setup since all of these are simply a dream for me, I might as well dream BIG!
I am most definitely looking forward to this system as well. I have heard it and it is astounding to say the least.
 

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It WOULD be neat to be able to attend that, indeed. :) I have an HTIB system that meets my needs, but having something like those would be awesome - wish I could afford something like all that.
 

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Wow, I'm green to the gills. I have heard a few of these speakers but have not heard the Oppo 105 yet. I guess I have to live vicariously through all that attend this event. I was hoping there might be a Goldendear tower in the mix this evaluation. Oh well, I know all will have a good time! Looking forward to hearing the results.
 

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I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to HTS for this outstanding event and to the members involved, Sonnie, Wayne, Leonard and Joe. I had the pleasure of getting to know Joe (ALM Family) since he first came to HTS, I was selling an amp (which I regret), no just kidding, he was so courteous and such a friendly guy and I know how much he appreciated the condition of the amp and made that known to me on several occassions, great guy as well as all the staff here at HTS. This place was my first home and always felt welcomed and people seemed to actually care what I had to say, that doesn't happen at a lot of other forums. I am also extremely pleaseed with the $1000 shootout as my speakers were chosen. More forums should follow the lead of HTS and offer a wonderful and informative place to spend some time. Well done guys with the $2500 comparison, is it true that the ARX5 will also be there? This what I heard. Thanks again to all whom have made my feel at home here at the Shack. I look forward to the results of this event, take care my friends.
Best Regards, Jeffrey
 

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i think one of the most interesting things about this multi-speaker review is that all these speakers offer something different and will appeal to a wide audience. I also think that when you get to this price range, there certianly arent any losers, there are just varying degrees of winners.

A quick look at the speakers reveals so much about each thats different

Emerald Physics - open baffle 2.5 way design with 15" woofers and a compression tweeter with 12" waveguide, completely unique to me.

Dynaudio - classic minimalist design outside, 3" voice coils on the woofers in a 2-way design(the only 2-way design using a simple 1st order crossover) and a soft dome

Magnepan - a full range ribbon speaker... if im understanding that right? very interesting.

Martin logan - electrostat speakers, with 8" woofer. that appears not to use a crossover

Paradigm - another minimalist design in a 2.5 way speaker but uses metalized drivers with popularity that probably unmatched

SVS - a 3-way speaker with a unique cabinet design involving an 8" woofer and dual 6.5" mids, soft dome tweeter... a company whose fame comes from their awesome subwoofers.

in some ways a few of these speakers are similar, but they are all still very different. I cannot wait to see what the reviewers think of each speaker. As a Dynaudio owner, i hope to see them do well, but the competition is VERY tough.

good luck guys and have fun.
 

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I wish to second the idea of DIY HT speaker systems with maybe the cost constraint being the factor.

Maybe covered elsewhere but in a multi channel setup of HT interested also in differences in seating position and how that affects performance. If you optomize around the center seat that can be a lonely place :)

Basic suggestion is if you have the listeners move positions side to side and up and back a bit to see how sensitive each speaker system is. Part of the voting could be ease of setup and how easy it is to get good sound at every seating position. Power response and phase control are key to this from my experience.
 

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Wow, what a great looking room! I'm glad to see an "evaluation" done in a properly treated and measured room! (with the graphs to prove it! LOL). I'm looking forward to seeing people's thoughts on the speakers. I myself am looking for a decent upgrade to my Home Theater Speakers, and while I might have the finely tuned and measured room, I'm close! So it's good to see that your evaluation can be in near ideal setup to I know if I were to purchase speakers, they are a known good commodity and it's other areas in my setup that need addressing.

I also wish I could hear that two channel setup...I'm a fan of separate 2 channel setups, and have a hand built SET powering a separate pair of speakers in my theater, with the same Oppo BDP-105 as a source! So I'm looking forward to seeing how you set that up and what your impressions are in a room treated and setup for theater (As mine is as well).

Great thread!
 

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Nice.
I like the idea of a speaker evaluation rather than a shootout. Looking forward to the results.
What I also like is the idea of converting a 2 car garage into a home theater. :T
Will work on the wife... :gulp:
 

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Since starting in 1977, the Danes at Dynaudio have learned a thing or two about building great speakers. There are some fairly positive reviews about the Dynaudio DM3/7. Some of its strengths include build quality, finish, low end response and efficiency. I'm looking forward to the results.
 

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Very interesting - I'll look forward to your posts about the test and the results. I would have liked to be there but I don't have the time and live several time zones away. It's funny that one of the speakers is probably more expensive than my entire (not so great) Panasonic home theater system.

Three questions / comments:

  1. What music / movies are you going to listen to as reference material? Are you going to be watching any movies at all, are video displays part of the test as well, or is it just audio?
  2. Most speakers / room setups require a careful positioning of the speakers to get optimal flat frequency response (that is somewhat dependent on the size and construction of the room, but it's the norm for professional studios). Are you going to be moving the speakers in different places to get the sweet spot for each of them? I assume they are pretty heavy, it's not going to be easy hauling that stuff around.
  3. For reference material I'd recommend to at least include the Sony Classical recording of Bartok's Concierto for Orchestra, a very fine recording on Super Audio CD. For movies, Wall-E has a spectacularly good sound design.
 

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This should be a great shoot out, the only speakers in this line up I have heard are the Dynaudios and although in a smaller room they sounded as good as a pair of Wilson Watt puppies.
interested in seeing the results of the comparison.
 

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i heard a set of mqgnepan mmg's a few years back.they were playing some violin music on them.unfortunately i only had a very brief listening experience.from what i remember that was very realistic sounding violin playing.ive not had a chance to listen to any martin logan speakers.ive heard a bunch of different paradigm models.i do have a paradigm dealer about 30 mile drive.

so im definetly curiois to hear the results of the magnepan's,and the paradigm's
 

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This is going to be a very interesting shootout. These shootouts are a lot of work, I wish you all the best of luck and eagerly await the results. Very curious how the Magnepans sound vs the conventional speakers.

I would love to see something similar in the $1,000 and $500 and under categories for us budget minded folks.

Later,

Tony
 

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This is a great event and i will be paying close attention to the results since i have no way to demo anything like this where i am. Most info i can get on stuff like this are from actual owners and most of the time they have limited exposure to other products in the same range so they are swayed. Here i can get 6 great speakers compared very thoroughly. Will the top speakers from the last review be compared to these as well? Im really interested in the CS2P, ML ESL and Magnepan 1.7 since they are different from regular box enclosure speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
I own the Ascend Towers and voted fro them eariler....but GTG or listening sessions as this I always fine very compelling & interesting to read.
I believe the Ascend Towers will be automatically included in the next round, provided Ascend will oblige us with a pair.



This is very cool. I wish I had a way to come and hear how the system sounds. I have won some of the contest they have here on the Home theater shack. I won some great speakers twice! I am still using them and love them but I am thinking these maybe better then my current speakers. I love the look of a lot of these speakers I just hope they sound as good as they look!
There may indeed be better for considerable more money, but I bet the A5's would give any of these a run for their money. I think the main differences may be more lower end. However, we would expect better at 2.5 to 4 times the cost.



Yes, in my limited experience, it is difficult to agree on material with which all listeners are sufficiently familiar
to identify reproduction differences, not least because folks will become so tired of that material that they
may not want to hear it again for quite a long time.

It would be interesting for comparison to have participants, prior to the event,
document what results they anticipate.
We have used several songs in our evaluations and listening at the various audio shows. There are a few songs I have heard at least fifty-eleven times... and I never get tired of them. They just get better for some reason.

I learned in the last event to not anticipate anything, as I had it all wrong going into that one. It only proved one thing for me... that bias does not necessarily have as much influence as I thought it would. As macdon says below... treating each speaker like it is the first time you have heard it is the best advise IMO.



You sure you want to wait for such a long time to run this test? Tomorrow would be a good starting time!
No... absolutely I DO NOT want to wait... I am ready now! lol



If I may suggest - please include some information about the people doing the evaluation. I always find it helps me to know what the judge likes and listens to at home.
That is a good idea David... maybe we can do that. I am a Christian, redneck hillbilly that likes Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Boston, Pink Floyd, Spyro Gyra, Little Feat, Yello, Pink Floyd, Flim & the BB's, ZZ Ward, Adele, Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Hank Williams Jr, U2, Melody Gardot... and last but not least... Pink Floyd.

Seriously... I like a pretty good variety, but not much on classical, country or rap. I can pretty much handle anything else. Maybe we can get some bio's written up.



I was wondering, are there any plans to throw in the Arx A5's and give them a head to head against the chosen one from this competition?
We will sit and listen to these first, before we start the evaluation... just to get an idea of what we heard in the last evaluation.



Will the speakers be adjusted for each listener? I know my panels angle in reference to my listening height is crucial and yet is rarely considered when people compare panels to conventional cones and domes.
If needed we will do this, but we have all pretty much agreed on the same positioning for the other speakers we have evaluated.



Normally, you can gauge which would be favorable for you from the list of speakers being tested most specially if you've heard or auditioned them before. However, its always best to attend these events with an open mind or clear thoughts ........ treat it as if you're listening to them for the first time. Just be mindful that the same speaker will always sound differently from one place to the other - even if they were driven with the same gear.
Excellent advice and good points... :T
 

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When I had Magnepan speakers, I preferred the tighter sound I could get out of them by placing some acoustic absorption panels behind them. I believe this allowed the immediate rear wave to still do its magic of interference with the forward wave to focus the sound, while reducing the effect of a reflected wave off the surfaces behind the speaker.

Would you consider doing the same during your review, to see what people think of this? I imagine it would also apply to the Martin Logan, although I suspect it might have a different effect given its planar surface is curved.

Flat planars are also very sensitive to toe-in, since moving your head off-axis immediately impacts the sound. Some will prefer different degrees of toe-in, so I think that's also something worth including in your review sessions.

I am also significantly interested in how the Maggie 1.7's sound. My wife and I have heard the MMG's and she loved them and actually gave me the "OK" to purchase a set someday. With that said I know they get better the higher up the line you go. I dont think she would like the size of the 3x models but the 1x models are not much wider than the MMG's, just a bit taller, and also dont need to be out as far as the 3x models.
IMO the Magnepan 1.6's were a significant step up from the MMG's so if you get the chance you should do a comparison in a local store. You really need to get the top of planar speakers above your ear height to get the right sound out of them.
 

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I really like these kinda events when magazines do reviews you hardly ever get straight comparisions.This works out good for me I was really leaning hard to buy the svs ultra towers after hearing them in the capitol audiofest( to me it was at least the best demo in the show and maybe best sound.I only have ever had bookshelf speakers and though they sound great(def tech sm 55's) I know they lack depth in comparision to good towers. this is about the top off my ability to buy at the moment I may stretch to golden ear triton 3's but wuld love to be able to buy in this range.Looking forward to the review thanks so much for the effort.
CD
 

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Discussion Starter #139
Magnepan speakers are fast, if placed properly seem to disappear and by virtue of their midrange performance are incredible with live recordings. However, placing them correctly is the key. With stereo it is possible to place them perfectly and create a magnificent sound stage. Home theater is another matter. For instance, I have a 110 inch screen and the 1.7's would need to be far enough apart to flank the screen. Not ideal for the Magnepans. I am curious to see if you can place them to maximum advantage in your home theater.
I have a feeling they will need to be closer in, but that is just a hunch. I don't think my Prodigy's sound their best where they are due to having them spread out so far.



When I read the title, I wasn't sure if it was about $2500 speakers or $2500 speaker pairs. Since I'm not familiar with the specific models under evaluation, I checked a couple out and it's $2500 speaker pairs in case anyone else is unsure like I was.
This has now been clarified in the first post. :T



Will all of it be evaluated by ear or will there be special equipment brought in?
We will include the .mdat files from REW measurements, which will include a LOT of useful information.



PS: Guy's, don't let Sonnie get out of smoking the ribs this time!
Agree... I MUST make this happen this time around.



Looking forward to the evolution of this thread and the shootout.
A good price point and selection for lots of people moving up from their 1st set of speakers.
Also, thx for posting the acoustic chart in post#1, if possible I'd like to see some gated ETC charts 0 - 50ms to truly see how dialed in your treatments are for managing the 1st reflections.
We will see what we can do with this... perhaps if the .mdat files are available you can adjust the graphs? I don't understand the ETC as well as Wayne, so maybe he can chime in.



btw, a lotta reserved posts in the thread.....all 1st page....
Yes... reserved for the results and some other stuff in case we need them.
 

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This is my dream job!!
I love listening to high quality audio systems, and especially love to hear a different mfg interpretation of how audio should sound.
I believe all speakers impart their own signature, but this can be a good thing when done properly.
I look forward to the results....
I have read soooo many speaker reviews/comparisons/tests over the last 25+ years.
I know my own opinion is what truly matters for my personal enjoyment, but there are several reviewers that share very similar views that I highly respect.
 
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