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Audiophile Home Theater room

Discussion in 'The Lansing Legacy' started by hjames, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Yes, I am not afraid to use the A-word!!

    Anyway, my home theater room room has evolved a lot over a 6 year period. I started with a Philips CRT HDTV and some old 4320 JBLs.

    They evolved through a couple upgrades and moved upstairs when I got some JBL 4341 Studio Monitors and put them upfront as mains.
    I got a pair of JBL L20T speakers and ceiling mounted them as rear surrounds tried a cheap Sony (BestBuy) sub, but replaced it when I found a JBL B380 15" passive sub.
    For electronics I started with a a low power HK AVR, went through a few of those and wound up with the (then) top of the line Hk AVR7300 - which turned out to be an unstable Piece Of Junk. I tried biamping the 4341 monitors with various JBL/UREI active crossovers and settled on an Ashly piece.
    For amps, again, once I went to biamp I pulled front mains off the HK receiver and used JBL/UREI 6230 and 6260 pro amps. Tried some other stuff, and wound up with a pair of Adcom GFA-555s (not IIs). I'd found an HK Citation 22 that I bridge to run the sub with ... something like 600w.
    I later added a pair of JBL L100T (with T3 crossovers) for side surrounds,
    and got a modern JBL LC2 for center channel ... Got an Adcom 2535 3/4 channel amp for the center & rear channels, and an Adcom 545 for the sides

    When the AVR73200 blew I got a Yamaha AVR for a standby, then bought a used Integra PreProcessor ... and an Oppo BDP-93 finished the system.

    Yep, it was an Altar of Audiophilia - overkill for the small room.

    Since December I decided to uncomplicate all of this stuff - sold off the B-380 sub but replaced it with a JBL 4641 Pro sub!

    I kept reading about Time Frame speakers here so I found and bought an inexpensive pair of DCM TimeFrame speakers (TF500s) and loved the sound and the thin box dimensions. Collected more, TF600, then TF400, found some TF700s, and then a pair of TF1000s ... even got a pair of TimePiece "satellite" speakers - so I could use one of them as a center ...

    Then i got serious ... Sold off the L100Ts, and the 4341 monitors. Tore down the biamp rack and found a Salamander Audio cabinet at a yard sale for under $200 ... Sold off the Scan Teak rack I'd had for nearly 30 years, and thinned the amps and gear.

    Wound up setting the room up as a DCM TimeFrame HT system ... TF1000s as front mains on one Adcom 555,
    TF600s as side surrounds, and the TF400s as rear surround. Moved the JBL L20Ts up to my office (nice!)
    Put a TimePiece in the center and the tonality was nice and it could play loud enough for us ... great!

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013

     

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  2. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Oh - for the full perspective - the first configuration circa 2007 with JBL L36s up on the shelves,
    with a Philips 34 CRT HD TV (what a heavy MONSTER!) This is just after I got back from buying
    a pair of JBL 4320s in Philadelphia and was trying to figure where to fit them ... a wall of IKEA Bionde shelves

    [​IMG]

    But back to the present - I'd been reading on AK about Thiel speakers.
    And reading about Vandersteens ...
    And newer Magneplanars - I'd had some old maggies once and while they were intriguing, ultimately the ones I had (MG II-B) lacked bottom and top end.

    I started looking for Vandersteens and Thiels on the local CL. Read a lot more and figured out the model differences, and kept an eye out.

    I considered that since I'd gotten good money when I sold the 4341 Monitors, maybe it was time to actually buy something new ...
    Went to a local shop and listened to the Mag 1.7s and a pair of Vandersteen 2Ce Signature IIs ... both were interesting -
    but the mags were B I G. The Vandys were a bit more reasonable sized - but - $2600 would eat up a lot of my audio budget!.

    Then last month someone here posted about a pair of 2CEs in "nearby" WV - with XLO biamp wires, Anchor Stands, 6 pucks for the points - and ...
    turned out he was the original owner with papers, boxes and manuals. He wanted to come to a local store and listen to bookshelf speakers,
    and offered to bring them by for a demo.

    Woah! How great is that - demo nice speakers on my gear and have them delivered. Suffice to say, they wowed my spouse and I so,
    money passed hands and we've been happy.

    I had demoed them on my upstairs system, and played them up there for a week or so, but last weekend I pulled the TF-1000s off the HT system,
    and put the 2CEs downstairs in their place. OMG - best sounds we've ever had down there! How can I get more??

    Put the DCMs up for sale - Dewdude bought the TF500s, someone from CL bought the rest of them on Monday night ...
    and I kept the TF600s to use as rear surrounds. I put the JBL Lc2 Back in the center and it works fine for now.

    I still have the JBL 18" sub in the system, but I want to try some other approaches -
    Maybe downsize or go distributed bass at some point.

    (and come fall, I hope to rip out that nasty blue carpet and install Pergo or some similar kind of wood floor product)!

    4320HT-2194821.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  3. Rapidan

    Rapidan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Your room is looking good! It feels liberating sometimes to make a change, looks (and sounds) like yours is for the better! Onward and upward.

    I'm doing a room myself, stay tuned for new pics of your SCAN rack if I use it...Right after I picked it up, I scored a beautiful MCM wall unit at a yard sale..what to do?
     
  4. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    I did buy a used Vandersteen VCC-1 Center speaker via Audiogon. Hopefully it will arrive early next week. I'm going to demo a pair of Vsteen 2Cis or 2CEs this weekend - hopefully one pair will be nice and I'll buy them as side surrounds. I have Sunbeam62's B&K amp on the way to replace the Adcom GFA-555 for the front/mains. More on that when it gets here!
     
  5. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Just got back from a local CL demo and purchase - gentleman had a pair of Walnut Vandersteen 2CIs with Sound anchor stands ... fabric has some pulls in it, but otherwise they play great ... about the same price as the 2CEs I already got, but they are a great visual match and sound very nice as side surrounds!

    Gave me a chance to move the DCM TF600 pair into the rear surround position, for the few sources that actually have 7.1 audio, they sound very nice.

    I played Dire Straits 20th anniv, Brothers in Arms DSD SACD - sounded excellent - played Abraxas Pool in 2ch stereo then in Stereo ALL mode (all 6 speakers playing) - very very recording - thanks for the recommendation folks!

    Then some bluray fun - the first attack scene in Master and Commander woah ... and now the Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters 1981 club recording in DTS 5.1 surround - very awesome!
    But the JBL center isn't a great match - more info when I get the VCC-1 surround next week.

    Vsteenx4_6552.jpg Vsteenx4_6553.jpg Vsteen-DCM-TF600rear_6555.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  6. Sir Terrence

    Sir Terrence Active Member

    Messages:
    306
    Mr. James,
    I am going to offer you a bit of advice for when you do your next upgrade. I do not know how large your room is, but I personally would go for a smaller bookshelf and stands 7.1 system. This would better "scale" the sound with the current television you have. I would imagine the sound makes the visuals look a bit small in your current setup. One of the most important ingredients to making a great hometheater is that the sound should match the picture in terms of size. If the picture is bigger than the sound, or the sound bigger than the picture, the brain will never be fooled into thinking you are actually in the movie.


    Using smaller bookshelf speaker on taller stands would get the sound above the headrest of the couch. There is a lot of sound being blocked where the surrounds and rear surrounds are positioned. I would imagine the frequency response to the ears would be very irregular in this current setup. If you can get those speakers you already have up to near equal height of the fronts, you will find the entire 360 degree soundfield would probably snap into focus much more coherently.

    There is a few things you can currently do in that room that won't cost you all that much - but take you another step to getting good sound.
     

     

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  7. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Actually, its Ms. James ... thats what the "Lady Geek" byline is about ...
    Its Heather to my friends ... but you can call me Heather.

    Thanks for the tips but no thanks.
    I had 6 JBL L20T3s in there for a while ... didn't like it as much.
    I prefer larger speakers not playing very loudly.

    I do get the idea of having a matched family of speakers so the tonality is consistent -
    the all-DCM-TimeFrame system I collected and recently sold off taught me that.

    I just switched up to a better quality speaker design for nearly $0 -
    the replacement center and sub will cost me some outlay ...
    but hopefully selling my existing center & sub will break that even too.

    The Vandersteen 2CEs in the front perform very well as they are, thanks.

    The Vandersteens 2CIs on the sides want to be free of encumbrances on their sides,
    and they should be further away from the wall. I know that and I accept that compromise.
    That said - they are where they fit. Anything on stands in that room would be tippy with the cat.
    The Sound Anchor stands are short but have spikes to lock them in place.
    They are adjustable to allow some measure of front to back tilt and they have been adjusted
    to lean back a bit so they project a bit more towards ear level when we are seated.

    The DCMs behind the sofa are also tilted back so they project up towards the ear ...
    The drivers in them are high on the enclosure - there are no low mounted drivers on those speakers.
    I should pull them further from the wall to enhance their airiness - but they sound great as is - their rear tweeters
    are more on the angled sides than actually on the flat to the wall rear.

    The only thing way out of perspective is the crazy pro sub ... I knew it was over the top when I bought it,
    but I've always wanted to play with an 18 JBL sub. I got it for a great price, it amused me to get it,
    and amused me to put a 600w amp on the sub - so there's no harm there. But its set to play 7db down from the others.
    It was interesting to play with for a while, but it's been for sale in bartertown for quite a while ...
    I'm planning to go distributed bass once I get the opportunity.

    And actually, we kind of know we are not in a theater when we watch TV or a film ...
    its so much more comfortable at home, no morons on cellphones or jabbering nearby,
    and we have adult beverages available if desired ...

    We have noticed that when I play a CD, concert DVD, SACD, DVD-A or Airtunes,
    the music sounds very nice in either 2 channel mode, all channel stereo, or in surround.

    And frankly - since the sound quality is well ABOVE the average multiplex in the area -
    and my wife and I like it the way it is, I'm not planning to switch it out for little boxes all around.

    Maybe someday we'll buy a house with a larger room for multimedia -
    but considering the crazy prices in the DC area home market,
    and that we like living where we do at the moment, a few compromises are fine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  8. Wes_in_VA

    Wes_in_VA AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,626
    Location:
    Southwest VA
    Very cool stuff. I'm glad I got to hear the whole story of the changeover from the Timeframe's being somewhat of a "reformed" Timeframe junkie myself (though my 600's aren't going anywhere any time soon-- other than to the home theater setup I'm working on). My stepson sure is digging his TF 400's, too.
     
  9. guest109

    guest109 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    908
    Yep, when you are talking HT, you need to get an upgrade from the small tv and get a projection screen of 100" or so.
     
  10. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Nope - not buying a 100 inch projection system for the two of us ...
    I like seeing the garden and blooms out back and I'm not going for heavy drapes to block all the light!
    So its too bright a room for projectors, and the ceiling fan is in the way as well!

    Besides, the 47in Vizio is only 2 years old this coming Christmas ...
    I may get a 60 at some point, but that's probably it ...
    Also - I still have a bit more tinkering to do with the sound side of things!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  11. JimmyNeutron

    JimmyNeutron Super Member

    Messages:
    3,235
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas

    Kinda confused here :saywhat: You say you're Heather, AKA "Lady Geek", then towards the end of your post you say "my wife and I". :scratch2: Ummm what gives?

    JN
     

     

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  12. Rapidan

    Rapidan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    I'm not too knowledgeable about HT, surround sound, etc., but big speakers and a smallish (?) TV works well for me! I'm better at listening than watching.

    Generally I see the opposite - A giant TV hung on the wall as if it were a Rembrandt, and a cluster of little plastic speakers. Yuk.
     
  13. Wes_in_VA

    Wes_in_VA AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,626
    Location:
    Southwest VA
    Really???
     
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  14. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Thats easy! We are two women that have been together over 15 years,
    and we were married in DC 2 years ago. She's my wife and I am hers.

    But its really all about the AV, isn't it?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
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  15. Rapidan

    Rapidan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Yep!
     
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  16. kurtgo

    kurtgo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Piper, KS.
    Nice setup and wished I would have taken pictures through the years to reflect what I have learned. Good job and thanks for sharing with us. Most important though - it is what I like that rules, not what others deem that I must do. Seems you have learned that as well.

    Wished we had something in common to compare the Vandersteens to, cause I have been really interested in hearing them. Have you thought any about acoustic treatments on the walls?
     

     

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  17. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Magic Box just arrived - Guy in PA was selling a pair of Vandersteen 2Cs on gorgeous custom wood stands with a Vandersteen VCC1 Center on Audiogon last week. I asked him if he'd break the set and sell just the center. He first said no, then a day or so later gave me a fair price. He didn't do paypal so I mailed a check and he shipped it yesterday. It just happened that it came today when I am home ... it was packed in the factory box - I pulled the JBL LC2 I had been using, installed this in its place, reset the center channel level - and we watched this week's TIVOed episode of Breaking bad ... Very nice match in tonality and levels -
    its a keeper and it looks very nice!

    Guess I can sell the JBL LC2 now!

    Vandy-VCC1_6557.jpg Vandy-Fronts_6558.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  18. JimmyNeutron

    JimmyNeutron Super Member

    Messages:
    3,235
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Just wondering if it was a typo or not :yes: . And yes, it is about the music. Enjoy it. You have a lot of gear, and there's no shortage of audiophiles in this hobby :music: . Have fun.

    JN
     
  19. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    The B&K ST-202 Plus amp I bought from 62Sunbeam arrived today - excellent bomb-proof double box packing.
    I just got it in the Salamander Cabinet - which has an air-grill on the bottom, plus I put some 1x2s under the amp to elevate it and allow more airflow.
    I know, its overkill, but overkill airflow can't hurt!

    Sounds great on the front Vandys - a very nice upgrade!

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,073
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Vandersteen 2W sub is here

    Pulled the JBL sub out of the system. Turned off the .1 LFE-SUB channel.
    Installed the Vandersteen Xover between the pre and the (front mains) poweramp.
    Ran a pair of White Lightening Moonshine banana cables between the power amp and the sub input terminals - apparently used as sensing.
    Connected power, turned the gain up a bit, put on Green Lantern (grabbed it from HBO last night) ... and ... Nice bass!

    Dinner is ready - will try other sources and see what we have!

    It certainly has Spouse Acceptance Favor ...

    (as I've said, the ugly carpet is going - our plans are to go with a wood product over the slab floor)

    Vsub2W_6584.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018

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