XR290 Listening Impressions

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by Velocityboat, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. mrz80

    mrz80 I guess it's in my blood

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    Well, after just ten minutes of listening, my wife told me the 250s were worth whatever I'd paid for them. :bigok:
     
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  2. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    I like buying concert DVDs. They may not be real time but can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. My wife was in tears listening to Cinnamon Paradiso by Yo Yo Ma and Chris Botti on XR290s. Tears were real.

    Las time in Dallas Chris Botti payed at my wife's seat in the crowd at the Meyerson row 6. Equal Sound to at home. Experience no but still great.

    Read about Steinway Lyngdorf and Model M piano vs Mode M Speakers.

    A great stereo system is a time machine allowing many to experience that of privileged few there live.
     
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  3. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    There are so many advantages to line array and horn speakers. Dynamic range, low distortion, the ability to deliver the recorded sound to the listener with less room interference. The problem becomes when the line array isn't infinite in length and the horn reaches lower frequencies. When the directionality of the speakers fails room properties start to be come the negative influence on the sound. Back when the 290 was built distortion was a real issue with all speakers and the 290 with its new woofer design and the use of multiple low distortion drivers was a real break thru. By using line array technology low distortion at high levels was possible and negative room influences could be bypassed. Today as the science of materials and design of loudspeakers developed by Mcintosh has filtered into the rest of the industry, JBL 67000, B&W, Magico, etc and I'm sure another dozen or two can produce the same levels with the same low distortion. But how the Magico point source and the JBL horn speakers interface with the room is still a big negative. This is the area of design where the 290 excels. Plus a 290 can hold it's own to 16 hz, and the others mentioned can't as consistently.

    If I lived out in the sticks with out human sounds, I would have a system outdoors to be free of room reflections.
    I have participated in mixing and providing sound systems for out door events, And the clarity is totally different experience from using the same large speakers in an enclosed venue. So if you have a large back yard and and a wall to set your speakers against for bass coupling, you'll be in for a real surprise as to the difference caused by a room?


    You guys have said pretty much all there can be said about 290's. I don't know what more I can add. Maybe just one or two.. I found from listening to the speakers in a very quiet room you don't have to play them as loud as you do with other speakers. All the detail is there to be heard. It's a similar experience you get with Stax ear speakers. All the detail in the world to experience as performed. There is a level where the ear mechanically limits the sound. And I also know the physical stimulus of a loud speaker on the other parts of the body are part of the thrill, So as long as the short peaks don't cause the ear to limit the levels to the brain and the bass is warm and rich for the body to experience; then the maximum enjoyment can be derived from the listing experience. Each of us listen differently, but I am sure if there is any speaker that can satisfy the most of us with our varied tastes, it's the XR 290.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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  4. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Twiii,

    Excellent post. I would agree about the XR290 and ability to perform at lower listening levels also. I think the most amazing part is the tonal balance. It is such a nice amazing and enveloping sound. I have not spent time listening to the later Magico speakers but do enjoy commercial JBls on occasion at live venues. I doubt I will feel the need to explore other brands having these but need too. Looking at new speaker prices i likely got performance with XR290 at half or quarter, even perhaps 10 percent price of what the others news stellar performers sell for.

    I also agree with Damacman that vintage Roger's line arrays are fantastic buys used if found. They still are not cheap but will perform profoundly. I still need to move my XR290s back to wall and only imagine more improvement. i have not had speakers that could do1 6 Hz since my JBL towers of 80s vintage with passive radiators. But that was not clean bass. It does add a feel.
    I was ready to order IDS-25s if the XR290 deal fell through and still plan to listen. The Room Perfect is still a solution to help those eliminate room effects and get the most of point source and it does help clean up line array room interactions that I was getting on XRT20 and XR19.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  5. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    I was digging through my records looking for an answer for the TT discussion forum, when guess what? I found in my secret stash a service manual for a very tall Speaker with 24 tweeters, 12 mids and 4 woofers. Send me a note if you would like a copy. I also have a White Paper on the XR 250 that will explain the LD/HP series woofers and listening tests explaining the improvement in sound. That very tall speaker has a 1200 watt peak power rating.
     
  6. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Twiii. Sent you a PM. I am definitely interested in your McIntosh guru stash. Always appreciate your knowledgeable postings. The great knowledge shared on this forum by you and C_dk makes AK a great community for all enthusiasts. Not to forget the others like Damacman and 62Caddy and list of others likewilling to share experiences lik Ron-C, MotorStereo, Kevzep, moderators like Mike Gibson etc make this the best McIntosh forum on the net.
     
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  7. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    I hooked up the MC1000s with balanced cables finally. Only to see the yellow powerguard lamp. it drives a singal until the speaker is attached. I will be taking the amp in on Tuesday. I moved speakers to back wall. What another XR290 surprise. Can you say bass in spades. Right now the XR290 and XRT20 and XR19 stack are side by side talk about wall of sound look. Going to have to break out some Dead. Who thinks the bridged MC2500s can drive that load? 84 drivers a side at 1 ohm. 168 drivers total system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  8. motorstereo

    motorstereo the wonder of it all Subscriber

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    Hopefully it's an easy fix on the MC1000's. That will be an unbeatable combo I'm thinking paired up with those 290's. As far as the 2500's go I'm betting they'are up to the task. As you know they have ratings on the top of the amps for 1/2 ohm operation. You might want to put the fan switch on to continuous if you decide to have some fun :)
     
  9. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    VB, In your opinion, how does the XR290 perform compared to the XRT20/XR19 combination?

    Strengths/weaknesses of either?
     
  10. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    I would not define either as having a weakness. Both are incredible. I would call the XR290 refined to perfection. I have not listened to the XRT20/19 without roomperfect in a long time so to be fare I need to try without. I do think you can sit closer too the stack having mids and horizontal tweeters in same column. Noticed the XR290 imaging improved when moved back to the wall as did bass. The bass on the XR290 is definetly drier but perfect. The LD/HP woofer and mid columns have better voice realism you do not realize until heard. Johnny Cash sounds like he smoked fewer cigarettes and drank less whiskey.

    The clarity on voices and hidden recording details is beyond imaginable on XR290. Forever hidden from me until now. I did not think possible but heard more details. The stack throws a wider soundstage thanks to XR19. The XR290 takes more speaker separation to catch up in soundstage. The XR290 throw more SPL easily at less watts you don't know it until you pull out a meter. I can't set pre number to same values. Probably 8 ohm vs 4.

    The brass seems stronger with the stack. I like strings better with XR290. Behind a curtain the XR290 is winner for sitting and crtical listening at any volume. In a dance club I would take the XR19 and XRT20. They paint dance floor at any distance with the band and electric guitar and synthesizer and not to mention brass. They are also incredible for realistic amplified band experience. The XR290 excels for Symphony, Opera, Home Theater. They will take you to the grunge club but keep you out of the mosh pit but still shake the foundation.

    I could be happy with either but will say about the XR290, if you are lucky find a pair buy immediately. I guess I have to say the same for any of Roger's line arrays. But XR290 is the pinnacle.

    Wait until I post RTA curves they are phenomenal without Room Corrections.
     
  11. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Right now running fan on low thermally switched. My fans run a good bit if keeping levels at 100 WPC during some songs how about yours?
     
  12. motorstereo

    motorstereo the wonder of it all Subscriber

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    Same here; I run mine on low thermally switched for their 6 ohm load. If I push them hard then yes those fans do run quite a bit. Daily listening though they rarely come on.
     
  13. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    my fans never come on ...
     
  14. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Mine seem to heat up equally both the channels and amps so I assume things are working right. If I get both MC1000s running fans no more. I will not be stuffing them in a cabinet for sure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  15. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    An Observation: Way back when most Hifi lovers wanted a firm foundation on which to build the sound of their system, And in that respect ML-4's stacked were the pinnacle. But As time passed and improvement in sources and electronics the emphasis switched to above 80 Hz region it seems. With the advent of the new Mac woofers used in the 250 and 290 accurate low distortion bass became a possibility. The only issue was because of the low distortion and other improved parameters, the sound quality is different. And as the quality is different it may sound like there is less bass, when actually its less distortion. Its the missing distortion that has your mind confused. You have to realize engineers and producers up until very recently mix the recordings using speakers with bass distortion. There fore, speakers with less distortion reveal sounds the producers could not hear. I have seen this before. People thought amps with Power Guard were inferior, why, because the distortion they grew up with at high levels wasn't there. They expected it to be there and when the distortion wasn't there they new something was wrong. Like wise now that you have 290's in the house you have to realize that your XR-19's are not what they could be in so many ways. Also The spherical array of tweeters has so many narrow band anomalies, and when combined with a line array of the XRT22 creates distortions you could not believe. Fortunately the ear has a way of listening that kind of averages or integrates the results over time. But once you allow your ears to train your your brain to hear the difference you'll never be happy with your combined units. Now if you don't give your ears a chance to train the brain to the new sound your emotions will have you confused or even reject the 290/s. Just by having 2 speaker systems of different configurations producing the same signal you have automatically reduced the over all definition of the system by 4. Then considering the 290 has a line array of mids, too, the system has many times the accuracy in the mid range frequencies as compared to stacked speakers.

    Paul Klipsch recommended that folks attend live un amplified concerts and have their ears tuned quite regularly. I agree whole heartedly. But I have to modify the recommendation and include small group recitals. Piano, guitar, strings, reeds, double reeds, brass. Each have their unique signature. By doing this you will be able to recognize issues with your system and the programming your listening, too. The essential prerequisite is the live unamplified source not be distorted.
     
  16. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Twiii
    All good points. I may be a rarity in that I like the clean bass. I believe that distorted bass hides the real music. The XR19 with the uncoupled woofers one crossing over at 150 Hz and other at 400 Hz was Rogers way of addressing bass distortion. He went even further with XRT20 adding crossover mod later. Which he stated to me most people liked earlier version of 400 Hz. My XRT20s have earlier crossover. This helps explain the XRT20/XR19 stacks below 150Hz stellar bass but still some mid bass crossover distortion I never heard until XR290 arrived at my house. The XRT22 had both LD/HP woofers and split crossover whereas XR290 four woofers of LD/HP in line array did not, using the line array to achieve less mid bass interference.

    The XR290s do everything right with 3 columns and using a 1300Hz tweeters crossing over vs 1500Hz of previous models. It does wonderful natural sounding voices, woodwinds, and pianos.
     
  17. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    IMG_0008.JPG
    Here is an interesting wall of sound diagram showing the Grateful Dead using vertical and hemispherical horizontal arrays and their MC2300s. It also shows which arrays play what instrument. IMG_0008.JPG I guess i need to sell my stacked XRT22/XR19 arrays and bridged MC2500s to a Dead Head Fan if ever part with them . They sure give a great live band presentation that can sound amazing and accurate for live music sound.

    Though they will never be an XR290. The stack is still more interesting to listen to than Stand Alone XR19 or XRT20 systems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
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  18. gtech

    gtech New Member

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    Did you get the MC1000s looked at and what was the problem?
    Aaron
     
  19. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Just one has issue. I talked to tech Thursday and he had yet to get to it but promised it in a couple days.
     
  20. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    I split up the XRT20s and XR19 stack yesterday. The XR19s are now rear channel surrounds at least until HT3 s dipoles are ttested A vs. B. XR19 Amazing LF effects with XR290s.

    I moved XRT20s to bedroom. Sound amazing in an even larger room. I guess I never realized how good they are by themselves. I left tweeters outboard like Gordon Gow photo 62Caddy posted. I can say the imaging is stellar. Bass is great with speakers backed to wall. i can see why the XRT20 got so many accolades. So far not missing the stack. Have to free up an MC2500 to drive XRT20s but Yamaha pro amp does well only pushing one pair of 8 ohm even down low.
     

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