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Soliciting input on my planned HT system

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Eye Candy

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Hello,

I am new to the board. I just got bitten by the home theater bug. After auditioning various voice coil speakers I ended up concluding that the ML's, while not perfect to my ear, were overall the way to go. It was interesing today to discover this board and read posts lamenting the midrange of the Summits because that's exactly what has given me any hesitation at all with the ML's. I don't consider myself an audiophile and before this last month was perfectly happy with a 5.1 setup of Energy speakers and a Yamaha receiver. Oh how things have changed in such a short time.

A friend recommended a local high end audio store instead of the D2 / Paradigm Signature upgrade I was planning and the next thing I knew I was listening to detail on the ML's that I didn't even know existed or had previously cared about. Now I am hooked. Help!

Anyway, these are the deatils of what I am planning. Any input is appreciated as you guys are obviously much further into this stuff.

My budget can handle these items and maybe even a little more if you think there was a substantial payoff.

Center - Theater i (tv stand below screeen)
Fronts - Summit x 2
Side - Vantage x 2 (110 degree behind seating position directed to primary position), on a 14 inch riser
Back - Scripts x 2 (? Vista x 2)
Sub - Descent x 1
Arcam AV9 pre/pro
P7 amp (could biwire and add monoblocks to the Summits later if needed)
DVD player - Oppo 97 for now until Blu Ray established and Arcam comes out with a Blu Ray DV player (ultimately the projector will support 1080p.
), maybe a SACD player too

Richard Gray RGPC 1200 Custom
Line conditioner (? not for audio just video)

My room is 14' wide at the front (fixed screen). One wall curves away to make the back 22' wide by 15' back. The other wall remains straight and then pouches out a little at 18' back. The back wall has 3 sections of similiar length, two angled. Acoustic tile ceiling at 9' height. Two seating rows, back on a 21"riser (hides a bed).

Thank you,

Mike
 

twich54

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Mike, sounds like you are going from Sand Lot ball right to the Majors !! With the equipment list you have it should make for one hell of a HT sysytem. assuming HT is your only objective then I think your choice in pre-amp / amp is fine but if you wanted to get serious with two channel their are better choices both SS and in the "bottleneck" community.
 
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Eye Candy

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Quibbles

My main use will be HT. I worry that the p7 might not be up to the job. For example the Gold review http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0206/martinlogan_summit.htm

quote "The Summit could never be accused of being an easily load. Sensitivity is 92dB/W/m, which implies that not much power is required, and nominal impedance is 4 Ohms, but at high frequencies the impedance curve drops down to 0.7 Ohms at 20kHz, which requires an amplifier with certain self-discipline. A Krell KAV-280p and a KAV2250 pre and power amp for this test worked well here,"

However, I don't see any competitively priced obviously better alternatives.
I wonder if I would be better off scaling the side Vantages back to the upcoming Vistas and putting more money into the amp. But what?

Do you think that Richard Gray I mentioned is overkill as well?
 

kwr

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Eye Candy said:
My main use will be HT. I worry that the p7 might not be up to the job. For example the Gold review http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazi...ll up the price/quality curve already. Kevin
 

twich54

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Mike, Kevin's reply makes good sense, besides don't get too hung up on the impedence @ 20khz, not much content their to begin with. I'm sure someone can chime in with what the impedence is at the level below that, which represents the majority of high freq content.
 
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Eye Candy

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Thanks for the input

Appreciate the thoughts on the amp.

Now a speaker question. The center channel and fronts are clear choices. But it is the sides and backs which give me the most concern as they can be done a number of different ways with slowly escalating cost. I know they see very little information but when we were in an all ML theater at a dealership which used Scripts x 4 there seemed to be almost no surround effect on scenes where there should have been. It was as if there was an imbalance in the SPLs between the Summits and the surrounds. I have room in my HT for floor standing models though by their nature they may be obstructed in part by the couches in front. As I mentioned previously I plan on putting the sides 110 degrees behind the first row. Here are several side/back possibilities. What do you think?

(a) Vantage x 2 sides and Scripts x 2 backs (Not quite sure how high you mount these relative to the back couch / front couch given a 16" riser)
(b) Vista x 4 back and sides
(c) Vantage x 2 sides and Vista x 2 at back
(d) Cinema i's x2 as the back channels (wall mounted just above the back of the 2nd row couch on a 16" riser) and Vista x 2 sides
(e) Cinema i's x2 as the back channels and Vantages x 2 sides


Loco Mike
 

Reverb

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Eye Candy said:
we were in an all ML theater at a dealership which used Scripts x 4 there seemed to be almost no surround effect on scenes where there should have been. It was as if there was an imbalance in the SPLs between the Summits and the surrounds. I have room in my HT for floor standing models though by their nature they may be obstructed in part by the couches in front. As I mentioned previously I plan on putting the sides 110 degrees behind the first row. Here are several side/back possibilities. What do you think?
Hi Mike,

One of the biggest mistakes people make when using an electrostatic speaker as a surround speaker is placement. To often dealers and owners just place them in the back of the room and go with it. You really need to take your time and play with placement just like your front speakers. With my setup I actually rotated my couch 180 degrees and Temporality hooked up my scripts as front speakers, using Jim Power flashlight tweak and a db meter I dial them in. Acoustically treating the back wall and the wall behind the stat panels made a world of difference.
 

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kwr said:
My call on home theatre as a cynical 2 channel sort of guy. I think most home theatres are under amplified, over committed to bass effects and forget that the vast majority of sound comes from the front three speakers. In your shoes I would spend less on the surrounds and more on amplification and source. I would spend money on dedicated electrical circuits for the system with one dedicated to the power amp only. This does a lot more than a power conditioner for usually a lot less money.

The best home theatre systems I have heard had relatively modest speakers (with full range fronts) and high quality amplification and source and no sub. Good bass is very expensive and where I see a lot of money wasted on little extra effect.

Remember you can do a lot better than the local cinema in terms of sound. That should not be your benchmark. I have not heard a lot of multi channel amps but one of the best systems I have heard was Arcam based. Musical as all getout on concert dvd.

The Gold review revealed his lack of familiarity with ML screens. The P7 will drive them easily. Of course you can do better but you are well up the price/quality curve already.

Kevin
I couldn't disagee more. I think good bass is the heart of the home theater setup.
IMHO if the best systems you have seen didn't have a sub you havn't had a real HT experince. I don't care what your front is like it will only go so low and in todays action movies you miss alot.
Don't skimp on the sub! A Descent or better will make the Home Theater not break it.
 

theWB

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Eye Candy said:
Appreciate the thoughts on the amp.

Now a speaker question. The center channel and fronts are clear choices. But it is the sides and backs which give me the most concern as they can be done a number of different ways with slowly escalating cost. I know they see very little information but when we were in an all ML theater at a dealership which used Scripts x 4 there seemed to be almost no surround effect on scenes where there should have been. It was as if there was an imbalance in the SPLs between the Summits and the surrounds. I have room in my HT for floor standing models though by their nature they may be obstructed in part by the couches in front. As I mentioned previously I plan on putting the sides 110 degrees behind the first row. Here are several side/back possibilities. What do you think?

(a) Vantage x 2 sides and Scripts x 2 backs (Not quite sure how high you mount these relative to the back couch / front couch given a 16" riser)
(b) Vista x 4 back and sides
(c) Vantage x 2 sides and Vista x 2 at back
(d) Cinema i's x2 as the back channels (wall mounted just above the back of the 2nd row couch on a 16" riser) and Vista x 2 sides
(e) Cinema i's x2 as the back channels and Vantages x 2 sides


Loco Mike
Mike, I have cinema i's in the rear on my 5.1 HT.experimented often on placement several times to get the right effect.I actually have them mounted upside down on the side wall in the corner at the rear of the room with the middle of the stat panels at ear level when seated.Seating area is about 2 feet out from the rear of the room.
I found mounting them upside down worked best otherwise they would almost have to be mounted 6 inches from the floor.
 
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tsd2005

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Eye Candy said:
Hello,

I am new to the board. I just got bitten by the home theater bug. After auditioning various voice coil speakers I ended up concluding that the ML's, while not perfect to my ear, were overall the way to go. It was interesing today to discover this board and read posts lamenting the midrange of the Summits because that's exactly what has given me any hesitation at all with the ML's. I don't consider myself an audiophile and before this last month was perfectly happy with a 5.1 setup of Energy speakers and a Yamaha receiver. Oh how things have changed in such a short time.

A friend recommended a local high end audio store instead of the D2 / Paradigm Signature upgrade I was planning and the next thing I knew I was listening to detail on the ML's that I didn't even know existed or had previously cared about. Now I am hooked. Help!

Anyway, these are the deatils of what I am planning. Any input is appreciated as you guys are obviously much further into this stuff.

My budget can handle these items and maybe even a little more if you think there was a substantial payoff.

Center - Theater i (tv stand below screeen)
Fronts - Summit x 2
Side - Vantage x 2 (110 degree behind seating position directed to primary position), on a 14 inch riser
Back - Scripts x 2 (? Vista x 2)
Sub - Descent x 1
Arcam AV9 pre/pro
P7 amp (could biwire and add monoblocks to the Summits later if needed)
DVD player - Oppo 97 for now until Blu Ray established and Arcam comes out with a Blu Ray DV player (ultimately the projector will support 1080p.
), maybe a SACD player too

Richard Gray RGPC 1200 Custom
Line conditioner (? not for audio just video)

My room is 14' wide at the front (fixed screen). One wall curves away to make the back 22' wide by 15' back. The other wall remains straight and then pouches out a little at 18' back. The back wall has 3 sections of similiar length, two angled. Acoustic tile ceiling at 9' height. Two seating rows, back on a 21"riser (hides a bed).

Thank you,

Mike

Mike,


First I design Home Theaters for a living. I'm extremely good at what I do.

I think your system is over-kill on the surrounds. The Summits in the front with a nice Center don't need Vantages on the sides. The perfect thing to do with the Summits is compliment them with Scripts one would think. 4 x Script i, and make sure that you spend some money on acoustical panels for your room. Panels behind the scripts will improve the effect they have dramatically.

However my personal experience has shown me that going with Martin Logan Frescos ($995 each) is the best way to go. The Fresco can easily be moved around to the right exact position and create a truly enveloping sound field with solid soundtracks.

I've found that going with Frescos while less expensive also allows you greater freedom for placement. The sound is TOP NOTCH. There isn't a true reason to go with anything more expensive. When multi-channel music arrives some day on a format people buy, that could change. I would argue that with a nice sub, it won't matter anyway.

I think your Pre-Pro choice is the best choice you could make at the moment with new technologies around the corner. There are no Pre-Pros in your price range that can provide better stereo sound or theater sound. Now lets talk amps....

Matching is always a good idea. However....

I would ditch the high end Arcam amp and get their DiVA P1000 at $2,299 MSRP. That saves you $2,200. The P1000 would be perfect for your surround channels. I can't remember but I think you can bridge the P1000. Verify this first if you can, then you have the ability to power the surrounds and the Center. If you can't get an amp that can in the same price range, they do exist.

The savings from the Vantages: $3,300. Savings from the amp: $2,200.

That leaves you with $5,500 you can spend on a nice stereo amp. I'd ditch the Richard Gray as well and get something a little less overkill. That would improve the budget for your stereo amp.

If you can, buy a VTL S-400. 400 watts per channel of VTL tube power matches with Martin Logan speakers like very little else. Its why Martin Logan shows off the Statements with the big mono VTL amps often.
 
T

tsd2005

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Oh, and dont get the Theater i, as it may be discontinued shortly. The replacement may very well cost less.
 

Reverb

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tsd2005 said:
Oh, and dont get the Theater i, as it may be discontinued shortly. The replacement may very well cost less.
The theater i's replacement the "Stage" looks to coast a few hundred more then the theater i does. When the Theater gets discontinued for the stage you should be able to get a good deal on one.
 
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tsd2005

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Zip3kx07 said:
The theater i's replacement the "Stage" looks to coast a few hundred more then the theater i does. When the Theater gets discontinued for the stage you should be able to get a good deal on one.

Well I don't know much about the "Stage," but the prototype they had in August would cost in between the Cinema and the Theater and replace both.

That would be less than a Theater.

However here it is March and since then ML has put both centers on the discontinued list and then removed them both from the list. Then we get notice the Cinema will be discontinued but the Theater i will remain. Then we get notice both will likely be discontinued.

I don't know what they've decided. Perhaps they updated the Stage to outperform the Theater i, which it originally didn't. That update may have it cost more.

However if that is the case, the Cinema should be continued as its a good low cost solution (in comparison).
 
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Eye Candy

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Theater i vs Stage

I had spoken with ML about the Stage one month ago. They led to believe that it continues to underperform the Theater. I hope they aren't just fishing me a line because I want the better center. A minimal savings and wood trim are not important to me.
 

Reverb

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$3200 was the last estimated price that was quoted to me.

Release Date? When it’s ready.

Replacement for the Theater i, have not heard anything about it replacing the cinema.

Was told by ML they want the Stage to meet if not exceed the performance of the Theater center channel.

We will see.
 
T

tsd2005

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Eye Candy said:
I had spoken with ML about the Stage one month ago. They led to believe that it continues to underperform the Theater. I hope they aren't just fishing me a line because I want the better center. A minimal savings and wood trim are not important to me.

I heard this too. Its why I was told the Theater i would remain in production for "the foreseeable future."

I've been told flat out that if they can't improve the Stage without a redesign that it will be priced around $2,000 and replacing the Cinema but not the Theater i.

Remember the Stage was supposed to be out 1 month after the Summit. It was supposed to replace both Centers and cost in between. It was supposed to be a better Center.

Since then the Vantage has come out and now the Vista. The Stage is still undergoing R&D because many at ML believe it doesn't sound as good as the Theater i.

If they go with a larger prototype I heard they were messing around with, then it will cost more than the Theater i. That can't replace the Cinema.

Perhaps they will go with a larger prototype and put the smaller "original," Stage out as just a Cinema replacement later.

As a dealer we've been told to not even mention the Stage because at this point they're not sure about it at all. ML even removed all mention of it from their webpage so customers would stop asking about a speaker that currently hasn't even got past R&D.
 
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Eye Candy

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Gain issues

TSD 2005 you suggested using a stereo tube amp for the fronts and a Diva SS for the rest. Aren't there going to be gain and tonality issues when you mix and match like that?

One another note - the more I read on this board about the upcoming Stage the more uncertain I am about the Theater. Does anyone have any inside information that would contradict what I was told - that the Stage will not significantly outperform the Theater in the near future?
 

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Eye Candy

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Actually it is that thread that is giving me the heartburn, specifically tsd's comments of a Theater ii

"There is another prototype that is bigger, with a larger X-Stat and 3 tweeters like the current model. Its basically the Theater i with a new X-Stat panel of similar size. This unit blows away the Theater i.

However this unit would likely cost around $3,500"

The ML reps I spoke to said nothing of a Theater ii. They told me the Stage was still underperforming and would come out positioned between the Theater i and Cinema i. I specifically asked them what I should do and they said go with the Theater... Were they just trying to dump product or were they giving me the straight goods? I would hope the latter.
 
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