System #45 (Monolith IIIx, SL3XC, Sequel II)

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JonFo

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Well, a couple of years have gone by, so time for a quick update:

I decided to get into full 3D audio with Atmos and DTS-X, so I went with a good pre-amp, the Marantz AV8802. I really wanted the Trinnov Altitude32, but that will have to wait a year or two more.

The Marantz supports dual subs, and it has blended the IB in the front with the custom Ultimax-18 in the rear and after my Audyseey pro calibration, deep bass is really even now.

Since I am more into 'derrier's' here is a pic of my new Marantz pre-amp:

IMG_4704.jpg

A lot less inputs that the old Denon, but enough as I've been reducing the number of sources, and most everything is HDMI these days.
 

tsmooth

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Any pics of the sub build? I am really enjoying re-reading your theater progression and thread on placement/panels/etc. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
 

JonFo

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Any pics of the sub build? I am really enjoying re-reading your theater progression and thread on placement/panels/etc. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Thanks, I do have a page with info on the sub build: http://jonathanfoulkes.com/Home_Theater/Speakers/IBSub.htm there is a link on that page to the detailed build story.

Man, my personal site (and this thread) are so behind the times. Need to find time to do a major update.
 

JonFo

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Spring 2018 Updates

So, a few things have happened in the HT since deploying the AV8802A pre-amp.

First, Atmos speakers have been placed. Four JBL SCS8 coaxial units bolted to the ceiling. Since the ceiling (and 1' of the side wall above the valance) is painted flat black, they completely disappear up there. The ceiling is 9' at it shallowest and 10' elsewhere, so plenty of headroom.

They blend just fine with the 5 channel ESL rig, during movies, it's seamless. Funny thing is, the tall ESLs already create such a large wall of sound that the addition of heights is not a huge change. I do use the Dolby Surround upmixer on all content, including stereo music and love the results. So 99% of the time, the rig is using the 5.4.4 layout.

And in case you are wondering about the 4 in the middle of the 5.4.4 is about, that's because I'm now running four subs :cool:

The first is the IB I just mentioned above, the second is a DIY 18" sealed config based on the Dayton Ultimax UM-18-22, being driven by a Crown XLS2500 in bridged mode (2,500w). Funny thing is the 8 CuFt box is one of my old Velodyne ULD-18 box (still have another in case I want to build yet another), so when the original woofer failed, I had this huge box left over, and I could not bring myself to throw it away, so for years it sat in storage. Finally decided I needed to deploy a second sub to smooth out some room induced nulls and peaks by placing it in the rear of room, centered between the side walls and a foot or so into the room. So now it sits between the Sequels at the back. The box was customized to have a cloth covering and a false top that holds 120 pounds worth of sandbags, so the entire sub weighs over 250 pounds when loaded with the sandbags. It aint moving.

Adding this second sub, and leveraging the Sub-HT feature of the Audyssey XT32 Pro on the 8802, results in much smoother bass performance and some more headroom (like the IB needed help there :rolleyes: ).

More about the other 2 'subs' in the next post.
 

JonFo

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MBM subs

There's a thing in DIY audio circles called a nearfield Mid-Bass Module that is designed to increase the tactile sensation of certain bass frequencies. And as you know, I'm kind of into getting mid-bass just right ;)

I also happen to have a bit of a null around 60Hz at the main listening position (MLP), and even the dual-sub config could not fix that. Sooo, I figured I'd explore the concept of a nearfield Mid-Bass module that would cover the 45Hz to 140Hz range and be placed just behind the MLP.

Several threads on MBM's have discussed how to do this with commercial products, but this is me, and I DIY. And because I had a brand new pair of 12" HiVi M12 woofers from the period I though my Peerless woofers were toast, all I needed was an enclosure and an amp. I found a perfect enclosure on Parts Express, a vented box designed for automotive sub applications, so nice and cheap and wrapped in black carpeting that makes them disappear behind the seats. The vent tune is actually pretty high at around 45Hz, but that's perfect for an MBM.
To power these, I got a QSC GX5, which is a 500wpc class H (similar to the Sunfire) amp. The DriveRack 4800 does the high-pass crossover (4th order at 45Hz) and some EQ.

So now that I had the MBMs built, I played around with one them for a few weeks. Placed inches from the back of my Ekorness recliner at the MLP, it does indeed fix that null. And the vented nature of the enclosure does indeed generate high particle velocity that flaps the pants and gives a 'chest thump' during movie explosions and in some bass-heavy music, like Deadmau5. At first, I had it running a bit hot, as the effect was novel, but soon, the overboosted bass got tiresome, and I dropped the level by 3dB and now the MBM blends very well with the other two subs. Still need to attach and EQ the second MBM behind the spouses seat, but that will be for the future.

I will say this, if you have a lack of bass or mid-bass due to placement constraints and room issues, an MBM is a pretty simple way to get back some incredible 'slam'.
In my room, I've had amazing low-bass performance thanks to the IB, and with the second Sub, even smoother low-end, but that null at 60Hz and some other dips in the 80's were room induced and hard to fix without yet a third or fourth sub being added along the side walls. But the MBMs cleared that up, and on top, give much more tactile feel. I now run the entire rig at a lower overall level, as I get the sensation of strong bass without having to crank the system as much.

I also started a dedicated thread on the MBMs here: http://www.martinloganowners.com/forum/showthread.php?17781-MBM-Deployment

Here's a pic of the assembled MBM sitting on the floor before being placed behind the MLP.

MBM.jpg
 
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JonFo

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Question - if you (within limits of structure already planned and framed, but with no electrical or drywall up) could do a 7.2 or atoms setup, what would you do? Rough mock up of screen, speaker, and listening location above. Thanks for your system updates.

(Your IB build page makes me smile)
Please start a new thread and we can get into the details for your setup.

But in general, given the open back nature of your setup, I'd stick to a 5.1 config and go with four overheads. You could get away with just two, as you only have one row of seating.
 

JonFo

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Nothing on the horizon, my goal now is to just enjoy it. If anything, I occasionally think about simplifying the system, but then I wait, and the thought passes ;)

In a couple of years, I hope to update the PJ to a laser-illuminated version, basically a JVC Z1 that's affordable.
 

tsmooth

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Nothing on the horizon, my goal now is to just enjoy it. If anything, I occasionally think about simplifying the system, but then I wait, and the thought passes ;)

In a couple of years, I hope to update the PJ to a laser-illuminated version, basically a JVC Z1 that's affordable.
Did you update your “sweet spot” with the projector change / removal of the CRT?
 

bikerneil

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Wow, I have just reviewed all 14 pages on your system, it is spectacular.

Can I ask what your favorite movie and CD are, to show off this beast of a system?

Thanks for sharing your project. It gives us all something to aspire to.
 

JonFo

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Did you update your “sweet spot” with the projector change / removal of the CRT?
Yes, sweet spot is now on the dais, a lot more forward than before. I still sit a bit to the left of center so I share some of the good sights and sounds with the spouse ;)
A fullsized couch now goes where the CRT was on the lower level of the room.

Will post pics soon.
 
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JonFo

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... Can I ask what your favorite movie and CD are, to show off this beast of a system?
...
I use a montage of movie clips and Dolby Atmos demo tracks (the ones they show before movies at a Dolby Cinema) collected into a playlist on my JRiver MediaCenter HTPC. Makes it easy to just play or to jump around based on taste of the listener.
Movie elements are a mix of Animation (Cars, Bolt) and heavy CGI (Avatar, Pacific Rim), Action (Kingsman, Mission Impossible, etc.) and great photography (forget which). I also pick the segments based on soundtrack characteristics, such as Atmos, or spectacular low-end to show off the subs.

There is a music video clips playlist with stuff from Steve Wilson (To the Bone, Hand Cannot Erase, concert footage) in 5.1, several from the various Steve Hackett's Genesis revisited blurays, a clip of Chamber music and some of Piano and Orchestra (In Atmos no less).

A fun BluRay is the Hans Zimmer Live In Prague which features a superb high-rez Atmos surround track. Most people like the tunes as well. The Gladiator suite is beautiful, and really shows of how clean this system is, as it gets a real workout top to bottom.

All my music (including SACDs and DVD-A's) is ripped and available on the JRiver MC, so any of the 2K+ albums is instantly accessible.

Then I always invite visitors to bring a disc or two of their favorites. Although some complain afterwards that listing to it on this system ruins it for them, as they'll never hear it as good ;)
 

bikerneil

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Thanks, I just ordered the Hans Simmer BluRay disc.

Congrats again on such a killer system.
 

JonFo

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MBM Subs pics

Finally finished all the setup for the MBMs a week or two ago, so time for some pics.

Here is their positioning directly behind the two main listening chairs. My big leather Ekorness reclines to within inches of the top of the MBM and the energy transfer is wonderful. Talk about 'tactile', this will resonate in your chest and the arm-rests transfer a ton of feeling. Way cool in movies, but also very effective with music.

I also posted a full thread on the MBMs, including measurements

MBM back view.jpg

And a side view of the two, with the 18" rear sub visible to the left (between rear Sequels):

MBM Side View.jpg

And floor view:

MBM Closeup.jpg
 
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JonFo

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Updated pics

And because it's been forever since I've posted pics, here are some updated views:

A view of the front of the room from the MLP:

Front view blueish lights.jpg

A view of the rear of the room:

Rear view blueish.jpg
 

JonFo

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More pics

View from the left front Monolith

RF Rear view of HT - fisheye.jpg

Fisheye les view of front

MLP View crop - Fisheye.jpg
 

RDC

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First of all, it's pretty impressive to keep a thread relevant for over 13 years. I'm sure these changes over all the years has kept fueling the longing for a better experience. An impressive show of dedication! I'm pretty jealous of the spacious room you have available to realise all of this in.

Forgive me for not reading every post in this thread. But your last picture shows above and in front of your screen, mounted to the ceiling, panels with diagonal slots in them. What kind of panels are these? Are they placed there to absorb the first reflection sound waves?
 

JonFo

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And just because they are cool looking, some shots of the rear acoustic treatments and the various shades produced by the Hue lighting

Rear acoustic treatments lit.jpg

And a view through the right rear Sequel

Right rear Sequel lit.jpg
 
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