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Joe Bagadonuts

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  1. Hi Trey, You have PM. Regarding your sub suggestion...that is an interesting observation. THX pretty much advises flat LF room response. Floyd Toole and his gang make a pretty strong case for a target LF room curve that is several dB high at 40Hz (sometimes called the "Synthesis curve"). I think that curve sounds pretty great with cinema material, but a bit strong for music. The time is coming when we will have the ability to choose those curves with the source. Currently we do it the old fashion way with a "scene switching" capability with the EQ we use in our demo. Utilizing a shelving filter, it allows a cinema curve, music curve, and an EQ/no EQ A-B comparison with correct channel level changes for the A-B. Have you taken a look at MultEQ? I suspect Aragon will see some mods before long. MultEQ XT sounds like it is going to be pretty incredible (hint hint ).
  2. I'll try to do better at condensing to answer your specific question. The THX settings you mention for small speakers and 80Hz crossover are a bass management function. There are several potential problems with a full range speaker tasked to reproduce movie sound tracks at home. There is concern over amp load, distortion and cost. But mostly there is concern over frequency response. Full range LCR speakers have little if any flexibility in placement, and we know placement is very influential to LF response. If a home system uses three full range (-3dB @ ~40 Hz in-room) screen channels, bass compression often results and bass resonances take control and ruin the parade for most of the listeners. Smaller LCRs are more flexible for installation with no sacrifice in quality, but more importantly the LF sound is now produced by a sub that has placement flexibility. The introduction of the sub also allows concentration on achieving "correct" low frequency response, but to enable the whole system to be flat, there must be an accurate splice between the LCRs and sub(s)...hence the 80Hz 24dB/octave high and low pass filters. So now we have a system that is capable of flat response to 20Hz, presuming we have been able to locate the subs in nominal acoustic positions and maybe then utilized high resolution electronic equalization. Lots of loud bass is easy and affordable to achieve today. Smooth, accurate bass is not, and is still the greatest challenge. But there is still trouble in paradise. In my last post I began to talk about how LF information is mixed into the LCR stacks. In otherwords, there is LF information in the LCRs on the original soundtrack in the mix. (BTW,I mentioned that the LCR stacks were only "good" down to 40Hz or so, but they are rated at 35Hz, although rolling off strongly.) We know that full range LCRs at home are highly problematic with regards to LF resonances...so what do we do with the LF information in the LCR mix? As we all know, the small LCR/THX system takes all that LF information, sums it to mono and sends it to the subs, and this is in addtion to that mixed LFE track. Also remember I said that it is not uncommon for mixers to send more LF information to the LCR stacks than they can handle (<35Hz). It is LF information that will never be heard...in the dubbing stage/cinema. There is no "shunting" arrangement in the dubbing stage to send that kind of LF mateial to the LFE. But our home systems are flat to 20Hz and all LF information for the LCR tracks is sent to the subs, therefore we have the potential to hear LF "artifacts" on our home systems. I use 'artifact' because it is something that slipped through the system and is heard unintetionally. It is an overabundance of LF information. That's not the only artifact. This is yet another frustrating thing about bass management in home systems. By summing mono bass for home systems, a phase cancellation problem occurs. The phase cancellations not only occur between main channels which are summed together, but also between the five or six main channels and the LFE channel. So, despite all our efforts and success to create a high performance flat sound system, technical translation problems occur between the two "worlds." How do we deal with it? Well, even with the problems, the "small" speaker/sub system we have (and that THX endorses) is pretty good. I have found that it is possible to carefully align speakers and listeners so that full range speakers may be used. However, I'm talking one, two and maybe three people tops in a 3,000 cubic foot room. And that is if you have complete control over speaker and seating placement (I don't; I'm married ) and you are lucky. Of course THX has always been about making sound good for an area of listeners rather than one seat. (Straight from the THX bible) THX controller bass management provides: smaller LCR and surround speakers; increased flexibility in placement; and improved bass response. The specific cinema-to-home translation problems that are addressed by THX bass management are: incorrect frequency response and poor dynamic range. I think the summed mono bass system works very well from a physics standpoint, but doesn't take into account the format and creation of source material. However, faithful reproduction of the source material is what we're all about, right? I mean, what good is a system that measures perfectly and doesn't play back a source correctly? For the time being, my official position is staunchly in support of THX and the summed mono approach for all five or six main channels and LFE. Privately, I'm sure there's a better way to manage bass. Maybe the coming MultEq system will hold the key. MultEq is in the new Denon monster. It will be interesting to see how THX responds to this feature. Whew!
  3. Hi Tom, I don't have it in me tonight to continue on THX. But...what you are experiencing with the 710 is a grayscale tracking problem. The set is tracking red at low IRE. It is manifesting itself like red push does a bit. Your fix is the same as is common; reduce the color level, which reduces the vibrancy of the rest of the color palette. the x10s are not perfect grayscale trackers after ISF calibration, but much improved. I highly recommend it. It will get your bottom 2/3 of the luminance scale in very good shape...where you need it most. Calibration is time consuming because it must be done for STD color temp, film color temp, and B&W (if you use it). These must all be done for each scan rate that you are using. There is much flexibility to "build" a day and night mode. The result on material like the DVE montage is stunning. I am an ISF calibrator and we have a 710 at home...and pray that it hangs on A lot of these sets were calibrated, so you should have no problem finding an ISF calibrator with experience if you are near a reasonable metro area. More on THX tomorrow.
  4. Tom, A little off subject, but how do you like your Pro-710? Hang on to it and take care of it. It is still a reference display. Have you by chance had it ISF calibrated? It is quite friendly to the process, and very flexible. The only drawback is there is no access to the color decoder. Fortunately, there is very little problem with the decoder. The answer to your question is very long, and I am trying to figure out how best to condense it. It will probably take more than one post. Here is installment one. Way back when, Tom Holman, Tony Grimani and others at THX were trying to get their arms around what they perceived, and correctly, that there are cinema-to-home translation problems. These problems exist for a handful of reasons. The easiest to recognize is the differing acoustic environments. Less obvious is the significant differences in equipment (speakers) and how the equipment is utilized to achieve a given experience in the big cinema. Also, mixing practices for the cinema create results that are difficult or problematic to utilize in the home theater. Here is an example. Mixes for the cinema specifically relate to conditions that exist in the cinema realted to the acoustic environment (a reverberant field), and limitations of the cinema speakers. Easiest to anticipate is the cinema X-curve and equalization for the large reverberant acoustic environment. In this environment, there is really no concern for low frequency standing waves. The room is so large, most of the problems occurs at higher frequencies than we are accustomed to at home. In the cinema,it comes down to good, big LF units and lots of power. Low frequency units have to be well made and efficient to be able to generate enough sound power to achieve adequate amplitude/spl. In the cinema, the main stacks (L,C,R) are full range, but not good at reaching really low. They have a pretty strong roll off at 40 to 45Hz. It is not uncommon for mixers to keep pumping an overage of low frequency information to these stacks to achieve their objectives. What happens when that comes home on DD? As Dolby digital was developed, decisions were made about what to do with different elements of the mix. Let's take that up in the next installment.
  5. There are very specific reasons that this was done. If you really want to know, I'll invest the time in providing them for you.
  6. Sounds good. I was never great at trig, but it sounds like ours are at a bit higher angle (an architectural requirement). The debate/consideration now is whether to go with one KS-525 for the back surround or two KL-525s. We have Ultra2 post processing, so with one speaker we would be giving up the ASA feature. I think we will give the KLs a chance.
  7. Hi Ray, Very true. Voicing of LCRs and surrounds are very good. The flat-ish sound power of the surrounds helps that seemless quality. I found the same thing about lateral placement of the surrounds. When placed at 90 degrees, they imaged at about 80 degrees while listening facing the screen. I had to move mine aft to about 100 degrees to have the "perception" of them being at 90 degrees. I don't know if this is an idiocycracy of the speakers (I doubt it), or just a psychoacoustic phenomenon. Either way, it took care in placement and made me learn to hate the key hole hanger. In the future I am going to make a little block with a screw for the key hole on one side, and a big simple hanger device on the other so I don't have to fight it until I find the spot. With regards to your experience with surround height, what is the distance to your surrounds?
  8. Hi Griff, Both...to answer your question. I've been around Syn since it came out years ago. Took another hard look at it recently with our rep to consider going demo dealer. You certainly can tell that what we did and are doing with the Klipsch system is to put it through a process similar to Syn. We are evaluating it, in conjunction with other products, as an alternative system with "Syn-like" level of performance, but capable of considerably more refinement (for lack of a better word). One thing Synthesis has going for it is that it is packaged and in a manner that gives it great credibility (JBL pro cinema heritage, THX, etc). I am sure you could design a killer system at about any price point you may have to work with, but sometimes marketing it is not so easy. For this reason, I think Klipsch is wise to enter the THX world again and draw comparisons to their achievements in pro cinema systems, which is significant these days. Our task is to apply our skills in a way that serves the client within a technically credible and marketable frame work. And have some fun along the way! Cheers.
  9. Had my first hands/ears on KL-650 and KS-525 (others to follow) for almost a week. Spent a couple of days installing and calibrating room/system with these. First listen is attention-getting due to brightness. Measurement with 1/12th octave RTA mic at two feet confirmed this interesting idiocyncracy; a 4dB peak centered at 16K. At our primary listening distance (14') in this large room, the highs were quite flat. On the RTA there is a noticable two octave 4dB trough centered at 1KHz. Below 500Hz their was little out of the ordinary. Not surprisingly, the speaker is very strong right down to 80Hz. Rather than wait for the speakers to get some break-in time, we calibrated using a digital parametric EQ. We experimented with building a target X-Curve-like roll off, but after listening for a day, decided that this made them too laid back. So, we let them do their thing up high, building a gentle roll off above 10KHz. The trough was very easy to target and raise. We do not have the Klipsch U2 subs/amps yet, but are using THX Ultra subs. Splice with the subs was very good and easy to manage. KS-525-THX surrounds are, much to my surprise, bipoles rather than dipoles. I don't recall THX certified bipoles. There is no indication of this in the owner's manual. My first clue was that there are no L/R side markings. John Dahl at THX confirmed that the THX spec doesn't call for dipoles; just that the majority of the sound comes from the room rather than direct, and that the sound power is reasonably flat. Indeed, the first impression of these when wideband pink noise is played through one is that it is a much larger speaker. The sound power is reasonably flat, therefore no EQ was used. The horizontal dispersion of the KL-650 is not as wide as some older THX Ultra designs such as the Triad Gold LCR (wish it was), but the relaxed vertical dispersion is nice. The speakers do require some toe and aim to cover the listening area. Results. Quite amazing. These speakers sound truly fabulous. Dialogue and vocals are exquisite. And yes, they are serious SPL machines, but never fatiguing or stressed. We have not spent any time at DD reference level (what THX uses), but I doubt they will have any problem. We have avoided going there because we want to wait for the subs as we need their headroom. The surrounds were interesting. I have never used bipoles, but as our room is quite large, and the surrounds are 10' high at 13', they are in an ideal setting. I would be concerned in smaller rooms that they may become more localizable (exit sign effect), and less effective at creating an enveloping surround field. In this room, though, their balance of indirect sound, direct sound and sound power are fabulous. The best demo so far is the Open Range gunfight. The dynamics are spectacular! The first shot is enough to send you over your seat...then the echo wraps perfectly symetrically around the sides and to the hills in the distance behind you (THX Ultra2 mode). Music? It sounds fabulous. We only listen in multi-channel modes rather than two channel, but we listened to a lot of two channel in DPL II. We listened to everything from Diana Krall to Santana to Faith Hill and The Eagles in DD, DTS, and DVD-A (often in THX Music mode). Spectacular. Wanting for nothing. Reference multi-channel. After a couple of weeks of break-in, we will listen for the highs to relax a little, and take a look again at the RTA and see if we see it. I do not know if that is a characteristic of compression drivers. These speakers strike me as what the JBL Synthesis speakers would be if they were updated and refined with newer technology...and at a fraction of the price. Hope this is helpful. Cheers.
  10. The scuttlebutt is that reviews on this system will begin appearing in mags next month. I hear they are rave. Also, within a couple of weeks stock will finally be available on the full line, including the subs and KL-525-THX. A set is on the way here.
  11. Very good. I wish I could summarize as concisely as you. "...the originals were shot with awesome high resolution cameras" Yes, but they were just top notch film cameras and great lenses. Same technology as today's cameras, although lens technology has improved some. The same Panavision anamorphic lenses are still around and popular because they are smaller than the better new ones. This is advantagous with Steadicam and hand-held work. The Primo lenses are VERY big and heavy. A hybrid marriage of film and digital exists now with movies being shot on film. The negative is digitized to files that permits manipulation, embellishment, and scene-to-scene consistency that is not possible with film optics and lab chemistry. Think of O,Brother, Where Art Thou, Seabiscuit, Open Range, etc. The files can then be scanned back to film frame by frame. Very expensive. Cheers
  12. If the spirit moves you on other Ultra2 matters, start a thread. I'm sure it would be interesting.
  13. Hey Klipsch Ultra2 Speaker System Owners, ....would you please sound off with a review on the system? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How is it for multi-channel sources (film and music)? What size room are you using it in? Is your Ultra2 system concealed or visible? What are your impressions of its appearance? There's a saying that it is better to hide a homely speaker that is great, than have an art speaker that is poor. Does the Ultra2 system fit this in any way? Do you consider it a good value (unit of performance per dollar) compared to other "speaker systems," Klipsch or otherwise? Did your dealer work with you at all on a price (not asking for what you paid)?
  14. Well, I'll give a shot at trying to explain why. Here's the sequel. In Episode I and II there are mixed mediums which don't match in quality. They are destined to have two versions for release; 35mm anamorphic, and digital cinema...very different destinations. There were compromises made to make those two films reach their objectives and destinations. The technology may now exist to make a HD/DVD version of I and II that is superior to the original, but there is no financial motivation to do so. Episodes 4, 5, and 6 (presumably...haven't seen 6 yet), have a significant capability to look as good or better that 1 or 2. All of those pictures were shot 35mm anamorphic.* Model work was also shot on film. By Empire, background plates and models were being shot on VistaVision** cameras that ILM bought and modified to give them the higher resolution that would be needed to make up for the PQ loss experienced in optical compositing (the "high technlogy" of the time). These films had a number of visible artifacts induced by the optical compositing, but the films originated on the same medium, and the quality of the original cinematography was pristine. The resolution of these films did not deteriorate. Color and contrast start to go bad in a big way with time, but the resolution remains. Modern digital technology can overcome color and contrast issues. Other repairs (removing scratches, dirt hits, etc) and new elements were added. Since the final destination is HD (with a DVD version for us), the work could be optimized for that. I suspect this is demonstrated in detail in the additional material in the DVD release? Haven't checked yet. * SW and Empire were shot with Panavision equipment, while Jedi was shot with Arriflex BL cameras and (and in my opinion, inferior) anamorphic lenses that Lucasfilm bought. Some closeup shots in the cinema version of Jedi gave the actors just a hint of what used to be called the "'scope mumps," making actors' faces look a little plump. Panavision anamorphics came to prominence in the early sixties because they developed a proprietary way to eliminate the 'scope mumps, making the others (Fox's Cinemascope and others) obsolete. **VistaVision was the widescreen format developed by Paramount in the fifties to compete with Cinemascope and TV. It uses 35mm film running horizontally through the camera aperture gate (like IMAX does. IMAX is like VistaVision only with 65mm negative), rather than the conventional vertical travel. This permited a wide screen format that was optically spherical rather than anamorphic. It didn't last long. ILM found them, bought them up and modified them for their needs. On the '96 feature, Twister, we used the first and only handheld ILM VistaVision camera. It was the first time hand held had ever been permitted with action that would be composited. Director Jan DeBont did all the shots with that camera himself. Whew!
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