TheLion

I will start with describing my situation: I am currently using Genelec 1037C studio monitos as main speakers in a dedicated HT setup. These are 420W 3-way monitors with a single 12" bass driver (vented), and a VERY good 5" mid-range (probably still the best I have ever heard). DCW increases efficiency and provides the desired directivity.

Now Mark - sell me your Catalyst 12Cs as upgrades!

But I need to be convinced that your Catalysts are really an upgrade for a proven studio monitor from one of the most respected manufactures (who does what it does for 30+ years) - and that without even hearing them. Though sell!

What I like about Genelecs:

1) Piece of Mind. The build quality combined with being designed for professional 24/7 duty. And if one part fails I know I will get replacements for the next 20 years (in case of the 1037C).

What happens if one part of your Catalysts fails down the road (in a couple of years)? Will I be able to get eg. a driver replacement from the original manufacturer? Being from Europe complicates things further I guess...

2) Detail and definition. These monitors - being professional tools - are as revealing as it gets IMHO.

A proper co-axial design has the potential to be even more focused and detailed. How does the co-ax driver of the Catalyst compare to a studio monitor in this regard?

3) DCW - the waveguide seems to be very beneficial (less room coloration because of the controlled directivity, better on- and off axis response, increased efficiency simular to a horn design).

Why did you decide against such an approach with the Catalyst (although the mid-range driver of the Catalyst acts as somekind of DCW for the HF driver)? Why LOTS of amp-power instead of a high efficiency horn design for example - please elaborate!

4) DSP - my 1037C is an analog monitor. But all the new models which would be an alternative to the Catalyst integrate a DSP which also allows for user EQ (manual and automatic, pretty sophisticated parametric EQ with plenty of notch and shelve filters)

This is a huge benefit IMHO. To have a PEQ integrated in each speaker makes probably a bigger real world difference than any difference between speakers with simular specs.

I know the Catalysts DSP integrates a PEQ of some sort. Why is it not consumer accessible (at least as a hidden feature for people who know what they do ;-) )?


What I don't like about the Genelecs:

5) Imaging is great - very focused. BUT it doesn't build a huge, "cinema-like" sound stage. I had the Klipsch THX Ultra 2 set before and those had this "huge, live" kind of sound. So the sound stage of the Genelecs is too focused for my HT preferences.

I know that "huge" and "live" are words I keep hearing when people describe the sound of the Catalysts - but do they loose image focus and opt for a more "enveloping, diffuse" sound stage? How do they sound in a well acoustically treated room (like mine)?

How do they sound in a near-/mid- field application? After being used to a revealing studio monitor in the near-/mid field (sitting approx. 8 feet away) I cannot go back - the level of detail you hear is just staggering. It is like using headphones in that regard. 

What is the "optimum listening distance" for the Catalyst?

6) I guess I wish that the Genelecs don't sound so "well behaved", somewhat clinical - a bit more "exciting". Don't get me wrong - when it comes to studio monitos Genelec has one of the most "exciting" sound signatures around - very forward, very dynamic, very detailed. BUT they still remain a tool.

How does the sound signature of the Catalyst differ from high end studio monitors?


Any input is welcome and much appreciated! Thanks.
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TheLion
Is there nobody (besides Mark) who has experience with studio monitors and cares to share his experience in context with Seaton catalysts?

And Mark - with "Now Mark - sell me your Catalyst 12Cs as upgrades!" I meant: convince me that your product is an proper upgrade to what I have! Thanks
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fugueness
TheLion,
If you thought the Klipsch THX Ultra 2 sounded "huge, live", the Catalysts make the Klipsch seem puny, thin, and weak in comparison. I owned the Klipsch while I was waiting for my Catalysts to arrive.

I've listened to Genelecs and I'm not a fan - too clinical and polite for my taste, especially when you factor in the price. The Catalysts are beasts in comparison - they have raw animal power in addition to detail and clarity and for movies, they are unmatched IMO.

Of course, it's all in the ear of the beholder.

See

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1094517


and

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=15278650&postcount=15

vs Genelec:

http://www.seaton-sound-forum.com/post/show_single_post?pid=41090544&postcount=85

http://www.seaton-sound-forum.com/post/show_single_post?pid=41295014&postcount=95
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itai
TheLion wrote:
Is there nobody (besides Mark) who has experience with studio monitors and cares to share his experience in context with Seaton catalysts?

And Mark - with "Now Mark - sell me your Catalyst 12Cs as upgrades!" I meant: convince me that your product is an proper upgrade to what I have! Thanks

I will not try to "sell you" on the Catalysts but I will provide a bit of feedback to your questions. I did listen to the Genelecs and they are a great speaker. I use the Catalysts in my setup for LCR mainly for movies but also multi-channel audio.

One of the things I find really great with the Catalysts is how articulate they are. The detail at any sound level is amazing and even delicate audio such as the Divertimenti BD at 24/192 has an amazing sound stage with unmatched clarity. 

The fun part of the Catalysts is that they can play loud quiet without sacrificing the actual content. I also like the fact that they can actually keep up with my subs unlike many other mains.

I have not done a comparison between the Genelecs and the Catalysts to tell you which one is better but I strongly recommend that you listen before you make any decision.s
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TheLion
Thank you very much for the feedback - keep it coming

Listening before buying is always very good advice - me being from Austria makes it highly problematic to have a casual listen to one of Mark's products. So in the end it will be a blind buy. That's why I rely on opinions from you guys. Is it risky to spend such an amount of money (if you happen to have high end Genelecs at home already...) based on "internet opinion"? Sure it is - but we are all here just because of it - aren't we?

Divertimenti happens to be one of my reference discs as well - together with all the other 2L BD releases. So I know exactly what you are talking about...

I always hear comments about the clarity and detail of the Catalyst - but in talking to some DIY guys in the know word is that this is not really one of the defining attributes of the used B&C coaxial driver - Mark must use the integrated DSP to great extend to give it this sound signature.

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audioguy
I have Catalysts and I sit about 10 feet away.  I have owned Wilsons, Dunlavys, Theils, B&W (and LOTS of others but not Genelcs) and the Cats win in the dynamics department, have a GINORMOUS sound stage, super precise imaging, realistic scale and did I say great dynamics.  The won't come apart at any volume (at least not one I could be in the room with) and sound the same at all volume levels;  incredible midrange articulation which makes them as good as you would ever need for a center channel --- and did I say they have great dynamics!!

Save your self the stress and anxiety and just go purchase them.

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TheLion
I decided to take the plunge, order a Catalyst ( a single one to begin with) and benchmark it against the Genelecs myself.

If all fails the Catalyst will be used as surround speaker - if it succeeds (subjectively) I will order another 2 and use them as FCR.

Seaton Catalyst against 3-way Genelec...quite a duel. Stay tuned.

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audioguy
What can u learn comparing a single Catalyst against a single Genelec?
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TheLion
Because it is 90% HT duty "I hope to learn" much more than ordering 2 of them. The performance as center is all that matters for this comparison (as it is by far the most vital part) .

If stereo music was any concern I agree that ordering a single one seems odd. Ordering 3 of them is risky - because, as I said, if I prefer the Genelecs I would use the Catalysts as surround speakers - and having 3 of them is one too many.

Point is I will be ordering the upcoming 18" Submersives as soon as they become available in a 230V version - giving me perfect opportunity to order additional Catalysts.

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MikeDuke
I heard an all Seaton setup yesterday afternoon.  3 cats, 2 sparks and one SubMersive1.  We listened to a few movies as well as music.  During the 5.1 demos of music and movies the Cats were great as a center.  Dialog was very crisp and clear.  It of course matched the left and right perfectly. It was also very dynamic.  But you were able to hear every detail of the voices and effects coming through the center. 
I simply love this stuff.
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TheLion
Thanks Mike. Hopefully it is as revealing and resolving as my Genelec in that regard.

I am a little concerned that this "crisp and clear" may have more to do with DSP response contouring than "real detail" from the mid-, high frequency coax. That's my main concern compared to the Genelec. Hopefully I am proven wrong.
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MikeDuke
Maybe I didn't use the correct terms.  There was nothing added or taken away from the dialog.  I just meant that every single word was clear.  When I went from my def tech center to my cc901 and then from my 901 to my cc1000Be center the dialog just kept on getting better.  With each upgrade dialog that was once muffled became easier to understand.  That is how the Cats are.  Every word was clearly enunciated.  Now whether this is a byproduct of a DSP "contour" or real detail I don't know.
I simply love this stuff.
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misterkit

Please be sure to post your results.  I am also considering the genelecs' for my theater.  The catalysts are leading however. 

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TheLion
I know what you meant, Mike. This comment is very common describing the Catalyst sound signature. My concern about DSP contouring is that in the long term such an approach can get very tired compared to "real detail" from a "delicate" mid-/high- frequency driver. I am not saying the Catalyst is all about "fake, DSP enhanced sense of detail". I am just saying that an integrated DSP would allow to do so. Many very happy Catalyst owners suggest otherwise ;-)

Your Focal Electra certainly is a decent point of reference. Besides the obvious differences in dynamic power - how would you describe the sound signature in comparison to your CC1000Be?

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MikeDuke
I like my center .  It obviously matches my left and right speakers perfectly. Don't take this little comparison as one is better then the other though.  I would say that the Cat used as a center had more snap to it.  More up front.  It had more of a snap. My center would probably be considered laid back more.  The "crispness" that I referenced is just a but more with the Cats.  But that is not a bad thing.  Just different from what I used to.  With movies, in my room my center is very clear with dialog and effects.  The Cats are the same but have a bigger sound and the obvious dynamic advantages.  For instance, we watched some of Master and Commander.  In the beginning there are a number of ambient sounds going through the Cats used as L\R and as a center.  The shoes on the floor, there is some sort of clapping and a bell.  They were all rendered with unbelievable detail.  They also were very crisp and solid.  The decay was very fast with these speakers.  I could detect no ringing at all.  With the same part of the movie in my system I still hear all the detail but in truth, that crispness is not there as much.  I obviously like my system as well .  Which is correct? Who is to say.  But there is no doubt that the Cats have incredible detail as well as incredible power.  Even in other movies that I brought, that I am very familiar with, I noticed the same thing. 

I will also say this.  I was the first person to arrive.  I got there around 1.  We went up stairs at 1:30.  From 1:30-7:00 all we did was watch demos of movies and listen to music.  None stop.  We were typically at -5db from reference which is pretty loud. But we also went up to full reference as well.  I did not feel fatigued at all during that entire time.  My ears were fine and did not bother me one bit.
So I guess that is it.  The Cat is a fantastic speaker.  It looks great and sounds very good as well. 
Edit:
Let me just add that I was in the best seat in the house all day .  But there were people behind me, people to the left and right of me as well.  They were all very impressed with the off axis response.  No one complained at all.  Every seat was a great seat to listen to the demos.  They were all very impressed with how good the Cats sounded even though they were not in the best spots in the room.



I simply love this stuff.
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TheLion
Thanks Mike.
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fugueness
MikeDuke wrote:

Let me just add that I was in the best seat in the house all day .  But there were people behind me, people to the left and right of me as well.  They were all very impressed with the off axis response.  No one complained at all.  Every seat was a great seat to listen to the demos.  They were all very impressed with how good the Cats sounded even though they were not in the best spots in the room.


Come on Mike, don't be a hog and share the sweet spot!
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MikeDuke
fugueness wrote:

Come on Mike, don't be a hog and share the sweet spot!

Yea I know, but when you are 40 and have to use a cane, well, sympathy can get you
a lot
I simply love this stuff.
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