TheLion Show full post »
KevinD
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Sorry Carl, but I don't agree with your comments.  I was interested in and supportive of Lion's observations until his recent departure from the Objective to the Subjective.  This business about transients in pink noise and aural memory while using only one speaker (and no measurements to back it up) doesn't hold up.  He has been running a full set up of highly revealing speakers in one flavor or another for a long time so it's clear his ear has accommodated to that sound.  That's cool.  Lion came right out and said this.  Nobody has a problem with it.  It makes perfect sense that he would prefer Genelec, Danley, Klipsch, etc. 

The problems start when his subjective opinions about "good sound" get translated into personal speculation about possible thermal compression, Cats are "laid back," and so on.  If one is going to make such comments then you need to back it up something more than "I can remember what it sounded like an hour ago."  This is the big problem I have with any shootouts or testing by average Joe's.  Bias and/or improper testing methodology is bound to be an issue. 

Chris


Exactly, The Cats are the most dynamic speaker I have ever heard and the clarity is just simply awesome.

I have been a Catalyst owner for the past week and I just cant believe how he said they are more "Laid Back" speaker?.

I have just upgraded from the Klipsch Reference RF83 series speaker and RC64 Center speaker, they are a pretty dynamic speaker but it makes your ears ring when they are up at Reference levels.

The Catalyst compared to my Klipsch speakers is much superior in Clarity, Dynamics and Detail and they keep on excelling at those things as I increase the volume.

I am gonna go and try to listen to some Genelecs in Melbourne hopefully one Friday and see how they compare to my sound pallet.....but from what I have heard from the description of how they sound thin, already makes them useless in my eyes lol. But I will still have a look one Friday once I find a shop that has them on display.

Seriously though, Lion. Either get the Catalyst LCR or your gonna lose a lot of credit on this thread. Which would be a shame as I enjoyed reading this thread and seeing how you started to like the sound of the Catalyst and then just started making assumptions on how they compress at louder volumes...if anything I think they sound even better at louder volumes. Use some equipment and let us know how that goes........



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carlm9
I personally have heard the SH50's and Cats the same day, first the Danley's and then the Cats.  Compared to the SH50's the Cats did sound "Laid-back".  What do you expect when compared to Danley's COMMERCIAL flagship horn driven speaker?  Was the SH50 my type of speaker, no, but you have to respect and appreciate different types of designs.  I personally found that for home theater the Cats, paired with (4) Submersives, was a match made in heaven.  I loved that they were non-fatiguing no matter what level they were played.

The Lion obviously likes very forward/detailed speakers.  I think he went from the Klipsch Ultra 2's to the Genelecs.  I personally would only pick the SH50's over the Cats if I had an incredibly large theater (small commercial size).  I think I have read they need at least 18' to the LP to open up.  I also think they need a heavily treated room to help tame them. 

I do agree that when doing a shoot-out, you need to at least have the left and right speakers, preferably the center as well.  I have owned many speakers and always start out listening to music and then home theater.  If it sounds good with music, it is going to sound good for home theater.   Then you just need to find out if they can handle high volumes during movie playback.  In the past, when funds were tight, I did do a shootout trying to find the perfect home theater center channel.  I had to use just the center channel as well.  Even though it was difficult, I was still able to determine if I liked the sonic character of the speaker.  I think I had close to $12K in center channel speakers, much more palatable than the $40K it would have taken to have the front sound stage.  

Bottom line, I hope the Lion finds the right speaker for himself.
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TheLion
Wow! I obviously went to the wrong church...;-)

I guess I have to choose if I want to please people around here and comply to their believes or just continue my journey towards MY CHOICE OF SPEAKERS!

Believe it or not - I am not buying speakers and burning money to do "shootouts" and "amateur reviews" about them. I am spending money to find a product -> I <- consider appropriate for my particular needs and taste. And yes - it is highly subjective. On the other hand I am not spending thousands and thousands of dollars (which don't fall from the sky even in good old Europe) to be a victim of placebo. I had hours and hours of conversations with Bernt from Juice Audio (developer of Audiolense) about a proper way to evaluate and optimize both the Genelec and the Catalyst with the use of state of the art room correction. I bought myself one of the most reliable and accurate measurement microphones I can afford - hand calibrated by the Germans...do I need to say more? ;-) I did more "objective" measurements of magnitude, phase/group delay and phase response during the last months than my wife chooses to find sane. I bought one of the widely accepted industry references for DAC and clock performance to get every bit of performance the Catalyst has to offer out of it - the Prism Sound Orpheus. I feel pretty confident that as an analog source it cannot be objectively bettered by any preamp no matter the price. I even went on and chose new cables to connect everything with the best I care to afford (Vovox Direct S). And yes - you will not be able to read many raves about this kind of gear on internet forums - you have to go out and talk to people who make a living with these kind of things - and I am not talking your audiophile dealer here ;-)

Genelec and Seaton were corrected to a neutral, flat target curve with +/- 0.2 db variation. They still sound remarkably different (although I don't care to provide any objective measurement to proof my point). A 80 Hz crossover was used to make to lower tuning of the Genelec a non issue. I did everything to make the Catalyst work well for me. And it is a good speaker (can we all be friends again after this comment??). But it is - compared to a reference like the Genelec - average at best in many aspects. In my humble opinion (and with experience of 25+ years in this passion) the Catalyst is a good, purpose build speaker with great headroom and a well balanced performance. It is certainly not a revolutionary design. Nor state of the art in many aspects. But for a one man show without a team of 80 Ph.D.'s behind him Mark provides a great solution with few alternatives in the market.

But I have so much experience with great speakers like the Genelec or the Klipschhorn that I look for something special at this point. The Catalyst isn't it compared to my reference speakers and my personal  preferences. The SH-50 (unlike the Catalyst) is very well documented. White papers, patent papers, very detailed product specifications and even CLF files. 

"There is no comparison between the SH50s and the Cats." - Johnsteph10, this is the kind of online one liner that gets people excited about 
products like Catalyst. Please elaborate in which aspects you feel that the 
Catalyst is of "better" performance than the SH-50?? I respect your opinion 
and excitement about your purchase but judging by concept, technical data/measurements,
used components (BMS, B&C), and opinion by professionals your statement is
hardly an objective evaluation (to put it politely) ;-) 

My main issue with the Catalyst is the - RELATIVE - lack of transparency. It is just
not comparable when it comes to a revealing and resolving presentation of the source
with truly great speakers in that regard. Considering its dynamic capabilities it does
good and is a proper compromise. Compared to almost any consumer speaker out
there the Catalyst is even great - but my point of reference is something different.
And this lack of transparency doesn't change when using 1, 2 or 7 speakers. Comparing
speakers one on one (mono signals) is an accepted scientific approach (as long as
you don't judge things like the soundstage) - read some 
Harman white papers to get perspective.
And it helped me not wasting another $7000.-...;-) 

About the power compression issue: I accept the fact that I don't have proper 
measurement tools nor knowledge to document this issue myself. But the
results from practical experience are enough for me to draw my conclusions.
It is the same as other issues I didn't even care to mention here. One is the 
much "higher level of noise" coming from the Catalyst. Even with no source signal 
playing or signal cable plugged in the Catalyst has a much higher noise floor 
that the Genelec - and this is completely independent from the chosen input sensitivity.
I find the noise floor of the Catalyst quite disturbing with only one speaker running.
I can hardly imagine the noise floor with 7 speakers even in a mid/large sized
room. (I can have 4 Genelecs running and the noise floor doesn't become as obvious as
with one single Catalyst - and NO - I am not going to provide comparative measurements
to "proof" this observation). I must add that the noise floor in my room is as low
as it can be. I am streaming audio through firewire from another room and while
listening to music the projector is obviously off - so I have not a single gear in
my room that makes any noise at all. It is dead silent. Even if you have a source player
(CD, DVD/Blu-ray, DTV, PS3) the noise floor of the Catalyst becomes "covered"
and is not a big issue anymore. But still it is a performance aspect. And with a noise
floor this high other metrics like the dynamic range of the Catalyst also gets compromised. 


The Catalyst is good value. I had the choice of buying another 2 Catalysts and be done with it.
I chose to buy 3 SH-50 instead, a set of 3 high priced amps (Parasound JC1s -
I was talking to Tom Danley about active versus passive and he strongly suggested
going with passive and a quality amp for best performance. BTW the active version
of the SH-50 uses the same build DSP/Icepower amp as the Catalyst - you do
the math ;-)) and pay $ 13,000 more that way. I will use the Catalyst as center 
for my TV setup. So I took a huge financial hit for that decision.

And I did it for a couple of very good reasons. Reasons I will certainly not discuss
around here anymore. 

I am still planning to go with multiple Submersive XLs when they become 
available. I have heard the horn loaded subs like Danleys DTS-10 or the
Basshorn from Avantgarde and those are not to my liking. I prefer a classic
sealed sub with lots of displacement and power behind it.

If I have any positive feedback (AND ONLY IN THAT CASE!) I will make sure 
to write a few (amateur) lines about it here. Perhaps this will earn me more 
respectful responses. Good luck with your believes that $3,500 bought you one
of the best speakers in almost every aspect available today! Over and Out.
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Ettepet
TheLion,

Thanks for all your observations here! I have read them with great interest.

I thought you had left, earlier on, and now again it seems, which would be a pitty...

I own 3 Catalysts for 18 months or so, and on many accounts have to agree with your observations. The Catalysts are more "Pro" speakers than typical stereo listeners will appreciate, at least those with experience with high quality (stereo) speakers. In that aspect I was quite disappointed at the time. To some degree I still am, but have learned to appreciate what the Catalysts do well. As long as you don't expect high resolution imaging they perform above nearly all speakers I'm aware of. When used with movies AND Audyssey (for instance) the Catalyst will perform very close to perfect. Audyssey (etc.) itself destroys the stereo resolution and replaces it with a pseudo-resolution, that can nonetheless sound AWESOME on my (XT32) Onkyo 5008.

I was considering the SH50's as well, but they were more expensive and an even bigger step seeing almost no comparisons or reviews were present, nor opportunities to hear them before ordering. If you won't post your impressions here about the SH50 could you give me a link to where you continue this interesting adventure?

It is indeed unfortunate that sharing observations clashes with personal opinions, believes or (frankly) absense of sufficient knowledge or experience. I know/knew the now infamous av123 forum and AVS, and hope this forum will stay on the better side of things (meaning: no overwhelming presence of fanboys, but ample opportunity for open and frank discussions).

Thanks again for sharing your opinion and experiences here! And yes, the SubMersive XL would be a good choice (own a couple of SubMersives myself).
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gjrhine
Ettepet wrote:
Audyssey (etc.) itself destroys the stereo resolution and replaces it with a pseudo-resolution

Well now there is a new one.  What exactly is pseudo-resolution?  What is (etc.)?   In fact Audyssey uses the very same resolution (filters) in two channels as any number of channels.  The falls in to the same trap of usage of flowery, nonsense language that made this thread a joke to be with.
Gary J
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Ettepet
gjrhine wrote:
Ettepet wrote:
Audyssey (etc.) itself destroys the stereo resolution and replaces it with a pseudo-resolution
Well now there is a new one.  What exactly is pseudo-resolution?  What is (etc.)?   In fact Audyssey uses the very same resolution (filters) in two channels as any number of channels.  The falls in to the same trap of usage of flowery, nonsense language that made this thread a joke to be with.

Please go post somewhere else (forum about gardening?), or at least have the decency to accept others have at least as much experience or knowledge as you yourself and can post stuff you seem unaware of or somehow unwilling to comprehend. Then your questions automatically become a lot more civilized, and might get answered. After 18 years on the internet I feel little or no incentive to bother dealing with such a degrading attitude.
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gjrhine
Ettepet wrote:
gjrhine wrote:
Ettepet wrote:
Audyssey (etc.) itself destroys the stereo resolution and replaces it with a pseudo-resolution
Well now there is a new one.  What exactly is pseudo-resolution?  What is (etc.)?   In fact Audyssey uses the very same resolution (filters) in two channels as any number of channels.  The falls in to the same trap of usage of flowery, nonsense language that made this thread a joke to be with.

Please go post somewhere else (forum about gardening?), or at least have the decency to accept others have at least as much experience or knowledge as you yourself and can post stuff you seem unaware of or somehow unwilling to comprehend. Then your questions automatically become a lot more civilized, and might get answered. After 18 years on the internet I feel little or no incentive to bother dealing with such a degrading attitude.

A non-answer, as expected.

This fellow had it right.

K1LL3M wrote:

This thread is now useless and I will not be wasting time reading any further.

Gary J
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Blackdevil77
I just read this entire thread on my Blackberry and my eyes are burning a bit lol.

Lion, much respect from me, you took the time to post your thoughts and comparisons when you didn't have to. People can make whatever they want of it, but I appreciate you taking the time to do so. When something as subjective as sound is being discussed, head bumping is almost inevitable. I think you stating that the Cats were more natural and possibly more realistic sounding then the genelecs, but simply not your preference, should have satisfactory.

With that said, the one piece of information that interests me is the power compression you said you heard (believed you heard, or whichever). If someone that DOES have the means to take measurements of this reads this and owns the cats, would you be so kind as to take some before and after measurements? Possibly right on start up and again after a few hours of pink noise and see if there is any difference indicating more then the desirable amount of power compression. That is one thing that certainly interests me.

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Mark_Seaton
Blackdevil77 wrote:
I just read this entire thread on my Blackberry and my eyes are burning a bit lol.

Lion, much respect from me, you took the time to post your thoughts and comparisons when you didn't have to. People can make whatever they want of it, but I appreciate you taking the time to do so. When something as subjective as sound is being discussed, head bumping is almost inevitable. I think you stating that the Cats were more natural and possibly more realistic sounding then the genelecs, but simply not your preference, should have satisfactory.

With that said, the one piece of information that interests me is the power compression you said you heard (believed you heard, or whichever). If someone that DOES have the means to take measurements of this reads this and owns the cats, would you be so kind as to take some before and after measurements? Possibly right on start up and again after a few hours of pink noise and see if there is any difference indicating more then the desirable amount of power compression. That is one thing that certainly interests me.


The exact context would matter as would the amount of output being produced.  I suspect with the right amount of power the ICEpower amplifier's power supply would ramp down after 1.5-3 mins if pushing high levels.  You can't really do this with any sort of music content, as the signal is much too dynamic to get anywhere near the long term limits.  The rather high efficiency and power handling of all components insure there is no compression in dynamics within the limits of the amplifier.  At the GTG in Wisconsin 2 weekends ago, despite Archea thinking he heard distortion, the amplifiers in the Catalyst 12C's were loafing along in the large living room... even when I had the low frequencies producing a frequency response close to that of a SubMersive (+0/-6dB to 20Hz outdoors).  I am sure Archea heard something, but I suspect it was something rattling in the room or something in the recording sounded like it was distorted as no-one else heard what he heard.  The comments about any sense of "too much" in the room were mostly related to the still rather live acoustics of the room where we were approaching the comfortable listening levels for music in the room.  More dynamic home theater listening was comfortable at even higher levels.
Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
sales@seatonsound.net
773-290-8436
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Blackdevil77
Thanks for the response Mark. The high power handling drivers would certainly partially debunk the compression I was thinking of, as long as they can dissipate heat efficiently (which I'm sure they can). From my understanding, you use high quality drivers in your designs so this shouldn't be a concern. I was just wondering if anyone took any measurements to take a more scientific approach to what "TheLion" heard.  

As for the GTG, some commented on your speakers over on AVS. If you remember, Nuance over there was very doubtful of a high efficiency design able to produce the same sonic clarity as an audiophile speaker. He said he was proven wrong once he heard the Cats and he's never heard a design such as this sound so wonderful with music. I haven't heard any negative comments about your speakers at the recent GTG at all. Archea was probably trying too hard to hear some sort of distortion, it was probably his ears sizzling and crackling from listening so hard lol
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