vNYC

In the coming weeks, a pallet of 3x 12C’s, 2x 8C’s, and an HP+ is going to show up at my doorstep. I already have another HP+ so this works out to 12,000 watts of ~5hz-20khz bliss.

I’m in my early 30’s and live in a decent sized loft in Manhattan in a residential building. I’ve never gotten a noise complaint but I usually listen at or less than 80dB out of consideration and because I already have tinnitus. I used to work in the nightclub/concert business which is where I developed mild hearing damage. I love music (mostly house/electronic and indie) and bought turntables when I was still in high school and got into DJ’ing then. Between spending my weekends in nightclubs and then working in one (which also doubled as a concert venue so touring bands and some DJs would bring their own arrays), I was constantly being exposed to different sound systems and I learned what kind of sound works and doesn’t work for my own enjoyment.

When I was 18, I bought a pair of JBL N38’s for around $300. These are still in use as surrounds, and over the years I’ve added a pair of JBL ND310ii’s for LR and a JBL Studio Center up front, with another pair of ND310 (i’s) for my “Zone 2”. I spent less than $300 total for the 2 pairs of ND310’s and the center courtesy of Craigslist and sellers’ failed WAF in a couple of new marriages (WAF not applicable to my own situation).

 

Current Setup

  • Onkyo TX-NR818
  • Behringer DCX2496
  • DJ booth: Allen & Heath DB4 mixer, PC (uses the DB4 as a soundcard via USB), 2x turntables
  • Primarily listening area: JBL ND310ii LR, Studio C, N38 Surrounds, Seaton Submersive HP+
  • Zone 2: 2x ND310i
  • Monoprice cables
  • InFocus 4805 from 2005 with a very cheap screen (used to be in a smaller room)
  • Unused Behringer 8024 previously used to EQ Zone 2, now EQ is integrated into DCX2496
  • No acoustic treatments

I use the DB4 only for music. The DB4 analog out feeds into the DCX2496 for EQ and compression to the mix signal. The DCX feeds LR channels into the NR818 which applies Audyssey XT32 and outputs directly to the LCR and surrounds. The NR818 subwoofer out feeds into the DCX’s 3rd input channel for EQ then onto the existing HP+. For movies, the PC runs audio into the NR818 via HDMI, bypassing the DB4 and DCX but the subwoofer out still goes through the DCX before continuing to the HP+.

 

I’m very new to REW and SPL meters. In the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten a Spectrum Labs calibrated UMM-6 and an American Recorder Technologies Sound Level Meter. I haven’t had a chance to learn and use REW yet but with Audyssey and my own filters being applied to the DB4’s output signal, almost everyone who comes over and hears my existing system tells me it’s some of the best sound they’ve heard in a home. I tend to agree, but compared to some of the nightclub systems I have heard and even my FiiO X3 with decent earphones, there is a ton of room for improvement. I want better clarity out of the highs and mids (no complaints about the low end since getting my 1st Submersive), I want the sound to remain clear and enjoyable across the spectrum of volume levels without feeling as if I need a different set of filters at different volumes, and I want better dispersion at the low end.

 

All Seaton

It took a few months of reading all of the relevant threads on this forum and Avsforum (thank you to everyone who has contributed!) and a couple of months of enjoying my first HP to decide that a 2nd Submersive with Catalyst LCR and surrounds was the way to go. The rationale was:

  1. Mark knows audio. I’ve read his posts, talked to him on the phone, and I’ve had a great experience with the Submersive
  2. Consistently positive (that’s an understatement) feedback from Catalyst buyers
  3. General unavailability of used Catalysts suggests that people don’t want to sell, and Submersives have very high resale values. I’m taking comfort in knowing that if it’s ultimately not right for me, I can probably sell the Catalysts without taking a big hit financially or going to a lot of trouble since I live in New York City and I can demo/sell them to local buyers
  4. I don’t own a single power amp. Passive speakers would be cheaper than Catalysts if I already had amps, but I don’t so I would have to buy amps separately and then deal with trying to pair the amps with the speakers without getting the benefit of Mark’s expertise in programming the DSP
  5. Catalysts rate well on dispersion. I sometimes watch movies and there is a primary listening position for that but most of the time music is playing and the listening position can be anywhere in the room
  6. I’m in a rental right now but hope to buy a place in the coming years. When I do, I’ll sound proof the listening room and won’t need to worry about my system lacking in power
  7. I appreciate what seems to be a non-existent marketing budget at Seaton. I think quality sells itself and I like that the price of the speakers represents their parts and Seaton expertise, not advertising. 

My hesitation came from:

  1. Not having heard the Catalysts: I took the plunge based purely on research and my experience with the Submersive
  2. Size: these speakers and the dual HP+’s are not very practical in Manhattan but I don’t anticipate moving to a smaller place. I actually got dual HP+’s instead of dual HP’s because I hope to add a 3rd or even 4th Submersives as slaves to the system in my next apartment (and I expect to need to EQ the current pair individually)
  3. The custom DSPs are a blessing and curse: what happens in the future if Seaton no longer exists and an amp dies? This was probably my biggest hesitation since electronics inevitably die at some point, but I’m optimistic that the community of Catalyst owners would figure out a solution and owners won’t be left with $3,600 116lb paper weights. 

 

The Room

I made the mistake of buying furniture before the sound system. I have an L-shaped sofa occupying the entire left rear corner of the primary listening/viewing area. Any left surround speaker will not be floor standing but will rather be “sofa or console standing”. The projection screen is on the wall above the dining table and while the LR fronts fit in the corners of the room on either side of the dining table, the placement of the center channel is smack in the middle of the dining table. Given its size and weight, putting a 12C horizontally on the dining table is not possible. The options I’m considering are that it goes horizontally on or close to the floor angled up, or I put a bench for seating in the back and make a horizontal stand for the 12C that elevates it above the table top, or I get rid of the table (as you can see from the picture, I haven’t even gotten around to buying seating for it yet so this option isn’t “off the table”, but I like the table and don’t want to go this route).

As for the sofa, I’m just going to have to work with it taking up the corner. I plan to replace the existing N38 which is horizontally “sofa standing” with an 8C. Given the space requirements of my ping pong table, I don’t see any practical way to rearrange the room with the existing furniture. I am considering moving the sofa in slightly from the walls and filling the gap with console tables which can elegantly support speaker(s) and décor.

Floorplan for Seaton.jpg
DSC_0718.jpg 
DSC_0720.jpg 
DSC_0719.jpg 
DSC_0717.jpg 
DSC_0722.jpg 
DSC_0724.jpg 
DSC_0728.jpg 


Next

Besides waiting for the arrival of the Catalysts and HP+, on my to-do list is some required reading:

  1. I’m starting with the Sound Reinforcement Handbook (

Quote 0 0
Rafael
This is great. Keep us posted, and be sure to include pics. Looking forward to your big upgrade. 

p.s. average listening of 80db... and you felt the need to go with the Cat 12's?! The 8's would have been more than enough!!
Quote 0 0
vNYC
Rafael wrote:
This is great. Keep us posted, and be sure to include pics. Looking forward to your big upgrade. 

p.s. average listening of 80db... and you felt the need to go with the Cat 12's?! The 8's would have been more than enough!!


I considered it but thought the marginal cost was worthwhile for future-proofing. Also even though <80dB is normal when I'm by myself, it goes louder when I have people over which happens a lot, and peaks are higher in movies.

I forgot to mention it but the main listening area is 16.5ft (brick wall) x 22ft (side wall) x 13ft (~4700ft^3), the room extends beyond that and of course opens to the skylights, hallway, and entry area so there is a ton of leakage. Better safe than sorry?
Quote 0 0
Dustcap
Hi vNYC,

your appearence here is something like a gift to me, for I am pretty much in the same situation as you are. I'm also a DJ for electronic music (not House Music, I'm more into Trance) and looking for some very high quality but also affordable active speakers to build a superb system for 2-ch listening.

I am looking for someone who uses Catalyst 12C primarily for 2-ch electronic music listening since quite a long time, and you are the first one I ever heard of, who intends to do so. The fact that you are also a DJ, makes you a perfect source of information for me. I am very interested in your opinion about the Cats once you'll get them and would very much appreciate if you would keep us updated.

Do you already know, when the speakers arrive at your place?

If I may give you an advice, don't forget to ask Mark for the full range DSP setting, which is available for the Cat 12C. It extends the 12Cs frequency range down to 20 Hz and should be the very first choice for everyone, who uses Cats primarily for music listening. The Cats have an enormous capabillity in reproducing bass frequencies (Mark stated, two 12Cs should have the bass output of one Submersive HP) and running them full range with music will give you results regarding precision and time alignment, that you won't hardly be able to achieve with a sub, even if it is perfectly calibrated.


P.S. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to NY to do a listening session with your new system, though I would love to. I'm from Germany (therefore I also excuse myself if I do some writing mistakes).
Quote 0 0
vNYC
Dustcap wrote:
Hi vNYC,

your appearence here is something like a gift to me, for I am pretty much in the same situation as you are. I'm also a DJ for electronic music (not House Music, I'm more into Trance) and looking for some very high quality but also affordable active speakers to build a superb system for 2-ch listening.

I am looking for someone who uses Catalyst 12C primarily for 2-ch electronic music listening since quite a long time, and you are the first one I ever heard of, who intends to do so. The fact that you are also a DJ, makes you a perfect source of information for me. I am very interested in your opinion about the Cats once you'll get them and would very much appreciate if you would keep us updated.

Do you already know, when the speakers arrive at your place?

If I may give you an advice, don't forget to ask Mark for the full range DSP setting, which is available for the Cat 12C. It extends the 12Cs frequency range down to 20 Hz and should be the very first choice for everyone, who uses Cats primarily for music listening. The Cats have an enormous capabillity in reproducing bass frequencies (Mark stated, two 12Cs should have the bass output of one Submersive HP) and running them full range with music will give you results regarding precision and time alignment, that you won't hardly be able to achieve with a sub, even if it is perfectly calibrated.


P.S. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to NY to do a listening session with your new system, though I would love to. I'm from Germany (therefore I also excuse myself if I do some writing mistakes).


Glad to help. From what I've read the full range DSP is only recommended if subs aren't present which isn't the case with my set up but I'll ask Mark the next time I speak with him. ETA for shipping is likely a few weeks out from now.

On another note, I'm looking into getting XLR cables from either:
  1. Monoprice
  2. Blue Jeans Cable
  3. Markertek
I may end up getting a white XLR cable for the surround right 8C (running it over the ceiling and then down the structural column which is painted white) in which case I won't be able to order from Monoprice (they don't have color options). Besides price, is there anything to consider between Blue Jeans and Markertek? And is it best to get all of the XLRs from the same brand?
Quote 0 0
audioguy
Du7 ostcap wrote:


If I may give you an advice, don't forget to ask Mark for the full range DSP setting, which is available for the Cat 12C. It extends the 12Cs frequency range down to 20 Hz and should be the very first choice for everyone, who uses Cats primarily for music listening. The Cats have an enormous capabillity in reproducing bass frequencies (Mark stated, two 12Cs should have the bass output of one Submersive HP) and running them full range with music will give you results regarding precision and time alignment, that you won't hardly be able to achieve with a sub, even if it is perfectly calibrated.


I see that a bit differently.  I have had audio systems in 7 different rooms and in NONE of them was it the case that the best response for bass was the same location for the best response for the other portions of the audio spectrum.  Until I bought Cats and SubMersives, I always had very large (and very expensive)full range speakers.  I was never able to get the kind of bass response with those systems that I have with my current configuration.  Even if money were no object, I would never again set up a two channel system without subs. EVER!

And with today's room correction technology, it is fairly straight forward to time align the subs with the mains and then you get the best of both worlds.

My $0.02
Quote 0 0
Dustcap
Hi audioguy,

you're right, the potential in Bass output a big sub provides, cannot be achieved with a full range speaker, especially when the sub is as capable as a SubM HP. What really matters when using a sub is getting it integrated in the whole system on the one side, and in the listening room on the other side. The first task should be easier with a full range speaker, for there simply isn't anything to integrate, but this naturally comes at the cost of lesser output in the deep frequencies as it would be the case with a strong sub. The second task is potentially easier with a dedicated sub, where as you already stated you have the opportunity of positioning the sub free in the room, where the bass sounds best. 

The basic goal every user wants to achieve when integrating a sub with the main speakers is to getting them sound as if they where one speaker. So basically, having all frequencies reproduced by a very capable full range speaker would be the ideal way of listening, assumed that this speaker would be so strong in bass that even a demanding listener doesn't feel any need for a sub. 99% of all full range speakers available aren't imho so strong in bass, but from all I've read the Cat 12C does have this capabillity when running full range. 

When listening to 2-ch music, the Cats in full range DSP mode could (I am using here the word "could" consciously instead of "must") be a better choice as running them with subs. Of course they can profit from a perfectly matched sub as much as any other speaker does, but this means a lot of work and also a bit of know how for positioning the subs properly in the room and measuring and programming an external DSP or EQ-device. These efforts are in my opinion not essentially necessary in 2-ch listening, for almost all music records don't contain any content below 25-30 Hz, which is above the -3Db point of the Cats in full range mode (as far as I know they reach -3Db @ 23Hz).

This of course doesn't count for 5.1-ch listening in home theaters. Most contemporary movies contain tons of material below 23 Hz, which requires a capable sub (or better multiples) like the SubM.

In my opinion vNYC's case lends itself to trying the Cats's full range mode, because he intends to use them primarily for music listening and until now doesn't plan to build a baffle wall, for which Mark offers a special DSP programm which is normally included in PGM 2 in the Cat's amp. Otherwise PGM 2 would be useless for him as far as he doesn't build a baffle wall. In every case it would much more reasonable to have a DSP setting which he might use than one he certainly cannot use at all. Besides, the full range DSP setting doesn't come with any extra cost, so why not trying it? 

These are of course just my 2 cents, but also an opinion worth thinking about.
Quote 0 0
audioguy
I would agree that if 2 channel is the only listening mode and either dollars or space are constrained, then the new full range Cat would be a great solution.
Quote 0 0
FOH

IMO, without hesitation, unless you're making them yourself, I'd utilize Markertek as a source, and Neutrik Black/Gold connector bodies, w/Canare Star-Quad cabling.


http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/XLR-to-XLR-Cables/TecNec/SC50XXJ-B.xhtml

I'm fully cabled top to bottom, with the above, all XLR cabling including interconnects, and pre-outs to all 7 channels, and to all subs, and sub amplifiers.

------

vNYC, I liked the SoundCloud mix, good stuff. A friendly word of advice, your set-up really can use some optimizing Please, no offense, but the sound you'll achieve in this room is entirely dependent on loudspeaker set-up, seating distance, boundary proximity, etc, and acoustic treatment. You very likely know, however this combo of config/set-up, and room acoustics, is overwhelmingly the most influential factor in the system sound quality. Not fancy cabling, high end electronics, just quality loudspeakers optimized to an appropriate environment.

Your LP needs to be off the rear boundary wall, and quite a bit closer to the mains. Also, L-R symmetry is of paramount concern, and with the open space on the right, that's difficult to achieve. Sidewall interaction is huge in the area between the LP and the mains. The big open area to the right could be an issue, but either way, you need side wall treatment on those immediate sidewall areas.

Also, every residential size listening room can benefit from reducing LF decay times. To do so, some significant bass trapping needs to be added to the space. There's a multitude of ways to approach this, including very affordable DIY solutions that outperform any ready made product. There's a great of info available, if you need specifics, I'll be glad to elaborate. Suffice it to say, bass impact, punch and detail, and note-to-note delineation, are all inextricably linked to time alignment, and bass trapping (LF decay times).     

Another thought, in an overview of the floor-plan diagram you included (nice images btw), and examining the L-R asymmetry, perhaps you may want to explore an angled set-up approach (aligned in the direction of the Ping-Pong table), visually focused toward the corner. This way the side walls are splayed (a studio technique), and the area behind the listener is adequately sized, distant and nicely diffuse. Yeah, it's a big step, but merely a consideration.       

Best of luck, and welcome to the fold.


Quote 0 0
vNYC
FOH wrote:

IMO, without hesitation, unless you're making them yourself, I'd utilize Markertek as a source, and Neutrik Black/Gold connector bodies, w/Canare Star-Quad cabling.


http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/XLR-to-XLR-Cables/TecNec/SC50XXJ-B.xhtml

I'm fully cabled top to bottom, with the above, all XLR cabling including interconnects, and pre-outs to all 7 channels, and to all subs, and sub amplifiers.

------

vNYC, I liked the SoundCloud mix, good stuff. A friendly word of advice, your set-up really can use some optimizing Please, no offense, but the sound you'll achieve in this room is entirely dependent on loudspeaker set-up, seating distance, boundary proximity, etc, and acoustic treatment. You very likely know, however this combo of config/set-up, and room acoustics, is overwhelmingly the most influential factor in the system sound quality. Not fancy cabling, high end electronics, just quality loudspeakers optimized to an appropriate environment.

Your LP needs to be off the rear boundary wall, and quite a bit closer to the mains. Also, L-R symmetry is of paramount concern, and with the open space on the right, that's difficult to achieve. Sidewall interaction is huge in the area between the LP and the mains. The big open area to the right could be an issue, but either way, you need side wall treatment on those immediate sidewall areas.

Also, every residential size listening room can benefit from reducing LF decay times. To do so, some significant bass trapping needs to be added to the space. There's a multitude of ways to approach this, including very affordable DIY solutions that outperform any ready made product. There's a great of info available, if you need specifics, I'll be glad to elaborate. Suffice it to say, bass impact, punch and detail, and note-to-note delineation, are all inextricably linked to time alignment, and bass trapping (LF decay times).     

Another thought, in an overview of the floor-plan diagram you included (nice images btw), and examining the L-R asymmetry, perhaps you may want to explore an angled set-up approach (aligned in the direction of the Ping-Pong table), visually focused toward the corner. This way the side walls are splayed (a studio technique), and the area behind the listener is adequately sized, distant and nicely diffuse. Yeah, it's a big step, but merely a consideration.       

Best of luck, and welcome to the fold.




I live in NY, it's going to take a lot more to offend me! In all honesty though thank you very much for your insight; yours is a familiar screenname from my research. I didn't mention acoustic treatments in my post but I'm very much on the same page as you. What is holding me back (temporarily) is that I haven't done the research yet to understand the physics of sound and specifically what my room might need. Also I could potentially move to a new place as soon as next summer (but likely a year or two later) so if I'm going to put money into treatments, I want to make sure I get it right and get value commensurate with expense.

I'll give some more thought to moving around furniture. A couple of things worth mentioning though:
  1. The lone chair next to the ping pong table is going to be replaced soon with a nice lounge chair. If I'm watching something solo, I'll be sitting in it and it will be easy to move to a more optimal position. Also the new projector will be ceiling mounted instead of on the pedestal as the current set up so that won't be in the way.
  2. I would estimate in an average week there are 30 hours of music played and not more than 4 hours of video. When the music is on, I want it to sound as best possible throughout the room. Maybe there will be a specific area to optimize depending on the situation (and with the DCX2496, I can save and load preset configurations) but the sofa or lounge chair are not necessarily going to be the listening points.
Thanks for the advice on XLRs. The one problem though is that the ones suggested only go out to 50ft max and I think I'm going to need a 75ft for the surround right (running cable up to the ceiling, over the pipes, and then down the structural column). Any other options at this length?
Quote 0 0
audioguy
I have used BlueJeans XLRs (and I also use their single ended cables as well) for my last two rooms. And since I am pulling it through blue smurf tubing, I get one end unterminated. They will sell you any length you want. I don't know if they sell it in white!

I also use markertek for custom length power cords for all of my 11 Seaton speakers
Quote 0 0
FOH
Blue Jeans Cable is also good. Either way, Markertek or Blue Jeans, they both utilize industry standard material ..., ie., Belden or Canare cabling, with Neutrik connector bodies.

Markertek does sell custom lengths too, besides I found up to 100' here; http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/XLR-to-XLR-Cables/TecNec/SC100XXJ.xhtml 


"What is holding me back (temporarily) is that I haven't done the research yet to understand the physics of sound and specifically what my room might need."


Understood. It's all about the room, and how well your gear is set up.  


Thinking about your statement, here are three papers I consider vital for an enthusiast in your position.

This first paper is likely the most important of these three. Below what called the transition region of a room, the room's characteristics just dominate the sound. Most everyone likes nice well executed bass response, so the physics of bass response is weighted strongly with regard to importance.    

http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Documents/White%20Papers/LoudspeakersandRoomsPt3.pdf


Secondly, this paper by Ethan Winer covers a great many topics;
http://ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

another superb Floyd Toole paper; 
http://www.harmanaudio.com/all_about_audio/loudspeakers_rooms.pdf


Good luck









Quote 0 0
Mark_Seaton
vNYC wrote:
FOH wrote:

IMO, without hesitation, unless you're making them yourself, I'd utilize Markertek as a source, and Neutrik Black/Gold connector bodies, w/Canare Star-Quad cabling.

http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/XLR-to-XLR-Cables/TecNec/SC50XXJ-B.xhtml

I'm fully cabled top to bottom, with the above, all XLR cabling including interconnects, and pre-outs to all 7 channels, and to all subs, and sub amplifiers.

Thanks for the advice on XLRs. The one problem though is that the ones suggested only go out to 50ft max and I think I'm going to need a 75ft for the surround right (running cable up to the ceiling, over the pipes, and then down the structural column). Any other options at this length?


FYI, and for anyone else needing specific cable lengths, if you give Markertek a call they will make cables in any length you like and often turn them around in 2-5 business days.
Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
sales@seatonsound.net
773-290-8436
Quote 0 0
2Bad4u
vNYC wrote:
FOH wrote:

IMO, without hesitation, unless you're making them yourself, I'd utilize Markertek as a source, and Neutrik Black/Gold connector bodies, w/Canare Star-Quad cabling.


http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/XLR-to-XLR-Cables/TecNec/SC50XXJ-B.xhtml

I'm fully cabled top to bottom, with the above, all XLR cabling including interconnects, and pre-outs to all 7 channels, and to all subs, and sub amplifiers.

------

vNYC, I liked the SoundCloud mix, good stuff. A friendly word of advice, your set-up really can use some optimizing Please, no offense, but the sound you'll achieve in this room is entirely dependent on loudspeaker set-up, seating distance, boundary proximity, etc, and acoustic treatment. You very likely know, however this combo of config/set-up, and room acoustics, is overwhelmingly the most influential factor in the system sound quality. Not fancy cabling, high end electronics, just quality loudspeakers optimized to an appropriate environment.

Your LP needs to be off the rear boundary wall, and quite a bit closer to the mains. Also, L-R symmetry is of paramount concern, and with the open space on the right, that's difficult to achieve. Sidewall interaction is huge in the area between the LP and the mains. The big open area to the right could be an issue, but either way, you need side wall treatment on those immediate sidewall areas.

Also, every residential size listening room can benefit from reducing LF decay times. To do so, some significant bass trapping needs to be added to the space. There's a multitude of ways to approach this, including very affordable DIY solutions that outperform any ready made product. There's a great of info available, if you need specifics, I'll be glad to elaborate. Suffice it to say, bass impact, punch and detail, and note-to-note delineation, are all inextricably linked to time alignment, and bass trapping (LF decay times).     

Another thought, in an overview of the floor-plan diagram you included (nice images btw), and examining the L-R asymmetry, perhaps you may want to explore an angled set-up approach (aligned in the direction of the Ping-Pong table), visually focused toward the corner. This way the side walls are splayed (a studio technique), and the area behind the listener is adequately sized, distant and nicely diffuse. Yeah, it's a big step, but merely a consideration.       

Best of luck, and welcome to the fold.




I live in NY, it's going to take a lot more to offend me! In all honesty though thank you very much for your insight; yours is a familiar screenname from my research. I didn't mention acoustic treatments in my post but I'm very much on the same page as you. What is holding me back (temporarily) is that I haven't done the research yet to understand the physics of sound and specifically what my room might need. Also I could potentially move to a new place as soon as next summer (but likely a year or two later) so if I'm going to put money into treatments, I want to make sure I get it right and get value commensurate with expense.

I'll give some more thought to moving around furniture. A couple of things worth mentioning though:
  1. The lone chair next to the ping pong table is going to be replaced soon with a nice lounge chair. If I'm watching something solo, I'll be sitting in it and it will be easy to move to a more optimal position. Also the new projector will be ceiling mounted instead of on the pedestal as the current set up so that won't be in the way.
  2. I would estimate in an average week there are 30 hours of music played and not more than 4 hours of video. When the music is on, I want it to sound as best possible throughout the room. Maybe there will be a specific area to optimize depending on the situation (and with the DCX2496, I can save and load preset configurations) but the sofa or lounge chair are not necessarily going to be the listening points.
Thanks for the advice on XLRs. The one problem though is that the ones suggested only go out to 50ft max and I think I'm going to need a 75ft for the surround right (running cable up to the ceiling, over the pipes, and then down the structural column). Any other options at this length?


XLR 50 foot maximum length recommendation? Where did you get this information? I went to a recording engineers forum and they have reported that they routinely using lengths of 100 feet or more. Several of the engineers reported that they have routinely used lengths of 1,000+ feet without any issues. The caveat is to use reasonable quality cables and avoid high-voltage power lines by an inch or two.

It sounds like you'll be fine with 75 foot XLR lengths.

-- Bill --
rx-8 on the AVS Forum
Quote 0 0
FOH
2Bad4u wrote:
XLR 50 foot maximum length recommendation? Where did you get this information? I went to a recording engineers forum and they have reported that they routinely using lengths of 100 feet or more. Several of the engineers reported that they have routinely used lengths of 1,000+ feet without any issues. The caveat is to use reasonable quality cables and avoid high-voltage power lines by an inch or two.

It sounds like you'll be fine with 75 foot XLR lengths.

-- Bill --


The length wasn't a performance concern in this case, I believe it was specific availability in the cable I suggested ... Canare Star Quad/Neutrik Black&Gold XLRs.

Markertek sells longer both off the shelf with other configs, and of course custom, as Mark said .. with quick turnaround times and as inexpensive as you'll find elsewhere.   
Quote 0 0
vNYC
Just a quick update -- I'm cabled up and ready to go (I decided not to run cable over the ceiling and down the column, at least for now, so I went with FOH's original suggestion) but still waiting on the speakers. I checked with Mark the week before Thanksgiving and he thought it would be a few more weeks so hopefully shipping is imminent.
Quote 0 0
vNYC

The update to this thread is long overdue and I apologize for the delay – unfortunately I’ve had to deal with some significant life events since receiving the Cats and second Submersive, most notably having an unexpected move for the first time in almost a decade (I’ll get to how much fun that was later!).

I’ll get the main downside to my purchase out of the way now: the speakers took a lot longer to build than expected. I placed the order and paid the deposit in mid-September with an ETA of 4-5 weeks. They were finally built and ready to ship out in mid-February for a total of 5 months. I knew from other peoples’ experiences that this isn’t exactly uncommon so I was prepared to be patient, but it was still a little stressful after paying the deposit and months going by without knowing when I would get the speakers.

I had been expecting everything to show up on a pallet (weighing around 900lbs total) but FedEx outsourced the delivery to a local company that showed up with individual boxes, some of which were torn and looked fairly beat up.

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Fortunately everything looked to be in good shape after unpacking. Also fortunately, I spend a decent amount of time in the weight room since I was too excited to wait around for anyone to help with unpacking and setting up. Unpacking and lifting/moving around 3x 116lb 12Cs, 2x 66lb 8Cs, and 1x 124lb HP+ is no joke!

My initial impressions of my Catalysts, physically, were that they are of an incredibly solid construction, they’re exceptionally heavy and commanding, but with a presence softened by the attractive veneer and light grey fabric. The 12C on its Seaton stand is as tall as a lot of adults (and weighs as much), so where it isn’t hidden behind an AT screen it will grab attention. Fortunately the aesthetics don’t make this a bad thing but it’s something to keep in mind for those requiring spouse approval. The 8C’s are definitely a more practical size for apartments or smaller rooms, are capable of being physically discreet (if the veneer and grill fabric match the room), and look very good without being as commanding. I would actually be surprised if spouse approval could not be obtained for at least a pair of 8Cs with their look – they are an elegant and unobtrusive addition to almost any room.

 

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My first thought was to disable all room EQ/calibration and see how the system sounds out of the box. Wow -- the highs are super, super clear and detailed. It was great across the frequency spectrum but without calibration the highs especially shone in a good way. It was brighter than I was used to but my old system simply wasn’t capable of the high end detail like the Cats. I didn’t wait long to run Audyssey but noted that the system was already a pleasure to listen to and the high dispersion which I had read about (and was a big selling point) was clearly evident – the sound was consistently great whether I was in the listening position or walking around the room.

Audyssey didn’t obviously change much which I took to be a very good sign. The low end felt a little muddy with the crossovers automatically set to 40hz but cleaned up once I set them higher (I don’t remember where exactly I put them but likely in the 80-100hz area). After that though I noticed a big improvement in the low end compared to my old system which is something I hadn’t been expecting because I thought it already sounded amazing with the single Submersive. It’s no surprise, but the integration of the Submersives with the Catalysts across the low end is seamless.

As expected (especially during the warmer months when I watch fewer movies), so far I’ve primarily used the system for music. I mostly listen to deep house in the 115-125bpm range with punchy basslines, all of which has been very well received by the Cats and Submersives. On a couple of occasions I pushed the system to a near continuous 105db with music for several minutes at a time and there was absolutely no trace of distortion or any struggle at the higher levels. The music sounds the way (I think) it is intended. In hindsight, as Rafael mentioned, an all 8C system would probably have been sufficient for my needs – do not underestimate their power! On the plus side I’m quite confident my setup could handle a small concert if the need ever arises.

On that note, I had to move recently. I made the mistake of once again being self-sufficient (and didn’t want the movers boxing up my Seatons) so I did it all myself in the course of a few hours with the original packaging which I had kept. I’m not sure what the protocol is at the Seaton warehouse but my solo endeavor with taking Cats off of their stands, moving them to the floor, bagging them, lifting the (also heavy) boxes over them and carefully lowering them to the floor, then flipping the result 180 degrees and finally moving the boxed speaker to a different area was a serious workout and not something I would recommend to anyone! I also had to do it with 2 Submersives and then go through unpacking the whole thing at my new place. I am now significantly less worried about theft because it is so logistically difficult to move these things, especially in a way that protects them from damage.

I would strongly recommend keeping the original packaging. My move would have been a lot more time consuming and likely subjected the speakers to damage if I hadn’t kept mine.

When I found out I had to move, I took the opportunity to find an apartment that would have better acoustics than my old one. I didn’t take any REW measurements at my old apartment so I won’t be able to compare with hard data but I think the new room is very good for a multipurpose non-dedicated room. I’ll follow up as time allows in the coming months with details, measurements, and my path to optimization.

I still need some stands for the 8Cs. I’m considering Sound Anchors for a smaller footprint than the Seaton stands which are now available (they were not when I placed my order) and also because I need them ASAP, and since the veneer may no longer match mine. I had skylights (without any way of keeping out the sunlight) in my old living room so the speakers got a lot of sun exposure and lost some color. I’m happy with how they look now, as I was happy with them before, but you can see the difference in the disassembled stand:

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For now I am using the two Submersives as stands in the rear of the room but this is far from optimal sub placement. I had actually been hoping to find some very solid and heavy side tables (something like this http://www.roomandboard.com/printable/product/standard.do?productGroup=19570&articleNumber=947924&an=0_947924&qa=0_PARSONS_18SQ_26H_TBL_TOP|WHMBL&shippingMethod=INH&transportationZone=[object%20Object] which is the same product line as my DJ booth and I know to be very heavy and using rubber to separate the stone top from the steel base) but given the space constraints of NYC apartments, I’m looking for something with a smaller footprint and closer to the length/width of the 8C which is around 12-13” squared. The rationale is that while I expect to use the 8Cs for a very long time, my need for the stands could change or the integration of the stands’ aesthetics with the room could change if I move again so I’d rather not have custom made ones that have limited resale value.  I can picture the purists cringing at the thought! Unless anyone knows of any options with little to no degradation in the sound though, I will likely be taking the plunge and getting Sound Anchors.

I did have a 12C amp failure around 3 months into receiving the system. Mark sent me a new one right away which was easy to switch out and he provided a return shipping label also so I ended up with no out of pocket expense. Great and prompt customer service.

I’ll update the thread and keep the review going as the optimization continues but for now my conclusion is: no regrets!

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audioguy
Congrats. That color combination of your speakers and grill cloth is stunning. It would look great in many rooms and particularly something a bit on the more contemporary side.

Keep us posted. Moving is on the same level as having a limb removed without benefit of anesthetic. I have probably moved about 20 times in my life and the older I get the more I hate it. I don't envy you on any move, particularly having to shlep around 1000 pounds of speakers and then reset them up.

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