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Home Theater Lounge System of the Month

Discussion in 'Home Theater Lounge' started by CJ, May 10, 2017.

  1. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    We're rolling out a new feature at Home Theater Lounge, the system of the month. This will be sort of a "raise your hand if you're interested" thing for the time being, and as long as there is interest. I'll keep this as a running thread rather than breaking out monthly threads, but I'll include each month's system in the HTL newsletter.
     
  2. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    The May 2017 system of the month is from member @Phil A

    I sincerely appreciate Phil's willingness to participate and lead the charge. Thank you Phil!

    Phil says:

    This is my primary music system and overall my best home theater system. It is a dedicated room approximately 16x18 feet with 10 foot ceilings (plus a quad tray ceiling that is another foot) that opens into other spaces. It has been through several iterations over the years but currently consists of Thiel CS 3.7 speakers, dual Rel Storm III subs for music, a Modwright LS36.5 DM preamp and a Modwright KWA150 SE amp. The main sources are a Lumin U1 digital music server (fed by a Synology DS716+ NAS) with a EMM Labs DAC 2X (version 2), an Onkyo TX-RZ3100 receiver (using 11 channels) and an Oppo BDP-103D. The equipment sits on an Odyssey Audio Massiv Rack (about 350 lbs. net weight) which was designed to my specs.

    Thiel CS 3.7s main speakers
    Thiel MCS1 center channel
    Thiel SCS2 side and rear surrounds
    Thiel MCS1 center channel
    Thiel SCS2 side and rear surrounds
    Thiel Power Point Height Channels
    Axiom Audio in-ceiling rear Atmos speakers
    Rel Storm III subwoofers for music
    Power Sound Audio S1500 subwoofer for movies
    Onkyo TX-RZ3100 receiver
    Modwright LS36.5 DM preamp
    Modwright KWA150 SE amplifier
    Lumin U1 digital music server
    EMM Labs DAC 2X (version 2)
    Torus RM-20 power conditioner
    Roku 3 movie streamer
    Samsung DTB-H260F TV tuner
    Epson Home Cinema 5030UB projector
    Stewart 100 inch Grayhawk screen
    Odyssey Audio Massiv rack

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  3. Sean E

    Sean E Member

    That looks outstanding and I am sure it sounds even more so!
     
    Phil A and CJ like this.
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    Sean - thanks - how's the DSD files I did for you a couple of years back
     
  5. Sean E

    Sean E Member

    Phil, listening to one of those right now! They sounds great. I am trying out a new amp and I find the DSD material the best for testing.
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    I'm still busy with computer audio stuff, re-tagging for the new network streamer (Lumin U1). Then I'll back stuff up after re-tagging them.
     
  7. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Nice! But, a quick question, what's with the center acoustic panel sitting in the way of the screen?
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  8. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    I remove it for movies and it comes out easy. I have a stand it sits in. It stays there for music. I have an acoustic panel about 8 feet behind the listening position in a similar stand
     
    Tex Thai and Sean E like this.
  9. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

  10. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    You can actually see the top part of the stand in a couple of the shots. I have a stand on the bottom of the left panel too - the right one is held in place by the right channel Rel Subwoofer
     
  11. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Beautiful Phil! I wish my room was presentable with the lights on...
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  12. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    Barry - Thanks - I still do miss my basement (though I'm at the current FL for 3.5 years) and I liked a big room that was readily light controlled (I keep the room dark in my Back-up 2 system which is in a smallish bedroom) I had in VA for movies. It was a nice space. That's part of the reason why I probably alternate HT viewing a bit more than I used to. Below is a pic of my old basement in VA
    Basement2.JPG
     
  13. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    When I was in VA, I had a bedroom system but never used it tons for movies (perhaps I watched about a half dozen/year and about double that in the main system) as it was easy to use the basement at any time of day. Below is what my main system looked like at one point in VA (note that it had 19 ft. ceilings, opened into other spaces with tons of windows up high that didn't lend itself to watching TV or movies during the day).
    Living Room2.jpg
     
  14. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    The June system of the month is Claud's desktop headphone rig. Thanks for agreeing to participate Claud!

    Here is a basic computer music system. This is for those of us that like to listen to tunes while surfing , etc on our computer. The components are a Schiit Vali 2 amp and a Schiit Multibit DAC. The amp is a hybrid tube amp that uses any tube in the 6DJ8/6922 family. I like Russian 6H23 tubes in mine. You can also buy an adapter on Ebay and use 6SN7 tubes too. The DAC is a very advanced DAC for its price. Schiit will admit that the Modi and Bifrost Multibit DACs are about equal in performance, but the Modi Multibit is NOT upgradeable. I listen to this system with any of my headphones. It sounds good with all of them. The system connects with your computer with a USB cord and you need a short pair of interconnects to connect the amp and DAC. I have changed all of these to Wywires cables.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    Tex Thai likes this.
  15. Tex Thai

    Tex Thai Member

    Color me IMPRESSED by both systems!!!! WOW!!!!!
    Well done!!!!! BOTH
    I enjoyed this, looking forward to seeing many more systems.
    God Bless,
    Wayne
     
  16. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Maybe you can be the July system!
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  17. Tex Thai

    Tex Thai Member

    Hey C.J. I would be honored, and IF you don't mind, I would be happy to volunteer for August. Let people have some time to forget how beautiful and sophisticated Phil's home theater is first!!!!
    My daughter is coming over for a long needed/awaited visit from Nashville arriving tomorrow for 2 weeks. We then travel to Phuket for some down time and family together time. So this is not a good time. But next month I will try to sweep out the cob webs, turn on some lights and take some pics and do you a write up.
    OK?
    Thanks for the kind invitation!!!!
    God Bless,
    Wayne
     
  18. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Sounds good. I'll hit you up early next month.
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  19. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

    CJ, I have a TOTL headphone system, a Cary tube stereo system, and two HT systems I can offer for your System Of The Month feature. Just let me know.
     
    Tex Thai likes this.
  20. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    July System of the Month from @Jack

    VTF-3 MK5 HP Subwoofer


    It has been a good while since I have actually put much into review of a product so bear with me as I try to regain my footing for something more than one paragraph long.

    Since coming home from overseas with various electronics including Kenwood and Sansui speakers I thought I had it made. They seemed full range and they went plenty loud and looked pretty good, all that would and find grill work. And it wasn’t until I visited the store in Chicago called Paul Heath audio where I was introduced to a pair of large Hartley 24 inch subwoofers mated to stacked quad speakers that I took notice of what I might be missing in the bottom end.

    Honestly, I’ve had many so-called subwoofers over the years starting in 1989 with a 12 inch down firing Pioneer sub that also broke off some of its power to drive the center channel speaker. But still in use today at my son-in-law’s house but I can’t really say it was good it seemed to work better than nothing. From there I bought or should I say my wife bought for me to Definitive Technology PTL-15+ subwoofers that I was told it play very well with my Definitive Technology mains. Those subs were fairly large and were said to have a low-end range of some 14 Hz but in reality, I think it was much closer to 40 Hz. Is very disappointed after listening to the a while one of the amplifiers went out and so I had to take it apart to get it repaired and I promptly noticed that some of the problems in the coloring of the sound was that it was just a big box with essentially nothing in it, that’s correct sports fans an empty box. After those I bought some Emotiva subs that were a bit smaller and sealed as opposed to ported but seem to have a great deal more punch and were much more tuneful. I then added a couple Velodyne subs and lived with those four subs for a while and not knowing anything better I was once again “happy.”

    Talk in the Home Theater Lounge forms as well as others made me very curious of exactly what I was missing in the below 30 Hz range. I understood that one would like to go to 20 Hz however very little, in my opinion at the time, seem to occur that low… Except for movies and some organ pedal notes. As such it was clear that I had to experiment with what HSU calls a True Subwoofer in way of the VTF-3 MK5 HP Subwoofer. It must be noted that this is not their top-of-the-line subwoofer but second from the top and I am impressed as all get out. I first encountered the subwoofer at an audio show in Chicago in a room that was not large by any measure but seem to have sound coming through the wall as I walked down the hallway with my friend. I was drawn into this room, and once in I was met by Dr. Hsu, his wife and his son supporting huge smiles and willing to answer any questions. Dr. Hsu was sporting several smaller stand mounted speakers powered by a very modest receiver and the subwoofer that is the subject of this review. I literally could not believe the quality of sound that I was hearing musically and when he chose to kick in movies on his small projector I was blown away I had to have one.

    So I saved my money, sold my other subwoofers and had one delivered to my home. As you can see from some of the photographs it’s not small and seemed to way a couple times when actually it was only 83 pounds. I felt bad for the FedEx delivery guy as he was very young, thin and did not have a dolly to move this from the street up to my porch and so here’s this little bitty guy carrying it way out front of the about to bust his gut.

    I’m a bit smarter and I have a dolly so I read the instructions on how to take it out of the box and these instructions are very well laid out and the process works very well. Once out of the box I wrapped it in towels and strapped it to my dolly and brought it upstairs to the home theater where I placed it where I thought it would do best and ran it in for a good couple weeks before I really made any decisions. And by this I mean it has a 30 day return guarantee obviously one that I did not use.

    Many of the blockbuster movies put out these days have an incredible soundtrack that features five or seven channel surround plus now we have overhead speakers plus an LFE channel meant for the low-frequency effects mixed into the movie soundtracks. Until I had this sub broken in and sitting in my system for a while I had no idea what a true subwoofer could do not only with movies but with music. There is a palpable experience in a properly set up subwoofer that many people may never hear let alone feel. One of the first movies that I put it was a blu ray of “Knowing”. Not a great movie to be sure but when necessary the low-frequencies being reproduced in my 15’ x 21’ room literally shocked me on occasion. When the airplane crashes I felt the hair on my legs move and I truly felt like the person in the old Maxell commercials but not in a bad way. Later in the movie one of the whispering men turns around to Nick Cage opens his mouth and spews forth one of the loudest deepest shockwaves I’ve ever experienced. My floor is not on concrete and I could even feel at times that it would move up and down ever so slightly almost like a ride at Disney World. This part of owning a real subwoofer is truly unique in that the visceral power of many movies can now be felt/heard in all its glory. The above description works with most every movie I’ve watched subsequent to that first disc from War of the World’s too well most everything recently released.

    It’s not just movies that are well served by the subwoofer but it is also music and the subtleties of what happens in the lower range of some instruments. My main speakers comfortably go into the mid-30 hz range but not with great authority unless I place them against a wall. Even then the base sounds somewhat thin as compared to what the subwoofer can do. It’s not just power and is not just going deep but rather it’s rounding out the lower strings of a bass guitar or the thump of the kick drum, the lower ranges of the piano and of course the famous little organ pedal notes. Dr. Hsu actually includes a disc of music that shows off the subwoofer to great effect with one cut having a 16 Hz organ pedal note that can be heard and felt quite clearly.

    One of the other things I notice about this sub is it is not phased by much of anything I can do to it. It plays loud, low that never seems to get upset and while in the very low frequencies it does flap a little bit I think that’s quite normal. The other somewhat unique thing about the subwoofer is that it has many settings on the back to adjust this and that as well as a 4” and a 3” front mounted port that you can plug or unplug as your room and tastes demand. Want what I would consider the tightness of a sealed sub plot both ports with Styrofoam plugs. Want to get a little lower in frequency of one plug and to get maybe a little bit of extra volume removed both. This coupled with the “EQ” settings on the back of the unit attached to the plate amp and you can almost make this guy work to taste.
    IMG_3623.JPG
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    IMG_3630.JPG IMG_3628.JPG IMG_4596.JPG
     
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