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Project 246   Beautiful library room, Hale Speakers, JL Audio CR1 Crossover, 2 x JL Audio f113's

THE CUSTOMER PREMISE

Integrate a pair of JL Audio f113's, a JL Audio CR1 Crossover, and a pair of Hales Signature speakers in a lovely library room.

Some of these jobs you think are going to be very complicated and they turn out to be easy. Some seem easy at first but the devil is in the details - of course. In this instance, LUCKILY the mains were sealed!!! (the way they should be!) But the only small concern for me was the subs had to be "where they were". If you read my TEST CD setup page you will find that you have 3 places to put a sub or subs:

1)  where you think it / they should go
2)  where your spouse tells you to put them
3)  where they ACTUALLY belong.

Therefore to correctly integrate a system like this, even though the subs are SEEMINGLY in the wrong spot, we have the phase correlation, the JL Audio ARO / DARO, and the subtlety of the damping adjustments on the crossover. In some instances, you can creatively overlap or underlap the crossover freqs on the CR1 crossover. For example, let's say there is a bit of a bump at 90. You could set the low pass to 85 or 86 and the high pass to 94 or 95 or so, thereby putting a bit of a "hole" right at 90. If you are going to experiment with these tricks you would initially put the ARO / DARO OFF and also carefully align the PHASE FIRST. If the phase is not correct to begin with all the frequency adjustments are going to be a mistake and you will be chasing your tail.

So I visited the customers', had a wonderful time, and he had invited some of his audio buddies over, and what I often do is to explain to this captive audience each precision step of the setup, and often we do multiple iterations to tighten up. The comment that I just about ALWAYS hear, is that the customers have been frustrated with their audio setups for 10-35 YEARS, and FINALLY it is correct! And the most interesting result is when someone can discern they are hearing a superb soundstage with depth and even height. This is the magic of phase accuracy AT your listening position.

The beautiful listening room with the Hale's and JL Audio f113's

The Hale MAIN SPEAKERS

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The way better than I expected Hales  

I will point out again that in MOST instances, I am NOT a fan of MTM designs. Why? Well IF they are run full range - with no sub, the low freqs from the LF drivers are going to Doppler modulate the tweeter emission. Not good. IF you use a sub, and correctly cross them over where they belong, (80, 90, 95, 100) NOT LOWER! then this issue is largely alleviated.

Once the mains are correctly aimed with my white noise null test, and once the mains are correctly phase aligned with the sub at the XO freq, you will get, surprisingly, VERTICAL IMAGING. Sure, sure, you say it can'tbe done — until you hear it for yourself and then you are a believer. You will NOT DISCERN each driver separately; there will be no sound "jumping" from the bottom driver on up as the piano does a rising arpeggio... but you WILL perceive the kick drum by the foor where it belongs, the snare drum kind of in the middle, the overhead cymbals higher up... This is assisted somewhat by the tweeters being higher up. HOWEVER — with a correctly adjusted flat panel speaker (Sound Lab electrostatic, Magnepan, etc) even though the frequencies are presumably coming off the entire panel "the same", you WILL be surprised.

There is another somewhat odd benefit to this: those creative mixes that use phase manipulation (Q-Sound, Eddie Kramer tricks, etc) where the sounds are supposed to be apparently coming from outside the speaker boundaries will be very good - much better than before. Check out track 6 of the first Deep Forest album, or Madonna's Vogue. In the case of these Hales, the tweeters were splaying so gently wide that essentially no aiming was necessary, OTHER THAN some critical front and back height (tilt) adjustment. Once you start playing with my critical out-of-phase white noise alignment procedure, you will GET IT, and you will wonder why you never discovered this before! So these Hales had foot adjustments that we experimented with and the adjustment differntial was about 1/4". I woud say we also somewhat LUCKED OUT --- the null was right where it belonged.

In some instances I don't favor that slotted Dynaudio driver - it just often seems "cold" to me. In this instance, however, mostly because the preamp and power amp are tubes, these lower-freq drivers are human and very well behaved.

But as I said above, the devil is always in the details. In MANY rooms I visit, the customer MIGHT NOT NECESSARILY sit in the middle (!). Sometimes there is a 2-position loveseat/sofa, and the customers' favorite spot is not centered. What to do? Yes, well I have obsessed about this! Generally I would suggest adjusting the speakers to the seating position the customer is most comfortable with. But SOME have a 3-position sofa, and the customer generally sits all the way to the right. It's an interesting conundrum... so you MAY not get the fantastic imaging some 6 feet to the left, that is, 2 seats over.

THE SUBS

Notice the subs are about 5 feet behind the mains. That means we have to somehow overcome an additional 5+ msec timing error. So, (read my subs page...) we are going to use the phase knob to add delay so the sub winds up being 1 cycle late at 90Hz, where they are crossed over.

In almost every situation for many years (like 25 years) EVERY customer, and dealer, almost withoug exception, gets the crossover freq wrong. You want to XO as HIGH as possible to de-stress the mains, but that also means the sub phase has to be carefully accurate.

THE ROOM

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  The Odyssey Kismet Tube Amp

Since we KNOW that the room and its inherent acoustics are about 70% of the acoustic experience, this room is superb, with both left and right walls floor to ceiling of vinyl and books, which gives a nice soft slightly diffused acoustic balance, where the room and conversation in it feel imtimate and not "too big". Perfect!

All in all, this was a relatively smooth adjustment procedure; we DIDN'T have to move everything around, and the equipment was already plugged in and in place.

THE EQUIPMENT

Everything is stored in a huge "closet" off to the left. (The closet is filled floor to ceiling with exotic Vinyl, too!)

The TT arm is an Eminent Technology ET2 with silicone damping trough;

The cartridge is a Koetsu Urushi Red;

The Preamp is a VAC Renaissance Signature, and the power amps are Odyssey Kismet Monoblocks.

Notice I keep running into Odyssey products! Some 26 years ago, when I opened my High-End Audio store, Inner Ear Audio, in Safety Harbor, FL, Klaus Bunge visited me and gave me a cool tie (I still have it). The Symphonic Line he carried at the time was rather incredible, and it has morphed into this fine line of products, here: www.odysseyaudio.com

To see a unique magazine article about my store, click HERE.

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There is no plug-in for experience...
SOUNDOCTOR                  BARRY OBER           EMAIL: barry@soundoctor.com