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Vandersteen for home theater, yes


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Last weekend a friend invited me to an AV store where he works, to experience their first showroom. Prior to, they did home and commercial AV, automation, etc and still do but now expanded and opened a showroom as before it was sales offices, 3-D design room and a warehouse.  Anyway, this costly looking theater included a 140" screen, 4k Sony projector,  Trinnov processor and amp, featuring 16 channels Dolby Atmos.  JBL Synthesis speakers including 4 15" subwoofers. The room seemed well treated and custom designed for theater use, theater seating, nice lighting, all remote controlled.  So we listened, partial tracks included Baby Driver, Dr. Strange (at my request), a few other movie clips streamed from a high end streaming device, I forgot what it was called. After about 2 hrs of listening, talking shop, my honest opinion was the room sounded rather dead, dull,  lacking dynamics.  I felt the sound placement was excellent, perhaps 16 channels are overkill, bass was good but lacked the physical feeling from big, powerful subwoofers. Bass was tight, chest thumping, good impact but the deep rumble was missing. However vocals, the car crash at the beginning of Dr. Strange sounded dull, lifeless, unrealistic. 

  So fast forward to yesterday and the same friend comes by my house to listen to what I built in my shared space living room.  I started with Dr. Strange in 4k, Dolby 5.1 since that's what I have to listen to and the vocals sound far more lifelike than what we heard last weekend.  When the good doctor crashes his Lamborghini, my friends reaction was  jaw dropping.  While vocals come across at a normal room volume, the car crash is just plain loud, as a car crash should be. Crisp glass breaking, deep bass hits that vibrate the couch. The first word from my friends mouth was "Wow".  Back to Baby Driver, the tire screeches sounded lifelike, realistic, gun shots have both the low end hit as well as sharp high frequency loudness that was lacking on the JBL system.  

 This weekend he plans on fixing his room treatments and tonal curves for the speakers, try to bring back some of the dynamics heard in my living room

My living room begins with a:

Pioneer Elite 4k receiver feeding a Parasound HCA-855a 5 channel amp that powers

Vandersteen 2Ce left and right and a VCC-5 center.

I use 2 channels in the receiver to power M&K 750 THX in the rear

Bass is provided by a DIY sealed Dayton  18" subwoofer powered by a Crown 2500 watt class D amp. 

The Vandersteen 2Ce towers and VCC-5 are crossed over at 80hz

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@Mr645 interesting…
I have the same front and center and VSMs for the LS/RS.
But actually only have and extra set of VSM on LF/RF at the moment.
(Eventually the second pair of VSMs go to the top in a 5.x. )

What do you attribute the “more life like” sound to?
The room, speakers, sub, Parasound?

Also you mentioned Dolby 5.1 .
I am playing around with Nueral-X and Dolby, and Atmos.
I am suspecting that I need to choose based upon what is on the media or the netflix stream icon.
Do you have any pointers there?

Yeah… I am new to this HT stuff.

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I think the biggest issue was the liberal use of heavy curtains and sound control panels that caused a dull sounding room, and also whatever equalization was done by the processor.  Not that there is an issue with the processor but just how it is set up. Not sold on the JBL speakers either.  I was using Plex to stream ripped BR discs and digital downloads from my home computer. I have the Vandersteen front stage and no room for the VSM rears. The M&K speakers are well made, a bit bright and I had them for years being used as a 2.1 system in my home office. I never liked the overall sound, so they were moved to rears in the living room.

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  • 11 months later...

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