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So I had some Onix gear laying around. . .

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  • So I had some Onix gear laying around. . .

    The cold is starting to set in a little and I'm starting to get back to tinkering with my stereo. . . :D

    I have two pairs of minis still stacked in a back bedroom, an XCD-99, and an A120mkII amp that I got a while back that I had yet to turn on. A couple nights ago I had a few free hours and was starting to get back to cleaning the house. I figured I could waste a little time tinkering, so I just threw together a 2-channel setup in that back room with whatever junk cabling I could scrounge up in five minutes or less. Please keep in mind, I didn't really put any thought in to calibration or setup; just plugged everything in, eyeballed speaker placement, and left the bass controls on the minis at wherever they were when they were pulled from the last system. Also keep in mind the room kind of sucks - 10x15x7.5, no treatments, placed along the short wall, and there are enough reflections in the highs that the room rings like a bell. . .

    I had never heard the minis blow me away like they did that night.

    All that said, and I could only listen for a little at a time because the reflections in the highs were tiring my ears out, I thought I had it pretty good before with the minis driven with my Outlaw 990/770, but this combo just had dynamics, detail, and extension I'd never heard the minis put out. In its stock form, I'm not sure if the A120 is the right amp for the minis (sounds a little bright/cold for my particular tastes), but this little experiment really got me thinking again about all this gear.

    I don't know really where to start with this conversation/thread. . .

    The difference in rooms - I really need to drag all this gear into the main room, gut the current system in place (!), and see where its at. I know that setting up the room right would do that much more for me (no matter what room I put gear in), but focusing on the gear right now, I could tell there was just so much "more" music on tap with this setup. . . this is really all just a wake up call that there seems to be something (pretty big) I'm missing out on right now from the gear I've basically had shoved in a closet. . .

    The difference in amps - okay, I can follow the more power is better train (found that out moving from the receiver to the separates), but there is something else going on here. Am I hearing a difference in quality of internal components here (not so sure this would be as dramatic) or is this the difference current on tap can create, or is there something else I'm missing???

    I knew the DAC in the CD player was pretty good, but is the 990 really holding that much back in 2-channel (I had the cdp set up as a transport via coax to the 990 prior)? Makes me even more intrigued by the Underwood mods for the cdp and amp - maybe just me now seeing the potential I knew was there when I was shopping for the gear but hadn't heard yet.

    I know there is a lot more where this came from, but I took the day off and figured I'd write a little bit as I've been out of the loop for a while. I think I'm going to be busy for a while sorting all this stuff out. . . :)

  • #2
    I wish I had things stashed in a back bedroom like those :D

    What's in your main setup right now besides the Outlaw stuff?
    PhenomeNhan Audio Video

    Your authorized ONIX dealer for the Great States of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.!
    [email protected]


    • #3
      I didn't think Mini's played big enough when they were in my main system, but they sound great in my bedroom. When I sit at the foot of the bed they are less than 5' away and I'm surprised that they present the soundstage they do at such close distance. System consists of the Mini's, a Duet, and a 80W Unison Unico integrated.
      2.1-Ch. Subsystem: SBTouch→NEKO D100→W4S-STP-SE→Bryston 10B-Sub Xover→W4S-ST-1000, LS 6, Anti-Mode 8033s, Submersive HP


      • #4
        I much prefer the Virtue Two amp with my Minis than my Outlaw 7100.


        • #5
          Michael, your thoughts reflect exactly what I got from the minis last I played around with them. I was really taken back by the "wall of sound" the minis threw at me in the smaller space. . . still need to make time to get them back out into the (slightly) bigger room. Actually, what's kind of funny, is the way the main room is set up, I sit just a little less near-field from my mains as you do in your bedroom, but they still didn't have the impact I just got in the little room from when they were set up in the big one (note the "big room" is only 16x22x7.5, and I can only use about 16x17 of it for the system as a short closet wall sticks out into the end of the room and harshes my mellow. . .). Oh, and I'm even more jealous of your awesome piano BEM setup - now with even beefier HR-ed UFW12s on the horizon! If I only had the space for LSes. . .

          Switching gears (a little), has anyone tried any of the nicer class-D amps with the minis (d-sonic, Wyred4sound)?

          Nhan, don't laugh, but the current rig is AV123 ELT525 towers x 6 and a matching center that is currently (still!) in pieces in the middle of a no-rez/crossover upgrade, all running off my mac mini as source through the outlaw stack, and a pair of GR-driver Rythmik subs.

          The ELT setup sounds very nice, no doubt (and is a pretty good fit for the space). Thinking back on it, there was just something "right" about the system when I had the minis all around that I'm trying to figure out. Maybe it was the full-range surrounds that did it? Maybe how the minis threw out the surround sound field? In any case, it has been so long that I all but forgot how the minis sounded. So far, it has been fun "rediscovering" them.


          • #6
            Yea, it's a shame to use the ELTs in place of the Minis. The minis definitely is more clear and puts out a wider soundstage, as well as provides better 3-D imaging. It did well in an HT setup for me before my LS6s arrived :)
            PhenomeNhan Audio Video

            Your authorized ONIX dealer for the Great States of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.!
            [email protected]


            • #7
              Yeah, the ELT setup was mainly put in place to save some space over the real estate the minis took up and to cut down on the number of amps running at any given time (trying to go green, you know :D). I wonder if the mini's plate amp could be swapped out for a digital one. . .?

              Anyway, I got two minis moved back into the room yesterday, but I had to take a break. . . pulled something in my back moving the first one; not bad at all, but better to be safe than spend toy $$ on a medical bill.

              Maybe I should look into getting one of those wife-things; can they be used to move speakers around? :no clue:


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jonathon Janusz

                Maybe I should look into getting one of those wife-things; can they be used to move speakers around? :no clue:
                You mean one of these?:

                PhenomeNhan Audio Video

                Your authorized ONIX dealer for the Great States of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.!
                [email protected]


                • #9

                  I did prove tonight that I was paying attention in physics class. . . :)

                  1) find random fluffy bath towel
                  2) place heavy object (speaker) on said towel
                  3) use towel to pull heavy object around house (heavy object keeps towel between itself and floor)
                  4) begin process of tweaking system/speaker placement because the notes from last time are long gone. . . :boxer:


                  • #10
                    The difference 1dB makes:

                    I spent some time with an SPL meter and the measuring dolphin, and set about starting to dial in the minis across the front. I've got the sides placed pretty much where they have to be, considering the room and space I've got to work with; I basically just matched them up with where they were in the original 6.0 setup.

                    The fronts I've now got down to an inch or so placement wide or narrow and maybe a little toe-in (I can't for the life of me remember how they were set up the first time, and of course finding my notes is a lost cause. . .). I haven't started pulling them out further into the room, as their low drivers aren't being used right now and, again, I can't remember if I pulled them a lot closer than the last speakers I used. I've got the fronts crossed at 80Hz to the subs and the backs crossed at 40Hz.

                    The reason I don't have the fronts crossed low right now is because basically I ran out of outlets. I've got my display, mac mini, dsl modem, a printer, and a phone plugged into a surge protector, the subs and amp plugged direct, and only two wall outlets (four plugs total) to work with. I now really need to get past this whole power problem. Any suggestions on the surge protector front? I'm thinking I would need two of them, and they need to be able to feed a sub, a mini, and they'll split duty for the electronics on one and the main amp on another. I'm not a big fan of Monster branded equipment, and the Belkin units got mixed reviews for sound quality, current throughput, and surge protection if I remember right last time I was looking into it. . .

                    So, back to the beginning. I matched everything on the SPL meter and found something kind of interesting. If I run the system level matched correctly, my mid bass has a little extra punch but doesn't have a lot of "body" or "weight", if that makes any sense. It sounds quick and great with guitar, but drums are left a little lacking. Now, if I drop the fronts 1dB below the rest of the system, the mid bass loses a little impact (actually sounds closer to what I remember of the minis; the extra punch I got with the first settings was a pleasant surprise), but drums come back and become a lot more articulate and have more rich, life-like sound. Watching movies, the lows get maybe a little more texture (a lot of times I couldn't really tell a difference), but the whole presentation loses a bit of "slam"; it sounds like you moved a few rows back in the theater from having it all level matched according to the meter.

                    I've got the fronts set 1dB low right now, and I'm not sure which I like better, but I thought others might be interested to read a bit about for me, in this system, in this room, what a noticeable difference 1dB makes. :)


                    • #11
                      For a few months I had thought the hearing in one of my ears had gone off because I was hearing one side louder than the other. Turns out one of my computer speakers was an inch farther away than the other. :p
                      Wes Miaw, Neko Audio LLC


                      • #12
                        After a (very) long weekend and some time to tinker, the saga continues. . . :D

                        I pulled the fronts about half a foot further into the room than they started. I also took the time with my room CAD file to measure placement down to the inch. (Incidentally, I discovered that my display has been off center to the right by about an inch for the last two years!) I've now got a 9' spread between the speakers and 8' from the sweet spot to the front wall, putting the point of an equilateral triangle made by the speakers 1' behind my head.

                        I also took the time to try something new. When I had the minis set up 6.0, the sides were at 90-degrees, and the rears were at 160-degrees-ish, kind of a compromise between dolby and THX layouts. Last I posted about this setup, I set the surrounds (only 4.0 this time) up where the side surrounds were in the original setup. Sounded fine, but I was missing the fill I was used to having in the back from the extra two speakers.

                        Now, I've got the surrounds placed to mirror the fronts, with the distance between the sweet spot to and imaginary "back wall" at 7' (1' less than the fronts, puts the point of the triangle in front of my head). A little quick work with the SPL meter and. . .

                        The side surround effects in movies are not quite as in your face as they were with the 6.0 setup, but side pans are very good and the rear fill is back. What most amazed me, though, is what happened to the front stage (in particular playing music in PLII-music mode). The minis (just two, mind, no center) are creating the wall of sound I discovered in the smaller room, and the soundstage is a lot deeper and wider than I remember it being with either the 7.0 setup I had in the room before or the 6.0 with the minis. I think the side surrounds before (although doing what they were supposed to do) were actually cutting off the soundstage and confining it to the size of the room before. I liked the directional effects from using the direct radiating speakers all around, but somehow this setup just feels more "right". . . and a lot bigger in scope!

                        Where the last time I posted the minis in the front filled the room well, as they were placed they still presented the music as if you were in the back third of the concert hall. Now, I've got a seat about a third of the way in and it sounds pretty darn good. :)

                        I'm also thinking (again) about treatments, and I've been reading a lot lately about what seems to be a trend moving away from absorption and more into diffusion. I think the way my room is working with the minis right now that I like this idea - I think they need a little help on the top end to "play bigger", and I've got enough openings in the room to not be overloading the bass, so I think down the road I'm going to start small with some diffusion on the front wall and go from there. Not so much reshaping my room acoustically, but more like polishing the rough edges, if that makes any sense.

                        . . . and all of this started as I was poking around online and read this article:

                        The acoustic behavior of rooms at different frequencies. The loudspeaker's polar radiation pattern determines its interaction with the room and the accuracy of sound reproduction. Reverberation time as most important parameter for a room's acoustic behavior.

                        In particular, what caught my attention was the discussion about the differences in setup between Orion (dipole) and Pluto (monopole). I read the little paragraphs, looked at the rough measurements listed for the hypothetical rooms, and said to myself, "Hey, I can get pretty close to that; why not give it a shot?"