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Thread: SDA Surprise!

  1. #1

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    Default SDA Surprise!

    Has anyone else found that the SDA's are not always the best option for HT front mains? I have a set of SRS's at my house and a set of SDA 2's at my apt. that are part of an HT set up. I thought the SDA 2's were great in the HT setup, until I found a set of slightly used RTi70's at a garage sale for an incredible price and brought them home. I know the SDA's are finicky on placement, but I have had both the SDA 2's and the SRS's since they were new, and know about how to place them in a room. When I switched back and forth from the RTi70's to the SDA 2's, the SDA's always seemed overpowering, while the RTi70's seem to blend in and not really stand out, but compliment the rest of the system. The rest of the system is:

    Yamaha HTR5660 - driving the all speakers except the SDA's
    Yamaha AX-900U - used to power the SDA 2's
    Polk RTi70
    Polk CSi40 - front center
    Polk RTi38 - rear surround
    Polk CSi30 - rear surround

    When listening to music, there is no comparison, the SDA's blow the RTi70's away!
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  2. #2

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    Default

    They weren't really designed for HT, were they? (not trying to be a smart ass)

    The 70's were designed to go with the other speakers in your set up, timbre matched. I bet it does sound good!
    I smell ass, burning ass, glowing cherry red spanked ass.

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    Ed Zachary
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  4. #4

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    amulford - You make a good point! I just never really realized how much difference there would be. I read all the posts discussing timbre matching, and just never realized the importance of it. Prior to taking the plunge into full HT, I had just ran the audio from the TV, VCR, or DVD into my amps (Yamaha C2/M2x2 for the SRS's and the Yamaha AX900U for the SDA's) into my speakers, and it sounded pretty good, but nothing like the whole surround sound experience. Now I keep the SRS's at my place on my farm in IA, and I have the SDA's and the HT at my apt. in IL. Nice to be able to crank up the SRS's with a good CD and not have any neighbors complain!

    The sad thing is I never would have discovered the difference if it weren't for a noticing a pair of tower speakers at a garage sale that turned out to be the RTi70's at the bargain price of $50 for the pair. Offered them $35 and they took it! Only a couple of minor scratches on the back of one speaker, the other has a scratch on the base.
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  5. #5

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    Default

    I have heard others on this forum complain that SDA don't always match up with other speakers, particularly the center channel, as much as they would like. I suppose those with the skills to hear these subtle differences that is the burden they have to bear.
    Perhaps because I don't have a trained ear, I have not noticed any problems between my SDA-1Cs and my CS400is and f/x500is.

    However, even conceding this timbre matching point, don't you think the SDAs have superior imaging when compared to conventional speakers, including the RTs? It never ceases to amaze me on those occasions when I hear sounds projected outside the boundaries of my home theater's walls. Can the RTs produce sounds that seem to come from a point beyond the speaker spacing?

    Although its true that the original SDAs were not designed for home theater, wouldn't this imaging characteristic make them a natural for home theater? How about the mother of all SDAs, the SRTs, didn't Matt Polk design them for home theater?

    I'm not doubting your observations regarding matching, I'm just suggesting that the SDAs have other characteristic that might make them good performers in a home theater.

    Larry
    Last edited by Larry Chanin; 05-07-2004 at 01:20 PM.

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    Larry - those were my thoughts exactly prior to adding the RTi70's! Because I them set up so I can easily switch between the SDA's and the RT's I have been doing additional comparisons. All your points about the SDA's are valid. Their soundstage and imaging are awesome. What seems to happen is that they overpower everything else. Maybe it's because I have a smaller room (16x18 ft.)? When using the SDA's they seem to take over and you don't get as much of a balanced surround sound effect. With the RT's I get much more presence from my front and rear center channels and my rear surrounds, although I do give up some bass. The SDA bass combined with my sub-woofer is pretty awesome.

    Now the really good news. Using both the RT's and the SDA's, with the volume on the SDA's turned way down, look out! The SDA's, even though barely audible, seem to fill out the soundstage and add a huge amount of presence, while not being overpowering. Probably overkill on the chick flicks, but for Master & Commander, someone bring the tools because I'm sure the cannon ball actually went thru my living room!
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

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    I'm curious how are you balancing your speaker levels? Are you going by ear, or are you using a sound pressure meter to calibrate your levels?

    Larry

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    the RTi70/RT800i have been a fave in here for years. now you know why. ;) you just can't go wrong with using RTi70's for fronts. their mid range is better than alot of others out there
    PolkFest 2012, who's going>?
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    Larry - I suppose you're going to tell me I need to get more scientific! I balance them by ear.
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

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    Hi dkg,

    No doubt there are a few folks whose ears are sensitive enough and trained enough to balance the SPL levels of their speakers without scientific aids. I'm certainly not one of them. ;)

    Ultimately the listening experience is all about how YOUR ears perceive the sound. So even if you were to use an SPL meter your ears still have the final say in what you consider enjoyable.

    However, as I understand it you need a 3dB or so change in SPL levels for the average person to even perceive any difference whatsoever. Therefore, although differences in timbre matching might contribute to what you are hearing, without first knowing conclusively that your speaker levels are balanced, its hard to reach any firm conclusions of the overall suitability of one speaker over the other for a home theater application.

    Larry

  11. #11

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    Default SDA-3000's

    I'm using RT3000P's as the fronts in my HT system. However, after leaving the Parasound P/PS 1500 (AV Processor/Preamp.) the signal goes through a Caver C-9. (Sonic Hologram Generator) This way I can switch back and forth between SDA or not. I like it both ways but leave the system set for SDA which I prefer.

    Different strokes kinda thing I guess.
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  12. #12

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    At first I was pleasantly surprised to see Larry Chanin on this thread. Now I'm double surprised. Welcome back Bob, it's been awhile.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    Default GEORGE !

    Hi my friend. It has been a while. Perhaps too long...

    At any rate, I think that's why I'm a bit suprised myself but I had to check in and see what was up. It's great to see all the familiar names here. I really should check in more often then I have.

    BTW: Be on the lookout for something headed your way. I'll let you know more...
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  14. #14

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    Originally posted by George Grand
    At first I was pleasantly surprised to see Larry Chanin on this thread.
    Hi George,

    It's nice being back and I appreciate the welcome.

    Regards,

    Larry

  15. #15

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    It really is great to see old heads back and posting.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    Wow! I'm in a time warp here. It is 1 AM and all of a sudden it feels like the mid 1990's again on the site. Nice to see all the names!
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

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  17. #17
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    dkg999,
    SDA's offer some special HT calibration challenges owed to the fact that during the main L or R ch test tone(s), the SDA drivers in the opposite speaker are involved.

    Once dialed in though, as Larry indicated, the blending with the surround ch's is better than standard 2 ch mains... IMO.
    More later,
    Tour...
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    Rebuilding Maggie 2-ch & Amazing 2-ch... Building 2-ch "wall"... Figuring out the HT

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    Default MAX !

    Good to see you here Chuck!
    Time warp? I'd say, sure looks like it.

    Hi Larry!

    You guys still in SDA site?
    I know, I know, go look through the members list...
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  19. #19

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    SDA speakers + Home Theatre + SPL meter = FRICKIN AWESOME

    The side soundstage, and the transition from left to center to right is outstanding. There just isnt a comparison.

  20. #20

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    Default Re: MAX !

    Originally posted by BobMcG
    Good to see you here Chuck!
    Time warp? I'd say, sure looks like it.

    Hi Larry!

    You guys still in SDA site?
    I know, I know, go look through the members list...
    Hi Bob,

    Yes, your SDA site still has the best collection of SDA information available anywhere. How's your brother doing?

    Larry

  21. #21

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    Default Good to hear from you Larry!

    It's good to see there are still a lot of members in the club (80). I guess I don't have to tell you I haven't be there much in the last couple of years. I answered a few qustions but sent personal emails.

    Mike is fine, thanks for asking. He's been keeping very busy building up the computer business (BlueLine Technologies) we started close to two years ago. It's doing fine and growing all the time. I don't think Mike has been around the audio scene much in a while either.
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

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