Mind Blown - turning in audiophile card for a Theater (!?) sound system

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
Oooo. @jblnut I have questions! Firstly, is it line level or is it bumped like most pro equipment. Also, how did you integrate it into your system?
 
It's line level and I inserted it into the chain between my preamp and my amps. I use all XLR balanced cables anyway so it was easy. I have been using the older PA + for years as a sub xover but that was on a second output. This time I put the 360 in between the C1000 and the 501's so it could work on the EQ to my mains as well as the sub. I've never had better sub integration than I have now and it found a lot of peaks and valleys to correct in my (untreated) room. I am going to run through the auto eq again tonight as I realize I didn't put the mic in the correct measurement positions according to their instructions.

I had done this with the PA + a decade ago and I could just "hear" it in the chain. Now (when bypassed) with the 360 I cannot. I believe the PA+ was 24/44 and the 360 is 24/96. It's silent, and transparent - and the iPad app is cool as hell! I love being able to play with the sub crossover slopes, parametric and graphic eq slopes, etc right from my couch. It's 1/10 the cost of the McIntosh MEN220 that I always wanted to play with, and that had no remote interface.
 
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S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member

Specifications​


Input(3) analog line inputs/(2) AES digital inputs (shared connectors), (1) RTA mic input
Input Connectors(3) female XLRs (2 selectable between analog/AES digital audio formats), (1) female XLR RTA mic input
Input TypeElectronically balanced/RF filtered
Input Impedance> 30 kΩ, balanced line to line
Max Input Level (line inputs)> +28 dBu, balanced, ≤1% THD
CMRR> 50 dB @ 1 kHz
RTA Mic Preamp Phantom Power+48 VDC
Output(6) Line Outputs
Output ConnectorsMale XLR
Output TypeElectronically balanced, RF filtered
Output Impedance120 Ω, balanced line to line
Max Output Level+22 dBu, balanced, ≤1% THD
Alignment DelayUp to 1000 ms per output channel
A/D Converter24-bit with dbx Type IV™ Conversion System
A/D Dynamic Range117 dB A-weighted, 114 dB unweighted, 22 kHz BW
Type IV Dynamic Range129 dB with transient material, A-weighted, 22 kHz BW; 126 dB with transient material, unweighted, 22 kHz BW; 121 dB typical with program material, A-weighted, 22 kHz BW
D/A Converter24-bit
D/A Dynamic Range116 dB A-weighted, 113 dB unweighted, 22 kHz BW
Internal Processing Wordlength32-bit floating point
Supported Sample Rates48/96 kHz (32-192 kHz using sample rate conversion)
System Performance Dynamic Range114 dB A-weighted; 110 dB unweighted
THD+Noise0.0025% typical at +4 dBu, 1 kHz, 0 dB input gain
Frequency Response20 Hz – 20 kHz, +0 /- 0.5 dB
Interchannel Crosstalk< -97 dB, -105 dB typical 20-20 kHz, +4 dBu, all channels measured
LatencyAnalog input to output: 2.57 ms (48 kHz), 2.28 ms (96 kHz); Digital AES input to output: 2.31 (48 kHz), 2.15 ms (96 kHz)
Operating Voltage100-240 VAC 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption18 W
Unit Weight5.48 lbs. (2.49 kg)
Shipping Weight7.10 lbs. (3.22 kg)
Dimensions1.75” (H) x 8.0” (D) x 19” (W), 4.4cm (H) x 20.32cm (D) x 48.26cm (W)
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
This appears to be a more affordable version of what I had hoped the new DSpeaker X4 ended up as. I am seriously interested but cautious. Glad you are liking it. There was a thread over on ASR about it. But I don’t venture there much these days.
 
It's definitely Pro gear (+4 db) but it seems to have no issue with my consumer (-10db) gear. It never makes any noises whatsoever (pops, clicks, hums) and it goes into a protective mute mode whenever you are in the auto tuning wizards. I was nervous about anything directly connected to 500 watt amps, but it has behaved like a champ.

For half the cost, the PA2 looks like a good bet too if you don't want direct digital in. I almost bought one and then this 360 popped up on CL. So many pro sound guys are dumping their rigs now because covid just killed the live sound market. There are tons of both units available now both online and on CL.
 
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S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
This would work for me as I use one of my line outs to feed pro bump boxes for my Benchmark studio meters. A ridiculous little luxury for what is essentially bouncing meters. This would at least render that setup functional. Last question at the moment, does it have bypass capability?
 
I guess that depends on your definition of "bypass". All of the filters can be disabled one by one in the app or the UI on the front panel. But if you're looking for something like a relay "click' for a total analog bypass of the DA/AD I am not sure if that's possible.
 
I went through the same thing. I had an MCS system that we bought when we first were married in 79. These came up for sale at a local garage sale for pennies and replaced the MCS.

Voice of the theater with 515 woofers, 1505 horns with 2 288 CDs on each horn, and a Beyma tweeter between the cab and horn.

Ruined my life for ever. 👍😁👍

IMG_0520.jpg
 
I went through the same thing. I had an MCS system that we bought when we first were married in 79. These came up for sale at a local garage sale for pennies and replaced the MCS.

Voice of the theater with 515 woofers, 1505 horns with 2 288 CDs on each horn, and a Beyma tweeter between the cab and horn.

Ruined my life for ever. 👍😁👍

View attachment 31846
Killer set up with the 1505s!
Are you using 8 ohm crossovers since you have 2) 288 per?
I'm looking for 16ohm super tweeters but assume your beymas are 8
 
Killer set up with the 1505s!
Are you using 8 ohm crossovers since you have 2) 288 per?
I'm looking for 16ohm super tweeters but assume your beymas are 8
I forgot how I set it up. It's been awhile. I started chasing high quality and all along it was right in front of me.
 
Looking at the picture close brought it back to me. A Crown 150 drove the woofers, a 300B tube amp drove the horns, and a T amp drove the tweeters. All through a 3 way active crossover.
 
Then we started playing music....holy !@##$$#@

Over the next 4 hours we tweaked eq and xover settings until we had it "there". Then we proceeded to throw music at it, trying to see if there was anything it couldn't do. We failed. We broke out into belly laughs so many times our sides hurt. This was A M A Z I N G audio reproduction, with crappy cables, background hiss and looks that even the most tolerant wife would laugh out of the living room. Yet there we were...seriously rethinking many of our recent speaker and gear choices.

You probably don't believe me and that's OK. But those that might own large Altecs or other pro-level horn systems know what I am talking about here. The sense of dynamics and sheer impact (I have NEVER heard a kick drum hit like these do) just totally blows away any "tall skinny audiophile" speaker I've ever heard. And I'll put my Salon 2's on that list as well.

I'm ruined. I need therapy. Can I get an AMEN ?
Heartfelt amen! As this thread demonstrates, it requires religious terminology to convey the nature of the experience. For years I thought my Klipsch Forte 1s were getting me there. But as I read forum discussions it slowly it seeped into my consciousness that there was more impact to be had from something more like Cornscalas with larger woofers and a broad baffle (or horn loading) to facilitate "wave launch", and sweeter MR horns worthy of a lower crossover frequency. (IMO the greatest weakness of 3-way Klipsches is their MR horn lenses.) Long story short, I now enjoy (to put it mildly) TOA 380SE 3-way "mains", but with larger add-on MR radial horns and University alnico comp drivers, and an 18" B&C pro cinema sub, all DSP multiamped. After tweaking, the sound is simply glorious and at times overwhelming. A few days ago I dusted off and played the venerable Antal Dorati Detroit Symphony 1981 recording of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and words fail me... a menacing and borderline dangerous listening experience! Now I need to repackage all the drivers in bigger baffles/boxes, but in the meantime I can't keep my ears off them. And I can barely listen to first-rate recordings on my Fortes now, knowing how they really should sound and feel.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
This all reminds me of a review I read in one of the magazines, either Absolute Sound or Stereophile, for the very large Cerwin Vega CLS-215 from several years back. They were basically shocked to hear the scale of sound they put out, that that scale was, in a way, as effective as the usual audiophile cliches at conveying the sense of real music being in a room and that in some ways it was actually better. They were also surprised just overall by how good they sounded, expected more a PA-sound (which brings up another thing... there's a lot of good theater and live-sound speakers now, that don't sound at all like the ones of olden times).

This reminds me, part two, of sitting in the IMAX theater in Chicago during a pretty forgettable Ridley Scott film that had a moment in it where there was a piano playing in a hall with a few instruments over outer space imagery, and I was taken by how much more lifelike and "exactly like the moment" that it sounded than any super-expensive audiophile system I'd heard. Not that IMAX setups aren't expensive, they're VERY expensive and have full, holographic, ATMOS surround ... but it did make me wonder if I was really worried about ANY of the right things.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
This all reminds me of a review I read in one of the magazines, either Absolute Sound or Stereophile, for the very large Cerwin Vega CLS-215 from several years back. They were basically shocked to hear the scale of sound they put out, that that scale was, in a way, as effective as the usual audiophile cliches at conveying the sense of real music being in a room and that in some ways it was actually better. They were also surprised just overall by how good they sounded, expected more a PA-sound (which brings up another thing... there's a lot of good theater and live-sound speakers now, that don't sound at all like the ones of olden times).
I’m in awe of how full and realistic a properly executed modern stand-mount can sound, and I can play with models all day long and show you how to get gob-smacking bass out of the right 5.25” woofer. I am not a Luddite. But I feel like people who gravitate that direction - default audiophila - seldom acknowledge the catastrophic compromise they’re making.

I know that’s a gross oversimplification, and even if it weren’t, “with subs all things are possible.”

But I’m not convinced the old farts on your least-favorite FB audio group aren’t right: there’s no replacement for displacement. An adequately-sized moving membrane, by my reckoning, starts at about a 12” cone. I kind of wish I didn’t feel that way.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I’m in awe of how full and realistic a properly executed modern stand-mount can sound, and I can play with models all day long and show you how to get gob-smacking bass out of the right 5.25” woofer. I am not a Luddite. But I feel like people who gravitate that direction - default audiophila - seldom acknowledge the catastrophic compromise they’re making.

I know that’s a gross oversimplification, and even if it weren’t, “with subs all things are possible.”

But I’m not convinced the old farts on your least-favorite FB audio group aren’t right: there’s no replacement for displacement. An adequately-sized moving membrane, by my reckoning, starts at about a 12” cone. I kind of wish I didn’t feel that way.
I think part of it is just being aware of what you're missing. I like many standmounts, and I love how they image. They're coherent, all that stuff. But then I'll here something like a large format speaker, well done, and it just makes me realize that I'm missing something with what I have..which is fine, my room is a compromise, fitting things in my home is a compromise, I don't want to look at giant speakers all day and in regards to the big CVs, they're just plain ugly.

I'm shocked at how much bass comes out of my relatively small JBL L82s. They're half the size of my Harbeths and have more oomph. But even then, its not full-scale. But I'm ok with it, even knowing that it isn't. They do enough for me to prefer them in this particular space. But if I had a BIGGER space...
 
But I’m not convinced the old farts on your least-favorite FB audio group aren’t right: there’s no replacement for displacement. An adequately-sized moving membrane, by my reckoning, starts at about a 12” cone. I kind of wish I didn’t feel that way.
Well, "there's no replacement for displacement" is only sort of true, though admittedly a catchy rhyme. It's really radiating area that counts most. Many a car system gets massive bass from a relatively small subwoofer with extreme linear displacement, but that works well only because in a small space the bass never gets to be a wave, it just cyclically pressurizes the space. So wave launch is out of the picture. In larger spaces a smallish woofer disperses a wide, weak bass wavefront and really needs nearby boundaries to concentrate the energy in the listener's direction, but this probably smears transients somewhat unless the boundaries are really close-in, approaching a wave guide situation. High SPL from small cone excursion is the key to large scale low distortion sound, IMO, requiring a large driver or large horn mouth.
 
Fantastic thread, and an exciting read.

Did I read correctly you’re running 500wpc into these?

I’m not familiar with the different Altec/JBL pieces, so I’m unaware of the age of these. Are they vintage pieces? Modern theater? What time period?

What initially powered them? Do you think they would work well on tube amplification? And if so, would you need something like a push pull amp, or do you think a set amp would be adequate? I’d be curious as to how scale and dynamics would be affected.

Anyhow, a big speaker like this can provide an effortless, easy breathing and unconstrained sound as you’ve discovered, which obviously is translating well in their room.
 
We are currently using an 8 channel x 50 watt amp (traditional class AB) to power these (only 4 channels are used currently) so both the top and bottoms of each speaker get 50 watts (edit - the horns are 16 ohm so they see 25). At over 100db of efficiency, it's more than plenty. I do feel that a tube amp will end up here on the horns for sure and I think even an SET would work just fine.

These are about 15 years old from what I can tell, so not exactly vintage, but no longer available new either. They seem to be flying totally under the radar as there are very few folks posting about them on the various forums. Perhaps this thread will change that :-).

The previous owner had everything running through a PC as the pre/DAC, and some class D amp for both highs and lows. It did not sound anything like it does now, but there was enough goodness there for me to hear the potential. The all analog signal chain after the DAC we have now - noisy as it is - just walks all over what I heard at the seller's house.

Speaking of potential, there is still a LOT left here I think. The upstream gear (pre, DAC, Phono pre) are all very, very good. But we're still using some old crossover, EQ and amp components and none of it would remotely qualify as audiophile gear. Yet the end result speaks for itself. It just sounds so damn good as it is that there is no real urgency to start throwing money at upgrading those components.

I will post here as/if that changes over time. For now, I look forward to every visit over to Taylor Player's place to hear them !
 
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As I reread this thread, it occurs to me that good smaller speakers provide a listening experience akin to dining at a French restaurant... the flavors are amazing, but the portion sizes leave much to be desired, satisfying the tongue but not the tummy.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
As I reread this thread, it occurs to me that good smaller speakers provide a listening experience akin to dining at a French restaurant... the flavors are amazing, but the portion sizes leave much to be desired, satisfying the tongue but not the tummy.
The trick is to avoid the experience of dining at Claim Jumper, this chain they had in California that had truly gigantic portions of extremely mediocre and often bad bland food. Happily this thread seems more like a Gibson's Steak House meal. Yum and lots of it.
 
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