AudiophileFilter: Building a 7.1 monitoring system in a seminar room, for very discerning listeners. My question is mostly about powered monitor speakers, and it's long.
I'm charged with designing a 7.1 surround audio (and video) system for a large seminar room. The room is approximately 35 x 15 feet, so about 500 square feet, with carpet, a dropped acoustic tile ceiling (still high, about 10 feet), and two large recessed windows. Its walls are treated with soundproofing material, but it's not especially good or absorbent and there are a lot of hard surfaces due to whiteboards and windows.
It gets more complicated: the users of this room include mostly musicians and composers. Very close analytical listening to new experimental music is a common activity in the room, and listening closely to classical music is a norm when the room is used for classes and talks. Sometimes world and pop musics as well. Movies are watched in classes and talks as well. Many of our visitors who speak in this room come from Europe or Asia.
We need a system that can handle nearly any format, region, encoding, etc. of DVD video *and* audio, all extant surround formats, with extremely fine and flat audio quality. (Video quality is less of an issue.)
My composer friends, especially, want a 7.1 surround system in the room, capable of playing Dolby, DTS, Audio DVD, SACD, Blu-Ray DVDs encoded for region 1 or 2, HDMI input, etc. My question is, do you think I could do better than the following rig for around the same price (up to about $7000, but every dollar I can save can be used for other urgent things, including a new projector) given these constraints? (I am also somewhat limited: everything I buy has to be available from one of our vendors, so B&H is king.)
My main question is about the speakers. I don't have the luxury of doing a lot of listening or trying things out. But I want to use 7 matched powered nearfield monitors with a lot of juice, plus a sub. After reading reviews, I've become really interested in the JBL LSR series, specifically the LSR4326, which comes in a 5.1 package
with an LSR4312 subwoofer for 3500, plus another 1000 for another pair of 4326s to make 7.1. The sub is 400w, 12" and also LSR.
These monitors drive a 6.25 woofer and a 1" Neo tweeter with 150 and 70 watts respectively. They appear to be *highly* room tunable, in sophisticated ways, including self-adjusting or full manual control or software control. They include a room calibration kit and a remote control. Reviews rave about their response and tonal balance, in a "JBL is back" tone.
A cheaper option is the JBL LSR2328,
which has an 8" woofer, less power (165w total, 95/70), and at $350 a pair, ultimately save me about 1200-1500 bucks by comparison with the 4326s, even including a 300w sub. I'd lose the remote control and the sophisticated room calibration tools. On the other hand, these speakers just got a total rave review
from Bobby Frasier in Mix magazine.
So has anyone used JBL LSRs with the calibration tools? Any thoughts on how useful it was to have these tools? I think in terms of power the 2328s are going to be more than enough.
The other gear in the rack, if you have any comments:
Denon (DJ) 7.1 surround preamplifier.
Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD universal Blu-Ray player
(nothing seems to play more formats than this) -- $700
Plus power conditioning and stereo playback gear.
Bottom line, I'm looking for feedback mostly on the JBL options (unless you know either Denon or CA decks and want to warn me off one of them or tell me of a better option for either purpose).
Bonus question: this system will deserve a new projector. Anyone want to recommend a projector that costs under $2000 that is *awesome* for watching movies?