Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!

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Brian Walsh

Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #60 on: 25 Aug 2014, 09:28 pm »
Not yet dialed in but sounding so sweet nonetheless!

Open house here at Essential Audio this coming Saturday, August 30th, all afternoon. Other times by appointment.
Call me (773-809-4434) or email me (brian at essentialaudio dot com) for info.

Top to bottom: Kuzma Stabi S/Stogi S, Atma-Sphere UltraViolet preamp and iFi Micro iDSD DAC, AMR CD-777 CD player, and Aurender X100L music server. Atma-Sphere M-60 OTL amps, AudioKinesis Zephrin 46 speakers.


ttan98

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Re: Similar design to Zephrin 46!
« Reply #61 on: 12 Sep 2014, 11:56 pm »
Hi,

I find the Zephrin design very interesting, I must admit I have not read through all the technical explanations/details of this speakers configuration. On face value it has a lot of merits and sound stage could have come from the rear speakers as well, making the sound stage even bigger.

By accident I came across this design, these speakers come from Linn, see attachment, the speakers configuration is very similar to the Zephrin. I think the detail design and implementation are very different. I thought some of you may be interested in this design can go to this site:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/192988-linn-isobarik-pms-clone-21st-century.html


 

James Romeyn

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #62 on: 13 Sep 2014, 12:37 am »
I wanted to let readers know that Duke and I agree that cloudbaseracer's non-symmetrical ceiling height (L vs. R channels) would likely improve performance because it would tend to increase decorrelation between LCS and on-axis signals.

Thanks for mentioning the good ole Linn Isobarik speaker!  Heard them years ago at the home of then-first cellist of the San Francisco Ballet, Thalia Moore, a very sweet lady. 

Differences in reverberant field qualities, LCS vs. Linn Isobarik DMS loudspeaker:

LCS is full range while DMS is mid/treble only (Toole specifies ideal is full range)
DMS delay with 8' ceiling about half Geddes' specified 10ms minimum (LCS delay >10ms)
DMS has significant off-axis energy delayed only 1ms which the ear perceives as distortion (almost no off-axis direct energy from LCS to listener)
DMS lacks decorrelation (LCS energy is largely decorrelated from on-axis signal)

Separate from reverberant field differences:
LCS maximizes boundary effects for bass power and cutoff
DMS lacks 3D bass mode damping feature

DMS sensitivity is moderately low, and I can only presume it has difficult phase angle.  A 10-12W amp never clipped at Newport THE Show driving Zephrin 46. 
« Last Edit: 15 Sep 2014, 10:04 pm by James Romeyn »

James Romeyn

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #63 on: 15 Sep 2014, 10:41 pm »
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-xLO3m2zDVwH/brands/dolby-atmos.aspx

Dolby announced Atmos for commercial theaters about the same time we settled on LCS architecture, Spring 2012.  ETA for Atmos-encoded BD is late Fall 2014.  I presume "Atmos" is short for and derived from "atmosphere." 

Atmos uses ceiling reflections or ceiling source energy to replicate spatial qualities associated with LCS.  The primary difference is Atmos' raison d'etre is to improve HT effects, with no regard for music.  Atmos requires huge quantity DSP and 11 speakers or more, each speaker with separate power amp channel and attendant wiring.   

Atmos is only available with a consumer receiver, strictly non-audiophile speakers, and apparent primary concern is properly locating a jet (see image in the link) or other object overhead of the HT viewer.  Improving musical performance seems to be the last thing on Dolby's mind.   

All LCS speakers are designed by Duke, a world class audiophile speaker designer, and music is the sole focus.  LCS is pure analog and employs only 3-D space and boundaries to their best possible effect.  Its not an accident that LCS' musical excellence makes it exceed the HT performance of every HT Front LCR array I've heard.  LCS provides 3-D Bass Mode Cancelling feature available nowhere else except for Distributed Subwoofer Array.  Conversely, Atmos' performance for music would appear to be an afterthought if it is any concern at all.  Let me know if you find music quality mentioned in the same breath as Atmos.   

LCS encourages users to follow any audiophile craving from pure analog magnetic tape to a music server driving ModWright's Elyse DAC...from a 1970s Sansui SS integrated amp to Atma-Sphere separates, and everything in between.  If you run into Art Dudley tell him he's never heard a mono signal played on two speakers till he hears it through an LCS system.

Still, it's cool to see a company as big as Dolby demonstrate with computer graphics some of the benefits available to audiophiles via LCS. 
« Last Edit: 16 Sep 2014, 01:55 am by James Romeyn »

DS-21

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #64 on: 15 Sep 2014, 11:50 pm »
Atmos is only available with a consumer receiver,

Patently wrong on fact. Several so-called "high end" firms have recently announced pre-pros with Atmos decoding.

But even if not, who cares? Audio electronics (room correction and other DSP programs aside) are commodity parts at this point. An AVR with good room correction (Anthem ARC, Trinnov, Dirac, etc.) competently used is going to reproduce music with higher fidelity in a room than any 2-channel DSP-less separates.

strictly non-audiophile speakers,

Again, reckless disregard for the facts. Andrew Jones designed some new speakers around a new concentric driver he designed for it. KEF has created an Atmos height module as part of their excellent R-Series.

Though I suppose "audiophile" could mean "deaf twit who imagines there are sonic differences in wires, binding posts, power outlets, etc." which case I'll defer. In that case, I suppose anything goes because the only things important to that sort of folk are hype and price.

and little to no concern for musical quality***
 

That remains to be seen. Nobody knows, as you obviously haven't played with Atmos (if only because nothing with the Dolby Surround upmixer is out yet) and I doubt the Dolby folks have auditioned your system. FWIW, Dolby folks tout the Dolby Surround upmixer as being very good at extracting ambience in 2-channel recordings. We'll see. DSP-based ambience retrieval is certainly a "smarter" approach than LCS, but "smarter" doesn't necessarily mean "better sounding." I'd like to hear both approaches.

Regardless, your ignorant speculation just puts you in a bad light.
« Last Edit: 16 Sep 2014, 04:48 am by DS-21 »

Folsom

Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #65 on: 15 Sep 2014, 11:58 pm »
Really?

I'm sure Dolby's new system will be great for movies. I don't foresee recording artists taking an interest in it; unless you mean like another Flaming Lips multi-CD-who-cares venture.

I've heard two channel setups without LCS, make it sound like things were above me, to the sides of me, everywhere but behind me. Two channel at audiophile grade can do a lot more than typical HT setups are meant to convey short of using a lot of speakers. It's not that they use bad speakers, but their intent is different even if both can "play" the other.

Till now I've just been reading along with curiosity, and now I'm slightly confused as to why you James even care about the Dolby thing at all. In no way would I expect it to be competition for the market of audiophiles; not even close. SO much so that I neither predict or expect you to know all the details of the Dolby product, and hence don't think DS-21's comments are worth much. It's like opening a can of worms you don't need, then playing with them... it just doesn't matter.

DS-21

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #66 on: 16 Sep 2014, 04:53 am »
I'm sure Dolby's new system will be great for movies. I don't foresee recording artists taking an interest in it; unless you mean like another Flaming Lips multi-CD-who-cares venture.

I agree, but that doesn't matter. Dolby Surround, the Atmos-spec replacement for Dolby Pro Logic II, is a DSP based upmixer that steers sounds to the different channels in order to enhance perceived ambience. LCS is basically a fixed (well, level-adjustable) upmixer that splashes a signal (perhaps with some spectral manipulation) on the ceiling to enhance perceived ambience.

DPL2 often works quite well, at least in a competently designed multichannel system. (If you're talking about some train-wreck with a toppled-MTM center and haphazardly placed surrounds, not so much.) So my interest in Atmos is basically limited to Dolby Surround. Likewise, I'd like to hear LCS.

Folsom

Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #67 on: 16 Sep 2014, 05:18 am »
I don't personally care much for DSP stuff when it comes to music. It works, maybe well, but not well enough that I care. Generally the fatique is at a level I don't mind for a movie. I'll often listen to music for longer periods than I watch movies, and without the visual stimuli more fatigue, lack of timbre, etc, pulls me away.

The LCS doesn't violate anything I prefer for music. In fact I'm a little more interested in room use, as opposed to disappearance (not a windowless cave guy seeking purest refinement).

Two channel HT is fine by me, and only really has an issue with poor mixing that makes "center channel" material a little quiet when runnning 2 channel. But if I had a theater I'd probably go full on.

JohnR

Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #68 on: 16 Sep 2014, 08:30 am »
Atmos uses ceiling reflections or ceiling source energy to replicate spatial qualities associated with LCS.

With regard to reflections, I thought that was just a workaround because of anticipated consumer resistance to installing ceiling speakers. I wouldn't have thought Atmos was originally intended to be used that way (no?)

James Romeyn

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #69 on: 16 Sep 2014, 07:19 pm »
I stand corrected about speakers and components designed for audiophile purpose for Atmos applications.  Very sorry for the error, but I'm glad it caused some static! 

I would welcome a direct A-B comparison, Dream Maker LCS vs. any cost no object Atmos setup playing non-Atmos encoded, regular 2-ch program.  If it's within distance, I'd consider appearing.  My preference would be ModWright Elyse DAC direct to a killer tube amp or possibly Benchmark's AHB2.  Estimate $20k vs. (I presume) $100k-$200k Atmos system?  That would be interesting. 

How might Atmos system decode regular 2-ch?  Do they even care about this or do they address only Atmos encoded program? 

Up to now, does anyone prefer any multi-channel decoding over their most favorite 2-ch system?  In the 90s and early 00s I preferred Meridian's multi channel processing for music over 2-ch.  But that was pre-HR music and 2-ch DAC performance is hugely improved since that time.  Plus that was pre-LCS.  From 2007 till 2012 I largely considered 2-ch irrelevant, preferring Bongiorno's Trinaural Processing, an analog derivative of Meridian's multi-channel DSP.  LCS center image outperforms any Front LCR array I've heard.                   

I like Meridian gear in general.  Meridian would appear to be the leader in ultra high end DSP digital speaker tech for HT and music.  I have nothing against anyone who loves their gear, but frankly the $300k HT system I heard a few years ago at CES (closed room) sounded pretty mediocre.  Everything is just too dry and wears out the ears quickly.  LCS disappears the front and side walls.  That doesn't happen with pre-Atmos HT.  Maybe Atmos fixes that.   

I agree 100% with Lynn Olson: for pre Atmos HT, music is pure fail on HT systems because they lack depth and density perspective in front of the listener, with all ambiance sourced only to the side and behind, the exact opposite of music in a natural setting.  Listen to music on a reference quality HT and see what it does for you.  Maybe Atmos completely changes this.  For what cost?  I presume several tens of thousands for audiophile quality and considerable real estate in the room. 

I placed Zephrin 46 only 5" from the front wall.  Yes, stage depth shortened, but less than you'd expect, and the rest of the goodness was largely intact.

Would love to see links to check prices for audiophile Atmos items mentioned above.   

What looks promising for Atmos for music is that it might provide density and depth of image in front of the listener, something impossible without Atmos. 

James Romeyn

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #70 on: 16 Sep 2014, 07:37 pm »
With regard to reflections, I thought that was just a workaround because of anticipated consumer resistance to installing ceiling speakers. I wouldn't have thought Atmos was originally intended to be used that way (no?)

Don't know.  I like Atmos.  It seems to have much promise based on my LCS experience.  A secondary full range source per each channel promises good things.  LCS is just doing it with old fashioned analog technology, and doesn't care about the program, even mono works.

AFAIK, certain qualities inherent only in LCS improve pitch sensitivity and detail while also decreasing fatigue (results from the listener getting a properly delayed "second look" to the earlier on-axis signal).  For non-LCS speakers this is a dichotomy: past a certain point increased detail accompanies fatigue.

I wonder if Atmos offers the same advantage as LCS in pitch sensitivity and detail.   

DS-21

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #71 on: 17 Sep 2014, 01:04 am »
I don't personally care much for DSP stuff when it comes to music.***

Lots of people have dumb, unfounded prejudices about all manner of things.

Estimate $20k vs. (I presume) $100k-$200k Atmos system?  That would be interesting.

It seems like the top dog Atmos system with upfiring speakers available today would use KEF R700s across the front*, their new R50 Atmos module on top, and perhaps their R100 stand mount or R800ds bidirectional out-of-phase surround in back. Drive those speakers with sensible electronics - smart people know they don't need to list off exotic brand names; with rare exceptions that incorporate cutting-edge room correction - the Datasat, Trinnov, Anthem Statement, etc. boxes - none of the exotic electronics out today are even as good as a modern AVR, let alone better - and prices will likely be competitive with an LCS setup.

How might Atmos system decode regular 2-ch?  Do they even care about this or do they address only Atmos encoded program?

See supra. They have a new upmixer, called Dolby Surround, that works with 2.0 - 7.1 channel source material.

Up to now, does anyone prefer any multi-channel decoding over their most favorite 2-ch system?

I usually do. Not always but usually. Most of my 2-channel listening is expanded via Dolby Pro Logic II.

I presume several tens of thousands for audiophile quality and considerable real estate in the room.

Depends on how intelligent one is about setting up the system in the room. If one is a renter, or an uncreative and cheap homeowner, options are admittedly more limited. For the multichannel music system in our general-purpose living room, I designed and commissioned a bespoke mantel over the fireplace for that integrates the center channel. It houses a a Pioneer EX, i.e. baby TAD, in-wall unit. Left and right mains (also Pio EX, with Aurasound woofers in the flanking subs) are freestanding. Side-surrounds (Pio EX again, but with a single 8" TAD woofer above the concentric driver instead of the twin 7" woofers flanking the concentric driver the LCR mains) are in the front walls, slightly ahead of the listening position. Rear-surrounds (KEF R800ds) are on the rear wall, above some leaning bookcases. Two subs are "flanking subs" under the mains, a third is in a corner, and a fourth is along the opposite side-wall. While my room isn't equipped with height speakers, it is prewired for a "7.multisubs.4" setup, for height modules atop the front mains and rear surrounds. Total system outlay was well under $25k, including all of the bespoke work and the non-audio stuff (TV mounting, HDbaseT hardware for TV, etc.). True, it would be higher if I insisted on stupid "audiophile" electronics instead of being smart enough to use commodity parts that work well. But I'm under no delusion that anything "audiophile" is of any value at all. In fact, "audiophile" is generally a code-word for "scam" today.

So basically a well-integrated multichannel system takes up no more room floor-space than a competently-executed 2-channel system. (Multisubs are required for high fidelity upper bass either way, so I'm not counting those as a distinction.) Less, perhaps, considering I'm not a deaf buffoon who wastes space on pointless things like "cable risers."

Folsom

Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #72 on: 17 Sep 2014, 02:11 am »
It's a subjective hobby, you can't "found" an interest in something I don't enjoy.

James Romeyn

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Up-firing Atmos > ceiilng mounted!
« Reply #73 on: 19 Sep 2014, 12:53 am »
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/92-community-news-polls/1683954-avs-exclusive-dolby-atmos-demo-cedia-2014-a.html   

From the AVS article above:
Quote
"...Overall, everyone seemed very pleased with the Atmos versions of everything. Many of those I spoke with after the demo preferred the upfiring speakers over the ceiling-mounted ones, especially if they were sitting directly beneath one of the ceiling speakers. Switching between the two types of height speakers during the helicopter demo, the upfiring speakers enlarged the circular path compared with the ceiling speakers, and it was impossible to hear the sound move from one speaker to the next, unlike the overheads, which were probably too close to the listeners for optimum performance...."

If you never cared one whit about Atmos, you might well care after reading this article. 

Dolby allowed the 20 or so AVS members a more thorough A-B comparison than regular show attendees (after hours).  Atmos does "upmix" (author's word, not mine) 2-ch to Atmos 7.1.4 (the last digit indicates separate discreet processing, amplifier channel, and speakers for the vertical dimension).

I am more than a little interested now to hear high end audio implementations of Atmos. 
 

gab

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #74 on: 23 Sep 2014, 08:40 pm »
James - have you ever experimented with a 2D diffuser array (like a RPG Skyline Ceiling Diffuser or equiv) mounted on the ceiling directly above the ES drivers? Or is a "flat" ceiling with no diffusers the preference for best performance? This may have been previously discussed but I missed it if it was. Thanks

gab

James Romeyn

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Re: Meet the new AudioKinesis Zephrin 46!
« Reply #75 on: 23 Sep 2014, 10:55 pm »
gab,
I just recently started plugging screw holes above the LCS where I experimented with 2" OC703 18" x 18". (Whenever I use OC703 I always cover the face with something to act as HF diffuser...so in effect the panel damps low mid range through mid-mid range while diffusing/dispersing HF...I am intimately familiar with the negative over damped sound effect of copious OC703 minus dispersion film in vain attempt to damp bass modes). 

Several months ago I finally and firmly decided it's best with nothing above the LCS speakers.  Also, as mentioned earlier, Duke and I rented a space with a 16' ceiling.  I noticed, and I think Duke agrees, no diminution of positive benefits even with a 16' tall ceiling.  Turning the ES on/off had more or less the same effect as here at home with a 7.6' ceiling.  The taller the ceiling the wider the spray pattern, but volume of energy remains constant in the room.  (If you spray a water nozzle up toward the ceiling, the room receives the same volume of water regardless the ceiling height.) 

Frankly, I predicted worse results with the 16' ceiling.       

I moved the three above described ceiling tiles to the first reflection point of the ceiling (for the on-axis Main Speaker section) and can not recommend this more highly. 

This room has only four damping tiles fastened semi permanently with screws.  The rest is free standing and could be removed in 60 seconds.  There may be rooms with better acoustics, but not better sound without an LCS speaker system in it!

Looking forward to 2014 RMAF more than last year.  We have a year under our belt, two shows, we added the "3-D Bass Mode" damping feature (it works), and a lot of public approval of the architecture. 

Not yet heard ModWright's Elyse DAC, but considering the pedigree and architecture it's got to be stellar.  No guarantee, but email me if you want to A-B with another high end DAC off-hours.  Ditto the Ultra Violet preamp.  Not many superlatives to add to Ralph's OTL amp.  Bring a thesaurus for that!