Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resolving the Fan Noise

I removed the cover of the XA2 to find out what parts were making all the noise. I assumed it was the fan, but I also wanted to check the power supply to make sure it was not humming. When I removed the fan, the XA2 became almost completely quiet. The drive only makes a whisper, so if I can find a better fan, that should resolve the noise issue. I added some pictures of the insides of the XA2 with the fan removed.

The original fan is a Delta DSBO512LD.

The Toshiba part number description from the service manual is : FAN1 P000477470 FAN DC, DSB0512LD-6T10. The fan that I ordered as a replacement was an ADDA AD5012LX-D70. The spec's are very similar, so now it is a matter of waiting for the replacement to arrive, terminate it with a 2-pin connector, and check the noise levels. I measured the current fan at 55 dB using a RS digital sound meter positioned 1 inch above the center of the player with the microphone pointing towards the rear wall of the rack.

The spec's on the replacement fan:

Noise: 23.6 dB
Airflow: 10.8 CFM
Housing Material: Glass Reinforced TP
Power Rating: 0.96 W
Speed: 3600 RPM
Supply Voltage: 12 VDC
Termination Style: Wire
Product Category: DC Fans
Bearing Type: Hypro
Current Type: DC
Frame Dimensions (mm): 50 mm x 15 mm

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The XA2 Arrives!

After much anticipation, I have finally replaced the RCA HD-DVD player with the Toshiba XA2. The last few movie nights using the RCA player have been tarnished with disc lockups and skipping. This is unacceptable, so out it goes!
The XA2 is a well build player, but I am a bit annoyed by the louder than expected fan noise.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Transformer Party

Friday night's presentation of "Transformer" was a full house. The setup finally came together within the last hour. I had to make a quick dash to pick up my sub from Myer-Emco and get the room calibrated. I finally got around to adding a Buttkicker to the front row as well so there wouldn't be a fight over the rear row seating. I wasn't sure I would get it installed in time. I had a mounting plate drilled at work during the day, and got it installed right after work. From the sounds coming from the front row audience, it seemed to be working properly even though I didn't have a chance to test it before the show. It is not the proper way to install the kickers, because the couch is not on a platform. Luckily I have a table in front of the couch that people can put their feet on to isolate them from the floor when sitting upright. It works, but not as well as having a full platform. Of course if you lay on the couch it is not an issue, but does restrict the seating capacity to one or two.

The bass was tight and the dialog clear, the bass traps in back helped keep things from getting muddy or boomy even during the loudest of scenes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Countdown to the Transformer Party

Almost everything is completed. Now I am waiting on my LFE sub to get here from the repair center at Meyer-Emco. It has taken 3 months for this repair, but it should be here on Friday. That will be cutting it close as I am having a group of friends over for a Transformer party. The sub will go under the stairs to the left of the 7001's. I will only have an hour to calibrate everything again, and that won't leave much time to check everything out. I will just have to wing it and hope for the best.

I was lucky enough to find a Circuit City store that was running the BOGO special, so I picked up "Transformers" and "Flags of Our Fathers". I couldn't resist previewing, and I must say that the soundtrack on "Transformers" had my teeth rattling at several points in the movie. This will replace "War of the Worlds" as my demo disc for the buttkickers.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Paint

Over the last few weeks I have been busy repainting the Theatre. I decided to go with a darker burgundy to better match the leather seating. This also lowered the light level as the paint is much darker than before. I selected an 'egg shell' finish this time rather than "flat". While flat did look less shiny, it was also too easy to scuff. Just touching it ruined the finish.

As part of the repainting, I took down the black velvet material on the ceiling near the screen and painted it black. The rest of the ceiling was painted 18% gray. I also removed the side curtains to open up the space under the stairs.

The last few things left to do are to repaint the trim, close in the back of the stair to prevent light leakage, and add some crown molding over the top of the screen. I am also added fiberglass panels to the back wall and covered it with black velvet material. I doubled up the panels so they were 4 inches thick and left a 6 inch gap behind them. I also draped burgundy material over the DVD collection to make it a little neater.

I also moved the HD DVD player inside the cabinets. I didn't like the fan noise it produced when playing CD's. It is not so noticeable when watching a movie, as the projector fan drowns it out. It is dead quiet now when listening to music. It has me considering building a hush box for the projector and moving all the equipment inside the cabinets. My only concern is how to remove the heat that would be generated by the receiver. I will save this idea for the dead of winter when I have more time.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some new pictures of the Speakers

Some new Speakers, though they are hard to see in the dark theater. The Fronts are now Definitive Technology 7001's BiPolar towers, and the center is a Definitive Technology CLR-3000.

Some new pictures of the rack

The rack has now changed, but some of the same equipment remains. The projector is still currently the Panasonic E-700, the buttkicker amp is still pounding butts, a new Belkin PF-60 line conditioner was added. The Oppo was replaced with the RCA HDV-5000 HD-DVD player, and the HK-635 remains the workhorse of the rack.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A new toy

All that work I did re-arranging the center and sub...only to end up buying a CLR-3000 center the very next week! I love this center, it blends perfectly with my towers and has the clarity of strength that a good center channel needs. It did set me back a few beans, but it was worth it.

I moved the ProSub 200TL to the rear of the room and used it to supplement the low frequencies in the surround channels. I should be getting my matching sub back from the shop in a few weeks. Once that is installed, each surround will have its own low frequency sub, rather than sharing one.

The theater is alive now with teeth jarring bass all the way around the room. From the 10" SuperCubes in the two 7001 towers, to the matching10" sub in the center, to the 12" ProSub in the rear. If that doesn't shake your bones, the buttkicker will!

Now we wait for "300" to be released at the end of the month for the next big show. It should be quite a treat.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Twiddling and Tweeking

I did some rearranging, and moved the ProSub between the 7001's and connected the center speaker wire to the input and the C-25 to the output. I set the cross-over to 150Hz, the max that the ProSub would allow. I then connected the LFE pre-out to the pair of 7001's (along with the L/R speaker wires).

I re-ran my EzSet equalization on my HK 635, and as expected it now identified the center as LARGE rather than small (as it had with the C-25 previously alone). It also identified the 7001's as the sub channel. All the distances and cross-overs looked correct and when running the test tones I got a very good balance when measured with a RS sound meter.

I then checked out the speaker balances using the DVE HD disc and the 6-Channel output of the receiver. Everything was fine except for the sub. It was the same low 8-10dB that I have come to expect from using the analog outs on the HD player. I went back in and boosted the sub the required amount, and ran the all the tests again. I was very pleased with the results and was able to keep within 1 dB around the room.

The real test was playing the True-HD audio of the Matrix and finding out how it sounded. It was quite an improvement from my original un-powered center configuration. So after many, many hours of twiddling, I finally have a better understanding of what a sub enabled center channel can sound like. The towers seemed to handle the LFE without a problem, so I don't miss having the ProSub doing that function.

So I think I will stick with this configuration for a while and see if it grows on me. I can already appreciate the improvement in clarity of the dialog. Someday I do hope to have a matching set of speaker rather than what I have today, but I will just have to be patient and work with what I have.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More on Combo's

Well it has been a while since I added info to the blog. In that time, I have grown to like the Combo discs. They come in handy when playing them on SD players. As long as the price is right, and there are no glitches in playback, then I don't mind the purchase. I have had a few glitches with the Combo discs from Universal, but firmware updates have resolved them. Currently we are running firmware version 2.2 on the HD DVD player and it seems to be working well.

Most of my viewings are now through Netflix, although I will be purchasing "300" as soon as it comes out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

As much as I hate Combo's...

I am really not a fan of the HD Combo discs. HD Combo discs contain the HD version of a movie on one side, and the SD version on another. While the idea sounds great, in practice the cost of these discs is not. If they priced the Combo's at the same price as the regular disc's, or a couple bucks more, I would not be complaining. Unfortunately most Combo's are priced at $35, and the regular HD's are $25 or less.

Anyhow, I did finally break down a buy a couple of them, although it goes against my better judgment. I picked up "The Departed", "Jet Li: Fearless", and "Lucky # Slevin". The first two were Combo's, the last a regular HD. The only reason I did this was because there was a sale for buy 3 get $20 off. While it wasn't much of a deal, it was enough to entice me to pick them up.