Simon's Titan / Crown Rig
Trouble in paradise!
Simon put up the bat signal via text and called me in to solve a problem with his speakers. He is someone who I've known through my buddy Mike for a few years now. These mammoth speakers are the Titan Tethys, which were the brain child of Earthquake in the early 2000's. Earthquake is a company that is not well known in audiophile circles, but is one of the major suppliers to home theater installers and one of the largest OEM manufacturers of speaker drivers.
The design is a sort of B&W 800D knock off, but with more bigger everything. This speaker was a limited production run with an originally exorbitant price tag and built by hand in the US. The intent of the design is to be obnoxious in all ways possible, something I can definitely respect. The speaker is a 4 way design, with the tweeter, midrange, woofer, and massive pair of 12 inch subwoofers coupled to a 15 inch side mounted passive radiator. The whole package weighs close to 330 pounds for each speaker.
The problem I was called in for is a 8 inch woofer on one of the speakers is not working. Earthquake support said to send them back to the factory for repairs, but crating and shipping the speaker both ways was cost prohibitive.
The stand in setup
The placement is disheveled because Simon pulled an amp out of the center rack to use for troubleshooting.
With his main speakers out of commission for the better part of a year, this was the setup that has been filling in. These speakers are the Titan Tigris, and are not very good sounding in my opinion. These are rare enough to have not gotten a mention in any notable press. I've heard these briefly when Simon first picked them up, and they sounded dull like there was a midrange suck out or driver efficiency mismatch. It really is a shame they don't sound better, because I like dome midranges, and the speakers look very pretty.
The white hair covering everything is from Simon's large mostly retarded Husky.
This monstrosity is the Rhea center channel that matches the Titan Tethys speakers. The cabinet is obscenely large, and has about 250 imperial gravity points. It's got 4 woofers, and three tweeters. The tweeters are spaced widely in form over function arrangement that is sure to cause comb filtering. Surprisingly this speaker sounded damn good as a center last time I heard it.
Looks like they used a transformer as an inductor, neat!
Speakers are pretty simple devices. The signal needs to get from the terminals on the back of the speaker to the driver, and as long as the driver voice coil isn't cooked it will do it's best to make music.
I started by playing music on my phone hooked up to an amp which was wired to the broken speaker. I then used a small known working test speaker(Micca COVO-S) wired into the ground of the speaker and rubbed the positive wire on sections of the crossover to figure out where the signal stopped.
The problem ended up being one of the positive terminals on the back of the speaker, which has four sets 4 gauge capable posts for quad amping. Picking up a replacement terminal may have been possible, but it would be a mess to try and remove the terminal which appear to be epoxied into the thick cherry cabinets. Instead the plan was to internally jump from one of the other three positive posts inside of the speaker, because Simon runs the speakers with only one amp and keeps the bridge plates on the four terminals.
I probably could have completed the repair that day, but while testing I ended up work hardening and breaking off a lead of a capacitor. This part then needed to be ordered and replaced, and it was getting late.
As I was leaving Simon and I discussed the possibility of converting the speakers over to a full active setup with a pair of minidsp's and 8 channels of amplification. After some debate we settled on a plan to get the speakers back to factory specs, and try the Dirac correction of his new Emotiva XMC-1 to tame any issues with the speakers as a first step. I have no doubt that I can make these speakers sing with the minidsp's in a full active setup, but if it's not required a simplified setup is preferred.
This hole is where I live until the job is done.
The crossover board is glued and screwed to the bottom of the cabinet, a wonderful bit of forethought by Earthquake. The working arrangement I ended up using was for the right half of my upper torso to shove inside of the speaker through the passive radiator. We had to pull out the bottom 12" subwoofer so I could articulate my right elbow enough to get the soldering iron into position. I had just enough room to shove my left forearm in to reach with the solder.
First task was replacing the cap, which was hot glued down and soldered up. The next task was jumping the positive wire for the woofer terminal over, the 12awg bi-wire used for internal connections meant my iron had to get hot enough to almost smoke the insulation just to get a solid solder joint. The best part was the solder smoke billowing into my face the whole time. I would rate the entire repair as a 5/10 on the pain in the ass scale.
Cleaned up and grilled up.
After buttoning up the repair the speakers were rolled into place in a temporary setup. After a channel balancing using pink noise and an spl meter I got to hear the speakers with some music of my choice. The speakers sounded very neutral, with no sign of boomy bass, and maybe a slight thinness to the lower midrange. Nice thing about 4 way designs is that it's real easy to avoid cone breakup and keep the drivers operating in a frequency band they are happy with. I heard nothing sharp coming from the speakers, very smooth. Imaging was good and wide, but because of the height of the speakers vocals were presented higher than I would like. The speakers sounded very good for music but, Simon's real passion is home theater. These things dominate movie soundtracks, and the built in subwoofers leave nothing on the table. They offer very full, quick, detailed bass with plenty of extension.
Simon plans to swap the rack and left speaker in final positioning.
Double Crown class-D amps. These amps are stupid cheap, run cold, and have tons of power. These are setup in bridged mono mode just to run the two front speakers. The Crown amps are super quiet in comparison to my Behringer iNuke unit. I'd recommend picking up a Crown over the Behringer if you are debating one or the other.
This amp is a 7 channel 328 watts into an 8 ohm A/B monster. It's from Earthquake as well, but I'm guessing some outsourcing was done with the electronics. The amp is used for surround duty now that the Crown amps are pushing the Front speakers.
This is a new toy that Simon picked up, the Emotiva XMC-1. It is a surround sound processer and preamp. This unit has Dirac room correction ability, and while we did not get to try it out, it's something I will be checking out the next time I visit.
A parting gift.
These Klipsch RF5's have been unused for a while, and Simon offered them up for review. Expect the review, sometime in the future.
Simon and his girlfriend were wonderful hosts, and I'll be seeing them again in the future. I really liked helping out with the speakers and getting a chance to talk with a fellow enthusiast about his gear.
If you like the field trip reports let me know and I'll see about visiting more locals with interesting setups. If you are in the south Louisiana area and have some speakers of interest let me know on the Twitter or email.
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