JTR Noesis 212RT Review and Measurements

Manufacturer & Model
JTR Noesis 212RT
MSRP
$2799 each Direct Pricing
Link
http://jtrspeakers.com/noesis-212rt.html
Highlights
  • Excellent neutral tonal balance
  • Laser like imaging precision
  • High directivity design limits first reflection strength
  • Really competent measured performance
  • Nearly unlimited dynamic range
  • High sensitivity
  • Deep extended bass
  • Can work well in even the largest home theaters
  • Far cheaper than the competition, a great value
Summary
A top notch home theater speaker that works great with music. While it's looks may not win any awards, it's sound sure should. This speaker offers among the most effortless dynamic presentation you will ever hear, and the imaging is to die for. On top of it's excellent aural performance, it has excellent measured performance. While $2799 per speaker is not cheap, you will not find a speaker this good for anywhere near it's price.
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JTR Speakers is a small American-made speaker manufacturer based in Wisconsin. JTR sells high-end custom home theater speakers as well as a line of pro-audio speakers. All of JTR’s speakers rely on either waveguides or large coaxial drivers, the smallest of which is 10”s. As a result, it would be easy to forgive someone for thinking that JTR speakers are just about playing loud. However, their sound quality defies their appearance. All of JTR’s speakers look more like linebackers than ballet dancers yet dance they can. My time with the JTR Noesis 212RT has shown me that JTR speakers are something that needs to be heard, and not seen. Their sound defies expectations in ways that are hard to imagine. The way they present a soundscape, the ease with which they reproduce dynamics, the scale of instruments, everything was so much better than I had ever expected from such a brutish-looking speaker. If you have written these speakers off because they just look like big black boxes that play loud, you need to give them a chance; they will likely be some of the best sounding speakers you have ever heard, for home theater or music.

Appearance
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There is no getting around the JTR looks. These are a speaker that is designed to be placed behind a screen or hidden away in a dark home theater. They are large, rectangular, black boxes. The finish is specially designed to avoid light reflections in a home theater. The waveguide and dual 12” drivers dominate the front of the speaker. For those looking for something a bit more attractive, the speakers can be ordered in any number of custom finishes, and as a small local builder, Jeff Permanian, the owner of JTR, can build you anything you want. But remember, speakers are for listening, not looking. If you want a piece of art to go with great sound, you have to pay for it. JTR speakers forgo high-style industrial design in favor of outstanding value and top-notch sound. In fact, as you read through my review, hopefully, one thing becomes clear; these speakers are a killer value. The speakers are large, coming in at 58”x14’x16.5” and have a large rectangular port at the bottom of the cabinet. They weigh in at 155lbs. While this is a seriously large and heavy speaker, they are not nearly as heavy as they could be. Had this speaker been made by nearly any other manufacturer, they would have saved money using MDF and ceramic magnet woofers. The use of Neo drivers and Baltic birch plywood leads to a much lighter final speaker.

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Design

The design is where the JTR speakers really stand out. They are a highly unusual speaker design. Looking at the speaker, you notice a large 12” square shaped waveguide with what looks like fairly flat sides and an abrupt change in angle as you move toward the terminus of the waveguide. At the center of the waveguide is what can best be described as a kind of beak. It’s actually the phase plug from the coaxial compression driver. In this MTM arrangement, the large 12” waveguide is surrounded by two twelve-inch midbass drivers. These drivers are custom built for JTR by a well regarded OEM and is far from anything you can buy off the shelf. This leads to a driver with a smoother response and more excursion, while maintaining the same high power handling and sensitivity as the original driver. The compression driver is a similarly interesting 2” coaxial compression driver from BMS. This driver has an annular concentric ring design with a 3.5” and 1.75” voice coil for the midrange and tweeter rings. This driver can be crossed over as low as 300Hz but is crossed over in this speaker at 500hz. The driver has a very high sensitivity of 118dB at 1w/1m. When crossed over correctly, this compression driver can absorb over 1300 watts. Its maximum output is well in excess of 130dB. The speaker has a frequency response of 35Hz to 24kHz and a power handling of over 2000 watts. The use of an MTM arrangement and coaxial loaded waveguide leads to a point-source speaker design with level forward lobe, though the use of L-R 4th order crossovers will prevent it from likely being time aligned. Not a problem as long as the speaker remains phase coherent. The sensitivity of the final speaker is 98dB at 2.0V/1m, which is correct for 1 watt at 4ohms. The nominal impedance of the speaker is 4 ohms.

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The waveguide is designed to provide a 60-degree coverage angle and is crossed below the point where the midwoofers become directional. This leads to a narrow dispersion speaker, which may not be for everyone. Wide dispersion speakers tend to increase the proportion of reflections relative to the direct sound and this leads to a larger and more open sounding image. For a 2-channel live performance, this may be desirable. On the other hand, for studio recordings and multi-channel, the attributes of a narrower dispersion speaker may be better. Narrower dispersion speakers with good controlled off-axis behavior help create a more stable soundstage and better integration between speakers. They reduce room reflections in much the same way that absorbing panels would, but often in better and more controlled ways. This leads to a tighter and more focused soundstage. While this leads to a lack of ambiance and reverb in the room naturally, if used as part of a surround system, the surround speakers more accurately will reproduce the reverb anyway. Many will argue that one approach is right vs the other, and my answer to them is that neither approach is righter than the other. A speaker’s dispersion is just one of the many variables that can be used to subjectively change our perception of the reproduced sound.


Listening Tests

First, I must disclose that Jeff Permanian, the owner and designer of JTR speakers, is a friend of mine. We talk regularly and I likely know more about his speakers than most outside of Jeff himself. This is largely a result of how much I enjoy and appreciate JTR speakers. As I noted before, there are many ways to design a speaker that may be equally right. While lots of research has gone into what aspects of a speaker’s performance is needed for good sound, it is important to note that specific requirements around dispersion have not really been established. My own experience is noted above that speakers with narrower dispersion tend to provide a tighter and more controlled soundstage. Images have laser-like specificity. I find this to be a more accurate way of reproducing studio recordings, but arguably, a less accurate way of reproducing live performances. However, given the trade off, I personally prefer speakers with narrower and well-controlled dispersion. I find the soundstage they reproduce to be addictive. In addition, one of the primary ways of controlling dispersion is using large speaker drivers, often from high-end pro-audio suppliers. These drivers lead to a speaker that can handle immense amounts of power and can reproduce unnecessarily loud volume levels (something I find very necessary). All of this leads to a speaker that is effortless in its reproduction of any music you throw at it. My reference speakers are the Gedlee Abbey’s, a single 12” 2-way speaker in the same design concept as the JTR. The Abbey had transformed my notion of effortless uncolored sound reproduction. I had never heard a speaker that could do what they could do before. Not at any price. The JTR is a speaker that, while not better in every way, is even more effortless than my Gedlee’s.

As for the setup, I used a number of components to power the JTR’s. I used a Yamaha R-N803 network 2-channel receiver (140 wpc 4ohm), a Cherry Amplifier 2-channel MEGAschino (600 wpc 4ohms), and an Acurus A200 (400 wpc 4ohm). The DAC was either the ESS Sabre DAC built into the Yamaha, the AKM Dac built into the Onkyo receiver I use as a preamp, or the Chery Dac Dac HS, which was operated directly into he MEGAschino in full balanced mode. The latter setup used no preamp, volume was controlled via the source computer (64-bit resolution to avoid loss of bit-resolution). This setup was capable of a S/N of at least 120dB and, given the extremely high output of the speakers and low noise of the room, likely a real-world dynamic range of at least 120dB. Given how few electronic components have a true dynamic range in excess of 120dB, rooms with noise floors below NC15, and speakers capable of in excess of 130dB’s, it is likely that very few people have a sound system capable of reproducing a true dynamic range of 120dB. While this does not reflect realistic or safe listening speakers, it is still an extraordinary technical achievement and creates a sound system that was absolutely effortless in its reproduction of music, along with resolving of the finest details. Nothing could hide.


Music

I tend to use a lot of the same music in my reviews and that is for good reason. The more varied the music I use, the more difficult it is for me to draw reliable conclusions. As such, I’ll go through the usual suspects that I tried with these speakers. As I noted, the setup I used with these speakers is very resolving, and that made it exciting to relisten to my favorite test tracks, trying to see what I was missing.

I’ve often mentioned my favorite classical guitar pieces, Suite Espanola, Op. 47: No. 4, Asturias (Leyenda) performed by John Williams. This piece is recorded with a lot of dynamic range, but being a flamenco guitar piece, has a lot of subtlety. One of the unique aspects of this playing style is its use of dynamics as a tool for musical expression. A lot of normal speakers tend to constrain this recording; it still sounds fine but lacks that “alive” quality that lets you know what you are hearing is a real guitar in a real room. That life was brought back by the JTR Noesis 212RT’s. This piece was translated from piano to guitar using the original pp to fff crescendo and greater expressive markings. In other words, this guitar piece is hugely colorful with a lot of expressive movements and wide range between very soft and subtle playing to very loud. So loud in fact that, when heard live, you can feel the guitar in your body. Small speakers reproduce a miniaturized version of this song that leads to a loss of this visceral aspect and a smudging of those fine pp details. That isn’t what I heard through the JTR’s, and everything was there for me to hear. I could feel the fff peak of the crescendo’s, nothing was lost, not even the feelings. I love this song and I found myself playing it over and over again on this speaker.

Another classical piece I played on this speaker was Mozart’s Sonata in C Major K.521 performed by Helen and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. The Schnabel’s played a large number of duets together with excellent technical proficiency. These recordings are dated, but the playing is marvelous. Karl and Helen had a great chemistry in their playing. I like this piece because it’s a natural sounding piano recording that provides a more accurate sense of a speaker’s tonal balance. Piano recordings are great for judging a speaker’s tone and color, as piano’s are instruments with a wide bandwidth and familiar sound. The JTR Noesis 212RT sounded neutral, if anything, highlighting the age of this recording. It lacked bass and was noisy, but otherwise sounded as it should. All of these problems an accurate reproduction of the recording, itself noisy and lacking in bass.

From there I moved onto numerous pop and rock hits. A speaker like this is ideal for reproducing grand rock songs and Guns N Roses’ Paradise City just felt like the best way to end the music portion of this review. This is a song best blasted loud while aggressively tapping your foot to the beat, playing air guitar along with Slash, and screaming the lyrics along with Axl. This classic metal song sounded amazing on the Noesis 212RT’s. Few speakers can do songs like this justice, songs that were written to be played at 130dB’s and destroying eardrums at large stadium concerts, not played back at moderate levels on a typical home stereo. Often turning up a song like this to rock out just leads to distortion and compression, which is an irritating sound I rather do without. Not so with the JTR’s; like everything else I played through them, it reproduced this piece with clarity, delicacy, and precision. The full expression of dynamic range, all the sounds and screams, all the inflections in the guitar solo were accurately reproduced by the 212RT’s, and I loved every minute of it.


Movies

I watched a lot of movies through the JTR Noesis 212RT’s and the experience was always the same. Just like with music, these speakers always came off as neutral and effortless. If you have never heard a large powerful speaker driven with excessive amounts of power, you are missing out. It didn’t matter if I was watching a romantic film with my wife, a drama or documentary, or my favorite, a bombastic action film at reference levels. Everything I played sounded just as it should, with no signs of compression or distortion, an unusually effortless quality, and with total neutrality.

The best way to sum up my experience with this speaker is to just focus on Star Wars. While all Star Wars films have always been a technical feat when it comes to sound and visuals, the newest films take this to such a new level that seriously stresses most systems. In the recent “The Last Jedi” film (I know this film was not well-liked amongst fans, but remember, this is a speaker review), some of the explosions had such extreme amounts of dynamic range and power that nearly every system I heard the film on was overloading. Even many cinema’s struggled to handle this film without strain. The JTR’s had no problem reproducing this film. I’ve noticed many systems seem to almost hiccup with very dynamic content, causing vocals to sound indistinct in comparison with a system like this.[1] Voices may even have an edgy quality. That isn’t what I heard through the JTR. They didn’t miss a beat (or explosion). That is what an effortless speaker does.

While I would call the JTR speakers neutral, I always like to think of the term neutral as part of a continuum. Neutral means flat, but every speaker has some level of color to it, if nothing else, a slight tilt in the response. The JTR is what I would call the brighter side of neutral, meaning that some will find it a bit bright, while others may like it’s current tonal balance. Having said that, JTR took my findings to heart and has revised to voicing to be more neutral. It made me want to tone the treble down a little with the tone control or some eq. Similarly, I’ve found that I tend to be overly sensitive to a speaker’s brightness. I would be remiss if I did not mention that I found it necessary to apply about 3dB of tilt in the high frequencies using a 10khz centered shelf filter. On movies, I found that this brightness tended to improve vocal clarity, but add a slight bit of sibilance, especially on those movies with less forgiving soundtracks. A good example what the new Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The way this movie was recorded tends to sound a little shouty and bright at times. Through the JTR’s I sometimes found this a bit bothersome. We might say that they were more truthful than some, but I found that toning down the treble made the movie a bit more bearable. It’s important that I clarify that I do not use the terms bright, brittle, or harsh in the same way. These speakers did not have an obnoxious brightness that leads to a harsh quality. We are talking a tad bit of more upper treble than I like in a perfect system.


Sound Quality Conclusions

I really enjoyed my time listening to the JTR Noesis 212RT’s. They are a special speaker. I am sure their sound won’t be for everyone. Their tightly controlled dispersion helps create a holographic and precisely placed and layered soundstage. I love this quality. I also understand that this doesn’t necessarily mimic the reality of a large and live performance, and some may prefer the more diffused and spacious image created by a speaker with wider dispersion. I really loved how the high-efficiency drivers, huge power-handling, and large size allowed the speaker to effortlessly produce musical crescendos. Well, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t love that, but I’m sure the size of the speakers and volume levels they can produce will also not be for everyone. These speakers worked so well with music and for movies that I was left really impressed. How a speaker sounds is one thing, however, how it measures is another. In the next section, you will be able to see measurements that provide a sense of how the speaker performs.

Measurements

The JTR speaker’s measurements are impressive, to say the least. When I came into this review, I had really wondered just how talented and capable a speaker engineer that Jeff Permanian would be? I mean, maybe he just builds big brackish speakers. I had heard these speakers on many occasions, in fact I had been doing listening tests of the 212RT for months by the time I finally was able to measure them, and I thought they sounded great, but who knows, maybe I’m deaf. Once I got around to measuring these speakers I was not disappointed, they really proved that Jeff is, in fact, a very talented designer offering huge speakers with huge value. Anyone judging these as nothing more than big, loud, and obnoxious are missing out. Their measurements confirmed these to be every bit the high-fidelity speaker my ears heard.

Measuring a speaker this large and heavy was difficult to say the least. Jeff and I hoisted the speaker on top of a 6-foot section of rigging. On top of that rigging, we placed a slip mat, and then I used a digital compass to measure the change in angle. The microphone was placed at the appropriate height using a specially designed microphone stand. Measurement equipment included a MicW (BSWA) M215 with calibrated capsule, a 1khz Calibrator, a Motu 828x, and Room EQ Wizard. Graphs were generated using VITUIX CAD.


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The next image provides the response of the speaker across all of the axis measured, in 5-degree increments, across a full 360 degrees. That means the last response shown in red is actually the response of the speaker from behind the speaker. The frequency response is commendably flat.
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This next image depicts the listening window response (Grey), the power response (Blue), and the directivity index (red). We again see excellent behavior for the most part. The listening window response is very flat, with just a slight uptick in the bass. The power response shows the expected natural tilt due to the increased directivity narrowing at mid and high frequencies. Some may note some roughness in the response apparent in both this measurement and the first image. This is likely caused by reflections inside the waveguide and is generally thought to be too high Q to be audible. In addition, this is exaggerated by virtue of the scaling, this roughness falls within a slim +/- 2 dB or so. Finally, we see the Directivity index. This shows that the speaker has fairly wide dispersion in the bass, as most speakers do, with narrowing dispersion above 1khz. I happen to believe that this speaker’s directivity is slightly compromised by the choice of a very low crossover. The woofers themselves would begin to narrow their dispersion at around 500-800hz and crossing the waveguide at a point where the directivity matches that of the woofer may extend the raised DI down another half octave or so. This is more academic than practical and likely of little audible consequence. In addition, we see a slight wavering in the DI that shows the change in directivity over the bandwidth of the DI. I know this issue might bother a perfectionist, but it really is of little to no consequence in terms of sound. The implications of this are more evident in the next image.

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This next image is known as a polar radar graph or polar map. This particular image, looking somewhat like an alien heat map, reflects the amount of energy at each frequency across the range of angles. This image shows 180 degrees of radiation or the frontal hemisphere. We can see the narrowing of dispersion that takes place between 1khz and 4khz. The cause of this is unknown, I believe it might be related to the waveguide profile and/or the coaxial driver. It is possible that the smaller tweeter annular ring is loading the waveguide differently from the midrange ring and causes a slight change in the directivity. Again, we need to come back to sound to put this in perspective. This shift in directivity is slight and of little audible concern.

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Below is a look at the low frequency response of the JTR Noesis 212RT. This is not a groundplane measurement and instead relies on the potentially problematic free space measurement, but does give a better picture of the low frequency performance of the speaker as compared with the gated measurements shown earlier. Based on this, the -10dB point free space is around 30hz. It also shows more of a quasibutterworth rolloff of 3rd order rather than a true 4th order, as expected with typical ported speakers. Likely this is due to the very low port tuning of the speaker relative to the enclosure size and driver loading. For mains this is typically preferably as it provides better integration with subwoofers and often more extended bass in room than would be otherwise achieved, at the expense of a little bit of output in the bass octave above this low tuning.

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Overall these are great measured results and reflect a well-engineered product. They show good constant directivity performance bettered by few speakers. Every complaint I might make is likely negligible when it comes to sound. They show a flat neutral response with consistent reduction in level as you move off-axis. My only complaints are the slight narrowing in the lower treble/upper midrange and the slight roughness in the treble range. Keep in mind my SPL windows are very narrow, most of these errors fall within a narrow 3dB window. Most commercial speaker offerings would dream of such good measured performance.


Conclusion

I’ve long been impressed with the capabilities of JTR’s speakers. The 212RT has long caught me as an optimum sweet spot in the performance and price range across Jeff’s lineup. I am absolutely honored that Jeff trusted me enough to be the first person to ever measure his speakers professionally. One thing I can say without question is that Jeff is a talented speaker engineer and the Noesis 212RT’s are among the better sounding speakers I’ve heard. They have the most effortless presentation I have ever experienced; they even made my own Gedlee Abbey’s sound strained by comparison. This provided thunderous dynamics with a huge presentation. But they didn’t stop with big and loud; the neutral tonal balance and well-placed soundstage really impressed me. In fact, the detail and specificity with which I could place instruments across the soundscape were among the best I’ve ever heard. For those of you into well-focused soundstages, there are few if any speakers that can better the JTR Noesis 212RT. They may not look it, but these speakers are high-fidelity stunners with performance that belies their price. JTR is a brand I’ve long felt is under-appreciated, and after reviewing Noesis 212RT, all I can say is that these speakers are highly recommended.


JTR Noesis 212RT
  • Frequency +/- 3db 35hz-24khz (in room response down to 27hz)
  • Sensitivity* 98db, 2.0 volts, free air (107db, 2.83v, halfspace)
  • Usable Output** 134db (calculated peak 137 – 3db compression)
  • Recommended Amplification up to 2000 watts RMS (program)
  • Impedance 4 ohm
  • Dimensions (HxWxD) 58″x14″x16.5″
  • Weight 155
  • Construction 24mm, 18ply, void free, Baltic Birch (Several times stronger and more expensive than MDF)
  • Exterior Finish Matte black lacquer paint designed to be non-light reflective for home theater
  • Connectors Binding Post
  • Warranty 5 year Manufacturer defect
 
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Comments

tesseract

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Thanks, Matt!

I'm glad you and Jeff hit it off and it is fun to get a look at free field measured performance.
 

JStewart

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Finally a look at the spinorama measurements. Thanks Matthew!!

And thanks to Dennis (@tesseract ) for his excellent review of the JTR Noesis 210RT in which he was able to accurately glean by ear the characteristics confirmed by Matt's measurements.

IMHO while these are "big" speakers the directivity and excellent spinorama in-room response allow them to sound much better than other smaller options when in a smaller room or near boundaries. These should be a first consideration if they must be placed near a boundary. No harm in the added benefits Matthew has already listed of dynamics, huge soundstage, and precise imaging.

Another often overlooked benefit of the JTR's design appears depicted in the top picture of Matt's review. It appears the speakers are toed in enough to actually cross in front of the listener. With constant directivity speakers such as these JTRs this will have the effect of creating a much wider sweet spot for listening. How this works is explained in This Article.

A question for @Matthew J Poes , the measurements show a drop of over just 5dB from 100hz to 50hz. This is most definitely not the case for my 210RTs with smaller 10" drivers in my room. Is the data on your graphs in this frequency range a function of a short measurement window or some other measurement phenomena?
 

Matthew J Poes

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Finally a look at the spinorama measurements. Thanks Matthew!!

And thanks to Dennis (@tesseract ) for his excellent review of the JTR Noesis 210RT in which he was able to accurately glean by ear the characteristics confirmed by Matt's measurements.

IMHO while these are "big" speakers the directivity and excellent spinorama in-room response allow them to sound much better than other smaller options when in a smaller room or near boundaries. These should be a first consideration if they must be placed near a boundary. No harm in the added benefits Matthew has already listed of dynamics, huge soundstage, and precise imaging.

Another often overlooked benefit of the JTR's design appears depicted in the top picture of Matt's review. It appears the speakers are toed in enough to actually cross in front of the listener. With constant directivity speakers such as these JTRs this will have the effect of creating a much wider sweet spot for listening. How this works is explained in This Article.

A question for @Matthew J Poes , the measurements show a drop of over just 5dB from 100hz to 50hz. This is most definitely not the case for my 210RTs with smaller 10" drivers in my room. Is the data on your graphs in this frequency range a function of a short measurement window or some other measurement phenomena?
The rolloff isn’t accurate. That is an artifact of using gating. The speaker was measured at about 6.5’ in the air plus whatever height between the bottom of the speaker and the first woofer. This limited the low frequency resolution somewhat.

What I should have done is a near field measurement of the woofers and port and spliced it in, Le a groundplane and spliced it in. I forgot.

Jeff also asked me to include an in room measurement but I couldn’t find one when i went to load the review. I am positive that I took one and I recall seeing good extension down to about 25-30hz.

When I have some time I will look through my measurements again to see if I can find any that show the low frequency response more accurately.

While I’ve been measuring speakers for years, I only just started doing it for reviews. I had never measured a speaker this big before and honestly never will again. The lesson learned is that speakers this big cannot safely be placed on a post 6-7 feet in the air. I am working on alternative methods to use with other speakers going forward. I also developed a checklist for myself to help avoid forgetting certain measurements.

The speaker really does measure well. There are some very high Q resonances around the speakers response that can be seen in some of the measurements, but I doubt they are audible. It is my belief that fixing those would require further optimization of the waveguide and compression driver. It is likely that it would cost a fortune, take a lot of time, and lead to a very limited improvement in sound, if at all.
 

AJ Soundfield

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Very nice Matt, had no idea you were a reviewer ;-). Yes, wrestling 160lb speakers can be fun.
Out of curiosity, are your posted measurements based on pre or post revised voicing?
TIA

cheers
 

Matthew J Poes

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Very nice Matt, had no idea you were a reviewer ;-). Yes, wrestling 160lb speakers can be fun.
Out of curiosity, are your posted measurements based on pre or post revised voicing?
TIA

cheers
Based on 2019 voicing as I reviewed them. He changed the voicing based on the changes I made in my listening and showed me his measurements. I didn’t feel like remeasuring them to show what is basically an identical set of measurements but with a few dB or treble padding.

Yes I’ve been reviewing for 3-4 years now. Where have you been!
 

Matthew J Poes

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Very nice Matt, had no idea you were a reviewer ;-). Yes, wrestling 160lb speakers can be fun.
Out of curiosity, are your posted measurements based on pre or post revised voicing?
TIA

cheers
Out of curiosity, have you ever sent any of your products out for review? Those would be a lot of fun to review. Maybe not to measure. Haha.

I think my new rule for measuring speakers this large should be that the manufacture must supply the hoist.
 

AJ Soundfield

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Based on 2019 voicing as I reviewed them. He changed the voicing based on the changes I made in my listening and showed me his measurements. I didn’t feel like remeasuring them to show what is basically an identical set of measurements but with a few dB or treble padding.
Ok thanks, I have an interest in correlating perception to measurements and was curious. The revised measurements would have been interesting but I understand.
Especially with large heavy speakers!

Yes I’ve been reviewing for 3-4 years now. Where have you been!
Under a rock, mostly I guess. I'll pay more attention now.

cheers,
 

AJ Soundfield

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Out of curiosity, have you ever sent any of your products out for review? Those would be a lot of fun to review. Maybe not to measure. Haha.
Not really, stay busy enough with Soundfield...outside of my real job. Yes, still working full time despite C19. The small direct radiator stuff would be straightforward.
The larger stuff with the indirect radiation might be trickier, including interpretation. I would have to send you some papers first. :)

I think my new rule for measuring speakers this large should be that the manufacture must supply the hoist.
Not a bad idea, maybe include a forklift!

cheers
 

Matthew J Poes

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Ok thanks, I have an interest in correlating perception to measurements and was curious. The revised measurements would have been interesting but I understand.
Especially with large heavy speakers!


Under a rock, mostly I guess. I'll pay more attention now.

cheers,
I was thinking about that post measurements myself. I mean, the on-axis, listening window, and in-room predicted response track the ideal almost perfectly. Why did I think it’s bright? Is it just me? Is it those resonances in the waveguide?

Then I looked at the power response. The power response doesn’t track the ideal. It’s flatter in the HF’s than the ideal. A lot of speakers with constant directivity have this issue. It’s evident from the power response DI being flat through a portion of the HF’s.

So my theory is that in speakers with a flat DI like that, you may need more of a tilt in the on-axis response than what is true or typical direct radiator speakers. Once you add 2-3 dB shelf filters at 1khz you find a power response that looks more like that of a typical direct radiator, but with a listening window that looks “too” tilted.

My experience with other speakers with similar behavior has shown a similar result. My own Abbey’s have a tilted listening window as well. Geddes did that final tuning by ear if I recall for the same reason. It sounded a little bright with a totally flat response. I actually added 1dB more tilt when I built mine.

I’ve talked with Harman about doing this as a study before. I was talking to Sean Olive about using the new Lexicon speaker as a test bed to better understand the ideal target response curves depending on the speakers directivity. It’s the only speaker I know of that can sufficiently alter it’s DI while maintaining an otherwise identical listening window response. Mix that speaker with a MUSHRA interface and you could maybe finally begin to understand what is needed in an ideal speaker design of differing power response.
 

Matthew J Poes

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Not really, stay busy enough with Soundfield...outside of my real job. Yes, still working full time despite C19. The small direct radiator stuff would be straightforward.
The larger stuff with the indirect radiation might be trickier, including interpretation. I would have to send you some papers first. :)


Not a bad idea, maybe include a forklift!

cheers
I’m interested in cardioid bass loading for directivity control and would love to review some speakers with this feature. Outside of the kii audio and D&D there aren’t a lot of options. Most are huge.

I likely have some upcoming projects of my own designing fully active speakers with cardioid loading based directivity control. While you can utilize drivers on the back and sides, the idea of having 4+ channels per speaker isn’t very attractive. I want to play around with rear mounted bass drivers and side resistive vents. That should simplify the design while keeping a similar number of degrees of freedom for optimizing the DI.

I know you do a lot of that already. As does Legacy.

PS we measured a Legacy speaker on a fork lift. Didn’t go well. The forklift was causing a lot of reflections and diffraction. The response looked funny to the point of the speaker seeming flawed. We then noticed a ton of garbage i the first 2ms of the impulse response. I was then told by some others who had tried this that it’s not a great idea.

Maybe an approach more similar to what Klippel does could be used for large complex speakers. Vertical would still be very hard. A lot of speakers like yours can’t be placed on their side to accurately capture the vertical.
 

tnargs

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Thanks for reviewing these obviously well-conceptualized speakers. IMO the response is a bit too flat above the bass, and the crossover is a bit too low (maybe 1 octave) for the dimensions of the bass units and the waveguide. The waveguide may be having issues at both the throat, giving a strange rising response off-axis in the HF region and probably further contribution to perceptions of brightness, and the mouth, with a step in directivity and a sharp physical transition. I am not so quick to dismiss the high-Q treble raggedness as inaudible, as these may not just be cancellations but also resonances and higher order effects, with time differences introduced causing higher audibility.

It is nice to see someone having a go at this type of design.
 

AJ Soundfield

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I was thinking about that post measurements myself. I mean, the on-axis, listening window, and in-room predicted response track the ideal almost perfectly. Why did I think it’s bright? Is it just me? Is it those resonances in the waveguide?
Then I looked at the power response. The power response doesn’t track the ideal. It’s flatter in the HF’s than the ideal. A lot of speakers with constant directivity have this issue. It’s evident from the power response DI being flat through a portion of the HF’s.

So my theory is that in speakers with a flat DI like that, you may need more of a tilt in the on-axis response than what is true or typical direct radiator speakers. Once you add 2-3 dB shelf filters at 1khz you find a power response that looks more like that of a typical direct radiator, but with a listening window that looks “too” tilted.
Well, now that you clarified which version the data represents, I don't disagree with what you speculate. I might add it could have been a combination of things, as I'm sure you are aware http://gedlee.azurewebsites.net/Papers/AES06Gedlee_ll.pdf
The proof is in the pudding so to speak and since you have no perceived issues with the revised version, that puts it to rest. I'll tread carefully in another manufacturers review, as noted, was curious as to which version, appreciate your response.
It's difficult to see from pic but I would assume with Abbeys your sidewalls are "untreated". Unsure if this is a purely HT or multi-use room.

I’ve talked with Harman about doing this as a study before. I was talking to Sean Olive about using the new Lexicon speaker as a test bed to better understand the ideal target response curves depending on the speakers directivity. It’s the only speaker I know of that can sufficiently alter it’s DI while maintaining an otherwise identical listening window response. Mix that speaker with a MUSHRA interface and you could maybe finally begin to understand what is needed in an ideal speaker design of differing power response.
That would be very cool. I would only add a small caveat, "ideal plane waves speaker design...". Hope Sean can assist. Oh and remind him I asked 10yrs ago for angular data on their test scrims. :)

I’m interested in cardioid bass loading for directivity control and would love to review some speakers with this feature. Outside of the kii audio and D&D there aren’t a lot of options. Most are huge.
I likely have some upcoming projects of my own designing fully active speakers with cardioid loading based directivity control. While you can utilize drivers on the back and sides, the idea of having 4+ channels per speaker isn’t very attractive. I want to play around with rear mounted bass drivers and side resistive vents. That should simplify the design while keeping a similar number of degrees of freedom for optimizing the DI.
I know you do a lot of that already. As does Legacy.
PS we measured a Legacy speaker on a fork lift. Didn’t go well. The forklift was causing a lot of reflections and diffraction. The response looked funny to the point of the speaker seeming flawed. We then noticed a ton of garbage i the first 2ms of the impulse response. I was then told by some others who had tried this that it’s not a great idea.
Maybe an approach more similar to what Klippel does could be used for large complex speakers. Vertical would still be very hard. A lot of speakers like yours can’t be placed on their side to accurately capture the vertical.
My my, add speaker designer to the list now? I guess I have been under a rock ;-). Welcome to my world.
Depending on bandwidth and/or cost constraints, both venting and/or added drivers can be effective. Or a combination like dipole/monopole. But yes, side methods do make measuring verticals more challenging.
Ok, that's it for this thread derailment, I'll take the rest to PM. Kudos to JTR for making such a high performance product and to you for measuring.
Stay safe and have a great rest of weekend. Back to drudgery for me tomorrow..

cheers
 

Witchdoctor

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Hi,

I noticed you tested the speakers and one of the associated equipment was the DAC DAC. Any comments of the DAC DAC? I think the two companies partnered for an OTT demo at Axpona last year:

 

Matthew J Poes

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Hi,

I noticed you tested the speakers and one of the associated equipment was the DAC DAC. Any comments of the DAC DAC? I think the two companies partnered for an OTT demo at Axpona last year:


That is how I found out about that company.

It seems to be a good dac. If I had any complaints it would be that USB isn’t built into it and requires a USB to SPDIF converter. They have their reasons and that is fine.

When setup properly it was able to provide a very low noise system which was impressive to listen to. The only other DACs I’ve heard with similar specs are Benchmark Media and some of the higher performing SMSL models. I felt like this was a well built and designed dac with good sound. When a dac specs are this good there isn’t a lot to say. It doesn’t have a sound. It just does it’s thing.
 

Anand Raman

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Been a while since I've been on this forum but it is great that it is going well. I thoroughly enjoyed your review, even more so since I own the GedLee NA12's (for those who do not know, they are the replacement to Matt's Abbeys, with neodymium drivers, different crossover, larger 18 inch waveguide, more damped cabinet). More effortless is definitely what I first thought when I compared my NA12's to the Abbeys. With your review, I'm going to have to give the JTR's a more serious listen. Of note, I have found that with narrow directivity waveguide based speakers, that one can get the exacting imaging along with voluminous soundstaging if you do minimal treatment at the 1st reflection point, but add diffusion behind you and to the sides (where the listening position is). Add multisubs or OB subs and have fun! Of course, only 10-15% of my recordings are classical, the rest are definitely studio and multi-mic'd.

Thanks again for the very well written review!

Best,
Anand.
 

tesseract

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@Anand Raman , I've been to Matt's home and listened to his Abbeys. I remember Earl discussing a larger waveguide, cool to see it realized.

That said, I have also heard a lot of JTR offerings over the years and would encourage you to check them out. I bet you will like!
 
Last edited:

Kakkadu

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View attachment 30923
JTR Speakers is a small American-made speaker manufacturer based in Wisconsin. JTR sells high-end custom home theater speakers as well as a line of pro-audio speakers. All of JTR’s speakers rely on either waveguides or large coaxial drivers, the smallest of which is 10”s. As a result, it would be easy to forgive someone for thinking that JTR speakers are just about playing loud. However, their sound quality defies their appearance. All of JTR’s speakers look more like linebackers than ballet dancers yet dance they can. My time with the JTR Noesis 212RT has shown me that JTR speakers are something that needs to be heard, and not seen. Their sound defies expectations in ways that are hard to imagine. The way they present a soundscape, the ease with which they reproduce dynamics, the scale of instruments, everything was so much better than I had ever expected from such a brutish-looking speaker. If you have written these speakers off because they just look like big black boxes that play loud, you need to give them a chance; they will likely be some of the best sounding speakers you have ever heard, for home theater or music.

Appearance
View attachment 30924

There is no getting around the JTR looks. These are a speaker that is designed to be placed behind a screen or hidden away in a dark home theater. They are large, rectangular, black boxes. The finish is specially designed to avoid light reflections in a home theater. The waveguide and dual 12” drivers dominate the front of the speaker. For those looking for something a bit more attractive, the speakers can be ordered in any number of custom finishes, and as a small local builder, Jeff Permanian, the owner of JTR, can build you anything you want. But remember, speakers are for listening, not looking. If you want a piece of art to go with great sound, you have to pay for it. JTR speakers forgo high-style industrial design in favor of outstanding value and top-notch sound. In fact, as you read through my review, hopefully, one thing becomes clear; these speakers are a killer value. The speakers are large, coming in at 58”x14’x16.5” and have a large rectangular port at the bottom of the cabinet. They weigh in at 155lbs. While this is a seriously large and heavy speaker, they are not nearly as heavy as they could be. Had this speaker been made by nearly any other manufacturer, they would have saved money using MDF and ceramic magnet woofers. The use of Neo drivers and Baltic birch plywood leads to a much lighter final speaker.

View attachment 30925

Design

The design is where the JTR speakers really stand out. They are a highly unusual speaker design. Looking at the speaker, you notice a large 12” square shaped waveguide with what looks like fairly flat sides and an abrupt change in angle as you move toward the terminus of the waveguide. At the center of the waveguide is what can best be described as a kind of beak. It’s actually the phase plug from the coaxial compression driver. In this MTM arrangement, the large 12” waveguide is surrounded by two twelve-inch midbass drivers. These drivers are custom built for JTR by a well regarded OEM and is far from anything you can buy off the shelf. This leads to a driver with a smoother response and more excursion, while maintaining the same high power handling and sensitivity as the original driver. The compression driver is a similarly interesting 2” coaxial compression driver from BMS. This driver has an annular concentric ring design with a 3.5” and 1.75” voice coil for the midrange and tweeter rings. This driver can be crossed over as low as 300Hz but is crossed over in this speaker at 500hz. The driver has a very high sensitivity of 118dB at 1w/1m. When crossed over correctly, this compression driver can absorb over 1300 watts. Its maximum output is well in excess of 130dB. The speaker has a frequency response of 35Hz to 24kHz and a power handling of over 2000 watts. The use of an MTM arrangement and coaxial loaded waveguide leads to a point-source speaker design with level forward lobe, though the use of L-R 4th order crossovers will prevent it from likely being time aligned. Not a problem as long as the speaker remains phase coherent. The sensitivity of the final speaker is 98dB at 2.0V/1m, which is correct for 1 watt at 4ohms. The nominal impedance of the speaker is 4 ohms.

View attachment 30926

The waveguide is designed to provide a 60-degree coverage angle and is crossed below the point where the midwoofers become directional. This leads to a narrow dispersion speaker, which may not be for everyone. Wide dispersion speakers tend to increase the proportion of reflections relative to the direct sound and this leads to a larger and more open sounding image. For a 2-channel live performance, this may be desirable. On the other hand, for studio recordings and multi-channel, the attributes of a narrower dispersion speaker may be better. Narrower dispersion speakers with good controlled off-axis behavior help create a more stable soundstage and better integration between speakers. They reduce room reflections in much the same way that absorbing panels would, but often in better and more controlled ways. This leads to a tighter and more focused soundstage. While this leads to a lack of ambiance and reverb in the room naturally, if used as part of a surround system, the surround speakers more accurately will reproduce the reverb anyway. Many will argue that one approach is right vs the other, and my answer to them is that neither approach is righter than the other. A speaker’s dispersion is just one of the many variables that can be used to subjectively change our perception of the reproduced sound.


Listening Tests

First, I must disclose that Jeff Permanian, the owner and designer of JTR speakers, is a friend of mine. We talk regularly and I likely know more about his speakers than most outside of Jeff himself. This is largely a result of how much I enjoy and appreciate JTR speakers. As I noted before, there are many ways to design a speaker that may be equally right. While lots of research has gone into what aspects of a speaker’s performance is needed for good sound, it is important to note that specific requirements around dispersion have not really been established. My own experience is noted above that speakers with narrower dispersion tend to provide a tighter and more controlled soundstage. Images have laser-like specificity. I find this to be a more accurate way of reproducing studio recordings, but arguably, a less accurate way of reproducing live performances. However, given the trade off, I personally prefer speakers with narrower and well-controlled dispersion. I find the soundstage they reproduce to be addictive. In addition, one of the primary ways of controlling dispersion is using large speaker drivers, often from high-end pro-audio suppliers. These drivers lead to a speaker that can handle immense amounts of power and can reproduce unnecessarily loud volume levels (something I find very necessary). All of this leads to a speaker that is effortless in its reproduction of any music you throw at it. My reference speakers are the Gedlee Abbey’s, a single 12” 2-way speaker in the same design concept as the JTR. The Abbey had transformed my notion of effortless uncolored sound reproduction. I had never heard a speaker that could do what they could do before. Not at any price. The JTR is a speaker that, while not better in every way, is even more effortless than my Gedlee’s.

As for the setup, I used a number of components to power the JTR’s. I used a Yamaha R-N803 network 2-channel receiver (140 wpc 4ohm), a Cherry Amplifier 2-channel MEGAschino (600 wpc 4ohms), and an Acurus A200 (400 wpc 4ohm). The DAC was either the ESS Sabre DAC built into the Yamaha, the AKM Dac built into the Onkyo receiver I use as a preamp, or the Chery Dac Dac HS, which was operated directly into he MEGAschino in full balanced mode. The latter setup used no preamp, volume was controlled via the source computer (64-bit resolution to avoid loss of bit-resolution). This setup was capable of a S/N of at least 120dB and, given the extremely high output of the speakers and low noise of the room, likely a real-world dynamic range of at least 120dB. Given how few electronic components have a true dynamic range in excess of 120dB, rooms with noise floors below NC15, and speakers capable of in excess of 130dB’s, it is likely that very few people have a sound system capable of reproducing a true dynamic range of 120dB. While this does not reflect realistic or safe listening speakers, it is still an extraordinary technical achievement and creates a sound system that was absolutely effortless in its reproduction of music, along with resolving of the finest details. Nothing could hide.


Music

I tend to use a lot of the same music in my reviews and that is for good reason. The more varied the music I use, the more difficult it is for me to draw reliable conclusions. As such, I’ll go through the usual suspects that I tried with these speakers. As I noted, the setup I used with these speakers is very resolving, and that made it exciting to relisten to my favorite test tracks, trying to see what I was missing.

I’ve often mentioned my favorite classical guitar pieces, Suite Espanola, Op. 47: No. 4, Asturias (Leyenda) performed by John Williams. This piece is recorded with a lot of dynamic range, but being a flamenco guitar piece, has a lot of subtlety. One of the unique aspects of this playing style is its use of dynamics as a tool for musical expression. A lot of normal speakers tend to constrain this recording; it still sounds fine but lacks that “alive” quality that lets you know what you are hearing is a real guitar in a real room. That life was brought back by the JTR Noesis 212RT’s. This piece was translated from piano to guitar using the original pp to fff crescendo and greater expressive markings. In other words, this guitar piece is hugely colorful with a lot of expressive movements and wide range between very soft and subtle playing to very loud. So loud in fact that, when heard live, you can feel the guitar in your body. Small speakers reproduce a miniaturized version of this song that leads to a loss of this visceral aspect and a smudging of those fine pp details. That isn’t what I heard through the JTR’s, and everything was there for me to hear. I could feel the fff peak of the crescendo’s, nothing was lost, not even the feelings. I love this song and I found myself playing it over and over again on this speaker.

Another classical piece I played on this speaker was Mozart’s Sonata in C Major K.521 performed by Helen and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. The Schnabel’s played a large number of duets together with excellent technical proficiency. These recordings are dated, but the playing is marvelous. Karl and Helen had a great chemistry in their playing. I like this piece because it’s a natural sounding piano recording that provides a more accurate sense of a speaker’s tonal balance. Piano recordings are great for judging a speaker’s tone and color, as piano’s are instruments with a wide bandwidth and familiar sound. The JTR Noesis 212RT sounded neutral, if anything, highlighting the age of this recording. It lacked bass and was noisy, but otherwise sounded as it should. All of these problems an accurate reproduction of the recording, itself noisy and lacking in bass.

From there I moved onto numerous pop and rock hits. A speaker like this is ideal for reproducing grand rock songs and Guns N Roses’ Paradise City just felt like the best way to end the music portion of this review. This is a song best blasted loud while aggressively tapping your foot to the beat, playing air guitar along with Slash, and screaming the lyrics along with Axl. This classic metal song sounded amazing on the Noesis 212RT’s. Few speakers can do songs like this justice, songs that were written to be played at 130dB’s and destroying eardrums at large stadium concerts, not played back at moderate levels on a typical home stereo. Often turning up a song like this to rock out just leads to distortion and compression, which is an irritating sound I rather do without. Not so with the JTR’s; like everything else I played through them, it reproduced this piece with clarity, delicacy, and precision. The full expression of dynamic range, all the sounds and screams, all the inflections in the guitar solo were accurately reproduced by the 212RT’s, and I loved every minute of it.


Movies

I watched a lot of movies through the JTR Noesis 212RT’s and the experience was always the same. Just like with music, these speakers always came off as neutral and effortless. If you have never heard a large powerful speaker driven with excessive amounts of power, you are missing out. It didn’t matter if I was watching a romantic film with my wife, a drama or documentary, or my favorite, a bombastic action film at reference levels. Everything I played sounded just as it should, with no signs of compression or distortion, an unusually effortless quality, and with total neutrality.

The best way to sum up my experience with this speaker is to just focus on Star Wars. While all Star Wars films have always been a technical feat when it comes to sound and visuals, the newest films take this to such a new level that seriously stresses most systems. In the recent “The Last Jedi” film (I know this film was not well-liked amongst fans, but remember, this is a speaker review), some of the explosions had such extreme amounts of dynamic range and power that nearly every system I heard the film on was overloading. Even many cinema’s struggled to handle this film without strain. The JTR’s had no problem reproducing this film. I’ve noticed many systems seem to almost hiccup with very dynamic content, causing vocals to sound indistinct in comparison with a system like this.[1] Voices may even have an edgy quality. That isn’t what I heard through the JTR. They didn’t miss a beat (or explosion). That is what an effortless speaker does.

While I would call the JTR speakers neutral, I always like to think of the term neutral as part of a continuum. Neutral means flat, but every speaker has some level of color to it, if nothing else, a slight tilt in the response. The JTR is what I would call the brighter side of neutral, meaning that some will find it a bit bright, while others may like it’s current tonal balance. Having said that, JTR took my findings to heart and has revised to voicing to be more neutral. It made me want to tone the treble down a little with the tone control or some eq. Similarly, I’ve found that I tend to be overly sensitive to a speaker’s brightness. I would be remiss if I did not mention that I found it necessary to apply about 3dB of tilt in the high frequencies using a 10khz centered shelf filter. On movies, I found that this brightness tended to improve vocal clarity, but add a slight bit of sibilance, especially on those movies with less forgiving soundtracks. A good example what the new Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The way this movie was recorded tends to sound a little shouty and bright at times. Through the JTR’s I sometimes found this a bit bothersome. We might say that they were more truthful than some, but I found that toning down the treble made the movie a bit more bearable. It’s important that I clarify that I do not use the terms bright, brittle, or harsh in the same way. These speakers did not have an obnoxious brightness that leads to a harsh quality. We are talking a tad bit of more upper treble than I like in a perfect system.


Sound Quality Conclusions

I really enjoyed my time listening to the JTR Noesis 212RT’s. They are a special speaker. I am sure their sound won’t be for everyone. Their tightly controlled dispersion helps create a holographic and precisely placed and layered soundstage. I love this quality. I also understand that this doesn’t necessarily mimic the reality of a large and live performance, and some may prefer the more diffused and spacious image created by a speaker with wider dispersion. I really loved how the high-efficiency drivers, huge power-handling, and large size allowed the speaker to effortlessly produce musical crescendos. Well, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t love that, but I’m sure the size of the speakers and volume levels they can produce will also not be for everyone. These speakers worked so well with music and for movies that I was left really impressed. How a speaker sounds is one thing, however, how it measures is another. In the next section, you will be able to see measurements that provide a sense of how the speaker performs.

Measurements

The JTR speaker’s measurements are impressive, to say the least. When I came into this review, I had really wondered just how talented and capable a speaker engineer that Jeff Permanian would be? I mean, maybe he just builds big brackish speakers. I had heard these speakers on many occasions, in fact I had been doing listening tests of the 212RT for months by the time I finally was able to measure them, and I thought they sounded great, but who knows, maybe I’m deaf. Once I got around to measuring these speakers I was not disappointed, they really proved that Jeff is, in fact, a very talented designer offering huge speakers with huge value. Anyone judging these as nothing more than big, loud, and obnoxious are missing out. Their measurements confirmed these to be every bit the high-fidelity speaker my ears heard.

Measuring a speaker this large and heavy was difficult to say the least. Jeff and I hoisted the speaker on top of a 6-foot section of rigging. On top of that rigging, we placed a slip mat, and then I used a digital compass to measure the change in angle. The microphone was placed at the appropriate height using a specially designed microphone stand. Measurement equipment included a MicW (BSWA) M215 with calibrated capsule, a 1khz Calibrator, a Motu 828x, and Room EQ Wizard. Graphs were generated using VITUIX CAD.


View attachment 30940

The next image provides the response of the speaker across all of the axis measured, in 5-degree increments, across a full 360 degrees. That means the last response shown in red is actually the response of the speaker from behind the speaker. The frequency response is commendably flat.
View attachment 30941

This next image depicts the listening window response (Grey), the power response (Blue), and the directivity index (red). We again see excellent behavior for the most part. The listening window response is very flat, with just a slight uptick in the bass. The power response shows the expected natural tilt due to the increased directivity narrowing at mid and high frequencies. Some may note some roughness in the response apparent in both this measurement and the first image. This is likely caused by reflections inside the waveguide and is generally thought to be too high Q to be audible. In addition, this is exaggerated by virtue of the scaling, this roughness falls within a slim +/- 2 dB or so. Finally, we see the Directivity index. This shows that the speaker has fairly wide dispersion in the bass, as most speakers do, with narrowing dispersion above 1khz. I happen to believe that this speaker’s directivity is slightly compromised by the choice of a very low crossover. The woofers themselves would begin to narrow their dispersion at around 500-800hz and crossing the waveguide at a point where the directivity matches that of the woofer may extend the raised DI down another half octave or so. This is more academic than practical and likely of little audible consequence. In addition, we see a slight wavering in the DI that shows the change in directivity over the bandwidth of the DI. I know this issue might bother a perfectionist, but it really is of little to no consequence in terms of sound. The implications of this are more evident in the next image.

View attachment 30942

This next image is known as a polar radar graph or polar map. This particular image, looking somewhat like an alien heat map, reflects the amount of energy at each frequency across the range of angles. This image shows 180 degrees of radiation or the frontal hemisphere. We can see the narrowing of dispersion that takes place between 1khz and 4khz. The cause of this is unknown, I believe it might be related to the waveguide profile and/or the coaxial driver. It is possible that the smaller tweeter annular ring is loading the waveguide differently from the midrange ring and causes a slight change in the directivity. Again, we need to come back to sound to put this in perspective. This shift in directivity is slight and of little audible concern.

View attachment 30943

Below is a look at the low frequency response of the JTR Noesis 212RT. This is not a groundplane measurement and instead relies on the potentially problematic free space measurement, but does give a better picture of the low frequency performance of the speaker as compared with the gated measurements shown earlier. Based on this, the -10dB point free space is around 30hz. It also shows more of a quasibutterworth rolloff of 3rd order rather than a true 4th order, as expected with typical ported speakers. Likely this is due to the very low port tuning of the speaker relative to the enclosure size and driver loading. For mains this is typically preferably as it provides better integration with subwoofers and often more extended bass in room than would be otherwise achieved, at the expense of a little bit of output in the bass octave above this low tuning.

View attachment 30948

Overall these are great measured results and reflect a well-engineered product. They show good constant directivity performance bettered by few speakers. Every complaint I might make is likely negligible when it comes to sound. They show a flat neutral response with consistent reduction in level as you move off-axis. My only complaints are the slight narrowing in the lower treble/upper midrange and the slight roughness in the treble range. Keep in mind my SPL windows are very narrow, most of these errors fall within a narrow 3dB window. Most commercial speaker offerings would dream of such good measured performance.


Conclusion

I’ve long been impressed with the capabilities of JTR’s speakers. The 212RT has long caught me as an optimum sweet spot in the performance and price range across Jeff’s lineup. I am absolutely honored that Jeff trusted me enough to be the first person to ever measure his speakers professionally. One thing I can say without question is that Jeff is a talented speaker engineer and the Noesis 212RT’s are among the better sounding speakers I’ve heard. They have the most effortless presentation I have ever experienced; they even made my own Gedlee Abbey’s sound strained by comparison. This provided thunderous dynamics with a huge presentation. But they didn’t stop with big and loud; the neutral tonal balance and well-placed soundstage really impressed me. In fact, the detail and specificity with which I could place instruments across the soundscape were among the best I’ve ever heard. For those of you into well-focused soundstages, there are few if any speakers that can better the JTR Noesis 212RT. They may not look it, but these speakers are high-fidelity stunners with performance that belies their price. JTR is a brand I’ve long felt is under-appreciated, and after reviewing Noesis 212RT, all I can say is that these speakers are highly recommended.


JTR Noesis 212RT
  • Frequency +/- 3db 35hz-24khz (in room response down to 27hz)
  • Sensitivity* 98db, 2.0 volts, free air (107db, 2.83v, halfspace)
  • Usable Output** 134db (calculated peak 137 – 3db compression)
  • Recommended Amplification up to 2000 watts RMS (program)
  • Impedance 4 ohm
  • Dimensions (HxWxD) 58″x14″x16.5″
  • Weight 155
  • Construction 24mm, 18ply, void free, Baltic Birch (Several times stronger and more expensive than MDF)
  • Exterior Finish Matte black lacquer paint designed to be non-light reflective for home theater
  • Connectors Binding Post
  • Warranty 5 year Manufacturer defect
Wow this is a speaker I approve by the graphs... would be interesting to hear them.
 

smodtactical

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Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
2
Matthew thanks for the great review and measurements. Just curious have you compared the performance of the 212RT against any modern audiophile/hifi focused speakers in the same ball park price or above? I recall someone saying they were blown away by the hifi performance even compared to extremely expensive audiophile speakers but can't find it now.
 

Matthew J Poes

Senior Member
Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
1,887
Matthew thanks for the great review and measurements. Just curious have you compared the performance of the 212RT against any modern audiophile/hifi focused speakers in the same ball park price or above? I recall someone saying they were blown away by the hifi performance even compared to extremely expensive audiophile speakers but can't find it now.
Well my own Abbeys are certainly an expensive and high end speaker. But you can’t buy them anymore.

I’m guessing you are looking for comparisons against audiophile speakers of more conventional design using direct radiating drivers and from mainstream brands.

with that in mind, the Revel M126Be overlapped briefly. I also had the Martin Logan Motion 35Xti.

I have the Polk Legend L800’s now and while they didn’t overlap, it was maybe a week or two apart, so the impression of one was fresh in my mind. Plus I still have my Gedlee’s as an anchor point of comparison.

with that in mind, here are how I might compare:
Revel: smoother and more neutral sounding. More spacious imaging/staging. Not nearly as dynamic or effortless. Smaller image. Less image specificity (placement of instruments is less distinct). Treble on these speakers is addictive.

Martin Logan: more spacious imaging. Slightly harsh treble. Not as neutral. Generally not as good a speaker. JTR is far more effortless. JTR has better imaging and staging even if it’s slightly less spacious (which I prefer anyway).

Polk L800: This speakers strong point is the SDA tech and it’s effect ok Imaging. As such I would argue that the imaging is far bigger and expansive. It is more spacious while still being very precise. However I don’t feel it is more right. It’s different for sure, unlike anything I have experienced before and I really like it. The JTR imaging is more conventional in its portrayal. I also really like that portrayal however. Narrow dispersion speakers like the JTR have this laser like quality to the imaging that is very specific and detailed. I quite like it, not everyone else feels the same. The Polk is more like headphones in their imaging, but imagine those headphones being around the whole front half of the room. It’s quite unreal when done right.

the bass of the Polks is great. A lot better than the JTR in terms of deep low bass. Sounds great. On the other hand, it hits its limit fast and really needs a ton of power to achieve that great bass. I was running 400 and 600 watts RMs amps to get those best results. With the JTR you get great performance from any standard receiver.

the Polk reminds me of a good full range bookshelf in a lot of ways. Other than the staging, they have more of the dynamic limits of a typical good bookshelf. The Revel’s has a similar dynamic performance. On the other hand, the JTR has an unreal effortless dynamic presentation that is unlike anything you will get from most conventional speakers. It makes large orchestra recordings sound far more realistic.

I did also have the Philharmonic BMR overlap but very different speakers and the BMR is not mainstream. I think the BMR is great. It’s only real problem is that it’s very inefficient and so dynamics and output aren’t comparable. Otherwise it’s a more neutral and smoother sounding speaker with a perfect timbre. I think the Revel is the only other speaker I heard with comparable timbre to the BMR. The BMR is also the exact opposite in dispersion, being unusually wide dispersion. That makes for a large spacious soundstage that also lacks the specificity of CD designs. Which is better is a matter of taste.
 
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