The NHT's can be harsh with the wrong equipment. Let them break in a little bit and see what happens. They're actually a fairly revealing speaker although I have personally liked the 2.5(not the 2.5i) for home theater. They have the soft dome and I find it more to my liking. Good luck.
If you want to "push" the woofer break-in, aim the speakers toward each other, wire one out of phase, turn the bass up, and let 'em pound away for a few hundred hours.
THEN listen. The tweeter will still be bright because that's what NHT's always been about, but at least you'll then be able to give them a fair hearing....
I wouldn't be surprised if you still found them a bit wanting...due to a "U"-shaped spectral response...the old west coast sound. You can modify the bass end with room placement, but the midrange will probably still be pretty sucked-out vis-s-vis the treble. Do these come with a tweeter pot or switch?
I used to listen to my 2.9's with socks between the tweeter and grill, if that tells you anything.
After a full evening of listening, they do sound better. The bass has become much tighter and more full.
The tweeters are very revealing of the source material. They sound excellent with some CD's and metallic or "tinny" with others. I compared them with my old Genesis speakers and I generally prefer the NHT's for their dynamics and that "you are there" feeling. Amplified highs don't necessarily sound perfect when you are at a live performance (with blaring horn tweeters) either. It seems that the more I listen to them, the smoother they get (or else I am going deaf from listening too loud and can't hear the high notes anymore). I hope the trend continues.
If there are any shortcomings on music, they certainly don't exist in the home theater realm. I put in the Pearl Harbor DVD and WOW! I've never heard the air raid like that before. (Using NHT VS2.4 center channel, NHT Super One in wall surrounds and M&K push/pull 12" powered sub).
Your ears are indeed accomodating throughout a listening session, ESPECIALLY if you listen at high SPLs. I was at Boston's Symphony Hall last Wenesday for an open rehearsal of the BSO with guest Andre Previn conducting the Ravel Left-Hand Piano Concerto with Thibodeau (sp); I was in 6th row center, and the opening orchestral minutes were breathtakingly beautiful and LOUD. Then the 9' Steinway entered with a thin, wimpy sound! Sounded like a fortepiano!
I then remembered that I was sitting slightly BELOW the
soundboard, and well below the lid's projection, and that the front orchestra seats are simply not kind to pianos at SH. Yet within about 10 minutes everything was fine. Did the piano change? Of course not. Did Thibodeau get MORE dynamic? Nope. Just pychoacoustic accomodation.........
Your NHTs WILL continue to fill out their bottoms with time, but I suggest you either be patient, and NOT force it by ruining your ears in the meantime, and perhaps follow a prescribed artificial break-in as described above.
I'll bet that when you listen tonight you'll be disappointed with the first two minutes of music because the sound IS still thin and too analytic. You need to give the woofers' spiders and surrounds time...not blast your ears into submission! Take it easy....
Thank you for the advice. I plan to give them time and I definitely will not harm my ears. I can't listen too loud with everyone asleep! (Can't wait to finish dedicated music/home theater room in the basement).
I sounds as if you think these speakers may be satisfying after some substantial break in?
P.S. You asked about the switch. The switch on this speaker is to activate rear midrange and tweeter for a bipole effect on movie soundtracks. I flip the switch off for music listening.
Have you had the opportunity to listen to them?
According to NHT's website, the 2.4 has the same 1" aluminum dome tweeter as the venerable 3.3 and the favorably reviewed (by SGHT) VT 3 system. They SHOULD sound good after break in.
First, let me state that my ears are VERY sensitive to high frequencies. That said, I had a pair of 2.5i's and found them to be too harsh, very bright. They were matched with Adcom amps, not exactly the smoothest mids and highs. I ended up trading them in for a pair of VT1.4, I believe they have the same aluminum tweeters. Again, too bright for my ears. I sold them and picked up a pair of VT1.2, these have the soft dome tweeter. Much smoother, but still bright, no doubt revealing the nature of the Adcoms. I upgraded from the Adcoms to a Sonic Frontiers SFS-40. After some extensive tube rolling, I did find a good combo that took the bite out of the NHTs. I think it is just the nature of the beast. The VT2.4s are great speakers. Diligent equipment matching can tame them.
I agree with Bigtee -- NHTs generally have a more forward and "brighter" sound, but the metal tweeter in the newer models amplifies (no pun intended) the problem. The original 3.3 (as well as the 2.5, 2.3, 2.1, 1.5, 1.3, etc)had a soft tweeter and sounded (IMO) much better than the newer models. I'm using an all NHT "Focused Image Geometry" series HT setup with Rotel amps and a Lexicon pre/pro, and I don't find the sound to be harsh at all. My NHTs are all soft tweeter models, though, and all VERY well broken in (since most of them have been out of production for 8-10 years . . . .)
I wonder why they would switch to the alumninum dome tweeter if it doesn't sound as good? Maybe just a personal taste of the designer thing?
Just said the same thing to Erik on my system thread . . . . I think this is a classic example of "It wasn't broke, so you shouldn't have fixed it . . . ."
I think NHT wanted to try and get a little more extension. Actually, some people complained about the original soft dome being a little rolled off(hum) Maybe they felt since everyone was going to metal dome, they had too. The metal dome actually measures pretty flat(so much for measurements)
They are a touch forward so maybe this compounds the problem a touch. I heard a pair of 2.5i's with a YBA Integra DT and they really sounded good. I guess you must consider equipment matching in the mix.
I have lived with these speakers for a while now. Let me preface my remarks by saying that my source for CD listening is a moderately priced Sony DVD player/CD recorder/player. Since one of my speakers arrived slightly damaged, I had to wait a few days to get a replacement. In the meantime, I switched back to my old Genesis speakers. I immediately felt that I was missing something. The Genesis speakers weren't nearly as detailed as the NHT's. When I got the NHT's hooked back up, my wife said "I can hear a lot of things I never heard before".
All of this sounds positive, but I still do not love the sound. My ears seem to fatigue even after listening at low volumes. But when I listen to other speakers, I do not feel like I am hearing everything. I have very mixed feelings about these speakers for music.
For movies, these speakers are incredible. The dynamics and audio intelligibility make these speakers rate an A++++ on movie soundtracks. I have never heard movies sound so good before. I just wish I could have the same experience with music. Maybe I will try SACD or DVD Audio.
At any rate, I will allow these speakers some more time to break in, tweak their positioning a bit and will then try to write a more complete review.
It's often a balancing act between detail and fatigue-free sound. I understand it's possible to get it all, but it hasn't yet happened for me.
I lived with the 2.5i for a few years and while they were quite accomodating to better gear, I still had a difficult time really getting into the music with them on a long term basis. They require good amplification and lots of it and of course good source material. The problem long term was that there is an upper midrange/low treble emphasis that after time becomes more apparent and fatiguing. The midrange performance also appeared recessed with that emphasis. I've heard this much more apparent with other designs but the NHT's are not flat in this area. They aren't bad speakers and for home theater as you note, work quite well. For music they take a mite of effort and at the end of the day, I feel there are better choices. Your ears are your ultimate guide. On the other hand I never found them to be harsh, just a tad bright for my taste.
I have a more modest home theater with NHT SuperOnes, SubOne and a Rotel receiver, and I'm very happy with it, although I have a separate 2 channel system (5 channel vs. 2 channel is another thread). Since you like the immediacy and dynamics of the 2.4's, my advice is to tweak it. First, put the grills back on, then put that Sony on a pneumatic base like a Brightstar Airmass and put some cones between the player and the base. You'll be shocked. A nice mellow, copper interconnect is also mandatory. Also, acoustic treatment of the first reflection points can be very effective in taming harshness. Even if none of this is really satisfactory, it will improve the sound of any other speaker you may buy to replace the NHT's, and it's pretty cheap.
Never been a big NHT fan...those tweeters are just too bright and aggressive for my taste...they have a loyal following...and for HT are pretty good...but for extended listening periods...they are just too much...
I agree with you on the newer metal tweeters . . . but you should listen to the older, soft-dome NHT models. Still EXTREMELY revealing, but not harsh.
I have heard the older NHTs as well...and granted the soft dome is an improvement...but I am still not convinced of their "Focused Geometry" slanted baffle...the soundstage never gets outside of the speaker...the imaging between the speakers is decent..but they end up sounding small and closed in...
Maybe it was the electronics you heard them with . . . . on good recordings, my 2.3As throw a wall-to-wall soundstage, even with the TV in the back of the speaker plane. (Now IMAGING is compromised by the TV, but not soundstage width).
Pop in the latest Enya CD and you'll SWEAR that the rear speakers are active . . . .
However, they don't throw a "fake" big soundstage like some speakers do. If the recording is small and closed in, then the speakers sound small and closed in, too.
They also have somewhat of a design flaw . . . in the floorstanders, the driver layout puts the tweeters well below ear level for most people's seated listening position. I raised mine up 8 inches off the floor, so that the tweeters are where they're supposed to be -- BIG difference.
Paradigm Studio 20...and I used my favorite reference quality recording..."Darkside of the Moon"...which is known to bring out the best (or worst) characteristics of a speaker...and in terms of "out of box" imaging...the 1.5 was clearly behind the other two...although the Paradigm and the MA are by no means perfect...they did outperform the NHT in this regard...during the familiar alarm clock sequence...the speakers never vanished...I did like their sealed enclosed bass though...wish more companies would still use it...
The tweeters on the VT 2.4' are definitely not too low. A little high for my seating area actually. Also, no angles baffles on these speakers. The soundstage is huge and you always think the center channel is playing the vocals unless you put your ear up to it and realize it's not. These speakers do alot of things very well and are definitely starting to smooth out, but bad recordings sound awful, almost unlistenable. Worse speakers are better for some things.
FINALLY got my Channel Islands VPC-1 passive preamp and hooked it up yesterday . . . . BIG difference in the sound. The little bit of harshness that I was hearing in the midrange is gone now -- female vocals sound fuller, and everything is "richer" sounding. Plus, there is a LOT more low level detail now -- audience noises are much more noticeable in Eva Cassidy's "Live at Blues Alley," and echoes and treble decays are more noticeable and natural.
I guess what everyone says about the Lexicon DC-1 not being great for 2-channel is dead on the money . . . .
I don't know what preamp you're using, but if it's a HT type of thing, you might want to give the VPC-1 a try. It's only $220 new, and it will let you hear exactly what's coming out of your source, without any added coloration or sonic disturbance from an active preamp.
It's easy to rig into a HT setup, too, as long as you only want to have one analog source. The VPC-1 has two inputs, so you just run your CD/DVD analog outs into one input, and then the main L/R outs from your HT processor into the other. For HT listening, just switch to the HT outs input and turn the preamp volume all the way up -- then it's sonically not even in the circuit, basically, and there's no need to level match.
I find my NHT VT2.4's too bright for music. When I listen to music, I switch to my Linn Tukans. They are smooth and very dynamic.
I have been thinking of replacing the drivers and crossover in the NHT speakers.