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Author Topic: JTR Noesis 3TX and Captivator 212pro  (Read 644 times)

Jonathan Woytek

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JTR Noesis 3TX and Captivator 212pro
« on: September 22, 2017, 09:33:00 pm »

Hi all. Quick background: I'm building a new PA system after not being a "provider" and being only an "operator" for a while. More details and a review of the QSC amp I have paired with these speakers here:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,164934.msg1519910.html#msg1519910
... and on the system processor here:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,164935.msg1519918.html#msg1519918

What follows here is an introductory review of the JTR Speakers Noesis 3TX mains and Captivator 212pro subs. My intention is to update this as I gain more experience with the system and have a chance to perform tests and measurements. This first review segment contains a little about the evaluation process, purchase experience, unboxing, testing, and first real gig with the system. I did not have an opportunity to take detailed measurements of the system components, though I plan to do that in the future.

A few months ago, I began the research and evaluation phase of a plan to rebuild my PA rig. While I had my old rig (some older Yamaha SM-series cabinets, a couple of Yamaha Club-series cabinets, a set of Altec Voice of the Theatre A7's, amps, and most of the mics, stands, cables, etc.), it was in disarray and mostly not usable. The amps had developed reliability problems. The Yamaha SM boxes had noisy crossovers with bad 1/4" jacks. The A7's still sounded great, but were hard for me to move around, especially as most gigs I'm now working on my own without a lot of help (my Dad used to be able to help me muscle those around, but neither of us are getting any younger, and he's near 70!). And I always had to rent subs when working gigs that needed them. At the same time, I had dramatically cut back on the number and types of gigs I was doing several years ago, so I was down to a couple of theatre gigs where I was just using the provided system and bringing my own support gear. Within the past year or two, though, those systems have become more broken and less capable, with no planned upgrade, repair, or replacement in the works. I wanted to get back into some of the local small festivals, and have more control over the sound in the theatre spaces. It was time to look at building a new PA system.

The overall evaluation criteria I had posted in a prior review (above). The speakers, though, deserve a few special points:
* They had to be movable and mountable/riggable by one person (me).
* They had to be sturdy and capable of use in various environments.
* They had to offer good pattern control.
* They had to have detailed reproduction in the vocal range, but not at the expense of general live instrument range.
* They had to be able to cover an outdoor area, either with several hundred people, and also be capable and practical for covering a smaller setting in a room, banquet hall, smaller theatre, club, etc.
* The system had to be flexible in configuration, allowing me to make decisions on setup based on the venue and audience, without having to compromise sound quality by going bigger or smaller.
* The system had to be able to run from standard 110V outlets, as most venues I work (and many of the ones I intend to try to work) don't have company switches or the ability to get a 220V drop.
* Immediate cost recovery was not a primary concern. Certainly, the equipment must be a good value and there should be the ability to recover costs in a reasonable amount of time, but I'm OK in this case with spreading this recovery over a longer period of time of ownership.

My research eventually brought me to the Danley SM80 and the JTR Noesis 3TX. Both seemed to be highly regarded and garnered the kinds of comments I was specifically looking for in a system, especially with regard to intelligibility and pattern control. Unfortunately, both were also just about impossible to hear in my area.

In my research, I had contacted Jeff at JTR Speakers for some details on the Noesis 3TX, and to talk about subs. I was specifically looking for subs that were a little easier to move around than the Orbit Shifters or TH-115/TH-118, but that still had reasonable output. I also had some size requirements that would make it just about impossible to roll into one of the theatres I work with something that size. He suggested the relatively new Captivator 212pro boxes. There wasn't a lot of data on them yet, but he talked me through the design brief, and I was impressed. I decided that the 212pro's would probably be my subwoofer boxes with either top, and so looked to make a decision on the tops.

As my purchase timeline approached rapidly, I realized that there was going to be no way for me to hear these in person, and I had to do something I really didn't want to do. After a good bit of debate and reading as much as I could from people talking about these boxes, I made the decision to get the Noesis 3TX. One of the things that really pushed me over the edge are the rotatable and replaceable horns on the 3TX, which meant that I could get flexible pattern control out of a single box, which is important to me for some of the configurations I can imagine for these. I ordered two Captivator 212pros, and two Noesis 3TX with the 90/60 horns and in 4-Ohm configuration. Jeff assured me that he would be able to meet my need timeline, and we were off and running.

A few weeks later, Jeff sent me the shipping details, and the next day, the speakers arrived on the dock of the freight company. The next day, they were delivered to my door. Well, almost my door--they were delivered to my curb, where I broke down the pallet and brought them inside.



Now, unfortunately, I forgot to take photos after I removed the cardboard wrapping, but the speakers were also individually shrink wrapped, and arrived in great shape, as seen here on our sidewalk:


The subs have nice feet on the bottom. Here, they were on their sides because that's how I picked them up. Sorry about that.

The cabinets are each quite liftable and easy to move by a single human. The way the handles are placed on the 212's, it is possible for one person to grip both, making them really easy to handle.

After getting everything inside, I had to do some other work, so they sat for a few hours until I could "play" a bit. I rigged the system briefly inside, and set about to playing some tracks through it and messing about with the crossover settings. This was also the first chance I had to really test the amp and processor, so it was a good full-system test for the PA.

I was immediately impressed with how well matched everything was out of the box, using the recommended crossover frequency around 100Hz (Linkwitz-Riley, 24db slope). I also set a high-pass on the subs at around 25Hz with a pretty steep slope. I was honestly hard pressed to think of where my ears might want some EQ. This was not an appropriate place to fire up a measurement rig, so I didn't have a lot of visual feedback. In the end, I did nothing! For the upcoming gig that weekend, I figured I could listen to the system a little more "open" and see if I heard anything different.

A few days later, I had the first real gig with the system, at an outdoor festival in our community. The only photo I have here is before more people showed up, so it doesn't give a great representation of the crowd size (and I'm just noticing it is a little crooked--oops).


I was running a sub on either end of the stage on the ground, and the Noesis 3TX on stands next to them. Through the course of the day, I never had the system over 1/3 - 1/2 power, and cruised at a comfortable 90-95dB C-weighted at the mix tent. There was a lot of headroom available and we could have gone a good bit louder, but really didn't need to do it. It was really easy to mix on these, like mixing on the Altec A7's after they've been dialed-in. Every detail was present, and things didn't turn to mush as they sometimes do when the mix gets busy. I didn't feel the need to add any system-wide EQ at all, and stuck with the crossover as I had set it up initially. I had plenty of bass from the subs, and could have pushed them a lot harder if I needed more. There were people set up all around the mix tent and further back into the grass lot behind me, and everyone seemed to be happy. I had a limited time to walk around myself, but did have a chance to hear the system from a few points, and was really happy with the overall sound. I had some reports from people who were several blocks away and were able to still hear and understand the vocals, which was good to hear. I was also happy to hear the bands and their cohorts complimenting the system (which might mean that they're used to playing on crap systems, but we're going to hope it means that this system performed really well :) ).

There are more gigs in the works, but the next one I'm pretty excited about right now is a theatre gig in November. It is a straight play in a difficult venue where I will also be doing the musical in the spring, and is one of the venues where the provided system is no longer adequate, so I'm really looking forward to running this system there. Additionally, I will have time in that room to make some measurements and do some more in-depth examination of processing and performance.

At the moment, the system leaves me wanting for nothing. From the beginning, I have been considering the purchase of two additional subs and another amp, so I would have a backup amp for the whole system, plus additional sub capacity for outdoor events and louder theatre-style concerts. My testing in November in the theatre will tell me if that's really necessary for the theatre shows.

I'm really impressed with these speakers. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. I look forward to getting some more time on these cabinets and really working them out for a few shows coming up. More will follow here as I do more work with them.

As with the other reviews I've posted here, please feel free to ask questions here, or PM me if you wish. I'm happy to answer what I can.

jonathan
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Jonathan Woytek
Dryrose Productions

Tim McCulloch

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Re: JTR Noesis 3TX and Captivator 212pro
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 01:19:32 pm »

Jeff is one of the 'good guys' in the speaker biz.  Customer service and support are top notch and Jeff is a genuinely friendly and knowledgeable designer.  I'm not at all surprised that you had a great experience working with JTR.

I'm particularly interested in how your rig will work in theatre, where pattern control is critical and articulation is essential.  I suspect the latter will be no issue but there is a limit to pattern control based on the physical size and form factor (and hence, frequency).  Looking forward to your impressions as you do more shows with your new rig.

ps:  don't sell off your Altecs cheap...
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut
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