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Winno

Steve's hi-fi adventures.

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At first glance I thought, this PUC is f**ked. But on second thoughts, I'm thinking, that's LITE done right.

I think the guys at Yellowtec need to see this. :P

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Was mowing the lawn this evening and peeked through the music room's windows from outside.

So, I thought I'd try to capture my music room from a different perspective;

 

 

 

 

Edited by Winno

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I also had the roadside rubbish collection find of the century a couple of months ago when it was Brisbane's western suburbs' turn for a clean out.

 

Outside a house up the road was a set of NHT Classic Four towers and an NHT Verve active subwoofer.

 

All drivers in the Classic Fours, except the side firing 10" woofers and the tweeters were shot - the mid domes were poked by fingers and cracked and the midbass surrounds were cracked. The mids buzzed and the midbasses rattled.

 

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The sub however, was in perfect condition.

 

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I was up for the challenge so, I sold the sub and this was used to pay for new mid/tweeter pods from an eBay seller in Hong Kong. I landed these for 1/3 the price of a pair in Australia.

 

I also ordered new rubber surrounds for the midbass drivers.

 

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The drivers and crossovers were stripped out and I soldered in complete runs of Kimber 4TC speaker cable.

 

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The mid/tweeter pods were also rewired with Kimber. This was a delicate job as the voice coil wiring was almost a direct connection to the speaker cables so I was conscious not to overheat things while also going for a quality solder connection to replace push pins used from factory.

 

The cones in the midbass drivers are alloy so great care had to be taken in trimming all the old cracked surround material off.

 

Adhesive used was Sikaflex black which binds anything to anything with a semi elastic set. I did the front, waited for it to cure, then did a bead on the back of the cone and smeared it so the cone was held front and back.

 

It worked very well and I have no rattles.

 

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Everything was put back together and I then glued some custom cut black wool felt to the mid/tweeter pod face to minimize diffraction.

 

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These things are amazing and to say they're better than the little Canton satellites they replace is a complete understatement. These sound very nice indeed and can really belt out off little power - I run a the smaller of the two Cambridge Audio home theater receivers.

 

When used with my Mission sub, bass is so much fun.

 

I found out these speakers had an initial recommended retail price of close to $4k. Fully reconditioned, they cost me nothing.

 

Yeah, I'm feeling lucky.

 

 

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And while I'm on a roll, I've also been building a fully active car audio system.

Sources are an Alpine tuner and my iPhone.

These feed via analogue and digital respectively into my Alpine preamp/processor.

 

I have 9 channels which covers a wideband, two way front stage, subwoofer, and rear stage speakers.

 

Drivers are all from Audible Physics except for the sub which is from Infinity. Amplification is a mix of Phoenix Gold for the front stage and Alpine PDX for rear speakers and sub.

 

Some random pics for anyone interested;

 

Tuner and preamp

 

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PDX amps under parcel shelf.

 

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3" Beryllium foil wideband drivers in cnc milled A-pillar enclosures.

 

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And front stage amplification with infinite baffle subwoofer.

 

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I've still got a ways to go yet before the car system actually turns on.

 

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I'm largely happy with my music only system and it's at the point now where any significant improvements are going to require similarly significant investment in new gear.

 

As I don't have a desire (or the discretionary $) for any changes at this time, such changes are not on the cards.

 

So, it's the fun little things that I can spend my time on.

 

For a little while I have wanted to play with isolation to help improve things. My first venture into this field was with a Mission Isoplat and then Audioquest Sorbofeet, then Mitchel Tenderfeet and Target and other stands.

 

Generally speaking, I have preferred lighter mass*, "rigid", and inert supports as they have helped improve things in my various systems through the years while maintaining my systems' liveliness and dynamics.

 

(*speaker stands excluded)

 

More recently I have been using Vibrapods and Vibracones directly under my equipment.

 

The trouble is, the slightest movement of my gear can and has resulted in things falling off their cone supports onto shelves. It's not been steady, safe, or easy to set up.

 

So, in keeping with light, stiff, and inert, I started fabricating up some support boards that my Vibrapods and Vibracones can be screwed to and also offer more adjustment of where feet sit in the event I decide to try other products.

 

I was going to use IKEA bamboo boards but I didn't like the results from previous use of them. I actually preferred glass to bamboo.

 

I was given some plastic type board to use for car speaker door spacers but decided to try it for under my pre and pc as I can get more board if I need to easily enough.

 

This stuff is very light - a fraction of the mass of MDF , is very, very inert to knuckle raps - it doesn't ring like MDF or granite - it really is very "dead" sounding. It's also very stiff.

 

And you can also cut it with a jigsaw and a knife.

 

This is tonight's work;

 

c335c36f7fa6cdaaf2d6bae95a846448.jpg

 

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They'll get a couple more coats of flat black and have the Vibrapods afixed and then should be ready to go.

 

??for a sonic improvement while making it easy to set the gear up.

 

[edit] ok, I'm impatient so the drying flatforms were put under the heat lamp to speed up drying. This worked well and the Vibrapod feet were screwed to the bottoms of each platform.

 

With this arrangement increasing security, I could move back to three feet per shelf now instead of four. I should point out that while these shelves are relatively stiff relative to their mass (the material will snap if flexed too far), as they are here, they are actually ever so slightly compliant.

 

Here are the shelves in-situ;

 

DSC08189.thumb.JPG.c992fa849fa30a711cf2645e1839d0d1.JPG

 

There's about 1-2mm clearance between the top of the Theta and the top shelf cross bars.

 

I should also point out, the shelves are toughened glass bolted to a low mass, hollow steel frame. The glass is decoupled from the supports with sorbothane washers.

 

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The whole thing sits on four stainless steel M8 spikes through carpet onto the concrete slab below.

 

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It's late so listening impressions tomorrow...

 

Edited by Winno

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@Winno

 

Great thread , I sat down this morning and read it from go to now.

 

thank you for sharing 

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Time for an update.

 

Sadly, my two channel system remains sourceless and unused : (

But, my home theatre system has been updated somewhat.

 

I sold my Cambridge Audio 751R HTR for quite good money and purchased a Lexicon MC-12 V3 from a local seller via Ebay. I got it stupid cheap and I kinda felt bad not paying what I thought it would have cost me but, oh well...

 

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This only passes up to component video for switching but I'd decided to run video direct from sources (terrestrial digital TV, Apple TV for Tidal hifi/Netflix/Apple Movies, and Apple Mac for everything else) via HDMI to the Samsung LCD anyway. In so doing, I was rewarded with a much sharper image, with more vibrant colours, etc. This was a very noticeable improvement over the switching/precessing done by the Cambridge previously.

 

My father also decided to part with his Benchmark Vortex monoblocks and they arrived today (apologies for the poor image quality).

 

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I'd also sourced another set of long Nordost Blue Heaven RCA cables and made up some short bi-wire speaker cable runs with Nordost 2Flat left over for my Alfa Romeo system build.

 

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How does it sound?

Magnificent!

 

These amps are incredibly dynamic and punchy. Their grip on bass is impressive and the 10" bass drivers in the side of my NHT Classic 4's have never plumbed so deep. No subwoofer needed - seriously!

The mid and treble is airy and sweet and detailed with no edginess at all.

I got goosebumps so, yes, I'm very happy indeed. This gear has cost me $2000 if I include the cables. Retail on the lot would have been in excess of $25000 so I would expect it to sound as good as it does.

 

I'll also be grabbing a couple of little Nuforce STA-100 (or similar) amps soon enough to power the centre and rears. NHT Centre 2 and Super Zeros pop up used now and then and these will be recabled and pressed into service in this system.

 

I'm now at the stage where I am considering a consolidation of my music and home theatre systems, especially if my home theatre system sounds this good and a move to an apartment could be on the cards. I love what my Nakamichi/Whise Dragon ESL's do but they're active which means these mono's are redundant. However, the Naks are getting on a bit and I've been considering some Martin Logan Electromotion ESL X. These dip to 1.6 Ohm and according to Mr Secher who sold the monos originally, the mono's and ESL's are not a good/safe combination. Given the space in the apartments we've been looking at (6x5m on average) an ESL might be unsuitable. So, it's looking like I will be selling the Dragons, maybe my Theta DSPre II DAC/Preamp, and maybe my NHT Classic 4's and going for some nice modern, high-end dynamic cone driver floor standers with integrated subs.

 

We shall see. 

Edited by Winno

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So, my Theta DSPre and Dragons are now listed for sale and I’m definitely focusing on getting the full potential out of my now, combined, home theatre and music system.

 

The Benchmark monoblocks have been running for a few days now.

 

I spiked my two Prolight equipment platforms for use under the amps.

 

IMG_0310.thumb.jpg.94daba5dec87186a781de9ec82a30cb0.jpg

 

The Classic 4 speakers are performing incredibly well. Their bass is prodigious and so tuneful. It’s amazing what good amplification will do.

 

IMG_0308.jpg

 

Next up, I’m going to recap the speaker crossovers.

 

The standard caps on the midrange and tweeter have done a good job so far

 

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But, they will be replaced by these at some stage over the Christmas/New Year break.

 

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I’ll do the mid-basses with the same level of cap and will go standard MKP for the 10” woofers as larger value oil caps get pricey very quickly.

 

After that, inductors. NHT were very kind to place the mH values on all their inductors.

 

IMG_0301.thumb.jpg.7ee062cece924a672325dbf4cc467cbc.jpg

 

Unlike my Aurum Cantus Leisure 2SE where I completely point to point wired and recapped the cross overs, I will keep the boards in place this time I think.

 

 

This should keep me going until I’m cashed up some more and find some Focals or Revels to replace them.

 

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Posted (edited)

I decided to forgo buying some Usher Mini Dancer Two speakers for now and instead committed the funds I had put aside to purchasing a bunch of Nordost interconnects and speaker cables, 2 Cyrus X Power amps (one in stereo for the rear channels and one bridged for the centre channel) and a new NHT Classic Two Centre speaker. 

 

The amps and speaker and some of the RCA cables are still on their way but the Nordost Flatline Gold bi-wire speaker cable arrived on Friday. I spent that evening stripping both sides of 96 individual copper conductors. This was for 2 x 1m runs between monoblocks and main speakers and 1.5m from one Cyrus X Power to the centre speaker. As you can see, I don't use banana plugs. Bare wire contacts are free and sound better than any plug.

 

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I've got another 3.5m length aside in my cupboard in case I need it in future...

 

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This is one set of long Nordost Blue Heaven I have and the a 1m run of the Flatline Gold in behind one monoblock. 

 

It offers a significant improvement in tonal differentiation, detail and performer placement over the Nordost 2Flat I had used previously.

 

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I also committed myself to modding my NHT Classic Four main speakers as so far they had cost me $0 (these were the speakers I found outside a neighbour's house during hard rubbish collection week last year) and they were showing great potential after an internal rewire with Kimber 4TC. Plus, I love their deep and prodigious bass (even when pulled out from the walls). These speakers use a 10" alloy woofer in each speaker and they have a large flared rectangular port at the bottom of the rear baffle which means I have not missed my ported sub.

 

Yesterday I decided to remove the factory crossover electrolytic capacitors for the midrange and tweeter and replace them with Mundorf's new Aluminium metalized polypropylene and oil caps. 

I was expecting improvements to the sound based on previous improvements I'd made with standard Mundorf M-Caps in my Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 SE. These were a new cap though and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. 

 

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Not ideal speaker placement as the room and floating cupboards were originally planned around the little Canton satellites on the walls. The next house/unit/apartment will be much more conducive to better placement. 

 

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I may yet source a 0.8uF cap to parallel the 8.2 to better value match new vs factory. I figured given the tolerances between new and old could negate any real need for an absolute match. We'll see...

 

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I’ll admit to some disappointment when I first powered things back up - the stage was vague and performers were well back from the plain of the speakers compared to before this mod. It was almost as if the performers were getting lost in the mix. It was a bit of a mess.

 

I left them playing some jazz and we went out for a few hours. When we returned, imaging had improved significantly and performers were in greater relief against their background. These speakers never had a harsh midrange and treble sound but now the sound is liquid and delicate and layered and clear. 

 

Today the fruits are slowly revealing even more of themselves further and I’m liking it very much. Lead performers are back at the front of the stage and stand out more clearly from the back ground. The stage is also much deeper, in fact, almost cavernous. The wall behind the speakers has disappeared.

Word has it these caps need many more hours on them yet and so I am sure nuances will continue to show as time goes on.

 

I'll move onto doing the cap(s) for the midbasses next and will probably leave things at that as far as cross overs go. I also have some 6mm galvanised steel stock, alloy cone footers, metal thread inserts and stainless spikes I'll use to make up wider rear outrigger feet/supports and spike directly into the cabinets at the front. The factory supplied outrigger feet do quite a poor job at stabilising the speaker as they're plastic and flexible.

 

Edited by Winno

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I am please to report the speakers are sounding much much better now with performers in stark relief against the stage background and each other and improvements in mid and treble dynamics and transparency are quite noticeable.

 

On other matters, some more toys turned up today.

 

IMG_0367.thumb.jpg.ff0944306c44cef4785395352568fe5a.jpg

 

Two Cyrus X Power power amps; One for the centre channel (will be bridged for this) and the other for rear stage. These were cheaper than a couple of Nuforce STA-100 power amps I was going to grab and they are bridgeable (the STAs aren’t).

 

My family used the distribute Cyrus in Vic in the 80’s/90’s, I’ve sold Cyrus at retail and even tried it in my home in the past but this is the first product of the brand I have actually purchased for my own use. It’s a shame they’re not for my front main L&R channels but I don’t think they’ll come close to outperforming the Benchmarks.

 

I’m running Nordost Blue Heaven interconnects for all three front channels. These turned up y’day for the centre.

 

IMG_0368.thumb.jpg.07955767b6db7a4d9c1f48fe9f07a62d.jpg

 

I’m just waiting on some Flatline Golds for the rear channels to turn up now.

 

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A key part of my system turned up today - the NHT Classic Two C centre channel speaker.

 

IMG_0370.thumb.jpg.b96cc1f846101c6bda2cca57561cdca5.jpg

 

I would have loved a 3C as the drivers are all a perfect match to those in the Classic Four towers I have but this one was BNIB and cheaper than a used 3C if one was was available to me on the used market. I still end up with alloy mid bass drivers and the all important matching tweeter/mid pod.

 

It was out of its box no longer than 30 minutes though and this happened...

 

IMG_0377.thumb.jpg.b5f182212ede1401478a9fc9320c77c3.jpg

 

I’ll pull out my spare Kimber 4TC tonight and order replacement Mundorf caps this weekend for an upgrade of internals.

 

Over in the family/dining room, the wireless connection between our little Samsung soundbar and its matching sub had stopped working. With only the soundbar working, the sound was not much better than just using the TV’s speakers.

 

So, I arranged for this to turn up today;

 

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It’s a Bose SoundTouch 300 soundbar. They sound very good as is (much better than the Samsung even when it’s sub worked) but when funds permit and the right deal comes along, I’ll grab the matching Acoustimas 300 wireless sub.

 

So this weekend I’ll be rewiring the centre and wall mounting the Bose.

 

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Nice, I have some NHT classic 3s that I used for a few years. Great speakers for the money.

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Nice, I have some NHT classic 3s that I used for a few years. Great speakers for the money.


Agreed.

I’m looking for something like the Absolute Zeros for my rears.

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I just finished re-capping this puppy tonight. All caps were replaced with Mundorf M-Cap Evo Oil for mid/tweeter pod and standard M-Cap with Evo bypass on woofers. Thanks goes to Soundlabs Group in Sydney for good pricing, good stock and quick shipping.

This is a sealed centre but it can certainly kick and it goes low. I’m quite impressed and it’s not even run in yet.

IMG_0412.jpg

All I’m waiting on now is one last set of Nordost interconnects to arrive and the system will be up and running.

As soon as some Absolute Zero bookshelf speakers come up, I’ll replace the Canton rears and I’ll be set.

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I really liked the classic twos as well.
Great little two way bookshelf.
I found my classic threes liked a little bit of power to wake them up. Especially being sealed.

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