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SET12

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  1. Forte's are GREAT speakers at their core but there is hidden greatness within a stock pair! You may hear them as they were new if this is your preferance, but unless you go far enough it isn't likely you'll hear them as above! Fair enough! I have to start somewhere. Hearing a newer set of ForteII's recently has led me to believe, I at the very least need an refresh. I plan on expressing my before and after. Thinking that my forte' could be 85 vintage versus 90's II's that were packed away for the last 8 years approx. until I revived them for another forum member. Thanks Thank You! For the acknowledgement! "Fair enough!" Your right you have to start some where! and I did just that, then I built upon it. I have been fortunate enough to hear and own some very good speakers through the years, I even got to hear Klipsch Flagship P39F's a couple of yrs ago and recently at the last Chicago Audio Show Volti Audio Speakers simler to Klipsch http://www.voltiaudio.com/ which I enjoyed. Both of these speakers are in the $20,000 category. The mods I did to the Forte allow it to compete with these speakers very easily at just a fraction of the investment. Pretty amazing when a pair of Fortes can sound as big as the Volti and even sound for the most part more extended in the low end then with Volti even with the hidden sub they were using and with a recording I have been listening to for over 20yrs. Stay in touch! SET12
  2. Forte's are GREAT speakers at their core but there is hidden greatness within a stock pair! You may hear them as they were new if this is your preferance, but unless you go far enough it isn't likely you'll hear them as above!
  3. It maybe a subject pretty hard to talk about with you as we likely have two different philosophies but since you asked I'll comment on a few things. Some of us are DIYers such as my self. So I'm perfectly capable of rolling my own. I've written a lot on networks trying to get some people to take an interest in networks mostly over on audiokarma. But really I'm more of an amplifier designer. I just wanted more from my speakers and was lucky to have some foresight into other peoples work and took some blind chances some ended up being revelatory and some not so. Some people have taken offers to hear my work and drove as much as a 1000mi to hear it. Its always nice to hear someone really being moved by ones work and seeing their whole perspective on audio change. A lot of times people will point their fingers at components and think its got to be this or that that is doing what they are hearing but really its the whole system as I like to say. I got started on networks because of one of my friends who built a DIY version of ALK's Universal Networks. When I heard it, it made his LaScala's listenable for the first time for me! That influenced me to DIY an outboard network using what I felt was subjectively superior parts for my Forte's. So I have had an influence on a few people through the yrs but its hard for people to hear the light sort of speak! As I read of one major audio buff who has a site on high end sound said through the years he had only met a couple of people with the same tastes as himself so I have come to appreciate his comment and to accept there will be people with their own taste and their own direction even if it's a direction that doesn't make any sense but as I look at it people have a right to live and learn as I say just as I have learned. And whats of interest to them maybe less so for me and so on. I think the best approach for demoing superior networks is going to be an actual side by side speaker demo's or speaker swap outs. And then the demo has to to be pretty traumatic to the people hearing it. As familiar as I am of my own network mods I once forgot just how much better they were till I did a swap of my friends demo stock Fortes I was using. Such as my close friend No Regrats below who is a jazz musician, likes live music several times a week and has one heck of a sound system himself. Comments like these don't get much better but it was a dramatic contrast that I have contrast before with literally having guests in blank stare's or totally speechless. Literally running outside to their vehicle to get more of their music. Funny thing, While the Forte network as ALK likes to point out is not electrically correct it goes to show what subjectively superior components can do with basically the stock values. Other than the DCR's.I really don't care if they match because I don't find a serious significance in it after all the the crossover as ALK says is not electrically correct to begin with like the 100 ohm or so impedance of the mid, Of course this is a whole another story. When he said below that the Forte created the biggest sound stage he had ever heard, I can tell you that stock network barely gets out side of the speakers boundaries. I had this setup on an 18ft wall 9ft apart yet one can perceive ambient room ques indicating the sheer room size of the recording acoustic with very defined lateral imaging has extended as much as 10ft to the left and right of each speaker. Granted not everyone cares for big stages or what I call life size imaging but I do. Its funny to take a grill cover off and look at the tiny horns and ask yourself how the heck can they do this? One thing is that I have learned is that not all associated equipment will allow this. It all has to have the same capability CDP's, amps, preamps and so on. Otherwise the modified Fortes will point any weakness out period. This can result in preconceived notions of the subjective value of doing what I did to the networks. If the gear used is not capable of as much as the Forte.This has result in some pieces of gear barely getting past the speaker boundaries which is no fault of the speakers All though I use some pretty high end caps I have found the Inductors to be way more serious on the influence of sound. Iron Cores just shrink the sound stage from my perspective and I find them very inconsistent or not totally even in their coherency of their frequencies that there being used in for my tastes and because of this I'll never use them again. There is something very right about the North Creek Inductors. And regardless of "Q" factors and such. Try reading this account http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hug/messages/14/147282.html Here's another guy that went with some of my minimums to get his Fortes moving out of the gate http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=516254 One of my guests that I had here that I designed a pair of extreme 45 amplifiers for was using some 2A3's before was using ALK ES networks for his LaScala's I told him that some engineers like Dr Bruce Edgar prefer simpler networks with high efficiency speakers. I have seen in print where ALK has pointed out that for low power he thought they sounded better as well. I know ALk likes SS high power. I can see the need for ES protecting the drivers. My friend wished he had been told of this. I suggested a DIY ALK Universal. It was built using the famed Sonicraft caps with a Dave Slagel Autotransformer along with North Creek Inductors and Duelund resistors with the resulting sound being much more pleased with. One other area I had experience with was Litz Inductors and yes I know the "Q" factors can't compare. I tried a 14AWG Solen Litz with a Crites Titanium diaphragms and it was just awful very grating on the ears. When I went back to my 8AWG North Creeks it was like a match made in heaven. It had body authority with great ease. Even my local audio club president said it was the best horn high end that he had heard. So much for the #'s so I went with the subjective value. BTW I use a minimalist system with no preamp just CDP direct and 10 watt SET amplifiers but not your typical SET amps by any means. My CDP is also heavily modified. It goes to show a speaker or amplifier doesn't have to be big to get big. For me its all about the first watt. In the end you can go by the #'s but in the end its subjectively why a lot of people buy. I hope this gives you some insight or some idea's. I just visted your website and found it well written and I see a little more varity in part choices which I think is good, It would be nice to see some inductor choices as well like Mundorf which has an option to vacuum varnish impreagnate their coils as my own North Creeks are. I have heard a speaker with Mundorf caps and coils that has been a show stopper for a few years now with excellent coherancy from top to bottom. Perhaps were not so far apart as I thought. Quote: Originally Posted by No Regrets Hello gentlemen, I am not one who posts much on forums, but I cannot hold myself back any longer. SET12 has been a great friend and audio buddy of mine for many years now. I have seen his talents in regards to diy audio grow from doing audio repairs, to modifying circuits, to doing some absolutely outstanding scratch build projects. This guy is incredible with the knowledge that he has accrued over the years and he has earned my total and complete respect. It is both an honor and my pleasure to have him as my friend. So what has prompted me to write this post? Let me tell ya......I was at SET12's house today and we had about a 3 hour listening session, like we do from time to time. Now keep in mind, he has been doing a lot of mod's to his speakers which has been well documented here over the past 30 some pages. I have heard these speakers of his ever since he has had them and have heard them after each step of the modification process. Each time I could hear improvements in what he was doing. A few weeks ago, I was at his home listening to his system and I told him that I cannot believe how far these speakers have come along since he has started. These speakers are a different animal......in a completely different league all together and I told him how proud of him I was in what he has accomplished. But I still didn't come on the forum and write about it.....I guess maybe because I just don't feel comfortable writing in "reviewer speak" . So why now? He did something today that not many people have the opportunity to do. He gave me an A/B/A audition of his modified speakers vs. a stock pair of Fortes. We all have made upgrades over time with various aspects of our systems and much of the time we have to rely on our memories of what something used to sound like. Well today, we didn't need our memories and we had quite an experience to say the least. We listened to his first. Beautiful sounding as always. Then we quickly hooked up the stock Fortes. Now please try and understand my intentions as I go on here. I am not trying to be rude, offensive, or disrespectful in any way, shape, or form. I am trying to be constructive with my comments but will be also direct and to the point. When we switched over to the stock Fortes, I could not believe my ears. The difference that I heard from going from the modded Fortes to the stock Fortes was so great that I think I may have been in shock. It has been so long since I have heard a stock pair of Fortes that I had forgotten what they had sounded like. My memory of them were that they were dynamic, fun to listen to, and overall a decent speaker. After listening to the modded Fortes and then switching over to the stock.....I literally could not listen through the entirety of a whole song. They were lifeless, they sounded restrained and congested. They sounded like what detail they had was being smeared. And what got me the most was the tonality. The voice, the piano, the cymbals, etc.....none of it sounded right. I literally asked SET12 to stop playing the song because it was grating on my ears....the listener fatigue was so high, and the sounds coming from the stock speakers were so displeasing that I could not take it any more. Now, I know that these words are probably not going to sit well with a lot of you who own stock Fortes. But please understand me that when I write these things....I am not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. What I am trying to do is light a fire under you to either come and hear SET12's speakers for yourself, or do these mod's and create a monster of a speaker system. With these modded Fortes...the voices, and timbre of instruments sound correct. You do not hear the Klipsch's horns and their resonance distorting the sound as it leaves the speaker. These modded Fortes sound effortless across the entire frequency. Very balanced sounding. I know there are people that think...."I'll upgrade from Fortes to K-horns instead of keeping the Fortes and doing the mod's." Let me tell you from personal experience. That will not be an upgrade and you will have regrets if you do that. I have owned K-horns and I would take SET12's modded Fortes as they are right now any day over the K-horns that I once owned. These modded Fortes sound like each driver had their own amplifier. There was no sign of congestion. They are smooooth! They are full of detail throughout the entire frequency and the entire soundstage (which is the biggest soundstage I have ever heard!) They are full sounding and have dynamics that seem to belie the laws of physics. When you look at these speakers, you certainly will not think that they look very big......but these modded Fortes will beg to differ with you and will win that argument all day long with the sound they throw at you. They are huge sounding! These speakers are no longer Fortes, and I dare say they are no longer Klipsch. I have to believe that they are head and shoulders above and beyond anything Paul Klipsch had ever heard come out of his workshop, and I believe with all my heart that if he could hear SET12's modded Fortes....that he would be as proud of him as I am. These modifications that SET12 has done to these speakers are seriously real upgrades. So many times people will make changes to their audio system hoping for it to be an upgrade in sound and performance and all they end up with is a change in their system.....not necessarily for the better, just something different. I understand that there are financial costs associated with these upgrades, but I will tell you flat out that it will be worth every penny you put into it and many times over. The only regrets that you will have is wondering why you waited so long to do it. If you can't afford to do everything all at once, please do yourself a favor and talk with SET12 and get his opinions on which things to tackle first and which ones make the most sonic benefits for the time and money that you will be willing to put into it. SET12 is a top notch guy and loves to talk about all things audio. He'll steer you in the right direction. And I should probably say that I have no financial interests or ties whatsoever to the proprietors of these various mods. I just want to convey to everyone what I have heard and witnessed so that it may be of help to you. Warmest regards, No Regrets Cheers SET12
  4. I have never found 12AU7's as musical as 12BH7's IMO. If you want life and drama try the 12BH7's most equipment is conservative enough to handle the extra filament current. You just may like what you hear!
  5. My answer to a sub, DIY replacement of my Forte network, the bass took on a serious improvement among other things.
  6. Yea we agree.... not. Find a well renowned audio engineer that does not use his ears as the final piece of test equipment. If measurments can do it all then we would all have indentical audio systems because they would all be built to these magical test results (that DO NOT EXIST). In the end all designers that are worth a shite tune to there personal prefernece to what they like to hear with the good old ears not test results. [Y] Pictured between a highly modified LaScala's are a pair of 1,6 watt SET EML45 amplifiers I designed with $3000 in parts with little more then a Digital Multimeter, calculator and some operating specs that I designed the circuit for. Later some spice simulations were done by an engineer that I work with which proved to be very very good. At first I didn't want this layout the builder came up with but in the end its his satisfaction that counts so I did the best I could with circuit layout and the amplifier was quite. In the end the builder claim the sound is beyond his wildest expectations. I designed it to have authority, breath and recovery. In the end the owner has said "you wouldn't know you were listening to a 1 watt anything" I did get a chance to hear it when I went to AKfest last year and it was astonishingly good and its harmonic presentation to my ears was one of the best that I have ever heard. Even better was when we added bridge tube rectifiers and a second paralleled mains power transformer. It goes to show the ears resolve. SET12
  7. Wish I could feel the same, life would be easy! I'm glad your satisfied! But I sincerely doubt I ever could be with chip amplifiers. I had some King Rex stuff here for a listen. While King Rex was very musical, its harmonic presentation bored me to tears. Its as simple as that. There is far more to audio then just measurements. For many things heard there are no measurements. I do listen to CD mostly in a minimalist system. But would appear that you haven't been exposed to great LP setup's and I don't mean some 1-$2000, great setups can be costly of course so much so I had to design my own. But in the end LP's have been far more informative to my ears even vs some the $10,000 CDP's that I have heard or even my own highly modified CDP. In some systems certainly CD vs LP may very well appear to be closer and of course resulting in the opinion that you have. From my perspective you have only just scratched surface on what can be heard. SET12
  8. My SET amps certainly don't sound thin. Lush and full would be a better description. Bruce I have to second what Bruce says, Mine certainly are far from thin and wimpy, even the bass is very fast, full and authoritative. This is by virtue of design a very low DCR power path with 400 Joules total and highly isolated small quality fast caps. Lush, full and felt in the seat of your pants let alone your chest and thats all from 10 watts/channel! Its not how many watts you have, its what the watt does. There are IMO more lean SET's than lean PP tube amps out there. But it doesn't have to be that way. Best amp I heard if you can find one used maybe 5-$600 is an Antique Sound PP EL34 Integrated model AQ1003DHT. I had one here for repairs, I listened to it and it sounded ok to me but not my cup of tea, not lean but not very full and lush either bass was good. I suggested to owner to replace the 12AU7's with 12BH7's for some added body. I decided to dig through my trunk of used tubes and I found some in excellent condition, I listened and I was completely floored by what I heard. I heard a full, lush, round, holographic like and authoritative sound that I have never heard from an EL34 amplifier. In fact it sounded like I was listening to KT88's literally for dynamics and body. I had a hunch, I looked up the schematic to one of the most sought after EL34 amplifiers around, the famous Marantz 8b which can go for several thousand used. Guess what I saw? A 12BH7 long tail phase inverter, just like in the Antique Sound. No wonder why the 8b is so loved. The AQ1003DHT with the 12BH7's one would have spend a lot of $ to beat it IMO. the amp has been offered with a remote. The Circuit is unique with no global feedback only the Ultra-Linear taps which are a form of local feedback. The amp is gorgeous besides and some have cages I believe to keep kids fingers out of. SET12
  9. Gotcha you John, thanks for the update, often people refer to the driver as the whole horn, magnet, diaphragm assembly that I have converse with but correct me if I'm wrong. And the magnet assembly as the motor. The Forte 1 has a 12in passive using the K-23 active woofer and the 12in KD-13 passive. The Forte II uses the K-25 and the KD-15 passive. You of course use the Tractrix midrange horn and we both use the same tweeter but yours uses the Polymer vs the Phenolic, if I remember correctly from Bob's tests the Phenolic has a flatter response but the Titanium Tweeter is better yet which is what I use. I was using the Crites Autotransformers but I prefer the German C-Cores that I use now much more which are about 50% larger than the Crites and sound much more at ease and more spacious. And being couple with a world class cap like the Duelund Copper VSF is making truly stunning midrange reproduction. SET12
  10. I see what your saying, I was under the impression that the Ti came with a Tractrix horn and not the exponential. So I stand corrected! BTW would that exponential drop into a Forte 1? Maybe not because the Forte 1 has a 12in woofer that the mid sort of contours with it mounting. If it does I would of bought the whole driver of coarse. Boy those Ti's are just awesome, vivid without being bright or analytical, dynamic and highly resolving. Of coarse my presentation may be different from others due to the exotic coupling capacitors and autotransformers I use. But it sounds as though your getting splendid results as well using Bob's networks. Thats good news to. I am thoroughly pleased! Thanks John SET12
  11. Hi, To all even remotely considering the Titanium diaphragm or whole Titanium driver upgrade which is only a dollar more if you have or want the Tractrix Horns. I had an observation in my listening session this morning and as I was sending an e-mail to a friend I thought I should post my comment to him hear as well. I formerly had Bob's new mids in place and really liked what they did for me but these Titaniums are just something else dynamicly. You should also know that my SET amplifiers are pretty powerful running with a massive power supply, thats over 400 Joules of energy for the pair of mono's thats some 4,000uf's @500VDC also I use the massive 28lb Hammond 1642SE's rated at 75watts for my 10 watt/channel SET amplifiers. Recently I had a friend here that we compared some rather pretty James OPT's to my Hammonds the James are rated for 20 watts and they are Potted and maybe 8-9lbs. In our comparison we found the Hammonds to have just as good of bandwidth but with the Hammonds they had a solidy that the James just couldn't touch, needless to say I was happy. Here's my comment to one of my friends who stopped in for a listen. "Don, I'd swear those mids of mine have loosened up even more since you heard them because when I listen to Patrica Barbers "Night Club" I'd swear those piano keys are coming down harder then when I first heard them freshly installed. I mean the lower registers of the piano seemed less dynamic then the upper registers at first and now everything is pretty even across the board, when those piano keys are hit there is a solidly and body that I have never heard in this system with this recording, I have owned the recording for a long time and you'd think I would know it well. That piano Don is so well reproduced IMO it sounds like it is there for real. God it doesn't get much better than that!" SET12
  12. Low to moderate, I would say sure. After my listening session yesterday I heard another development of the Titanium's, my first impression was that right out of the box I felt the Crites to be more dynamic but that maybe understandable as the Ti are so new and stiff. After 10hrs or so at moderate to high volume levels they opened up dynamically more. I noticed this with piano.And after another 5 to 10hrs and yesterday I listened to 5 reference cuts of mine and I'd swear I heard more detail and more bloom with even greater dynamic authority. The resolve of the Ti just bows me over, I'd swear I was hearing the depth of the grain on an analog master tape, it was spooky good. The cool thing about the Ti is its capacity to play substantially louder than a Phenolic. While Bob Crites mids are better than stock the Ti's are in another league. Granted I have some very expensive components coupling the Ti's so YMMV I also think they will require more hrs to get where I have mine at but thats just my opinion. I have just 10 watts of course but people might say what can you do with that? My response would be, Plenty! BTW I'm into Jazz at late night so volumes are low to moderate then if that helps you! Just absolute heaven from my perspective. SET12
  13. And thank you John! Yes the Crites IMO do need some hrs on them, but for the price they are a step up from the stock and at such a reasonable price! While the Titanium's are expensive, for the very serious audio buffs they are a godsend IMO and more than worth their price from the sheer performance. As an amplifier designer I have had discovery moments that where discovered purely by accident or even just unknowingly discovered even, its a cool experience. So, you to noticed how the Titanium handles power with grace and ease as well. I had to go back and purposely induce clipping because I could hardly believe my ears, Its amazing just how far I can push my 10 watt amps with the burst power they have and the Titanium's staying intact, and even if I hear clipping the recovery of the Titanium from the amps clipping is absolutely amazing. Thanks Again John! SET12
  14. Is it just the 3 of us! Man this past weekend I put in a lot of hrs on my system. A couple of things are pretty apparent to me. One is the Titanium diaphragm is one low distortion diaphragm. I say this cause I noticed how much higher level volume can be had from it. It just has so much control that when my 10 watt SET amp clips its much less noticeable especially the onset clipping, I really have to push the amps really hard far harder than with the Crites which is all ready substantially better than stock. The Crites also has considerably more control than stock and this is very noticeable with piano. The Titanium goes well beyond the Crites in this regard but for those contemplating the Titanium the Crites is a sheer bargin especially after it has 40-50hrs on it IMO. The Titanium is nearly at best out of the box, but I have noticed bloom and development of body and better dynamics and even more detail retrieval with the 15hrs I now have on them. In short they are simply wonderful in my system I suspect they will continue to develop some. But the coolest thing about the Titanium's is how they handle stress in the busier arrangements of music, and for SET owners such as myself the Titanium has such extremely good recovery from a SET amps clipping. I use to think it was just my SET's clipping I would occasionally hear, but in reality it was the diaphragm it self not able to follow the amplifier. I'm very happy to be a part of the Titanium crowd, and one of the few Titanium Forte owners. I thank all that encouraged this mod! SET12
  15. You got that right, I have been through it, I worked for one company 27yrs before production was shifted out of the country. Its only the beginning, temp service employees, restructuring and shifted production over seas and so on. One Klipsch forum member suggested stop doing DIYing in support of companies here, what so I can support workers over seas being paid 50 cents an hr that are jumping out of windows from stress. My current company I work for is an electronics giant, one of the top ten in the country. One day after I was told a product line I worked with was going over seas I decided to take a count of just how many workers they have overseas working for them as they have maybe 3000 total in the U.S., I was surprised, it was in excess of 8,000 and the number is growing. I can no longer afford to buy already made products as I have loss 1/3 of my income and I have many coworkers that have as well. One Klipsch associate said I think "well its not as though the roof is caving in!" Well I work with Technicians everyday which use to be people with 2 yr associate degrees, now the company has 4yr EE degree people working as Tech's. Why, because they can get them, engineering is cheaper out of the country and many engineers are available and they can be had for 50% of what they were once paid. There are countries that encourage their corporations to produce within their own country with incentives tax breaks and so forth. Until this happens in our country I feel the U.S. is cutting it's own throat. It's hard to afford a new car even and no wonder why Detroit has cut so many jobs and has been bailed out. SET12
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