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Tony L

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About Tony L

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    Lancashire, UK
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    Music (playing, listening, collecting, dealing), audio etc
  • My System
    Garrard 301, Thorens TD-124, SME arms, Rega CD & DAC, Quad and Leak amps, Tannoy Monitor Golds, Klipsch La Scalas, Heresys and JR149s.

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  1. Very interested in buying a pair of these so great to see the positive feedback on this thread so far. I'd be looking to them as a replacement for K55Ms with slightly loose plastic backs (I've used a thin roll of Blu-Tac around the periphery to seal them) in my 1993 La Scalas with ALK Universal crossovers. My horns are the stock plastic K401. I'm in the UK so getting a pair is quite expensive once shipping and customs are factored, but I'll likely take the plunge in a month or so. Has anyone swapped them in to replace a pair of 55Ms yet? One thing I couldn't figure out from Bob's site is do they use the standard Atlas diaphragm or are they all new? I don't listen at all loud so am exceptionally unlikely to damage a pair, but it would still be interesting to know from a future servicing perspective.
  2. I've got mine in the corners and toed-in to fire at the listening area. They seem to work better there than pulled out further into the room, the bass is more balanced, mid less forward. The room is a typically small but solid UK one and I listen pretty quietly.
  3. this: it reduces side walls vibrations and makes a noticable difference. What is the white part? I have La Scalas and can clearly hear the bass horn walls resonate on certain notes. I don't have anything even approaching the woodworking skills needed to put proper braces in so I'm very interested in anything reversible / non-destructive that would help damp them a bit.
  4. Many thanks, I've sent him an email. PS I'm sure these La Scalas are sounding a bit cleaner, cleaner and more even after sealing the driver backs!
  5. An excellent thread. After reading through I found I had this back-cap issue with both K55Ms in my '93 La Scalas - I don't play very loud at all, but I've felt for a while there is perhaps a just little grit to the sound somewhere, I suspect this was it. I was all set to go out and buy some Locktite 380 as recommended, but I think I've actually fixed it in a somewhat lazy and entirely reversible way with some Blu-Tac: There's certainly no 'clack' sound anymore when the black plastic caps are tapped, just a dull thud, and I assume it's properly air-tight too. Ok, it's a bit ugly, but who looks round the back of a speaker, especially one that lives in corners?! Anyone know where I could get a couple of the round rubber gaskets that fit between the driver and horn? I guess they could do with replacing by now. PS The pillow and rolled-up bubble-wrap is just to stop the cat from jumping in. It seems to like it in there.
  6. If you fancy a vintage SME arm it's worth considering what cart you plan to use before choosing as they are different masses / have differing contexts. The common ones are: 3009 Series II (i.e. pre-Improved). Has detachable headshell, metal knife-edge bearings, an effective mass of 12.5g and suits a wide range of MM and MC carts including the SPU. The 3012 Series II is much the same though the mass increases to 14g. The 3009 Improved was a lower mass version brought out in the early '70s and played to the then fashion of very high-compliance MM carts, e.g. Shure V15/III, Ortofon VMS20E etc. It has nylon knife-edge bearings and an effective mass of 6.5g in the non-removable shell form, and 9.5g with removable shell. This arm is not really suited to moving coils, in fact most modern cartridges are too low compliance to make for an ideal match, though there are exceptions e.g. Ortofon OM40, 540, 2M, AT 150 MLX etc. No right answer as to which is "best" as it all depends what you want to do with it. I seem to have amassed a collection of the things, four at last count (two pre-Improved, a detachable shell and fixed shell Improved). Here's a late '60s Series II on my TD-124/II:
  7. Lurker more than poster, I check in every day or two.
  8. Just a quick update to this thread. I mentioned in the opening post that I knew someone who could lend me a pair of ALK Universal crossovers. I've now have them: They've been in the speakers for a week or two now. I'm running them on the 2 & 5 taps of the autoformer thingy, which appears to be the default setting - is this the right one for my K55Ms? Anyway I'm liking them a lot, in fact I'm buying them! They seem to pull the mid-horn back a little compared to the AL-3s and as a result sound warmer and rather more balanced / natural to my ears. The top end seems cleaner and more open too. Just a step up in all respects really. Ok, not an entirely fair comparison as my AL-3s are untouched and over 20 years old so may be a fair way off spec, but I'm in no rush to put them back in!
  9. The more I read here the more I'm starting to think maybe just refreshing the existing AL-3s might be the most sensible starting point, i.e. just buy one of Bob's kits for $110. That would give a fair indication as to what these speakers should sound like and let me know if anything is off spec (I'm sure the drivers are all fine). I'll get some of the mid-horn grommet things too. That's interesting, I've just run some test-tones through quite quietly (it's late here) and it's rather different to what I though I was hearing, and yes, more a peak than a resonance. I've not had any luck crossing the subs over higher yet, I've just not managed to get them to blend right beyond the low range where they are nice and seamless. At present I only notice they are there on electronica and film soundtracks etc, hardly heard them at all on jazz etc. Klipsch Heritage kit is very rare in the UK, very few about, even Heresys. I guess as speakers are big and cost a lot to ship they tend to stay close to where they were made. I get the impression a fair amount of Klipsch kit ended up in Germany in the 60s and 70s due to US military bases etc, but very little in the UK. So little it's actually really hard to establish a second hand value. Nice job, though a bit adventurous for me. I'm also very reluctant to do anything non-reversable to these as I may well want to shift them on later - I've also got a pair of vintage 15" Tannoy Monitor Golds that I'm rather fond of, and I suspect a time will come when I have to make a decision (no issue at present, they are in different systems and rooms). I've seen that mod and it is tempting. Anyone got a link to whoever makes the parts? My woodworking skills is of the splinters, blood and swearing level.
  10. It's all interesting stuff, many thanks. So, to recap: if I went the Type A or Type A/4500 route I could drop the mid-horn output by changing the autoformer tap or something? If so that's very useful to know. I assume the 4500 crossover helps here as IIRC most of what the K55M adds in output over the V is at it's higher range? Whilst I can't really read / understand circuit schematics comparing the Type A to the AL-3 it's clear there is a lot of different in both the bass and the tweeter sections, i.e. this is more than just a change relating to the then new K55M driver - it's clearly doing more than just altering the mid driver behaviour. Can anyone perhaps articulate what these changes are and how they alter the sound? Is the behaviour of the bass-horn obviously different between A and AL-3? What about the tweeter? Is that any cleaner sounding minus the protection stuff? Anyone got any subjective pointers e.g. which is more open sounding? Smoother? Which more weighty and clean in the bass etc?
  11. Thanks for the welcome and comments. The Bob Crites Type A/4500 crossover and tweeters really appeal as I've also got a pair of Heresys (very late Mk 1s with the plastic mid-horn) and I fitted one of Bob's E2 cap kits with great effect - it really improved them a lot (they are sounding really nice on the end of a fifty quid T-Amp upstairs). Obviously I could do that to the AL-3s, but they just seem so complex compared to the Type A, and they have all that tweeter protection stuff etc that I'll never need as I don't play loud enough to damage anything. I also like the idea of keeping the AL-3s stock so I've got them if I ever sell the speakers in the future whilst going for a simpler and more purist audiophile approach from scratch as an alternate - a pair of built Type As isn't actually that much more cash than a AL-3 rebuild kit! I'd pay the $90 not to have to do it myself to be honest! The thing I don't yet understand is how different my La Scalas with their K55Ms and plastic mid horns are from say a mid-70s pair that would have shipped with Atlas drivers and Type As. In other words were the AL-3s developed because the Type As no longer worked in this context? I get the impression from reading this place that the AL-3 is the best of the AL series of crossovers, but I also get the impression that it's still looked at as being inferior to a Type A, which obviously makes me interested in the latter. Is there anyone here running Bob's Type A or Type A/4500 with K55Ms and K401s? Anyone gone from AL-3s to Bob's Type As? If so what did you think?
  12. Right, from lurker to poster.... A few months ago I landed a pair of 1993 La Scalas: They are at this point entirely stock and have K55M mids, K401 plastic mid-horns and AL-3 crossovers. I'm currently driving them with a Quad 303 power amp and a passive pre. I've also got a pair of BK XLS400DF 12” infinite baffle subs hooked up, I've got them crossing-over very low so they really only fill below about 60Hz or so. The reason for this post is I'm looking to either refresh or replace the crossovers and I'm somewhat baffled by the options available and as to which are considered good with the various versions of the La Scala. I have the opportunity to try an ALK Universal, which I fully intend to do within a month or so, so I'll be able to see how that compares to my no doubt rather tired pair of AL-3s. What this won't tell me is how either crossover compares to Bob Crites' Type As or Type A/4500 with CT125 tweeters, which also really interest me (I like simple!). I'm also confused as to how swappable the different generations of crossovers are, e.g. is the nice simple-looking Type A a good match given I have ceramic magnet K55M drivers and plastic mid horns? How would it sound different to the AL-3s? Some context: I'm not a high-volume listener at all, i.e. I'm interested in what sounds the most natural, open and clear at 75-80db or so at the listening seat - I'm certainly not looking to blow the windows out. For the forceable future I'll be running them with the solid state Quad 303 as this system is my office / TV rig, so is in use most of the day (I work from home) and I don't want to be burning tubes for that length of time. I do have quite a nice tube amp (a 1961 Leak Stereo 20) but it is not really viable in this context. The Quad does sound rather tube-like with a nice easy-going nature and it's not over-damped, grainy or bright in the slightest. So far I'm enjoying the Klipsch as-is, my only real criticism is a bit of a ring / prominence in the upper-bass / lower-mid that seems to be coming from the bass-bin. I'm curious to establish if this is the crossover or the cab walls singing along. Swapping in the ALK Universals will probably tell me a lot here. Anyway apologies for overly-long first post. My questions are really: How good or bad is the AL-3 in the grand scheme of La Scala crossovers? Can I use a Crites Type A or Type A/4500 with my ceramic K55Ms, and if so does it sound good? What are the basic sonic traits of the AL-3 vs. Type A vs. ALK Universals? I've searched the archive but found little in the way of folk actually describing the subjective characteristics of these crossover options, how they compare and in which contexts they are applicable. Many thanks, Tony.
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