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Dave MacKay

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Everything posted by Dave MacKay

  1. I'm facing the same dilemma. I'll be veneering my La Scalas in the next few weeks. Right now I'm in the midst of veneering my THTLP subwoofers (mostly straight sides with only 1 tricky bit) to get some experience with veneering. I'm using paperbacked Sapelle veneer and will be applying a pure (i.e., clear) Rubio Monocoat finish. I plan to use the same veneer and finish on the La Scalas. Depending on how I make out with the subwoofers, I may: leave the doghouse alone and just try to stain it to be close to the colour of the veneer paint the doghouse black (likely satin black from a rattle can) veneer the easier pieces of the doghouse and paint the rest black Although I've gone through the site for info about veneering La Scalas and have had helpful suggestions from several forum members (including @HPowerwho gave me the tip about Rubio Monocoat) already, I'll be following this thread with interest.
  2. What you've suggested is certainly plausible. I have very little information about the previous owner. Apparently, he had been a veterinarian. After he passed away, his widow's cousin helped her clean out the house for sale. That cousin told me that the owner had bought the speakers in Germany. Although Canada certainly had servicemen in Germany, I was speculating about the owner having been in the miltary and stationed there. If he had been, shipping the La Scalas back to Canada (along with the rest of his personal effects) would have been done at the army's cost. Having grown up in Windsor (just across the river from Detroit) I certainly remember that no one hesitated to cross the border for any reason at all --- shopping, eating out, going to bars and clubs, concerts, or sporting events. Good times.
  3. Others would know more and may be able to give guidance about how to dial in mismatched subs, but --- depending on how demanding you are --- it's likely to take quite a bit of work. Dialing in matched subs is much easier. Were I in your place, I'd go with matching subs. Is there a reason why you don't want to get another KSW12? Since you're only looking at 2 subs, REW will be sufficient to set them up; you shouldn't need MSO. You may find that you end up needing/wanting something like a MiniDSP 2x4HD. I spent a lot of time setting up the two subs in my 2.2 system. I found that Yamaha's YPAO was no help, and actually made things worse. I spent a lot of time on REW determining placement, assessing the effect of different room treatments, and then configuring the two subs. I wasn't able to get satisfactory results until I added a MiniDSP 2x4HD. YMMV. I found a series of videos by Jeff Mery and others by Marcel Schechter on Youtube to have been very helpful in setting up my subs.
  4. Thanks for responding @Islander and @JRH I suppose it's possible that my La Scalas came from a PX in Germany, which woud likely require that: Canadian servicemen were allowed to shop at American PXs, or that Canadian PXs carried La Scalas, or that a Canadian soldier arranged for a US soldier to buy them on his behalf at the US PX In any event, if the serviceman had them in Germany, they'd have been shipped back to Canada for him by the army when his tour ended, Of course, it's perhaps more likely that the Germany story is a canard, and that the owner bought them in Canada. Although it seems an answer won't be known, the mystery adds a little aura to the speakers, which is sort of nice.
  5. Several months ago I purchased a pair of La Scalas from an estate sale. The person selling them didn't have much information, but thought that they might have been purchased in Germany. The La Scalas are serial numbers 8657579 and 8657580, which would indicate that they were built in the 5th week if 1986 (i.e., around Jan 27-31 or Feb 3-7, depending on how the weeks are counted). Because I purchased the speakers in southern Ontario, Canada (just across the river from Detroit), it seemed improbable that such bulky and heavy speakers would have made their way from Germany to Canada (unless, perhaps, they were purchased by a member of the Canadian armed forces and shipped back when the tour of duty in Germany ended). I'd be interested in any information you might have about these speakers. Thanks in advance.
  6. If you do, and if you have the necessary gear, would you please take some measurements with REW before and after making the change? I'm interested in this topic but (unless I missed something) all of the feedback about improvement has been anecdotal and subjective. I'd find it interesting to see the actual difference that the damping makes.
  7. Most of the restorers I spoke with were not keen on doing veneer. I think that their typical work involves stripping and refinishing so that they didn't have the tools (e.g., vacuum press) that they felt would be needed for a large veneer job. The only one (Johnny's) that was prepared to consider the work has a wait list of about 6 months. He estimated that veneering and refinishing my La Scalas would cost about $3000. At the time I thought that was high (I only paid $2800 for the speakers) but I've come to appreciate that it was likely pretty reasonable. If you'd like to bounce ideas, share tools, or work together send me a PM. I'm in the Port Credit area of Mississauga.
  8. That would be fantastic! If held on-line (e.g., as a Zoom session or a pre-recorded seminar) people could participate from anywhere.
  9. Are you sure it's ouputting AC, not DC? Almost all LEDs require DC, not AC. Also, it would be very odd to use 4 AA batteries to produce AC (at any frequency).
  10. You misunderstood the intent of my post. Not all spaces will accommodate an ideal configuration. Mine won't. I wanted to explain what I'm working with, and what I've done to try to improve the acoustics. Short of selling my house, or moving walls, doors and windows, do you have any suggestions that might be applicable for my space?
  11. I'm sure you have a point, and I welcome the suggestions. Unfortunately, some of them aren't feasible for my space; I'm working with what is viable, not what would be ideal. My listening room is 22'4" long x 11'7" wide x 8'2" high. In the centre of one of the long walls is a pair of french doors; there is a fireplace opposite it. The short wall has another set of french doors at the rear, and a large window (plus hot water radiator) at the front. I regard the Main Listening Position as being mid-way between my wife's chair and mine. That point is in the centre of the room, about 2/3 of the way from the front. It's far from an ideal listening space. But it is what I have to work with. Some of your suggestions aren't feasible for my space. For instance: My La Scalas won't fit in the corners of my room because of the space taken up by the hot water radiator that heats the room. Since I can't put the subwoofers in the middle of a doorway and a window, I've put them in diagonal corners. The other corners have floor-to-ceiling bass traps. Although I don't have an equilateral triangle between the speakers and the centre of my listening position, I'm pretty close: instead of 60-60-60, I have about 70-70-40. Putting the chairs in the centre of the room would interfere with the ability to move around the room (because of the space taken up by the doors and the fireplace hearth), so that the listening position is back from the centre of the room. However, the distance from the listening position and the speakers is close to the same as it would have been if the speakers were in the corners and the listening position was in the centre of the room. The La Scalas are toed in so that they point at the listening position. That's about 25-30 degrees. The electrical polarity of my speakers (and drivers) is correct. Unfortunately, I currently lack the means to add a delay between the speakers and subwoofers.
  12. I hope you have better luck finding such a professional than I did. I called all of the furnture restorers within a reasonable radius (I live near Toronto, Canada) trying to find one to veneer my La Scalas. None would do the work. As a result, I'll be doing the veneering myself.
  13. It may be that the YPAO capability is differentiated (gets better) as one goes up Yamaha's product line. My experience with a lower-end Yamaha receiver has been that YPAO improves performance above 1 kHZ but significantly impairs bass performance (below about 150 Hz). Here's a link to the post where I shared what I measured (red line on chart uses YPAO settings; the blue line on chart is "pure direct"):
  14. @ricktate What veneer is shown in the photo? Also, what finish? It looks good. I plan to do something similar to my La Scalas. They are Raw Birch and had been coated with polyurtehane. To repair some damage (and address resonance) I stripped the finish and laminated 3/8" Baltic Birch panels to the top, bottom and sides. It turned out nicely, but they aren't cosmetically as appealing as I'd like. I haven't been able to find anyone to veneer the speakers, so that I'll do the veneering and finishing myself. However, I'm concerned that my skills aren't up to the challenge of veneering the bass bin. For that reason, I was thinking about just applying a fresh birch veneer so that I could leave the bass bin as it is and have a reasonable match. I like the look of what's in the photo. Did you veneer the bass bin along with the rest of the speaker?
  15. My experience, albeit with a different tool, has been similar to yours. I found that the Yamaha YPAO on my receiver made some odd settings, and that I couldn't override some of them. I've stopped using YPAO and am now running in "Pure Direct" mode where the input signal completey bypasses all processing and tone controls. I'm using REW and an external DSP to tailor the sound to my room.
  16. Room is 22' 4" long x 11' 7" wide. Ceilings are 8' 2". Two La Scalas are on the short wall. One THTLP subwoofer is in the corner behind one La Scala, the second THTLP subwoofer is in the diagonal corner. No room treatment (yet) but it's definitely needed.
  17. Here's a photo: I plan to veneer and refinish the speakers this spring.
  18. You can hardly go wrong. I have an even less expensive Yamaha (R-N803) driving my La Scalas. It addressed almost everything I wanted (except a pre-out and HDMI input) for CAD$999. You could likely find it for less. If I were to replace it, I would certaily want to try some of the new low-cost SS amps like Aiyima or the Topping PA5, which have had rave reviews on this forum. In any event, there's no need to rush into anything. Your new speakers will sound fine with what you have.
  19. I found that Yamaha's YPAO system made it much harder for me to integrate my subwoofers with my La Scalas. I ended up running my Yamaha receiver in "Pure Direct" mode (where all EQ and tone controls are bypassed). Try doing the same and see how it affects the sound. I would recommend that you download REW (Room EQ Wizard, it's free) and get a calibrated mic (e.g., UMIK-1) so that you'll be able to see exactly what your system and room are producing. With that, you'll be able to proceed systematically.
  20. I appreciated the step-by-step approach. I've been learning REW for the past few weeks. It's a wonderful tool, but I find it very complex. It relies upon the user having a level of audio and mastering knowledge that I'm lacking. Clear, simple explanations help newbies like me.
  21. The woofers are the original (1986) K-33-E. The screws on the access panel are tight. I will be replacing the gasket (which is original and is squished as thin as a playing card) with some 1 1/4" wide x 3/8" thick closed cell gasket tape when I veneer and refinish the speakers this spring.
  22. I’d like to thank the members of the forum (@henry4841, @yamahaSHO, @wuzzzer, @billybob, @captainbeefheart, @hanksjim1, @Shakeydeal, @Crankysoldermeister, @babadono, @Rudy81, @garyrc, @Rolox, @NBPK402, @RandyH, @pbphoto, and @Kalifornian) who contributed to this thread. The suggestions tended to deal with EQ, phase, speaker placement, and room treatment. · Given the layout and furnishings of the listening room, my options for placement are rather constrained. · Certainly, the room does need some acoustic treatment. In time, that will be addressed. · I’ve verified that the polarity of the AA networks and all of the drivers , including the woofers, is correct. · I’ve stopped using the EQ capabilities of my receiver and am now operating in Pure Direct mode (which bypasses all EQ and tone controls). My goal was to “dial in” my La Scalas before adding (and EQing) my two THTLP subwoofers. For the purposes of this exercise, I configured the amp for stereo only (no subwoofer). Initially, I used only a small set of the YPAO (Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer) capabilities of my Yamaha R-N803 receiver. I thought that all I was doing was setting the distances and levels from the speakers to the listening position. I referred to this configuration as “YPAO neutral”. When I followed up on suggestions from @wuzzzer and others, I found that the YPAO was altering the signal quite a bit: it boosted the low-mids and high frequencies, but diminished the bass substantially. · the low-end performance of the La Scala dropped precipitously below about 200Hz and was pretty much non-existent below 100 Hz · frequencies above 1 kHz were boosted by about 5 dBFS · frequencies between 200 Hz and 500 Hz were also boosted I then turned the YPAO off and re-ran the tests. Finally, I put the receiver in Pure Direct mode so that the receiver bypasses all signal processing and routes the input signal directly to the amp. The YPAO and all tone controls are completely bypassed. This graph shows the results of the tests. For clarity, I averaged the results from each of the 3 microphone positions for each test and applied 1/6 smoothing. · The red line shows the results from the first (YPAO neutral) tests · The blue line shows the results from the YPAO off tests · the green line shows the results from the Pure Direct tests There appears to be little discernible difference between the YPAO off and Pure Direct amplifier settings. Both are a significant improvement over the results when the YPAO system was enabled. With my Yamaha R-N803 receiver configured in either YPAO off or Pure Direct mode, my La Scalas perform +/- 5dB from 64Hz to 18.5 kHz. I’m pretty satisfied with that. My next challenge will be to blend my two THTLP subwoofers with the speakers. Fortunately, that may not be as hard as I feared since, according to Yamaha, in Pure Direct mode the receiver still sends 100 Hz and lower to the subwoofer output. Since it’s clear that my room presents challenges at low frequencies, I expect I’ll need to make use of the EQ available from the SPA250DSP plate amps that power each subwoofer. Thanks to all for your help.
  23. Here is the 20 Hz to 20 kHz graph with 1/6 smoothing. Blue is the base case (YPAO off) and red is the base case with the phase of one woofer swapped. Here's a zoom-in from 20 Hz to 200 Hz of the same graph: What should I look for when measuring the speakers one at a time?
  24. The room certainly has issues and needs treatment. Because of WAF placement and room treatment are matters for negotiation. I'll discontinue using YPAO. I'll have to figure out how to meld my subwoofers into the system, but that's a challenge for another day.
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