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Dave MacKay

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Everything posted by Dave MacKay

  1. I had looked at the PecanPi but hadn't explored it in depth. I'd concentrated more on the HiFiBerry options. By my figuring, the cost of a DIY PecanPi, even if I repurposed a Raspberry Pi I already have, is pretty high: Volumio Premium (required for Tidal Connect) = $70/year PecanPi DAC (out of stock until March) = $350 Power supply = $30 Case = $50 XLR-to-RCA cable = $15 That works out to about $515 with an ongoing $70/year cost for Volumio Premium. The pre-packaged PecanPi streamer is about $650 plus $70/year for Volumio Premium. By contrast, a Bluesound Node costs about $550 with no ongoing costs. The Bluesound Node seems like a pretty nice device. I was hoping to find a less expensive way to test the waters.
  2. I'm mostly non-Apple. My wife and I have older iPhones and my wife has a fairly recent iPad. I have an Android tablet. We have a Windows laptop.
  3. I wasn't involved in the forum when this thread was active, but I found it helped me to better understand a challenge I'm currently wrestling with. I apologize for the length of this post; I don't understand the subject well enough to be more concise. I'd been uninvolved with audio for years, but have gotten back into it within the past year. I drive a pair of La Scalas from a Yamaha R-N803 receiver. The receiver has a great many features that I like. Until I got the La Scalas I had a lower-end stereo system and most of what I listened to was either: MP3 files that I had ripped from CDs more than a decade ago Internet radio (e.g., Radio Paradise) Despite having enjoyed the MP3s for years, I found them almost unbearable when played on my LS/Yamaha system. That drove me to try a streaming service. Because the Yamaha receiver supports Spotify Connect, and because I could share playlists with friends, that's what I chose. I'd been happy with Spotify until recently --- when I tried Tidal. I found that the sound on Tidal was considerably better than on Spotify. Unfortunately, my receiver only has good support for Spotify (via Spotify Connect); support for other streaming services is so rudimentary as to be effectively unusable. I'd like to have the flexibility to use Tidal (likely via Tidal Connect) from my tablet, and to be able to try Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, Youtube Music, etc. So ... I need an external streamer/DAC that can hook up to the Internet, feed a signal to my receiver (likely via RCA), and be controlled by my tablet or phone. And because I'm just trying things out, I don't want to spend a lot for the device. I had thought I'd try a Raspberry Pi + HighBerry combo but couldn't sort out what was needed or how it would work. What would people recommend for an inexpensive (<$500) streamer+DAC that can connect to the Internet (via Ethernet or Wifi), allow access to Tidal and other streaming services, and that could be controlled via a good app (like Tidal Connect or the streaming service's own app) on my tablet or phone?
  4. Are the prices for 1 speaker or a pair?
  5. I'm also interested in this topic. I bought a pair of 1986 raw birch La Scalas last summer which had been coated with polyurethane so that they had a light amber colour. However, the cabinets had been damaged. As part of the repair, I laminated new 3/8" baltic birch to to top, bottom, and sides. I plan to veneer and refinish the speakers this spring. I'm not at all confident that I'll be able to veneer the interior of the bass bin. For that reason, I've been thinking that I'll use a birch veneer over the front, top, bottom, and sides (but not the bass bin or rear of the speaker) and then try to stain it to match the colour of the bass bin. So far I've experimented with Watco Danish Oil in both Natural and Golden Oak shades but neither has been a good colour match. I'll try a few other stains to see if I can find one that's acceptable. But I wonder if I might not be better off just to apply a clear polyurethane and let time darken the colour? All comments are welcome.
  6. Let us know what you decide to do. Good luck!
  7. I agree with @001, the speakers look to be in very good condition and the $2800 asking price seems reasonable. Have a look at the "Garage sale" and "Alerts" section of this forum. That will let you see what La Scalas --- in a variety of conditions --- have been selling for recently. TLDR, the value of La Scalas has been going up. Don't discount the fact that the speakers are only 30 minutes from you. Even if you were to find a comparable --- but more distant --- pair for less, any savings could be quickly eaten up in shipping costs. Here are some things that you might want to consider when you discuss price with the seller: Ask the seller if he/she has made any modifications to the La Scalas. From the photos, they appear to be stock. Although I tried zooming in on the photos, I couldn't tell what type of networks they have. If the La Scalas are from 1988, they are likely AL networks although it's possible that they could be AL3s (see https://critesspeakers.com/crossovers.html). The AL and AL3 networks aren't all that well regarded. Ask if the capacitors have been replaced in the networks. Capacitors can degrade over time and it's very likely that 34 year old capacitors could stand to be replaced. The black finish isn't to everyone's taste. If the cabinets were in a different finish (Raw Birch or a nice veneer) they might be worth a bit more. If the networks are ALs and the capacitors are original, you might want/need to update the networks. This doesn't need to be done immediately; take the time to listen to how the speakers sound before making changes. If you wanted to stay with AL networks, new Klipsch-approved capacitors are available and are easy to install. They would run a couple of hundred dollars. Other brands of capacitors can be had for less. Alternatively, you could replace the networks altogether. New networks --- of many types --- are readily available. In my case, I chose to replace the AL networks in my 1986 La Scalas with new AA networks from Crites since replacement caps were about half the cost of brand new networks. If I were in your shoes, assuming they check out OK, I'd try to buy them.
  8. Although I didn't brave the weather, just for giggles I put my La Scalas on some dollies that I had laying about. They raised my speakers 5" off the floor (not 3" like the AL5 risers). I didn't do a before/after test with REW and my UMIK-1 so that my observations are based solely on my hearing/perception. And ... I'll be the first to admit that my hearing likely isn't as discriminating as some others on the forum, so that my observations may not be entirely correct. I may have been seduced by the novelty of the change, but I thought the speakers sounded better: I thought that the music sparkled a bit more. But, if there was an improvement in bass, it was pretty modest. @Bubo may have explained why I thought the speakers sounded better. I'll definitely be building risers for my La Scalas (and replacing the gaskets on the bass bins). Until then I'm going to leave them on the dollies.
  9. Beautiful speakers! Since I'll be refinishing my BR La Scalas this spring, I'll follow this thread with interest. A few questions: What are the black rectangles on either side of the tweeters? Are they cut-outs? Velcro patches for attaching grills? I'm unfamiliar with prefinishing conditioners. How do they help? What have you used?
  10. I was browsing through the forums and then this reference to the 400 caught my eye. Later in the thread I learned that you're near Barrie. I'm in Mississauga. After wanting some for ~40 years, I picked up a pair of 1986 La Scalas last summer. I've been enjoying --- and tinkering with --- them ever since. I'd love to see your MWMs sometime, and just chew the fat with another Klipsch enthusiast.
  11. When I refurbished my La Scalas, the original gasket was still OK (in that it hadn't turned to goop). However, it had been squished so that it was about as thick as a playing card. I just left it in place. Would you recommend scraping it off and replacing it with a new gasket? I have some 3/16" thick x 1 1/4" wide self-adhesive gasket tape (typically used for sealing truck caps) that I used when I built my THTLP subwoofer. Would that be suitable, or would it be too thick? I should note that the packaging cautions against applying it to unpainted wood.
  12. I think you may be talking about adding a ported box to the bottom of the bass bin (see attached file). No, I haven't tried that. According to what I've read (mostly on this forum), the La Scala stops acting like a horn around 104 Hz and pretty much runs out of low-end at about 50 Hz. I wanted more of that "punch in the chest" bass that the La Scalas couldn't really deliver. To get the bass I wanted, I opted to add a subwoofer. After trying a low-end Klipsch 10" subwoofer (anemic) and an SVS SB1000 Pro (very good, but not enough for the La Scalas), I built a THTLP subwoofer (see https://billfitzmaurice.info/THT.html). Now I have all the bass anyone could want. I should mention that I made another change that may have helped too. Because of some damage to the cabinets on my La Scalas, I laminated 3/8" baltic birch panels to the top, bottom, and sides of the speakers. In addition to addressing the damage, that made the cabinets stiffer which is supposed to be beneficial by reducing resonance from the side walls of the bass bin. Others have added braces to address the resonance.
  13. What a coincidence! I've been wondering if risers would be of benefit to my 1986 La Scalas. I wasn't thinking of bass, just about getting the speakers closer to ear level when I'm seated. Just today I went through my notes about the AL5 risers because I was thinking of making some for my 1986 La Scalas. If my notes are correct, the AL5 risers are 3" high and are made of 1" MDF (just like the AL5). When the snow stops I was thinking I'd rummage through my wood pile and make a pair of risers just to see if they make any difference.
  14. The BM786 is the bigger brother. It has better capabilities (e.g., resolution) than the 235.
  15. I use a Bryman 235 I was able to order the EEVblog version through Amazon. It's specs are similat to comparable Flukes, but is substantially less expensive.
  16. Where did you find plans? Did you have to make any alterations?
  17. +1 on the THTLP I built a THTLP and put it into service with my La Scalas a couple of weeks ago. It replaces an SVS SB1000 Pro (which replaced a low-end Klipsch 10" subwoofer). The THTLP is in a whole other league. I'm driving the THTLP from a Dayton SPA250DSP plate amp. I've been experimenting with the DSP on the amp. The THTLP produces a remarkable amount of clean bass. I don't have as much experience or as broad a basis for comparison as other forum members, but I'm deighted with it. So delighted that I'll be adding a second THTLP in a few weeks. (Two subwoofers can make it easier to deal with placement challenges and room peculiarities).
  18. This question may go unnoticed (since it appears as a reply to an unrelated thread in a forum about subwoofers). I suggest that you post it as its own thread, in a different group (e.g., General Klipsch or Ask the Historian). I don't know the answer to your question.
  19. Yes, the La Scalas are the left and right speakers in my stereo (2 channel + subwoofer) system. I've paired them with one THTLP horn-loaded subwoofer (and will soon add a second). I believe it was from your posts that I thought to run the speakers full range and not cut them off at the crossover frequency. I don't want to through away lots of bass. 🙂 I'll experiment with lower crossover points and keep the speakers full range.
  20. Those speakers look nice. For comparison, I paid CAD$2800 (about US$2350) for a pair of 1986 La Scalas that were not as nice as those. La Scalas are pretty uncommon here (in Canada) so that there may have been a bit of a premium on account of their scarcity. Mine were entirely original but had damaged cabinets. The fact that yours are cosmetically attractive and have had the networks serviced (which I imagine means recapped) should make them more valuable. I'd hazard that US$3000 would be quite a good buy.
  21. I'm interested in the discussion about where to crossover to a subwoofer, particularly as it pertains to La Scalas. I've been playing with how my subwoofer is set. 1) I understand that the general rule of thumb is 80 Hz, and that this is what's used for, say, THX 2) The YPAO (like Audyssey) on my receiver likes to set the crossover at 80 Hz (and a couple of times at 60 Hz) 3) Because I've heard that: a) the La Scala stops acting like a horn at about 104 Hz, and b) the La Scala pretty much runs out of bass around 50Hz I've tended to set the crossover around 100Hz or 110Hz and to run the speakers at full (i.e., bass is sent out the LFE at that frequency, but all frequencies are still sent to the La Scalas I know that I have some challenges with my room and speaker placement that need to be worked out. Thus far, I think those problems are masking the affects of different crossover frequencies.
  22. I hadn't seen those guidelines before. Thank-you for sharing them. Where did they come from? (I don't disagree, I'd just like to know more).
  23. No, you don't NEED to add a horn subwoofer to accompany your La Scalas, but you'll be pleased if you do. Adding a horn loaded subwoofer (a Bill Fitzmaurice-designed THTLP) was a substantial and positive improvement to the sound of my La Scalas. So good, in fact, that I'll soon be adding a second THTLP. Prior to the THTLP, I tried: no subwoofer (OK, but disappointing bass), a low-end Klipsch subwoofer (only slightly better than nothing), and then an SVS SB1000 Pro subwoofer (a very good unit, which sounded OK, but just couldn't keep pace with the La Scalas) I built the THTLP based on comments from this forum; I'd never seen or heard one. I'm very pleased with it. Building it ended up costing about 25% more than buying the SB1000 Pro.
  24. Thanks for the feedback. The THTLP is as close to a corner as I can get it. It's about 10" from one wall and about 3" from the other. I was keen to sort out how to "tune" the THTLP for my peculiarities of my room and my restricted options for placement so that I was interested in using a DSP with it. I considered two alternatives: a MiniDSP 2x4HD with an external amp a plate amp with built-in DSP (Dayton SPA250DSP) To support the MiniDSP, I had considered using a Crown XLS1002 amp with the THTLPs. But, in reply to a question I posed on the BFM forum, Bill Fitzmaurice recommended getting a plate amp instead of the Crown since the Crown was way bigger (1100 watts into 4 ohms) than what the THTLP would need. If I'd gone with a Crown amp, I wanted to use a MiniDSP 2x4HD with it for the THTLPs. But I wasn't at all clear on how I would feed the MiniDSP from my Yamaha R-N803 receiver. I figured I'd have to forgo the simplicity of LFE, send the MiniDSP a "full range" signal, and then just work with the frequencies that would be applicable to the subwoofers. Also, I was concerned that doing so would would likely render the Yamaha's YPAO ability useless. In the end, I went with the SPA250DSP because: it was simpler it was less expensive it provided a DSP capability making the THTLP a powered subwoofer gave more flexibility in placement The SPA250DSP plate amp provides 260W at 4 ohms and deals with frequencies from 10Hz to 200Hz. I'm feeding it via the LFE output from my Yamaha R-N803 receiver. Since I'm crossing over at 100Hz (with, I believe, a 12 dB slope), it shouldn't see much signal above that frequency. Figuring out how to configure the DSP has been a puzzle. Actually doing the config is easy, but knowing what to set the config values at seems like a black art (for now, at least). I have a UMIK-1 microphone and have been playing with REW. It's pretty complex software about an area (acoustics) that I'm not terribly familiar with. I've seen several Youtube videos about REW. However, my background hasn't been sufficient for me to have gleaned much from them. But I'll keep trying. Even at the rudimentary settings I'm using now the sound is magnificent. That's very encouraging.
  25. I just added a THTLP subwoofer to supplement my La Scalas today. It'll be one of a pair, but the other THTLP won't be finished until sometime next month. The THTLP is the third subwoofer I've mated to my La Scalas. The first was a low-end Klipsch unit, the second was an SVS SB 1000 Pro. The Klipsch unit was underpowered and couldn't keep up with the La Scalas, but the SVS SB1000 Pro was a nice piece of gear. However, it couldn't keep up with the La Scalas either --- the bass was a bit anemic; there was no "feel" from it. Even with just a few hours listening to the THTLP, I can attest that it's in a whole different league. It's output is clean and distortion-free. Even at moderate volume (65 to 75 dB), you can feel the bass. The THTLP is pretty efficient too: I have a 250W plate amp driving it, and that's likely way overkill --- I doubt that I'll ever use more than 50W. There are some downsides though: you have to build the THTLP yourself (or hire someone to build it) it's enormous. I built the smallest possible size but it's still 72"H x 15"W x 18" D. But then perhaps a washing machine-sized speaker deserves a refrigerator-sized subwoofer. 🙂
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