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second night new crossovers

Lemon string

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So I had told myself that I'd wait to post anything for a few days, in regards to the new crossovers I purchased, but I felt like the events that took place in my listening room and my ears tonight might be worth sharing.

So I have a pair of 88 CW II's and decided to replace the stock crossovers. Many of you here on the forum aided in my decision by offering advice, opinions and comments when I had posted on the forum about this topic. So thank you to those that participated in that thread. Ultimately the big Thanks goes out to Dean G at Aletheia Audio as I ended up choosing to go with his services. Dean replaced the caps in my stock network with Clarity Cap ESA's a sonicap and I think a couple of mundorfs. I could be wrong on that perhaps Dean will share the specifics.

As I said I had planned to wait a few days before sharing my impressions. I know that there are differing opinions on the subject of break in time so I thought to be fair to both camps I'd just wait until a reasonable amount of juice had flowed through the networks before sharing impressions and opinions on them. I've decided against that as I thought some might be interested in hearing my experience as it un folds.

I came home from work and waisted no time getting them reinstalled. I listened to a fairly wide array of music last night. I started with a couple of what I consider great albums from a musical, a performance and a production level. These first two albums both featured female vocals, Madeliene Peyroux, Half the Perfect World and Patricia Barbers, Cafe Blue. The cornwalls presented the music with precision and extreme clarity. There also seemed to be more low end present than I recall with the, 25 year old, stock networks which was the initial reason I suspected they were overdue for a change. Beyond that, however, I didn't find the music to be as engaging in some strange way. It felt a bit sterile or tight. The stereo image was a bit less pronounced than what I had remembered with the stock networks. The separation of instruments wasn't as defined and overall the sound stage seemed some what compressed, a bit more of a 2d image than three dimensional. I continued to run them through there paces with music ranging from Pink Floyd's Wish you were here to Steely Dan's Cant buy a thrill to various jazz recordings and ended the night with the Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque's, 2013, Bach: double and triple concertos. I let them play all night as I went to sleep, playing classical streaming thru MOG via apple tv.

Tonight, same story came home and fired up the amp and started out real mellow with Olafur Arnalds, Living Room Songs. Honestly I didn't pay much attention as I said hi to the fam and got settled in. Next I threw up Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban's Mambo Sinuendo. This album served as background music as we ate dinner. After Dinner I sat down and put Dire Straits Brother in Arms on. I've heard this album a ton of times. I see this album as a great studio album. I've heard it so many times though it doesn't really get me excited anymore out of familiarity. First track, so far away sounds good, clean and maybe a little more open than where I thought things were last night. Second track, Money for nothing, again i've heard this song so many times its hard for me to really get into it, it's one of those songs thats been played so much that it kind of becomes background music. NOT THIS TIME! Damn! where'd that come from?!? the intro literally had my heart pumping, I reached for the remote and turned it up. I wanted to hear more! After the big drum crescendo and the song really gets going I hit stop. Literally my heart was racing from the rush the music just delivered. I went and got my wife to see if she'd give me her opinion on the sound of the speakers with the new crossovers. She sat down I started to play Money for nothing. She sat there with no expression listening. Again, for me hearing the first 60 secs was like wow but I let it play for another minute until I couldn't stay silent anymore. I asked her if she thought this track sounded good. She said "I've never heard that song like that. Is that a different version? They don't play that intro on the radio." It's like the speakers are opening like a flower in bloom tonight, literally.Each track just gets a bit deeper a bit juicier. My beloved center image and sound stage is back and deeper and wider. The 3d like quality present and the music is alive and vivid in the room. I'll stop here.....

I should mention that Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Give the People What They Want followed Dire Straits and was an amazing listen, again vivid. Everything thats come through tonight is sounding great and shimmering the music is palpable on night two with Aletheia Audio's rebuilt Cornwall II crossovers.

Stay tuned

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"Break-in" isn't a very popular idea around here. I didn't used to believe in it either until I heard it happen while I was sitting in front of the speakers. I used to listen with two RC-7s (I twirled the horns 90 degrees and flipped the speakers). It was enough of a change that at first I thought something was going on with the preamp or amp.

People who work with capacitors, either in design or the manufacturing of them, will tell you that it's both audible and measurable. I managed to get Richard Marsh on the phone once, who told me, "...anything a capacitor is going to do, it's done doing in 10 to 20 hours". Jeff Glowacki of Soniccraft, who designed the Sonicap, told me that the audible performance of a capacitor shouldn't be evaluated for at least a month. This is from people involved in actual process and development.

I used Northcreek's cascading concept at the primary position. A 2uF Sonicap, 1uF ClarityCap (ESA), and a .01uF Dayton film and foil. Both of the 1.5uF tweeter caps are ClarityCap ESA Series. I redid any original soldering that looked suspect.

There was an installation issue. We started off with no midrange. Since it involved both loudspeakers, I had a real hard time believing it was crossover related. I put a call into Bob, who said, "Allow me to give you some critical information". Anyone considering doing this needs to be aware that there are two sets of tabs on the midrange driver, a pair on each side. Positive is on one side, negative on the other. If you reconnect both wires on the same side, you're creating a short, and the driver won't play. Easy mistake to make when you're working mostly by feel without much light. Bob says this happens so often that he gets a call about once a week about it.

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Friday night went to a concert, Darkside, at the Metro in Chicago. Pre concert we jammed with a new amp we got at the studio. I think that is going to be a lot of fun. Saturday night we had dinner guests, so long story short I haven't gotten much of a chance to really listen closely. Just getting the little ones to bed now so probably won't get a chance to listens at preferred volume but I'll let you know.

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  • 3 weeks later...

well It was a very busy Jan for me so I am just now getting back to this thread with my review. Its been about three weeks since I first wrote on the topic. Shortly after I first installed the Aletheia crossovers I began to notice some distortion in both HF and LF which didn't seem right and had me scratching my head for a minute. After a bit of thought I suspected that it was time for new tubes. I ordered up a fresh pair of SED winged c EL34's and a new bugle boy for the amp. They arrived and I quickly installed. My hunch seemed to be right as the distortion and flabby bass is no mas, gonzo.

So at this point all I can tell you is that my set up sounds the best it has. It sounds RIGHT. Music that is full and round, music with airy highs, a gorgeous mid range and a nice natural low end now fills my room. The music isn't held to any physical component, it doesn't appear to be anchored, tied or projected by any component in the room. the music hangs in the air in-between, out in front and across the room where the components sit but not coming from them directly.

At this moment I am listening to "the Ultimate Demonstration Disc" from Chesky Records. I recommend it if you are interested in critical listening and tools to help one asses their system, as well as, give you a point of reference for different aspects of audio recording and reproduction. Anyway, my system sounds right on. As I listen to each track I can't hear anything that seems to be lacking or missing. Im not saying that I have achieved perfection but I am saying that my system sounds as close to perfect as it ever has. One thing that this hobby has taught me is that perfection is a journey with a destination that remains on the horizon.

Thanks to Dean at Aletheia for his work, his service, his attention to detail and ofcourse for his love of the hobby and music.


Edited by Lemon string
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