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Dave A

Assess the condition of 70's and 80"s La Scala

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OK so I bit the bullet on a recent job in Orlando and bought two pairs of La Scala's there. It has been a long time dream of mine to have some and now I have two pairs. But here is my question. I have looked through the various forums here and I have not found a single thread that talks about what to do for basic things to check on these. I have found for instance comments about making sure things are screwed in and lots of comments about crossovers and tons of ways to spend money but no single thread on the ABC's of it all. What I would like to know is how do do basic maintenance on these to eliminate any simple problems that do not cost money but are important. Without any electronic testing devices is it possible to verify that components are working right? The AL crossover in the 80"s model sounds much better than the AA crosover in the 70"s model and all I read here contradicts this so I presume there are problems.

So, you have just bought that old set of La Scalas. What do you do when you get them home to make them right?

I played Broadsword by Jethro Tull yesterday and the bass and drums just reach right out physically impact you and the louder the better. I had chill bumps listening to this. It is a good thing I live way out in the country.

Edited by Dave Ault
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that's it... plug and play. if the drivers are working there is not much you can do unless you are planning to upgrade.

certainly components loose efficiency over the years... all the usual culprits are affected, specially parts of the cross overs.

Edited by Schu
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Dave first of all welcome to the forum there is a great wealth of knowledge around here. Sounds like everything may be running right for the most part. You can verify by sticking a dish towel (dry of coarse) in the mid horn to verify that the tweeters are working, vise vs to check the mid horns. Now your speakers are over 30 years old, the biggest maintenance would be the crossover networks. Replacing the caps would be the first thing for a decent price Bob Crites here on the forum is great for this. On this note if any of the mid or tweeters don't work he can get you some sort of replacement. Now one thing you can do is go through all the screws on the crossover and loosen and re tighten them, you would be surprised what you will fix by doing this.

The AL crossover in the 80"s model sounds much better than the AA crosover in the 70"s model and all I read here contradicts this so I presume there are problems.

I think what you may be reading could just be the general census, one thing you will find out about this hobby is what you like is what is good. Don't let anyone else tell you anything different.

I hope this covers a few things, give it a try and report back.

Edited by duder1982
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that's it... plug and play. if the drivers are working there is not much you can do unless you are planning to upgrade.

certainly components loose efficiency over the years... all the usual culprits are affected, specially parts of the cross overs.

This was something I was going to mention, glad Schu brought it up. I would make sure everything is working, when the upgrade bug hits (if it ever does) you can address that later. There are a lot of folks who have and noticed a great improvement. Me how ever I am very happy with my stock Cornwalls.. Again this goes back what sounds good to you.

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welcome Dave to the forum, and congrats on your purchase. as Schu said above as long as all the drivers are working sit back and enjoy. the hardest driver to hear working is the tweeter so many of us here stick a bath towel in the opening of the midrange ( to block off the sound ) and then stick your ear up to the tweeters to see if you can hear them working. you should have no problem hearing the others. so sit back and enjoy

oh yea, pictures, we want pictures

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I would replace the caps at the least......check all connections.....insure tweeter is working....then read and learn here as much as possible. Rick

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It is possible that because the AL networks sound better to you than the AA is the caps in the AA's may be duds. They are 10 or so years older, after all. It could also be that you are one of the people who prefers the AL crossover.

One thing I didn't see mentioned is the bass bin. There is a seal between the access panel and the cabinet. Air leaks can deteriorate bass performance. It's a cheap fix. While your in the bass bin, you can remove the woofer and check for rot, rips, etc. A little solder on the spades when you put the driver back in can guarantee a good connection for years to come.

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If you're lucky, as I was, a previous owner has done some re-fresh.

Found pics of before & after of my Type AA Crossovers on Crites website, & was able to determine that not only had the Caps been replaced with Sonicaps, but looks like the xovers had been re-built.

Is there an easy way to check to see if any of the Diaphragms have been replaced???

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just a suggestion on checking the mid and tweeter drivers, I have never tried the dish towel method but i have used either a paper towel or toilet paper roll (the cardboard roll in the center) hold that up to the individual drivers and it will be immedeiately evident weather that driver is working properly

I have seen countless threads where someone didnt realize they had a tweeter issue

Welcome

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just a suggestion on checking the mid and tweeter drivers, I have never tried the dish towel method but i have used either a paper towel or toilet paper roll (the cardboard roll in the center) hold that up to the individual drivers and it will be immedeiately evident weather that driver is working properly

I have seen countless threads where someone didnt realize they had a tweeter issue

Welcome

I all so used the paper towel tube method. Works great.

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Thanks all for the answers. I have been out all day and so no reply until tonight. The caps on the crossovers are all original and I don't know if the prior owners did anything besides run them. Of course mods interest me if I can see the value to them. I have thrown money at problems before without truly knowing what the problem was and it never works out well doing that. My preference would be to hear the difference first though and so if there is anyone close to southern middle Tennessee that has done so and is willing to let me hear the results I would appreciate it. I will dig into some of these suggestions over the next week and report back as to what I have found.

You all might be entertained by where my "home" system will be. Out in my shop somewhere in front of my Haas VF4 CNC mill. I was reading of a tweeter horn designed and milled out of wood on one of the posts here and it got the wheels spinning in my mind as these kinds of things would be real easy for me to do.

Edited by Dave A

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Thanks all for the answers. I have been out all day and so no reply until tonight. The caps on the crossovers are all original and I don't know if the prior owners did anything besides run them. Of course mods interest me if I can see the value to them. I have thrown money at problems before without truly knowing what the problem was and it never works out well doing that. My preference would be to hear the difference first though and so if there is anyone close to southern middle Tennessee that has done so and is willing to let me hear the results I would appreciate it. I will dig into some of these suggestions over the next week and report back as to what I have found.

You all might be entertained by where my "home" system will be. Out in my shop somewhere in front of my Haas VF4 CNC mill. I was reading of a tweeter horn designed and milled out of wood on one of the posts here and it got the wheels spinning in my mind as this kinds of things would be real easy for me to do.

You might be able to make some wood horns, and maybe make them for others for a little side cash too. I would def replace the caps even if it is just with some inexpensive Dayton caps... That is what I did. Now I am doing a 2 way setup with a brand new set of Bob Crites crossovers.

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Guest David H
Out in my shop somewhere in front of my Haas VF4 CNC mill.

That is quite the machine.

Welcome to the forums.

Dave

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After listening for long enough to be really familiar with your speakers as they are, I'd strongly suggest replacing the caps in your AA crossovers. My 1974 La Scalas sounded okay to me, but when I replaced the caps with Sonicaps several months after getting the speakers, the improvement in clarity was immediately noticeable.

The useful life of the older type caps seems to be 15 to 25 years. They still work after that, but they no longer sound their best.

The La Scala woofers are have doped-paper surrounds like speakers used in musical instrument amplifiers, and they typically sound fine for many decades, unlike woofers with foam surrounds.

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I have a job in Noblesville Indiana this week and found out that Klipsch is there. I wonder if they have a sound room where I could hear factory fresh LaScalas for comparison? :)

Edited by Dave A

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I have a job in Noblesville Indiana this week and found out that Klipsch is there. I wonder if they have a sound room where I could hear factory fresh LaScalas for comparison? :)

Since the original La Scalas were superseded by the La Scala IIs in 2006, it seems pretty unlikely that Klipsch would have any pre-2006 speakers on hand for your listening pleasure.

This was over three weeks ago. Did you ever check it out?

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Dave,

I have a pair of '86 LaScalas, that I have replaced the crossovers in, and added a different tweeter. I live just across the border from Chattanooga in north Georgia. There is probably someone closer, but you are welcome to pay a visit some weekend.

I usually use some 3.5 watt tube amps, but could maybe swap them out and plug something else in to them. What are your music preferences?

Bruce

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The sidewalls of the LS tend to vibrate and slur the bass. Crossbraces are a good thing. If I had pair I would also replace some caps as suggested by others.

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The cabinet condition would be the biggest concern on my part. Next make sure all the drivers works like everyone here has mentioned. You are obviously into good sound since you are considering a LaScala purchase. In this case, just go ahead and figure on replacing or rebuilding the X-overs.

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