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Al Klappenberger

ALK ES500T extreme-slope network design ready

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36 minutes ago, mark1101 said:

The Jub ALK ESNs cost me almost twice what I paid for my Xilica processor.  I would do this again tomorrow.

OK, then how about showing your Jubes in your Avatar for a change.

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What does the price of a crossover have to do with an avatar?  If someone else puts a 5-way MCM in their avatar I guess I might change it then.  :)

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7 minutes ago, mark1101 said:

What does the price of a crossover have to do with an avatar?  If someone else puts a 5-way MCM in their avatar I guess I might change it then.  :)

Well, you don't have to put it in an Avatar, per se, but since you seem to give it a "different but equal" quality rating, it would be nice to see a photo, anywhere you like. Besides, from a box count perspective, your Avatar has been a the top of the heap, so to speak, for a long time, and most certainly wins that contest.

 

 

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Well thanks.  I'm not in any contest though.............and no matter what we each have someone will always have bigger and better.  I have the equipment to enjoy it.

 

I do need to share some pics of my Jubs sometime.  I think people were getting sort of tired of them though.  All the arguments every time someone mentioned Jubs.  I barely even talked about them for almost a year for various reasons.  They do all look the same too.  :)  I started talking about them more because I thought it might be interesting to share the "going analog" experiment.  It took months to get that done and I am very happy with it so far.  It's an easier way to go too.

 

Really, I'm in this thread though to say that the ALK ESNs are very worthwhile, easy to work into a system and fine tune, sound fantastic, and are worth the expensive price..........and the wait.  That's pretty much it..........and just have Al build them.

 

I saw someone provided an ALK design to the OP.  I'd be careful because there were successive generations (improvements) to some of them.  Who knows what you have.

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3 hours ago, PrestonTom said:

 By the way, are we to assume this is for a Klipschorn?

-Tom

Hi Tom,  These are for La Scalas.  Thanks to Al, I've already upgraded the tweeters to DE120s with Eliptrac HF horns; swapped the stock AA to Al's SuperAA network and have a pair of Eliptrac 400 horns in progress. I plan on running 3 way with the stock K-55v for the time being. 

 

I was reading on Al's website that he recommends the ES500 for La Scala and ES400 for Khorns.  He advised me that both would work with a 3 way La Scala with stock mid and woofer drivers.  

 

Let me ask you about the sound quality of the dsp's you've used?  I have Metrum Hex DAC which I absolutely love.   I'm thinking that the extra adc->dac stage added by a dsp would defeat its benefit.   Also, are you aware of any DSPs that can be programmed to have extreme slopes?  I've only just started to look into active digital crossovers and the only ones I've found in my budget max out at 48 dB/octave and no steeper.  Is an extreme slope DSP a thing?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, brownaye said:

Hi Tom,  These are for La Scalas.  Thanks to Al, I've already upgraded the tweeters to DE120s with Eliptrac HF horns; swapped the stock AA to Al's SuperAA network and have a pair of Eliptrac 400 horns in progress. I plan on running 3 way with the stock K-55v for the time being. 

 

I was reading on Al's website that he recommends the ES500 for La Scala and ES400 for Khorns.  He advised me that both would work with a 3 way La Scala with stock mid and woofer drivers.  

 

Let me ask you about the sound quality of the dsp's you've used?  I have Metrum Hex DAC which I absolutely love.   I'm thinking that the extra adc->dac stage added by a dsp would defeat its benefit.   Also, are you aware of any DSPs that can be programmed to have extreme slopes?  I've only just started to look into active digital crossovers and the only ones I've found in my budget max out at 48 dB/octave and no steeper.  Is an extreme slope DSP a thing?

 

 

Actually, a 48 dB/Oct is fairly steep. There was a guy on the forum who used to use that and then hug a PEQ next to it to get an even steeper slope in the tat crossover region. Some of Roy's settings appear to do this also. With all of ALK's talk about the importance of steep crossovers, the importance of time alignment was ignored (easily done in DSP but not so in analog)

 

I am a bit of a purist so what I do is take the digital out of my source (CD player) and feed directly into a DSP crossover. This means you need a DSP that has a digital input (not all of them do). This avoids the "extra" DAC to ADC conversion. In the old days this was a critical issue, however with 24 bit/96k sampling it is not really necessary - if the gain structure is set up correctly. Some folks have difficulty in understanding this last point. If you think it through, you will notice that this strategy leads to a 4 channel volume control after the DSP/DAC output. I simply use a 4 channel stepped attenuator. 

 

My solution is overkill, but I can live with that. It is much simpler to use a DSP with a 24 bit 96k ADC after a two channel pre-amp. But keep in mind that you have to keep the gain structure in mind (it is okay to lose a few bits but not too many).

-Tom

 

 

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On 7/11/2018 at 3:56 PM, mark1101 said:

Really, I'm in this thread though to say that the ALK ESNs are very worthwhile, easy to work into a system and fine tune, sound fantastic, and are worth the expensive price..........and the wait.  That's pretty much it..........and just have Al build them.

 

I saw someone provided an ALK design to the OP.  I'd be careful because there were successive generations (improvements) to some of them.  Who knows what you have.

After pricing out parts from Solen, I'm leaning in the direction you suggest.  No way to really do it on the cheap.  I have other projects around the house that will come waaaay before new crossovers.  I'm really enjoying the SuperAA's and the eliptrac 400 with K-55v.

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In a lascala I think the Super AA may be the better choice anyhow.  When I put the ESNs in my lascalas I was not that happy.  It's a funny thing.  The best network I ever heard in my lascalas have always been the Super AA.  When I put the Super AA in my old Khorns I was not happy with that.  For my setup, the ESNs were best in the Khorns.

 

In my DBBs with K402 and Jubs, the ESNs sound great.

 

Why are things this way?  I don't sweat over it.  :)

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On 7/11/2018 at 5:39 PM, PrestonTom said:

I am a bit of a purist so what I do is take the digital out of my source (CD player) and feed directly into a DSP crossover. This means you need a DSP that has a digital input (not all of them do). This avoids the "extra" DAC to ADC conversion. In the old days this was a critical issue, however with 24 bit/96k sampling it is not really necessary - if the gain structure is set up correctly. Some folks have difficulty in understanding this last point. If you think it through, you will notice that this strategy leads to a 4 channel volume control after the DSP/DAC output. I simply use a 4 channel stepped attenuator. 

 

What about the actual quality of the dsp's dac stage?  It sounds like you're satisfied with it.  I don't want to start an argument over DAC implementations but I'm one of those people who (thinks) can hear a difference between DACs.   IME, the DAC is 3rd in order of importance after speakers and amp.  As I've upgraded my DAC stage, each improvement was night and day for me. 

 

I understand the dsp offers other benefits (time alignment etc) that will probably outweigh any problems its own dac stage introduces.   So it's probably a trade-off like every other aspect of this hobby that would ultimately be an improvement.  Then the upgrade path would change from better DAC to better DSP.  Thoughts?

 

I feel like I've got tunnel vision about the dsp/dac thing but I've got young kids running around my house so the turntable has been put away for a couple of years :(.   My Hex DAC is as close to vinyl sounding as I've heard in an all-digital rig.  I love the sound and don't want to take a step backwards in that area if I don't have to.

 

FYI my current system is:

Mac mini dedicated music server with Jriver-->USB to Metrum Hex DAC-->Hot-rodded DC Coupled B1 buffer with Stereo Coffee optocoupler volume control-->Firstwatt F5 Turbov2-->La Scalas with Eliptrac HF and 400 horns/K-55v mid and DE120 tweeters

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On 7/11/2018 at 4:17 PM, brownaye said:

Is an extreme slope DSP a thing?

 

It is far easier to achieve extreme slopes in digital signal processing than it is in analog signal processing. But there's no such thing as a free lunch -- the steeper the slope in the frequency response, the more overshoot and ringing there is in the time domain.

 

If you know enough about digital signal processing, and about programming computers, you can build your own signal processing computer. I do all of my signal processing in an Intel Nuc computer connected to a Steinberg UR824 ADC/DAC, running ASIO. I program any signal processing that I want.

 

(It really helps that I'm an electrical engineer.)

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Regarding the DAC-thing: When folks hear differences in DACs, they attribute it to the DAC itself. I believe that decent DACs are probably more similar than dissimilar. There may be other culprits underlying these differences. A big one could be the analog output sections immediately after the converters, including the reconstruction filters (which might use less than decent op-amps. 

 

My bonehead way of avoiding this is to strip out the analog section after the converter and replace it with some simple RC filters and use a transformer (I use a Cinemag) which will step up the voltage, provide a bit of extra low pass filtering and strip out any DC voltage that the signal might be riding on (depends on the make). 

 

Edgar's method is more ambitious. As he noted, the ringing problem with steep analog filters could be a very real problem. 

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OK, so what's better?  A $2000 Benchmark DAC3 to one amp and then high end passive crossover in your speaker, or the DAC in a $1200 DSP unit to 3 amps and then direct to your speaker drivers?  :)

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39 minutes ago, mark1101 said:

OK, so what's better?  A $2000 Benchmark DAC3 to one amp and then high end passive crossover in your speaker, or the DAC in a $1200 DSP unit to 3 amps and then direct to your speaker drivers?  :)

 

All else being equal, I'd prefer the triamplifled solution. Amps connected directly to speakers are hard to beat. Everybody wants straight wire with gain, well, all of those inductors and capacitors and resistors in the crossovers get in the way of that idea. And there are crossovers that can be implemented in DSP that are flat-out impossible in analog.

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I'm very curious about what you both think about this ^^ @Edgar and @mark1101. I'm delving into an Active DSP crossover for the first time. Since the last thing to see/alter the sound prior to the amps in a Source>>PRE>>Active XO>>Amps>>Speaker set up is the DSP unit how good are the DACs in them? Dependent on price I'm sure but are the higher end ones on PAR with high quality stand alone DACs?

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Edgar, are you running your Steinberg at 192k? I was intending to use my Presonus interface to do pretty much the same thing (alas, only at 96k, though...)

 

Bruce

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3 minutes ago, rplace said:

I'm very curious about what you both think about this ^^ @Edgar and @mark1101. I'm delving into an Active DSP crossover for the first time. Since the last thing to see/alter the sound prior to the amps in a Source>>PRE>>Active XO>>Amps>>Speaker set up is the DSP unit how good are the DACs in them? Dependent on price I'm sure but are the higher end ones on PAR with high quality stand alone DACs?

 

Like anything else, it depends. Are three $1000 amps as good as one $3000 amplifier? Possibly, but probably not. But they can be close.

 

You can have the best of both worlds by using a signal processor with digital outputs, connected to the DACs of your choice.

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8 minutes ago, rplace said:

I'm very curious about what you both think about this ^^ @Edgar and @mark1101. I'm delving into an Active DSP crossover for the first time. Since the last thing to see/alter the sound prior to the amps in a Source>>PRE>>Active XO>>Amps>>Speaker set up is the DSP unit how good are the DACs in them? Dependent on price I'm sure but are the higher end ones on PAR with high quality stand alone DACs?

 

As I stated earlier one of the hardest things I've run into is to decide which I like better, the digital processor multi-amp solution, or the all analog 1-amp (or mono-block pair) solution.  They both have pros and cons.  It would be impossible for me to say one is better than the other.  Anyone could easily feel differently.  There is no right or wrong answer.  It's what you prefer.  For me........Right now I can't pick one over the other having both and being able to listen to both.  It's very hard.  That's just me.

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4 minutes ago, Marvel said:

Edgar, are you running your Steinberg at 192k? I was intending to use my Presonus interface to do pretty much the same thing (alas, only at 96k, though...)

 

Believe it or not, I've found that it sounds best (to my aged ears) at 48K.

 

Of course, for direct digital connections I use the sampling rate of the source, usually CD at 44100.

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4 hours ago, Edgar said:

I do all of my signal processing in an Intel Nuc computer connected to a Steinberg UR824 ADC/DAC, running ASIO. I program any signal processing that I want.

 

Do you use any signal processing libraries for the filters, etc.?  Or use something like Matlab/Simulink?  OS? 

 

Chris

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1 minute ago, Chris A said:

 

Do you use any signal processing libraries for the filters, etc.?  Or use something like Matlab/Simulink?  OS? 

 

 

I'll often use Matlab to do the arithmetic for traditional filters (Butterworth, Bessel, etc.) if I happen to be using them, and/or to do bilinear transforms, FFTs, etc. But I consider it a tool rather than a design method. Signal processing is my specialty, so, as they say, "It's what I do."

 

I run my audio under various flavors of Windows, just because it's what I'm most familiar with. I've done it in MacOS CoreAudio and Linux ALSA at various times, but I find ASIO to be the most user-friendly and ALSA to be abominable. CoreAudio and Wasapi are supposed to be very good, but I have very little experience with them.

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