Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tekton tweeter array MTM

 I was intrigued by the unusual tweeter array Tekton uses in their speakers. So I build something very similar. I used cheap but well performing 5" midbass drivers, and cheap but equally well performing onkyo tweeters. I used modified crossover. Here are some pictures from the build. They sound and measure very well. Tweeters, to my surprise do not beam, no lobing issues either. There is lobing in midrange in vertical axis, but all good in horizontal. Speakers have well balanced pleasant sound, with exceptionally clear highs. Highly recommended. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

MTM with Vifa 13WH-00-08 and AMT tweeter

I got some old Vifa midwoofers back from a friend, and after all those years they still perform admirably. Its hard to find such a well behaving midrange with almost no breakups. Look at the fr response, it needs no crossover. 

Such great midrange requires good tweeter, so I added small Dayton AMT tweeter. I prefer smaller tweeter for better of axis response. I made small closed boxes with heavily braced foam board. Here are some pics and some measurements. I experimented with value of the capacitor for the tweeter, and after some initial measurements spotted small narrowing of the of axis response with just 3.3 uF cap (pictured), so I increased it to 4.5 uF final. Resulting speaker is the most neutral sounding speaker I made. They are precise, dynamic, yet true to the signal...adding nothing of its own. These speakers are now used in guest room to evaluate new amplifiers I build for the sound quality. So revealing and yet neutral these speakers are. Highly recommended. 


Monday, June 15, 2020

Burson Audio V6 Classic review

This is review of dual opamp V6 Classic from Burson Audio

This is my current set up for the review. I use Pioneer DV-300 dvd player as digital source, because it was discovered by lampizator and others that it provides excellent waveform. Even Goldmund discovered that and parked little Pioneer inside bigger box and charged 10x more for it. Off course it has analog outputs, but the sound on this output is boring, bland, like from behind the curtain. External DAC is great improvement. I do have Schiit combo, but that will not be part of the review. First of all, it uses only smd parts with no socket, plus I am not going to open it. I have even better DAC, at least to my ears Cirrus Logic sounds more balanced. Schiit seems to have lifted treble, which may sound pleasing to some, but not good for review.
Besides, Cirrus Logic has one dual opamp on the output, conveniently in gold plated socket. Easy to replace. I have tried half a dozen of good opamps, many years ago, no need to repeat that. It came with 5532, but I tried 2134, 2604 and others. I believe 49720 is there for now. I will be comparing standard 49720 opamp to V6 Classic from Burson Audio.
When it comes to headphone amplifiers and headphones, I have quite a few, but I selected Lehmann audio amp and HE1000 headphones, as this combo provides clean well balanced sound. I believe the DAC should produce cleanest most accurate sound possible, and the headphone amp and headphones should provide pleasing non-fatiguing sound. I like B1 buffer and ACA combo, but ACA is not free of distortion, so I will be using cleaner amp. Other amps I have include Musical Fidelity tube headphone amp, Naim, ACP+, Schiit, and others.
Headphones I like include Sennheiser hd580, hd600 and hd598, HiFiman he400, he500 and he1000. I will be using he1000.

I would like to achieve the cleanest signal possible from the DAC, therefore I require treble to be as clean as possible. I can not stand sharp distorted highs. I do not like woolly mushy soft highs either. I like to have clean sparkly crystal clear highs. Bass lines needs to be deep but not overpowering. Mids easy to follow. 
Second aspect of good sound I like is imaging. What I mean by imaging is that my brain does not have to work hard to follow any desired musical instrument or voice. If it is hard to follow separate instruments, music image collapsed and listening fatigue will follow. 
I may not be able to explain what exactly I like when it comes to sound, but I know when I hear it. 
So next I will be comparing sound of two output stages, one with LME49720 and second with V6 Burson Audio Classic. 

I started listening comparison with Jesse Cook cd's. These are very dynamic recordings, plenty of guitars, and drums, not to mention nice triangles, chimes. I listened few best songs over and over, made few notes, then switched to Burson, listened again, and made notes again. 
One thing I noted on 'free fall' recordings, songs 3 and 6, triangles were more standing out, easier to follow with Burson than with 49720. In vertigo recording, second song, Burson was clearly a winner, 49720 seemed little boring. Harmonica in third song was more real with Burson, three guitars seemed like in the air, much more enjoyable. 
When it comes to stereo separation, both had the same impression. When it comes to dynamics, Burson seemed a little better than 49720. Bass lines were comparable. 
When it comes to Bela Fleck, plenty of deep bass lines, especially 'flight of cosmic hippo' type. Perhaps 49720 may be better in bass department, but it may be just an impression because highs are a little less pronounces in 49720 than with Burson. 

In separate session I listened to plenty of choral and early renaissance music. I like Hildegard Von Bingen for pure polyphony lines. When it comes to the sound quality, I must say both output stages, either with 49720 or V6 Classic sounded about the same. See, this type of music is happening mostly in the midrange. Not much to distinguish in sound quality. Both sounded great. 
I like period instrument recordings, they offer window into that music era. Minstrelsy music group is using flutes, guitars and simple drums to accompany the vocals. Burson V6 Classic was a little more musical sounding then 49720, which was a little sterile. The difference was not big, but noticable and I was always looking forward to put V6 back in to enjoy the music more. Small, but noticeable improvement comes from V6 Classic. 

    Last listening session was done with bunch of Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler recordings. I like the music, always did, so it was fun. Granted, in some recordings they went overboard with loudness war and pushed it to the clipping and severe compression. I skipped those songs, what a pity. Luckily there is plenty of slow well recorded songs to listen and compare 49720 to V6 Classic. 

Songs like 'telegraph road', 'love over gold', and 'private investigation' offer great spectrum of instruments, from acoustic guitar, steel guitar, keybords, synthesizers of all kind, to great drums, with plenty of hi-hats, cymbals and chimes... 
I must say that V6 Classic excelled in these high pitched bells and whistles.  Although 49720 is clean low distortion opamp, easy to listen to, it is on sterile side in comparison to V6 Classic. Burson is more musical, juicy and fun. Just listen cd 'on every street', song 6 'you and your friend' and you know what I mean. That steel guitar just brings shivers down the spine. 

While 49720 can give you 95% of the recording, Burson V6 Classic can give you 98%. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Betsy wow with Ribbon

This is nice and easy project which yields extremely good sounding bookshelf. Betsy wow (without whizzer) goes quite deep in closed box (Ikea bookshelf), so the sub is optional. But if you want to use sub, it can only help. I started by getting the dust cap out of the betsy wow, then glueing in brass phase plug. This way betsy is not attempting any hights. Then I added bsc to flatten the response, and G2 ribbon tweeter to continue past 20kHz. The result is pretty flat response, flat phase response, and very coherent sound. Only one cap is used on G2 ribbon, because its crossed at ~8kHz. This speaker is high efficiency too, and with 8 ohm resistance it presents nice load to any amplifier. It likes small class A amplifiers, but will handle anything. It gets loud, but its clean. Its no party speaker, but with the sub, it can be easily for music and ht.
Here are some pictures from construction.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Domes, domes and more domes!

Recently I have finished three new sets of speakers based on domes. Each has its own sound, yet they all sound wonderful. For a day, I put down my main open baffle speakers and tested them one by one. They were each optimized for flat response, yet there were subtle differences in sound. Perhaps due to the different phase, or off axis response? I believe each speaker sounds great. Whoever said domes do not sound good was just plain wrong. More dome based speakers to come.

Here are some pictures. Each got its own time on the woofers.

Besides the HiVi and Peerless based dome system, pictured on the woofers, I have two other dome based speakers. The one on the floor left is based on old Philips units. Tiny tweeter dome is silk based, and mid dome is paper based. I like this speaker a lot. The one on the floor right is based on Dayton soft domes, to which I removed protecting grill and front plate in order to place them closer to each other and the tweeter. Tweeter is small HiVi planar. They sound good too, but I prefer Philips based system.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Some finished, some work in progress.

Full range with tweeter

Although full range speakers can measure almost flat on axis, they often beam of axis. They generally benefit from adding the tweeter. Ideally concentrically. Here are some examples.

Tang Band W5-1611SAF is 5" PP full range which according to the manufacturer has almost flat response from 100Hz to 20kHz. However, I find the driver to sound quite boring, lacking some detail and spark. How is this possible?

We do not only listen on axis. First arriving signal may be from the on axis flat response, but sound projected of axis bounces in the room and eventually reaches the listener few tens of milliseconds later. If this later arriving signal is significantly different, our brain does not like it.

This is how W5-1611SAF measured on its own. Please notice significant beaming.

I was not happy with the sound, so I added the tweeter. This is how it measures now. I like the sound and use the speakers in the bedroom system, together with the sub. Great sound. Pleasant, natural, non fatiguing.

Here is the whole system.

Another small system with betsy and tweeter