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Upgrading - speakers or crossovers?

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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305
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Hi All,

I'm looking to upgrade speakers as per my signature. I've not yet found a pair that would be suitable :( Quad S2 would be a consideration but closest demo is couple of hours drive away. I'll certainly make a drive once and if I sell my Roksans.

My only gripe with the speakers I own is the fact that they're top heavy (forward upper midrange). I knew it when buying and wondered if it's a smart choice. In fact I knew it wasn't but was so enchanted I couldn't resist. Now I'm leaning more towards neutral sound. In fact I recently only listen to either my second set (Qln Qubic 122 not necessarily neutral but much more neutral) or via headphones.

Ideally I'd like a pair with ribbon tweeters either standmount or small floorstanders. Transmission line also appeals to me but that's not necessary. Looked at IPL sets that seem to match what I need. If only I was confident about the finished product.

Second option which potentially could be a cheaper solution would be to rework the crossovers and tame the ribbons giving the speakers a more neutral presentation. I know this was addressed in the S2 version Roksan is now selling.

I know this is not a DIY forum but any advice would be helpful. I don't mind experimenting a bit. Physically should be able to do it and although I've never designed a crossover I believe to be smart enough to understand how it works. Potentially making changes to crossover to match S2 are what would be needed.

I probably should add that at this point I don't even own a soldering iron though have used it one in late nineties :) Nor do I own any equipment to measure frequency response of speakers.

Any thoughts about the subject welcome. Am I underestimating the complexity of it?
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
insider9 said:
Hi All,

I'm looking to upgrade speakers as per my signature.

Any thoughts about the subject welcome. Am I underestimating the complexity of it?
Yes.

The interplay between the crossover and the drivers themselves is complex, and a crossover is not just a simple low pass filter in front of the woofer and high pass in front of the tweeter - the speaker is actually part of the filter design itself. In particular, the phase characteristics of the filters at the crossover frequency when both drivers are being driven is key.

Having said all that, if all you want to do is quieten your tweeter a bit, you can put a low value resistor in series with the tweeter to reduce its output. To do the job properly, you need to keep the impedance that the filter 'sees' constant, so you would need two resistors, one to reduce the output of the tweeter and the other to load up the filter output to compensate for the increased resistance of the resistor and tweeter in series.

The venerable LS3/5a has a resistor network built into the crossover to allow the performance of the tweeter to be tuned during production just as described above (some versions had a multi tapped transformer). If you google the circuit diagram of the 3/5a you can see an example of the resistor network. The resitors will need to be high wattage.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
andyjm said:
Yes. 

The interplay between the crossover and the drivers themselves is complex, and a crossover is not just a simple low pass filter in front of the woofer and high pass in front of the tweeter - the speaker is actually part of the filter design itself.  In particular, the phase characteristics of the filters at the crossover frequency when both drivers are being driven is key.

Having said all that, if all you want to do is quieten your tweeter a bit, you can put a low value resistor in series with the tweeter to reduce its output.  To do the job properly, you need to keep the impedance that the filter 'sees' constant, so you would need two resistors, one to reduce the output of the tweeter and the other to load up the filter output to compensate for the increased resistance of the resistor and tweeter in series.

The venerable LS3/5a has a resistor network built into the crossover to allow the performance of the tweeter to be tuned during production just as described above (some versions had a multi tapped transformer). If you google the circuit diagram of the 3/5a you can see an example of the resistor network. The resitors will need to be high wattage.
Thank you Andyjm for LS3/5a tip.

Yes, that's more or less what I thought was needed. I thought just one resistor in parallel would be enough to quiten the tweeter.I understand that would affect the impedance but don't think it would matter much (not opened them yet so not sure what rated impedance the tweeter is)

I don't want to touch the crossover point as such so not a complex rebuild, rather a small tweak.

The physical characteristics of speakers are fine for the room and if I only manage to get the tweeter volume right I won't need new speakers for a long time.
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Hi All,

I'm looking to upgrade speakers as per my signature. I've not yet found a pair that would be suitable :( Quad S2 would be a consideration but closest demo is couple of hours drive away. I'll certainly make a drive once and if I sell my Roksans.

My only gripe with the speakers I own is the fact that they're top heavy (forward upper midrange). I knew it when buying and wondered if it's a smart choice. In fact I knew it wasn't but was so enchanted I couldn't resist. Now I'm leaning more towards neutral sound. In fact I recently only listen to either my second set (Qln Qubic 122 not necessarily neutral but much more neutral) or via headphones.

Ideally I'd like a pair with ribbon tweeters either standmount or small floorstanders. Transmission line also appeals to me but that's not necessary. Looked at IPL sets that seem to match what I need. If only I was confident about the finished product.

Second option which potentially could be a cheaper solution would be to rework the crossovers and tame the ribbons giving the speakers a more neutral presentation. I know this was addressed in the S2 version Roksan is now selling.

I know this is not a DIY forum but any advice would be helpful. I don't mind experimenting a bit. Physically should be able to do it and although I've never designed a crossover I believe to be smart enough to understand how it works. Potentially making changes to crossover to match S2 are what would be needed.

I probably should add that at this point I don't even own a soldering iron though have used it one in late nineties :) Nor do I own any equipment to measure frequency response of speakers.

Any thoughts about the subject welcome. Am I underestimating the complexity of it?
Perhaps the answer might be trying to find a dealer prepared to take your old Roksans as p/x against the new S2 version.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
Al ears said:
Perhaps the answer might be trying to find a dealer prepared to take your old Roksans as p/x against the new S2 version.
Indeed a good option, pricey though. Roksan S2 retail at £1,050. If I could modify the crossover I'd be saving quite a lot of money.

Even Quad S2 at £699 look more appealing. I'd be prepared to do that. I should get £300 back from Roksans. Again if I could save myself few hundred quid I possibly could convince my wife to go pre/power :)
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Al ears said:
Perhaps the answer might be trying to find a dealer prepared to take your old Roksans as p/x against the new S2 version.
Indeed a good option, pricey though. Roksan S2 retail at £1,050. If I could modify the crossover I'd be saving quite a lot of money.

Even Quad S2 at £699 look more appealing. I'd be prepared to do that. I should get £300 back from Roksans. Again if I could save myself few hundred quid I possibly could convince my wife to go pre/power :)
Don't forget to factor in the big bouquet and even bigger box of chocolates.... ;-)

You are right about the S2 version though, they do look at tad overpriced looking at the opposition.

PS Quad S2's only £599 at Audio Affair ..... there you go, saved you £100 already :)
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
0
0
Isn't the classic DIY fix for a bright tweeter putting a tissue or some other absorptive material in front of the tweeter :)
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
ID. said:
Isn't the classic DIY fix for a bright tweeter putting a tissue or some other absorptive material in front of the tweeter :)
Sadly, it's more pronounced than that. They've designed them this way. The vocals are absolutely stunning but just too forward. It has been rectified in S2 from what I've read.

In all fairness I've never used them with grilles on. Might try, thanks
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
insider9 said:
Ok, I've tried covering tweeters with some cotton briefs hanging off each speaker and it certainly changes the balance. I've noticed that Armani sounded better than Calvin Klein... ;)

It does make a difference for vocals however higher frequencies are affected even more. It takes shine of cymbals and the air associated with ribbons isn't there. So that isn't the solution I'd be looking to make permanent, disregarding the looks.

I've email Fanthorpes earlier so let's hope they can come back with an acceptable trade in price so I can have the Quad S2 without much hassle.
Edit... All the best, G
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
Ok, I've tried covering tweeters with some cotton briefs hanging off each speaker and it certainly changes the balance. I've noticed that Armani sounded better than Calvin Klein... ;)

It does make a difference for vocals however higher frequencies are affected even more. It takes shine of cymbals and the air associated with ribbons isn't there. So that isn't the solution I'd be looking to make permanent, disregarding the looks.

I've email Fanthorpes earlier so let's hope they can come back with an acceptable trade in price so I can have the Quad S2 without much hassle.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
Gazzip said:
insider9 said:
Ok, I've tried covering tweeters with some cotton briefs hanging off each speaker and it certainly changes the balance. I've noticed that Armani sounded better than Calvin Klein... ;)

It does make a difference for vocals however higher frequencies are affected even more. It takes shine of cymbals and the air associated with ribbons isn't there. So that isn't the solution I'd be looking to make permanent, disregarding the looks.

I've email Fanthorpes earlier so let's hope they can come back with an acceptable trade in price so I can have the Quad S2 without much hassle.
Edit... All the best, G
Thank you :)
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
insider9, have you fully experimented with the angling and positioning of your speakers?

Ranging from speaker firing straight down the room, to angled so that they're aiming at you, to angled so that their axes would cross in front of you?

And have you also tried altering their position relative to the walls behind and to the sides of them?

Starting with in the corners and bringing them out bit by with music playing till the bass snaps into focus at your listening position?

If you still can't get the tonal balance that you want, go ahead and change the speakers, or tweak them.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
lindsayt said:
insider9, have you fully experimented with the angling and positioning of your speakers?

Ranging from speaker firing straight down the room, to angled so that they're aiming at you, to angled so that their axes would cross in front of you?

And have you also tried altering their position relative to the walls behind and to the sides of them?

Starting with in the corners and bringing them out bit by with music playing till the bass snaps into focus at your listening position?

If you still can't get the tonal balance that you want, go ahead and change the speakers, or tweak them.
Yes, I have done just about all I can Lindsayt, thanks

The they're probably best in nearfiled-ish listening about a 1.5-2 meters equilateral triangle with a slight toe in. Very good imaging, lovely soundstage. Just about everything that I'd want from speakers but low bass (obviously) and neutrality (argh...)

What drove me to fall for them was the way they handle vocals. These ribbons are so fast and vocal have this ethereal quality that I've not heard on any other speaker. Horns sound incredible and bass is tuneful and punchy. Ideal jazz speakers. Where solo performances are what you're enjoy a lot.
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
I think I'm gonna go with Quad S2. Save the hassle.

It's scary, another component suggested by Al Ears
What's scary about that? :)

I am about to make a suggestion that might be a cheaper alternative.

As the new Roksan uses the same drivers as the old with only a cross-over upgrade and a few cabinet modifications why not contact Henley Designs and see if they will sell you a pair of crossovers or even upgrade your existing speakers for you?

Just a thought
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
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Al ears said:
insider9 said:
I think I'm gonna go with Quad S2. Save the hassle.

It's scary, another component suggested by Al Ears
What's scary about that?  :)

I am about to make a suggestion that might be a cheaper alternative.

As the new Roksan uses the same drivers as the old with only a cross-over upgrade and a few cabinet modifications why not contact Henley Designs and see if they will sell you a pair of crossovers or even upgrade your existing speakers for you?

Just a thought 
Only the fact you know me so well, for someone I've not met in person ;)

Another great suggestion, I'll see if I can get through to someone today. Cheers
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Al ears said:
insider9 said:
I think I'm gonna go with Quad S2. Save the hassle.

It's scary, another component suggested by Al Ears
What's scary about that? :)

I am about to make a suggestion that might be a cheaper alternative.

As the new Roksan uses the same drivers as the old with only a cross-over upgrade and a few cabinet modifications why not contact Henley Designs and see if they will sell you a pair of crossovers or even upgrade your existing speakers for you?

Just a thought
Only the fact you know me so well, for someone I've not met in person ;)

Another great suggestion, I'll see if I can get through to someone today. Cheers
We are all pretty much similar I guess, either that or I am psychic...... Now where did I put that crystal ball??
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
368
228
19,270
Controversial suggestion alert! Have you considered whether a change of speaker cables might make enough of a change? I would not normally suggest it but as you like everything else about them....

DNM single core would be my first suggestion, in your particular case, which I once used successfully on my own stand mounted speakers with surprising success.

Wilmslow audio are very experienced with speakers, and might be worth a call to.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
742
305
5,270
Thanks all for many valuable suggestions.

Ok, I've tried about just everything now and... the result was well worth the effort *yahoo*

Can it be cables? Not this time, I'm afraid. At least not to that degree I have tried different OFC 2.5mm2 to 4mm2 as well as 2.5mm2 SPC. Some differences not big enough though.

I have tried different positioning, toe-in, distance to walls, grilles/no grilles, sitting position, emailed Henley Designs about new crossovers, considered trade-in or sale, hung cotton pants covering tweeters...

Yet the answer was staring me in the face. I once said I was going to do it and then I've not... so my fault really *dash1*

For a grand total of zero pounds and zero pence I've turned the speakers upside down and the difference is substantial. The soundstage seem smaller though, so going to work on toe-in a little more. I've also run a frequency test (by ear not measured) and going through problematic area of 2kHz to 4.5kHz I've not heard a big difference in volume, where I can hear it with speakers right way round.

Can it be expectation bias? Possibly, although I was all but set to upgrade so could it be? Who doesn't like shiny new things? I'm going to give myself a few days to make sure it isn't expectation bias and report back.

Thank you for really making me "work" for it. *good* It's so easy to improve things throwing money at a problem.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
insider9 said:
Thanks all for many valuable suggestions.

Ok, I've tried about just everything now and... the result was well worth the effort *yahoo*

Can it be cables? Not this time, I'm afraid. At least not to that degree I have tried different OFC 2.5mm2 to 4mm2 as well as 2.5mm2 SPC. Some differences not big enough though.

I have tried different positioning, toe-in, distance to walls, grilles/no grilles, sitting position, emailed Henley Designs about new crossovers, considered trade-in or sale, hung cotton pants covering tweeters...

Yet the answer was staring me in the face. I once said I was going to do it and then I've not... so my fault really *dash1*

For a grand total of zero pounds and zero pence I've turned the speakers upside down and the difference is substantial. The soundstage seem smaller though, so going to work on toe-in a little more. I've also run a frequency test (by ear not measured) and going through problematic area of 2kHz to 4.5kHz I've not heard a big difference in volume, where I can hear it with speakers right way round.

Can it be expectation bias? Possibly, although I was all but set to upgrade so could it be? Who doesn't like shiny new things? I'm going to give myself a few days to make sure it isn't expectation bias and report back.

Thank you for really making me "work" for it. *good* It's so easy to improve things throwing money at a problem.
If you turn your speakers upside down do you have to backmask your entire music collection? *biggrin*
 

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