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Paul Pless
01-31-2012, 12:25 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?

Ron Williamson
01-31-2012, 12:34 PM
I'm sure that I could find some tube amp guys who build their own.
R

Waddie
01-31-2012, 01:16 PM
I recently finished building a new guitar amp cabinet. Birch plywood cab loaded with 2X15" Eminence Commonwealth 225 watt speakers. 4 ohm impedance. 1/4" jacks. Pretty straight forward assembly.

In the electric guitar world there are lots of people building their own cabinets. Easy to order supplies from online stores.

regards,
Waddie

Nicholas Carey
01-31-2012, 01:57 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?

The short answer is...Yes.

SpeakerLab here in Seattle has been supplying that market since 1971

http://www.speakerlab.com/index.html

You can get components -- crossovers, tweeters, midranges and drivers -- from them as well as kits (though you'll have to call the store directly).

http://speakerdesignworks.com/

http://www.ishtek.com/spkrs.htm

http://www.speakerbuilding.com/

http://www.speakerdesign.net/

http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/
http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/Projects/D3/D3W/index.html

http://www.nutshellhifi.com/
http://www.nutshellhifi.com/Ariel.html
http://www.nutshellhifi.com/library/speaker-design1.html

http://www.scrounge.org/speak/speak.htm

http://www.parts-express.com/speaker-building.cfm
http://www.speakerworks.com/

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-31-2012, 03:39 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?

Oh yes.....
And you don't have to be sane (http://mark.rehorst.com/ESLs/index.html)

Paul Pless
01-31-2012, 03:48 PM
So you see, there was a Craigslist curb alert locally to me this morning for a pair of Carver Amps. So with dreams of sugarplum fairies . . .

http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=48259&stc=1&d=1271756605

Blowtorch
01-31-2012, 03:50 PM
Thats hot

Robert Meyer
01-31-2012, 05:12 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?

Yes - In the 50s-60s- people would build their own speakers, amps and tuners. Kits were economical and sounded as good as the very high end commercial units.
In 1959 my father and I built a stereo system with Heathkit electronics and ElectroVoice speaker cabinets from plans they sold. Of course you needed to purchase their speakers to put into the speakers. The speakers we built were folded horns names The Marquise and Aristocrat. Here is a link to the plans for D_I_Yers.

http://archives.telex.com/archives/EV/Speakers/DIY Manuals/Marquis DIY Manual.pdf

If you have a corner to place one the the pairs then build the Aristocrat EV speaker

http://archives.telex.com/archives/EV/Speakers/EDS/Aristocrat, I, II, & III EDS.pd.pdf
(note this PDF seems to take forever to load but is worth it.)

The Marquise does not include the exact dimensions for the cabinet - but it was the same frontal size as the Aristocrat and about 3/4th the depth.


Of course - unless you use top quality speakers they will sound cheap. I put together my system from my paper route earnings. It sounded so .........sweet. Better than most really expensive units today.

pipefitter
01-31-2012, 09:15 PM
After unsuccessfully trying to find guts for my older analog system, I rebuilt my BSR's. I took the 15's and had them rebuilt by a speaker exchange place and they never were the same, so I ordered new coils, dust caps and surrounds and shims for those as well. They now sound brand new.

The closest I found with close to the same response ranges were Cerwin Vega but when I emailed CV, they couldn't guarantee they would offer the sound quality without their cabinets. I have a set of older Fisher and a set of Ultralinear that I intend to rebuild next. I rebuilt the 8 BSR drivers for around 60 dollars and two evenings on a weekend.

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l309/tigmaster/img_0995Modified.jpg

Mrleft8
01-31-2012, 09:52 PM
Yes.
It's really not rocket science, despite what the audio engineers would have you believe.

oldsub86
01-31-2012, 10:12 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?


I like these.


http://www.passdiy.com/pdf/KleinHorn.pdf

Randy

Lew Barrett
01-31-2012, 11:17 PM
I like the link to Doug's ESLs. Building ESL elements from scratch, now there's a guy going for it. Very English. Doug, I see that Quad is now building speakers in boxes for people to buy for less than 10% of what an ESL63 went for.

American suppliers no longer have premium drivers listed in their catalogs. Not that they aren't making them, but the catalogs no longer list the really high end drivers for development at home. Speakerlab's stuff was always drawn from suppliers like CTS Pyle or O.E.M.s known only to them. They are not of the quality that characterize the very best efforts, which isn't to say they won't work and be a lot of fun for most people. Maybe they have changed their MO in the last few years after they went TU and reopened.

As a range, the best integrated components on the market are probably from Dynaudio these days, as their transducers are excellent and they are into kitting them out. I haven't checked them recently but they are/were one of the last in this country (they are Danish, actually) supplying recognized well engineered and integrated packages for people who want matched component sets of decent quality. The typical Vifa tweeter of the home builder is certainly fun to play with but they are $10 parts.
Frequently people believe that what sounds good is a matter of taste, but accuracy is not really subject to taste as it has been measurable in a very finite way for well over a decade now, maybe more like 20 years by anybody willing to spend a few bucks for the software and a decent microphone of known response. The FFT based devices and double blind testing allow serious people to achieve results that are measurably correct, but it is difficult to prove that this is necessary to people who believe that taste rather than science rules the game.

One decides for oneself if the issue is one of technology or the evidence of one's own ears, but I think most peoples' ears are unreliable comparative instruments. Sound reproduction may not be rocket science, but it is science, a science that has advanced considerably in the last 100 years. The best new equipment sounds and performs to a high standard, just like the best new motorbikes, cars and imaging equipment does. I'm not saying the old stuff isn't fun and collectible and sometimes (in the case of the very best Class A tube equipment) really enjoyable to listen to, but.......

Garret
01-31-2012, 11:18 PM
Check tube prices paul and get back to me. :)

It's not just prices, it's quality. I sold my classic McIntosh amps (much like the Carvers) about 10-15 years ago because I had so much trouble finding decent tubes.

Anyway - great find Paul! Now you need to find some AR3 speakers & a Marantz pre-amp to go with 'em!

Paul Pless
02-01-2012, 02:34 AM
Anyway - great find Paul! Now you need to find some AR3 speakers & a Marantz pre-amp to go with 'em!


Alas, there wasn't really a $20,000 set of amps sitting in the muck on the side of the road when I got there. . .

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-01-2012, 03:16 AM
Alas, there wasn't really a $20,000 set of amps sitting in the muck on the side of the road when I got there. . .

Buy yourself a slab of granite countertop, six small and eight large (Matching) glass-enveloped valves and some 12 volt transformers of the type used for halogen lighting and some gold "Letraset" in a font of your choice.

Pick a pleasing symetrical arrangement which gives two groups of four large valves and two groups of three small valves.
Drill the granite to accept the valves - making the pins available on the underside.

Hook up the heaters, in pairs or with the series connection option if you have ECC83 (12ax7) - to the lighting txfmr(s).

Letter up the top surface with "Williamson Tribute - 44th Anniversary" - stand the whole plot atop a Yamaha receiver - and lie back in the warm glow of a project complete.

If you need one, I could sell you a special low-conductivity duster - used for maintaining the appearance of you new toy in tip-top condition.

BrianW
02-01-2012, 06:37 AM
Is this for the bathroom project?

Bob Adams
02-01-2012, 07:53 AM
Check tube prices paul and get back to me.


Yeah but EMP protection=priceless!;)

Lewisboater
02-01-2012, 12:58 PM
I gave up on the good stuff when my Carver (Amp, Preamp, Tuner, Program route expander)/Klipsch (Fortes and KG4s)/Denon(turntable)/Pioneer(Dual tape deck)/Akai(CD)/ Unremembered brand Equalizer, $12,000 system got jacked while it was in storage while I was overseas. Picked up most of the stuff while I was in Italy. That system could punch out 105 db crystal clear at 4 on the volume. In The Air Tonight would make CDs float unless I put the player on foam to absorb the punch...I miss that bit of kit.

Tall Boy
02-01-2012, 01:40 PM
Never needed to, I got one of these

http://pic4.audiogon.com/i/c/f/1251206037.jpg

Lew Barrett
02-01-2012, 06:02 PM
I worked for JBL under contract for 31 years, but only the hi-fi side for two, rest of it being the pro end. Paragons are of course the Holy Grail of vintage JBL, easily driven by any real 20 watt amplifier and designed when that was pretty much what there was. MC30s would be the classic pairing.

PhaseLockedLoop
02-02-2012, 10:59 AM
The same is true of tube amps for guitars: the distortion produces by overdriving a 12AX7 or similar tube is a pleasing sound, but you don't need the tube to get it.

No kidding? A solid-state amp with DSP can sound like, say, an overdriven Fender Twin? I know there are amp-modeling gizmos around. I've always read that the non-harmonic distortion from solid state amps sounds harsh. I'm not exactly up with the times....

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-02-2012, 11:51 AM
No kidding? A solid-state amp with DSP can sound like, say, an overdriven Fender Twin? I know there are amp-modeling gizmos around. ........

No kidding - this has been the case commercially for about ten years - go play with some Line6 or Behringer products.

Thirty some years ago getting the singing sound of an overdriven Marshall meant deafening sound levels - now the same tones are available in hand-portable packages for beer money, and without the same risk of hearing damage.


But if you want a really big surprise - try a variax.

Tall Boy
02-02-2012, 12:56 PM
I worked for JBL under contract for 31 years, but only the hi-fi side for two, rest of it being the pro end. Paragons are of course the Holy Grail of vintage JBL, easily driven by any real 20 watt amplifier and designed when that was pretty much what there was. MC30s would be the classic pairing.

I drove it with a little more than 20 watts per side. I picked it up in 74 after all the speakers and drivers were replaced, My power amps were a pair of Pro series JBL 200 watt rack mounts, McIntosh handled the preamp side with an MXR 3rd octave equalizer, I first fired it up with a brand new B&O cartridge and Virgil Fox playing heavy organ at Carnegie Hall album, Iíll never forget the hair on the back of my neck standing up when I cranked it. I still have it.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-02-2012, 01:30 PM
Do you remember back in the day when people would build their own home stereo speakers?

Does anybody still do this?

http://www.44bx.com/tannoy/grf.html << And may the lord have mercy on your soul.

BTW. A cat asleep in the open front version makes a mess of the bass - but that is nothing compared to what a climbing cat can do to an ESL63.


Just for fun - Name this without google
http://www.classiquesounds.co.uk/Images/transcriptor_lrg.jpg

Paul Pless
02-02-2012, 01:36 PM
Just for fun - Name this without google
http://www.classiquesounds.co.uk/Images/transcriptor_lrg.jpg

Its a turntable. A bit before 'my time'. ;)

Paul Pless
02-02-2012, 01:42 PM
I keep forgetting that you're still wet behind the years... so you never knew the joys of spending good money for an album, then letting it degrade over time as dust and scratches befouled it.. and then buying the SAME damn album again because you just couldn't stand the surface noise :)As it turns out a very similar sequence of events occurs with compact discs. . .

Bob Adams
02-02-2012, 01:48 PM
I keep forgetting that you're still wet behind the years... so you never knew the joys of spending good money for an album, then letting it degrade over time as dust and scratches befouled it.. and then buying the SAME damn album again because you just couldn't stand the surface noise :)

I always bought an album, transfered it to reel to reel and then put the record in storage.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-02-2012, 01:55 PM
I keep forgetting that you're still wet behind the years... so you never knew the joys of spending good money for an album, then letting it degrade over time as dust and scratches befouled it.. and then buying the SAME damn album again because you just couldn't stand the surface noise :)

There are some albums I've bought five times - in three different formats - and I've yet to pay for an MP3.

Paul Pless
02-02-2012, 01:55 PM
Only for the exceptionally slovenly. You sound like my wife. . .

Tall Boy
02-02-2012, 02:04 PM
http://www.44bx.com/tannoy/grf.html << And may the lord have mercy on your soul.

BTW. A cat asleep in the open front version makes a mess of the bass - but that is nothing compared to what a climbing cat can do to an ESL63.


Just for fun - Name this without google
http://www.classiquesounds.co.uk/Images/transcriptor_lrg.jpg

Transrotor AC.......name this one

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQFnT38OX9hp8FZDxssQpx_ROovwoA6L RB4tv6Q5ZrxAuZbXVRh

Tall Boy
02-02-2012, 02:25 PM
Hmmm... I think I'll call it 'silly' :)

Yep, I think Transrotor was the company that promted the phrase "curing a problem that don't exist" Their history is interesting though and they have models that make the ones listed here look....ah.......rather plain.

http://www.higherfi.com/ttlist/transrotor_Artus.jpg

Nicholas Carey
02-02-2012, 02:30 PM
http://www.44bx.com/tannoy/grf.html << And may the lord have mercy on your soul.

BTW. A cat asleep in the open front version makes a mess of the bass - but that is nothing compared to what a climbing cat can do to an ESL63.

Ahhh...the old folded-horn.

Roll-your own Klipschorn plans here:

http://www.audiovoice-acoustics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=330

With step-by-step "directions", auf deutsche:

http://www.pirkensee.de/Downloads/Klipsch Horn.pdf

I second P.I. Stazzer-Newt's blessing. A giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Paul Klipsch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_W_Klipsch) was a sick, sick man.

[found this at http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=153429]
Here's somebody's folded horn build using a 6-inch Fostex driver, built to Fostex plans (on the site): http://www.cognitivevent.com/av_fe166esr.html. Looks like one speaker will eat three sheets of 4x8x3/4 inch plywood. That's one heavy box.

http://www.cognitivevent.com/images/blh_horn_sunlight.jpg http://www.cognitivevent.com/images/blh_horn_tall.jpg

ahp
02-02-2012, 02:34 PM
Yep, I think Transrotor was the company that promted the phrase "curing a problem that don't exist" Their history is interesting though and they have models that make the ones listed here look....ah.......rather plain.

http://www.higherfi.com/ttlist/transrotor_Artus.jpg

Paul, I go back to monaural. I built a Karlson inclosure for a 15 inch coax speaker using plans from Radio and TV New magazine. I put a 12 inch in it and worked fine. It was powered by a 20 watt vacuum tube amp I built from a Heathkit.

Not too many years ago I gave it all to a post doc from Azerbaijan who loved vacuum tube stuff.

John Meachen
02-02-2012, 05:01 PM
Excellent thread.Given the considerable knowledge already displayed,could somebody explain the benefits of any changes to the design or construction of household speaker enclosures in the last twenty years.Have the internal components gained or lost mass?Are the materials used for the cabinets different?I have no plans to go shopping for loudspeakers as my current thirty odd year old Wharfedales still seem to work,just curious and there are contributors who have a lot of knowledge about the topic.

Paul Pless
02-02-2012, 05:04 PM
I'd like to know why speaker enclosures should be filled with fiberglass insulation?

Lew Barrett
02-02-2012, 06:44 PM
Excellent thread.Given the considerable knowledge already displayed,could somebody explain the benefits of any changes to the design or construction of household speaker enclosures in the last twenty years.Have the internal components gained or lost mass?Are the materials used for the cabinets different?I have no plans to go shopping for loudspeakers as my current thirty odd year old Wharfedales still seem to work,just curious and there are contributors who have a lot of knowledge about the topic.

I can try. The biggest differences may well be the utilization of one or another form of finite element analysis, wherein resonances of the boxes are measured and accounted for in the structure of the enclosure. You don't need to spend a fortune today to buy a box that has been so designed. As far as boxes go, that's probably the big one. People have used all sorts of composites, plastics, roto molded boxes at al, but that represents material trends which have been at play for many years. Other design features of typical box speakers and transducers include in no particular order:
1. Dual coil windings (already mentioned by Norman)
2. The use of waveguides in many designs.....waveguides, not horns.
3. A switch to self-powered sub woofers (and in some cases, self powered speakers) which suggests active bi and tri amplification in rather smaller scale than was heretofore generally practiced. . This is not new of itself, but is visible in a decreased general cost of amplification channels and increased use of digital processing.
4. Increased interest in time-alignment and phase accuracy (again not so much new as more generally practiced at a lower price).

None of what I mentioned is new technology per se, but represents the differences in application between what you might have gotten in a Wharfdale thirty or forty years ago and what you might get in a $400 stereo pair today. In small studio monitors the usual rule now is active amplification, with a line level feed direct to the speaker. That is less the case in home audio, far more universal in the studio game.

Surround sound, something that everybody thought was going to die in the "quadrophonic" era has been replaced by 5.1 and 7.1 systems for most people, and the use of chip amps rather than discrete components makes this practical for the genre, so I guss one could say that another difference is the far more common use of multiple channels.

But the real differences came with the change to digital sources, transmission schemes and recording, and that is now a 25 year on deal . With very few exceptions transducers by their nature really haven't changed dramatically in all these years due to the nature of the transition of a signal from electrical to acoustic energy, an analog proposition still. Materials changes and resonance/ time/response/phase inter-relations are much better measured and understood today, and that is where most improvements are drawn from.

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 09:31 AM
Excellent thread.Given the considerable knowledge already displayed,could somebody explain the benefits of any changes to the design or construction of household speaker enclosures in the last twenty years.Have the internal components gained or lost mass?Are the materials used for the cabinets different?I have no plans to go shopping for loudspeakers as my current thirty odd year old Wharfedales still seem to work,just curious and there are contributors who have a lot of knowledge about the topic.

Iím afraid technology has passed me by somewhat, I am a recovering audiophile. That said, a piccolo is a piccolo and a bass drum is a bass drum, getting the sound from the instrument to the recording medium to the speaker is where the strides have been made, the speakers themselves are pretty much the same. Other than some improvements on the preamp side, my system is still the same and sounds better than most. In a lot of cases the listening area is never considered. I had a friend that spent a ton of money on top of the line equipment, then set it up in a room that had the same acoustic signature as an empty bean can and he couldnít understand why it sounded like the inside of a bean can. I helped him tune up the room and now heís hopelessly possessed, honestly, I caught him mumbling something about his coffee table screwing with the middle high rangeÖ..itís a sickness with no known cure.

Garret
02-03-2012, 09:44 AM
it’s a sickness with no known cure.

You mean like old wood boats? |:)

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 10:00 AM
You mean like old wood boats? |:)

Yeh, that's another monkey on my back I'm trying to starve............

Garret
02-03-2012, 10:21 AM
Very similar, I think. In both cases, the appeal is largely subjective, NOT objective... it's far more 'art', or 'craft', than 'science'. What's the difference between the endless debates about which wood is superior for a given application on a wooden boat.... versus the endless arguments about whether German vacuum tubes are inferior to Russian-made ones? :)

Probably true for any hobby/avocation/interest that involves gear. Scuba divers will go over every little thing ad nauseum. Model railroaders, car fanatics (ever hear a 1 hour debate on Holley vs. Rochester;)), the list goes on....

Paul Pless
02-03-2012, 10:35 AM
(ever hear a 1 hour debate on Holley vs. Rochester;))

Quadrajunk!

Garret
02-03-2012, 10:36 AM
Quadrajunk!

See what I mean??????????? :arg

cs
02-03-2012, 10:56 AM
Why would I want to build my own? I have a pair of Bose 901's driven by a matched set of Carver Amps. To me it doesn't get much better. However I need to put the power amp in the shop and fix the left channel.

Chad

Paul Pless
02-03-2012, 11:21 AM
http://www.cognitivevent.com/images/blh_horn_sunlight.jpg http://www.cognitivevent.com/images/blh_horn_tall.jpg

Pretty amazing speaker box

Garret
02-03-2012, 11:26 AM
Even more amazing: the mathematics behind calculating the size and shape of the labyrinth. I'm impressed.

However, I'd offer one caveat: I'd bet that, in a true double blind test, the distinction in sound wouldn't match the difference in complexity, with a far simpler enclosure.

But would that be as much fun?

cs
02-03-2012, 11:32 AM
What is fun is cranking it up to about 7 (windows are real danger above that) and rocking out to a pure sound that will make you believe that you are in a concert hall. I'm not sure if I could achieve the same quality of sound that the 901's deliver if I built my own.

Chad

Paul Pless
02-03-2012, 11:37 AM
However, I'd offer one caveat: I'd bet that, in a true double blind test, the distinction in sound wouldn't match the difference in complexity, with a far simpler enclosure.

See my apolitical signature line. :d

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 11:45 AM
Even more amazing: the mathematics behind calculating the size and shape of the labyrinth. I'm impressed.

However, I'd offer one caveat: I'd bet that, in a true double blind test, the distinction in sound wouldn't match the difference in complexity, with a far simpler enclosure.

I think your right, your not going to move much air with that size speaker, but it is cool. I build a pair of 15" folded horns way back when, I rounded off all the corners for a smother flow and a better low end, they didn't last past the disco era....................I was up to 500 watts a side then.

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 11:53 AM
What is fun is cranking it up to about 7 Chad

The fun was finding out when the cops showed up, how far down the street the guy that called them was. the best was a block and a half.

TomF
02-03-2012, 11:54 AM
I'm interested, Norm. In the last year or so, I've started playing blues harmonica. For the times that i want to go electric and have that "Chicago blues" sound, I'm using a cheap little guitar amp we had lying around, running the signal from my mic through a decent effects box ... which we also had lying around. It sounds pretty decent, but I dunno if working with the "real thing" might not be that much better again. Not having the "real thing" lying around for comparison.

The Holy Grail-like "Chicago sound" is the result of horrible distortion and overdriving of the cheapest equipment around in the '40s - which is what the players could afford. High volume through small speakers and overdriven tubes ... often either from scavenged PA systems, or bass (!) guitar amps.

There are a variety of astonishingly "spendy" ways to get that sound - but what I'm hearing from folks here is that (fairly cheap) modern technology really is the way to go. Cachet and bragging rights aside, the arguments that tubes etc. are the only real choice are now bogus, though building a new-vintage amp might be a fun project.

From where you audio-knowledgeable guys sit, how could I get the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of amplified, distorted harmonica sound ... if I'm willing to do a bit of building myself to get it?

PhaseLockedLoop
02-03-2012, 12:12 PM
No kidding - this has been the case commercially for about ten years - go play with some Line6 or Behringer products.

OK, maybe you can clarify something for me. I can understand a modeling amplifier housed in a speaker cabinet, and I can understand a Variax, which is modeling a guitar rather than an amp. I can understand using a POD or a V-amp for recording. What I don't understand is the use of PODs or V-amps in live performance. Suppose you set your V-Amp to model a Fender Twin and then plug it into your AC-15. Or you model an EH-185 and plug it into your JTM-45 Mk II. How the hell does that work? Your physical amp's speakers and cabinet are then superimposed on the POD output. Or are you intended to plug the POD output to a "clean" amp and speakers, maybe a PA system? [/quote]


Thirty some years ago getting the singing sound of an overdriven Marshall meant deafening sound levels - now the same tones are available in hand-portable packages for beer money, and without the same risk of hearing damage.

This probably works OK in many cases. It probably wouldn't work in re-creating a live performance of the Amboy Dukes. Indoors, at a place like the Grande Ballroom, their wall of ten or fifteen Fender Twin Reverbs cranked up to 9+ didn't exactly emit a sound. Instead the pressure levels set your spine vibrating in various harmonics while you suffered a piercing pain somewhere around your head. Those guys either had epoxy-sealed ears, or they never heard much at all. It probably explains why you see photos of Ted Nugent firing his beloved 44 Mag without hearing protection--why bother when you can't hear? Anyway, no low-pressure outfit can hope (if that's the word) to replicate that.

Speaking of modeling, does anyone remember the KLH model 11? I had one of those in 1962, and it was terrific. It was a portable record-changer, amplifier and speakers that clipped together in a little suitcase. All pre-existing "hi-fi stereo" rumpus-room outfits sounded OK for the car-radio produced rock-n-roll of the time, but were unacceptable for Bartok and string quartets. The Model 11, though, was miraculous. Audiophiles were annoyed at the inexpert praise heaped upon a unit that didn't even emit a orange glow in a dark room, and when they ripped out the speakers and the changer and tested the amp, they published the jagged frequency response graph in their magazines, and when they hooked up a speaker to an orange-glowing studio amp and stuck an expensive microphone in front of it, the frequency response was also horrible. Hook the items back together again and, admittedly, the unit may seem to sound good to the uninitiated, but that didn't fool the audiophiles, many of whom, besotted with the separate-component style of the day, actually insisted that what seemed like marvelous sound was merely "subjective." It was all too meretricious to bear. A bit later they determined that KLH had deliberately buggered their amplifier to compensate for the deficiencies of their speakers. It was, they said, just a trick, and not the road forward.

An early example of modeling, I'd say: KLH modeled a high-quality, transparent system. I'm sorry I sold mine.

A KLH speaker that did stand on its own was the Model 9. I couldn't afford one, but tried to hang around those who could.

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 12:22 PM
The KLH 11 was standard issue equipment at any school AV dept at the time. I worked in the AV dept. while in high school, they had 8 of them on a shelf.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-03-2012, 01:19 PM
OK, maybe you can clarify something for me. I can understand a modeling amplifier housed in a speaker cabinet, and I can understand a Variax, which is modeling a guitar rather than an amp. I can understand using a POD or a V-amp for recording. What I don't understand is the use of PODs or V-amps in live performance. Suppose you set your V-Amp to model a Fender Twin and then plug it into your AC-15. Or you model an EH-185 and plug it into your JTM-45 Mk II. How the hell does that work? Your physical amp's speakers and cabinet are then superimposed on the POD output. Or are you intended to plug the POD output to a "clean" amp and speakers, maybe a PA system?


You got it

Variax -> modelled Amp -> Modelled spkr -> PA (or recording suite)

If you want the effect of a wall of marshalls - then Jim will happily sell you a shed load of empty cabs and heads.

The guitar player - who by now values his hearing - has a pair of custom moulded skin-coloured ear-pieces - fed from his own private foldback mix.


The drummer is probably deaf.

There is now nothing like the visceral combination of a 130dB rock band and a genuine sprung floor - we may never see its like again.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-03-2012, 01:40 PM
The Holy Grail-like "Chicago sound" is the result of horrible distortion and overdriving of the cheapest equipment around in the '40s - which is what the players could afford. High volume through small speakers and overdriven tubes ... often either from scavenged PA systems, or bass (!) guitar amps.

There are a variety of astonishingly "spendy" ways to get that sound - but what I'm hearing from folks here is that (fairly cheap) modern technology really is the way to go. Cachet and bragging rights aside, the arguments that tubes etc. are the only real choice are now bogus, though building a new-vintage amp might be a fun project.

From where you audio-knowledgeable guys sit, how could I get the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of amplified, distorted harmonica sound ... if I'm willing to do a bit of building myself to get it?

I'm not a harmonica player - nor do I play one on TV.

But there are a set of useful questions:

How loud do you need?
Do you have access to a PA?
Is there a good electric guitar shop in town
Do you know anyone who has been playing electric guitar for over fifteen years.

The Line6 POD mentioned above and the Behringer V-amp - both offer flexible modelling - cheaper still are the guitar multi-effect units (I have an ancient ZOOM 505 probably not worth $5 on ebay- but still a hoot) but these are all at line level (or will drive headphones for practice) - after that you'd need either your own clean amp or to plug the output into the group's PA.....

TomF
02-03-2012, 02:00 PM
Very hard to say, Tom... I know absolutely nothing about amplified harmonica... but I'm willing to bet that 1) the microphone is the primary key, and 2) there's a forum somewhere on the net devoted to amplified harmonica blues, and the technology that goes with it!...Oh, absolutely - I've found a few such places, and the arguments are precisely what you'd expect. :D
Some purists, who'll only play through vintage high impedance microphones (Astatic JT30 or Shure 520 in their myriad variations), and all-tube class A amps. Infinite are the arguments over mic elements and wiring even here.
Some purer purists who'll only use small amps like early Fender Champs ... and will mike the amp to run through the overall PA system in a gig, if more volume's needed. And pure purists who'll only use bigger amps (e.g. built around '59 Fender Bassman etc). Infinite are the arguments about which tubes and wiring circuits are actually best, whether or not to add analog reverb, whether or not to have and use a line-out jack - either to plug into another stand-alone amp or into a PA system. And of course, multitudinous arguments about which sizes of speaker (and which aftermarket replacement speakers) etc. etc.
Some "sound is all that matters" guys, who'll strip/rebuild/hotrod flea-market tube amps; other "sound is all that matters" guys who'll (for an incredible price) build you their version of the "ultimate" tube amp and/or high impedance mic using high-end new components.
Some other "sound is all that matters" guys who'll opt only for modelling, run through the cleanest possible amp/speakers they can find.

And on it goes. :D

The sheer virtuosity of the discussion ... and the bullshyte quotient that various here have said applies in audio talk ... is what made me ask the question here. I'm sure if I opened my wallet I could get a sound I'd like from any of the various options, but I don't know enough to know what gives the best value for money, using the 80/20 rule.

TomF
02-03-2012, 02:06 PM
I'm not a harmonica player - nor do I play one on TV.

But there are a set of useful questions:

How loud do you need?
Do you have access to a PA?
Is there a good electric guitar shop in town
Do you know anyone who has been playing electric guitar for over fifteen years.

The Line6 POD mentioned above and the Behringer V-amp - both offer flexible modelling - cheaper still are the guitar multi-effect units (I have an ancient ZOOM 505 probably not worth $5 on ebay- but still a hoot) but these are all at line level (or will drive headphones for practice) - after that you'd need either your own clean amp or to plug the output into the group's PA.....Not terribly loud - like, a 20 watt or less system would be fine. I play with 2 guitars, drums and bass ... but the venue's not ear-splitting. While currently I can't connect into the existing horrible PA, it will soon be replaced with one with more capacity. At that point, a line-out from my amp would be very useful.

There is a decent electric guitar shop in town, and both of the guitarists in our group likely have old equipment I could scavenge ... though from what I can make out, an old bass amp sometimes has circuits/tubes better suited to harmonica than a guitar amp. Often giving less feedback, for reasons which I'm not educated enough to understand.

TomF
02-03-2012, 02:36 PM
Yup, the BS in ANY intensive hobby is bound to be thick as molasses.

My hunch (and it's nothing but a hunch) is that most of it is in the microphone... for harmonica, that is. If you start there, then the next step would be an effects box, so you could add some compression and distortion. Beyond that, it gets more expensive. It's like the old joke about the kid lusting after some hot car; he asks the salesman "How much does it cost?", and the salesman replies "How fast do you want to go?"Thanks - that's helpful. And I've got a middle-of-the-road effects box now that I swiped from my son, so at least that's one step up. Prolly my first purchase should be a different microphone.

Your earlier comment about the speakers lines up with some of what I've read. Folks suggest that if an amp's sounding lacklustre, replace the speaker with new Kendrick or Mojotone ones, and replace the tubes (if it's a tube amp) before turfing it.

The consensus, such as it is, is that a tube amp is really what harp players should use. With a tube rectifier (some prefer a 5Y3, whatever that is), 6V6 or 6L6 power output tubes, and one or 2 12AX7 pre-amp tubes ... more pre-amp than this can be good for guitars, but gives too much feedback for harmonicas. And run these through as many 6", 8" or 10" speakers (not 12") as your power output tube configuration will support. Some say an over-sized output transformer fattens the sound, and many advise running a bit of analog delay - often based around another 12AX7 tube.

Understand though, that pretty much the whole paragraph I just typed is greek to me. I wouldn't know a pre-amp or rectifier .. to say nothing of a 12AX7 tube .. if it bit me. I was about to start to learn what that language actually means .... but this thread has made me wonder if it's unnecessarily esoteric. If instead, I don't really need to learn about tube amps, but about modeling chips.

Tall Boy
02-03-2012, 02:36 PM
There is a decent electric guitar shop in town, and both of the guitarists in our group likely have old equipment I could scavenge ... though from what I can make out, an old bass amp sometimes has circuits/tubes better suited to harmonica than a guitar amp. Often giving less feedback, for reasons which I'm not educated enough to understand.

Looks like a new hobby in the making, tweaking sound is half the fun.....................

Garret
02-03-2012, 05:36 PM
Way back in 1976-68, when I was in high school

You went to high school for -8 years? Cool.



I remember the night we went to see John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers....

Going to see John Mayall in a couple of weeks! No idea what he has for a band these days though. Prolly not Peter, or Mick Taylor. Maybe Clapton again? ;)

You're right about the first BS&T album. Shades of Super Sessions..... I also loved the Blues Project.

Thanks for the thread drift, now back to the thread which is still in progress!

Nicholas Carey
02-03-2012, 06:37 PM
I'm interested, Norm. In the last year or so, I've started playing blues harmonica. For the times that i want to go electric and have that "Chicago blues" sound, I'm using a cheap little guitar amp we had lying around, running the signal from my mic through a decent effects box ... which we also had lying around. It sounds pretty decent, but I dunno if working with the "real thing" might not be that much better again. Not having the "real thing" lying around for comparison.

The Holy Grail-like "Chicago sound" is the result of horrible distortion and overdriving of the cheapest equipment around in the '40s - which is what the players could afford. High volume through small speakers and overdriven tubes ... often either from scavenged PA systems, or bass (!) guitar amps.

There are a variety of astonishingly "spendy" ways to get that sound - but what I'm hearing from folks here is that (fairly cheap) modern technology really is the way to go. Cachet and bragging rights aside, the arguments that tubes etc. are the only real choice are now bogus, though building a new-vintage amp might be a fun project.

From where you audio-knowledgeable guys sit, how could I get the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of amplified, distorted harmonica sound ... if I'm willing to do a bit of building myself to get it?

For that "Chicago" sound, you can't go wrong with an $80 Pignose portable amp (battery powered, if you'd like!). For the price, they are pretty amazing little boxes. 5 watts is the smallest model (runs on AA batteries). Then you move up to the 20 watt model ($150) and the 30 watt model ($180). The 2 larger models have rechargable internal lead-acid batteries.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av5-n2hsKR4

Here's another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF5WI5-s2rw&amp;feature=related

http://www.pignoseamps.com/?disp=master&subcat=portamps
http://www.pignoseamps.com/images/product/7100_xlg.jpg

Paul Pless
02-04-2012, 08:43 AM
PISN, you've really screwed me up with the mention of ESL. . .

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-04-2012, 08:55 AM
Do Not - unless you have the purchase price burning a hole in your pocket and a room at least 23' x 14' - listen to a set of 63s.

Lew Barrett
02-04-2012, 12:15 PM
How we got from building your own to ESL63s could be made into an interesting tale by someone with some imagination and a bit of spare time.

I'll bet you can hear the difference between those and a box made from $22.00 worth of parts!

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-04-2012, 12:40 PM
How we got from building your own to ESL63s could be made into an interesting tale by someone with some imagination and a bit of spare time.

I'll bet you can hear the difference between those and a box made from $22.00 worth of parts!

We just have to get Norman to design the delay lines and Kitty to give Poo permission to play with 5KV sources.
- indoors.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-04-2012, 02:07 PM
You could do the delay lines at low voltage - hell, with very little imagination that could be done digitally - tri-amped, active, pseudo point source electrostatics.

Safer than the traditional mix of beer and chain-saw.

Lew Barrett
02-04-2012, 02:49 PM
Well Paul? Do what I always do. Defer any decision!

You can get all the digital loudspeaker management you could possibly need for $399, maybe half that when Behringer knocks it off! (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DriveRackPX/)

This one's optimized for live sound, but we can search the used market for it's bigger brother and maybe pay less!

ESLs usually run full range; get the Quads and don't bother with the rest! It's only money!

Nicholas Carey
02-05-2012, 12:01 AM
Audio Gloat!

Stopped at a garage sale in Ballard 'round noonish today. Picked up a virtually new Klipsch Promedia 2.1 system...for $15, about 10% of the street price. Dolby THX-certified, self-powered, 2 x 35-watt plus a 130-watt subwoofer. Adjustable crossover for the subwoofer.

Ostensibly the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 are "computer speakers". Wants a line-level input, like a headphone source via a 3.5mm miniplug.

Only thing missing is the cables that run from the subwoofer to the satellite speakers, male mono mini-plug to male pin connectors. Went to Radio Shack to get the stuff I needed, connectors and cable (somebody tell me why Radio Shack doesn't stock 18/2 or 16/2 shielded cable? Sheesh!)

Only got 2 mini-plugs, and, naturellement, effed up one of them whilst soldering it...Grrrr.

No matter, I'll build the other cable tomorrow. Got it up and running anyway just to test drive things, playing stuff off my wife's MacBook via her headphone jack &mdash; no idea how how much Apple invests i that corner of the laptop &mdash; but still...even with just one channel, pretty amazing sound for such a simple rig. Also didn't seem to really break a sweat in rattling our windows (and the neighbors :D)

I've always liked the "Klipsch" sound. it suits the music I like. Wish I had a room big enough for a pair of K-Horns (good luck on that in your typical Seattle house :D they're highly drectional and you need some distance for them to sound good).

A slight upgrade from my wife's $19.95 'puter speakers.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-05-2012, 10:40 AM
And the poor wee EF86 gets entirely forgotten....

Valves are a barrel of laughs, and are amazingly tough beasts (electrically) - did you ever run the HT by simply recifying the 240volt mains?

But for anything remotely high quality - they're history.


That said, decent valved amps are still a load cleaner than most speakers.

PhaseLockedLoop
02-05-2012, 12:14 PM
My take is that for hi-fi use, a good transistor amp is probably as good as a good tube amp, since accuracy is what's aimed at, and distortion is so low in either. For a guitar amp, though, what's aimed at, to a point, is distortion, and the kind of distortion you want is subjective, not objective. In blind listening tests, I bet lots of people could tell the difference between a Fender Twin Reverb and a VOX. Obviously the whole notion of "modeling" various amps is based on the fact that they sound recognizably different.

This reminds me of the old bokeh controversy in photography. For years many photographers in the US shrugged off bokeh as an amusing delusion common to Japanese. For photographers of the Edward Weston school, areas of a print that were "out of focus" deserved no critical attention, let alone discrimination. They resisted the idea that areas of the photograph that didn't look like the subject might be evaluated.

Paul Pless
02-05-2012, 03:57 PM
This reminds me of the old bokeh controversy in photography. For years many photographers in the US shrugged off bokeh as an amusing delusion common to Japanese. For photographers of the Edward Weston school, areas of a print that were "out of focus" deserved no critical attention, let alone discrimination. They resisted the idea that areas of the photograph that didn't look like the subject might be evaluated.

On my wish list. . .

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gpjzPNiLLyw/TZoVMC4j0gI/AAAAAAAAANQ/ToV5_c0xcpU/s1600/Nikon+135mm+f2.0D+AF+DC-Nikkor+Lens.png

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-05-2012, 04:08 PM
That, is much harder to build than a working electrostatic.