Speaker Tweaks

1. The first thing I notice when I look at most commercial high-end speakers is the lack of diffraction control. I can't imagine designing a speaker with a tweeter and midrange that do not have felt right up to their surrounds. Even speakers with curved baffles can still benefit from felting. Sometimes when you add felt around the midrange (woofer in a two way) and tweeter the speaker actually may be slightly dull. This is because the manufacturer tuned it for the extra highs that you get when you don't properly kill all the splashing highs. Many tweeters (including the Dynaudio Esotar) have screws on the face of the tweeter that interfere and reflect extra highs that are not in time with the original signal. All this diffraction results in a smeared bright sound. Felt can be purchased very cheaply at a fabric store in many colors. You can cut it to shape and apply it with double stick cellophane tape that leaves no residue and allows very easy testing.
2. The second thing I notice is the five-way binding posts. As I said in the electronics tweaking section, these things have got to go. Please read electronic tweaks for more details.
3. The third thing I notice is the lack of driver staggering. Some speakers do stagger their drivers and some slant the baffle back to accomplish this. Most speakers do not stagger and some say it makes no difference. I have found that moving the drivers relative to each other affects the sound noticeably. If you have a relatively inexpensive speaker or are just daring like myself then you might try removing the tweeter from its hole and putting it on top of the speaker and moving it forward and backward and with some experimentation you will find the right spot. Sometimes it is where the voice coils of the speakers line up and sometimes the tweeter needs to be back a little further.
4. Remove the crossover from the speaker. Hardwire super wire to each driver and bring it out the back of the speaker and connect it directly to the x-over parts-eliminate any circuit board traces. Damp/isolate the x-over and hardwire your speaker wire from the amp to it as well. By the way spades don't sound good either. Bare wire is best.
5. Use Marigo green dots on the speaker cone and Marigo bands on the speaker frame supports. These things make the driver sound way cleaner and faster. Very "pistonic".
6. Use D-Flex material in the speaker cabinet, on the magnet of the drivers and for speaker gasket material. This gooey stuff eliminates the stuffing in the speaker and deadens the cabinet wall for WAY cleaner sound. Get Michael Percy's audio parts catalog by downloading at http://www.percyaudio.com.
7. Use the most simple x-over that will give you reasonably flat response. All parts add coloration. That is one reason Lowther speakers are so transparent. No x-over. Several speaker manufacturers have been able to use the woofer or midrange with no x-over. This is ideal, as it can give super see through sound (like a super modified electrostatic can). Our own custom made speaker uses no x-over on the midrange drivers (very clear!).
8. Try the no box thang (dipole) for the midrange drivers. No box designs are a little tricky for the bass, but a midrange cone can be mounted on an appropriate sized damped, braced and dead baffle and can sound amazingly good this way. No box sound and decay that goes on forever. A midrange driver on a baffle (without the rest of the box ) will naturally roll off the bass below about 300 hz. You can x-over your woofer at 300 Hz and have a great speaker (especially if you can use no x-over on the midrange).
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