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Replace Speaker Surrounds

And anyone got a late 70s/early 80s RS catalogue

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Michael Gilligan14/01/2022 23:23:24
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

That looks rather stylish, Neil yes

I grabbed the Mission 760 pair because they were the right size for the current living room.

… The KefKit 3 pair that I built in the 70s take up a lot of space, and the bass goes lower than the room eigentones.

sad MichaelG.

Nicholas Farr15/01/2022 09:10:39
3418 forum posts
1592 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 14/01/2022 22:30:36:
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 13/01/2022 13:20:33:

Hi Neil, looks like good gear and the way they are stacked reminds me of days in the early to mid 70's, when going to see some of the top bands of that time, playing in our local Corn exchange, one of which was Status Que who I saw twice, their stacks of WEM speakers and 100W slave amps, on both side of the stage, were quite impressive, there were others like Hawkwind who I saw a year or so after their Silver Machine release and Wizzard, who were extremely loud but worth the attendance, but I can't remember the gear either of those used. Many of the bands used Marshall gear and some had Orange. Like your the guitars, I did have a bass guitar once as I do like a good bit of bass, but soon found out that I could never get the hang of playing it, so I sold it and bought a CB radio when they were all the rage.

Now I'm not embarking on a battle of speakers or anything, but I do have a fondness of them and here's a photo of my left hand cluster, which together with the right hand side, contain 18 speaker units in all, which are all driven with a Technics SU-3050 amp but this is not to make the loudest sound possible, although they can be deafening, but the speakers may well all cover the same frequency, but produce some different tones, or a colouration of the sound if you like, and one song I like to play fairly loud through them, because I really like the guitar work, is Tina Turner's "Better Be Good To Me" which to me brings out every aspect of the guitars sound and how it's played and I think it really feel as if I'm listening to them as a live performance.

Would make a good subject for discussion down the pub!

Hi Neil, probably would make a good subject down the pub, but I rarely go to any these days, the nearest one to me is in the next village which is over two miles away on an unlit winding country road with virtually no footpaths and I don't drink and drive and the cost of a taxi is out of the question, even during BST, it's not a road I'd want to plod along after a few beers. Much better to have a glass or two of wine and listen to some music in comfort at home.

Like your the idea of using the B&Q shelves for enclosures, but not planning on making any sort myself, I've got a mini stereo system in my garage, a fairly compact system that I inherited from an aunt in my kitchen and a Sandstorm STBTR14 rechargeable portable speaker with Bluetooth that I can use with my Walkman MP3 anywhere.

Regards Nick.

Circlip15/01/2022 11:13:42
1531 forum posts

Gilberts concrete columns ahhhh fond memories. Essential basis was a spun concrete tube but where to get them? Was totally sold on them after a demo at RSC in Bradford but years later when joining Rank Leak Wharfedale could only find trade adverts for them or a brief description in a DIY Hi-Fi comic.

World of difference between Hi-Fi and Performance speakers, home use, quality sound is paramount, "Performance" speakers, LOUD IS KING.

Regards Ian.

Neil Wyatt15/01/2022 14:16:53
19076 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

Posted by Nicholas Farr on 15/01/2022 09:10:39:

a Sandstorm STBTR14 rechargeable portable speaker with Bluetooth that I can use with my Walkman MP3 anywhere.

It's amazing how decent the sound is from these compact bluetooth speakers is! Even my computer only has 2" drivers and they sound as good as most 80s 'boom boxes', if not as loud,


Neil Wyatt15/01/2022 14:28:24
19076 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles
Posted by Circlip on 15/01/2022 11:13:42:

World of difference between Hi-Fi and Performance speakers, home use, quality sound is paramount, "Performance" speakers, LOUD IS KING.

Things are changing. These days, PA is usually both insanely loud and of exception clarity and quality.

Bass players tend to split between those who feel the speaker should (more or less) contribute to their sound, and those who go for FRFR ('full range flat response' powered monitor speakers that are definitely hifi spec or in ear monitors (IEM) and use DI boxes or emulators to get their sound.

Even those of us who use a cab will normally DI, typically post-preamp.

On the other hand, guitarists remain obsessive about how their cab/speaker combination colours their sound (they like speaker ';break up' and tend to mike up rather than use DI.

Back in the 90s we used backline for everything, no drum amplification for pub-sized gigs and very basic PA at a couple of hundred watts for vocals. Now we all turn down, mike up the kit and everything goes through 4kW of PA - even if the end result is no louder than the old days. My biggest issue when sound checking is turning down enough so the PA can determine volume.

So the loud in/out takes about twice as long now, and it's not just being older! But the sound quality, even for 'pub' bands is way beyond what we used to get.


SillyOldDuffer15/01/2022 15:08:06
8893 forum posts
1998 photos

In my youth, hi fi was a hot topic at Radio Club. Had a good mix of technically astute professionals and interested rather than expert members from all walks of life. We were all under 35. Having access to various decent speakers, amps and test kit allowed us to do a couple of experiments which convinced me that much audio loveliness is perceived rather than technically justified.

We found blindfolded listeners have difficulty identifying which pair of speakers out of five or six possible choices is providing the sound. Also that audiophiles are easily fooled into voting for speakers they disdain! For example, allowing them to glimpse the misleadingly labelled control panel whilst being blindfolded, they would believe what the switch setting said rather than what they heard.

The second experiment tested listener sensitivity to one type of distortion. A tape deck played an orchestral piece in a loop, while a second looped on an artificial concoction of noise and random tones at the same level. A hidden operator used a mixer to gradually combine the two, and randomly added more and more distortion.  About 12 of us were asked to say when we first heard distortion in a fancy pair of headphones. One audio enthusiast detected distortion before any was applied! The rest of us were less gullible. A few noticed distortion when it reached about 4%. The worst was me, who was happy all was well until more than 10% was added. The majority couldn't detect less than 6% distortion, and this group included all the audiophiles. It seems distortion doesn't reduce pleasure in music, and I like it!

Other observations:

  • No-one liked music that went straight from source to speaker through a flat response amplifier. They all adjusted the graphic equaliser. There was no common setting that everyone liked. Basically we were telling the artists, musicians and recording engineer that they were all wrong! It means personal preference matters more than purity.
  • Everyone was annoyed by low-level hum, hiss, cracks and pops.
  • We all preferred valve to transistorised amps. Transistor amp output sounded and looked OK on a scope when reproducing single tones from an oscillator, but real music had a sort of mushy quality.
  • Mush effect may have been due to early transistors being low impedance devices. I think modern high impedance amplifiers sound much better. But could that be more to do with my ageing brain and ears? Aged 12 in the science museum I could just detect a 25kHz tone. Not now! I also used to be effortlessly good at picking conversations out in noisy pubs. That skill has deserted me too. I have to concentrate really hard to get anything. Chatting in noisy places is exhausting!


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 15/01/2022 15:11:41

Mike Poole15/01/2022 15:48:01
3377 forum posts
77 photos

I would think most people who are the wrong side of 60 will have noticed a significant impairment of their hearing compared to their youth. Having been a fan of Motörhead and Ted Nugent as well as noisy motorcycles I am surprised I can still hear at all. I have mild high pitched note type tinnitus and I hunted high and low for the machinery hum but it seems to be only me that can hear it. I also find conversation in a noisy environment challenging now. I still enjoy noisy cars and bikes though.


Nicholas Farr15/01/2022 22:46:59
3418 forum posts
1592 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 15/01/2022 15:08:06:

In my youth, Cut

Other observations:

  • No-one liked music that went straight from source to speaker through a flat response amplifier. They all adjusted the graphic equaliser. There was no common setting that everyone liked. Basically we were telling the artists, musicians and recording engineer that they were all wrong! It means personal preference matters more than purity.
  • Cut

Hi, Dave, never did like graphic equalisers, bass and treble always better in my opinion, but as you say no common setting as everyone's hearing and taste is different. I did a repair on a workmate's brother's Yamaha natural sound amp once, that only had a volume control and it's sound didn't suite my taste at all, but he of course thought it was the best you could get and was over the moon when I fixed it.

Regards Nick.

John Olsen16/01/2022 06:35:44
1256 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

I wonder if the problem with the early transistor amps that SOD mentions was actually due to residual crossover distortion? Most transistor amps were class B or at best class AB, to make the most of limited power ratings. There was a lot of work done on this about 40 years ago as MOSFETS started to emerge. Wireless World around that time described a transistor class A amplifier which was claimed to give excellent results, but at relatively low power.. If a Class B or AB amplifier is not set up quite ideally, there can be a little glitch in the waveform as it crosses over from one output device to the other, and this is a particularly harsh kind of distortion.

One problem with the transistor stuff was transient intermodulation distortion, where the early stages of an amplifier can go into overload until the slower power stages catch up. The solution is to try to reduce the reliance on large amounts of negative feedback around the whole amp and instead to try to get low distortion in each stage, as well as trying to have good high frequency performance in the output stage

The way they measured transient intermodulation distortion was to apply a fairly large square wave (but not enough to clip) along with a lower level higher frequency sine wave. At the output, the sine wave would be liable to disappear for a bit after each transition of the square wave. An ordinary distortion test with a sine wave input will not show up this sort of problem.

The first place I worked was the Civil Aviation part of the local Ministry of Transport. They used to say to us trainees that 5% distortion was perfectly acceptable, and so of course I made myself unpopular by pointing out that they were applying this to every item in quite a long chain, the mike in the aircraft, the amplifier in the transmitter there, the same in the receiver on the ground, then any amplifiers needed to drive the landline to where the controller was sitting, and his amplifier and speaker. To me the end result has always sounded like Donald Duck, and I have never been able to understand what he was trying to say either. Just as well I never tried to be a pilot! Of course this sort of thing was probably a factor in the Teneriffe accident.


Michael Gilligan16/01/2022 09:44:27
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

Lots of excellent points there, John yes

I would just add, if I may, that there are two ‘generic’ advantages to valve amplifiers:

  1. The distortion comprises mostly even harmonics
  2. In overload the waveform is ‘softened’ rather than clipped.

The best-sounding transistor amplifiers are, I would suggest, the ones which best-approximate those characteristics.


Nicholas Farr16/01/2022 18:59:45
3418 forum posts
1592 photos

Hi MichaelG, I think I read something very much the same as you say about valve amp distortion, several years ago, but it was a fair while after I built my stereo valve amp that I used doing my Discos, the design was from a Babani Press No. 12 paperback and it was a design based on the "G.E.C. 912-PLUS" B.P. No 12 ( ( Chapter 3, page 23) It could be driven very loudly without any significant noticeable distortion and had a good overall sound. At the time I built it, I couldn't get a transformer with the power requirements for the HT and the valve filaments, so settled on a transformer for the HT through a semiconductor bridge rectifier with a non split phase output, and a separate transformer for the filaments. It got stood out it the garage after I was no longer doing Discos and suffered a bit of damp which got into the speaker output transformers and corroded some of the fine wire coils, had no reason to repair it by then and the wooden cabinet was also shoot by then.

Regards Nick.

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