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Re: Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 98
Date Posted: June 4, 2013, 9:40pm
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Here's a link to some of Dagogo's coverage of the show.  The photo of our room (~2/3 of the way down) is from Sunday 06/02/2013 when we had the MSB M203 monoblocks out where they should be.

http://dagogo.com/t-h-e-show-newport-2013-day-3-part-2

George

Re: Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 98
Date Posted: June 4, 2013, 1:44pm
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tailspn,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the room.  It's extremely gratifying to hear you were so impressed by the room's reproduction of acoustic tracks.

Thanks for coming to our room at the show!

George

Re: Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 98
Date Posted: June 4, 2013, 1:39pm
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TWB, here's a link to a Friday photo of the Sound Lab/MSB/Silver Audio room at enjoythemusic.com:

http://enjoythemusic.com/the_show_newport_2013/friday/page2.htm

Unfortunately the MSB M203 monoblocks were behind the speakers the first 2 days because I didn't realize there was an outlet in the left corner behind the heavy curtain.  The look was more elegant and balanced on Sunday.

I also had a SALLIE behind each speaker which may have been a tad too much damping for that room.  A bit more width in the room would have been preferable (it was 11'9" wide) but the depth of the room made for a very nice deep soundstage.  All in all I was very pleased with the sound and so were most of our guests.

Brian Walsh stopped by on Saturday and it was nice to see him.  Roger and Connie of Sound Lab shared in hosting the room all day Friday and until 2:00pm on Saturday.

George

Re: Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 18
Date Posted: June 4, 2013, 12:44pm
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If your interest is in the recreation of an acoustic event, then this was the best sound at the show. I hope it gets the press recognition it deserves.

Re: Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 39
Date Posted: June 3, 2013, 4:47pm
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Photos and comments are appearing on other sites about various rooms at T.H.E. Show, but so far I have seen nothing about the Sound Lab room. Can anyone here comment? Photos?

Sound Lab at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 Posted by: 98
Date Posted: May 26, 2013, 2:43pm
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Hi Folks,

I just wanted everyone to know Sound Lab will be represented at T.H.E. Show Newport 2013.  I (owner of Blue Skies Audio, a Sound Lab dealer in San Diego, CA) have partnered with Sound Lab and Silver Audio (cables and cords) for a demo room at the show.  We will be in The Atrium Hotel Room 303.  The demo system will consist of a pair of Sound Lab A-1PX speakers with the new Toroid II driven by MSB Technology M203 monoblocks.  Source will be MSB Platinum DAC IV with Femto 140 clock, built-in volume controls and USB2 384kHz input.  The DAC will be fed by MSB's Universal Media Transport (UMT) as well as via USB from a laptop.  Cabling/cords will be all Silver Audio: Appassionata XLR ICs, Silver Symphony MKIV speaker cables, Wattmaster amp cords and Power Burst cords for speaker bias supply and MSB power supply.

Roger West and Connie Frey from Sound Lab will be at the show Friday and Saturday and Max Kreifeldt of Silver Audio will be there Saturday.  It should be a great show.  I hope some of you will be able to join us.

Cheers,
George

preamp synergy Posted by: 36
Date Posted: May 22, 2013, 4:35am
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Now that I have my panels pretty much sorted out, I started to look for the ideal preamp for the system. There is a lot of discussion here about amplifiers, but very little about preamps. I was lucky to come upon the MBL 5011 preamp, which is a perfect match for my M1-PX's. I know that it is expensive, but it is a perfect match. My only caveat: don't use their phono stage, as it can't compete with the best outboard units.

  Rythmik 15" Subwoofer Posted by: 341
Date Posted: May 20, 2013, 9:45pm
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http://www.rythmikaudio.com/F15.html

Bought this to use with my M3s in a medium size room. Fit finish and controls are impressive for the $1000 price. This is my fifth sub, but only the second I have tried with the M3s, the other being a Quad 12" pair, made in China. For about the same price, the Rythmik is a true high end product, with servo control, and a gaggle of sophisticated settings features, lacking only the creature comforts like remote control. Like Dr. West, Rythmik's owner responds to questions.

Re: THe brilliance control Posted by: 36
Date Posted: April 29, 2013, 6:12am
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I can measure the resistance, but I thought that it would be reasonable to have a range of resistors on hand before I take the backplates apart. Another issue is that it seems that every time I put in something new (PX panels, new caps in the RC network, etc.) the sound is very bright until the new part is broken in. I seem to remember that someone suggested a selector switch with a range of resistors. What would that range be? Please advise.

Re: THe brilliance control Posted by: 27
Date Posted: April 29, 2013, 12:14am
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If you do not have a multi meter, perhaps it is best to leave it.

Re: THe brilliance control Posted by: 36
Date Posted: April 28, 2013, 11:27am
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OK: if the knob is set at 12 o'clock, what would the resistance be?

Re: THe brilliance control Posted by: 27
Date Posted: April 27, 2013, 8:02pm
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You have a $50,000 system (at the least) running through a $30 "brilliance control."

Use a 300 watt fixed resistor if you have to, but get rid of the pot.

You have not heard good highs till you do it.

THe brilliance control Posted by: 36
Date Posted: April 27, 2013, 10:49am
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I know that many members have eliminated the brilliance control, but I was wondering if it functions like the other switches for mids and bass: all the way up (like 5 o' clock) would be + 3dB, while 12 o' clock would be 0 and all the way down (7o' clock) would be -3.  I find that with the new toroids, my M-1 PX's  sound best with the brilliance control set a little before 12 0' clock. The mid switch is at 0 dB and the bass is at -3 dB.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 18
Date Posted: April 20, 2013, 7:17am
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Quoted from 60
I am surprised that SL still aims at a 500Hz, -3db point.  I would have thought that part of the reason for the new toroid was to make possible a lower crossover point. 350Hz sounds right.


I started with 20 Ohms shunting the new toroid primary, and preferred it's tonal balance in listening tests. With 36uF series capacitor, this yielded a theoretical 221Hz -3dB frequency, but the complex mixing of the LF transformer output, with the toroids masks this when measured with a microphone. But I drive these panels with 600W JC-1 amplifiers, and strong bass notes would saturate the toroid. Makes a nasty cracking sound.

I finally settled on 12 Ohms, which Roger said was about as high as you could go and still have a low enough shunt resistance to keep the toroid from saturating. I also use the yellow LF Transformer tap (-3dB). That seems to provide adequate bass in my room, while making the speakers bullet proof.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 36
Date Posted: April 19, 2013, 11:15am
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I don't know what happened to my reply. Yes, you are correct, and the 350 Hz point is more ideal. What I said in the lost post is that Dr. West commented on the possibility of putting in a switch which would alternate the brown and green wires from the toroid. What really surprises me is the exceedingly long break in period (now at 200 hrs. and still needing more time).

Re: Lew M's system Posted by: 36
Date Posted: April 18, 2013, 7:37pm
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The new toroids are a double edged sword. On one hand, there is increased efficiency, on the other hand there is  the kind of brightness that new PX panels displayed before about 200 hrs. breakin. My last correspondence with Dr. West indicated that between the brown  and green wires on the new toroid there is a lot of variety about the crossover and the strength of the high frequencies. I am using the brown wire with the old 36uF, as opposed to the 24uF. What I finally did was put back the brilliance control to before 12 0'clock to cut down on the brightness. As the system breaks in, I am turning up that control.
I would say that you have to have at least 200 hrs. on the new toroids before anything can be judged. Another unfortunate thing is that solid state amps don't really perform as well with the new setup, based on subjective listening. I was completely pleased with my Bryston monsters: now I am not sure. With the new efficiency, the choice of amps is much wider. I wish I had my two-chassis custom Moscode 600's to try on this rig. What we have gotten with the PX technology and the new toroids is a very pleasing midrange and controlled bass. I have not solved the problem of the extreme highs. Perhaps more seasoning will ameliorate the problem.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 27
Date Posted: April 18, 2013, 1:14am
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Lew they sound good now, but wait until it runs in after another 500 hours

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 60
Date Posted: April 17, 2013, 5:40pm
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Dear P-reale, Can you say just how the four 8-ohm resistors are configured?  Typically SL uses the resistors in series/parallel arrangement so as to end up with a net value (in this case) of 8 ohms.  If that is so for the new toroid, then R= 8 ohms coupled with C = 24uF would give you a higher hi-pass crossover than would 10R paired with 36uF.  Yet I think you commented the other way around. Did you misspeak, or did I misread? Thanks.

Having said that, I am surprised that SL still aims at a 500Hz, -3db point.  I would have thought that part of the reason for the new toroid was to make possible a lower crossover point. 350Hz sounds right.

Re: Lew M's system Posted by: 60
Date Posted: April 17, 2013, 5:29pm
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First, thanks to Chuck (Throwback) for the compliments. Second, Will is correct; the speakers Chuck heard are 845PXs, not A1s.  Chuck, I can understand how one might not know a PX at face value, but the 845s are gigantic enough to distinguish themselves from A1s. (Kidding.)

Chuck's plan to visit galvanized me to get my own highly modified Atma-sphere amplifiers up and running so as to be able to entertain Chuck.  I had been having a completely vexing problem with one monoblock. It was blowing output tubes, and as I have changed over from 6C33Cs to very costly and unobtainium 7241s, the problem was very expensive indeed. A total of five 7241s (replacement value around $175 each at current eBay prices) were blown before I finally think I identified and fixed the problem. (7241s are a single-section tube, but each contains 3 cathodes that are separately and internally fused. I was blowing one or more of those internal fuse wires, such that the damaged tubes now have only 2 out of 3 functioning cathodes, which proportionately reduces the current-carrying capacity of the tube as a whole.)  Anyway, I "solved" the problem (I think) literally two days before Chuck arrived.  Why these 7241s have more than doubled in value over the past year is beyond me; I cannot figure out who uses them and why, besides me.

Re: Lew M's system Posted by: 27
Date Posted: April 17, 2013, 12:25am
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PS

Chuck

I thought Lew upgraded to 845s. Are you sure it was M1 non PX?

Will

Re: Lew M's system Posted by: 27
Date Posted: April 17, 2013, 12:21am
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Hello Chuck

Good to know that you have met up with Lew and checked his system out.

From what you are saying, his backplate configuration is pretty hard to beat.

His backplate is similar to mine, and I have tried many things and I am still going with the minimalist approach without the extra resistors and caps that SL current set-up utilises.

Putting resistors and caps in circuit is a backward step in my set-up and to my ears.

What would be interesting is for either Lew or me to compare the performance of the Australian Transformer to the toroid that SL is currently supplying.

So far my correspondences with Lew seem to suggest that the sound we are getting is too good to bother with trying out the toroid. You already have both, perhaps you can try them and tell us what you reckon.

Please note that without caps and resistors in place, SL speakers may not be able to publish commercial specs on their speakers which is necessary for any commercially marketed speakers (as the backplate is not 100% stable for every type of amps).

For people wanting to try-out Lew's backplate configuration, please proceed with caution.

William


Re: Lew M's system Posted by: 208
Date Posted: April 15, 2013, 6:36pm
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Sorry, the computer ate my PS.
I meant to add that I am still thinking about removing the resistor bank from the backplate. I have a feeling they are robbing me of power and lowering the impedance seen by the amp, thus helping to roll off the highs.
Cheers.

Lew M's system Posted by: 208
Date Posted: April 15, 2013, 6:34pm
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I'll say it up front. Lew's system may be the best one I have heard.

I was in Lew's area for a high school reunion and arranged to spend Saturday morning listening to his system: non-PX A-1's, with the Australian toroid--resistors removed. Amps: 60-watt Atmas, much modded by Lew. No subwoofers. Absolutely wonderful. Very clean, with lots of texture and impact. Stunning depth and palpability. Great from sweet top to growly, solid bottom. Congratulations, Lew.

My system sounds very good, but I believe it should sound better; but it doesn't (yet!). At least Lew has shown me the potential of what I have but have not yet realized. I have M-1's (new toroid, PX) but, so far, I have had to use subs to beef up dynamics and bass. I have Atma MA-1's, but I am still experiencing a rolloff of the highs.

So here's what I am working on:
1. I sent my input tubes back to Ralph Karsten (Atma-Sphere). He tested them and found one that was shorted. It's possible this was in the circuit of the MA-1 I did my testing on (Murphy's Law). I haven't had a chance to check the amps out again yet. Maybe tomorrow.
2. Ralph suggested that even though I have new output tubes, in his experience some may have been damaged in shipping. Since the loss of a tube in OTL amps raises the output impedance, this might account for the rolloff of high frequencies I have been experiencing. I gave them the eyeball test this afternoon; a friend is coming over with his tube checker tomorrow. The tubes can pass the tube-checker test and still not be very good. Tube checkers normally do not stress tubes as much as amps do.
3. If the tubes check out OK, I (well, my metrologist friend) will run frequency response tests on both MA-1's into a dummy (resistive) load.

That's it for now. If anyone has any more ideas, please pass tham along.

BTW, both Ralph Karsten and Roger West have been absolutely super and a joy to work with. They are very responsive, forthcoming, and willing to listen.  




Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 36
Date Posted: March 28, 2013, 7:22am
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I have a little more to say about the breakin period. I don't think that the initial brightness of the setup was subtle. however, there is a definite easing up of that effect after about 100 hrs. I continue to hear an increased smoothness as the setup ages. In this rarified area where the sound is so good already, listening to recordings that have been familiar for decades will reveal a great deal. Naturally, the listener is gratified by the increased definition over the range, but any compromise in smoothness will jump out. I also found myself fiddling with the bias control after a few days of use.
ultimately, the increased efficiency will allow the user to try more different kinds of amplification.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 27
Date Posted: March 27, 2013, 10:17pm
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Good to know that there is a still a heart beat at SLOG. Hippy!!!

I have played with more transformers on the Soundlab than most, believe me!

For those who can appreciate the difference between a gold fuse and a standard one in the backplate .... maybe 300 hours of breaking in a transformer can be perceived.

Reminds me of an Audioplhile friend I had that was dead set that the latest and greatest interconnect he bought was as good as the review he read. "Oh a bit bright but it will mellow out with break-in."

3 months later I visited him and heard the exact same sound. "William, it is now broken in and don't it sound much sweeter?"

"Yes Fred, your ears has definitely broken in. All good! Let's go to the Pub."


Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 32
Date Posted: March 27, 2013, 12:42pm
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Hi p_reale,

In response to your request, here goes:  I just received my U1-PX (90-degree dispersion) backplates which were upgraded by SL to the "Consummate" level (Hot-rod version plus Toroid II).  I've listened to the speakers for under 10 hours, so this is a very preliminary assessment of the resultant sound based on recordings (LP and CD) I'm familiar with:  tighter bass response (but not necessarily deeper as of right now), greater clarity and transparency yielding more apparent detail, smoother highs, and in general, a wider and deeper soundstage (recording dependent, of course).  I agree with you that 200-300 hours would be an optimal break-in period.  It took my PX panels about one year (over 300 hours) to really shine.  

Regards,
RM

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 36
Date Posted: March 24, 2013, 5:59am
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I am curious if you tried any other amplifier with your M-1's with the new toroids. Also do you find that  the efficiency of the loudspeakers has increased markedly (I have my preamp default volume set down 13 dB). At first I found the sound to be a little brighter than before, and I rolled back the brilliance control to about the three o clock position. However, as time goes on the brightness is smoothing out.

I have to revise my estimate on the breakin period for the toroids: I would say that 200-300 hours is more likely. I would like some feedback from those other lucky owners who are playing with this mod.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 208
Date Posted: March 23, 2013, 4:29pm
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I have had my Toroid II's for a couple of months now. My previous configurations included the 24uF cap mod from William (thanks, William), then the Aussie Transformer mod with no caps or resistors, then back to the Toroid I with 10uF oil-filled caps (thanks Canada Dave). I was pretty happy with the last modded configuration. So why did I change? I heard M-1's with the Toroid II's at CES and talked at length to Roger West about the mod. He is a modest man and not pushy about his new product at all. Although the listening environment was totally different than that found in my living room, I heard enough to make me think I could do even better with the new mod than with what I had.

I am now running my M-1's with the Toroid II's in totally stock mode and it has the best sound yet in my listening room. I have zero motivation to mod further. The positive impacts on dynamics, efficiency and clarity were well worth sending my backplates back to the factory for.  I would have liked to have run the M-1s without my subwoofers, but find I still cannot. But that may be due to: 1) a matter of taste; 2) my altitude (close to 7,000'); 3) my choice of amplifier (currently, Wolcotts). Nevertheless, I am a happy guy. My listening group members are very keen on the sound I am getting now. They were not so thrilled before.

I appreciate all the advice and ideas I have received on this forum.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 36
Date Posted: March 21, 2013, 5:13am
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I am really surprised that in all this time, nobody has had anything to say about toroids II. Am I the only person out there who has a pair?
I got some interesting stuff from Dr. West about the use of 24uF vs. 36uF caps (with appropriate resistors) and the green wire vs. the brown wire in terms for response and the nature of listening rooms (dead vs. live). It seems that there is some latitude about how to set up the new transformers.

Re: New SL Toroid Posted by: 36
Date Posted: March 13, 2013, 8:34pm
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This is a very important message regarding pricing of the toroid upgrade. I received a special discount because I am a professional in the music trades. The real price for just about everybody is $2250. Please accept my apologies for unintentionally misleading anyone on this matter. My situation result of years of working with Roger West at Sound Lab and exchanging any kind of data that both of us deemed relevant. I would say one thing: the official price is worth every penny. if anyone wants any information about a DIY installation, I will help in any way that I can.

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