Maggies get bass assist!


I’ve been real impressed with the Maggies, but when I played some King Crimson or other bass heavy music I can tell the difference – so – I dug out my old M&K Volkswoofer, dropped in the plate amp my friend Wilfredo kindly gave me, and brought it up to play.
Now, the Maggies are 5 ohm speakers and not real efficient – it take a bit of power to make them sing, but I’m using a vintage Carver receiver that put out 150w/ch – PLENTY of power. None-the-less, I did turn the level down on the subwoofer so it wasn’t over powering – and – its a REALLY good match.
Plus, the Volkswoofer is a gorgeous walnut box – so its nice to have it back in use!

Maggies come to stay!!


I hadn’t heard flat-panel speakers before, but I’ve heard folks speak well of them in some of the speaker forums. So when I saw a pair of American made Magneplanar MG-IIb speakers listed pretty cheaply in Craigslist, I decided I should go have a listen!
I took some Accoustic Alchemy, Aja, some Klezmer, James Taylor, and Sinatra’s “For the Lonely”. Listened for about an hour, I was completely intrigued, made an offer, and soon we were loading them into the CRV. An hour later I was setting them up in our living room, and we spent the rest of the evening listening to various Cds …
Wow. What a sense of space! Emma says its like swimming in the music – sound comes from the front and back of the panels – MUCH different than the sound-in-a-box of regular speakers …
These are older models from the mid-80s – they cut off a bit above 16k and don’t play really low notes – so I’ll probably tie in a subwoofer for low base – but – I am REALLY impressed!



My upstairs speakers are based on a mid-70s pair of JBL L200 speakers. I loved the look of the cabinets, but the sound was a bit limited. So I added 2405 slot super-tweeters and built new crossovers to make them 3 ways. A few months back I bought a pair of JBL 2397 Smith horns – they are mid-range horns, made of grey painted MDF, and designed for a 2 inch compression driver, tho I’m using them with a pair of adapters and my (cheaper) 1 inch drivers. They replace the “round” horns that are in the cabinets, hidden behind the textured foam grill. They sounded very nice but the grey industrial paint was UGLY. So, I found an audio friend who offered to make me a pair in nice wood, and I chose walnut, to match the JBL L200 Cabinets they sit on. They look great and sound WONDERFUL!


The Next step forward

I had been shopping for a better quality active crossover for a while, and a week ago, I won an Ashly XR1001 on ebay – and yesterday it arrived. took a while to swap cables around but once I power it on – well, it really was like a veil had lifted off the music!

02/23/08 - Small pix of the biamp rack in the music room
Just click the image to see a larger size version.

JBL – further evolved

02/23/08 - Current config of the music room
Just click the image to see a larger size version.

Well, I still haven’t built grills for them, but I’ve got a JBL active crossover and a pair of amps to feed them, so the woofers are very tightly controlled, standup bass sounds like it should, and the rest of the frequencies – quite nice! I need to toe them in a bit, and we really should have them further from the sidewalls, but – its what we have right now, so I guess I’ll suffer as best I can …

More big big JBL fun …

Studio Monitor fits sideways in my 2004 CRV

Ever since I got those old JBL 4320 Studio Monitors in Philly for $300 for my birthday last year, I’d added parts and collected bits and done a series of upgrades from the original 2 way design with horns, to a pair of DIY JBL 3-way studio monitors, and finally into DIY 4-way monitors. I’d found a schematic for a model 4333 (passive) crossover network, built that, and had gotten a nice improvement from all that.
I even got an electronic crossover, dual amps and biAmped them.
But, it was still a kind of hack.

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Rethinking the center

wide view of the JBL speakers

View of the JBL center speaker without the grill, showing twin 5 inch  woofers

We have these wonderful speakers at the left and right front of the TV room, but I only have a simple JBL EC25 speaker doing center channel dialog duty. Its a nice enough 2-way design – a titanium tweeter and a pair of 5 inch woofers in a very nice beech finish cabinet – and it matches the shelf system very well.

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Bad Shipping … the bane of ebay

view mounting ear poking through the side of the box!

not packed tightly with monitor foam!

View of the amp as seen when I first opened the box

View of the original foam showing how it collapsed and let amp ship all around during shipping

As part of my biamp project, I recently bought an old Crown D-75 off eBay. Seller said the Amp was in good shape, and I trust people at their word. I have bought and sold parts via eBay – I sold a pair of Triumph motorcycle forks, and a pair of JBL 4312 speakers – big heavy things, I padded and packed them tightly and they got to the buy on the west coast just fine.

When the Crown amp arrived a few weeks later, I was just amazed. Somehow the seller decided to use a box for a DELL flatscreen monitor and the original white foam for the monitor as packing material for the heavy amp. As you can see in the pictures, this didn’t fill the box and there was no extra foam/ bubblepack or anything to hold the amp in place. It must have bounced all over the place because it broke up the foam and bashed a hole in the package. Thats not UPS’s fault – its the seller’s fault for doing such a poor job of packing.

I hooked the amp up to my speakers and it works fine, but I give all the credit to Crown for making a bulletproof amp, not to this yahoo seller who apparently just used his old computer trash/packing to ship a $130 amp! Amazing!

biAmpin’ the monsters

4320s on the shelf

My old (early 70s) JBLs are big box 3 ways – 15″ woofer, 1″ horn midrange, and a slot tweeter. I’m currently running them with my aging JVC AV receiver – its a nice unit, but it doesn’t provide much headroom for the woofers. JBLs are very efficient speakers – it doesn’t take a lot of power to run tweeters or mid-range horns, but woofers are power eaters in a decent system, and big woofers are worse. You see, speakers make music by moving air, and it takes lots of power to move a big speaker cone.

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Lift them puppies!!

JBL Control Monitors-after
Our JBL Control Monitors in their new home on top of the media shelves!

I built the crossovers last week and they sounded great. Saturday was a rainy day so I opened the cabinets up by pulling the 15 woofers. Once open, I mounted the crossover to the inside of the cabinet, wired the 3 drivers to the network using thick copper zipcord, then after a few tests, Emma and I cleared the tops of the shelves and lifted these 100+ lb monsters up onto the shelves.

We lost a bit of Bass, compared to their previous position on the floor in front of the shelves, but they do sound nice and we have our floor back again!!!