The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

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The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:22 am

Not sure if this should be a separate thread, but here goes anyway. The following is a work in progress as time to listen up here is limited at the moment.

The Doc wasn't sure if I was convinced by the extensive driver and cabinet mods he proposes and I don't think he'd disagree that many manufacturers making large batches of speakers just wouldn't spend the time doing it, hence ever intrusive passive crossovers to attempt to do the same job quickly and labour-cheaply. He lent me his converted 'B&W's,' the only original part left being the original cabinet shells, all else being chucked out.

Initial listening was spoiled by my recurrent issue of my left-ear being gummed up - what now seems to be a life-condition as it never fully goes away for very long. I discovered a tweeter wasn't working, but that was soon fixed with a soldering iron and gluing the tweeter back in, making a good seal all round. Once this was done, I left them on the radio for a few hours to settle in. Speakers aren't supposed to settle in as the suspensions are claimed to permanently deform into operating conditions on the first few cone-excursions, but this doesn't explain why so many speakers I've owned and demonstrated, like some use out of the box... There's no use here mentioning the original speaker here as only the raw carcass remains, but this carcass is quite thick chipboard, which the Doc has sealed off at the back and VERY heavily steel-plated and sealed up further inside, the replacement drive units then thoroughly glued in with Bison. The original grey baffles also have a coat of something on them (plastidip?).


Anyway, what follows is basic first impressions after a few hours of use. First, the tonal balance isn't as 'wild' as I suspected it might be. It's certainly a bit towards a 'monitor' balance, BUT - with absolutely NO screech or hardness added, unlike a couple of AVI passives I had here a few years ago (Pro Nines and N5's which sounded more like Kans than Kans did from memory :shock: ). Rather, subtle vocal production techniques are reproduced fully, double tracking and long 'reverb trails' (I can't think of a better way to describe how some vocals have a cathedral-like ambience added to them) are reproduced beautifully and vividly, showing one area where NVA amps excel so well, Bass is lean but superbly tuneful, the 'melody lines' of a well recorded bass being absolutely easy to follow and NO hangover at all - lovely. I've been playing the rather good remastering of 'Reach The Beach' by The Fixx, a brightly lit album to start with, which can sound a bit harsh and relentless on some speakers - not these.. It's the subtle reverb clues which so many speakers just lose, or only gain with a zillion Watts up them to improve response times. These speakers just don't do this at all... :grin:

Like I said, initial impressions and I already had some dearly loved old classics up here (early 70's IMF's which come close along this road (well doped paper cone drivers) despite having lagged boxes, a port and a simple crossover (inductor to roll the bass driver out early, caps and resistor on the mid driver loading and a single cap on the tweeter which I upgraded to benefit). The Doc-rodded replacements have dropped right in and opened the window a little more - actually the extent of the opened window is changing as I listen more.

I can add more if anyone's interested later on. The way it's going, the Doc will have to come and forcibly collect these, as I don't think I'm going to want to lose them from here.

To finish for now, may I say that it may not be worth taking say, a pair of shitty Missions and doping the hell out of cheaply sourced crap drive units. Better to ditch all the internals and start from scratch. The Doc Mods drivers seem really good in raw form, let alone after he's been at them and the Visaton tweeter really does sweeten delightfully after a good few hours of use in this application with resistor and cap feeding them.

Thanks to the Doc for the loan. I hope you won't want them back too soon ;)

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:34 pm

I bought the cabs on ebay a couple of years ago. Completely stripped just cabs for about £20. They were going to be my Doc Mod demonstrators so everything was done to them - in spades - they are seriously heavy with overkill steel plate. Well typical of me they were used for a while and then stuck in the store room and forgotten about. Chatting with Dave on Saturday it seemed a good idea to get them out there to be listened to.

It strikes me that if you want to get a large way to what the Cubes do by buying empty cabs like this and Doc Modding it would be a very cost effective way to go, plus the pleasure in building something yourself. If doing them again I wouldn't use the Visaton tweeter as they are very expensive but use my modded doped cheap Chinese ones. So total cost would be under £200.

Hopefully Dave will put up pics because I daftly didn't photo them.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Alfi » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:06 pm

Great stuff Dave and Doc. My JPW P1's weigh in at 20 kg each! I'm loving every gram of them too, I've settled on a 3.3 uF cap and 10 Ohms for the resistor.


Alfi
Heavily modified LP12 , Sole VIII sub-chassis with "In Sole" advanced polymer suspension, Ai bearing, PU7, DV20X2, Norton Airpower clone, etc. PL71 & Denon DL301 II, NVA Phono 2 MC (two power supplies), NVA P50, NVA A20 power amp, home made birch ply Allison 6/NVA Cube 1 clones, NVA SSC's, LS6.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:30 pm

Pics to follow. They're not pretty, although I love the beech? finish of these cabs. They're sat on celotex spacers off the desktop, so not a 'proper' anal-Hifi situation and traditional ported speakers balanced for warmth (OK, Rogers LS5/9's) sound dire here in this situation. The IMF's are fun, very old and shouldn't sound as good as they do, but these Doc-rodded thingies just make me smile, I really enjoy getting into the music mix with such ease, and the slightly more forward presentation helps my ears too - I repeat, they DON'T shout or scream in any way at all!!!!!

ATC heavily dope all their cones and mid domes too, but somehow the music is diluted unless you buy the largest twin 12" or 15" models and thrash them. These little Doc-Mod babies do it at very low volumes and with my ears being what they are now after loud music and recurring ear infections fifteen or so years ago, I REALLY appreciate it, as most domestic speakers just lose detail to me, the lower they're played - all the ATC's I had just couldn't do low levels at all well - 20 passives, 100A's (pre SL update) and the 20ASL pro's I had until ten years or so ago - they weren't designed to in fairness.
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I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:57 pm

Oh shit, I'm hooked in deep!!!!!!!!!

Over the last couple of years, I've been hankering after some old large 70's JBL pro speakers. Colouration be damned, I want the proper dynamic range reproduced, something very VEREY few 'domestic' speakers come anywhere near.

Today was the first day I could let the leash off these little babies and let them fly. Still with the Fixx, off CD and importantly Youtube. Feck me, these things sing. Bass is incredibly good for a tiny box - maybe pros are used to it, but after the dirge coming out of almost all domestic speakers, the utter palpability and tunefulness in the bass shocked me and left me wanting more - from a 15" bass driver preferably. The mids on these modified drivers are an open window to the session mix and the top does for cymbal timbres what the bass driver does for the bass. Terrible term, but 'reverb tails' are what 'digital' was supposed to curtail or even remove - they're all there on these speakers...

Try these at home and forgive the children doing an 'advert' first... -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPC1IRn ... RnY-SI#t=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH13II9 ... I&index=12

This Fixx-Mix is incredible - not as subtle as the wonderful original mix, but sonically :grin: -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB341J0 ... J0kM4g#t=3

A HUGELY underrated band imo...
...I have renounced the worldly bustle and live in peace at a quiet place,
I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:57 pm

Doc Mods are FREEEEEE! and a gift from me. OK you have to buy Plastidip, Bison, steel plate, but you have to buy the ingredients to cook a meal. what I am saying is if you mod existing drivers you don't have to get anything from me. If you want the Doc Mod drivers then I charge for my labour to mod them, nothing more.

So why do I do it. Because the thing that holds back NVA amplifiers cables etc and people appreciating them are shit! mostly over complicated speakers. I am happy that Cubes are better, but these go a long way towards them, and it is fun.

So yet again it needs publicising on other forums and can't be seen as shilling or spamming as I am not selling it. I am waiting for the first manufacturer to copy it, my bet will be on Rega, they watch me like a hawk (I know from a mutual friend) and have already started to use class II construction.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Daniel Quinn » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:01 pm

It is about time these ideas were tried by all those interested in good sound , done properly they are a revelation .

It is now nearly six years since the doc told me about them on this very forum or was it the old one ? I tried them and promptly proclaimed everybody but me and of course the doc and cube owners deaf :lol: Doesn't time fly .
Even a stroke didn't result in me liking AOS

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:05 pm

It is another example of NVA and NVA ideas being blocked by ignorant people, especially owners of other forums.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:38 pm

let it be known that I have NOTHING to do with Rega AT ALL!!!! I like and respect the products and wax lyrical about them for what they do so well, but that's it, I swear!!!!! Oh yeah, I know their sales manager well, having shared retailer roots with him nearly twenty years ago, but we're not in regular contact

ATC dope their drivers, but the voice coils are kept tiny (short) in an attempt to reduce one kind of distortion, especially when driven hard. The downside is that these drivers need a zillion Watts to even begin to make them work. Even twenty years ago, Focal and Vifa to name two (known to me) were intruding really good commercial-price smaller drivers that beat ATC at their own game apparently (not as heavily made though as ATC's), but I digress.
...I have renounced the worldly bustle and live in peace at a quiet place,
I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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Re: The Docs 'ex-B&W' Doc Modded speakers

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:41 pm

It wasn't you. But I don't want to say who.

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