Soliloquy 6.2 Crossover Problem?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by ScooterMcTav, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

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    Hi Folks,

    I seem to be having challenges with a set of Soliloquy 6.2 speakers, and would like to describe the symptoms I'm having to see if there are suggestions

    When I first teamed them with a Musical Fidelity a3.2 integrated, I found the sound to be extremely forward (to the point of harshness) yet extremely anemic under 60Hz. So I changed the power to a McIntosh MA-6100 which was only able to balance the sound with a bit of bass in. When I added a Rotel power amp to the Mc, the sound improved a little bit more, especially on the top end dynamics.

    Even when one looks at the frequency specs, I was only ever able to get solid bass below 40Hz when I had them hooked to a Luxman R-1050, and had both the loudness control in, and had some additional gain on the bass knob.

    Right now, I do have the speakers apart (I’m refinishing them from their God-awful cherry color), making this the perfect time to do a thorough investigation of the crossovers. I guess the potential exists that there could be something wrong with the crossovers, though my understanding is this shouldn’t be removing all of the bass energy.

    And really, they are just “strange” – they sound nothing like any of my other “flat” speakers such as my Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, or my Monitor Audio Silver 8i. Although each set has a different “flavor” to it, both are similar in their frequency response, while the Soliloquy just sounds way different – almost like they have an EQ bump of 2-6db in the 1-4kHz range, and a 10 db rolloff at 40Hz.

    Do the symptoms sound consistent with an issue with the crossovers? Or any other suggestions? These speakers seem to get a lot of love online from those who've had them, but I'm not feeling it.
     
  2. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Usually the low pass filter in the xover consists of a coil in series with the driver and a cap shunt. Seriously doubt anything there will significantly impact your low frequency response.

    Now, there are two potential issues:

    1. Woofer seal - check for any air leaks around the woofer. Yes, ported systems are designed to "leak", but the only leak is supposed to be via the port.

    2. Voice - your problem may simply be the high frequency driver is out in of the woofer in terms of SPL. What you might try is bi-amping. You have enough amps. By dedicating amps to high and low frequency drivers, you can vary power sent to the respective halves and thus you gain control over the speaker's voice. For example, you want more "laid back" speakers, throttle back the high frequency amp.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  3. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

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    Thanks Jerry, appreciate the confirmation on how the crossover works.

    Woofer seal is fine - some of the tightest fit drivers I'be ever seen in a speaker.

    I have bi-amped before when I had another set of speakers that needed it (also due to voicing) but it was an odd config, with two woofers and the mid on the same binding posts.

    Although I appreciate the idea behind biamping, I'm surprised a $2,700 pair of speakers (that Tim Shea from Soundstage! gave a reviewers choice award to, and he used them as reference speakers for a few years) should need this just to get a level response.

    This is what makes me wonder if there is something simply wrong with mine. Sounds like the crossover is not the culprit.

    All this being said the woofer and tweeter have their own enclosures (unsealed) - possibly the woofer's chamber's polyfill has "spread out" over time and is over damping the bass response.
     
  4. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Scooter, anything is possible, but I've never heard of the fill impacting a ported system. Now, the fill is extremely important is sealed units.

    Another part of voicing is your room. Any chance you have hard wood floors? Lots of reflective surfaces?

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  5. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

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    Thanks again Jerry,

    It is a hard room, but there is really only one problematic reflective surface. Otherwise we have furniture, carpets, and window treatments that should knock a lot of the hard reflections down.

    And as noted, this mid bloom bass roll off seems mainly confined to this pair of speakers, and not its contemporaries in the same space.

    Bit of a stumper, unless the speaker is voiced poorly, or has some other problem I need to deduce
     
  6. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Scooter, all I can suggest is that you put two amps on them - both amps with volume controls. This way you can reduce power sent to the high frequency drivers.

    As for the bass roll off, this is one of the reasons why I do NOT like rear firing ports. The speaker has to be away from the wall for the ports to work properly, but you then lose the room gain you get at the wall/floor junction.

    Oh, well, you might try boosting the bass a tad, Scooter.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  7. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Also started a thread about the cosmetics for these, but do have an aditional thought regarding the bottom end.

    Would jumping one or some of the resistors in the crossover increase the sound output of the LF speaker?

    Just a thought.....
     
  8. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Scooter, there is very, very rarely a resistor in series with a woofer. Usually those resistors are in series with the high frequency drivers and their job is the "knock them down" a little to bring in balance with the woofer.

    In short, jumping these would only make your situation worse.

    Can you angle the speakers a tab so you could move them closer to the wall, yet still leave some space for the rear ports?

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  9. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Hey Jerry, I'll be back to working on them early next week and will post a pic of the xover. On these speakers, both the hf and lf drivers each have a separate xover.

    On a quick look, I thought we had a 3rd order crossover, and even the lf driver appeared to have three large resistors wired together. If memory serves correct, the signal line went from the plate to a large coil, to a capacitor, then through 3 large white square resistors wired together (and stacked like a pyramid) then off to the driver.
     
  10. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Getting ready to finally do some stripping tomorrow (+13c/56f) so took a pic of the lf crossover.

    If I understand the parts right, we have a fairly hefty coil, a cap, and a resistor (10 watt 4 ohm).

    Anything here we can do to up the lf?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  11. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Scooter, what you have there is a relatively standard low pass filter. The cap and resistor are in parallel with the woofer while the coil is in series.

    The resistor might serve a couple of purposes. I suspect in this case it changes the slope of the woofer high frequency roll off. The idea would be to provide for better integration with the tweeter.

    If you were to reduce it or eliminate it, chances are you'd create a hole in frequency response slightly above the crossover point.

    So what can you do to change the "voice" of your system. Well here are some ideas:

    1. Split the network and passive bi-amp. With two amps you can vary power and SPL of the respective halves.

    2. Add a good powered sub woofer (look at SVS or Velodyne) A good sub capable of those very lowest frequencies will also alter the "voice" of your entire system.

    SCOOTER, given the work involved with passive bi-amping speakers, that did not come from the factory with split networks, I would opt for the sub. In addition, no matter how good a job you did with bi-amping, you'd never be able to coax those very low frequencies out of these speakers in any significant quantity.

    Hope this helps,
    Jerry
     
  12. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

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    Location:
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    Thanks Jerry,

    I had done the sub thing before, though I've never been a sub fan except for HT.

    All things being considered, once I get them redone and hooked up to a different amp, possibly things might sound better. Who knows?

    And I do have a Polk PSW-505 handy if needed.
     
  13. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Well, Scooter, while you have the speakers apart, you could split the xover network in two. This will allow future bi-amping.

    As for your Polk sub, everything I have read indicates it is a great HT sub.

    For music you might look at:

    https://www.svsound.com/products/sb-1000

    This sub is a sealed box (aka acoustic suspension), which will produce very low distortion on those low frequencies. The top of the line Velodyne's (costing in the 1000's) are all sealed boxes. Naturally, Scooter, there is a trade off and while you get very low distortion, you can't get auditorium filling volume.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  14. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm sure you've already verified that the woofers are wired the same in both cabinets. That would certainly cause major bass cancellation.
     
  15. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Hey Jerry,

    At the point where I need to buy a sub to get decent sound, I think these will end up getting sold. And yes, I bought the Polk for my HT, which never seems to get used anymore.

    However, I possibly wasn't clear, as each speaker does have its own xover. The x-over I showed is only the LF one - the HF xover is on the back of the speaker terminal plate - very similar in appearance except for more resistors. And I do have the option to bi-amp if necessary - I've just run them with the jumpers in place to date. Instead of bi-amping, I'd likely just team them back up with the Luxman. Or I'd just end up selling them.

    Main thing I was trying to nail down is why the lf seems to be rolled off compared to the hf, and I had wondered if the xover had been a reason.

    First thing I checked. And yes, they were hooked up correctly - in fact soldered correctly and directly to the speaker terminals. No spade connectors here.

    Mind you, these were $2,400 speakers when new, and the build quality reflects this. They just seem a little (well a lot) too balanced towards the midrange.
     
  16. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

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    And as an FYI, here's the HF xover.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

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    Scooter, for some reason I had it in my mind that your xovers were not split. (When I bi-amped my speakers, I had to manually separate the xovers and bring terminals out the back.) What a pain! But in my case, it proved to be well worth the effort.

    Once you get them back together, throw another amp on the high frequency side and dial it back a tad. (You don't need a big amp on the high frequency side. In fact 9 years ago in my first bi-amp, I recycled an old, mid power HH Scott amp collecting dust in my basement.) The idea is you want two amps both with volume controls so that you gain control over the speaker's voice.

    Some guys swear that running tube amps on top and solid state brutes on the bottom gets you the best of both worlds.

    Anyhow, Scooter, just as an experiment, I'd strongly recommend you try this before selling them. You have excellent speakers. Why not see if you can coax the sound out of them that you want?

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  18. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It could work. Although if the worst of the problem is in the midrange, some of that is coming out of the woofer, which won't be diminished by turning down the HF driver. You could end up having to dial down the tweeter so far that the upper end gets too quiet by the time the bass is balanced. But you never know till you try it.
     
  19. ScooterMcTav

    ScooterMcTav I know less than I think Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Well, the speakers were reassembled yesterday, and hooked to my tube amp for the first time.

    Don't think I need to do anything to the crossovers. Although a bit mid forward still, they are less forward than the Monitor Audio Silver 8i. speakers that they replaced, and the bass is much richer than it had been. May also help that they are located in a different room.

    Possibly I should have considered that:
    - Solilioquy was originally founded by Dennis Had as a complement to Cary SET amps
    - Although he had sold it a few years before these were made, all the technical information about the speakers went with the sale, possibly affecting the design of these
    - Reports are that these require 500 hrs to loosen up, due to the heaviness and rigidity of the the woofer's construction. Although break in is something I have poo-poo'ed in the past, the original owner maybe had only 100 hours on them before I bought them (unused in a basement system) and I'm likely only sneaking up on the 500 hour mark myself. I cannot argue with the fact there is much more bass coming from the speakers vs when I purchased them

    Funny enough, after running a disc through the Jolida/Soliloquy combo, I went and listened to my living room system which has Wharfedale Diamond 10.6 hooked to a Marantz SR-5009. All I could hear was a flat midrange, and flabby, excessive bass, versus the vibrant midrange and taut tuneful bass from the J/S system.

    Maybe I've also hit that point where a flat EQ just sounds right to me, versus artificially tipping up the bass.

    I was also having a bit of a tinnitus issue coming from the MAs, something I thought was related to the output tubes in the Jolida. After listening at solid volume for 2 hours yesterday, no sign of tinnitus. It looks like the fabric dome tweeter is kinder on my sensitive ears vs. the CCAM tweeter on the MAs.

    Oh, and I do still have my Polk PSW505 sitting right beside the towers - with the crossover set at 50Hz, it does a nice job filling in the last bit of missing extension, though I think I'll likely not use it very often.
     

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