Exactly how did you uncouple and then recouple the membrane?
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Good for you. I can't imagine how the panels got so dirty though. I had ML Quests for ten years and they were as clean and transparent as the day I got them when I sold them.
Are you a smoker? When I sold a pair of Acoustat 1+1, the used audio dealer said he never buys electrostatics from smokers. I removed the cover to show that there were no deposits on the panels and the dealer bought them.
I can assure you all that I only showered with my speakers after I had my wife’s consent.
I have no idea how the electrostatic panel became so dirty. I purchased the speakers second hand and so it is possible that they were already dirty but I suspect that the cause was that over the last two years the speakers have had very little use, approx. 2 to 3 hrs per month. The reason was that my old amplifier (Quad 33/303) was under powered and the sound quality was not that great. The speakers sat powered up for most of the time and I believe that the combination of time, electrostatic charge and lack of use caused the dust to accumulate to the point that the speaker would no longer function.
The electrostatic panels were very easy to remove from the speaker frame. The speaker was laid on its back (take care not to damage the speaker input posts) and the side rail taped lightly on the bottom with a hammer and a piece of soft wood to prevent any damage. The side rails are then removed. The electrostatic panels are located by velcro and these are easily removed by lifting one side and then the other. Once the velcro seal is broken the panels are moved away from the bass speaker and this reveals a connection block with three wires, red, blue and black. The wires are disconnected and then the panel was transported to the shower. I cannot take any credit for this method of cleaning the electrostatic panels because I came across it on the Martin Logan club web page. I cannot remember the exact details but I think someone was having problems with a set of Sequel II panels and as a last resort Jim Power suggested that the panels were cleaned under a shower
I emailed Jim Power last night on the subject and here is his response:
That is true. Sometimes it works. I honestly have no experience with washing panels from a smoking environment however. Our previous experience is that tobacco tar is really hard on the panels. Whether or not running water would help, I don't know. Sorry I don't have more information.
My guess is that the combination of your humidity (quite high) and the stuff on the panel will easily account for the 3 db. If you try it, let me know how it works. I don't think it would do any harm.
All the best,
Needless to say, I'm going to try it.