Dahlquist DQ-20 Fan club Rant

I just need to say - I have been using DQ-20's for the past 5 years, and recently got the "upgrade bug". So for the past month I've been running around to showrooms and auditioning the latest crop of under-$5,000 Miracle Speakers all of which have glowing reviews, of course. And I've been checking out used speakers that went originally up to $12,000. And you know what - I've given up.

With the disclaimer that everyone's ears are different - I must say that there' justs nothing out there that beats the DQ's (for my particular ears) overall sonically.

There are plenty that have lots of high end zip in the showroom, because they've got metal dome tweeters which will fatigue you real fast at home. Hence so many of the "latest and greatest" hitting Audiogon with bizarre explanations by the owner as to why he's selling 4 month old speakers.
Nobody ever says - "I made a mistake, these suck, but you'll just love 'em. Listen to how real the triangle at the back of the orchestra sounds!"
And there are some that have MORE bass, because they put a big round hole in the cabinet - called a port - that goes, Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoof. (Could somebody let the dog out, please!) To be fair, there are speakers that go lower with good accuracy - but it's nothing that can't be dealt with by adding a pair of quality little subs. And the bass the DQ's do have is tight.
And there are speakers with nicer wood veneers - you want the birdseye maple veneered MDF instead of the cherry veneered MDF - Oh, that's another $1600! Just don't tap the top of the cabinet with your fingernail, you might dent it!

There are NO speakers that I have heard that have sweeter, more coherent, more real midrange and near-highs, period. In combination with my Velodyne ULD, the DQ's can rock, they can do gorgeous vocals, and full orchestra is probably as good as you'll get below $10,000.

There are speakers I've heard that image great, but that is most certainly one of the Dahlquist's strengths, too.

The only thing I truly would wish for in the DQ's is just a bit more zip in the highs.

It's disappointing. I really wanted the fun of some "New Toys", but there is a magic to the DQ's which I assumed was available elsewhere - it's not. My Spicas had it, but they did have much greater limitations dynamically and frequency-wise. I'd have to say that the Vandersteen 3a Sigs were the closest to having that magic and coherency, but not very exciting - and the Green Mountain Continuum 3 was overall the most impressive (but just not quite right for my tastes.)

So what am I gonna do? I'll experiment with the Regnar capacitor upgrade, but I'm not necessarily going to touch the crossovers - that's probably where the magic is coming from. And I'll try a bi-amp configuration. Maybe try a more "modern" Scanspeak tweeter.

And I have this crazy idea to take two pairs, remove the grills, and stack them like quads (on a custom welded rack) with one speaker upside down, so that each set ends up in a D'Appolito configuration. I'd be willing to bet that would be an approx. $1500 set-up that would knock your socks off.

Any other ideas or suggestions out there? I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's done the Regnar (or other) upgrades. Cheers, Chip

I was only vaguely familiar with the similarity between the Alons and the Dalqhuist.I am searching for the Alon I's or II's and wondered-Should I consider the 20"s? Are they as resolving as the Alon's (inner detail etc)?Are they currently being manufactured?
TexasDave-You don't happen to live in DFW do you?
For anybody who's interested - someone just posted a very nice pair of 20i's for sale here on Audiogon. They'll likely need new foam on the woofers very soon, if not immediately - but worth the trouble (about a 4 hour diy job).
TWEETERS! Hi - It's me again - just thought I'd post this little update since, believe it or not, I still get private emails about Dahlquists from this thread.

My 4 year old son recently blew up one of my DQ-20i tweeters and I had to replace them. The originals were Scan-Speak Type D2008 Code 8517. The drop in replacement which is available at Madisound and elsewhere is the Scan-Speak type D2008 Code 8512. Since there is a difference in codes I called Scan Speak in Denmark and spoke to an engineer there. He could not find any info/records on the 8517, but assured me that the D2008 would be a sonic match.

Well, after soldering them in (very easy job) I can tell you - I wish my son had been born sooner! :) The new tweeters were a very noticeable improvement over the pre-blown old tweeters. Whether the old ones were already beat and on their way out anyway, or the new ones are just better - no way to know. But yours are probably in the same state - and this is a VERY big improvement. Bottom line - if you have a pair of DQ's, I STRONGLY recommend replacing your tweeters with these. Especially since you never know when the D2008 will go completely out of production. Of course, keep the old ones as spares, too.

It's a simple job. Remove the back cage and front grill, Unsolder old ones, unscrew the old tweeters, replace and solder new ones. Whole thing should take less than an hour. The only caveat, of course, is always with tweeters don't overheat with the iron. Just do it accurately and gingerly. If you need to change after the first try, let it cool, remove, cool, then redo.

Cheers, Chip
I did the replacement too with the Scanspeak D2008.I think I paid around $150 for a pair from Madisound and kept the original. Funny thing is the one that blew was already a replacement from Regnar who say that the D2008 was originally modified when it went into the DQ20. They sold it to me for like $125 6 years ago and they cover over the Scanspeak identification label with their REGNAR label. Anyway, the latest pair I bought were just regular D2008 from Madisound and they don't sound any different from what I can tell. I have heard that high end companies will order "stock" speakers that are modified to their specs and that's what Regnar claimed with the DQ20/D2008 tweeter but I don't know if I believe it. I have also wanted to upgrade just to have something new but find that nothing is quite as clear and airy as the DQ20 without maybe spending 10k+. I am considering getting the crossover/cap upgrade from Regnar.
By the way, the people at Madisound did say there was very limited stock on the D2008 as it is disscontinued.
I have also wanted to upgrade just to have something new but find that nothing is quite as clear and airy as the DQ20 without maybe spending 10k+.
You should audition any model of Alon or Nola. They're direct descendants of the DQ-20 designed by the same person. They have an outstanding airy soundstage. Magnepan MG 1.6 is another gem to look for. Totem Sttaf sound wonderful and disappear effortlessly.

Here's a good forum worth reading:
Best bargain for speaker that can offer top sound
I am considering getting the crossover/cap upgrade from Regnar.
The Regnar cap upgrade kit costs $189 per speaker. $378 for the pair. That's a ridiculous price to pay considering the fact they won't reveal what brand they're selling. If you want a cap upgrade, do it yourself. If you can solder, you can do it. The Yahoo Dahlquist group has plenty of resources to get started. The DQ-20 crossover can be modified into 20i for less than $20. Once that's done, you should upgrade the 3.0 uF cap going to the tweeter with ClarityCap MR, Mundorf Silver/Oil or Auricap. You can spend a lot of money on capacitors, but IMO the only cap that gives an obvious improvement is the 3 uF going to the tweeter.

I hope this helps.