To add more variables to the mix, I could power to speakers with either valve or SS amps.
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I used a pair of Fried Beta Signature's for many years (along with the matching Fried "The Subwoofer") and agree with Shubert's finding although I would add that tube amps really made the Beta's come to life. EL34 based amps were especially killer.
In addition, a sub is really needed with the Beta's as used on their own, they are satisfactory but due to their
"Distributed Loading" of the mid/bass driver, there can be audible "noises" that are heard over the music when bass heavy material, especially high level bass kick drum, is played at elevated but clean levels. If your musical taste is mainly classical played at low to mid levels, I doubt one would ever be aware of the distributed loading issues.
High passing the Beta's at ~80hz/6db per octave as is done in "The Subwoofer" solved the noise issue and also increased the dynamic range of the Beta's which enabled them to really come to life.
I have not heard the other Fried models you mentioned but if you come across some used Beta's, especially the Signature series, grab them as you won't be disappointed!
Among other Fried speakers I own, there a pair of Betas, Fried subwoofer, and A/6. But, as the cabinet increased in size over time, the floorstanding A/6 will be much different than the monitor sized A/3.
I think they all will be good sounding, and not all that dissimilar. The biggest difference is likely to be between the aperiodically loaded Beta and the other two, which have the Fried Line Tunnel.
Amazing, but the Frieds are a good example of the hype and hoopla of today. Missing the bookmatched veneers, catalyzed finish, and boutique crossover components, I personally find it difficult to outdo my A/6 by any loudspeaker currently under $5000. They run almost neck and neck with my Merlin VSM, giving up only a bit of refinement that could probably be improved by an update of the Radio Shack quality crossovers.
Currently, I have a Jolida 302b, CAL DX1 and KEF Q15.2 I just picked up a pair of Fried Q/3 and finished replacing the woofer surrounds. Can't wait to hook them up. Years ago, I had pair of A/5s and sold them to "upgrade". To this day, I regret parting with them. Would like to find a pair of Frieds higher in the line, but they seem scarce.
Mtb_ww, you are right, it's difficult to find Frieds.
I would suggest A/6, Studio V, or Valhalla system (C3/L AKA C4 with D subwoofer) if they ever come up. I saw a pair of the Valhallas here about a month or two ago, though they had no finish and needed to be assembled (no big deal). I myself would absolutely love to purchase a pair of Studio V, but just can't find them.
Hey Trelja, I knew you'd jump in on this post.
I've owned(still own) many of the "higher in the line" Fried's going back to a pair of C/3L's I built about 30 years ago. I still have them.
My brother owned several of the entry level models, Betas, A/5's, Studio IVs, and that's how I became a fan. He and I first met Bud Fried at Jemstone Audio in Lansing, MI around the time the C/3L's were introduced and after hearing them, we both agreed, we had to own them.
Over the years, I kept in touch with Bud and when the C/5's came along, I upgraded my brother's pair of C's with the new drivers, crossovers and better parts. I wanted to keep my C/3L's original so ended up building new cabinets(furniture grade Honduras mahogany) for the C/5's and Bud's preferred O-4 transmission-line subs; still own them too and if I'm not mistaken, Trelja still has Bud's personal C/5's & O-4's?
Some years later I ran across a nice used pair of Studio V's and decided to snatch them for a second system. They turned out to be one of the best sounding one box full range speakers I've ever owned. The reason you almost never see them for sale is because owner's won't part with them!
When the Studio 7's came along, I decided to "upgrade" and sold the V's. Big mistake! While the new 7's have many virtues, they lost the top end extension, air and transparency of the V's. The 7's use a 1" ring radiator tweeter and it sucks compared to Bud's old fave, the 3/4" Hiquphon. So... the 7' are gone but I still kinda miss the V's.
I'm still living with speakers that were spawned by Bud Fried's passion for 1st order series crossovers and transmission-line loading but things have come a long way since then. Bud was never into "designer" caps, inductors or resistors(didn't like tubes either) but instead concentrated on good quality drivers like the Danish made Hiquphon.
Long story short, many of the old Fried models would still embarrass much of the current crop of speakers made today and considering the prices of some of them, they should be embarrassed. Any of the old Fried models employing 1st order series crossovers and transmission line type loading would be worth seeking out, particularly, the C/3L, C/5, C/6 and Studio V.
Actually Trelja, I had the same thoughts about the "Radio Shack" quality crossover components and wiring in my pair of Beta Signatures and set about to upgrade those components. I changed the caps to some Solen polypropolene and upgraded the internal wiring to Teflon coated silver AudioMagic wire and you know what, the "music" that the stock signature series Beta's had was banished and in it's place was accuracy. Note my use of the word "music"...
That was my first foray into upgrading stock speakers and it did not bode well although later attempts with other speakers proved otherwise. Somehow, the stock budget component quality configuration of the Fried crossover components turned out to be the best although the Teflon coated silver wiring was a major leap forward in resolution as compared to the stock wiring.
I have a pair of Q/3's now that have been in constant service for since 1988. I had the woofers re foamed and they sound like new to my old ears. I used to sell Fried's for a living and grew to really love the sound they reproduce. I agree with the guys above about the sweetness of the Betas and improvement that comes from adding a sub and crossing the Betas over at 80 or higher hertz. I am using a set of Bud's SM subs with Carolina Audio SM3s in my main system now and love it crossed over at 120 hz.
Back to the point the A/3 & Q/3 sound very, very similar in most situations. The A model has a bit lower bass response mostly due to the slightly larger cabinet than the Q. Fine products designed by a cool man (R.I.P. Bud). The C model monitors are awesome in any version you can find. I have owned and overhauled a few pairs. The crossovers are not much to speak about for parts quality, true. I had very good results rebuilding a set of crossovers in the C/3s model that I had matched with the o/4 sub. The rebuild was Cardas wires, Silver Saulder, & MIT caps bench tested to match each other, and removed the fuse. Bud liked the sound when I took them to his house to hear the mods and so did I. Let us know how happy you are with which ever pair you end up with.
Nmmusicman, it would not surprise me if your issue was in the wire you employed.
Several of us, including Bob (Rfogel8) have upgraded (and reengineered) Fried crossovers with stellar result. There are a lot of places you can go wrong in speaker when it comes to the crossover. Often, it's the intent in trying to upgrade too much (better coils with larger AWG/lower resistance that trow off the crossover points, harsher sounding capacitors and resistors, etc.) where things break down. Crossovers are jut one of those things one has to learn the hard way of trial and error and making a whole lot of "mistakes" along the journey.
As Joe(Trelja) mentioned, upgrading passive parts in a crossover doesn't necessarily guarantee better sound. Perhaps the "major leap forward in resolution" and "accuracy" was pointing out weaknesses elsewhere. Then again, replacing inductors with equal value but different AWG/DCR may change the crossover point making the speaker sound brighter and more aggressive.
With Bud's(or anyone else's) first order series crossovers, there are a minimum of passive parts and everything matters. Say you go from a junky 18 or 20AWG coil to a 12AWG Goertz to provide maximum protection for a tweeter, you will hear big differences.
Joe and I have a friend who designs first order series crossovers for the "C" cabinets. After selecting the drivers he wants to use and the optimal crossover point based on computer modeling, he then goes with good quality coils, caps and resistors(if used). Then he spends many hours/days voicing the speaker by making small incremental changes to the values of the passive parts. As Joe said, sometimes it's "trial and error" but, like fine tuning a cartridge, when you get it dialed in, it's worth the effort.
My "C" satellites use the newer OW-4 Hiquphon tweeter which is a huge step up from the old OW-2 with ferrofluid that Bud used to use. The midrange driver is a pricey but excellent ScanSpeak and the entire external series crossover consists of one Mundorf Silver/Oil cap(soon to be replaced with Dueland Cast) and two Goertz 12AWG inductors; no resistors anywhere! Add in the matching subs, good down to 20 Hz, and as my designer friend Joel will tell you, we'll put this system up against anything on the planet.
You never know what will sound best with what.
The variables in audio(in general?) are so many we don't even know what most of them are.
I'm supossed to receive my Q/3's tomorrow,my initial guess
is a Promethius TVC with AVA 260ex amp and DNM reson speaker cable.
No doubt I'll end up using one of the other dozen pre's and amps currently in my possesion-LOL.
I have a pair of Fried Model RIIi (improved) speakers. I think they sound very good on classical music, they are smooth (like vintage British speakers) with exceptionally good soundstage depth . They would not be my first choice for pop/rock music. Something like a KEF 103.2 with more bass and scale.
@Airkitty, do you still have your SM Subs?
I also have a set. I built them back in the late 70's. They are amazing. I've never found anything that compares, even in today's world of servo-controlled subwoofers. Unfortunately, the Dalesford D300 drivers in mine have deteriorated with time. I'm trying desperately to locate replacements with matching physical and mechanical characteristics. Any suggestions?