Hales owners discussion

We may have lost Mr. Hales to professional audio and the factory to history, but these are still fine speakers. I'm curious how others have their's setup, what tweaks they've found that offer improvements to the sound, etc.

Currently my Revelation Threes are ~3.5' from the front wall and 4.5' from the side walls. This is in a volumetrically large space (330 sq. ft.; volume unknown). Setup in a smaller, rectangular room (215 sq. ft.) they were 4.5' from the front and 3.5' from the sides. Straight Cardas method.

On a raised floor they were better without spikes; on a concrete slab the spikes are a must.

Mine are also toe'd in very little. Maybe 20 degrees. I listen in nearfield, btw. Now they're 7' feet apart and 5 feet from the listener. Before it was a 6' triangle.

Anyone tried anything radically different that worked? Mass loading, cones, etc.?

Oh, for reference my system is SF Line 1, McCormack DNA-1, CAL ALpha/Delta for CD, AP Oval 9, HT ProSilways and Illuminati D-60, plus various cones, weights, etc. What others are feeding their Hales with would also be of interest. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
I have a similar room and similar placement. I am hampered by open hallways and not much of a back wall as the room opens up to the dining kitchen area, etc. I do have a vaulted ceiling which I think helps. Still trying slight variations. Current set up is MF X-ray, AP silver ic to Sim I5 and Cardes Cross to the Hales.
Our rooms sound *very* similar. The main one here is 19'x12' with an assymetric vaulted ceiling (13.5' at the peak) and a couple of other oddities to the contours (low ceiling area near front door, dropped beam at the dividing line between living and dining rooms, as well as down the ceiling peak).

The left speaker fires into the dining area which is 10'x9'. When facing the speakers the kitchen opens to the left near the back wall of the dining area. That's effectively a 21' depth. The right speaker fires at the doors to my office. With them closed that's a 12' depth. Open it's 21'. I've tried it both ways and the sound is better with the doors closed. There's a hallway directly to the right and behind the speaker on that side, too, that "T"s at about 6'. Not the optimum space, but surprisingly workable.

Modeling the space in CARA Room Acoustic simulation software indicated a generally good (not great) acoustic environment when set up as described. The sim did show a *pronounced* bass problem in the front left corner. In reality this has proven true and is the biggest draw back encountered so far. It is not readily apparent from the listening position except for the occassional "boom" when things really get overloaded. I know it's having an effect on the overall sound whether it's directly audible or not.

Unfortunately, pulling the speakers out from the front wall kills the bass response; the entire sound thins out and sounds lifeless. Tube traps are already planned and will hopefully improve things a bit.

I am just getting things sorted out, so expect more later if anything interesting comes up. Let me know, too, if you try something new that works out.
I have the Revelation Twos which, judging by the above posts, are easier to place. In every room I have had them in (10x11, 14x14 with an opening to one side, and a 12x15). In every room they seem to like to be about a foot off the back wall and with that equal lateral setup described in the manual. Although i had to go near field in the 10 x 11 room, I do not personally prefer near field with the Hales. I use a Classe 70 and Twinlink to drive them to good effect. They could always use more power, and the amp may be a bit colored, but the sound is very smooth, musical, natural and colossal. I have also heard the Classe CA300 with the Hales. The sound from that rig, which I think also included a Wadia cdp and a Levinson pre, was amazing. Eyes closed, you could not tell where the speaker were. With the Hales I would strongly advise room treatment and a spike upgrade. I use Audiopoints. I have noticed however that my spikes have been leaving ringed scratches around the circumference of where the spikes contact the cabinets and am curious if any one else has had the same problem. If you upgrade your spikes, go with something with as large of a diameter as the stock spikes. Mine have a diameter of ¾ inch and I was not happy when I took them off to move them last week. Hales rule and were the last company I wanted to see go down.
Good idea on the Audiopoints, but I'm considering putting mine on wheels. The cable guy was getting too close to them while doing an install, so I laid down two strips of cellophane tape to mark the position of the one in his way and lifted it to the side. He commented about being careful, but twice he had tossed something down next to them which made me cringe. Even agreed that he probably was watching out and moving them was for my own peace of mind. So what does he do? He peels the tape up, me saying "no, No, NO, NOOOOOO!" the whole time. Of course, he also kindly put it back... Only took 45 minutes to recover. Damn bout they're heavy.

On the subject of weight, has anyone tried mass loading their's? While heavy, they're not that solid on their feet. Or do the Audiopoints add to the stability? BTW, mine are later models and have four points instead of three like the early ones.
Being a bit smaller than the stock spikes, I do think the Audiopoints have made mine a little more stable. I think your wheel idea is very cool. I would love to be able to wheel mine around the room, especially if I owned the Threes. With the wheels, however, i would bet you will lose some detail and focus. I have mass loading and am not sure exactly what it entails. Because i move about twice a year and the fact that my spikes have scratched my speakers, I really don't see mass loading in my future. Let me know what you do and what happened when you did it. Good luck
I have Transcendance 5's and will be measuring my set-up (the space is not yet finalized) and will post it. I use Wireworld and Cardas wire, connecting SFCD1, SFL2, Audio Research VT100-2 and a VPI 'table for vinyl. Hales left us in the lurch, though I suspect it was not all his doing. It would be nice to see him re-appear as a cottage industry, like Steve McCormack. I wish I had gone for the T8's.......
I own T-8's, coupled to two Boulder 500AE amps in mono, a Boulder L3 preamp, and a Meridian 508/24. I use XLO for interconnects, and Cardas Golden Cross biwired. There is nothing I have heard in twenty years of the hobby that begins to come close to this sound. Everything sounds real, from acoustic jazz to huge orchestral works, female vocals to trance. Would love to hear from others about suggested tweaks. One thing I think really helps here is the absolute stability of the amps. Boulder rates these amps at 500 watts into 8 ohms, and I suspect upwards of 750 to 1000 watts into 4. The result is whatever the speaker requires, they deliver.
What size space do you have this system in, Junkyard? Sounds like a very nice set up.

I often consider trying tube amplification with the Hales, though something like the Sonic Frontiers SFM-160 or VAC PA-160 are the most likely candidates. I really like the flexibility the latter amp provides; looks like it'd be a good first tube amp.
The room is roughly 14 by 28,with a 20 foot vault in the middle of the room. The T-8's are in the room about four feet, and about three feet from each side wall. Toe-in is minimal. I have heard these speakers being run with BAT solid state and tube amps, and they do sound great. I just don't anything gets as "black" as the Boulders. Additionally, these amps are so fast that the dynamic capacities of the speakers are really sharpened.
Currently using the Hales signature 2's. Driving them with a Jeff Rowland model 8. Would it be a good idea to upgrade to another model or change the amp to a tube amp?
Tube amps, dollar for dollar, with my Hales (T5's) are the way to go! Mine is Audio Research VT100 Mk.II. I consider the Hales to be "forward" or even a touch "hard" in their presentation and the tubes (though no junkyard tubes) have corrected that. When I get my beloved Scott LK150 back from re-jacking, I'll give that a listen too!
I own a pair of Signature One Designer Reference, I drive them with VAC PA 160 Mono Amps/Triode Setting. I used to have a Classe 700S amp. With the SS amp I would become edgey and quickly tire of the music. The tubes while not best in base control ( but better than I thought )were quite good at smoothing out the mids and highs. I cam listen for hours and never tire of the sound. I have owned many speakers and find for overall these rated the best in total satisfaction.
A story on Stereophile's site indicates replacement drivers for Hales speakers are available from Madisound in Wisconsin. The article is located at http://www.stereophile.com/shownews.cgi?1093 Madisound has a Web site at www.madisound.com . Their phone number is 608-831-3433.
Just bringing this thread around to update owners of Hales excellent speakers on parts availability.


Great discussion... I own a pair of System 2 Signatures
powered by Classe electronics with MIT speaker cables and
Nordost interconnects. This was a huge improvement over
the Alon IIs (nice speakers) and Thiel CS3.5 (currently in
the basement). I'm waiting for the Audiopoints to arrive.
One of these days I'll have to see how these sound with my
old VTL electronics but I'm afraid hearing this combo will
make me want to upgrade the Classe to the VTL MB225s.
Some experimentation with my Revelation 3s brought good results, so I want to pass the info along. First, given the heavy plate glass window that serves as my front wall, the speakers were moved to within 45" from it (measured from the front baffle). Being closer, of course, enhanced the bass which was needed since so much of the energy is being vented from the room. Still, it didn't sound quite right. The bass was dull and lifeless. Any sense of decay was lost. What was originally tight, tuneful bass, albeit a bit lacking in body and slam, was gone. The following steps really cleaned things up.

The Rev. 3s always seemed to be front heavy; they're very easy to rock forward, almost to the point of being tippy. My guess is the positioning of the footers is the culprit. Mine are later models with four cone footers and this may not be the case with earlier, three-footer models.

Having just bought #30 mesh screened (fine) commercial grade sand to fill the equipment stand (which also helped matters) I bagged some in Ziplocks on a whim and mass loaded the speakers. Putting weight on the top rear of each cabinet turned out to be the key. This cleaned up not only the bottom end, but the upper frequencies as well. Much less smearing on vocals and deep bass has better definition and decay. The speakers are also much more solid on their feet, so to speak.

Right now there is 20 lbs. of sand and 15 lbs. of excercise weights sitting on each speaker. Looks like hell, but sounds much better. I'm looking at ways to add the weight in a more aesthetic fashion. Maybe maple boxes stained to match the speakers with cork feet, maybe? Suggestions are welcome.

Before doing the mass loading I did a couple of other things that seemed to help. First was leveling the speakers by putting brass washers of varying thicknesses between the cone and speaker bottom. Before using the washers I was unscrewing the cones a bit to level them, but the loosened footers were able to wiggle around. Finding the right combination of washers took a bit of twiddling, but it works (and was suggested by AudioGoners). Doing this contributed to solidifying the upper and lower registers a bit, probably because now the speakers aren't swaying in the wind as before. This is not an issue if your floor is even and level.

Following a suggestion also read here on AudioGon, I pulled the "grills" for the first time since buying the speakers (2.5 years) to check the tightness of the driver mounting screws. It was surprising how many were loose! Most were snug, some took less than a 1/4 turn and a few screws, mostly on the woofers, took almost a full turn before seating. All of them, both Philips and torx versions were checked. The ones securing the baffles were all tight. Only some of the ones securing the drivers were loose. For what it's worth, aside from the original shipping these speakers have only moved once and that was just across town while in the original boxes. While the grills were off I also found one other thing that was a little disconcerting.

One of the screws securing a midrange driver was stripped. Not completely as it wasn't falling out, but it wouldn't seat snuggly. To fix this I used a length of shrink tubing smaller than the hole like a straw, filled it with carpenter's glue and blew that into the hole making
sure to get good front to rear coverage ON THE SIDES OF THE PRE-DRILLED HOLE. That mixed with the sawdust already in the hole and after allowing it to set overnight the screw was replaced. It seated as intended. Phew!

Also, I found that the diagonally-mounted grill frame rang like a bell just as reported in the Stereophile review. Wedging rubber grommets between the bar and the front baffle solved that issue. One on each speaker and no more ringing. Almost anything would work; the grommets were handy and the groove in their side fit around the bar which will hopefully help keep them in place. Not sure if this had any real effect, but it made me feel better. ;-)

The end result of all this is a very noticeable improvement in the character of the bass. There's more slam to the bottom end, lower register instruments have a distinct and believeable decay, the overall sound is more palbable and upper treble clarity is improved. I guess some would say that the proverbial "lifting of veils" has occurred.

The cost? $3.69 for the sand and a trip back to the hardware store to get a second bag for the stand. That helped, too, so I'm like a pig in s... well, you get the idea.

Enjoy and, oh, remember to double bag the sand and wipe the Ziplocks off so as to protect the cabinet's finish.

Wow, you've done some work. You have me thinking about the tighness of my drivers, but I really don't care to take the grills off. Have you put the grill back on? Was as difficult as it is made out to be?

I have same issues with spikes and leveling. My spikes don't move about to badly, but I need to get some washers. There is a bit of weight in that front baffle and the spikes are back a bit.

With the Twos at least, I am finding that they are pretty flexible about where they are at in room, and can accomadate many types of rooms. They are, however, picky about toe-in and (ear/seating) height.

Thanks for your report,
Ohlala, the grills aren't really that hard to get on and off. My suggestion is to lay the speakers on their backs with the bases supported by books to keep the binding posts off the floor. From that position the job will be a piece of cake. I took mine off and put them back on with the speakers upright and without any assistance. Having done so I don't recommend it and won't do it that way again!

As for the washers, you may be surprised at the negative effect of even a little bit of play in the footers. If you try the washer fix be careful about the OD of the washers used. If their OD is too small they might be pressed into the drilled hole where the threaded insert fits in the bottom of the speaker. On mine I added a large OD brass washer about the same diameter as the footer to each shaft and then used smaller ones of varying thicknesses *between the brass washer and the footer* to take out the play where necessary. I've also used this to slightly tip the front of the speaker up as my couch sits a bit high.

How much do you toe your speakers in? Mine are toed in *maybe* ten degrees. That's with the speakers ~75" apart (center to center) and 125" from the listening position.
Mine are around 15 degrees with dimensions really close to your's. My room is pretty bad (need more panels). To ameliorate channel balance and imaging problems cuased by the room, I toed-in as far as I could really go without damaging the tonal balance. I have replaced some upstream components which have transformed my system, but have not had the time to do much with the speakers. During winter break (4 days and counting), I'll probably make a couple panels and some adjustments. Thanks for your advice. I'll see if I can get up the nerve to take the grills off.
I am in a position to pick up a used set of Hales Revelation 3's for about $900. However, I am concerned that my Acurus DIA 100 MK II Integrated Amplifier won't be up to the task. It is rated at 100 watts/ch into 8 ohms and 150 watts/ch into 4 ohms. Any and all opinions are welcomed.
I've got T-5's with the exotic wood finish, both of which are placed in an open room environment with a slight toe-in to each speaker. They are approximately 7' apart and about 18" from the back wall. Unfortunately mine are way under powered (Denon AVR 3300 105 watts) As a recent audiophile told me... "you haven't even heard your speakers yet." I need a good pre-amp and amp that'll push out at least 200 watts into 8 ohms to really maximize the sound of these speakers. Even with the limited power they get I must say they sound very good. I've done zero experimentation with the set-up and probably won't until I get the new equipment upstream on board.
I've got a pair of T5's also and I think they are sounding quite good. I've recently started tweaking my system with some very positve results. My Hales have 3" cones under them(one brass in front and two stainless steel in back)and that made a positive improvement in all around performance. My room is 13'X 18' and the ceiling is 9' high. I have the speakers perfectly symetrical to each other in the room. The speakers are 6' from the front wall and 3.5' from the side walls. I am using a Pass X250 amp which should be enough power. The only complaint I have is that I'm not getting a good 40Hz to 50Hz bass response. The 40 to 50 Hz is there but not nearly as good or loud as all the other frequencies I can measure. I'm using room treatment on the side walls(foam made for audio) and I'm using pillows in all corners which has helped the sound but I'm not really getting a strong 50Hz and I'm barely getting 40 Hz but I'm getting a strong 30 Hz. Since I've treated my room my sound is way better. I don't miss the reflections I didn't even know I had until I removed them.
My speakers are 88" apart(center to center of speakers) and my listening position is about 100" from the speakers. I have treated the front wall and as well. I pinned a cotton bed sheet folded over a few times to the back wall and I find this helps. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
I've recently upgraded/modded the crossovers of my T5's with really good results. I have a new bigger better Hales without having to go through the hastle of selling my old Hales. I just modded them and they are completely different but in a good way. They are bigger sounding and now with 300 or so hours play they're really starting to open up. It wasn't inexpensive costing $800 just for parts but it was worth it to get the new sound. Crossover mods can be exciting but negative results have been know to happen. It's a bit of a gamble.
Replacing the stock tweeters with the Seas Millenium tweeter gives the speaker a whole new sound. I always liked my T5's but now they are a different speaker. It's a good thing that I like the sound as I think they would be almost impossible to sell with all the modifications I have done to them.
If they sound better, why would they be harder to sell? You say the Seas Millinium tweeter gives it a whole new sound. Can you elaborate - old sound versus new.
Dawgbyte, It would be easier to sell a pair of Hales stock than it would with all kinds of modifications as people know what they are getting when they buy stock items as opposed to a speaker that has been modified. Although I put alot of money into my speakers they would be harder to sell. That being said I wouldn't want to sale my Hales as I really like the new sound. The Seas Millenium tweeter have added a fuller,softer yet still very detailed sound. My speakers sound "bigger" now. With the new tweeters the music is easier to listen to for long periods of time. In fact my wife sometimes has to drag me out of the listening room complaining that I've been their all day.
The Hales with the origional tweeters were very good and I enjoyed them for years. The old tweeters were very detailed being an alluminum dome. They were almost harsh at times but they were still really nice sounding. With my new tweeters the entire sound of the speaker has changed. Even bass is fuller and the mids are even smoother. The new tweeters took the edge off without sacrificing detail. My speakers are "fuller" sounding. The ctrossover mods have alot to do with the new sound as well. I think I got lucky because I really could have ruined my speakers with all that I have done. It was a risk.
Mitchb - thanks for the details. It sounds interesting and certainly worth a look given the cost to find something that exceeds the Hales.
The problem with selling Hales speakers is that because Hale's is out of business they have lost their value significantly.It would be hard to replace the Hales with the funds recieved from them by selling to get a speaker near as good. That is why I took the chance and did the mods.It's as if I have got new speakers without the loss of selling my old ones.