Mods to Apogee Scintillas?

Is it possible to improve these already amazing speakers. Has anyone put in new caps and inductors? If so, did they retain their magic and just become better, or did it materially change the sound? Are there any other mods worth considering?
How about using ribbons as drivers! I guess I will have to answer my own threads!
Sadly, Baranyi, the Apogees have been all but forgotten by most of the audiophile community.

A great many people feel the Apogees have yet to be surpassed. But, this is a here and now industry. While it is possible to find well engineered, creative, great sounding gear that should ostensibly become a lifetime purchase, it is obviously anathema to most dealers or the press.

You may want to check Audio Asylum or the Apogee devotee's website, as you will find more sympathetic ears there.

One glaring exception to what we face is Ralph Karsten of AtmaSphere. He founded his company in the economically depressed early 1980s. The presumption was probably the company would not be around, but he wanted to do all possible to ensure his customers would be able to enjoy his amplifiers for a minimum of 20 years. It was, and is, a holistic philosophy of analysis, design, and execution. From the tubes chosen, both for the sonics and longevity, to making the circuit design something accessible to an owner, to his world class customer service.

Probably the most surprising thing is that in a hobby where many have perished, AtmaSphere has flourished. I guess doing the right thing does work, and that the truly good people will rise to the top just like the cream in milk.
Thanks for your response and your thoughts about AtmaSphere. Bob
I guess I should apologize for the lack of interest in this thread, Bob. It is surely a sad day that we have come to when some of the finest loudspeakers ever manufactured generate absolutely zero interest.

While I have absolutely no experience in modding them, I hope you don't mind me brainstorming a little. Personally, you could always try the usual suspects, just go for better quality. Yada, yada, yada. It is very likely that this will take the speakers a step up, as there was nothing equivalent to the big North Creek coils back then or the good caps of today. One caution I would say if you have to replace a big cap is to do it with smaller caps in parallel to lower the ESR.

Again, I am a bit worried about giving specific advice, as there is the very real possibility of taking the sound a step back, but I do remember sites where they discussed crossover upgrades.

One thing I might try if I had the time and energy is some experimentation. Basically, a lot of the Apogees were more or less dead shorts, especially the early ones. Could adding some resistance help out? All I can say is that I would probably do some mad scientist work, and see if that took me anywhere. Apogees are an obvious example of the designer really going all out, with absolutely no concern for the amplifier manufacturer. Thus, you need brute force solid state of the nth degree.

In the end, you may just end up where you began, so keep the original crossovers intact for referece. But, wherever your journey takes you, you still may end up ahead of all the rest of us with your fabulous speakers.

Good luck,
Trelja... Amen sir. Had the fortunate pleasure of revisiting them again last year in Korea.Mated with modern day FM Acoustics amplification[cannot remember model #'s], however it was a revelation to say the least. I actually owned a pair of Scintillas in the early 80's that blew up 3 different amplifiers in the 2 short weeks I owned them. Every amplifier would go into severe oscillation and would just simply blow up. The god awful sounding 700 watt Phase Linear [700b] lasted all of 30 seconds before it literally melted[a good thing really]. The Kenwood LO-7m's succummed whithin an hour, but the worst of it was, it took the outputs out of one of my beloved Mark Levinson ML-2 monos. I know now that I should have known better as these were only a mere 25 watt amplifier, but they could output 200 watts into a 1 ohm load. To be candid here: when driven with the ML-2's they were probably the finest speakers yours truly has ever heard in a life time of serious audio. The Gentleman I visited in Korea had them set up in large room, and is a serious collector of vinyl. He was using a Micro Seiki table[not sure of the model????] outfitted with an original sumiko 800 [the arm] and a grado statement cartridge. I was truly mesmerized!Hypmotized would be more accurate. A magical day that will remain in my memory banks forever.Baranyi.... I truly envy you sir,You are a very lucky man! Search out the proper modification advice at all cost. All the best with your endevour.
I would go with something like this digital X-over room correction device in a full tri-amp.

I am also an Apogee owner (Centaur Minors) and (Duetta Signatures).

Thanks for all the responses. I am supposed to have my Scintillas delivered on Wednesday. From there it is restoration time because most of these speakers have issues because of age. I will need to deal with ribbon replacement so I figured that while the speakers were being worked on why not inquire as to what other enhancements could be done. Many thanks for all the encouragement. Bob
I hope soon to mate the Scintillas with the Supratek Chenin. That would be some combo with a good digital amplifier to make the Scintillas sing. Bob
Baranyi. Wowza! Tell me your not tooooo excited about getting that rig up and running! Man...I have been thinking about your speakers ever since I read your thread. Bob,the Supratek is simply a no-brainer.[disclosure here.. coming from a biased owner]. As Trelja very astutely pointed out earlier in the thread....Be "very very" careful about your amplification choice.... as the impedence of those monsters get down very close to a dead short!!! You can trust him on that one and take it straight to the bank as he wasn't kidding. It is imperative the chosen amplification be extremely stable right down into a 1 ohm load,I would suspect it should also be capable of pushing some very high current as well. A word of caution here: If you intend on auditioning suitable amplication from friends, dealers or manufacturers.... It may be prudent on your behalf to disclose the fact that you are using the scintillas and that they are a very difficult load to amplify. I have zero experience with any of the new digital amps, perhaps others here will chime in.The Scintillas will eat most your typical high powered amplifiers for breakfast. Geez ....Stay the course man,it will surely be a dream come true. PS: there is another member here on the gon that uses scintills...I believe his name is muralman, you may want to do a search. Perhaps he will volunteer some of his personal experience and expertise.All the best and keep me imformed.
The Agon member who is intimately familiar with Scintillas is Muralman1.

Virtually all things relating to Apogee can be found at the following sites:

Good Luck
I have emailed Muralman1 at length and also post on the Apogee board. I thought by trying the Gon I might get a fresh perspective (which I did). Most of the people who are driving the Scintillas are now using the H20 amp which uses the Ice module. This amp is being made by a forum member Henry Ho just for the purpose of driving the most difficult Apogees. He uses Scintillas as his reference and this is the amp that I will most likely buy for this purpose. Muralman1 uses the monoblock version of this amp with amazing results. My Scintillas will be delivered tomorrow so I will be on pins and needles! I plan on visiting Henry in the next two weeks to hear what his amps can do for Scintillas. Bob
Congratulations on the new speakers, Bob!

Can you provide a little more information on the H20 amp please? Such as if Henry has a website, and what the cost of the amp is? I was presented with the opportunity to purchase a pair of Apogees over the weekend for a very reasonable price, and have been considering it, but wonder what a good partnering amplification choice would be.

Thank you,

Let us know what your opinion is on the H2O's and Henry's Scintillas. I know Muralman1 loves his and I know that he replaced Pass 600 mono's with the H2O monos....but, I am also interested in your opinion.


Try this link for some pictures.

The mono's are around $3,000 I think? Also, a search at the Apogee forum under (ICE) and or (H20) will turn up info on these new digital amps from conception to finished design.

Buy the way, what Apogee model do you have in mind?

the stereo version of the h2o is $2,000. Bob
I have used both the stereo H2O and the mono version. Both can drive the 1 ohm Scintilla to high volume.

Henry Ho is retooling now. He has found a new chasis builder that will greatly lessen his labor. This will regretably result in a several week delay in production.

Imagine, a $2k amp that never gets warm, producing the most artifact free delivery you have ever witnessed. The Scintilla's sixty feet of naked corrugated aluminum ribbon becomes the perfect transducer with the help of the H2O.

The duo is so fast, I can hear the individual violins in their orchestra section, with not a hint of smear. I truly believe the Scintilla/H2O combo is equal to the human ear's ability to discern multiple sources.

The sound? Real as your front end permits.
Hmm, I have always been more than a little curious about Apogees, but have not heard a pair in at least 10 years.

The opportunity to have a good, inexpensive amp to drive them without melting or blowing up entices me. Thanks for the information guys! From the Apogee discussion forums, there seems to also be a consensus that Class D amps, such as the recent Bel Canto products are also adept at driving the speakers. In the short term, the only amp I would have on hand to drive them would be an NAD 2600A, but I am not convinced I should chance it with that amp. It drove the pants off a pair of Acoustats 15 years ago for a long time with no problems, but I am a bit leery to try it with the Apogees.

Now, I guess I have to contact the guy who has the speakers. I'm sure my wife will be thrilled to have another pair of speakers in the house. Especially, ones this large.

Oh, and although I have looked at the website, can anyone provide an idiot's guide to the Apogee ribbons. Which models are good, and which are too be avoided. Also, does the sound tend to natural, clinical, or warm?

Thanks very much,

A link to all Apogee models

I would stay with one of the full range ribbon models..the Stage's are the smallest full ribbon model but are not really full range without their subs.

IMO, the key to buying the correct model is you listeneng room. I would not stick the huge models in a small room or the small models in a huge room. All have great bass responce and image qualities when setup properly.

For instance: My Duetta Sig's over-load my 12'X 17' living room due to placement problems...My Centaur Miners sound great in that room.

My D. Sig's sound great in my 25'X 23' dedicated room and I don't even bother to use my sub's for music as their responce is strong to 27hz. I think I could move up the line to the Diva or Scintillas in this new room without overload and would love to give it a try in the future.

As to the sound of the different models, I have not been lucky enough to hear them all. There is a list somewere on the Apogee forum put together by the members that kind of ranks the different models (some members have heard almost all).

My Duetta Sig's: Lush with great inner detail (will pick apart poorly mixed recordings). Vocals are to die for (Krell Ksa-250 amp/Audioprism Mantissa Tube pre-amp). Bass is strong (the kind you can feel). Highs have correct amount of shimmer and sparkel with the only brightness comming from bright recordings. (mostly old rock) but not ALL old rock..they will buggie on the good old stuff!

Hope this helps a little

The Scintilla 1 ohm stands alone. It has benefited the most through the use of new ICE amps. Bel Canto can't do Scintillas. t least one member I know of has sold his Evo Gen II amps in favor of H2O amps.

Divas, Duettas, and Calipers are the other big Apogees. I know I left out the Full Range. It is a special case, and is the rarest.

The Kapton backed ribbon speakers have a more in your face presetation. At 4 ohms, they are relatively easy to power. All three sound splendid, loosing just that last bit of resolution the Scintilla affords. Their bass panels go deep, and are very fast, allowing wickedly quick articulation of deep bass notes.
Are any of you on the East Coast?

I could probably give a listen to the pair this gentleman has(forget which), as he has an absolute warehouse full of great equipment. As he was running down expensive stuff, he mentioned that he has a tremendous pair of Apogees in cherry that he cannot "give away" for $1500. He said no one is interested, to which I said, I might...

The reason I have always been curious is that once I heard the new Centaurs and was totally blown away. Not sure why I didn't buy them, as they were a pretty low cost speaker. People say the "real" Apogees are even better.

This Graz fellow who makes replacement ribbons seems to produce a product far superior to the original.
Joe, which Apogee speakers are you looking at? Bob

Get with Henry (the designer of the H2O amp) he has three pair of Apogees (Scintillas, Diva, Stage). I think those are the models. He is a great guy I am told and this would give you a chance to check out the amps and three different models of Apps. He lives in Virginia I think.

Yes, Graz's ribbons are better if and when we need them.

Henry Ho does live in Virginia, near Richmond. Henry is a gracious host, and loves to share his Apogees and amps.
I am planning on visiting Henry in two weeks. I have been told that his set-up is just awesome. I can't wait to bring my family to visit where I went to college ( Richmond) wink...wink
Thanks for the information, guys! Sorry I was a bit slow to respond, I just got back from a long weekend vacation.

I am going to look into these Apogees, and hope the guys who are selling them can arrange for me to hear them in addition to seeing them. If I do end up purchasing them, it looks like Henry will be having another come to purchase his amps.

Thank you again!
If you can get which Apogees this person has then we can come up with additional information as to the price you should pay etc. for the speakers. Good luck on your Apogee hunt, it could be quite interesting. Bob
I visited Henry Ho last Tuesday to listen to his Ice module H20 amp and it drove the Scintillas without ever losing its composure. It felt like the Scintillas were an easy load for this amp! The reality of the midrange was breathtaking! My wife is even in favor of me buying his amps now that I have the speakers! Bob