Reference 3A upgrades!

Posting this as both a thank you to Mr. Tash and as information for anyone who’s contemplating upgrading their Reference 3A’s. I just received back my Royal Virtuoso monitors with every viable upgrade option and what I have here before me is a VAST improvement over the original. I’m running them 24/7 to break in, the beryllium tweeter is pretty badass, superb definition with apparently zero fatigue. Communication was good and turnaround time was about 2 weeks after all the options were decided. Bonus points to Tash for tolerating my relentless questions. Exemplary customer service from Divergent Technologies, I couldn’t be more satisfied.

Here’s the work order:

  • Larger bucking-magnets added to the existing magnets.
  • Solid Delrin acoustic lenses are installed to the core of the driver magnet.
  • New set of multiple KPM polypropylene capacitors in parallel, with a Mundorf oil and small Teflon by pass capacitors installed.

This replaces existing old paper in oil capacitors (also excellent but a little too slow for the new beryllium dome tweeters).    

  • Heavy steel tension rods are installed across the cabinet and new more effective  acoustic materials added inside.
  • Gold plated copper binding posts are installed replacing the old connectors.
  • Beryllium dome tweeters with microfiber textile material clad flanges installed.
  • New shorting jumpers made of 7Ns pure OCC copper/Teflon conductor will be supplied.
  • Soft brass screws are used for mounting the drivers.
  • Rearranged the mechanical grounding of the main drivers to accommodate the bucking magnets.
  • Special heavy gauge OFC Litz and thiner pure 7Ns copper OCC/Teflon tweeter  wires are used to rewire the speakers.
  • Damaged speaker grill repaired inc new fabric.




$980 total of which, $489 for the Beryllium tweeter job…shipping was a separate unavoidable expense. Each speaker fits into it’s own aluminum flight case, round trip total NY to Canada and back was close to $600. Brutal 😫

Ouch on the shipping charge. But,what is one to do?  Sounds like you have yourself new speakers for $1000.  Sounds very reasonable.  

Shipping cost notwithstanding, the upgrade cost appears to be more than reasonable.

Congrats. Reference 3a makes a fine speaker. I owned the Grand Veenas two separate times. Excellent sound.



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Many of the upgrades used on the RV were developed for the limited edition 40th Anniversary de Capo Be speakers.  

@testpilot Before obtaining the RV I had looked for a set of the 40th, not an easy find. Understandably so.

Hey @j1ny, I also had my Royal Virtuoso’s upgraded by Tash at around the same time. I do believe that the Royal Virtuoso is one of the most criminally underrated speakers out there.

There we’re a few important differences- I did not opt for the tweeter upgrade as there are many who like the new beryllium tweeter but some that do not.

I did not opt for the tweeter upgrade, but did everything else, even though I am highly suspicious that whatever internal copper wiring they are using now is going to to be better than the original Van Den Hul monocrystal silver wiring.

I will say that these speakers post-upgrade seemed significantly faster than before. They also clearly had more resolution than pre-upgrade. My upgrades were also quite affordable. To me this is one of the biggest bargains in audio.

The one issue I will warn about- the solid core copper wiring they are now using internally started to rattle audibly at low frequency. This is an unacceptable side-effect and needs to be addressed.

I will be sending in a pair of Reference 3A La Suprema II’s for upgrades, but I won’t be messing with the tweeter or the internal wiring.

That sounds like a great deal to me. Good to know of other manufacturers that offer these services! Enjoy!

@theedge I’ve been throughly enjoying the Royals. I currently have a Rel S510 with them and it’s a fantastic pairing. The imaging and soundstage is amazing and the beryllium tweeter is completely non-fatiguing. Thankfully I’ve not had any issues with mine. In regards to the wiring, I was looking at the work order and it states:

Internal Wiring- High Purity 6N OCC copper with Teflon Dielectric, continuous cast single crystal cryo treated. Appropriate  thickness of wires used for each driver.

It’s such a great speaker, I’m glad you are enjoying yours.

I ended up trading the RV’s toward a pair of La Suprema II’s and I really do think the Royal Virtuoso’s with the upgrades are very compelling compared to the stock La Suprema II.

I’m hoping to be able to do an extended head to head comparison at my place soon. If and when it happens, I will report back.

@theedge Wow! Didn’t know about the La Suprema II, are they RV’s on top of a Bass module? 

Sorry I took a while to reply.

The La Suprema II is basically the Royal Master (Corian sides) sitting on top of twin unpowered subwoofers.

It takes some extra power to drive these of course, but you get additional bass. As my room is large, it is appreciated.

They were made in the late 90's in Switzerland by Daniel Dehay, before the company was sold to Tash and moved to Kitchener, Ontario.

Very musical speakers. In comparison (not head to head), I think that post-upgrade the Royal Virtuoso's had more speed, finesse and resolution than the stock Suprema II's, which is high praise as the Suprema is excellent.

There is something very special about the Royal Virtuoso cabinet.


Thanks for your thoughts. The RV full Corian cabinets are incredibly inert, the only issue is maintenance. While polishing the speakers one day I noticed that the l left speaker had a verrry fine hairline crack running right along side the top edge of the cabinet. I had a couple of Corian fabricators take a look them. They told me that repairing a structural crack requires routing out a channel and re-filling it with a composite ($$$). Thankfully the hairline is only cosmetic and could be sealed with a Corian epoxy (a rather expensive and difficult to find epoxy) to prevent it from spreading. When the speakers went to Divergent for upgrade, I had Tash inspect the cabinets and he verified that they were fine. Btw, Divergent does not stock replacement Corian cabinets so ownership runs the risk of a costly repair if ever needed. Anyway, I’m still fascinated by the RV’s luxurious sound and their ability to completely vanish from the room regardless of the recording…magnificent.


Where are you sending your Ref 3a speakers to upgrade...I have never heard it is  possible to upgrade  my Royal Virtuoso, but I am interested in it also and I am living in Finland. I bought mine 2004 and still love those like very first day.