upgrade some other part of your system instead, changing the speakers is a long shot to better sound, and will destroy the resale. Better front end or improvements in other areas will make the speakers sound better.
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These ARE great speakers. I am not the original owner, but have owned them for about two years. I upgraded the binding posts, only because the crappy plastic ones they use had become stripped. When I had them changed out, I saw that the internal wiring is nothing special, but I didn't want to mess with it.
Anything that is done to them is going to change their character, and maybe disturb the inherent design. The only thing I would consider is the wiring and binding posts. Sometimes I think that something other than a metal dome tweeter might smooth out the highs a bit, but I'm using Walkier High Definition links, and they seem to help.
I spoke with Mark (I'm pretty sure that is his name) at Snell in tech support. He has these B Minors, and could have anything he wants. That says something.
I owned Snell tpye B's and I agree, they sound super. In fact, the Best sound I ever heard came from the Type B's.
My system at the time consisted of Krell KPS 20i CD player;
Threshold T2 preamp; T400 amp and all Transparent Reference
cabling. Just marvelous! The Threshold amps kept breaking
and one time fried all the drivers in one speaker. Threshold paid for the repair at the time. Also, the Krell
needed to go back to service more than I liked. The McCormack DNA2 Deluxe is a nice match ( and it doesn't break!} Joe
Everyone forgot one possibility, the strongest one - upgraded crossover parts. Don't even think about changing any of the drivers. You will destroy the speaker. But upgraded coils, caps and resistors will make a substantial improvement. If you can get the crossovers out without doing any damage, ship 'em off to me, and in a week you'll have them back, and you'll hear greater liquidity, bass definition, and way less treble grain.
Hope you can excuse my crashing the party, but I used to sell at a shop (in the early-mid 90's) that handled these speakers, and never cottoned to their sound. To me, they sounded excessively bass-heavy, slow, colored in the mids, closed-in on top, and lacking in transparency and coherence. They also stuck me as being too big for the volume levels they were capable of delivering comfortably. (Just for the record, I did not feel that way about the less ambitious and smaller D, E, and K models, which I thought were outstandingly natural and musical for their respective modest price ranges - a paradox that only contributed to my disappointment with the larger Snells, not including the very fine A.) Obviously, not everyone will agree with that assessment, but to me, if you have the itch to make an improvement, I'd start by auditioning some newer speaker alternatives.
Lneilb: I can see that being true for many users, as the big A was difficult to set up optimally or even find an appropriate home for (something that can often apply to large flagship efforts). I agree with your take on the C/V: nice try, no cigar. On the other hand, those smaller 90's-vintage Snells would be a steal today for anyone looking used in their catagories, probably fully competitive with anything else available at similar prices - easy to drive, too.
I do crossover and electronics upgrades as a business. That's a great pic of your crossover, and it's nicely laid out, with SOME good parts. But there are at least 27 components that I have counted in that picture that could be upgraded. That would probably be overkill, but at least 12 of them would make a substantial improvement.
My original Snell B's also have the plastic binding posts. About 2 years ago I had the woofers die in one of my speakers. I couldn't afford to fork over the $300 or so per weighted woofer that Snell charged so went with the equivalent Vifa woofer that had the same mounting pattern. I moved the front woofer from the good speaker to the back of the bad one and then used both new drivers in the front.
While I was at it, I noticed that the caps used were pretty low-end. I tested them and found there was about a 12% difference in value between the left and right speakers. I ended up replacing them with slightly better caps (can't remember which but they were a few dollars each) that were matched to within 1%.
Long story short, the speakers sounded just fine after my "experiment" (bass was about the same but the mids were slightly clearer) Better caps will definitely help you get another few % of performance out of the speaker.
Best of luck.
Julian: Great post! Yes, I know that one of the biggest offending area's in "high end" speaker design is what you "cant see", the crossover boards and their components. Im actually tearing one of my Salon's down to the bare components to have crossover boards upgraded. As good as the Salon's are in my opinion, there is still a few small area's for improvement. The drivers(especially the midrange) and cabinet are top notch, but from the conversation the crossovers still have some room for improvement.