Speaker Mods

Several years ago as a young struggling audiophile I bought a pair of Warfdale Diamonds. I was sceptical when I set them up, but I thought I'd give them a chance. I put an album on and listened. After only a few minutes I was ready to cry. I sold an okay pair of speakers to buy these and they sounded awful. I let them run for a while and since there was no noticeable improvement I realized I had to do something. I don't remember what the cable was anymore (this was about ten years ago) but I opened the cabinet and replaced all the wiring with either audioquest or monster cable???
When I put the speakers back on their stands the difference was unmistakeable. I did a "blindfold" trick with a friend who was also into listening. I played some familiar music for him while he couldn't see them. When he removed the blindfold he was floored that these little speakers sounded so good.
I have since moved on to bigger and better speakers and have thought about doing something with the cable but I'm worried about doing the wrong thing. When the speakers were cheap it wasn't intimidating, now it is.
Does anybody have any ideas about safe mods I could try on my Sony SS M7es speakers. They sound good now but I think they could be better.
Thanks for any insight you can offer.
I just looked at the M7 on the web. Pretty nice looking. What do you want to change about the sound of them? You can't just go happily modifiying away, without first deciding what sonic changes you are after. If you just want to do "basic" things, you could upgrade the binding posts, change out the lead-in wires from the binding posts to the crossover,and from the crossover to the drivers. Are you using the optional stands? Have you tried alternatative room placements? Or is there some deficiency that you want to improve that may require large changes? You may end up getting new speakers instead.
TWL, I should have asked you first! As soon as I saw your name I smacked myself on the forehead and said "Duh!" It sounded very hollow.
I am very happy with my speakers and I think I would have to spend a lot of money to get something appreciably better. I would like what I have to sound better. One of the obvious things was improving the cable inside. My speaker cable is Monster M2.4. I have thought about checking with them to see if this is available "bulk" and matching the interior cable to my speaker cable. Binding post are a good possibility which I hadn't considered.
I don't have the expertise to mess with crossovers or drivers and as I said I like the speakers. I just want them to sound better.
I have spent HOURS with placement and I am happy with where they are today. Who knows about tomorrow!?!
I am using a stand but not the one from the manufacturer and I am not very happy with them. Do you have a suggestion?
I'd be clueless, but there's only one of them!
Nrchy, on the website I looked at, they mentioned factory stands that put the tweeter at correct listening height. But, they didn't show a picture or price. If it were me doing the mods, I would replace whatever internal wiring you are comfortable doing, with the best sounding speaker cable you have heard for your system. I'd also get a set of Cardas speaker binding posts, which are good and not too expensive. Also, I would get a pair of Bybee Ultra Quantum Speaker Filters or Walker High-Definition Links, and put them at the end of your speaker cables, outside the cabinets, at the binding posts. This way, the Monster cables that you already have will be feeding the Bybees or Walker HDL's, and the sound will be "filtered" just prior to entering the speakers. The really good cables and Cardas posts will then be the only wire/connectors that comes into play after the signal has been improved by the Filters/Links. I added the Bybee Filters to my system and found excellent sonic improvement to my sound quality. I have heard that the Walker Links are also very good, maybe even better than the Bybees, but I haven't tried them myself. Albert uses them on his super-high-end system, so that is a good testament to their quality. The stands may or may not help things for you, since getting them up off the floor may bring the tweeter up to correct level, but it may drop off some of your bass response due to removing the floor boundary reinforcement for your woofers. It depends on how the frequency balance of your system is, at present. Generally, using on-axis tweeter position in relation to your listening position will yield better imaging, but could be problematic if the tweeter is a little harsh. If the bass is strong or even a little boomy, you could tame it by using the stands, and if the tweeter is too hot in that position, toe the speakers out a little to get the tweeters off-axis in the horizontal plane. Another thing I recently did, was to use some room treatments, such as Room Lenses, to control the sound after it leaves your speakers. Controlling first-surface reflections will improve your imaging and soundstage. There are alot of pieces to the puzzle, but these are a few that I have found worked for me.
What is the purpose of a speaker filter? I am not familiar with this product. The M 2.4 cables have something on both ends of the cable through which the cable runs. I don't know if this is some type of filter.
The speaker stands I have are slightly tipped up which I think is wrong for these speakers based on the height of the stands. I find myself sitting up very tall in the chair so as not to miss anything. I build furniture as a hobby and have considered building stands more suitable for these speakers but I'm worried about their acoustic signiture.
I've used Krell speaker cable with these also but I like the 2.4 better. Do you think I should try to obtain some on the 2.4 in bulk to rewire? I have also considered using some Cardas cable inside the speakers.
Where can I get these Bybee filter or at least get some info on them?
Nrchy, I will admit I was also questioning the usefulness of a speaker filter before I tried some. I thought it was even a silly idea. However, I found differently. In the case of the Bybees, I searched the web for info, and posted some threads here on the Cables Forum(Check archives for Bybee Filters) I got mixed reviews, but most of the people that liked them thought they were great, and the others said that they couldn't tell any difference. So, really no down side, and I decided to get a used pair for $300. It was like getting a component upgrade or new NOS tubes or something of that magnitude. As you know, I have a fairly revealing, detailed system, and if it was doing anything bad, I'd know right away. But, the best way to describe it was that everything got smoother. Edges and grain that I didn't even think were there, went away. Sibilances gone. Sharper focus. Lower noise. IMO they are worth it, and don't do any harm, just improvement. They were originally a military invention to clarify the detail in long-range underwater sonar systems. They work. Get used ones and save some money, they don't wear out. They show up on the A'gon classifieds periodically. About the stands, if you make a pair that lifts or angles the tweeter to ear height, you can get image improvements,and since you already use stands, you will not sacrifice any bass. If your bass can stand some boost, then you might consider using adjustable spikes to angle the speakers the way you want, and use the floor boundary to boost your bass response by about 3db. In either case, make sure that the speakers have a very solid and stable footing with no rocking at all. Any rocking will cause the speakers to move imperceptibly at higher volumes, causing doppler and cancellation effects primarily on the tweeter. Make sure the construction of the stands is rigid, and the stand does not protrude from the front or sides of the speaker boxes,creating an unwanted relecting surface for the sound. Keep it all under the speaker. Regarding the cables, if you like the Monster on your system, by all means stay with it, and use it inside the speakers as well. The Cardas cable you mention is also good. It is possible that making a felt ring to go around your tweeters may clean up the image even further, but your box is shaped to reduce baffle reflection already, so it may not need it. For about $1, you could buy some self stick felt, cut a properly sized ring about 1 inch wide and stick it on the box surrounding your tweeter. If it helps, great. If no difference take it off, and nothing lost.
Do you have any recommendations for sourceing the needed supplies for rewiring and getting binding posts?
Get your self a couple of sheets(24" x 27") of Black Hole 5.

Remove the drivers and and loose damping material and try
and cover the inside walls of the cabinet. It's easy,just cut, peal and stick(it has pressure sensstive adhesive).

Stay at least two inches from the rear of the drivers.
What will this accomplish?
It will greatly improve inner detail in the lower midrange & bass.

Also, don't waste time with the Bybee filters, get the Bybee
purifiers($40-$50.@) and connect them in line with the postive leads of each driver.

I recently did these mods to my seven year old pre-Talon Khorus speakers and was blown away with the improvements.

Total cost $225.00 and two hours of my time.
Kana, where did you buy the Bybee's? I would like to try them on my Dunlavys, but can't find them for less than $80 each.
I can tell you 4 reasons why I use the Bybee Ultimate Speaker Filters.

#1 - They work and sound great.

#2 - I don't have any crossover unit and there is nothing between my speaker driver leads and the Bybees except a pair of Cardas posts and 11 inches of Nordost SPM cable.

#3 - Anything that is inside the speaker cabinet is subject to far higher amounts of vibration than something outside the cabinet.

#4 - There is at least 8 times the filtering in the Ultra Filters than in a single Purifier. All Bybee users will tell you that more Bybee is better. I don't know if there is some kind of upper limit.

I can agree that when using 3 way systems such as Nrchy, it may be advantageous to place the purifiers after the crossover, at the drivers. However, he expressed trepidation about going into too much "surgery" inside the box. And the caveats above still apply about the vibration, and the smaller amout of filtering. I would add a warning about changing the stuffing of the cabinet, that it could change system Q and result in an unknown sonic difference, that may be better, or worse. If much internal surgery is now up for discussion, high quality caps, chokes, and wire in the crossover networks is in order as well as possibly wider spacing between chokes and other field-sensitive devices. Brass screws on the crossover mounting could also yield improvements, and even relocating the crossover to outside the box has been known to cause improvements due to lessening the vibration on the network. Damping driver baskets can help. Redesigning the crossover for bi-wiring or tri-wiring may help, if you know what you're doing. Even eliminating the crossover altogether, and using active electronic crossovers and tri-amping is an option. How far do you want to go?
Pilar- got my purifers from a friend. I think they cost the
dealers $40.@. Check Bybee's website, maybe some of the modifiers listed will cut you a better deal.

Twl- Haven't heard the Bybee filters, but I'm sure they sound great. Don't know if I buy the argument that more
filtering is better. I purchased the Bybees purifiers based on the concept that they improve the energy tranfer between components.

Agree there's a potential for vibration when
mounted inside the cabinet, but if installed properly, I doubt it would cause anymore problems than the wiring leading from your drivers to the Cardas post. I made sure
the purifiers were supported and clear of the backwave
of the woofers when I did my installation.

Also, agree that external crossovers or electronic crossovers are a path worth following.

I was most surprised by the improvements from the Blackhole 5, since my speakers cabinets were well made with lots of internal bracing.

Amazing how all these little add up.