Will I notice improvement with crossover mods?

I've finally discovered that the difference in sound between my two Hales Transcendence 5"s is due to a difference in crossover values between the two speakers. Aparently one of the speakers was at the correct values but the other speaker's crossover was off by over 10%. I've decided to repair the speakers by having both the crossovers completely redone with new caps, coils and resisters. The crossovers of both speakers will be upgraded to better parts and they will be the same correct values(evenly matched).
My question is that will I notice a big improvement with this upgrade/mod? I am having Solen foil caps replacing the old caps, Hepta- Litz coils replacing the old coils and improved resistors although I do not know exactly which ones. Opinion would be appreciated.
4f75a9ec 6187 4e7c bbd5 464d93b71010mitchb
I should note that the design of the Hales crossovers will remain the same and the values will be as Hales intended. The only difference is that the parts will be better and will be matched to each other between the two speakers. The Hales design will remain the same.
If you have $$,try Mundorf Supreme Silver Caps !

Good luck !
Hello Mitchb..I am no expert but you should hear a difference. I strongly suggest using better caps than Solens on the tweeter/midrange section of the crossover.IMHO the Solens are fine on the bass section.If your going to do it right... put the best caps you can afford in the midrange/tweeter area. Maybe if you can swing it try some Mundorf Supremes.These caps are used in Audiodata, Audio Physiks, Avangarde Acoustic, Burmester, German Physiks, Hedler & Hoffmann, Magnat, Outsider, PHL, Sehring,Verity Audio, Symphonic Line, Trenner & Friedel. Also a lower grade version of the Supreme is used in the Sonus Fabers! So these caps are the real deal! Also if you can swing the Mundorf Silver PIOs,these are are the top of the line Mundorf caps..the Supremes are no slouches thou.Just to give you an idea the Sonus Fabers Cremonas floorstanders($8000.00) a pair use the Mundorfs 4 th best capacitor..the Supremes and Silvers are number 1 and 2 on the list!

Make sure your resistors are non inductive and spec within 1 % of each other. Here's a review of a few caps. The Crescendo and Sonic Caps are also very good! At the moment I am using a mixture of all these caps except the Mundorf Silvers.

Your responses appear to open a whole new can of worms but I am limited for now with the caps that the speaker componay I am using uses. However I can always play and experiment in the future should the mood move me. Are the caps I'm getting decent at least? There all I can get for now. Thanks
The Solens are going to sound a tad bit harsh on the tweeters.If it were me that speaker company would have to get me the Mundorfs! If your paying to have this done at least see if you can order those parts and let them install them for you. I sure hate to see you waste your money.But if that's the best you can do I understand. In the back of your mind ..you will be haunted and wondering how much better those speakers can sound! Are your upgrades being done locally?
My speakers are being done locally in Vancouver Canada and I suppose I could ask for the Mundorf caps as they probably haven't ordered the Solens yet but how much are they and which ones would be best?. Apparently my crossovers take about 14 caps each and I'd need to know which would require the better caps. I shall ask about the Mundorfs but if they are very pricy I may not be able to swing it. Thanks
Mitchb please keep us informed on how it turns out! I am rather familiar with the sound of the transendents.
My understanding of crossovers is that its much an artform as anything. I am really wondering if your goal can be successfully pulled of to sound "excellent"! I am under the impression that it's very easy to screw crossovers up. I also wonder if simply using good parts with the same values will give you the proper sound still.
Maybe my understanding is wrong.
Either way, please up date us on the results and definite parts used!
I have long thought of trying to do upgraded crossovers for many a cheaper speaker desing, to see if it would improve sound quality. Maybe your results(be honest) will give me hope and inspiration for my ideas. Thx and good luck
I am one of the biggest proponent of loudspeaker crossover improvements on Audiogon, but like spices in cooking, care needs to be exercised.

Finding good resistors, such as Mills or Ohmite, will always pay dividends in the treble. You really cannot go wrong here, as getting a good resistor, as opposed to those used in almost all speakers, will smooth out the response while allowing more information to flow through at the same time. The effects are such that it is the best upgrade you can make valuewise to a crossover.

Likewise, better coils always improve things. The key is to go to coils with better copper and a larger guage. The impact and slam jumps up, but what I hear and is not normally noted is that the sound just plain opens up. It's hard to describe, but it feels as if you have just gotten a much better loudspeaker.

Now capacitors, here we can understand why many people will advise you to just leave well enough alone. You have to be very careful with your choice in capacitors, as the wrong one will ruin the sound of your loudspeakers. The biggest danger is that many of the "good" capacitors can bleach out the sound and turn it harsh. They can lay bare and bring out a lot of the nasties in a system. Capacitors should always be used to balance things. Going for a better cap can often bring about the opposite of improvements.

My advice when it comes to caps is to analyze what kind of sound you are getting from the speakers now, and which direction you go in. If you are trying to back a speaker off from being upfront, most West Coast caps are not the place to look. As an everyday cap, which will almost never get you in trouble Solen/SCR/AXON caps are wonderful. Above that, AuriCaps, DynamiCaps, and North Creek's caps are superior, depending on the sound you are aiming for, but the costs jump up considerably.

I have never heard of Mundorf prior to here on Audiogon this weekend, but it seems as if they have their followers here in this thread. Maybe they are also that good?

Here's the site Mitchb http://www.e-speakers.com/products/mundorf.html
You can order them yourself. As I said before to save money use the Solens on the Bass section of the crossover if needed.If the Mundorfs get too pricey my next choice would be Sonic Caps http://www.soniccraft.com/parts/capacitors.htm
These caps are large so there maybe be a problem fitting them on the original crossover board..not sure of this though. The Sonics are no slouches either! These caps are used in the famous Green Mountain Audio speakers and they have a very natural and open sound. There are plenty of others out there as well some more expensive and some cheaper.

Good Luck!
Great advice Trelja!! I wanted to mention the inductors.But I didn't want to confuse Mitchb anymore than I have already! LOL
Thanks for all your advice. I am researching the availability of different caps through the shop where my speakers are at. I may go with the Solen parts as they are easily available but I will wait and see what the technician has to say about his availability for better parts. How are the Solen Hepta-Litz coils, Solen foil caps and their best resistors? Thanks again
So now I am waiting for the return of my speakers with Mundorf Supreme Silver/Oil caps all around, Mundorf Zero Ohm coils and MR10 non inductive metal oxide resistors. It will be interesting to hear how my Hales will sound with these moves. As they were always different sounding from each other due to one of the crossovers not being correct, I'm sure I will enjoy the sound. As well I have my Pass X250 being looked at by Pass Labs as the right and left channels sounded different from each other as well. If the speakers weren't enough I had an amp problem as well just to confuse the issue.At least all is being taken care of at the same time and I won't have to have my system down much longer than necessary. Thanks for eveyones advice as I'm sure I'll get a better loudspeaker returned than I sent out
Mundorf makes excellent components. You will hear the generic "sound" of your speaker design much better now, and clarity should be improved. Allow the coils some (break-in) time before passing judgement, however.
Mitchb send me an addrees so I can ship you a pillow.That way you won't hurt your jaw after it drops to the floor!
Let us know how it turns out.

Happy Listening!
Seems like capacitors are a can of worms! I decided on Hovland musicaps for my MG1.6 partly because they were of smaller diameter and greater length so that they fit nicely into the crossover cavity. I am happy with them.

One way to avoid the capacitor can of worms is to use a parallel inductor instead of a series capacitor. "Look Mom, no capacitors!" I saw a comment on AA describing such a crossover, with favorable comment.

Does anyone here care to comment?
For sure you will hear noticable inprovement with crossover mods!
By the way, the best quality parts cost for MG1.6 inductive high pass filter is about $25. My parts cost for the equivalent capacitive version was $105. Interesting. I may try one and see how it sounds.
Hey Eldartford did you check the prices of those zero ohm inductors? Man.. I just about fell off the couch! I think I will keep my Danish made copper foil air inductors for now! I thought mine were a little expensive... until I checked the same value Mundorfs which cost 4 times as much!
Gmood1, I may be paying quite a bit less than the price you said each one was previously so if ever your interested I may have a decent connection for Mundorf parts. They still are pricy regardless. Thanks again for your help.
Cool Mitchb ..we will have to talk my friend ! I am as excited about your upgrades as you are! I still plan on ordering some of those Silver PIO caps to go along with the Supremes I already have. I look forward to your update.
Gmood1...It's not clear to me that a zero ohm coil would differ significanly from a 0.05ohm coil. Too much of a good thing. I assume that the zero ohm coil can be purchased with Confederate dollars.

The prices on Mundorf components do not seem out of line for this kind of stuff (which is probably overpriced everywhere). I paid more for my Caps (Hovland) and for my coils (North Creek). So, of course, they must be better :)

The inductive high pass filter can be visualized as a second order filter (series cap and parallel inductor) with the cap replaced by a resistor on the order of 4 ohms. The resistor needs to be rated at 20 watts or more, because it will take the LF power. Another way to look at the filter is as a series crossover, with the woofer replaced by the resistor. The drawback of this configuration is that amplifier power is "wasted" heating up a resistor, but watts are cheap these days. The inductive high pass filter might be a good choice for protecting the tweeter in a biamp setup, where power amp gain would be easy to adjust to account for the 6 dB lost in the resistor. Also, with the amp being driven with the HF signal from an electronic crossover, there would be little LF power to be absorbed by the resistor.
anyone know of source for cross-x mod for aerial 10-t.thanks,bill.
I am anxious to hear the reactions of the crossover mods.

However, instead of raisin the issue of the coils, I would like to caution that capacitors often need a long time to break in. Sometimes, there will be a lot of disappointment, but after a month, the sound is great. Please have patience.
Eldartford ..it looks like they use a different type of measuremnt for the zero ohm coils. I know you use 8 or 10 awg wire wound coils which are expensive. Not sure of the awg with the zero ohm coils... since they don't give any on the site..at least not in english .I am going by the values I used 12 awg copper foil inductors at 3.30 mh on the bass panels. The Denmark made Jantzen cross coils cost roughly $31.00 a piece. The zero ohm coil of the same value is $127.00 a piece. As far as caps go I think Audio Note is probably the most expensive. But this doesn't mean much since the less expensive Mundorf Supremes actually sounded better than the Northcreek Crescendos they replaced in my speakers. The Crescendos are reversable and the sound changes depending on which lead is used as the input.I still found this cap to have a loudness control built in as the reviewer did Capacitor review.When reversed the sound became a little dull and the air diminished to a degree.

The inductive high pass filter sounds interesting.Where did you find the information on this configuration?

Trelja ..roughly how many hours in your experience is the burn in on new coils and capacitors? I know some don't believe in this..just like they think all capacitors sound the same.Hearing is believing though. I think only a deaf person could argue they sound the same!

Bill with a schematic of the crossovers you can get your values. Not sure of the parts quality in your speakers. The easiest way to find out is to open them up. I am sure you can upgrade the parts quality and hear a noticeable improvement without changing the original crossover specs.

You have plenty of places to order parts from thats for sure. I couldn't find what I wanted at one site so I ordered from 4 different websites.
Gmood1, What are the Mundorf PIO's. I am getting the Mundorf Supreme silver/oil caps. I thought these were the top ones. Are the PIO the same thing or are they one step up or down?
Mitchb.. they are the same, PIO stands for Paper in Oil. The caps you have ordered are Silver PIO Mundorf Supremes.The next stepdown are the Mundorfs Supreme Mcap,3rd are Mundorf Mcap-Zn and 4th on the list are the original M-caps(the primary caps used in Sonus Fabers).
Gmood1...The 3.0mH inductors from North Creek AWG10, DCR=0.17 (which I used) go for $74 each. AWG 8, DCR= 0.1 at $127 was too rich for me.

The stuff about inductive high pass filtering was on the Audioasylum Planar forum, a posting about MMG.

The zero ohm coils may use quite small wire as they appear to use some type of magnetic core material.

The Jantzen inductors tempted me, but in the end I was swayed by Magneplanar's (and others) recommendation to avoid foils.
If I do make an inductive high pass filter for evaluation I think that foils, probably Jantzen would be appropriate.
I hear ya Eldartford..that's one reason I went with the Jantzen copper foil inductors. They are reasonably priced and claim to have almost zero FM distortion. They really opened up the Magnepans. It's tough to compare the stock Magnepan inductors which weigh maybe 14 ounces together..two for each speaker.To the Jantzens copper foils of the same value that weigh over 6 lbs ! Huge difference in weight and sound!
After all said and done I'm getting Dynamicaps for the tweeter/midrange and solen and Axon for the bass. I'm getting Alpha Core coils all around with different gauges 12 ga for the bass 14ga for the midrange and 16ga for the tweeter. I'll be using Mills resistors all around and will be rewiring the speakers with Cardas chasis cable of three different gauges to each driver.I went this direction as the parts are known to be of good quality and I'll have them in two days and I should have my speakers back in my living room hopefully within the next week. The Mundorfs were only available in two weeks and there would have been a week of shipping. I couldn't wait any longer. The Sonicaps were considered but would have also been a several week wait. I'm sure I did OK. The one thing I am doing at the reccommendation of someone is putting single caps of a value where possible as opposed to cascaded caps of lower values. This is only done in a few places and was highly reccommened by Michael Percy who is where I am getting my parts from and I get the impression he really knows his stuff. Jeff at Sonicraft is brilliant and had terrific Ideas most of which I didn't fully understand but he knows his stuff. Unfortunately the wait. As for all you Americans, Andre at e-speakers is a really nice and helpful guy but is no longer distributing to Canada as Canada has it's own distributor now being Audyio Sound in Canada and they were extremely helpful as well but once again the dreaded wait.The website for Audyio is www.audyio.com They are online dealers of audio parts with Mundorf soon in Canada.
I should note that the Canadian on line dealer is www.audiyo.com I miswrote.
I got my speakers back today and at the advice not taken by an expert I decided to give listen immediatelty. I was told to wait a few days before even listening but I found that impossible to do. It worked!!! The sound is different and I'm sure will be way better than the origional crossovers in a few days to a few weeks. Already with only five hours play(and everything including the chasis wire was replaced)the speakers sound pretty good. They have a bigger sound with more bass(not boomy)nice mids and the tweeters are getting smoother by the minute but they were not harsh to begin with. Overall I'm excited and I know the speakers will sound awesome when the parts are broken in as the speakers sound good already. I was nervous by reading another post on Audiogon where people said crossover mods were huge mistakes in their opinions. In my case my only regret was being without my speakers for 3 months,3 weeks,1 day and 7 hours. Not that I was counting.
In my case I believe this move to be successful but time will tell how they finally will sound. I'm convinced I will be further impressed as time goes on. It was not an inexpensive procedure however costing about $1200 with the labor. The parts were about $800. I wanted a new speaker without taking a loss on selling my Hales and not having enough money to buy even as good a speaker. This way I think I kinda get the best of both worlds.
Good for you!
BTW, at $800, that's one expensive set of x-overs -- OTOH, it should allow you to get the best out of the drivers & cabinet design..

I am glad you went for the DynamiCaps and Axon/Solen. You are getting great value there. The bigger coils are important in opening up the sound and what you noticing in the bass. The resistors remove the grain and edge from the sound, and leave a detailed, airy, silky sound.

If you are happy now, that is a great sign. Things will only continue to improve over the next couple of months. I think the first 25 hours are when a lot happens. The sound should open up and become more dynamic/exciting. You will most notice this in detail and high frequency extension. I take it you also replaced the speaker's internal cabling, and that needs a while to open up.

I think what you will hear and feel is a gradual, very subtle improvement that seems to manifest itself in late night sessions where you just look up and are getting great sound. During these times of great happiness, your memory might go back to the speaker mods, and then you will again feel how much it was worth it.
I am also very glad to see you move into the next stage of this hobby my friend. It is fun to hear the difference in the crossover components themselves.As the months pass you will scratch your head and wonder what took you so long to take that step.You have also opened up a can of worms. Now every time you listen to a pair of speakers.You will ask yourself ... what can I change in this speaker to fit my needs? LOL

All the Best!!
Thanks for all your well wishes. The speakers really are sounding better by the minute and I've only had them plugged in for about 24 hours. I have a lot to look forward to. I'm replacing the tweeters to a pair that I know will work well as the person at Pass Labs who designed my X250 amp had a pair of Hales just like mine and he used the tweeters I am getting to replace the ones I've got now. The main reason for this move is that my tweeters are inbalanced. When I first got my Hales new they had a dent in one of the tweeters domes and Hales replaced the entire tweeter driver. The tweeters never since then sounded the same as each other. I tried changing both the voice coils and the problem remained, I then decided it must be a crossover issue which started this whole crossover upgrade idea and know although sounding better the tweeters are the same amount different than before the crossover mod. By process of elimination it must be the tweeter driver as every other variable has been explored and taken care of. At least I have a better speaker in return for my efforts and the Seas H881 are supposed to be really nice with the Hales.
Thanks again for all your inputs as it has helped me get a better speaker. I'll post again in a few weeks to let you all know how they sound with a bit of burn in time.
Keep in mind that there's a plethora of good tweets out there that COULD be near drop-in replacements. All you need is the impedance curve & efficiency of your present tweets (choose the one that sounds "better", obviously there are discrepancies there) OR, simply, the efficiency of the mid-driver. You also need the x-over frequency, but you've got that anyway. Scanspeak, Vifa (T series), the bigger Seas, Hiquphon, Morel 33...
Gregm, I was going to suggest the same thing. Although, the Hiquphons are smaller than most, and will not drop right in.

I would suggest the Vifa Ring Radiator. At $65 it is a steal, our speaker designer at Fried likes it better than the much more expensive ScanSpeak Revelator at the same company. I have the Revelator now in my Coincidents, but will say upon hearing the RingRadiator, it sounds very special.
The tweeters I've ordered are the Seas H881 which I hear from a good source are supposed to match well with my speakers. Of course they are only a $28 tweeter but they are supposed to be OK for the Hales. I heard from a designer who had the same Hales T5's as me that he used the H881's with great success but went to the millenium series. He said the H881 tweeters were actually close to what he ended up using. I suppose I could spend hundreds on tweeters but I thought I'd try comparible (price wise) tweeters to the ones that came with the Hales. I'm going
to crimp the tweeter leads so that if I want to return the tweeters and go for something else I can. I'm leaving my options open. I hope the Seas H881's will do the trick as I don't want to start spending tons of money on tweeters.If anyone has advice regarding my current excersise please let me know.
Thanks again,
The H881 did not fit in my Hales so I decided to order the Seas Millenium as they are the correct size(110.4mm) to fit my Hales and they are supposed to be quite good. They are costly however. As I crimped the leads to my tweeters I can always try the Millenium and if they don't work for me I can always return them.I was told by someone who did what I'm about to do with my tweeters but he said he removed the .33 ohm resistance in the tweeter area. I hope it will not be neccessary for me to do the same as it would be a real job to open up my Hales to get back at the crossovers.
Will Martin-Logan Ascent i benefit as well?
1000 hours play on my Hales with the crossover mods with about 300 hours on the Millenium tweeters I installed and the speakers are sounding very very good. I'm blown away actually. I never thought the results would be as positive as they are. The speakers have an entirely new sound which I love. There is more bottom end without boominess, the midrange is sounding sweet and the new tweeter gives the speaker a whole different type of sound which is extremely pleasing. The tweeters are very detailed but lack the slight harshness of the Hales stock tweeters. The Millenium tweeters are much better sounding and they change the entire sound of the whole speaker. I never realised just how much the tweeters affect the bass response but it does. The bass is now different but in a pleasing way. All in all I must say I do not regret the crossover mods or tweeter upgrade in any way. I have a much much better speaker in return and it seems as if they are getting better daily!! I'm having fun. My wife misses me however but she knows where to find me.
I should add that the Millenium dropped in nicely without having to change my modified crossovers. I didn't even need to remove the 0.33 ohm resistance in the tweeter section. It was as easy as installing a tweeter that fit in nicely.
Mitch just let me know when you get tired of them. I will gladly take them off your hands.LOL

I am sure your wife will thank me!
"anyone know of source for cross-x mod for aerial 10-t.thanks,bill."

Bill, I just bought an Aerial CC3B. I'm an incorrigible tweak and e-mailed Aerial for info in the crossover.

If the 10-T's crossover is as complex as the CC3B's, it's complex indeed. All 4 filters are 3rd order and there's at least one tuning circuit in the midrange. Aerial told me they've been using the Axon polypropylenes forever in their crossovers, and they're not bad-sounding at all. My crossover has 6 Axons on it, 3 33s, a 12, a 4.7, and a 3uF. The 3 and 4.7 are series caps for the tweeter, and I've replaced them with auricaps. I bypassed the 2 33uF midrange-series caps (with good caps I already had) but probably I won't replace them. Mine is full of Bennic-brand resistors and as soon as I'm satisfied about identifying them, I'll be replacing some of them.

I THINK my CC3B sounds a little cleaner, but my aural memory is very short--I have trouble identifying some differences in immediate A/B comparisons.

Are your 10-Ts early or late? I understand the 10Ts were upgraded seriously during their lifetime.
I'm glad to hear that you're still "foaming at the mouth" over your "new" speakers Mitch. Given that you started off with what most would consider "better than most" passive parts in your speaker, can you even begin to fathom how some older but very well designed speakers using lower grade wiring, electrolytic caps, scrawny inductors, etc... would benefit from such an approach? This is why i've encouraged others to find good basic designs and build upon what was already there, much like what you did. With designs that are even older than yours, the results can be even more drastic and staggering in terms of improvements. Sean
Well, I am not one to usually say "I told you so", but in this case, that tweeter NEEDED to go. Personally, I am of the opinion that the tweeter change should have happened prior to the crossover mods, but Sean will probably disagree. Fair enough...

As the Hales have a really good cabinet and woofer, with your crossover mods and tweeter upgrade, you now have a speaker that competes on a VERY high level, at a cost that would NEVER allow you to play in that ballpark otherwise.

All I can say to everyone is that if you have a pair of 7 - 15 year old speakers with this kind of potential and do not follow in Mitch's footsteps but "upgrade" instead, you are going to cost yourself A LOT more money and get LESS performance in the end.
sean...I did outfit my speakers with AWG10 coils and fancy capacitors and I do think that performance improved, although I can't say that the slight change I made to the component values (crossover frequency) might not be the reason.

However, do you have any technical explanation regarding WHY a coil with 0.15 ohm DCR should sound different from one with DCR 0.65, apart from slightly less attenuation (so that the volume control needs to be cranked up a bit)? It's been noted that after passing through the coil, the signal traverses some hundred feet of very fine wire called a voice coil (or in my case fine wire glued to a mylar diaphram). Why does the DCR of the coil matter?
If you want to make the stage blacker, quieter and have the music arrive noise free and I believe everyone does, then the most over looked, easiest, most cost effective ,and most fullfilling crossover mod is to replace the resistors.. They are the lowest of the low when engineered even into some of the finest speakers on the market..Many designers turn a deaf ear to the device that is the noisest in the circuit...the resistors..Tom
I agree ..from my limited experience the resistors really make a positive difference.Mills and Ohmite resistors are both terrific replacements for the basic sandcast resistors found in a lot of speakers.
Eldartford, while I don't know if a bigger coil, with its lower DCR, "measures" better, I do know that they seem to do magical things with the sound. Most people focus on the slam a bigger or better coil can produce, but the thing I hear even above that is that the sound just plain "opens up" when upgrades their inductors. It is beyond significant, and sometimes can be breathtaking.