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#77490 - 02/04/05 05:41 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
alex Offline

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 6
Thanks for the more comprehensive explanation on the DBX. Rives Audio has a similar system (PARC) to flatten the low frequency response. However, they strongly recommend to first try and correct the problem by experimenting with room placement. The 80 Hz peak I was seeing in my setup was caused by a room mode and it got remedied by moving the speakers 2’ from the rear wall, as opposed to the original distance of 13”.

From what I’ve read, the M80’s seem to be brighter and more difficult with placement than the M60’s. Although I also prefer speakers that are more on the bright/revealing side (having loved NHT 3.3’s and 2.9’s I auditioned in the late 90’s), sibilant/fatiguing is another thing. I found that the resistors lowered the level of the tweeters without really getting rid of the sibilant ssss’ which the wool felt taped to the tweeter mounting plate did a better job with (I use both).

I know that some of the sibilance is also due to the CD changer which is currently the weakest link of the system. On that note I’d like to mention that the Sony CDP-CX455 400 disk changer sounds better than the CDP-CX355 300 disk changer (I have both). This surprised me because I thought that both being current models of the same line would only differ in capacity. I originally tried to attack the sibilance issue by using an external DAC (I tried the Musical Fidelity A324) connected via optical cable. Although the highs sounded better through the external DAC, the fact that we have 3 CD changers meant that we also needed an optical switch to connect them all to the DAC. Unfortunately, through the optical switch the sound was degraded and virtually negated the advantage of having an external DAC. I know what you might think: optical cables/switches only transmit 0’s and 1’s in the form of light pulses, how can they have an adverse effect on the sound? Well, hearing is believing, so we couldn’t justify the $750 price tag of the DAC and it went back. Then I read on these boards about the resistors… This audiophile stuff is such a vice! I’m not even claiming to be one but the bug has bit me.

#77491 - 02/04/05 06:26 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18030
Loc: NoVA
Sorry, dude, if you're using an outboard DAC, you're an audiophile.
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

#77492 - 02/04/05 06:43 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
Wid Offline

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6776
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Well I'm not so sure about that.I use a Msb Link Dac3 and don't consider myself an audiophile,I just really like music.It's just a nice piece of equipment that I like.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud

#77493 - 02/04/05 06:45 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16418
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
The tem means diffent things to different people. Many BOSE owners would consider themselves audiophiles, but we know better.
I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

#77494 - 02/04/05 06:48 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
Wid Offline

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6776
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
That's a good way to look at it.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud

#77495 - 02/04/05 08:29 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
mwc Offline

Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 958
Loc: Texas(DFW)..that country to th...
I had a Link DAC2 that I recently sold. I did enjoy it too. Besides delivering the goods, it made a fine component platform.
*Does your train of thought have a caboose?*

#77496 - 02/05/05 07:04 PM Re: sibilance: Resistors, felt, SPL meter
asher770 Offline

Registered: 06/01/04
Posts: 54
I got the DBX only after trying the speakers in every position imaginable.Nothing worked.The DBX gives me nearly ruler flat response throughout the listening frequency at my listening position.DBX stopped selling the 10/20 when they started selling products for commercial applications only.They are quite rare now and when available go on Ebay from $350-$450.They really do the job for me.I had also tried both graphic and paremetric equalizers before purchasing the DBX.None of these were able to tame the room nodes.

Edited by asher770 (02/05/05 07:07 PM)

#77497 - 12/23/06 06:07 PM Re: sibilance revisited: new tweeters (LONG) [Re: alex]
alex Offline

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 6
After almost two years of experimenting with various ways to tame the tweeter sibilance of the M60’s, I’ve had the best results by simply replacing the factory tweeters.

A little history:

I started with trying different resistors (values ranging from 0.5 Ohm, to 2.7 Ohm). Although they -seem- to tame the highs, they just lower the Axiom tweeter’s output level above the 2 KHz crossover frequency, but the sibilance is still there although at reduced level.

I also tried using wool felt, both outside the tweeter (to prevent a wide dispersion), and inside the metal dome (to try and damp the metallic shrill). I did this by removing the four inner screws that attach the metal dome front plate/voice coil to the magnet, and placing one or two round cut-outs of wool felt inside the dome. The results were of limited success.

The best results I had settled with was using 1.8 Ohm resistors, AND 1 sheet of wool felt (about 1” diameter) inside the metal dome of the tweeters.

I still wasn’t completely happy with the sound since the speakers did seem harsh at times and gave me listener fatigue. I decided to try something more drastic and simply replace the tweeters. I wanted to try a silk dome tweeter since I find the metal ones to be usually rather harsh and unrefined, unless they’re the ones you find on really expensive high-end speakers. After some reading around, I decided to try the Usher 9950-20 1” textile dome tweeter from I have no affiliation with either company. They are $90, with $10 shipping. I decided on them due to excellent reviews, the compatible frequency range with the M60’s 2 KHz crossover, and the fact that they are not very picky in terms of crossover design. Yes, yes…I know that each tweeter has different impedance characteristics and efficiency and needs to have the crossover designed accordingly for proper integration with the speaker, but I just wanted to try it for fun and return them if I wasn’t happy. Well, to my ears, they simply outclassed the factory metal domes in every regard. Gone was the harshness but with no loss of detail. The imaging is also impressive. I played around a bit with my Radio Shack SPL meter and didn’t notice any ugly patterns in the frequency response but I didn’t bother making any precise measurements since I found myself simply enjoying the music. No more listener fatigue and not at the expense of resolution or imaging…I wanted to play track after track and I found myself even listening at higher volumes than before. I always listen with the grills off since I find them to give a ‘curtain’ effect to the sound. What was noticeable was that now the high frequency information was better resolved than with the factory tweeters, especially on complex passages. What a treat! The Ushers are here to stay…gone are the resistors and felt.

In terms of mounting, the Usher’s four mounting holes are compatible with the Axiom tweeter so it was easy to install using the same screws and cabinet holes. The Usher’s front plate is a few millimeters wider than the Axiom’s so it doesn’t sit inside the cabinet cut-out, but I didn’t find that to be a problem in any way. The Usher tweeter magnets are a bit wider, but they still fit in the cabinet opening. The Usher’s two electrical tabs are wider than the tabs on the Axiom tweeters, so to mate them I made two pairs of 2” long 20-gauge wire with the appropriate sliding contacts on each end to mate the speaker cables to the tweeters. The polarity is such that the blue wire from the Axiom (the one with the wider sliding contact) should go to the connector on the Usher that has the red dot next to it. You can confirm that this is the correct polarity by playing a 2 kHz tone (the crossover frequency of the M60’s), and move your head about 1’ from the front of the speaker up and down between the mid-woofer and the tweeter. Half-way between the two, if the polarity is correct, you’ll notice the sound being louder (if you reverse the polarity, there would be a dip in the loudness in the half-way point due to destructive interference of the sound waves). Be careful when you handle the Ushers to no touch the soft dome…Do not poke it!

The other tweak I did was to raise the front of the speakers by almost 1” using a bunch of metal shims I bought for $2 at a hardware store. I placed them between the front two rubber feet and the speaker cabinet. The axiom supplied screws are long enough to accommodate the extra length. This makes the soundstage a bit better since you’re not ‘looking down’ as much on the performance.

Since this direct tweeter swap is (to my ears) a clear improvement, I can only imagine how it would be if Axiom had actually designed the crossover around better quality tweeters like the Ushers. I think most people would be willing to pay a $100 premium given the gains in sound quality. I know I would.

Last, take what a said with a grain of salt before you go spend $100 and accuse me of wasting your money. I don’t encourage anyone to try this. However if you do decide to give this a shot, note that the Axiom screws can scrape the paint of the Usher front plates in the area under the screw when they are tightened down. So if you want to be able to return them in mint condition, use a washer or be gentle with the screwing down force in order to preserve the black paint in the area inside the mounting holes.

The setup is purely for stereo. Amp: Musical Fidelity A308 Integrated. CDP: Three Sony CDP-CX455 400 Disc Changers. Rack: Salamander Synergy.

Merry Christmas!

#77498 - 12/23/06 11:59 PM Re: sibilance revisited: new tweeters (LONG) [Re: alex]
BrenR Offline

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
If you find metallic tweeters shrill, perhaps a horn tweeter would be more to your liking... most people find them flat, but if you're extra sensitive to top end, maybe it's a better solution for you.

Bren R.

#77499 - 12/24/06 11:29 AM Re: sibilance revisited: new tweeters (LONG) [Re: BrenR]
bridgman Offline

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5590
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

Seriously, I thought this was interesting. I had been tempted to try a tweeter swap but never had time to even research let alone do anything.

I had a tough time believing that any simple mechanical mod (felt or even a resistor) could change the sound that much without a penalty in detail and flatness. My main problem was that without formal A/B-ing with other speakers I wasn't even sure there was a problem to fix since my only complaints about the Axioms are relative to comparisons with 20-year-old memories of much more expensive speakers.

The big question, I guess, is even if everyone in Dwight agreed that these tweeters sounded better across the board what should they do. It's hard to put a $45 tweeter in a speaker that sells for $145 shipped and make money, so this would have to be something in the larger speakers only or all the prices would have to go up.

Having said all that, it would be great to see Axiom make a "no compromises" music speaker again and going to a more expensive tweeter is probably all it would take. My gut feeling, though, is that keeping a clean simple product line is essential for online sales...

Oh what the heck. Axiom builds in North America, so their ability to customize is a lot higher than most... and they already have a custom shop...


Edited by bridgman (12/24/06 12:10 PM)

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