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Offline Doc B.

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The Fix
« on: November 07, 2013, 02:15:09 PM »
Yup, we snuck a new product in the lineup. This is a passive baffle step corrector and treble compensator kit. The box has a pair of inputs, a pair of outputs and four switches with attendant network components attached.

One pair of switches controls an adjustable baffle step corrector that compensates for the bass rolloff inherent in narrow baffle speakers. One switch is used to set the appropriate bass turnover frequency for the baffle width of the speaker you are using - under 6", 6-12" or over 12". The second switch controls the magnitude of cut of frequencies above that, to effectively create a passive bass compensation which flattens out what is normally a falling frequency response below the baffle step frequency. Magnitude settings are 0, 2 and 4 dB of bass compensation.

The second pair of switches similarly allows the ability to compensate for the treble rolloff often experienced with full range drivers. One switch selects a turnover frequency of 5kHz, 10kHz or 20kHz, and the second switch chooses 0,2,or 4 dB of treble compensation above that frequency (again, since this is a passive device what is actually happening is that the spectrum below the turnover frequency is being cut).

We used this with our pair of Orcas, set to +2 dB at the narrowest baffle setting (6" or less) for bass boost and 10kHz and 2dB boost for the treble compensation. It creates quite a remarkable livening up of the sound without adding any bloat or harshness. There is of course the impression of a bit lower playback volume due to the small loss of the passive networks, which is compensated for by turning up the volume on the amp or preamp. What is the effect? Suffice it to say that this box will be staying in our Orca/Dungeness/Stereomour system, and another will be going into my Orca based home theater setup.

As you can see the kit will be offered in a form similar to the Quickie preamp, built on an acrylic panel with the option of adding one of our wood base kits to your order. Kit price will be a most reasonable $75.

While we used the prototype with Orcas, the kit should be useful for a broad range of speakers. If you have a mid/bass driver in a small box and a separate tweeter, you can leave the treble compensation set at zero to eliminate it from the circuit and just take advantage of the bass compensation. And vice versa - for example if you have a horn tweeter that is great but flagging a bit above 10kHz you can zero the bass circuit and just apply the treble compensation. It should make for a really versatile tool for ekeing the last bit of goodness out of your favorite speakers - and maybe even make some doggier speakers hunt a little better.

The guys should be shooting the assembly manual next week, and I will have an order page up ASAP.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 02:40:35 PM by Doc B. »
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline johnsonad

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 03:40:45 PM »
Another winner! Count me in for one!
Aaron Johnson

Offline porcupunctis

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 03:50:09 PM »
I'm in.
Randall Massey
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Offline Alonzo

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 04:07:14 PM »
Add me to the list...it should be interesting to see what it changes on my horns.
Alonzo
BSNode > GungnirMB>
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Garage: RPi4 to BiFrost>Saga>
S'mour I>Altec 299-8A w/MRII horns
S'mour II to Petite Onken

Offline Doc B.

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 06:58:41 PM »
The look of this thing was reminding me of something. I finally figured out what it was, a Genrad decade...

(http://az413224.vo.msecnd.net/img/24784/m_s_p_24784_1.jpg)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 07:00:51 PM by Doc B. »
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline denti alligator

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 02:33:20 AM »
The technical details on this one are far over my head. Can anyone say whether this would be beneficial to my set up (see below).
- Sam

Rega P3-24 (w/AT 150MLX) w/Groovetracer upgrades / C4S Seduction / FLAC -->J.River -->DSD256 -->Gustard X20 / Stereomour II / Klipsch Forte II w/Crites upgrades / C4S S.E.X. 2.0 +Nickel MQ Iron / Speedball Crack / Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable

Wish list: Eros / Crackatwo / Tode

Offline Gerry E.

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 03:33:15 AM »
Can this enhance wider baffle speakers like my JE Labs OBs?  Drivers are vintage ALTEC 756B and Jensen RP302.  Thanks.

Gerry

« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 03:35:04 AM by Gerry E. »

Offline Doc B.

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2013, 06:03:42 AM »
Can this enhance wider baffle speakers like my JE Labs OBs?  Drivers are vintage ALTEC 756B and Jensen RP302.  Thanks.

Gerry

The best answer is, we don't know. Is the speaker rolled off above 5K? or 10K? Does it seem to be lacking below 500Hz? If so, the Fix might do something positive.

The Fix was developed as an assist for full range drivers in narrow baffles, narrow generally meaning 12" wide or less though the effect does not simply stop at greater baffle widths, and full range implying that there is usually a little bit of treble rolloff as a driver characteristic. So if a speaker is rolled off in the upper to mid through deep bass and/or rolled off above 5K,10K or 20K then the Fix might help.

If it's not possible to determine this from listening experience it might be beneficial to measure the response of the speakers so you can make an informed decision.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline xcortes

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2013, 06:46:48 AM »
I may try it for the WE. They start to roll off around 12/15k I think. My baffles are more than 12" wide so probably not needed down there.
Xavier Cortes

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2013, 09:23:04 AM »
Some drivers have a slowly rising response between 200-1000Hz - the older JBL D130s, for instance. Also, open baffle speakers loose some bass relative to an optimal sealed or ported box. A bit of boost down low might help in those cases.

You can read a ton of stuff on the web about baffle step. The effect on-axis in an anechoic environment is 6dB, but there is wide agreement that (well-designed) real speakers in real rooms never need more than 4dB. In case anyone wonders why there is no 6dB setting.
Paul Joppa

Offline Clark B.

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2013, 01:31:41 PM »
Have already gotten a few questions about the fix.  I did get to hear it the other day and I think iits a darned fine solution for those folks who need one.

I've played with EQ extensively in a wide variety of forms and various systems.

The verdict?  It depends on the room, listener, the speaker as to whether or not eq is used.  I find myself using eq permanently less than 1% of the time in any speaker.  My design ethic: It has to cut the mustard with its own acoustics via a good speaker/amp/room pairing or else i just wont listen to that speaker.

However, in our listening space, im able to have total freedom with placement, especially the rear wall distance to accurately tune the bass rolloff, and the room itself is definitely in the "good sounding" category.  So I find that no eq on the Orca is the ticket for my daily listening even with as many eq devices I have available to use potentially.  However, when I put them in weird places in the room, pull them out pretty far, or etc, (things you probably should experiment with given a speaker that's as small as this is and can be put into so many different room circumstances and still sound good).  For the vast majority of Orca users, it seems that the flatness of frequency response is rarely a concern, more that they can only get so loud being a 3" driver and that this limitation in upper colume capabilities either works for you and your listening habits or it doesnt.

If you are significantly challenged in room placement, have a very "live" sounding space, or if you have natural or unnatural forms of hearing loss in the high frequencies you should definitely consider The Fix.  The pre level form of eq is synergistic with Bottlehead's pre amps.  The treble boost is better sounding than adding most any $75 pair of tweeeters.  Its still a point source.

Any eq is a tradeoff in terms of overall sonics but the fix has tradeoffs that i could live with. (very very very slight loss of "energy", but way less coloration than any kind of "in box" speaker level bsc network).  I think a cool tweak for alot of commercially available FR speakers would be to yank out the speaker level BSC and instead use the fix... 

We will also be releasing some new speakers soon that will have a slightly less relaxed and "young person ears" kind of treble and bass character to them.  But they wont be $75 a pair...

Hope this perspective helps!

Clark

« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 01:48:32 PM by Clark B. »

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2013, 10:20:10 AM »
Speaking of coloration, of course at $75 there's no way super boutique capacitors are being used!

I figure that once you find the best settings, you can swap out those caps for something better. In fact, you could simply replace the ones on the unused settings, allowing you to compare capacitors. And of course you are not "stuck" with the baffle width or HF boost frequency settings. I'll probably write up a page with the formulas some day, but by far the best option is to listen, and if you feel you really need an intermediate setting then split the difference on cap values.
Paul Joppa

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2013, 06:59:50 PM »
Speaking of coloration, of course at $75 there's no way super boutique capacitors are being used!

For all positions except the widest baffle width setting, we are using polystyrene film caps.  There are many, many "boutique"caps that I wouldn't consider an upgrade to these. 
Paul "PB" Birkeland

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Offline Bonzo

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2013, 09:09:32 PM »
I will be in too!
Nice idea!
Bisogna avere orecchio!

Offline Doc B.

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Re: The Fix
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2013, 07:08:55 AM »
I want to start by saying I did not mean to imply that the Orcas need the fix. They happened to be one of the speakers we use and love at work, and our listening room setup is not optimal for them (Clark's room sounds a lot better) so they were the victim of our experiment. I'm also going to back PB up that the Polystyrene caps are pretty good and I imagine that the changes to other caps might not always be worth it.

There is a fundamental thing that needs to be considered when discussing the change of sound as a loss of detail or whatever. The Fix is designed to increase the level of the frequency extremes. Ipso facto the midband becomes relatively lower in volume. There are two ways to look at this - the Fix has reclaimed lacking deep bass and upper treble, or the speakers have lost midrange presence relative to the un-Fixed system.

The Fix is passive and thus there is no boost anywhere. To get the deep bass and high treble up you do in fact cut the mid band level. So to bring everything back into a condition where you can compare the sound to un-Fixed you do have to turn the volume up a bit to get the midband back up to where it was. In other words if you use the 2dB switch setting you need to increase the volume 2dB.

If you throw the switch to 2dB or 4dB and do not adjust the level accordingly you aren't really doing the most logical comparison.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.