The Lowther Thread.....Drivers, Cabinets, Modifications, Listening Impressions

Discussion in 'High Efficiency' started by TubeHiFiNut, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    We Lowther fanatics kind of threadjacked MWalt 's High Efficiency Speakers thread so I figured I'd open up a Lowther thread. :)

    Edited to add some additional discussion points:

    Recently been reading about updates and modifications to the Medallion enclosures.

    I have some wool felt on the way and will be placing felt on the front of the cabinets and around the back loaded horn opening (damps out any HF energy emanating from the horn from interfering with the HF energy emanating directly from the Lowther driver).

    I'll post pics and listening impressions when the felt gets here and I make time to complete the modifications. :)
  2. MWalt

    MWalt Active Member

    I was OK with the exchanges on that thread. I learn from them. :D
  3. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Just wanted to be sure that we had not derailed the conversation on your thread. :)
  4. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Two images are attached. One shows the Medallion cabinet today, with no felt around the driver and the mouth of the horn. The second image shows how the cabinet will look with the felt in place.

    The felt should be here any day now..... :)

    Attached Files:

  5. Shelby1420

    Shelby1420 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Those look stunning!!!!
  6. billfort

    billfort Administrator Staff Member

    Now this is a tweak that makes sense to me, even though I'd hesitate to mess with those speakers - I love those speakers straight-up. :)

    I'm a big fan of single-driver speakers - or the 'compromise' I choose with a co-axial mounted horn tweeter - and that's mostly about the point-source thing and how it brings music home. That felt seems aimed at absorbing high/midrange energy that would make it through the horn off the back of the driver which would be all messed up and out of phase with the front radiation. Kind of 'purifying' the point-source mojo of the driver itself.

    This is somewhat similar to my thoughts on vent location in speakers - I feel (given the choice, as you have with DIY) that they are best in the back or sides of a cabinet as that higher frequency energy inside the cabinet might have a subtle smearing effect when it exits that vent. Certainly a bunch of factors in this like internal dampening etc. but I remember putting my ear up against the big front mounted vent of the ratty cabinets my 604s came in and you could certainly 'hear' highs and mids exiting that vent.

    Looking forward to hearing about how this works out for you David.
  7. vinylkid

    vinylkid Junior Member

    i haven't extensively played around with adding felt to cabinets to damp/absorb energy, but when i have tried i've preferred no felt. to my ears it sounds like some life gets sucked away and the sounds gets drier.
  8. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    That's one of my concerns. I do not want to rob the music of even a little of the vibrancy I get with the PM2a/Medallion combination.

    The felt comes in 12" squares - the exact width I need - and I plan to add the felt in stages until I get the best balance. :)
  9. billfort

    billfort Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, I could see something like this going too far - probably a little different than in the mouth of a horn, but I noticed this with my Altec cabinets; too much absorbent lining and they did seem to loose some life. For me though, it was an exercise in balancing to taste - 'none' wan't good, nor was too much, my comfortable place was somewhere in the middle.
  10. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    billfort - Agreed.....finding how far up the mouth of the horn to apply the felt will definitely be 'trial and error'.
  11. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    The felt has arrived. :)

    Probably won't have too much opportunity to get started before the weekend but will post pics as the felt is added.
  12. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Decided that, before I get to the felt, I want to re-tune my ear to my years long reference amps, the prototype Quicksilver 300B, driving the Lowther PM2a/Medallion.

    Reconnected them in place of the wonderful Almarro A205a SEP EL84 and warmed everything up.

    This is really not a fair comparison as one channel of the Quicksilvers weighs more than the entire Almarro. The transformers on the Quicksilvers are much larger. Plus, the 300B amps are tube rectified, which I seem to prefer.

    Anyway.....put on the newest Cowboy Junkies release 'Lay it Down' on Tidal (1. I really like this album and 2. I just listened to it on the Almarro last night). There is just flat more 'there' there with the 300B amps. Margo Timmons voice has more presence and is clearer overall. The Almarro seems to round things just a bit. Not unpleasant at all with the Lowthers.

    Listening to a variety of Jazz, Classical, Rock, Blues....analog and digital. With the 300B amps the soundstage is larger, bass goes deeper, the leading edge attack on the notes is so clear that it is almost startling and the decay hangs there in space for just the right amount of time.

    None of this should be taken as any indication that I do not still really like the Almarro. The Almarro retails for $800. These prototype 300B amps would have sold for $5,000 (+/-) had they gone to market. The version that Mike released using a KT88 in triode went for $2,800.

    As I said, not exactly a fair comparison.

    I still consider the Almarro to be a great amp and will not be selling mine any time soon. :)

    Moving forward.....I'll be listening and getting my ears tuned. Then.....time to felt.

    I'm using a 12" x 12" (same size as the felt squares) piece of poster board for the driver cutout. As previously stated, this will go in stages, listening all the way, so I don't overdo things.

    More to follow.....

    Pic with the Quicksilvers in the system attached. :)

    Attached Files:

  13. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Did I happen to mention that the Mercury Living Presence recording of Delibes 'Sylvia' (Fistoulari/LSO) sounds wonderful through this system?

    Anyone who can sit still through Act 1 - No. 3 Les chasseresses (Fanfare) must be heavily sedated..... ;)
  14. billfort

    billfort Administrator Staff Member

    Ahhh, so back to the really good stuff huh David? :)

    I've gone in some different SET directions over time and found the 2A3 does it best for me from a big-picture perspective but...there is just something to a good 300B playing into great iron (a Western-Electric into Electra-Print in my case) that gets the mids SO right, and nothing drives that home better for me than Margo Timmon's voice.

    I think this is a very good mix to use when evaluating that felt.
  15. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Yup.....this set-up has been my 'go-to' reference for years.

    Sometimes I think I should just sell everything else and just stick with this system...I like it that much.

    Absolutely agree that Margo's voice is on the 'felt evaluation playlist'. ;)

    Just hit myself with a run of music that included Simon and Garfunkel 'America', Mary Chapin Carpenter 'Shotgun Down the Avalanche', Rosanne Cash 'What We Really Want', Mary Black 'Columbus' and now the Diana Krall album 'Wallflower'.

    I'm in seventh heaven..... :)
  16. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    The felting has begun. :)

    First set of pics is getting the template made for the driver cutout.

    Attached Files:

  17. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Felt on the fronts. :)


    Attached Files:

  18. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    My knees may never forgive me..... ;)

    Pretty much finished. Just need to fill in some VERY minor spaces with the scrap felt.

    Will post listening impressions soon.

    Attached Files:

  19. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Stayed up well into the night listening to Vinyl, DSD discs, CDs and Tidal.

    The felt seems to reduce the mids/highs emanating from the mouth of the Medallion back horn. Impacts include greater clarity through the mids and highs but also what seems to be greater articulation in the lower registers.

    Transient attacks, the leading edge of notes, are faithfully reproduced.

    Female vocalists are very present and clear.

    There were several times during my initial listening sessions where the transparency and emotional connection to the performance and performers was almost scary. The other speakers that have connected me in that same manner are my Quad ESL-57s. Involvement in spades.....

    I'm in back to back calls at work today (on top of being a bit sleep deprived) and will post something a bit more articulate and complete later on.....

    Plus, I have more listening to do. :)
  20. billfort

    billfort Administrator Staff Member

    Interesting David. I thought absorbing some of the mid to high energy emanating from that horn - leaving the direct radiation from the point-source driver/whizzer to sing solo so to speak - would lead to the improvements you mentioned so far. I think I've noticed this effect with the Altec duplexs I like so much when comparing front-vented cabinets to rear or side vented boxes.

    But I also found the back-wave absorption thing can be a double-edged sword and it can be over-done; over-stuffing my cabinets did seem to suck some of the 'life' out of them - it really became a balancing act for me. Any signs of what vinylkid mentioned here?

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