GR Research Speaker upgrades

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Mindless Drone

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GR Research Speaker upgrades
« on: 18 Jan 2023, 04:35 am »
I realize there are a lot of speaker builders in this group who love the GR Research speakers.  Although I will be building a pair of his speakers soon, I was curious if those of you have experience with his upgrades are their any speakers that really stand out from a price/performance standpoint worth upgrading.  What I mean is, is there a particular speaker that just stands up that for the cost of the speaker and the performance you get with the upgrade its an amazing deal. 

Just a quick backstory I have recently moved (out of temporary necessity) to an NAD M12 and NAD M23.  It is a nice setup sounds really good, but I am running JM Lab/Focal Mini Utopia's and they just get very fatiguing with the M23, so I was looking at some of the speaker brands I know to be a bit warmer and have a soft dome tweeter and maybe upgrade them to take them up a notch or two while I figure out what I am going to do long term and was wondering what upgrade recommendations may be out there.  Thanks in advance!   

mkrawcz

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #1 on: 18 Jan 2023, 02:42 pm »
I would send Danny one of your Utopias and see what he can do with it. Focal inverted dome tweeters are notoriously hot. I have Focal Electra 1038be that are the same way. Danny can likely come up with a crossover redesign that can tame it. If you don’t want to mod them, the NX-Studio is probably s better speaker sound wise than the Utopia even modded. It’s definitely at a much higher level than my Electras.

Endo2112

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #2 on: 18 Jan 2023, 03:20 pm »
Personally, i don't think i've ever heard a Focal speaker that isn't a little hot, could just be my ears though!! First question, have you taken care of all of your first reflection points?? I'd start there before doing any mods, and i probably wouldn't bother although I believe Danny is very familiar with those tweeters.

Don

nlitworld

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #3 on: 18 Jan 2023, 03:51 pm »
I second the idea for NX-Studios down the line. They respond very well to capacitor changes to alter the tone, but are always very revealing without that bitter harsh edge. The X-LS Encore would also be a great option that give a detailed, dynamic  sound with a soft dome tweeterand a little more affordable. Really my point is it'd be money well spent to just jump in on a new speaker build unless you have an attachment to the speakers you have now. I knew next to nothing when I did mine a year ago, and everyone on here was super helpful to steer me clear of any pitfalls along the way.

maty

Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #4 on: 18 Jan 2023, 04:09 pm »
July 2000

JMlab Mini Utopia Loudspeakers: Measurements
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/jmlab_miniutopia/



fre11111

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #5 on: 18 Jan 2023, 05:21 pm »
The maxxed out XLS Encores fits your descroption very well. It is in the warm side, well detailed and musical. As for some speaker brands that I have upgraded with Gr Research kits, a standout will be the GoldenEar BRX. The xover upgrade takes this speaker to a new level.

Danny Richie

Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #6 on: 18 Jan 2023, 11:52 pm »
When we first started GR Research we were a dealer for the Focal drivers. We even used some of their inverted dome tweeters in our first two models (Paradox-1 and Paradox-3 models).

For me those tweeters and I had a love/hate relationship.

If the wrong type of caps are used with them (like the caps used in their production models), if they were used with solid state gear, and/or an untreated room, then they could take your head off. They were aggressive, harsh, edgy, sharp and fatiguing.

If a film and foil based capacitor were used, tube gear, and in a treated room, they were quite good.

Mindless Drone

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #7 on: 19 Jan 2023, 02:11 am »
When we first started GR Research we were a dealer for the Focal drivers. We even used some of their inverted dome tweeters in our first two models (Paradox-1 and Paradox-3 models).

For me those tweeters and I had a love/hate relationship.

If the wrong type of caps are used with them (like the caps used in their production models), if they were used with solid state gear, and/or an untreated room, then they could take your head off. They were aggressive, harsh, edgy, sharp and fatiguing.

If a film and foil based capacitor were used, tube gear, and in a treated room, they were quite good.

I may have to bring them to you to look at.  I vowed never to go back to Wichita Falls though after Shepherd AFB lol.  I would love to see how the city has changed.

maty

Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #8 on: 19 Jan 2023, 10:03 am »
Again, now more specific: 10 kHz  :evil:



The problem is the TWEETER and not the crossover.

-> A cleaner amp will cause it to be more unbearable.

NAD M23: Purifi 1ET400A
https://www.audioholics.com/amplifier-reviews/nad-m23-amplifier

Best idea: new loudspeakers.

maty

Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #9 on: 19 Jan 2023, 10:23 am »
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=77&Itemid=153&limitstart=1

"Cheap" (Europe) but MODERN Focal loudspeaker:

NRC Measurements: Focal Aria 906 Loudspeakers
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1239:nrc-measurements-focal-aria-906-loudspeakers&catid=77&Itemid=153



New loudspeakers or you need to change the tweeter (and new crossover). Or noisy amp.

Mindless Drone

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #10 on: 22 Jan 2023, 09:03 pm »
One that that is hard to figure out with the upgrade kits is just how much of a benefit will they be.  By that I mean if I do an Elac upgrade am I going to get a bookshelf that can compete with a $1500 bookshelf?  Or will it just sound better?  I am very curious about the Emotiva Airmotiv B1, I have a pair of those sitting around and am curious where the mod will take in in comparison to the Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or Martin Logan Motion series. 

Hobbsmeerkat

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #11 on: 22 Jan 2023, 09:38 pm »
We recently had someone reach out to us after doing this sort of comparison. He owns a pair of smaller Wilson towers, and a buddy brought over his Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s with out kit installed to compare them.
The upgraded 9.1s smoked the Wilsons in every metric (clarity, soundstage, imaging, separation, etc) other than dynamics.

This may not always be the case for every speaker we offer upgrades for, but there is always performance being left on the table with 99.9% of retail speakers, even a lot of the high end ones.
And we regularly get a lot of great feedback from our customers, at how much more they're getting out of their speakers that they had never heard or experienced before.

Of course, physical limitations of certain drivers/designs can & will still come into play, so heavy aluminum woofers will still lack some finer details compared to a similar, but lighter, paper cone woofer.

That said, the better the bones of a given speaker design and it's drivers, the more it will have to give, when using high-quality networks.

Mindless Drone

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #12 on: 22 Jan 2023, 10:14 pm »
We recently had someone reach out to us after doing this sort of comparison. He owns a pair of smaller Wilson towers, and a buddy brought over his Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s with out kit installed to compare them.
The upgraded 9.1s smoked the Wilsons in every metric (clarity, soundstage, imaging, separation, etc) other than dynamics.

This may not always be the case for every speaker we offer upgrades for, but there is always performance being left on the table with 99.9% of retail speakers, even a lot of the high end ones.
And we regularly get a lot of great feedback from our customers, at how much more they're getting out of their speakers that they had never heard or experienced before.

Of course, physical limitations of certain drivers/designs can & will still come into play, so heavy aluminum woofers will still lack some finer details compared to a similar, but lighter, paper cone woofer.

That said, the better the bones of a given speaker design and it's drivers, the more it will have to give, when using high-quality networks.

Honestly I think the 9.1 intrigues me the most as I have had these speakers before and the Emotiva B1

mkrawcz

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Re: GR Research Speaker upgrades
« Reply #13 on: 23 Jan 2023, 12:02 am »
One that that is hard to figure out with the upgrade kits is just how much of a benefit will they be.  By that I mean if I do an Elac upgrade am I going to get a bookshelf that can compete with a $1500 bookshelf?  Or will it just sound better?  I am very curious about the Emotiva Airmotiv B1, I have a pair of those sitting around and am curious where the mod will take in in comparison to the Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or Martin Logan Motion series.
I have a pair of Emotiva B1s and did the upgrade. it's pretty much a no brainer if you already own a pair of them. The mid/upper range clarity goes up dramatically after the upgrade. It would be a pretty good intro to hearing what GR-Research has to offer and I think you would be in for a bit of a shock hearing the difference the upgrade makes to those speakers. They're also easy to take apart and work on.