Athena - an audio Epiphany

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Big Red Machine

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #20 on: 29 Mar 2012, 03:11 pm »
Nice work Lou! :bowdown:

jonbee

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #21 on: 29 Mar 2012, 07:29 pm »
What did you replace your Silverbacks with and why?  Thanks.
You mis-read my post. I said that one of our group members who heard the Athenas at the same session as I owns the Silverbacks. He still owns them, but was equally floored by the Athena/Shindo system. Another way of saying that the Athenas give no quarter to the Silverbacks.

dodgealum

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Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #22 on: 29 Mar 2012, 07:47 pm »
Over the course of my 25 year audio adventure I've seen many cabinet and driver types/materials go in and out of fashion. For example, with tweeters for a while aluminum domes were the rage, then titanium, then ribbons, then beryllium, now diamond. Same with woofers--paper, kevlar, aluminum, ceramic, etc. all have gone in and out of fashion over the years. Cabinets have undergone a similar set of trendy evolutions. What I find interesting is that all driver and cabinet materials represent a series of tradeoffs--none have resulted in a "holy grail" solution to problems of resonance, distortion, etc. I think what really matters (as many have said here) is not so much the driver or cabinet materials/designs but having someone with a good set of ears who knows what live acoustic instruments and voices sound like and who has the patience and determination to bring quality component parts together into musical harmony. I think that is what makes Lou's speakers unique. He brings solid wood cabinetry, the right mix of drivers and an extraordinary crossover network together in service of the music. I don't think exotic drivers or "cutting edge" cabinet materials are necessary unless your goal is a top flight marketing campaign. Having said that, I had posted earlier about how the new Wilson XLF has "reverted" back to a soft dome tweeter which a reviewer felt sounded more natural through the upper midrange than the more exotic material used in the prior model and I recently read in one of the rags that TAD uses a woofer in it's reference speaker with a corregated surround like the one found in the bass driver Lou developed years ago. So despite the fact that I would like to give little creedence to trendy developments in speaker design it does seem as though at least some well regarded designers are headed in your direction Lou--you trend setter!

jimdgoulding

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #23 on: 30 Mar 2012, 11:28 pm »
Just sayin that in addition to the DeVore Gibbons 9's, this here dude would like to audition the Reference 3A Grand Veena's (I had forgotten about them for the moment).  For my tastes in music and attraction to affordable tube amps, both of those speakers are rated at 90db efficiency, give or take, and I think I could find my audio Grail.  Lou's 3 ways are way tube friendly, too, and were my room larger I would include them as candidates.       

vinyl_lady

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #24 on: 31 Mar 2012, 12:34 am »
Jim,

I think your room is big enough for the Athenas.

Laura

Daedalus Audio

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Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #25 on: 31 Mar 2012, 01:01 am »
Not at all! LOL. Maybe I did not phrase my earlier query correctly.

Some months ago a cabient maker I met insisted that solid wood sounds better than MDF/Ply etc.. and I dismissed him. Now Lou has confirmed this cabinet maker's observations. I just wanted to know what makes solid wood so good and how thick does it need to be? Is it the thickness of the wood that determines the sound of the solid wood? For example will 4 layers of 6mm solid wood sound the same as a single 24mm slab? Also what in Lou's opinion makes solid wood sound so much better than ply/mdf?

Also remember Lou's speakers sound good not solely because of the cabinets. His cabients, crossover and drivers work as a team to sound good. As Lou himself admits "our AP crossovers alone cost more than some of the systems mentioned". There is, apparently, a lot more going on inside Lou's speaker than just the cabinets.

I am sure that if I even got exact CAD-CAM plans (and I am not asking for this) to Lou's cabinets and used different drivers and a differnet crossover the prodouct might not sound as good as the the original.
the solid hardwood vs MDF vs ply represents differing design philosophies. MDF is about damping the vibrations, while solid hardwood (note hard not softwood) is about stiffness with ply falling somewhere in between.  solid hard wood is at least three times as stiff as MDF, there are of course other differences but working to make the cabinet non-resonant using min. .75" thick hardwood and a lot of carefully thought out bracing is core to my approach. to achieve that stiff of a cabinet with MDF will mean at least a 300lbs speaker and I feel it still won't have the subtle openness of hardwood.
it has been refreshing to see more builders (like YG & Magico etc)going in the direction of stiff instead of damped.
hope this helped answer your question?

also thanks again to all for their very kind and enthusiastic words!!! 
I hope to meet some of you I don't already know at a show this year.

thanks,
lou

navin

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #26 on: 31 Mar 2012, 04:22 am »
the solid hardwood vs MDF vs ply represents differing design philosophies. MDF is about damping the vibrations, while solid hardwood (note hard not softwood) is about stiffness with ply falling somewhere in between.  solid hard wood is at least three times as stiff as MDF, there are of course other differences but working to make the cabinet non-resonant using min. .75" thick hardwood and a lot of carefully thought out bracing is core to my approach.

Lou, Thanks a lot. This is fantastic news.

david12

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #27 on: 1 Apr 2012, 04:40 pm »
 Regarding comparing Lou's speakers with competitors. I spent 18 months auditioning efficient box speakers to match the tube amps I prefer. One of the speakers I listened to was Devore Gibbon 9's and I have to say they don't look much, but made a lovely sound, with VBorder Patrol 300B amps. Others included a UK make Art Deco 8's, Coincident Victory speakers, I think they were Victory, Silverline Boleros, and a few others. Unfortunately they were in different systems and at different times. Only one really disappointed me, the Coincident speakers. The Art speakers were close but at more than twice the cost and with a paint not natural wood finish. The Siilverlines also were impressive, but nearly 3 times the cost.

  I have been very happy with my DA-RMas and have no plans to change them. Fortunately they do have the new crossover, so I don't have to worry about sendiong them back across the Atlantic, for upgrading.

navin

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #28 on: 3 Apr 2012, 09:21 am »
there are of course other differences but working to make the cabinet non-resonant using min. .75" thick hardwood and a lot of carefully thought out bracing is core to my approach.

Lou, do you mind if I ask a few questions about hard woods?

What hardwoods do you recommend for building speakers? What I can get is:
Teak
Oak
Mahagony
Rosewood/Shesham
Ebony
Walnut
Sycamore
Ash
Beech
Cherry
Maple

Do you recommend veneer on solid wood?

Daedalus Audio

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Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #29 on: 4 Apr 2012, 03:45 am »
Lou, do you mind if I ask a few questions about hard woods?

What hardwoods do you recommend for building speakers? What I can get is:
Teak
Oak
Mahagony
Rosewood/Shesham
Ebony
Walnut
Sycamore
Ash
Beech
Cherry
Maple

Do you recommend veneer on solid wood?
Navin,
please don't take any offense but working with solid hardwoods is not like putting together Ikea furniture. to do the job right takes a lot of experience.  please find an accomplished cabinet builder locally and he can answer those questions and build what you need, (or at least what you ask him).
there are reasons very , very few companies use solid hardwood, and the skill necessary to successfully work with that material as opposed to MDF is at the top of the list.

thanks,
lou

navin

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #30 on: 4 Apr 2012, 04:13 am »
please find an accomplished cabinet builder locally and he can answer those questions and build what you need, (or at least what you ask him).

No offense taken.

In fact I had talked to my carpenter to get that list of woods. I do not do any carpentry myself. In India we are fortunate to have cheap (compared to much of Europe and the US) labour that is also of decent quality. The carpenters I intend to utilise to make my speakers are used to making carved furniture out of blocks of solid wood.

Unfortunately my carpenter (most carpenters here are not literate in the sense is that they do not have exposure to college or trade schools, they learn on the job) is not literate and he did not know which solid wood to use (or which wood would SOUND better). His favourite is teak (which is what we make all our furniture out of).

My carpenter has been in the family for over 35 years and has made almost all the furniture in our apartments. All the furniture has been made from teak (various grades - with burmese teak being used for the decorated areas).

Daedalus Audio

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Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #31 on: 4 Apr 2012, 04:50 am »
Navin,
what is important here is that the wood is stable and built in a way that it will last. some of the species you mention will be very different there than what we see here, so it is difficult for me to tell you which woods will work best. for instance walnut that is native to North America may be radically different from what you have for 'walnut' there.  as for tone the stiffest wood will generally be best, but you really want to rely on your bracing design etc.
if I were there I would probably choose the mahogany. also make sure the wood is adequately dried first, the cracks etc that show up in furniture carved from solid blocks are death to a speaker where any crack or void can destroy the sound.

of course you could simply order a pair?   :) I have shipped to India before.

navin

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #32 on: 5 Apr 2012, 06:12 am »
Navin,
what is important here is that the wood is stable and built in a way that it will last...as for tone the stiffest wood will generally be best, but you really want to rely on your bracing design etc.

if I were there I would probably choose the mahogany. also make sure the wood is adequately dried first, the cracks etc that show up in furniture carved from solid blocks are death to a speaker where any crack or void can destroy the sound.

of course you could simply order a pair?   :) I have shipped to India before.

Thanks Lou for your advice. I will ensure the wood is properly seasoned and dry. We have not seen any cracks in the furniture made over the past 40 odd years so I assume the carpenter has alwyas bought wood that is properly dried (he called it "seasoned").

You have shipped to India! wow! How man pairs?

Daedalus Audio

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Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #33 on: 11 Apr 2012, 03:07 am »
Thanks Lou for your advice. I will ensure the wood is properly seasoned and dry. We have not seen any cracks in the furniture made over the past 40 odd years so I assume the carpenter has alwyas bought wood that is properly dried (he called it "seasoned").

You have shipped to India! wow! How man pairs?

not many, this last year a pair of my pro-audio speakers went to a very nice gentleman in India who plays country music. I know I've sent other pro speakers to India, but years ago and I can't recall the details.  same construction as the home, (sloid hardwood/dovetail joints) and they hold up very well.

navin

Re: Athena - an audio Epiphany
« Reply #34 on: 11 Apr 2012, 05:42 am »
not many, this last year a pair of my pro-audio speakers went to a very nice gentleman in India who plays country music. I know I've sent other pro speakers to India, but years ago and I can't recall the details.  same construction as the home, (sloid hardwood/dovetail joints) and they hold up very well.

Oh yes I remember a Goan by the name of Kishore talking about the 803s. I assume we are talking of the same person. Soild wood and dove tail joints hold up very well in India, in fact, in my view better than nails and screws.