One of the beautiful things about open baffle speakers is that the xover and speaker drivers are more accessible and therefore lend themselves to changing to upgraded parts and better execution. Why would you want to mess with a commercial speaker? Only if you want better sound. All commercial speakers are made to a price point so the execution in all but the most expensive in the world is not the best it can be. A speaker is only as good as the weakest link. The xover parts transparency and purity, the quality of wiring and the general execution are all determined by the expertise of the designer but mostly the selling price.
Please read Tyson's comments on the bottom of the last page here and also you might want to read the whole thread for more details: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=141060.160
Tyson and two others upgraded the $20,000 Serenity 7 speakers. Imagine what results you will get by upgrading the parts in speakers that retail for much less.
Here are some basic guidelines:
1. Remove the xover from the main panel and mount the parts on a damped panel or in a damped box behind each speaker. Putting the xover in the speaker makes the xover vibrate and messes up the sound.
2. Remove any wiring from inside the panels. Running wiring inside a panel wall is not good for the sound. Run the wires from the external xover directly in the air to the drivers (do not let the wires hang on the floor). Use the best wire you can......I recommend VH Audio hook up wires and Neotech 14 gauge litz wire you can buy from Zenwaveaudio. Hardwire the wires directly to the xover parts. Do not use any connectors. Connectors suck.
3. Use the best Inductors possible. My current fave is 12 gauge Jantzen wax foil coils for midrange and 14 gauge for tweeters. The outside of the foil coils should go to the driver or to ground for best sound (input to inside of the coil).
4. Use the best Caps possible. I like Rike, Clarity cap MR and Jupiter copper foils.....I bypass with modified Wima caps and small Jupiter copper foils. There are a lot of other great parts too. Duelands are really expensive but much loved. Also I like to put a WA Quantum cap chip on the caps. Caps should be used so the outside foil is to output or ground for best sound.
5. Use the best resistors possible. I like damped power Caddocks bypassed by damped nude Vishay. If you need a 4 ohm resistor then use a Caddock 4 ohm and bypass with a 30 ohm nude Vishay. Will not change the value much. You need to damp the resistors.....and all parts. Lots of other great resistors too....like Dueland, etc.
6. Use the best binding posts possible. I like my binding post bypass system and also the Nexgen WBTs are great. You only need these on the input of the xover.
7. Damp parts. I use cardboard underneath my xover parts for good sound and also use cardboard underneath my xover board. Sounds really good. Way many possibilities here.
8. Be careful how you lay out your parts. Inductors need to be at right angles from each other or they will interact.
9. Damp any drivers that have stamped frames with constrained layer damping material. EAR SD40AL is great for this (available from Michael Percy Audio)...not cheap but the best damping material I know of.
Example: Remove the xover from the Spatial M3 Turbos and measure the values of all the parts. Then order better parts and build your own xover and wire to drivers using push on connectors. This way you can go back to the stock xovers any time you like to compare. You can always put the speaker back to stock anytime and sell it if you need to. There was one guy on this forum that said he preferred the M3 Turbo to his more expensive Zu speakers overall but the Zu speaker had more detail. Well, that makes sense. The Zu speakers have no xover on the main driver and just a great cap on the tweeter. If this same guy would make his own way better xover the way I just described his M3 Turbos would have way more detail.....in fact probably more detail than the Zu speaker and even mo better in all ways as well. Damping the stamped frames on the Spatial speakers will bring more detail and warmer sound as well.
Most people who are reading this and who also own various open baffle speakers that could be upgraded do not have the skill to do any of the above nor the inclination. I am writing this for the one or two people who want to experiment and feel they can do it justice. Danny's customers are more DIY oriented so makes sense that they would try these kinds of things first. I like to let people know that there is always more......if you have the inclination and skill. We can also encourage the designers of these kind of speakers to make upgraded external xovers and wiring as an option. They can make more money this way, customers can get better speakers without selling their speakers and the upgraded xovers can be installed very simply by the owners.