Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade

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musiclover49

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Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« on: 17 Oct 2018, 07:31 am »
I have read a post on Audiogon by a gentleman who made his Magneplanar 1.7 speakers crossover assembly
using Sonicraft supplied capacitors and inductors. I'm looking for an improved overall sound with a lusher top end
and a more vibrant midrange along with fuller bass production.

My system:
Classe CA-200 solid state power amp
PSE HL-1 Hybrid line preamp
Rega 3 & a Pioneer PLX-1000 turntables
Oppo BDP-95 CD player
BlueSound Node 1 network player w/ MQA

The suggestions were to upgrade the crossover network with better components than the stock components in a
external project box. His suggestions are below but I noticed a few items out of stock or not shown online at Sonicraft.

(3) Sonicap Gen 1 33 mfd 200VDC  capacitors per channel
(1) Sonicap Gen 1 10 mfd 200VDC capacitors/channel
(1) Sonicap Gen 1  6.8 mfd 200VDC per/channel
(1) Dyamicap L 10 mfd (item not found and voltage rating not shown) Thought about a Mundorf M Cap EVO oil 10mfd
450 VDC unit here as a substitute but I'm open to suggestion here. It will be used in the tweeter section.
(1) Alpha Core 1.4 mh inductor (not shown and I'm not sure if it be made in 14 AWG or 12 AWG and which gauge would
be advisable here for the bass section.

I'm open to suggestions to render either a very neutral or warmer sound given the solid state power amp being used as
the Maggies aren't very efficient at 86 db/500 hz/2.83 v. I know a ss amp will not render 'tubelike' sound but I'm trying to
improve the overall sound as I do enjoy the openness and imaging of the Maggies.

Thanks in advance,

rollo

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #1 on: 17 Oct 2018, 06:25 pm »
  IMO the speaker is the speaker. Yes crossover changes  may help with cap flavoring. That's a chance though. I would suggest ryingta different preamp first. Say a 6Sn7 based one. Or any lush sounding tubed preamp [ CJ]. Maggies need a little color somewhere.
Is your LP sound lacking or digital or both ?


charles

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #2 on: 18 Oct 2018, 05:23 am »
Thanks Rollo, I don't doubt that a change in preamp could make a larger difference but I'd still prefer to try the XO change first before committing bigger bucks to a full tube preamp especially like a CJ unit with 6SN7 tubes. The PSE (Professional Systems Engineering) unit as stated is a hybrid using 6922 tubes. I like this well built preamp with a balanced input and output as I've rolled a few tube sets through it. I have also noticed a few tube buffer units using 6SN7 tubes as well. Thanks for your suggestion and I may check it out at a later date but right now I'm committed to using higher quality caps and an inductor in the crossover network first.

Cheers,
musiclover49

rollo

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #3 on: 18 Oct 2018, 02:00 pm »
  I did that as well. Made an outboard crossover. Very easy to get to and make changes. Have fun.


charles

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #4 on: 24 Oct 2018, 04:44 am »
My apologies for the late reply.  Thank you for reaching out to me directly Paul.  IMO, some things rollo is stating are applicable here.  I find "the speaker is the speaker" to be the exception, not the rule.  "crossover changes may help with cap flavoring. That's a chance though".  Component selection results left to chance are very small at my level.  Looking at your coupling caps, and speaker cables might be worthwhile.

With all this said, "this speaker" is somewhat inert to component changes.  Part of it is your desired result versus the nature of maggies, and the second part is that series networks tend to respond differently to component changes (in timbre).

Will XO mods help?  All of my 1.7 customers would say yes.

Since a 10uF Jupiter Copper, and 2x12uF+6x15uF Jupiter VT would be silly expensive, the parts you have listed will work.  I would consider the following exceptions:

-Use all the Sonicaps to build the mids, but retain the RTI 10uF in place of the 10uF Sonicap.

-The Sonicap would also work well for the tweeter cap.  The factory Axon/Aeon is a harsh cap.  The Dynamicap might be too much gravy.  Either way, I no longer carry Dynamicap.  That guy likely received a great closeout deal on them.  If you want to swing that far, my recommendation would be a Mundorf Supreme 10uF.

-If you purchased one of my last pair of 12ga coils, I'd custom dewind them to 1.4mH.  Even though they are 2.3mH, my sale price has them cheaper than everyone else's 1.5mH, and you would still need them dewound.

What else? :D

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #5 on: 27 Oct 2018, 07:08 am »
Hello Jeff and thanks for your response. Yes I would like to order the pair of 12 ga. Alpha Core coils wound down to 1.4 mh. I intend to follow your advice and keep the RTI (stock) cap in the loop and will consider whether to place a 10 mfd Sonicap, the 10 mfd Mundorf Supreme or the Dynamicap (which I could locate) as the tweeter cap.
 
-Would you prefer the Sonicap, Mundorf Supreme or Dynamicap  as the tweeter cap and why? 
-What have your 1.7 upgraders said after their upgrade project was completed about the sound enhancement?

I too would now agree with rollo, 'the speaker is the speaker' and will roll the dice on a 'cap and inductor flavoring' XO upgrade but
I'm certainly looking to use your expertise to fine tune the components used for a change in timbre. As overall I like the sound of the
Maggie 1.7 but if can be improved  then why not. After this project I also may consider coupling capacitor changes to my Classe
CA-200 power amp and/or speaker cables (using IXOS currently) as well but one step at a time  :)

Not sure how to make this 'custom Alpha Core 1.4 coil order on the Sonic Craft site so I have included my e-mail address below for pricing and payment.

pmturner070249@aol.com

Cheers,
Paul





   

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #6 on: 27 Oct 2018, 08:27 pm »
Quote
-Would you prefer the Sonicap, Mundorf Supreme or Dynamicap  as the tweeter cap and why?

"I" probably would have used the Sonicap or Mundorf Supreme S/O.  But, I am not you.  I do not have your equipment, nor was I considering Dynamicaps to start with.  As I have previously stated.  The cap on the high-pass of your speakers is known to be grainy, gritty, bright, and forward.  When you say "lusher top end", I picture you merely running from the factory cap.  Maggies are not bright/forward on top by nature.  When moving away from the factory cap, "I" do not feel a quantum shift is in order.  Hence, the Sonicap.  This was reinforced by one of my customers that tried many caps in that position (including the Dynamicap).  My belief is that many of the folks that have used warmer caps (Obbligatos to Dynamicaps) would appreciate a bit more sparkle even though they appreciate the shift away from bright/forward/brash.

As for the Dynamicap, I'm sure you can find it.  I always found it's flavor to be a useful tool in certain applications.  I never liked the build quality, or the QC.  So, dropping them when the price doubled was an easy decision.  If you do buy a pair of 10uF, pay for the epoxy version ($2 each).  Also request 1% matching of value and ESR.  I found both to fluctuate wildly.

Quote
-What have your 1.7 upgraders said after their upgrade project was completed about the sound enhancement?

Most were not specific in their desired improvement, and they were equally nonspecific in their acknowledgement of their newfound performance.  Those that were more specific leaned towards better bass, more dynamics, and more refined highs.  But, not all.  One customer removed the 12ga coil because he felt it made the 1.7s bass heavy.  He went back to the factory coil.  He was the only one to do this.  He tried several caps in the high-pass including the Mundorf Supreme S/O, but found he liked the Sonicap better.  The 1.7 is a mixed bag, unlike say the 1.6.

Quote
I too would now agree with rollo, 'the speaker is the speaker'

I'm not included here.  As stated before, this statement to me is more of "the exception rather than the rule".  I only touched upon his statement because it is somewhat applicable to the "1.7" IMO.  And of course, I spelled out why in my previous post.

Quote
After this project I also may consider coupling capacitor changes to my Classe CA-200 power amp and/or speaker cables (using IXOS currently) as well but one step at a time

I generally go to the XO first, but perhaps not here.  Based on the speakers in question along with your desired results and associated equipment...  Their is a strong argument for analyzing your cables, and coupling caps (upstream from your amp).  You do not want to swing too far in one position.  You may find yourself tuning differently once other issues have been addressed.  Are you using balanced out of the pre, or single ended?  Balanced from your oppo?  Which 6922s are you using, and why?  What percentage of the time are you using each source?  Which sounds best?  I did not think your pre had a phono stage, so what are you using for a phono amp?  Which model IXOS speaker cable, and what length?

Quote
Not sure how to make this 'custom Alpha Core 1.4 coil order on the Sonic Craft site so I have included my e-mail address below for pricing and payment.

Four years ago, we went 100% ecommerce.  So, you will need to create an account on our website.  You can add items to your cart.  Once you start into check out, you will be given shipping options.  After selecting one, you will continue on.  Before selecting "Confirm Order", you are given an itemized, real time quote.  It will only take a few moments.

During the checkout process, you will see the option to leave a comment with your order.  Simply request the 1.4mH value that I have offered you.  Of course, you would have needed to purchase the 2.3mH coils.

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #7 on: 28 Oct 2018, 07:49 am »
Jeff, I'll start with the 10 mfd Sonicap in the tweeter position as it's also the most cost effective option as well. Depending on results I may elect to go up to Mundorf Supreme or Supreme S/O later.

Thanks for the feedback from other Maggie 1.7 XO upgraders so it will be a 1.4 mh Alpha Core in the bass slot as well.

The Classe CA-200 has all Nichicon radial 'snap-in' caps, (4) 1000mfd 100V electrolytics and (24) 4700 mfd 80V with (12) per channel. They appear to of the 'V' series as black & gray coloring. I suspect the 4700 mfd caps are the coupling caps and the 1000 mfd are power supply caps.
I'm using Morrow Audio MA-4 balanced out of the Oppo and Kimber Kable Hero balanced from pre to power amp. Currently I rolled out a pr. of 6922 types Amperex 7308 tubes out for a pr. of Matsushita 7DJ8/PCC88 installed this year.
I am listening more to digital through the Oppo and MQA from a Bluesound Node 1 via Audioquest 'Black Mamba singled ended interconnects than I am to vinyl. I would have to say the vinyl sounds better generally although on some material the digital sources prevail. I'm using a Dynavecotor 20X low output moving coil cartridge running through the phono section of a Tandberg 3002A preamp into the PSE preamp. You were correct the PSE is a line preamp w/o a phono section.
I'm using  IXOS Gamma XHS806W 13 SWG running unequal 8 ft and 15 ft lengths as my system is spkrs. on both sides of a fireplace and audio components are along an adjacent wall. I'm also using Sunfire HRS-12 subwoofers one for each channel.

I should also mention that the Maggies were picked up by my audio dealer and returned to Magnepan about 2 weeks ago for what I believe is a bass panel repair again of the same spkr. repaired about 5 yrs. ago under warranty. I'll get a status early next week, if it's a panel problem of reasonable expense I'll have it repaired if it's a XO problem I'll ask for them to be shipped back and I'll do the XO upgrade ASAP.
 
Thanks for the info as well on ordering the dewound 2.3 mh coils to 1.4 mh as well. I'll wait for your response and then decide which should be my next step pending the spkr repair: XO, coupling caps or spkr/cabling upgrade change.

Thanks,
Paul

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #8 on: 28 Oct 2018, 06:55 pm »
The Sonicap, like all caps, will require some burn-in.  The G1 is fully burned-in at 350 hours.

As mentioned above, upstream of your amp.  As in, not in your amp.  BTW, those caps are not coupling caps.

You did not mention your assessment of the different tubes.

Those ICs are neither helping you, or substantially hurting you IMO.  The speaker wire is hurting you.  Do you have XHS706W or XHS806W?

No pressure/rush, but the dewinding offer is only good as long as I have stock to do it with.  I only have one pair of 2.3mH/12ga left.

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #9 on: 28 Oct 2018, 08:09 pm »
Thanks Jeff,
Appreciate the Sonicap Gen I burn-in info, I will be ordering them soon.

Upstream of the power amp was misunderstood so are we talking about coupling caps in the PSE preamp or source components?

Regarding the IXOS speaker wires, not sure if they are XHS706W or XHS806W as both use a white plaited format with a 'dummy wire' woven into the cabling. I usually retain receipts and/or packaging but in this case I have neither. I may have to look for better speaker wire perhaps Audioquest or Kimber Kable but would readily accept a suggestion for ICs or speaker wire.....please!

I just ordered today your last pr. of 12 ga. Alpha Core coils at 2.3 mh with the request in the comment section to dewound down to 1.4 mh.
Will be ordering other components from Sonic Craft after I find out what's going on with my Maggie repair.

Thanks for your time and assistance,
Paul

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #10 on: 28 Oct 2018, 11:13 pm »
The pre first, but then the source equipment if applicable.

If it is 13ga, it is 706.  I have a custom recommendation, but it is not listed on my site.  I'll have to build it.  I do not mind letting you demo it, but I would only be able to supply one side.  Meaning, I do not mind constructing a single 8', but I would not want to build a single or pair of 15' for demo.  I do not recommend changing your ICs at this point.

Thank you, we will get you fixed up.

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #11 on: 29 Oct 2018, 04:33 am »
Uploaded a few photos of preamp interior but don't know which are coupling caps. All the caps seem like Nichicons with two pr. of Vishay on the tube board. The PSE preamp was just repaired in August with some replacing of transistors and caps was done but I'd have to call the service rep to find out exactly which ones were swapped out.







'Thanks for the demo offer I certainly would like to demo the custom spkr wires with 8' or 9' single side. Not really sure if they are 12 or 13 ga. but they look slightly smaller than 12 ga. so I'm guesstimating 13 ga. as IXOS 13 ga wires. I'm using a pr. of Carver ALS-III as a back-up pr while my Maggies are in for repair. They seem even less efficient than the 1.7 pair. They have  4' ribbons coupled to 10" down firing woofers, definitely an acquired taste for sure!

Appreciate your efforts,
Paul

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #12 on: 29 Oct 2018, 10:42 pm »
CORRECTION: I'm using a pr. of Carver AL-III spkrs while my Maggies are in for repair.

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #13 on: 4 Nov 2018, 07:44 pm »
Paul,

If you emailed me the larger photo file, I might be able to tell you more.  The only way to know for sure is to scare up a schematic, or send me the unit.  BTW, we still evaluate equipment free of charge (but the day is coming...).  Shooting from the hip, and unable to see the bottom of the board...  I'd say there is a good chance that the White caps that look like they are Vishays are the couplers.  I'll reserve comment until I have something better to go off of.  However, I will say that I would mod the pre before I got too jiggy with the rest of the system.  The speaker cable is a safe move as well.

I have experience with the earlier amazing loudspeakers, but I have zero with the AL-IIIs.  The closest thing I've worked with is the newform research R645.

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #14 on: 5 Nov 2018, 01:14 am »
Jeff, I'll try to sent you an e-mail with the larger file attached to your 'personal message' account or if you would prefer cs@soniccraft.com be better?
I think a schematic of my PSE preamp will be hard to scare up as it appears to be quite rare. If you can't locate a schematic, we can discuss sending in the unit for evaluation if you will be so kind to do so.
The four Vishays are labeled MKP1839HQ  339n   5% 1250V axial type metalized polypropylene film caps if that helps. I also see solder burns at the board level so I suspect these are replacements or substitutions.
I appreciate your upgrade mod sequence suggestion order as it's better to shoot with a rifle than a 'shotgun' LOL!!





I also rec'd the dewound 1.4 mh inductors on Thursday, thanks!
Hope to get the Maggies back from Magnepan soon.

Paul

Jeff

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #15 on: 5 Nov 2018, 03:54 am »
Great, I'm glad they arrived safely.  Thank you :)

I have my PM turned off because I do not hangout here, and the notifications are hit and miss.  After missing a couple of PMs, I shut it off.  Emailing me at cs is the best way to go.  A full evaluation is better than a schematic.  We get to measure, and listen to it  :wink:  Further, I check for things like magnetic parts, poor connections, noise, etc...

Those vishays are decent.  They are warm, and sound very much like Jantzen Superior Z-cap.  Better than many caps on the cheap, but it has three issues that concerns me.  The first is that this great warm sound comes at the expense of the extremes.  It is slightly rolled on top, and weak on the very bottom.  Second is its dynamics.  They are noticeably compressed compare to several other top contenders.  Even if they had the warmth without penalty, I prefer something more than just a warmer coloration.  They are void of richness.  While caps that do it all are both large and expensive, smaller value couplers often render themselves doable.

musiclover49

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Re: Magneplanar 1.7 XO Upgrade
« Reply #16 on: 5 Nov 2018, 05:25 am »
Thanks Jeff, e-mail sent at cs@soniccraft.com

Cheers,
Paul