Improve the sound of M3, M4, Triode Master? for $7 Two tweaks.

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ric

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Greetings and Happy New Year. As a former Dunlavy owner I found that removing the grill cloth improved the sound even though supposedly they were designed to stay on. Recently I got the hair brained idea of removing the cloth that covers the M3 Turbo S', so I laid the speakers face down on a few pillows and unscrewed the screws holding in the speakers. Took a few minutes, very easy, then I lifted the speaker up with one hand so that it hovered over the cabinet and removed the cloth.
While removing the screws I noticed that they look like standard 1" sheet rock screws. Hummm. Then I got the hair brained idea of replacing them with brass screws, so I went to Lowes and bought a 50 pack of #10 x 1 IN Hillman solid brass phillips screws for about $6.50. Before I replaced the speaker screws I also had lying around part of a sheet of "db Neutalizer"  which from Herbie's website says "Ideal for component chassis damping and loudspeaker applications". These I had already cut into half inch by half inch squares from another project, so I used them as washers and drilled a small hole in the center of the damping sheet squares and threaded 32 screws into 32 half inch squares. I then replaced on screw at a time, setting the torque on my drill to sixteen, as that seemed to be fairly tight. The brass screws are slightly larger than the rock screws so they were a bit harder to drive in which may have been a good thing.
OK, on to the listening test. I had used a mediocre recording of Beethoven's quartet #132 as both violin and cello make it easier to discern fullness in those areas and indeed there was an improvement. BUT, as I moved on to other recordings I kind of had a WTF moment and I was trying to figure out what was different in a very pleasing, very involving way. Now this was yesterday, so I reserve the right to renege on the jaw dropping improvement, but to my ears the soundstage opened up, the bass is fuller, the highs are more crisp and defined but also more relaxed. The PRAT factor (pace, rhythm, forgot what the A is  :icon_lol:, timing) got huge.
Two days ago I was playing spinning wheel (blood sweat and tears) on vinyl and with the cloths off,(no screw tweak yet) I noticed a small but noticeable improvement in clarity and cymbals, etc. But with the new screws in I really was blown away with what I was hearing, as the jump factor and musical involvement improved dramatically.
     There is another possible reason for what I was hearing, as I have an EL34 tube amp and the Sophia Electric EL34 tubes (highly recommended if you want to spend the bucks) take up to four hours to sound their best. So I would attribute maybe 20% of what I was hearing to an improvement in sound from tube warm up, and the other 80% you can attribute to placebo factor if you think I'm full of s**t. Hopefully, what I heard yesterday will continue and I urge any others that can handle a screwdriver to try their luck.
It would be interesting to try this tweak with some FoQ product, but for now YMMV, but I'd be interested in that Xmas reply "do you hear what I hear". Thanks for listening.

Peter J

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  • Hmmmm
I doubt that Spatial would use "sheetrock screws" to fasten driver. What would compel them? I've read of the replace steel with brass screw tweak and can't imagine why it would make any difference in the way a speaker sounds.

I'd be curious to hear your theory.

Don_S

"A confounding variable, also known as a third variable or a mediator variable, influences both the independent variable and dependent variable. Being unaware of or failing to control for confounding variables may cause the researcher to analyze the results incorrectly. The results may show a false correlation between the dependent and independent variables, leading to an incorrect rejection of the null hypothesis."

Short version:  Too many changes at once.

ric

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If you can't imagine spatial would use sheetrock screws, pull one out and look at it. Cheap and easy to drive, does the job.
As far as any theory as to why it works, I really don't have enough knowledge, to comment. For me the proof is in the pudding, either it sounds better or it doesn't.
Really, all I'm asking is that someone try it, since it's very simple to do, and confirm or deny my impressions with their own. If today or tomorrow I listen and hear no improvement so be it, but these are simple tweaks that can be done by anyone. As judge Judy says "put on your listening ears" and judge for yourself.

Phil A

Yes - sheetrock screws are easy to drive.  When I framed the basement in my old house, I used longer sheetrock screws to hold together the framing.  Held together solidly and easy to re-do things (hand framed the bar and didn't like the way it was inside and re-did it very easily).

Peter J

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  • Hmmmm
I don't often split hairs here, but I'm feeling my oats today. I don't own Spatial speakers, so I won't be checking the fasteners out, but you could shoot a photo and post, no?

Sheet Rock(a brand name) or any drywall screws are a specific thread type, hardness and head type. Designed for the task of fastening drywall to framing they come in two flavors, for metal framing and wood. My doubt stems from knowledge of fasteners and their application and mis-application, hence the skepicism.

Sorry Phil, that people use them indiscrimately is not proof of their value for unintended purposes. Far too hard and brittle to be of any real value in a structural situation. I don't doubt that screws are handy in framing, but for goodness sakes use something that's more suited to the application. What are commonly refered to as decking screws would be a better bet.


BobRex

But aren't decking screws harder than sheet rock screws?  It's easier to bend a sheet rock screw.

Peter J

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No, they're not. Assuming we're talking about something that is actually a drywall screw.

Unfortunately manufacturers can and do call their products whatever they want, particularly in stores aimed at the DIY market (big boxes). There is no statute to prevent it, it's about marketing. Unless one were to somehow prove a manufacturers claim or labeling is criminally wrong, it will and has continued.


In theory, a drywall screw is actually a hardened screw. It's done to resist cam-out when being power driven. It's not being asked to "give" under load. It also has a bugle type head that pulls drywall paper down rather than grind a countersink for itself. If using them in a structural application the best example of their nature is snapping heads off, which I thing most would agree is a PIA.

Decking screws are softer and more malleable, for the same reason a nail is. Shear strength, the ability to be withdrawn and reinserted and pull parts together are all enhanced. There's lots to the science, and lots of misguided and mislabeled bullshit on the shelf, but that's a topic for another time and place.


Sorry to hijack your thread, Ric. I just really dislike the proliferation of bogus information and hearsay.

Folsom

I don’t see anything wrong with drywall screws. They’re pretty damn tough. But more importantly perhaps is the limit on available black screws. Aesthetics can be very important for a manufacturer.

ric

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The longer screw is a fine thread sheet rock screw that I had on hand, the shorter course thread is a little thicker than a standard rock screw (but not by much) and was pulled from the speaker. The brass screw has a half inch "gasket".
But really, for me the question is about a simple tweak or tweaks working and being audible. Whether it is a rock screw, deck screw or other, is irrelevant in this context unless someone is comparing the sound of one to another in this application. Of course you are free to match the screw on Google images or call Clayton in order to prove whatever point you are trying to make. :nono:

Folsom

Why would it be the screw, if we have a second variable of a damper material? We don’t know.

Rocket_Ronny

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I had met Rick Shultz before he started Virtual Dynamics. He was in contact with the fellow who created Systrum Racks and Rick was talking all the virtues of using brass for energy transfer and dissipation. So I don't doubt at all about the results you are getting. I should do the same to the GR Research Super Vs.

Clayton Shaw should take notice of this thread as it might be worth experimenting with.

ric

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Yes, thank you Ronnie. I did look at the Ric Shultz video when I was doing research on brass screw vs. others. And yes, there are two variables, the other being the damping material. Right now I'm not about to pull the screws out and pull the damping/washers, but my guess is that they both contribute. Down the road, I would be curious to try the screws with FoQ product, but for now hearing is believing.
As I was thinking about it and if you look at Magico and the other big boys, they incorporate sophisticated (read expensive) ways to minimize unwanted vibration while maximizing wanted vibration--that's what this game is all about, and tweaks are guesswork.
Herbies Audio recommends using a type of  auto gasket sealer (RTV) when attaching their vibration control sheets, and I have used it on my flamenco guitars isolating the body contact points (knee, right arm, upper chest) which, to my ears does the same thing to the sound emanating from a wooden instrument as in audio--bass is tightened, more clarity, better projection.
It would be interesting to attach the speaker itself using no screws and something like the gasket sealer, but dangerous for a manufacturer if the adhesive loosens up over time. Perhaps down the road....

Mike B.

This is a very old tweak. Perhaps Michael Green or Mike Vans Evers was the first to report using brass screws on speakers and electronic enclosures?

mikeeastman

Pierre Sprey of Mapleshade is also big on brass screws.

Tomy2Tone

I had met Rick Shultz before he started Virtual Dynamics. He was in contact with the fellow who created Systrum Racks and Rick was talking all the virtues of using brass for energy transfer and dissipation. So I don't doubt at all about the results you are getting. I should do the same to the GR Research Super Vs.

Clayton Shaw should take notice of this thread as it might be worth experimenting with.

Found this...

https://youtu.be/QPvV9UOvqXM

goskers

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Perhaps it’s as simple as you replace something while wondering if you will notice a difference.  Low and behold, a difference is noticed.


ric

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OK, just in case anyone out there, :roll: hello, echo...might try this, I had my second listening session yesterday and I was nervous casting doubt upon my ears. But, my ears are telling me the same thing, and this is a huge upgrade, where I am still kind of scratching my head. For those of you who suggest placebo effect, or too many variables, all I can say is try it yourself. Pull out your screwdriver it's not that hard to do. Report what you hear back. Worse case scenario, put the old screws back in, along with the grill cloth.
While on the subject, I want to add the Schroeder effect, (about doubling up your rca connectors from cd player to amp via a splitter) is also a huge tweak, and can be done cheaply. Highly recommended.

Mike B.

I have done this for years. Here is one example
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dd7z9qven0b8jmf/004.JPG?dl=0

TimS

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Hi Ric
I haven't got the M3's but am keen to try this on my speakers. Any chance of taking some more closeup photos of the actual screws attached to the speakers so I can get a better idea of what it looks like?

Thanks