X-SLS Encore build

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mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #20 on: 29 Oct 2019, 01:36 am »
Sounds like it's fighting you the whole way...stay vigilant! Some projects just seem never ending.  Are you pleased with result?

What's the finish again?  Some catalyzed finishes don't like to be cut and buffed.

Peter,

I used Target Coatings EM6000 waterbased production lacquer  https://www.targetcoatings.com/product/emtech-em6000-wb-production-lacquer/   with 2% crosslinker added  https://www.targetcoatings.com/product/emtech-cl100-wb-crosslinker/

I'm strongly considering giving up on spraying until I have a better spraying environment. In the meantime, if somebody wants a spray finish, I'll have to outsource it to someone with proper facilities.

Mike

Peter J

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #21 on: 29 Oct 2019, 01:45 am »
A spray booth is something I'd love to have, but I doubt my neighbors would feel the same. I've heard of guys setting up temp booths in U-Hauls.

mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #22 on: 29 Oct 2019, 01:58 am »
A spray booth is something I'd love to have, but I doubt my neighbors would feel the same. I've heard of guys setting up temp booths in U-Hauls.

I'd settle for a large enough workshop where I could easily move stuff out of the way to erect a temporary booth inside where I have some control over the environment rather than in my driveway. Until I can figure out where to come up with a spare $25k that's not going to happen anytime soon  :dunno:

mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #23 on: 20 Nov 2019, 03:38 am »
I finally got these done last night. They had been breaking in for about 20 hours when Norman came over to listen before they are shipped to their new home. Now 20 hours is just getting started on break-in. They will continue to improve over the next 75 hours of playing. They'll get some more tonight but the rest will have to wait till they get to their new home.

These have almost all the same crossover upgrades I put into the X-LS Encores that were at LSAF this past May. So I was not surprised at the quality of the midrange and treble. However, the bass output did surprise me. I'm impressed. Really good solid bass. Maybe Norm will chime in with his impressions.

Here are some pics I took with my iPhone:











Mike

maty

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #24 on: 20 Nov 2019, 10:27 am »
Optimized and clarified to see better the details.




PS: same in the thread https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/345074-mdf-plywood-speaker-cabinets-post5981659.html

maty

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #25 on: 20 Nov 2019, 10:36 am »
Up and down with double MDF table. Why not the front table, where the speakers. Or only where the woofer. Well it is only 6.5" woofer but...

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/345074-mdf-plywood-speaker-cabinets-post5976840.html



Front table, without nothing rear?

Peter J

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #26 on: 20 Nov 2019, 03:15 pm »
They look really great, Mike. I'm sure new owner will be thrilled.
Although there's lots of buzz about Danny's open baffle designs, I suspect many would find these outstanding. A testimony that good speaker design is kinda timeless.

Norman Tracy

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #27 on: 20 Nov 2019, 07:34 pm »
Rearranged my normal Tuesday night to detour by Michael’s to hear the GR Research X-SLS before they head off to their new owner, correction lucky new owner.

The short version is the Danny and Michael team deliver performance well above what the same dollars buys via retail channels.



We auditioned on Michael’s downstairs AV system rather than his more high-end system we see at LSAF that resides in his upstairs music room. Signal chain was media center PC running JRiver to Dodd DAC to Marantz HT receiver in 2-channel mode (no subs or surround) to X-SLSs. We listened to classic and progressive rock, jazz, pop, soundtracks, and audiophile demo favorites.

Bass has impressive depth, tightness, and texture. I have a preference for the now rare sealed box bass designs because I value the tight critically damped bass they deliver. As a result vented boxes as used by X-SLS need to be just so to please me. With its generously sized box and what my ears tell me is Danny’s expert vented bass alignment of the M165 driver with its obviously linear characteristics the result is the X-SLS sounds like a much larger system. Looking at the bracing pictures on page one of this thread shows an example of how this design is overbuilt compared to its price peers and that extra enclosure stiffness is heard as clean bass that does not muddy up the midrange. With the quality checked off the bass quantity can be appreciated. A pet peeve of mine with 21st century Hi-Fi is all too often speakers feature thin weak bass and mid-bass. I speculate the designers think it makes than sound more transparent or they lack the experience to get the baffle step correction right. The X-SLS is the antithesis of those misguided designs with a rich strong mid-bass and true lower bass that satisfies.

Imaging and transparency. We jumped around the selections Mike has on that server each from a different artist, album, and across decades of music. Quickly it became apparent that for each cut the soundstage would change responding to what the recording presented. Any stereo does that to some degree, what was striking is how explicit the X-SLS was in this aspect. A visual analogy occurred to me. When watching the latest generation of 4k wide color range HDTVs the differences between video in DVD, Blu-ray, and 4k resolutions is immediately apparent. The panel is so good it is easy to see. Likewise the X-SLS is open and does not obscure what is on the recording instead presenting it as captured. Images were nicely detached from the speaker locations. On some songs from early rock bands a bundle of frantic rocking energy appeared between the speakers. Other songs array performers precisely each in their own specific space. When captured in the recording images effortlessly appear to the left of the left speaker and right of the right speaker. This trait of very explicit imaging also made it easy to hear when on pop multitrack productions the vocalist is overdubbed to double or triple themselves.

Transparency in Hi-Fi I define as the ability to hear deep into the recording both the production details and the highly unique harmonic signatures of voices’ and instruments’ unique sounds. Score another win for X-SLS in this regard. This level of transparency combined with the full bass is something of a having ones cake and eating it too thing. Too often one obscures the other, very expert balancing here.

Vocals just work. In the 1970s and ‘80s when I first seriously got into Hi-Fi ‘presence’ was a trait often mentioned as a very good attribute for a speaker to have. Singers ranging from Adele, to Dean Martin, to John Fogerty were present with us in Michael’s room.

Tweeter up to task? Yes they are. I tend to favor hard domes, ribbon, and horn tweeters for their extended response and ‘fast’ detailed sonic signatures. Thus I was curious how the T26SG soft dome silk tweeters in the X-SLS perform. The soft dome sound is different but easily adequate to the task. One could argue the soft dome sound as heard here is more often representative of actual sounds in that they never sounded unnaturally harsh or zinging. I expect the crossover parts upgrades and tube connectors featured in this pair also helped both treble and transparency. Its nets out to smooth yet detailed and certainly more forgiving of the all too common musically interesting yet marginally recorded material. Conversely when really finely recorded high frequencies are presented they were reproduced with detail and filigrees intact.

In summary I really enjoyed a couple of hours listening to the GR Research X-SLS. They sound refined and impressive. When the landed cost is taken into account the value is outstanding.

A closing comment on Michael Lundy’s craftsmanship. As the photos show the man is skilled, meticulous and does not stop until it is right. I was impressed by the base, edge round overs, and tweeter fit and recess. The semi-gloss black paint looks good and would be perfect for use by video screens. I would go veneer as Michael works magic with wood finishing. This you can see in the photos on the pair of GR N3 that normally reside in the Lundy’s downstairs system.


RonP

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #28 on: 20 Nov 2019, 08:24 pm »
Oh man! The anticipation is building!!  :o

Norman, thanks for taking the time to write that up.

I wish it were this easy to select a new turntable.  :duh: ( decisions decisions )

Tyson

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #29 on: 20 Nov 2019, 09:04 pm »
Considering how smooth they are, how resolving they are and how much bass they have, it seems like they are designed to really blow scandinavian driver based speakers out of the water. 

Maybe re-name them from X-SLS to "Scan-Speak Killers".  Haha.

mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #30 on: 22 Nov 2019, 10:11 pm »
Great writeup Norm. Enjoyed the evening.

They are in the hands of UPS on their way to their new home. Should get there on Tuesday.

Jmitchell3

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #31 on: 24 Nov 2019, 02:00 am »
Great writeup Norm. Enjoyed the evening.

They are in the hands of UPS on their way to their new home. Should get there on Tuesday.

You’ve built both the mtm encore and the sls encore? Which do you prefer?

mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #32 on: 24 Nov 2019, 02:45 am »
You’ve built both the mtm encore and the sls encore? Which do you prefer?

The MTM Encore. The additional woofer provides a cleaner, fuller, more weighty midrange and, if I remember correctly, cleaner bass since the woofers don't have to work as hard. However, it is a larger speaker. Here are pics of the MTM Encore next to the same N3s.






Jmitchell3

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #33 on: 24 Nov 2019, 03:00 am »
The MTM Encore. The additional woofer provides a cleaner, fuller, more weighty midrange and, if I remember correctly, cleaner bass since the woofers don't have to work as hard. However, it is a larger speaker. Here are pics of the MTM Encore next to the same N3s.

Probably slightly higher sensitivity also, I would imagine. Cool thanks for the comment!

RonP

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #34 on: 26 Nov 2019, 06:18 pm »
So it begins . . .



well after work... gonna be a good holiday weekend  :thumb:

mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #35 on: 26 Nov 2019, 07:19 pm »
I’m glad they made it safely. Have fun  :thumb:

uncola

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #36 on: 27 Nov 2019, 09:00 pm »
lol that kitchen knife.  this thread keeps tempting me

RonP

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #37 on: 30 Nov 2019, 05:26 pm »
Ok I've had these a few days now and wanted to comment.

- First impressions: Speakers were very well packed and physically a little bit larger than I expected. These were very well built and if you didn't know any better, you'd think "yeah ok - those were built by some small specialty audio shop that makes X pair of them per week." Completely professional build. Handsome speakers, Hard to believe they were all put together (start to finish) by one person.

- After playing around a bit with speaker placement, I have their position mostly nailed down. I had used the rule of 5ths previously,  but I wanted to try something else that brought the speaker position deeper into the room from the front and side walls. Soundstage improved quit a bit, but still needs tweaking. I think the front of the speakers are about 94" into the room now.

- My room has a treble problem and I'm assuming it's due to the windows of various sizes in it. Once you reach a certain point of "treble excitement", it hits a tipping point and there's just too much treble. All 3 sets of speakers I've tried in this room have had the same issue regardless of speaker location. So... Room treatment is on my shortlist - specifically getting these windows covered (from a sound perspective). Once that's done, I'll dial in final position and add the included spikes.

- Out of the box, they were already disappearing about 90% of the way. After moving to a different position in the room (their current position), I'd say they are about 95%+ gone. I'm simply  amazed at the amount of sound, QUALITY sound these 4 little drivers are producing. It's a bit dumbfounding really. I'm glad I sprung for the crossover upgrades.

- Two comments made earlier in the thread by Mike and Norm are spot on. [1] You hear what's there in the recording. I can tell the difference between my homemade vinyl rips from my cheap turntable and a professional DVD-A for example. Mine have like a thin gelatin layer over the sound. DVD-A's, SACDs, etc all sound a level above.. Well that's where the original recording was well-done.  [2] There's surprising bass from these puppies.

- The sound is rather alluring and enjoyable. I wasn't even an hour in before I started hearing new things in old familiar recordings. The sound is being pumped at 24/96 from a raspberry pi into my modest preamps' DAC. I can control my pi via wifi on the couch. I find myself falling victim to the "one more song" trap. What starts out as 15 mins of listening turns into much longer sessions. It's just so easy to click a few buttons on the kindle and queue up more tracks. Ahhhhhh

I'm still playing around looking for several demo tracks, but I've already found a few:
-'Telephone Line' by ELO - As the vocal starts it has a "telephone" effect applied to it and it gradually fades to a normal stereo vocal. You can just picture in your mind how Jeff has his finger on the slider on the mixing board and is slowing mixing out the effect.

-'With or without' by U2 really shows off the bass output of these speakers.

-Many many more tracks demo the speakers and their upgrades really well. It's fun finding them scrolling thru the list. :)


All in all, a great purchase!






mlundy57

Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #38 on: 1 Dec 2019, 04:38 pm »
Ron,

I’m glad you like them.

Highly reflective surfaces can do that. You might also want to try some diffusion around and/or over the windows (provided you can get away with putting something over the windows). A mix of absorption and diffusion may give you the best results. If regular diffusion panels don’t pass WAF, you can use art panels with diffusion under the art.

Mike

RonP

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Re: X-SLS Encore build
« Reply #39 on: 6 Feb 2020, 12:20 am »
Finally managed to get a little acoustic treatment up in the listening room and a new rack.

These babies continue to impress!

I busted out the fish-eye lens  8)




a few more pics here...

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/Zf-ShU-XRDmmpEqkVYAVuQ.xSggvvGiNwy-KFFYa94i2r