Problems with Sapphire III!

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kimchee411

Problems with Sapphire III!
« on: 7 Aug 2010, 09:53 am »
Hi,

I just got a used pair of Sapphire IIIs.  One of the speakers has 2 problems:

1.  All 4 grill posts are broken, so, no grill.

2.  The tweeter was dented inward and pratically caved in.  Being a soft dome, it mostly came back to form easily, but there is a large, permanent crease/fold on the left side of it which is affecting the sound.  It's not quite as loud or extended as the other tweeter.  I tested this by removing the biwire jumpers, plugging in only the tweeter binding posts, and switching one interconnect back and forth between L and R inputs on my power amp while playing the same material.

Are the grill posts and tweeters replaceable on these old speakers?  I sent an inquiry to sales on meniscusaudio.com but it would be nice to know sooner rather than later.  :)  Also, the tweeters and center of the midrange drivers are sticky -- is that normal?

Hopefully the seller will do something about this.  The eBay ad says "as-is" but also says "... it has been gently used, perfectly broken in... These speakers and stands are in very good shape considering their age, and they still sound as sweet and correct as the day I first listened to them."

What's your take on my situation?  Am I entitled to restitution?  I don't think sending them back will be the best for anyone, and I think UPS will laugh if a claim is filed.  Ideally I would like to be partially refunded for the cost of repair... that is if they CAN be repaired! 

Even if I get screwed I still want to repair them.  Despite these issues, they still sound good!

raindance

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #1 on: 7 Aug 2010, 11:37 am »
Were they shipped in the original boxes? How do the boxes look? Sounds to me like the typical shipping damage that occurs when a speaker is packed in the wrong box with bubble wrap and peanuts. You may have a shipping claim here. Of course, it is your responsibility to verify photos of what you are buying before you bid, I always request high res photos with the grills off.

David Ellis

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #2 on: 7 Aug 2010, 02:13 pm »
Quote
I think UPS will laugh if a claim is filed

Yup, I think so too.  UPS beats the snot out of parcels.  Anything less durable than a Sherman Tank is destined for destruction.

I am surprised the tweeter didn't return to normal operation after you pulled the dome back into th the correct shape.  If there isn't any buzzing from the bad tweeter (voice coil rub), it should be okay.  Another possibility is that the ferrofluid was displaced from the gap.  This would create a change, but not a reduction in spl... in most cases.   

Anyhoo,  IMO, the best solution is to find a replacement tweeter and hope that the replacement tweeter has a similar response and impedance curves.  I believe Mike used Scanspeak tweeters.  You might consider asking Madisound for an older pair of tweeters (if possible) made @ the same time as your speakers.  If this isn't possible, just ask the folks at Madisound for an older pair that came from the same production run.  This way they will most likely have the same anomalies.  In many cases, loudspeaker drivers from different years and different production runs are not the same.

Dave

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #3 on: 7 Aug 2010, 07:26 pm »
Thanks for the replies.

The boxes actually look fine and the seller did a good job packing.  I honestly can't imagine how the grill posts snapped off.  The photos clearly show 2 remaining grill posts on the speaker and a good tweeter.

The dome isn't exactly in the correct shape, there is a permanent crease/fold due to the extended time that it was caved in.  It sounds mostly OK, and is more or less listenable, but I can definitely tell the difference when I do an A/B against the other tweeter.  Not acceptable for me.

I'm hoping Mike will chime in here sometime soon and suggest a replacement driver if the original isn't available, or recommend some other course of action.

Is the stickiness normal, or is this degradation of a coating from time/heat?

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #4 on: 7 Aug 2010, 07:31 pm »
Here's a pic:



kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #5 on: 7 Aug 2010, 08:34 pm »
FTR I took out the tweeter and found that it's a Scan-Speak D2905/9000.

Mike, do you recommend finding an original 9000 or perhaps going with one of the newer 9300/9500/9700 D2905 tweeters?

Thanks.

opnly bafld

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #6 on: 7 Aug 2010, 08:38 pm »
Post from April 2010, maybe still available?

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?p=1636459

David Ellis

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #7 on: 8 Aug 2010, 01:17 pm »
Quote
Is the stickiness normal, or is this degradation of a coating from time/heat?

The stickyness is intentional.  It's part of the coating process.

If Mike doesn't chime-in, I recommend emailing Scanspeak and asking them for their recommendation.

I don't believe Scanspeak has a dealer rep in the USA (SEAS has a great dealer rep), and therefore you will have to go to the factory for your question.  I am aware that Scanspeak has experienced reasonable personnel turnover during ownership changes since your tweeter was built.  Hopefully there is still someone at Scanspeak who is keen on the SS2905/9000.


Dave

David Ellis

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #8 on: 8 Aug 2010, 01:19 pm »
I just read this string.

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?p=1636459

This is the very best course of action - IMO.

Dave

Mike Dzurko

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #9 on: 8 Aug 2010, 06:55 pm »
By all means, if you can find the Scan9000 or even better, a pair, that's the way to go on the tweeters.

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #10 on: 9 Aug 2010, 05:20 pm »
Thanks Dave and Mike for your replies.

I'm in the process of procuring the 9000s.  However, I've read that the 9500s provide a good improvement over the 9000s. 

http://www.wduk.worldomain.net/forum/showthread.php?t=167

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/1164-scan-speak-d2905-950000-a.html

I'm thinking about trying this out sometime down the road.  I'd like to keep these wonderful speakers as long as possible, and avoid the long-term issues with the sticky dome, i.e. dust (= added mass).

Any thoughts?

David Ellis

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #11 on: 9 Aug 2010, 07:19 pm »
Generally... don't change drivers.

The most prevalent tenet of a great speaker is a custom crossover correctly setup for a pair (or 3) drivers.  I have heard Mike's stuff, and it is profoundly well designed.  The ACI Jaguar 2000... wow!  There is something truly special about this speaker - aside from having a cabinet that would be a royal pain in the #!#%#@ to build  :roll:

Anyhooo, the SS9500 response will be slightly different and would almost surely be detrimental.  You could try this, but the results would likely be a net negative. 

Don't assume that new tweeters are necessarily better than old tweeter.  I have heard that good hand-coated tweeters were more common on the good old days - before new mass-coating methods were adopted that were... almost as good and far less time intensive.  I don't know if the SS9000 was/is a hand-coated tweeter, but it could be.

Also, the "sticky" on the dome may seem undesirable, but this viscous material damps dome resonance.  The "sticky" is intrinisic in the design of that tweeter.  Yes, I know the sticky stuff seems tedious, but the sticky stuff serves a very constructive purpose.

Dave

Mike Dzurko

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #12 on: 9 Aug 2010, 08:12 pm »
Thanks Dave, I agree 100% :D  The 9500 would certainly sound "brighter", and likely would increase long term listening fatigue. Of course some would say they preferred the sense of added detail and air. Me, I prefer not to have a tipped up high end.

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #13 on: 9 Aug 2010, 10:49 pm »
Yikes, brighter is certainly not good to my ears!  9000 it is.  Maybe I'll look for a pair of backups from time to time.

Thanks again for all the helpful advice!

Eric

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #14 on: 10 Aug 2010, 02:58 pm »
I have heard Mike's stuff, and it is profoundly well designed.  The ACI Jaguar 2000... wow!  There is something truly special about this speaker - aside from having a cabinet that would be a royal pain in the #!#%#@ to build  :roll:

I agree. They are the only part of my system I have never been tempted to upgrade

Capt. Z

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #15 on: 17 Aug 2010, 02:37 pm »
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm;

Bright???????????????  :o :o :o :o :o

When I updated my Sapphire II Ti to the III status the Sapphire III came with the SS 9300. I however used a 9500 and never heard the tweeter sound bright or been fatiguing.

Unless this Sapphire III you've got has a different x-over than mine I can not imagine that the Sapphire III with the SS 9500 will sound bright. You can listen to mine if you like.  8)

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #16 on: 19 Aug 2010, 07:01 am »
Yeah, I've read that the 9500 is actually easier on the ears than the 9000.  Brian from Meniscus told me that you can go to the 9300 or 9500 without any crossover changes (9700 is different), and I've read this elsewhere as well.  Anyway, I got myself a new pair 9000s so I'm perfectly happy for now.  Maybe when that goo gets all covered in dust I'll pull the trigger on the 9500s.  Then again I've got Sapphire XLs to keep me in good tunes too.  :D

Mike, is it true that the Sapphire III later used the 9300 tweeter, along with the 25th Anniversary?  I've read this elsewhere, and also that the Sapphire XL uses the 9500, but you have a 9300 listed on the site as being the one used in the XL. :scratch: 

Capt. Z, if you were anywhere near San Francisco I would hold you to your offer!  :lol:

Capt. Z

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #17 on: 19 Aug 2010, 11:19 am »
I know that MY upgrade kit back than came withe the 9300 from ACI.

Well, I am over in South Carolina. If you ever come this way let me know  :wink:

kimchee411

Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #18 on: 21 Aug 2010, 04:44 pm »
Capt Z, was your 9500 a perfect fit in the cabinet?  The data sheets say the 9500/950000 has a 0.5 mm smaller flange diameter than the 9000.  Very small difference, but different nonetheless.

http://www.scan-speak.dk/datasheet/d2905_9000.htm
http://www.scan-speak.dk/datasheet/d2905_950000.htm

Capt. Z

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Re: Problems with Sapphire III!
« Reply #19 on: 21 Aug 2010, 05:32 pm »
Well, I started of with the Sapphire II with the old Focal Ti tweeter in there before which was much larger than the SS tweeters, so I had a carpenter cut me an 'adapter' ring.

Half a mm shouldn't make any real difference.
« Last Edit: 21 Aug 2010, 06:47 pm by Capt. Z »