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Old 3rd June 2008, 05:23 AM   #1
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Default "Marconi"

I've been playing with different FR drivers for near to 7 months now.

Most have been with OB as I've experienced most pleasant sound with them but a few horns and TL's as well. Bib's are on the list.

To date all builds have been cardboard or OSB as this is has been merely experiments . I've used 3 different Pio's, Misco's, TB's , CSS and most recently some NOS MTX/Oakton 8" simply as price was right so I gave them a go.

To date all FR's have surprised me with realism in presentation I just didn't get with multi driver speakers. Each does have a weak point, usually bass but show me a multidriver speaker without a 12" or larger woofer that goes where I want it to .

I found myself back at where I was near a year ago reading Fikus' (Lampizator) site. I have been highly impressed with his opinions. Ego is simply not in the Mans thought process.

Again without knowing and hoping to keep cost down I simply had to see if Alnico was better than I'd recalled and were his opinions valid.

I ran across some Pio NOS Alnico 4.5" FR's on Ebay and snatched them. Wow! Not much of a magnet and not much xmas but incredible sound for what they were. Only lack was bass or they'd out perform all I'd tryed in that size. Guy claimed 60's vintage and likely true as zero from a Google on number.

Saw some vintage Marconi's (10" FR with whizzer) from an old Tube Console . Seller claimed from 40's (belonged to his Dad) but I don't think Consoles came around til mid 50's. A neighbor had one of them way back then that sounded better in my recollection than my Dads Zenith so I ventured yet again. They arrived this AM. Double Wow!!

It blows me away to think it actually likely even gets better than this! As usual I'm simply running them OB for now in the Office just to play with them. No idea what TS is but these almost make me want to purchase a woofer tester just to get some idea what they're about. They're heavy suckers with about a 6" magnet and if they get within 12" of my Monitor the gaussing is immediate! SPL must be way up there as it doesn't take much to achieve what I'm guessing in excess of 100db. Distortion is the absolute least of any driver I've tested to date. I'm guessin frequency response at 50 - 16,000 . Kick drums 'kick' at you , brushes on snares 'wisp' and a Grand Piano is in your room. They even handle 95% of the electronic mumbo jumbo Sting throws at you without distortion. I'm throwing about 30 watts at them at 65% volume, Louder than I'd ever likely play them and they don't blink. Seller had stated he played them with both a 10watt SET Amp as well as an old Sansui SS that pumped 100 watts per side.

I don't know what to think. Do they simply sound this good due to being Alnico or is it the fact that they're 10" vs. the 4.5" of most of what I've toyed with? Mids are every bit as concise as my smaller drivers. Can Altec Lansing be even better?

Shipping was steep as they came from Canada ( why is it you Canucks seem to have all these vintage drivers? ) but I'm still only out $60 for the pair.

I may actually build a respectable baffle for a change! My wife would be amazed.

I will definitely try yet another vintage Alnico of this size when finances allow. Without doubt these are keepers and I intend to run them for awhile. Maybe forever.

These sound better than anything I've ever personally owned without any augmentation of bass or highs. I'm flat out amazed.

Bluto
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Old 3rd June 2008, 03:40 PM   #2
GM is online now GM  United States
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Default Re: "Marconi"

Quote:
Originally posted by Bluto

Saw some vintage Marconi's (10" FR with whizzer) from an old Tube Console . Seller claimed from 40's (belonged to his Dad) but I don't think Consoles came around til mid 50's.

No idea what TS is but these almost make me want to purchase a woofer tester just to get some idea what they're about. They're heavy suckers with about a 6" magnet and if they get within 12" of my Monitor the gaussing is immediate!

I don't know what to think. Do they simply sound this good due to being Alnico or is it the fact that they're 10" vs. the 4.5" of most of what I've toyed with? Mids are every bit as concise as my smaller drivers. Can Altec Lansing be even better?
Define console since radio/TT consoles have been around since the earliest days of 78s in the '30s: http://www.antiqueradios.com/gallery/v/Marconi/

They are probably mid Q since virtually all amps had high output impedances back then.

Hmm, due to the nature of AlNiCo motor design they are all self magnetically shielded AFAIK, ergo you can set it ON the monitor and it won't visibly affect its picture, so yours are probably ceramic (AKA 'ferrite') motor drivers. Since AFAIK these weren't developed until the '50s, I question them being either from the '40s or AlNiCo based on your observations.

When properly designed for the BW as was the norm in the early days of sound reproduction, larger 'full range' drivers are better overall and don't audibly compromise the human speech BW at typical radio/TV/HIFI listening levels as long as the source material doesn't have modern day LF extension below ~40 Hz. I have a '39 Sears Silvertone Console made by RCA that has a single field coil 12" with a ~ 50 - 12 kHz BW, so more than adequate to ~accurately reproduce the ~75 - 7500 Hz source limits of the day. Power handling is of course quite limited since it only has a ~1" dia. VC and one piece, stiff, ultra low mass diaphragm to get this wide a BW honestly (no whizzer or separate surround, felt dustcap), but then a tube amp's low power goes a long ways when coupled to a fairly efficient driver.

If by Altec you're referring to stepping up to a duplex, then you're in another league of performance if set up properly (few are IMO), though some argue that the XO can never be transparent enough, unduly compromising the reproduction compared to a SOTA single driver.

GM
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Old 3rd June 2008, 11:56 PM   #3
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Hi GM -

Thanks for education.

Needless to say I'm disappointed to hear I believed I'd purchased Alnico and it appears I didn't. Wish I 'd known fact regards gauzzing prior to purchase but wonder if seller would have done test and what he'd have stated.

My entire test equipment collection consists of my own 2 ears which still make statements true but I've now coupled them with the little Pio's and your statement regards range and wonder if I was actually hearing up to 16 as highs are brighter and crisper with addition of these.

These have near a 2" voice coil , larger than normal whizzer (4.5") and spider is as large as magnet. Xmas from observing both spider and cone is active but am guessing no more than 4mm. Paper cone and whizzer are fairly heavy with a thin cloth dustcap. Surround is some type of treated cloth accordion style. I'm wondering if a coat of C37 would benefit. I'm a bit afraid to mess with them beyond perhaps some foam around whizzer. Frame is stamped but fairly heavy as well.

Live and learn .... despite not being as I thought I'm mightily impressed with these.

I'm even more impressed with your statements of comparison regards 'type' of driver these are in comparison to the A.L.'s. If things get better I'll be more than pleased.

I typed so fast I miscommunicated. EV's were to be next on my list as affordibility presented itself.

Bluto
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Old 4th June 2008, 03:53 AM   #4
GM is online now GM  United States
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Greets!

You're welcome!

Not having much faith in my fellow man, especially those selling vintage audio on epay, I'm betting that he'd do whatever it took to make the sale. Regardless, IMO even used '50s 'full range' drivers are better than any $60/pair current drivers I'm aware of.

Like any inexpensive 'FR' driver, the usual tweaks apply WRT whizzer, frame damping and mass loading to the baffle via the screw brace or similar, though not sure they're worth using C37 on them. You can 'sharpen' them up with thinned shellac and dampen them with Dammar, though I recommend you practice on some Pioneer B20s or Goldwoods first since the Marconi's sound so good.

GM
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Old 4th June 2008, 05:10 AM   #5
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Thanks GM -

I spent some time at the site you earmarked. Pretty interesting. The seller had photos of unit these came out of and based on 'style' they appeared mid 50's to early 60's to me. About 6' in length with top opening for phono/tuner, speaks to each side. Thats what had given me doubts regards age.

Like you, I'm not a proponent of the 'all people are basically good' Club, my experience at age 58 is most will take advantage if they can. Benefit of doubt given, he could have simply not known. I at least received a value product to my mind though a bit peeved now.

Likely my imagination with 'new' info received, they just don't sound as good now to me as they did.

Still like them , will proceed with caution.

Bluto
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Old 4th June 2008, 06:20 AM   #6
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Pictures Bluto, Pictures!
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Old 4th June 2008, 09:58 AM   #7
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Hi Despotic -

Finally got the digital camera working again about a week ago.

Still problems with this computer but will read 'how to' on photo posting and give it a go. Been wanting to do that for quite awhile.

They just look like drivers ..... nothing to speak of. Big butt whizzer is kinda cool.

Just checked - still on Ebay. Look up item # 300223913859. They're in Wisconsin now !

BTW - saw something somewhere you were just working on that caught my attention. Meant to comment but forgot to. Refresh my memory if you will.

Thanks- Bluto
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