Tweaking the Sonus Faber Grand Piano - diyAudio
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Old 13th December 2004, 12:41 PM   #1
Hennie is offline Hennie  South Africa
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Default Tweaking the Sonus Faber Grand Piano

I have bought good second hand items many times in the past and tweaked them for better performance. As far as speakers go, that included Sonus Faber. Perfectly good commercial designs have compromises inherent in the design to reduce manufacturing costs.

Here are some examples of the modifications I did to the original Sonus Faber Grand Piano to make it sound better. A lot these mods can be applied to other speakers too if you decide to buy second hand and tweak. Some of these mods can be made reversible.

I stabilized the clip-on interface of the Seas 19TFF1 tweeter with a few drops of epoxy glue. Cleaned up the treble somewhat. Only reversible if you buy new tweeters from the Sonus Faber agent. The standard 19TFF1 won't do, because the originals have SF's logo on the face plate.

I isolated the tweeter from the pressure of the mid-woofer, ensuring that it operates in its own sealed chamber. Fortunately this was easy to to, since the tweeter did not protrude behind the thick front baffle. This resulted in significantly improved treble response with less fatigue. A stethoscope test with the tweeter disconnected led me towards this mod. This mod can be made reversible.

I soldered the cables directly to the driver terminals, removing the push-on lugs. It is funny that they use expensive gold plated terminals on the outside of the speaker and dubious connectors on the inside. Sounded more fluid. Not really reversible, because the woofer terminals are gold plated.

This speaker has a dedicated crossover compartment. I filled that with clean sand, giving better stability. With most decent speakers a worthwhile improvement can be had by removing the crossover from the cabinet and putting it in a separate enclosure, maybe damping it. 100% reversible.

I tuned one side panel per speaker to a different frequency by attaching small lead weights. The idea is that the side panel resonances would be less noticable if they are not coincident. Used a stethoscope again. Can be done 90% reversible.

I changed the tweeter attenuation from a series resistor to an L-pad. I did this because I believe the fundamental resonance of the 19TFF1 was audible although cleverly voiced into the design. The L-pad design made this resonance almost inaudible. The speaker was also too bright. This was also rectified with the L-pad. 100% reversible.

These tweeter isolation and panel tuning mods decreased the internal volume somewhat, but the bass alignment did not change significantly.

I now want to experiment with the cabinet lining material, because I want to reduce the tweeter output a little more, but I need to reduce a slight lower mid coloration before I can do that. If guys reading this have any suggestions, please respond here.

Last step would probably be to replace the Seas tweeter with something like a Hiquphon. And test out better caps in the crossover. It uses standard Philips MKP.

.
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Old 1st January 2007, 05:19 AM   #2
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Default Sonus Faber tweak

Hi Hennie, could you please explain to me what resistors are to be used in the L-pad to replace the series resistor in the SF Grand Piano? Thanks

Raffaele
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Old 10th March 2016, 04:51 PM   #3
fjs1155 is offline fjs1155  United States
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Default Opening the speaker

I'd like to tweak mine as well. Can you explain how to open the speaker? It looks sealed except for the binding post cover.
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Old 10th March 2016, 08:07 PM   #4
Lojzek is offline Lojzek  Croatia
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The so called modifications for the better are practically all nonsense.
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Old 11th March 2016, 11:08 AM   #5
fjs1155 is offline fjs1155  United States
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...a bit melodramatic, don't you think? I'm an well-educated and experienced Electrical Engineer and have been performing mods on my equipment for many years. The results have been worth the time and effort.
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Old 11th March 2016, 01:48 PM   #6
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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I wouldn't attempt anything much further without looking at the crossover and understanding what it is about 6" bass that is tonally problematic.

Simplistic filters don't work very well with 6" bass. Troels Gravesen has strong views on the right way to do this:
18W-8434G00

Those old SEAS 19mm ferrofluid tweeters are kinda flimsy. I have one sitting around retired. It has a Monitor Audio stamp on it, but I doubt it's anything other than bog standard. I see the impedance goes high at high frequency in the original SF model, so your attenuator might help for the smooth sound with a lot of amps.

Putting the crossover in sand sounds like an idea, but where does the heat now go? I don't mind hard soldering basses, but tweeters are fragile, and good clips and crimps seem to work well enough.
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Old 11th March 2016, 01:56 PM   #7
Lojzek is offline Lojzek  Croatia
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The results one might get from modifications in general may or may
not be real. Placebo is a known phenomenon. Let me clear some of these.

Firstly, by default the tweeter is already sealed and therefore protected
from the waves that travel in a box. Why seal it any further?

Secondly, have a look at the traced impedance plot and its Fs peak
well damped with ferrofluid and the FR plot that includes
a raw driver response and a filtered one ( 4R7, 6u8, 0,22mH, 5u6).
A series resistor followed by a 3rd order electrical imaginary filter.

The OP said:" I changed the tweeter attenuation from a series resistor
to an L-pad. I did this because I believe the fundamental resonance of
the 19TFF1 was audible although cleverly voiced into the design."

How could the Fs of the tweeter be audible if we know that it does nothing
audible to the sound?

If we look at the review, there seems to be going on something odd that
qualifies for an upgrade, but that would mean to heavily modify the whole
mid to tweeter range, not some meaningless aesthetic changes.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/s...fgusbULXZZi.97
Attached Images
File Type: gif seas 19 TFF1 IMP raw.gif (16.2 KB, 194 views)
File Type: gif seas 19 TFF1 FR.gif (18.8 KB, 192 views)
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Last edited by Lojzek; 11th March 2016 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 11th March 2016, 02:13 PM   #8
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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It's a first order crossover, Lojzek. And that tweeter is not sealed at all!

http://www.stereophile.com/content/sonus-faber-concerto-grand-piano-loudspeaker-measurements#7

Looks quite demanding and peaky to me. Not my cup of tea at all, in fact.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SEAS 19TFF1.JPG (23.7 KB, 190 views)
File Type: jpg Sonus Faber Grand Piano.JPG (35.6 KB, 200 views)
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Old 12th March 2016, 01:28 AM   #9
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I've used that tweet. It is cheap, cheerful and most definitely sealed.
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Old 12th March 2016, 01:44 AM   #10
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Darwin View Post
I've used that tweet. It is cheap, cheerful and most definitely sealed.
Just as well SEAS don't make deep-sea diving suits, then. My own tweeter below. Like the man say, it's held together by three plastic clips.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SEAS 19 TAF-G.jpg (86.9 KB, 183 views)
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