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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Upgrading B&W 683 crossover
Upgrading B&W 683 crossover
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Old 17th September 2019, 03:57 PM   #1
Michael F is offline Michael F  Canada
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Default Upgrading B&W 683 crossover

I recently acquired a pair of these and like them, a lot. They replaced many far more expensive floorstanders in recent years that were without question more refined but ultimately nowhere near as enjoyable to listen to.
While the 683s are not perfect by any means either, I think I`ll hang on to them for a while which has me wondering if a crossover component upgrade may be a cost effective tweak that`ll bring their performance up a notch.

I have read on a European forum that these speakers respond quite favorably to better crossover components.
My biggest "gripe" with these is that I find the top end a little too polite, lacking some bite and sparkle that I know exists.
The same could be said to a lesser degree about the FST midrange driver but I`m nitpicking on both accounts here.

I`m considering replacing the tweeter capacitors to one of these two:

Solen AGM470 - Silver Metallized Polypropylene Capacitors
or
Audyn KP SN Capacitor, 4.70mF 160Vdc. 2% Tolerance, Axial Lead

These are the two that are readily available and reasonably priced but I`d be open to other suggestions within the price range.

I`m also considering replacing the two generic resistors in the midrange band pass filter to some non inductive types while in there.
Depending on the results achieved by the HPF cap change, I may be tempted to replace the two midrange and woofer caps at a later point as they are of greater value and expense.
Your thoughts?
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Old 17th September 2019, 06:27 PM   #2
DickHertz is offline DickHertz  United States
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I'd go with the Audyn capacitors. In my experience, I've found the Audyns to be a little smoother sounding than Solens. An added bonus is price-wise, they're just a few cents more. The 150uF woofer shunt capacitor can safely be replaced with a high quality cap from Erse.

ERSE - Non-Polerized Electrolytic Capacitors

Replacing the resistors with non-inductive types like Lynx or Mills can't hurt.

Last edited by DickHertz; 17th September 2019 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 17th September 2019, 09:47 PM   #3
AllenB is offline AllenB  Australia
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C3 is in series with an inductor and a resistance. Any concerns regarding parasitic properties with the capacitor are not reason to replace it.

The same goes for the mid resistor parasitic inductance. I wouldn't expect any difference on that alone.

Maybe measuring would find some issues to work on?
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Old 17th September 2019, 09:54 PM   #4
gigigirl is offline gigigirl
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Hi, just change it for an active x-over. cheers
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Old 18th September 2019, 12:56 AM   #5
shc is offline shc  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenB View Post
Maybe measuring would find some issues to work on?


Measuring should reveal the crossover to be a somewhat idiosyncratic design implemented with quality components.


I have a pair of CM9s that are approximately the same thing as the 683. IIRC, the acoustic slope for the mid is roughly third order at the high end. Combined with a first order slope for the tweeter, this results in a strange radiation pattern, an M-shaped on-axis HF response and noticeable variation in response with vertical angle. See, for example, Stereophile's 683-S2 measurements.


I redesigned the mid and tweeter networks to move the crossover frequency down to 3 kHz with proper phase tracking etc which, IMO, sounds better. I would not expect replacing existing components with essentially the same thing to have a significant effect.
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Old 18th September 2019, 01:29 AM   #6
eriksquires is offline eriksquires  United States
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I hate solens.



For the record, B&W went to using Mundorfs, if you want to follow their lead.


Personally I prefer Clarity.



Best,


E
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Old 18th September 2019, 01:50 AM   #7
Michael F is offline Michael F  Canada
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Here are a couple of measurements I came across.

The first is Violet curve: pseudo-anechoic response on the tweeter axis, averaged across a 30 horizontal window, combined with nearfield responses of the woofers and port). All measurements were taken at 1 meter.
Pseudo-anechoic response, off-center in the horizontal plane, at 45 (red) and 60 (blue).

The second,pseudo-anechoic response at 15 above (red) and 15 below (blue) the tweeter axis.
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File Type: jpg 408bw.Fig2.jpg (32.2 KB, 151 views)
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Old 18th September 2019, 02:59 AM   #8
shc is offline shc  United States
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I just remembered where I had ranted about the CM9s previously: here
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Old 18th September 2019, 03:15 AM   #9
AllenB is offline AllenB  Australia
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I'm seeing what shc says. There is a lot going on here. Much of it probably to keep the electricals simple. That seems to be the choice it comes down to.
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Old 18th September 2019, 11:47 AM   #10
5th element is offline 5th element  United Kingdom
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B&W are well known for their kooky crossover designs that like to fit into a simpler is better plus we like to cross 6-7" midrange drivers over way higher than they should

As you can see, the measurements above highlight this quite nicely and their 800 series is no better. B&W do however engineer nice cabinets and drivers. Upgrading crossover components is really pointless in my opinion and if any improvements are to be had going this route then they are going to be very minimal and mostly in your head.

What these really need is a crossover redesign and get that cover down to around 2kHz.
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