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Gradient Revolution Active: Progress Report--SW-T Added

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  • thomasmallin
    This past weekend I finally got around to adding additional woofers to the basic Gradient Revolution Active speakers. My initial intent was to just add the
    Message 1 of 40 , Feb 12, 2013
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      This past weekend I finally got around to adding additional woofers to the basic Gradient Revolution Active speakers.  

      My initial intent was to  just add the SW-Ds for awhile before making the SW-Ts.  But when I for the first time hooked the SW-Ds up, none of the woofers was making any sound, not even the woofers in the main speaker.

      After checking connections to the woofers, I could not find anything wrong.  Everything seemed hooked up correctly.

      But then I thought that before I contacted Tim Ryan or Gradient for help, I would try adding the additional SW-S woofer since there were banana jacks coming out of the top of the SW-Ds to allow connecting up the SW-Ss to the SW-Ds to form the SW-Ts.  That was easy enough to do quickly for one channel by laying the SW-D on the floor and laying the SW-S on the floor near the top of the SW-D and connecting the banana plugs.  That fixed all the woofers; all eight on the right were now playing.  Apparently the series connection of all the woofers required those banana plugs to be plugged into the SW-S.   Perhaps if I had shorted the banana plugs to each other the six woofers per side would have worked, but I did not want to try that without first consulting Tim Ryan or Gradient. 

      Thus, I now have the SW-Ts built.   They went together mechanically and electrically without a hitch, just as Jorma described in the instructions he forwarded.  For each tower, the process basically involved:  (1)  pulling down the grill cloth "sock" of the SW-S so I could get to the bottom inside of it; (2) laying both the SW-S and SW-D down on the carpet, woofer sides down with the bottom of the SW-S near the top of the SW-D; (3) connecting the banana plugs at the top of the SW-D to the proper binding posts at the bottom of the SW-S; (4) detaching the three bolts which hold the top wood pieces on the SW-Ds; (5) snugging up the SW-S and SW-D; (6) inserting the removed bolts through the bottom of the SW-S back into the top of the SW-D; and (7) re-anchoring the stretchy grill cloth of the SW-S to the top of the tower by tacking it into a groove with the supplied rubber "string."

      That last step was the only tedious part and required hammering an inch or so at a time of the rubber string into the groove while simultaneously stretching the cloth so that it was long enough to get under the string.  If the cut of the cloth had been a half inch more generous, reattaching the grill cloth would not have been difficult at all. 

      I stayed up listening Sunday night until the wee hours.   My first impressions:  VERY authoritative and effortless sound; VERY low apparent bass and lower mid distortion.  I have never had a system reproduce the lower ranges with this type of subjective ease and cleanness, not even when using my pair of JL Audio Fathom f113 subs.

      The bass sailed through my Liberty Fanfare bass drum torture test (on the Wilson Audio "Winds of War & Peace," Gold Zeonex CD reissue) without any problem at all at much higher levels than I've ever been able to achieve before; the rest of the band can be played at realistic levels for the first time and still easily handle the earthquake in the form of a bass drum which occurs at a few spots in that cut.

      The sound scape is HUGE in all  dimensions and the sound is usually totally detached from any of the speakers.   Even though the space is huge, images are very nicely focused, stable, and of large enough vertical height to be believable.  Image height and size was not a problem even with the short basic Revolution Actives, but it is nicely enhanced now, but without any tendency for the images to vertically stretch or climb upwards that I've heard with line source speakers like the Sanders.  

      I have the SW-T woofers snugged up to the dark gray Sonex on the side wall.  I usually listen in a semi-darkened room, and under those conditions, since the speakers are the all-black finish, I can barely see the woofer towers and certainly can't hear them out, which is good on both counts.

      I had hoped that the bass would flatten out a bit by adding the woofer towers  in a different position from the main speaker's woofers.  That was not the case.  EQ will still definitely be needed.  

      However, the "ease" and low apparent distortion of the bass/lower midrange response can easily be perceived around the bass colorations.  For instance, it's by far the closest approach any system of mine has achieved to that sense of infinite instantaneous air moving power you get in the concert hall when an unamplified big suspended bass drum is struck hard.

      The upper ranges are very fine, too.  No complaints tonally, spatially, or dynamically and for me to say that there is nothing to criticize is saying a lot.  Sounds like a point source electrostatic, if there were such a thing.  Okay, ideally, maybe there could be more Spendor- or even Harbeth-like warm woodiness to woodwinds, but that is true when comparing those British monitor exemplars to most any other speakers.  And this is before any EQ.

      The first night, there was a bit of etch and hardness that I definitely had not heard previously with the basic Revolution Actives wired with the DNM cables Tim Ryan sent along.  When using the DNMs, I heard an unusually three-dimensional presentation, with a sweet high end combined with an abundance of musically significant minutiae presented in a natural, unforced and non-bright way, with the minutiae clearly connected to particular instruments and notes, just as in unamplified concerts.  

      Whether that difference was a superiority of the DNMs to my reference Blue Jeans/Belden 10-gauge that I'm now using has yet to be determined.  But I attribute at least part of the etch and hardness to newly cut/Progolded/connected speaker cables and still cold electronics--everything had been off for many days before then.  By the second night, the etch and hardness were gone and the presentation was getting yet more dimensional, smooth, and naturally detailed.  This is a familiar breaking in/settling in process that takes a few days before the system sound stabilizes.  

      Only after that happens will I evaluate whether I want to swap the DNM cables back in.  That's not a small deal since the connections are on the bottom of the speaker cabinets.  Changing cables with these speakers thus necessarily changes the set up a bit and things would have to be tediously nudged back into the same positions as before to carefully evaluate any perceived cable differences.  I will try swapping the DNMs for the Bryston (Van Damme) speaker cables I use in my home theater set up.  The connections are easy to get to at both ends in that system.  Right now I have the Spendor SP1/2s set up for stereo-only playback in that system and the Spendors are, I'm sure, up to revealing any significant differences between the DNMs and Brystons.   


    • yipmangmeng
      Tom,you last paragraph sounds right to me regarding the position of tower woofers and yes ,you can look down on the orchestra and the choir and soloists and
      Message 40 of 40 , Feb 19, 2013
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        Tom,you last paragraph sounds right to me regarding the position of tower woofers
        and yes ,you can look down on the orchestra and the choir and soloists and the music still sounds great.
        The piece did not need the use of the organ which was located abov my seat .I wonder how the whole
        soundstage would be like if the organ was used in a symphonic piece,
        I was seated E row, centre, (circle) at the Sydney Opera House for the Sibelius Kullervo and Ravel's piano concerto for thr left hand.Brass and winds sounded very good .The violins were just great in sound and performance .I wish the bass section could sound louder and fuller fom my seat.
          
        The sound was huge and the violins were a real treat in sound and performance.I wish the bass could sound fuller and louder in this hall at our seats.
         
        From: Tom Mallin <tmallin4@...>
        To: regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, 14 February 2013, 1:16
        Subject: Re: [regsaudioforum] Re: Gradient Revolution Active: Progress Report--SW-T Added
         
        Yes, the vertical size of images seemed to get larger when I added the tall woofer towers.  The vertical size is now close to what I get with the Harbeth M40/40.1 or, before that, the Legacy Whispers. 

        But I was pleasantly surprised before that by the very reasonable vertical size and height of images the basic Gradient Revolution Actives were producing.  They did not appear very low to the ground as the short height of the speaker would suggest and even though my ears are a bit above the center of the concentric mid/tweeter array.  Perhaps the upward projection caused by the tilt-back of that concentric array raises things a bit.  I don't have my ceiling padded at this point and maybe there is some reflection from up there which is raising the apparent source a bit.  In any event, it is pleasant and makes for looking directly forward at very stable images of reasonable vertical height. 

        As I said, though, the image height doesn't vary or tend to climb upwards on certain notes, the way it did with the Sanders and does on many Maggie set ups I've heard.  This climbing up effect may be more evident with the near field listening I do than when one sits a bit further back.  And this climbing effect is not the same as the upward projection effects one should hear when a musician varies the angle of his instrument and thus brings the hall's ceiling more or less into play as a reflection point on a moment by moment basis.  Sax and trumpet work by jazz musicians involve a lot of this sort of perceived projection movement, as does soprano voice.  This sort of upward projection is clearly audible in concert and is intended by the musicians as they "play the hall."  

        Horizontally, I'm also surprised at the subjective spread.  No, images don't come from far beyond the horizontal positions of the main speakers.  And I only have the main speakers creating a 60-degree subtended angle.  But, as with the Sanders, AR, and Spendors before them recently in this room, this now seems plenty wide.  Perhaps this is a result of my new 4"-thick Sonex and the new way I have it deployed.  Before, when I had the 3", I was always wanting greater horizontal spread and thus pursued a 90-degree subtended angle for the larger window that produced.  Now, as I said, 60 degrees seems plenty wide.

        I also think it probably doesn't hurt to have the added dipole woofers flank the main speakers to the outside.  Given what we've discussed about bass notes having to have wider separation than treble to stabilize image placement, that seems the right direction.  Many large woofer towers using box enclosures are set up inboard and behind the main array, e.g., the large Infinity/Genesis/Nola arrays HP has used.  That would seem to be the wrong way to go from a shuffling perspective, but it's probably done to get flatter response from such woofers.
        On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM, Robert <regtas43@...> wrote:
         
        Now now I did not say ALL point source speakers, just
        most of them. Furthermore the Gradient set up is NOT
        a point source speaker. The mid and higher frequencies
        come out of a point but the lower frequencies come
        out of a large line source.

        YMM is stirring things up as usual. It is really true
        that in direct comparison mini monitors sound small
        relative to a speaker like the soundlines. Part of
        that is lack of bass. But not all of it. Point source
        stereo is inclined to sound vertically constricted--
        why I like larger boxes, which do not sound like
        that. Theoretical stereo is one thing but actual
        sound is another. We have talked about this before--
        artificially spreading the image out a bit vertically.

        This is part of why people like Maggies(which also
        do something odd horizontally,and that I do not
        care for). This effect may not be on the recording
        but that does not mean that the results are not good.

        REG

        --- In mailto:regsaudioforum%40yahoogroups.com, yipmangmeng@... wrote:
        >
        > Tom, seems you disagree with REG about point source speakers being unable to generate a HUGE soundstage. Like toys, REG says.
        >
        > Let's see who can keep his new speakers longer -you or AB? AB-SBLS3/6 and you-the Active Gradient Revolution.
        > I wonder why you went a big round before you settle on the active Revolution;it's not that they are NEW speakers from Gradient.
        >  
        > Yip
        >
        > >________________________________
        > >From: thomasmallin
        > >To: mailto:regsaudioforum%40yahoogroups.com
        > >Sent: Wednesday, 13 February 2013, 5:49
        > >Subject: [regsaudioforum] Gradient Revolution Active: Progress Report--SW-T Added
        > >
        > > 
        > >This past weekend I finally got around to adding additional woofers to the basic Gradient Revolution Active speakers.  
        > >
        > >
        > >My initial intent was to  just add the SW-Ds for awhile before making the SW-Ts.  But when I for the first time hooked the SW-Ds up, none of the woofers was making any sound, not even the woofers in the main speaker.
        > >
        > >
        > >After checking connections to the woofers, I could not find anything wrong.  Everything seemed hooked up correctly.
        > >
        > >
        > >But then I thought that before I contacted Tim Ryan or Gradient for help, I would try adding the additional SW-S woofer since there were banana jacks coming out of the top of the SW-Ds to allow connecting up the SW-Ss to the SW-Ds to form the SW-Ts.  That was easy enough to do quickly for one channel by laying the SW-D on the floor and laying the SW-S on the floor near the top of the SW-D and connecting the banana plugs.  That fixed all the woofers; all eight on the right were now playing.  Apparently the series connection of all the woofers required those banana plugs to be plugged into the SW-S.   Perhaps if I had shorted the banana plugs to each other the six woofers per side would have worked, but I did not want to try that without first consulting Tim Ryan or Gradient. 
        > >
        > >
        > >Thus, I now have the SW-Ts built.   They went together mechanically and electrically without a hitch, just as Jorma described in the instructions he forwarded.  For each tower, the process basically involved:  (1)  pulling down the grill cloth "sock" of the SW-S so I could get to the bottom inside of it; (2) laying both the SW-S and SW-D down on the carpet, woofer sides down with the bottom of the SW-S near the top of the SW-D; (3) connecting the banana plugs at the top of the SW-D to the proper binding posts at the bottom of the SW-S; (4) detaching the three bolts which hold the top wood pieces on the SW-Ds; (5) snugging up the SW-S and SW-D; (6) inserting the removed bolts through the bottom of the SW-S back into the top of the SW-D; and (7) re-anchoring the stretchy grill cloth of the SW-S to the top of the tower by tacking it into a groove with the supplied rubber "string."
        > >
        > >
        > >That last step was the only tedious part and required hammering an inch or so at a time of the rubber string into the groove while simultaneously stretching the cloth so that it was long enough to get under the string.  If the cut of the cloth had been a half inch more generous, reattaching the grill cloth would not have been difficult at all. 
        > >
        > >
        > >I stayed up listening Sunday night until the wee hours.   My first impressions:  VERY authoritative and effortless sound; VERY low apparent bass and lower mid distortion.  I have never had a system reproduce the lower ranges with this type of subjective ease and cleanness, not even when using my pair of JL Audio Fathom f113 subs.
        > >
        > >
        > >The bass sailed through my Liberty Fanfare bass drum torture test (on the Wilson Audio "Winds of War & Peace," Gold Zeonex CD reissue) without any problem at all at much higher levels than I've ever been able to achieve before; the rest of the band can be played at realistic levels for the first time and still easily handle the earthquake in the form of a bass drum which occurs at a few spots in that cut.
        > >
        > >
        > >The sound scape is HUGE in all  dimensions and the sound is usually totally detached from any of the speakers.   Even though the space is huge, images are very nicely focused, stable, and of large enough vertical height to be believable.  Image height and size was not a problem even with the short basic Revolution Actives, but it is nicely enhanced now, but without any tendency for the images to vertically stretch or climb upwards that I've heard with line source speakers like the Sanders.  
        > >
        > >
        > >I have the SW-T woofers snugged up to the dark gray Sonex on the side wall.  I usually listen in a semi-darkened room, and under those conditions, since the speakers are the all-black finish, I can barely see the woofer towers and certainly can't hear them out, which is good on both counts.
        > >
        > >
        > >I had hoped that the bass would flatten out a bit by adding the woofer towers  in a different position from the main speaker's woofers.  That was not the case.  EQ will still definitely be needed.  
        > >
        > >
        > >However, the "ease" and low apparent distortion of the bass/lower midrange response can easily be perceived around the bass colorations.  For instance, it's by far the closest approach any system of mine has achieved to that sense of infinite instantaneous air moving power you get in the concert hall when an unamplified big suspended bass drum is struck hard.
        > >
        > >
        > >The upper ranges are very fine, too.  No complaints tonally, spatially, or dynamically and for me to say that there is nothing to criticize is saying a lot.  Sounds like a point source electrostatic, if there were such a thing.  Okay, ideally, maybe there could be more Spendor- or even Harbeth-like warm woodiness to woodwinds, but that is true when comparing those British monitor exemplars to most any other speakers.  And this is before any EQ.
        > >
        > >
        > >The first night, there was a bit of etch and hardness that I definitely had not heard previously with the basic Revolution Actives wired with the DNM cables Tim Ryan sent along.  When using the DNMs, I heard an unusually three-dimensional presentation, with a sweet high end combined with an abundance of musically significant minutiae presented in a natural, unforced and non-bright way, with the minutiae clearly connected to particular instruments and notes, just as in unamplified concerts.  
        > >
        > >
        > >Whether that difference was a superiority of the DNMs to my reference Blue Jeans/Belden 10-gauge that I'm now using has yet to be determined.  But I attribute at least part of the etch and hardness to newly cut/Progolded/connected speaker cables and still cold electronics--everything had been off for many days before then.  By the second night, the etch and hardness were gone and the presentation was getting yet more dimensional, smooth, and naturally detailed.  This is a familiar breaking in/settling in process that takes a few days before the system sound stabilizes.  
        > >
        > >
        > >Only after that happens will I evaluate whether I want to swap the DNM cables back in.  That's not a small deal since the connections are on the bottom of the speaker cabinets.  Changing cables with these speakers thus necessarily changes the set up a bit and things would have to be tediously nudged back into the same positions as before to carefully evaluate any perceived cable differences.  I will try swapping the DNMs for the Bryston (Van Damme) speaker cables I use in my home theater set up.  The connections are easy to get to at both ends in that system.  Right now I have the Spendor SP1/2s set up for stereo-only playback in that system and the Spendors are, I'm sure, up to revealing any significant differences between the DNMs and Brystons.   
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >

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