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Vandersteens model 2

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17 hours ago, arni said:

Read through the instructions on th model 2s yet again. maybe a newer model than mine. The biwiring stuff makes no sense. Take two 10 ft wire pairs and jumper them on one end vs the other makes no difference. So why the big deal. But my Klipsck towers have two sets of binding posts and they come jumpered with very nice jumpers. The manual says it's for bi wiring and consult with your amp manufacturer. I thought this very odd, no mention of the extra binding posts in the sales literature (and I would expect it there if it was just audiophile phluff). i hunt around the web and everyone else is wondering too. Turns out they different posts are for bi-amping: they feed different sets of drivers. I never forget what P.T. Barnum said, but the important thing to remember about him was that he was in the entertainment biz and he delivered. One was not supposed to apply critical thinking. Sit back, pass the popcorn an enjoy the show. So anyway I made up a set of bi-amp cables anyway, figure I can try them on the model 2s seeing as there is such great emphasis. (and despite any reasoning for that emphasis...never mind despite all the derision I ran into on the web or "fools bi-amping") Pulled the jumpers and wired them up. Couldn't tell the difference. Then all the smoke leaked out of my preamp (problem on a patch cord) and that was the end of testing. 

So I have a cheapie amp coming in with volume and tone controls and most importantly a usb stick port and some sort of DAC chip. make a good garage stereo or I can play with bi-amping the low end of the Klipsches.


Meanwhile my health has been poor and I've been out of the shop for a few days. 

Arni, please read the FAQ on this site for an explanation of what bi-wire is!  Separation of the expanding and collapsing fields makes a lot of sense and it makes a difference on our speakers.  Just because you can't hear it, doesn't  prove it's not true.  RV

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Thanks for that Richard. I've been thinking f adding deadening to my mystery speakers but they are wonderfully musical and I'm afraid I'll screw them up. I may try some experiments when I have a source of clean sound.


If I cannot hear the effect of bi-wiring why am I going through the considerable trouble. But I will read the FAQ again...with some wondering about what puts each field into each leg of a pair of joined wires. I ran across an explanation on the web that claimed free will. And they were serious.


Spent most of today working on the rolling bases. Figure I can't cut fingers off with cement blocks. Got 12 blocks clean and the first 4 stuck together with mortar. Usually I have a better hand with a trowel but I was exhausted by that point.


Then the new amp showed up. Great excitement.  The thing is tiny , smaller than the isotel it's external power supply is plugged into. Also as dense and heavy as a brick. Very fiddly to wire the tiny thing. Then i fire it up on some PPM and just fall out laughing. i don't have any high zoot electronics but I had forgotten just how bad a stereo could sound. To its credit there is a very smooth presentation between dull and muddy (and I'm doing dishes, not listening critically). I try Baka next and the way it blends the instruments together is startling (digerido and guitar. Really?)  But it has some strong points. Being able to handle a thumb drive is certainly one (max 32 Gig and 100 Mb tracks). Lots and lots of power. The thing is LOUD. Also no cooling slots to suck sawdust out in the shop where no doubt it will find a long term home mostly drowned out by the tools. My  Minimus 11 speakers don't sound half bad and they have cast aluminum shells and perf metal grills. Perfect for my style of wood butchery that often has things flying around. I was thinking of feeding it freshly mastered FLAC mixes but now that seems generous. MP3 will do. 32 gigs of MP3 is a longer day than I can work.

Meanwhile it keeps me company in the kitchen from it's perch on an exotic lead filled shelf. I'll have to bring a brick in to set on it so the wires don't pull it down.



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A smart fellow, not in the cable business, did measurements on the use of bi-wiring for loudspeaker cables.  Aspects of his work were presented at an Audio Engineering Society national convention.



This loudspeaker company had similar measurements performed later on.  Yeah, you might say that they have an ax to grind, but they got similar results.



Now, it certainly could be that you don't hear these effects yourself, especially with your existing system.  Just like a lot of people don't hear the benefits of time and phase aligned loudspeakers.  Or, their preference is for something else.  Fair enough.   But, the effects are measurable and real.

Full disclosure: I'm not in the audio business in any capacity.

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We did these measurements nearly 40 years ago and is why all of our speakers that have enough mass in the woofer (high current and back EMF) have been bi-wired!  Cynics need only to do the experiment and listen.  We don't bi-wire our small high impedance speakers because the cost outweighs the benefit as the current is low.  RV

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So I decided if I'm going to be an audiophile with fancy speakers I need a couch. Fortunately there is no shotage of them on craigslist, and for free no less. But then what do I see? A guy is giving away a sheet of 3/4MDF for free!  I'm so excited I can scarcely sed an email. But today was eye day and then the nephew wanted to come up and waste my time (he did sand the speakers some) and making the score was looking slim. But the guy says he will deliver. Really wants it out of his garage. What can I say. Sure enough he come by with his truck and drops it off. Won't take any money. So now I have enough to get those wings right and I've remembered some tricks I'd forgotten so it will happen.

The  Fosi amp is on its way back to Amazon. Poor little guy, but it sounded too bad even for the shop. Got the big amp running and cobbled up a pre out of a source selector and a tube buffer. Immediately put better tubes in it and new op amps are in the mail. It really sounds quite good and I have volume, bass and treble control.  But no balance control. So I have a conversation with the folks at Schit about why none of their stuff (some of which is rather unusual) have a balance control.  The reply is simple but what I get is that I am not, personally, high end enough to understand. Like um, I'm not the kind of person that adds a room to the mansion and has custom furniture made to balance the speakers. They are right, I'm just a poor workman that makes that custom furniture. I crawl back under my rock where I belong.

Then cut up the Sorbothane to get the lead filled CD shelf in. I realize I have never done this before. I always punch out discs. But that wastes a lot of material. So I try cutting squares. It is very difficult. I do one shelf then punch some disks. But even without throwing any CAE at it that shelf is something. With the electronics on it I give it a poke and it feels like it's mounted on butterfly fur.

Then back to the speakers. Lots of sanding paint and getting old glue off and trimming fiberglas with the air grinder. Then the reinforcements go in on the towers.


shelf new mdf.jpg

shelf cutting sorbothane.jpg

shelf sorbothane under shelf.jpg

48 vandersteens reinforce and grind.jpg

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The shelf and the speakers are not really connected other than the shelf is taking shop time away from the speakers. But also I thought people might be interested in what can be done with some crude wood butchery and knowing where you want to go. But there is a little something else.

I like listening to music. I have always had decent gear but so long as the sound is clean and I can do at least basic manipulation (I have the computer stuff to do as much manipulation as I have patience for. Ever used a software paragraphic EQ or tube simulators?). I have hundreds and hundreds of CDs and hard drives full of stuff I recorded from vinyl. But it is not my hobby. I have other hobbies.  I used to mix tapes and listen to those. As tech moved on I moved to mixing CDs and listening to those.  Tech has moved again and next month I will be mixing to thumb drives. And so it goes.  But my hardware is getting old. I am updating the computer somewhat (essentially keeping an ancient machine alive to support that expensive software I bought...it still works but not with modern OSs ). My pre-amp just died. One amp is in he shop (for the last 4 months, I think they just stole it) and I kinda been wanting some BIG speakers. I had little good speakers in one room and then lots and lots of wire going to little crummy speakers all over. New plan is one or two big speakers and just turn 'em up so I can hear them all over.)


So I come across these Vanderstien model 2's . Bit old and from what I can see one needs some polishing up but they have a good reputation for clean sound. Most importantly they are cheep.

Thus begins my adventures in audiophile land. And some adventures they have been. I've been looking for modern equipment and I find 1) pre amps have fallen out of favor and 2) the balance control is out of fashion. Like, WTF? So I settle on an integrated amp with a nice feature set and hopefully clean sound. Low on power tho' and no pre out. will have to see. 

Meanwhile I picked up some Klipsch towers to hold the fort until the 2s are done.  On a clean 100watt amp they will vibrate my bathroom floor which is a fair ways away. Understand the floor is a special project from when I had to replace the thing...all the way down to the joists . It's about 3" thick black beach pebbles (I was laying pebbles for  a week) and mortar over backer board over 3/4 plywood. Not the sort of thing I would expect to vibrate.  This gets me thinking I need some vibration control. I need the rack so I have someplace to put the stuff and I need to get rid of the books and  bookshelf so my heirs don't have to deal with it (which will happen sooner than I would like). Anyway in my travels here I have noticed a strange disconnect. People will agonize over the sonic effects of a signal in a cable and ignore their cabinetry. (a turntable mounted to a wall? Pro-Ject should know better). I had dinner with brother and sister in law and told them of the startling things I was learning and the eye rolling just got louder and louder. When I got to the bit about power cords into equipment brother just broke out with, "these people are stupid!." So his undergrad work was in EE and his doctorate is in mathematics and he can be harsh at times. I did correct him. "these people are having fun, never argue with fun". I would add, never argue with scientologists either.


But to answer your query, the cabinetry people are using is a definite disconnect. They will worry about which direction electrons flow down a wire but use junk cabinets (even the $2500 ones with glass shelves). Brother has a good hand with his table saw and the furniture he has made and all his built in cabinetry is lovely. He doesn't do Ikea. Neither do I. I do what's on the curb for free.  I thought people would be interested in how a freebie but essentially solid bookshelf can be brought into the audiophile fold. Note I haven't gone into detail but focused on how floating shelves could be done. 

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13 hours ago, arni said:

But to answer your query, the cabinetry people are using is a definite disconnect. They will worry about which direction electrons flow down a wire but use junk cabinets (even the $2500 ones with glass shelves).

Well, you can put me in that category. I use Ikea Besta cabinets/shelving. Though I have added Townshend Platforms as isolation.

I also use Sumo Floating shelf system for my office with the Townshend Platforms for the amp/pre and DAC

It works for me.

And, I am interested in your projects. Though it might not be directly applicable to most forum members, I can see it being of use to other do-it-yourselfer's in the future. That is one of the great things the internet has brought to the world.-Knowledge of even the most eclectic things.


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That floating shelving looks nice.  Very clean. The construction mirrors a hollow core door. Those usually use a cardboard honey comb between doorskins. But I feel about the same about melamine as wood tape edging. Easy to clean but fragile and cheep feeling. I like shelves (when I have the patience) skinned in  Formica with about 1/4" solid wood edging. The range of colors is vast and if both sides are skinned they are extremely ridged. Don't tend to make that upscale stuff for myself.


Townsend looks like they are using some species of airbag. Sure, why not, especially foam filled with some sorbothane thrown in.  But everything I have has 75 lbs of concrete blocks under it ( except the shelf, 100 lbs of lead there) and then it's on wheels. So I am not worried about a micron worth of movement either way. The trucks in the street disturb my listening bliss more than background seismic activity (Oh-My-Gawd!!).  When I was in California I was recording all my vinyl using a turntable with an oil damped floating plinth (sorry, haven't picked up the name dropping habit. It's a Pro-Ject 6). Earthquakes I couldn't feel didn't affect recordings (hi-res recordings and I was looking at and filtering the waveforms). Earthquakes I could feel I was far too busy diving for the door to worry about my recording.

When recording vinyl I would work a lot with the lead in track. Clean record, no static, decent headphones and it should be dead silent. And was. But blow some up on the screen and there was all sorts of noise going on. Earthquakes don't make rhythmic sub-sonic waves. Motors do.  Worn grooves have an unbalanced look between channels (bad anti-skating, etc.).  So I would build a filter for anything in the audible spectrum and then run the whole thing through it. Impulse filter and some manual work next for scratches and so on. Operative word there is "audible spectrum". It is well  known what humans can and cannot hear (at the peak of their abilities, a young age). Ditto for dogs and other species. It is easy to explore experimentally. What is not well known is what is outside the audible spectrum but people can be sold on anyway.


The real question for me is whether I'm going to get these speakers done before I start propping my cables off the floor on toilet paper tubes. (got my booster today so tomorrow is a not-shop day)

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As an a side, if you have an I phone (ohers unknown) grab a nice free app called Physics Toolbox. This thing gives a visual readout of all the phones sensors, and there are a lot of them. I haven't figured out the occiliscope.

Tone detector tells me I can whistle down to 550Hz with dry lips. 32k something on the top end.

Makes all sorts of frequencies  in 4 different wave forms.


Spectrum analyzer is good if stoned and listening to your favorite  Rabid Squirrels singles.

Sound Intensity thing tells you what 11 on the volume knob means in decibles. I also use the NIOSH SLM app for this.

And that's just acoustics.  Sensor output can be combined, recorded and saved. the magnetometer is amusing.

Hours of fun in the waiting room.



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  • 1 year later...

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