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How to improve built in speakers

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How to improve built in speakers

Postby martinhoffen » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:32 am

I have a Viscount Cadet, through which I play my Hauptwerk. I currently use the Cadets internal speakers and amplifiers to provide the sound. This does work reasonably well, but I feel there is an opportunity to make some improvements.

The Cadet has a 12” sub woofer (and reflex port) and a smaller full range stereo pair, driven by 3 x 70 Watt amplifiers. The speakers are all mounted in the consul underneath the keyboards facing the organist’s legs. The cabinet volume is about 3.5 cubic feet.

Everything I have previously learned about speaker design is violated here. The box is not airtight, there is no bracing or acoustic wadding to absorb the rear sound, and the rear of the 3 speakers are all open to each other. This means that as the base cone moves backwards, the air pressure will push the cones of the stereo pair forwards, producing a negative sound wave.

I want to improve the sound so that I can produce a lower base note, and generally improve the acoustic delivery.

Does anyone have any experience of modifying (for the better) this type of sound production? i.e. could I improve the sound by:

• moving the stereo pair out of the cabinet, and then making the case into an airtight infinite baffle / reflex cabinet. (I would probably make separate enclosures for these, perhaps venting from the side panel)

• applying some acoustic wadding to absorb the sound from the rear of the woofer

• fitting a more heavy duty 12” base speaker.

• even using a pair of tweeters (with suitable crossover) for the stereo pair.

I would appreciate sharing the experience of anyone who has made acoustic improvements to their instrument.
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby scottherbert » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:25 am

Hello Martin, although I am not familiar with your model, many organs have a provision for an 'upgrade' to external speakers. Do you have an owners manual to show you how to connect them?

~S
"Life is just a dream, it is in death that we truly awaken!"
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:28 am

scottherbert wrote:Hello Martin, although I am not familiar with your model, many organs have a provision for an 'upgrade' to external speakers. Do you have an owners manual to show you how to connect them?

~S


I too would advise on going to a pair of external speakers vs. attempting to do anything with the internal console speakers. A good pair of tower speakers up in front to the left and right of you would make a tremendous difference in the sound. I suppose you could also use the internal speakers in combination with the external speakers, I've seen it done, you'd just need a sound card with the needed number of channels / outputs. Even though the speakers are located under the keyboards, it would likely add some nice dimension to the sound when used along with the external speakers.

Marc
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby Romanos » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:18 am

FWIW, I don't think it a totally terrible idea to consider upgrading your internal speakers. Not everyone has the room or the luxury of external gear. I used a spare stereo output from my computer to the stereo input on my Johannus for a while. I've peered into the console and I have two exposed speakers mounted face up behind the keyboards (the positif and swell speak up through the keyboards) and I found this arrangement surprisingly nice. I ultimately discontinued the practice because the preamps on the Johannus were so noisy! I couldn't stand the constant (loud) hum of having them on. That said, I too have considered whether or not it would be worth disconnecting the internal amplifiers and simply routing in cables through the back to those (or newer replaced) speakers in the same config.

As great as studio monitors are, they are disappointingly directional. I like having the sound of stereo mix down coming from in front of me (ie- through the keyboards) as well. Not to mention the added benefit of a truly visceral pedal division that is firing right at you and not off in the corner. So, ultimately it is up to personal preference. I can't imagine you stand to lose anything by upgrading the speakers or the amps should you choose to. Depending on how you do it you would likely loose the built-in sounds (not an issue for me!).

You mention that what you saw goes against everything you've ever been told about speakers. I'm not terribly surprised for two reasons: a.) modern electronic organs tend to be made cheaply and b.) aren't in the business of stereophile audio reproduction (like many Hauptwerkers). The companies do their best to calibrate their technology to the equipment and so they can get the most out of ultimately mediocre components, although, as we know, this only goes so far, and that's why we are all on this forum. I will ultimately leave the more technical suggestions to those more knowledgeable than myself. In summary, I at least do not think you are totally wrong to consider it.

I will end with one last tidbit: I originally started with a decent mid-range quality studio monitors on the console. I hated it. As "good" as they sounded (again, they were not bottom of the barrel speakers!) the imaging field was too directional (too close) and ultimately jut not that satisfying. It is taken nearly as gospel that studio monitors are the best way to go (and for many they are) however they are not the be-all-end-all of setup designs so keep your mind open.
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby martinhoffen » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:34 am

Thank you for your reply. You are absolutely correct in that I don't have any available space for external speakers, least of all towers which one person suggested. The in built amplification seems to be good, with no humming or other problems. I do agree that the manufacturer appears to have economy as a main consideration in choosing components. So it does seem sensible that replacing the drivers with a more heavy duty (and expensive) unit would improve sound quality.

I think I have come to the conclusion to go this way, and to construct internal panels to effectively make the stereo pair have their own airtight enclosures. I am aware that this will reduce the volume for the sub-woofer so this needs some experimentation.

Thank you for your thoughts. Martin.
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby ppytprs » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:55 am

If you're going to modify your cabinet for improvement, it's important to design it properly. This is not difficult, but as you've said, seal the gaps, and block off the smaller speakers. Then download WinISD or other speaker modelling program and put in your chosen driver and cabinet parameters. This will tell you what size of port you need and give you an idea of the response you will get with different speakers.
You may well need to see about a proper crossover too.

As for the smaller speakers. You say you don't have room for external speakers. Can you not wall mount some? Shelves or brackets high up.
As someone else said, having speakers right in your face isn't very authentic for organ reproduction. Neither is having them by your knees! I find that getting them high up out of the way, or at the other side of the room is most organ like!
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Re: How to improve built in speakers

Postby 1961TC4ME » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:27 pm

ppytprs wrote: You say you don't have room for external speakers. Can you not wall mount some? Shelves or brackets high up.
As someone else said, having speakers right in your face isn't very authentic for organ reproduction. Neither is having them by your knees! I find that getting them high up out of the way, or at the other side of the room is most organ like!


Agree 100%! Even if it takes a bit of effort, the addition of even a few speakers outside of the console up on the wall in front of you to the left and right (and maybe even a few behind you), will make such a dramatic difference in the overall sound that you'll be wondering why you didn't do it sooner. :D

Marc
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