Jump to content
The Classic Speaker Pages Discussion Forums
Guest Dake13

"Classic" Snells

Recommended Posts

Guest Dake13

I'm real happy to see a Snell discussion forum started here. I've used a modified (rebuilt xover) set of EII's for three years, and I also own a pair of JII's, which I'm currently restoring. I also just bought a pair of the littlest early Snells, the K's. These are stock except for having been refoamed and I find them surprisingly good speakers (18"). Cheap on the used market too.

I'm not sure how others feel, but I consider the Peter Snell designs to be the 'classic' Snells. This would be the K, the J, the E, the EII and the JII. (I ordered a pair of replacement tweeters from Snell the other day and the salesman told me the JII's were a Kevin Veocks design. I'm almost sure he's wrong.) This would also be the A, the AII, and the AIII. I'm not sure about the C and the Q - maybe someone else knows? Carl?

I've heard many fancier speakers, but the Snell sound is sort of my base: I measure all of the others against it, and I usually find them lacking in some way. For example, I also own a pair of JM Reynaud Twins MK III, a very popular monitor, and I'm realizing I prefer my Snell monitors to them, which sound more balanced, coherent, and open, if also a little bleached (this is the best word I can come up with for what seems to me the major shortcoming of the classic Snell sound, at least in so far as I can hear it).

I understand the KII and EIII and JIII are also well liked by many, but I've never heard any of them. From looking at them, they look very similar to the II series.

Any other opinions/thoughts are welcome!

Dake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest vintagesnell

I personally like the JII over JIII. Auditioned both ~1990 right at transition. The JII was Tweeter Etc store return, but had a blown tweeter. Store said they'd call me when it was fixed, but it disappeared forever and I ended up buying entirely different speakers (Icon Lumen). Fast forward to 2004. Bought pair of JIIs off ebay, one blown tweeter (disclosed in the auction). Ordered replacement tweeter kit from Snell (now in Boston Acoustics building in Peabody MA). This came with its own crossover (Snell practice is to match each speaker to reference standard rather than matched pairs). Problem is it was a different tweeter. Snell apparently had changed from Culver (as on my eBay purchase) to Vifa sometime during production run (with entirely different crossover components to go with it). The newer Vifa setup is the only one now avail thru Snell.

I made the change and now had one side with Vifa and one side with Culver. Figured I'd compare them and also assess imaging before committing to changing the other. As logically expected, they were close but not identical. Imaging was vague given their different freq responses. Listening to each in mono, I slightly prefered the older Culver, but either one was good. Decided to update the other Culver to the Vifa. Now they match very well subjectively and imaging is precise. These are fab speakers.

I noted on old spec sheets that the JIIIs have a higher crossover point than JIIs. Quite possibly a high incidence of tweeter blow out on JIIs led to this change(?) but at the expense of dispersion in the affected freq range (?). Would love to have an original original pair of Snells with the first tweeters, but have to say I still love these JIIs. (Hubby doesnt understand all this - he still likes his blow-the-house-down Cerwin vegas!) - Jill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

I'm still awaiting a pair of JII tweeters from Snell - I ordered them a couple of weeks ago, and they sent me a pair of woofers! The saleskid I ordered from must have spaced it.

I thought the JII took a Foster Tonegon tweeter, now out of production. That's interesting you say they now use a different tweeter, we'll see what they send me. I looked at the Vifa tweeters at madisound and I saw a bunch that looked similar but none that was exact. Maybe this is what they're using now.

I exchanged a couple emails with Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note and he can also provide tweeters for a JII, but his tweeters are slightly more efficient so he said he would have to tailor the choke to attenuate the signal a little bit. Still cheaper than buying them from Snell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest vintagesnell

I really am not 100% certain myself of the JII tweeter mfrs maybe one of the names they said was tonegan - only know for sure that it did change at some point and what I ended up with looks very different from the early production tweeters. . Snell charged me I think about $80 but that included crossover components and swap-in instructions.

I guess I am fortunate to live close by as I was able to pick up stuff in person, discuss it, and even got a mini-tour of the Snell part of the (Boston Acoustics) building in Peabody. - Jill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

Just got the woofers they mistakenly sent me back in the mail. I got stuck covering for shipping, too, since the UPS Store says they can't ship billing to a UPS account no.

It's hard to keep track of all the driver manufacturers, what with them getting bought out over the years, maybe Culver now owns Tonegan or something like that. Even if they don't look the same, I'm hoping the new tweeters will match the speaker to a certain degree. But then I'm already using refoamed/reconed drivers, so maybe Snell's careful matching isn't going to make much difference.

One thing I noticed about the crossovers in Snells is that the total capacitance is the main thing used in their matching, and not specific values or kinds of caps or anything like that. In one speaker they might have used an electrolytic and a poly cap to get 5 mf, in the other of the pair it might be three elctrolytics. At first I thought maybe they were trying to 'smooth out' the electrolytics with other values, but it looks like Peter Snell or whomever was just using whatever he had on hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest energyandair

There aren’t too many Snell’s around here but I became interested in them through listening to Audio Notes at the local dealer and picked up a pair of Snell E II’s about 6 months ago.

I like the E II’s a lot so I decided to upgrade some other speakers and bought a pair of the original Snell K’s on eBay a month ago. The K’s arrived today and I’ve got the 2 pairs side by side while I try them out. The K’s look really small beside the E II’s but my initial impression is that apart from the deep bass, they are holding their own pretty well.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first became aware of Snell when a friend of mine acquired a pair of A IIs which I heard in the early 1980s. I was astonished by its clarity and naturalness of sound and although it wasn't perfect, it was clearly a superior product in many ways. I later heard the J and K and was not at all impressed. By the mid to late 1980s after Peter Snell had tragically died, I heard the A IIIi at a trade show and was even more impressed than by the A II.

I think one of Peter Snell's greatest contributions was his realization that what counts is not just flatness of on axis frequency response but the frequency response which reaches the listener. This completely changes the performace criteria and therefore the design requirements of loudspeakers and changes issues of dispersion and room acoustics from "by the way" to one of the central problems which must be addressed in truely successful designs. It also helps explain why speakers which measure similarly by the methods often used sound so different. It got me started thinking about how to solve this problem and experimenting with indriect firing drivers to compensate for the inadequacies of those which fire forward as well as room interactions.

Peter Qvortrup originally of Holland owns a company Audio Note based in the UK which among other products has refined the designs of Snell E, J, and K each offered in various formulations by applying different drivers, special cabinet materials, exotic wires, and crossover components and tuning them in ways I personally don't quite understand. This has resulted in very expensive products (from about $1000 to $2000 a pair for a low end version of A/N K up to $125,000 a pair for one version of A/N E) which seem to have gained a highly enthusiastic following mostly in Europe and Canada although less so here in the US. He has made them very efficient so as to be useful with low powered vacuum tube amplifiers which he also sells. Although I am skeptical of his claims, I'm curious and keep an open mind hoping for an opportunity to hear them and judge for myself. There aren't many places in the US where they are sold and demonstrated and none convenient to my home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

>I like the E II’s a lot so I decided to upgrade some other

>speakers and bought a pair of the original Snell K’s on eBay a

>month ago. The K’s arrived today and I’ve got the 2 pairs side

>by side while I try them out. The K’s look really small beside

>the E II’s but my initial impression is that apart from the

>deep bass, they are holding their own pretty well.

Just FYI, you can still get the original tweeters for the Ks from Madisound. I just got a pair myself in the mail today. You can get a pair from Snell with the matched choke for $95 per, or you can get them from Madisound for $15 each (or just the voice coil for $8). There's nothing wrong with the tweeters on my Ks, but I picked up a pair of the tweeters since they were so cheap and I was curious to find out whether a 25 year old tweeter tends to age. Would've done the same with my JII's, but the tweeters are no longer available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

>I first became aware of Snell when a friend of mine acquired

>a pair of A IIs which I heard in the early 1980s. I was

>astonished by its clarity and naturalness of sound and

>although it wasn't perfect, it was clearly a superior product

>in many ways. I later heard the J and K and was not at all

>impressed. By the mid to late 1980s after Peter Snell had

>tragically died, I heard the A IIIi at a trade show and was

>even more impressed than by the A II.

I emailed Peter Qvortrup recently - I'm interested in getting one of his kits - and he told me he currently has SEVEN pairs of Snell As: four A IIIs and three A IIs. he said he was interested in doing an Audio Note version, but the drivers are no longer manufactured.

Would you have any opinion on how many watts you need to drive either an A II or an A III? It would seem you'd need some power, but I've heard different things, and one guy (who had A IIIs and A IIs) told me the A IIs were easier to drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend drove his A IIs with a Spectrascan amplifier which I think was rated at 100 wpc. One speaker bass unit needed a replacement woofer which I think was manufactured by Becker. Obviously, the drivers were not the equal of AR's, certainly not the LF unit but it worked surprisingly well for a lesser model driver in its era. I think the A II used a 10" AS design and the A IIIi went to a 12" unit but I'm not sure. Peter Qvortrup has said If I recall him correctly that he considers the AIIIi to be the best speaker ever made but he cannot duplicate it to his design standards because of the difficulty of the crossover problem, one crossover point being as much as he can handle so far. As I said, I am skeptical of what he says but I remain as openminded as I can be to someone who is selling a pair of 8" 2-way bookshelf speakers for $125,000 and finds it necessary to incorporate over 100 pounds of silver in the crossover network capacitors. BTW, he has had Scanspeak or someone manufacture tweeters for him without ferromagnetic fluid which he claims dampens their performance compromising them. He also builds his best cabinets out of Russian birch which he claims has the optimal resonant characterisitcs. I frankly don't understand his philosophy claiming to tune the cabinet resonances rather than surpress them which is the goal of most other speaker designers. From what he has said, efficiency is an important characteristic of a successful loudspeaker design (what does that say about AR speakers or electrostatic designs?) His rhetoric on his web site is rather pompous and condescending relegating users of all of his competitor's products as "living in audio hell." I'll stick around for at least a while longer, I'm still waiting to meet Dante and Don Juan. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

>His rhetoric on his web

>site is rather pompous and condescending relegating users of

>all of his competitor's products as "living in audio

>hell." I'll stick around for at least a while longer,

>I'm still waiting to meet Dante and Don Juan. :-)

Dante was just passing through, so I think you already missed him.

;)

Thanks for the info. That's weird about the Scanspeak tweeter. My attitude is, if it sounds good then just enjoy it, but I'm wary of the attempt to 'tune' the components to such a degree. All the silver wiring, for ex., might sound okay with a SET, but in my systems (vintage PP - Mac and Dynaco) silver wire has been hit and miss. On the other hand, I had a pair of Spendor SP1s in my system for a couple years and the 'lossy' cabinets seemed to be based on the same general idea. They were very good speakers, just not really my cup of tea.

I looked at photos of AN crossovers on the web and they are nearly identical to the Snells they're based on, but not exactly - the caps are bundled to different values and who knows what's going on with the chokes. But the main difference seems to be that the AN drivers are a few dbs more efficient.

I've seen the A series speakers for sale here in New England for not much money, and I'd love to pick up a pair someday but at the moment I just don't have the space for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter Qvortrup is not an engineer by training. He was in sales. Needless to say, I find his "unconventional" philosophy inconsistant with my own views and experience. Not having heard any of his products, I can only make tentative conclusions and conjecture about them based on what he has put on his web site, his own postings, and that of people who own or have listened to his products. I have surmised that his tweeters are made by Scanspeak but I may have guessed wrong. His drivers are clearly not off the shelf units. That and the lack of hard technical facts and specifications invariably raises a red flag and makes alarm bells go off for me. However, I must admit that my own views are also unconventional but not even remotely like his. Aside from his kits, he has three basic loudspeaker models E, J, and K which loosely follow their Snell counterparts. All are 8" 2 way bookshelf systems optimally intended for corner placement. Each model has the same drivers in all of its variants which he calls levels but one model does not necessarily have the same drivers as the others. K is a sealed unit, E and J are vented and in larger cabinets. Each level seems to have been "tweaked" to a greater degree than the level below it using more exotic wires, crossover components, and possibly different box materials. As I said, with his most expensive unit, A/N E level 5(?) he supplies among other things enormous capacitors in separate enclosures which include 100 pounds of silver. He regards speaker enclosures as a musical instrument maker would regard the resonant box of a string instrument like a guitar

In his ad copy, he cites the work of Leo Beranek but I only know Mr. Beranek as an acoustical architect and founder of the firm Bolt, Beranek, and Neuman, among the world's greatest acoustical architectural firms. I haven't seen anything related to any work he ever did with loudspeakers. I also find it odd that in the densely populated, highly affluent and sophisticated market of Central New Jersey, he doesn't have a single distributor or dealer.

Audio Note has a full range of products which includes cd players, turntables, arms, cartridges, amplifiers, wires, and of course speakers. And like some other exotics who cater to current audiophile fads, he is a strong proponent of class A low power SET amplifiers. I think he offers a pair of 8 watt monoblocks for over $100,000 each. So you could conceivably send him half a million dollars to buy his stereo equipment. Or you could buy a lifetime of tickets to concerts and have enough left over for an occasional dinner out. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest 3.2 mondial

i have been a proud owner of the snell type A2 for the past 19 years.its a very rare speaker here in the philippines.as far as i know there is one pair of A1 and my A2. this speakers needs a lot of power.i was using a phase linear model 700c it had 450 w/ channel it did not match it was bright & etched no bass nor body. but w/regards to tube amplification i was able to drive it using a HK citation 2 which i borrowed from a friend. the sound was magical but w/ limited loudness.im currently using the foll. amps the type a2 ARC D79B biamped using 2 D79Bs w/ ARC EC 21 crossover 300hz 6db cut off/slope.i also use an ARC D250 markII servo to drive them full range.so as you can see this amp needs a lot of power probably 150 watts preferrably high power tube amps.have not tried to use high current transistor amps like krell,ml,etc on this speakers.hope this answers your question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

It's great to see a discussion on Snells.

My entry into Snell-fannery came when I worked at the Jackson Laboratory in Maine and met Peter's Dad (George) and his really wonderful and sharing brother (Tom). When George snell died (he was a Nobel laureate in biology) his public memorial was held in a small church and the alter was flanked by a couple of pairs of Type A's that played Rachmanov's Vespers. An unforgettable experience.

I later spent an evening at Tom Snell's listening to my favorite Cds on his (which were Peter's) Type A's. And since then have acquired a number of Snell speakers to sort of fell out the brand and the Peter Snell legend. I have cloned and made K's for my daughter and they are amazing. I currently own sets of Type A originals, the II's and the III's. I also have the immense Type B's, a set of C's (I have re-veneered and coned), and a pair of the rare Reference 1's.

I also have made the Ellis Audio 1801's (in bookshelves and the 1801b floorstander, the clone Proac 2.5's and the Proac 1s speakers. I own a set of Dahlquist DQ-10s, Quad ESL 57's, AR3a's, several KEFs (Reference 1 & 3, the Stereophile bookshelve winners, and so on.

I listen closely. I appreciate the Snell techniques of cabinetry and the fine points of hand tuniing (which the Type A's do in a completely over-the-top way (wow).

So, I tihnk these are great speakers period. They image like a real band is in the room. More so than the DQ-10s. Differently than the Proacs. With a great solid low end.

If you can get past the technical junk and comparion-itus of all the audio forums and simply ask yourself if you want to own one of the best sounding speakers ever made. and then deal with the size of these speakers and find a room where they can be 3-4 feet from the corners and about 18" out from the back wall. A room with normal listening parameters where other florrstanders have sounded good. Thne all you need is something modest and these will sing forever. One set of mine knocks people out every time with simply a Cambridge Audio integrated amp (55 w/ch), a Rega planet (no outside DAC) and Audioquest Type 4 cables.

I thought I might add a couple of points from a person who has bene inside and out of the A's often. And then I wanted to ask a questio or two of other owners.

Okay. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that these sing with very little high end support. I base this on Snell's set-up brochure from the Type A's that recommends lamp cord speaker wire and 50 watts/ch. It also recommends bi-wiring, not bi-amping. All inexpense to do really.

Also, inside the crossovers are wired through several regular fuses and these are connected, as is much of the crossover, with average thin 18-gauge bell wire. So dumping the signal into the A's from HiFi Heavan suppt cables it great. But know it meets the real world really quickly inside.

Next, the famous hand-tuning of the Snells is not only about snipping down a coil to some perfect but non-standard length or value. Each A has a varying amount of fiberglass insulation in the woofer cabinet (each is different). And each has a piece of fabric hand-stitched inside the grill that is deisgned to dampen the upper cabinet speakers. I suspect this was a listening choice made by Snell after everything else was tuned. the cloth is folded differently and of varying thickness in each of my three models and it appears to both dampem treble volume/brightness and to affect the soundstage when removed or left in place.

The woofer is a long throw type and is easily re-foamed. Always a keeper. the tweeter and midrange are another story.

Here's the rub and the question. New Snell and classic Snell, as a company are like a 7-11 versus a small town gneneral store. I really am not impressed with the new way they handle service questions, or the way they have set up extremely high fees for replacement parts for the Type A's (and other modules). The tweeter replacements are Vifas that sell at Madisound or PartsExpress for about $30 a pair. Not the Snell $150 price. I bought the Snell set once and have compared it with the standard Vifa products.

What's missing here is for Snell discussion boards to share the speaker replacement models for Snells. That gives the owner a choice of going for the Snell "matched" pairs at apremium price, or the same speaker set for a lesser value "unmatched."

Older Snell models, like the J's and K's. the C's, the Type B's and others all have Vifa components and at that time Snell left the Vifa sticker with speaker number on them. Wonderful gift.

Does anyone know the replacement speaker for the Snell A midranges? As I have mentioned, repair, don't replace the woofers. But the mids are both oddly shaped, oddly old and stiff feeling and I would love to hear how well they sound with the reocmmended current Snell mid replacements. I am sure these are Vifas. The tweeters are Vifas.

Anyone do the replacement and can share the model number?

Finally, I am going to not only make a new Type A clone of my own but make it with regards to Peter's original A's. I believe it can be done and that the use of modern cabling, caps and coils will make a difference. Same values, same connections. I also think that the bass unit can remain about the same, but that the upper module can be re-worked to a more acceptable modern look. This is worth checking and is always a thrill to do. So imagine the bass unit on its side. Then the upper unit of simlar shape keeping the same midrange box size (it is sealed in a small wood box in the upper part) and the same relationship witht he tweeter. Just a slightly smaller but still curved wood baffle.

I believe, and I am not an audio engineer if that's a premise that will help your deny or entertain my read on this, Peter had this right and if he had the ingredients we have today (like Scan Speak components and OFC) this speaker would sound even better.

I can see a Snell A clone that has a top portion that remains true to the original but used fine veneers and exposes the top speakers as a thing of beauty.

I am keeping two sets unchanged. But my third is going to be my map for a Type A clone.

Anything can be built. Especially if you have enough love for the product that you are willing to do the work to figure it all out.I have difficulty believing the A's couldn't be a kit by a major company.

A Snell fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dake13

What a cool post! That's quite a collection you have there.

Maybe you or one of the other Snell fans here could go over what the Snell matching consists of. You say it's not just coiling or uncoiling of the choke, but also other little things like stuffing, etc. What I'm wondering is whether there's any reason a person seeking a replacement part might not just buy them from Madisound. Are they actually measuring each particular driver going into a particular cabinet? I don't think so.

I just got a pair of replacement tweeters from Snell for my JIIs. The old tweeters are okay, not blown but a bit bright and I thought I'd give it a whirl. Well, first Snell sent me a pair of woofers - and I KNOW I told the guy I needed tweeters. Then I got the tweeters on Friday. They are aluminum dome tweeters, nothing at all like the originals. So the original tweeters (the paper inside says 'replacement tweeter for Culver type') must be sold out. This was a total waste of money. I don't think I'm even going to put them in. They come with a cap and a variable resistor - apparently the choke (unlike w/the woofer) stays the same value.

I can post the part no. of every Snell driver I have. Sadly I think a lot of them are out of production.

Also, Peter Q. of Audio Note told me that the midrange driver for the A was no longer in production. He wanted to build an Audio Note version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

I share your feeling about the Snell parts folks.

No offense to them, but the markup is REALLY high and I wonder as well if they are doing anything at all except drop shipping Vifa product.

My for instance is for the Snell A tweeters. I know the Vifa part number they replace with and the fee at Madisound is about $50 a pair, not Snell's $150. All they would be doing at Snell since these are sealed at Vifa (if they even do this) is buy a large number and put the tweeter together in pairs that match the closest. I doubt it. This is not the kind of matching that Oskar at Hiquphon does famously with his tweeter sets. I am sure its not at all like that.

My point was that the A's are full of indiviudal mods as speakers. The woofers are all doped individually and look visibly different. The pads in front of the tweetes are an example.

The midranges in the Snell A's are exactly the same mids that were used in the famous Dahlquist 10's. I just bought a pair on eBay for $30. Easy to tell since they are octagons. And they are all marked the same on the magnet. They are from Belgian and everyone I speak with believes they are out of production. The reason I point out the Dahlquist 10 replacements is that they were available long after the Snell A's were out of production so a good source is either NOS Dahlquist, or even a parted out pair of DQ-10s. BTW, that is also a gem of a speaker.

I still think that the A's will benefit from leaving the original speakers intact, but replacing the old caps (I'd even do the coils) and all that crappy old bell wire. I would also get rid of the fuses. I have never popped a Snell A fuse. My niece owns a set and has popped the bass unit fuses.

I think it would be a service to the forum to start a new message thread that was called something like "The Replacement Speakers inside Your Snell" and have folks with older Snells (Peter Snells) start making a list.

Most of the stuff is just Vifa stock. It's not the best Danish speaker and speaker builders will have opinions on whether Vifa and sometimes Seas are equals (Seas of Dynaco fame), but the really fine Scan Speaks and Hiquphons are not Snell speaker parts. Vifa is cheap to replace. Period.

Great forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest kimk

I was so happy to find out this discussion site and read those nice discussions. Snell A3 speaker is so dear to my heart.

I would like to share some of my thoughts on Snell A3 and ask questions.

I bought new pair of Snell A3 speaker about ~17 years ago.

The speaker still looks beautiful with such a nice looking cabinet and even the grill still looks fine.

I understood that Snell A3 speaker used the electrolytic caps in its crossover, and this had been bothering me for some time despite its wonderful sound, because people say electrolytic caps go bad in time, and nowadays many propylene and oil caps would sound better.

Two years ago I finally made a decision to upgrade the caps, and sent the crossover boards of mid-and tweeter section to Jeff at Sonic Craft in TX. I got to know him through the Audio Asylum discussions and understand he is good at modifying the crossover.

During this process I got a good help from Mark at Snell (now different company's name in Boston area). He was very nice and helpful over the the phone consulting, and he sent me a diagram of crossover and instrcuctions how to open the speaker to get into the crossover,...etc. I am rather ignorant in electronics, but I was surprised at the number of caps Snell used in this speaker.

In fact, Jeff at Sonic Craft also told me that he was surprised at the number of caps and its complexity. He replaced all those electrolytic caps by "Sonic caps", the registors by "Mills" resistors and binding by "Cardas" gold binding post. During this process, upon my request, he disabled the biamping capability of the croosover because I did not see the possibility of biamping in the future. By doing so I saved some money and created enough space on the board to install all those caps. The sound was improved, like more transparent, more detail and better imaging, etc. During this process I was able to see inside closely how it was packed with the damping material,...etc.

I was somewhat disappointed at the way of daming material packed, cardboard-kind covering,...etc. Unlike outside appearance of nice woodwork inside looked rather cheap.

I still have the woofer section as it is and I do not have intention to modify the woofer because it is very good as it is now and opening the woofer is quite tough. Opening the upper section was not that simple either.

I enjoy my music very much through Snell A3 speaker. I think Snell A3 is a truly wonderful speaker and am wondering how much prgress have we made in speaker design technology during last 20 years.

I heard many good speakers costing greater than $10,000, and every time I came back with the deep sense of appreciation of Snell A3. Once in a while I saw the ad trying to sell Snell A3 at $1000~1500, and every time when I saw taht price I said to myself "how could it be?". As you know any decent speaker nowadays cost easily $5000 and Snell A3 is much much more than a "decent speaker".

As much as I enjoy my music through Snell A3 I also feel bad because I can not take full advantage of Snell A3 with my narrow room.

In order to fully appreciate Snell A3 you need a large room (large width) with enough powerful amp. Previous room in my old house was large and nice, but my current room is not enough wide, 12-foot width and >25-foot length. With this width I can not place the speakers several feet away from the side wall. Currently they are placed 1.7-ft away from the side wall,and I know this is not an ideal case. Despite my much better current equipments than before my much narrower room than the previous one does not allow Snell's full potential. My amp, Audio Research 100 MK3 might not be enough powerful, either. Or, it might be ok. I see enough punch in the base. VT100 MK3 is much more powerful with a large current reservoir than the normal 100W/C/8 ohm.

I have two questions.

(1) Considering the age of Snell A3 would the electrolytic caps in the woofer be ok? And, how about the drivers? How long would they last?

(2) I have not tried biwiring. If anybody has an experience of biwiring Snell A3 could you please share your experience? Biwiring seems quite controversial.

On the hand the original manual came along with my Snell A3 suggested that biwiring would be beneficail.

Looking forward to seeing many more posts here!!

Kyoung Kim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

My Type a's do not sound any better bi-amped. I still have a set hooked up with an NAD bi-amp set-up, but only because I haven't gotten arround to changing the set-up. But I see no noticeable difference i biamping. I have also done this with upper level Adcoms.

Bi-wiring is easy and I always do it whether I can hear the difference or not. Snell recommends it in the original literature.

Here's the scoop on the crossover caps. Snell uses a technique that cascades smaller value caps to make the capacitance value they need. So, as you have likely seen, the caps are stacked on top of one another. Usually they use three to four. Usually the last is really small in actual value and I suspect it acts as a by-pass cap (for tweeter and mid circuits).

I am taking up too much space with my coments. But I'd not change the midrange unless I had to because of damage. Snell sells a replacement. The tweeter I have changed in my A-II's with the Snell set and I like the sound a lot. I bought a replacement set for my other two Type A's, but never put them in. So, I guess the amount of work to replace it has kept me out of the other sets. But the tweeter is a nice upgrade, I think.

I have opened a lot of older speakers like the fine AR3a's and some Bozaks, Klipsch and so on and all major speakers this age I have seen appear to have cheap looking or ugly acoustic damping in them -- if that is what you are commenting on. I think it;s just wall insulation. I am not replacing mine.

The electrolytic caps are items people seem to run to and replace. They go bad, they change value, and they were never made "audio grade."

You've made the right choices with Soniccaps. I use them.

The only thing I would be careful of is modifying the speaker so it can not be bi-amped. But onlybecause ot may change value should you ever decide to sell.

That's my opinion.

Now, I'd love to have a copy of the Type A cdossover diagram. Will you be posting it or sharing it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>My Type a's do not sound any better bi-amped. I still have a

>set hooked up with an NAD bi-amp set-up, but only because I

>haven't gotten arround to changing the set-up. But I see no

>noticeable difference i biamping. I have also done this with

>upper level Adcoms.

>

>Bi-wiring is easy and I always do it whether I can hear the

>difference or not. Snell recommends it in the original

>literature.

>

>Here's the scoop on the crossover caps. Snell uses a technique

>that cascades smaller value caps to make the capacitance value

>they need. So, as you have likely seen, the caps are stacked

>on top of one another. Usually they use three to four. Usually

>the last is really small in actual value and I suspect it acts

>as a by-pass cap (for tweeter and mid circuits).

>

>I am taking up too much space with my coments. But I'd not

>change the midrange unless I had to because of damage. Snell

>sells a replacement. The tweeter I have changed in my A-II's

>with the Snell set and I like the sound a lot. I bought a

>replacement set for my other two Type A's, but never put them

>in. So, I guess the amount of work to replace it has kept me

>out of the other sets. But the tweeter is a nice upgrade, I

>think.

>

>I have opened a lot of older speakers like the fine AR3a's and

>some Bozaks, Klipsch and so on and all major speakers this age

>I have seen appear to have cheap looking or ugly acoustic

>damping in them -- if that is what you are commenting on. I

>think it;s just wall insulation. I am not replacing mine.

>

>The electrolytic caps are items people seem to run to and

>replace. They go bad, they change value, and they were never

>made "audio grade."

>

>You've made the right choices with Soniccaps. I use them.

>

>The only thing I would be careful of is modifying the speaker

>so it can not be bi-amped. But onlybecause ot may change value

>should you ever decide to sell.

>

>That's my opinion.

>

>Now, I'd love to have a copy of the Type A cdossover diagram.

>Will you be posting it or sharing it?

>

>

Check out the Snell in the library area of this web site. I sent a diagram and pictures to Mark some time ago in the hopes he would post them there. If they're not there ask Mark what happened.

Remember, it's all about the music

Carl

Carl's Custom Loudspeakers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

Unfortunately there does appear to be a Snell area of the library at all.

If you know how to find it here and could post the URL, that would be terrific.

I agree, by the way, it's all about the music.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest kimk

Hello Dear,

I have a paper copy of the diagram.

If you want I can send you its copy by mail.

Send me your address to my e-mail, kim1049@optonline.net

What is your opinion on the electrolytic cap of the woofer considering its age? I am worrying.

Kyoung Kim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

Thanks. I just emailed my mailing address.

It you are worrying about the electrolytic cap, then replace it. It should be clearly marked for value in the schmatic and probably is easy to read on the cap itself.

I do not recall the size (usually woofer circuits have a large cap like my Proacs have a 7 mf cap).

In other forums on DIY speaker building people are rabid about getitng electrolytic caps out of rebuilt classics like these. The general rap on them is they leak, change value and so they change the well designed pass of low frequencies to some other area where the speakers perform less than peak. So, if this is correct, you may even hear something more from the bass units.

You can get a great replacement from Madisound (http://www.madisound.com/) and they even take PayPal. For example, a 7mf audio cap can be as low as $3 each for a Solen cap (reasonable quality) to a Hovland musicap (about $35 each).

I'd go somewhere in the middle or with the Solen cap for the woofer circuit. Sonic caps are in the middle and my favorites. Not for sale at MAdisound though.

Last thing worth mentioning and it is "Snell" like. Peter's crossovers (not always later Snell crossovers) that I have seen and held all have a cascade approach to caps. I haven't seen the woofer cap in the A's (I don't remember it anyway), but the other caps in the crossover are all cascaded.

The general rule for doing this is easy to work with. The total cap value is separated to use at least two caps so the value adds to the value needed. Snell often used three.

The rule is that the big cap is one value, the next cap is about 1/10th that value and if you use a third then the third is about 1/10 of the second. So the third is for speed really and acts like a by-pass cap.

So for a 7 mf you would simply connect the ends of three caps (parallel) that had values something like 6mf, .75mf, and .25mf instead of a single 7mf. In DIY forums people will advise the two largest are Solens (cost the least) and to put money in the small one (like a Mundorf or a Hovland). This is more important in tweeter circuits.

Still, a nice new 7 mf Solen will solve your worries for as long as you own these A's. I alway try to remember that the originals were not what we would even call an audio cap and they worked fine.The Solens will likely please you for very little money. And are tons better than the old pre-audio electrolytic caps.

While you are in there think about changing the old zip cord that connects the bottom panel "in" jumper to the actual woofer. The woofer uses plumber's putty as a sealant. might as well put in a new bead there too.

Finally, it's likely Peter Snell initialed yours inside the woofer case. It's fun to open it up and see the sets of initials.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest aroostookme

Kim: Don't change the woofers. Be careful not to confuse them if you remove them and put them back in the same cabinet with the same insulation.

The only thing that could really go wrong withthe woofers is that you would put in a replacement -- keep the original. If the surround foam is bad (all of mine have been replaced) either replace it yourself (kit is about $25 online (not from Snell). Or send them off to a pro company like Tri State in Pennsylvania. I have done both. The last set I had done at Tri State was under $100.

That's fair. They do perfect work.

You are luckly to see that the woofer itself has been doped a little by Snell. It's normal, just leave whatever is stuck to it there.

I wrote my thoughts on bi-wiring here already. Peter Snell recomended it, it's cheap and it sounds at least as good.

Bi-amps (a separate amp for the top and for the lower sections) doesn't add a thing in my experience. I had hoped for great results (Using a matched NAD set) and it didn't make a difference -- and it's an expensive thing.

BTW, I use simple Audioquest Type 4 cables on the Snell set-ups. I have more expensive cables, but I like these best. And they are a bargain.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...