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Graham's Wrinkles (hints & tips)

Printed From: Graham Slee at Hifi System Components
Category: DIY AUDIO
Forum Name: Graham's Wrinkles
Forum Description: My hints and tips on how to squeeze that little extra from an old
Printed Date: 19 Apr 2019 at 4:21pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 -

Topic: Graham's Wrinkles (hints & tips)
Posted By: Graham Slee
Subject: Graham's Wrinkles (hints & tips)
Date Posted: 22 Dec 2009 at 11:00am
My intention here, for the DIY "hot-modder", is to show how some of our older gear can be tweaked-up to perform a bit better.

We can also incorporate these mods for those not of a DIY leaning for a modest sum.

More to follow.

Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...

Posted By: jonclancy
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2010 at 10:21pm
I'm looking forward to reading more, Graham.

Now I've just got over a particular work bulge, I hope to join in the fun with some ideas, too.



Posted By: rantalot
Date Posted: 10 Jul 2015 at 10:54pm
Anyone who has an older pair of speakers (me included) should get the reversalytic (non polarised electrolytic) capacitors replaced in the speaker crossover, this also include Polyester, with Polypropylene. The change is quite stunning. I replaced the Polyester caps in my Spendors a few years ago and was astounded by the improvement. I see quality speakers vintage 60s and 70s being sold for a song when all they needed was a component upgrade.
Hope this helps someone.


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 11 Jul 2015 at 7:57am
Hi Norman. Thanks for the post!

A great example of thread resurrection!


Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links

Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 11 Jul 2015 at 8:52am
A good observation. There are some great older speakers around, the current vogue for smaller enclosures demands a lot of designers and drive units, we seem to have forgotten the older classic 3 way style of speaker with its larger drive units and effortless bass. Updating the crossover components can really bring them back to life, and all at bargain prices!

Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.

Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 13 Jul 2015 at 1:44pm
Whilst only limited exposure to some well reviewed PMCs (Β£3-6k brackets) my ears suggest that they are relatively over priced for the performance/construction vs my older transmission line designs.  I agree a re-cap should restore the performance personally I would avoid 'the supercaps' and try and mirror the make and values from originals.
I have found that rewiring old 25 year old wiring with modern high purity (silver in my case) speaker cabling made a signififant improvment, original cabling appears thick mains type copper (non ofc).  Whilst the caps/rewire and new WBT binding posts all came at the same time and burn in was 200 hours+, various what I perceived driver induced coloration has vanished.
Symathetic and good recap from reputable source (try Jerry at Falcon Accountics) and top quality speaker wire will go a long way to enhancing older designs.

Posted By: Rousillon
Date Posted: 24 Sep 2016 at 4:26am
Great posts. All (!) my speakers are 70's vintage!! 

Posted By: rantalot
Date Posted: 24 Sep 2016 at 4:42pm
The reason for upgrading the capacitors in the speaker crossover is the same as upgrading the cabling within the speakers, that is when the speakers were manufactured the product that has upgraded the sound was not available. Technology is moving at an increasing speed, you can now buy resistors that have a tolerance of <0.1% which wasn't available several years ago.
Replacing like with like doesn't improve anything it just restores the status quo, know what I mean.


Posted By: Graham Slee
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2016 at 7:09am
7 years ago I wrote the introduction to this topic and I've not written anything on the subject since.



2010: the EuP power supply fiasco... when our great EU threw a great big spanner in the high fidelity works. I have a crazy drinks coaster on which says:

The "Madness" Hamsters
Every night they visit you
Every night they come
And bit by bit
They steal your brain
And feed it to their MUM
(The interesting thoughts of Edward Monkton:

2011: Japanese Earthquake... no words can describe how the rest of the world felt for those people and I felt guilty watching it all happen on TV - the loss of life and terror it brought to those people.

It also wiped out quite a few manufacturers of components we needed - another spanner in the works which took a lot of effort to work around.

2012: Olympics and Queen's Diamond Jubilee... Olympic years are challenging trading years - we have to sell to continue doing our great work, but it seems quality audio fans are also Olympic fans and sport comes first.

Because of complaints from people with hearing like bats, I redesigned the Solo Ultra-Linear headphone amplifier and needed all my wrinkles and tips for that. It needed a name and being the Queen's diamond jubilee, the "diamond edition" seemed appropriate for a British made headphone amp.

2013: We moved! ... 1 Monks Way was a "matchbox" and no matter how much we tried to build a Tardis over the years, it wasn't working. In April and May we had to convert premises into new workshop facilities - and the rest of the year was spent catching up.

2014: The Road Show... supposedly the first of many but it didn't quite work out that way. Still the Aylesbury show was a great success and I got to meet quite a few of the forum members for the first time. We had two hi-fi press visitors but they didn't bother to report on it! Crap support lads!!!

We also did Cranage - should have been called Crony-idge!!! Definitely a north-west dealer get together where this cutting edge manufacturer who dares to be different is not welcome!

2015: Rotherham show... great to see our core supporters again - those able to make it.

Callenging times... politics had really screwed trade this time! Eastern bloc and far east trade vanished because of political wrangling. What was a small company robbed of 70 percent of its income in its first quarter supposed to do?? We survived by morphing into HiFi System Components Ltd. Contrary to what our competitors might believe it was our decision and not that of our creditors who were paid in full and are still on board. An awful lot of work though but we're stronger for it.

My health... writing this one year on and nothing much has improved since my op, but still here and fighting.

The Accession phono stage... developed back end of 2014 and throughout 2015. Lot's of patent work, especially toward getting patent engineers to understand it!

New secure website completed.

2016: Preparing for the new... Our restructuring helped and we're now sat amongst the building dust of a 50% office expansion - a dedicated R&D unit so I can at last get on with all the ideas talked about over recent years.

Accession launched and Accession MC.

Maybe 2017 will see this topic take off?

Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...

Posted By: Old skool
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2018 at 2:33pm
No one liking my sound deadening mod? No?

Anyhoo, back on topic:

When would your speakers benefit from re-capping/wiring?
Some of mine are 15ish years old, some less than 10. 

I like the idea of better internal cabling (& maybe some additional sound deadening??)


Is the pursuit High Fidelity a sign of mental illness??
I think so....

Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2018 at 5:28pm
I found the exercise beneficial on both counts though these are two different items.
My Caps were about 25 years old; would have thoughts 10 years should be fine, 15 possibly ok, though if having apart best replaced.
Improved cabling will changed the characteristics of your speakers, the end result will depend on the origin of the original wiring, the quality and material of the new wiring, how configured/wired (e.g. twisted, doubled up, soldered, booted etc).
Personally I would only recommend this if you are planning to keep the speakers longer term and to use the most suitable cables you can; not forgetting the binding posts will also likely make a sonic difference.
They may well take some time to burn in also and you wont know whether the exercise is worthwhile until undertaken.  If you are happy with the speakers, great if not would suggest looking elsewhere.

Posted By: Old skool
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2018 at 5:48pm
good advice I think. 

Liking what I’ve got at the mo. 

Even more so with the new Revelation. 


Posted By: Old skool
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2018 at 6:53pm
Been playing records since lunchtime (paperwork day πŸ˜–).

Popped out for a couple of hours, just put a record on & it’s making me Dad Dance round the living room even tho it’s hotter than hell in here!

No better proof. 

Quite the upgrade. 

Hats off to the Wizards at Graham Slee ltd! πŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Posted By: Old skool
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2018 at 6:54pm

Totally off topic!

Just got my Revelation today πŸ˜€

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