In Praise of Trey dba "Vr3 Mods"
When I started my quest for better and better sound from my stereo rig in the late fall of 2011, I had no idea where the Pied Piper of the Polk Forum – aka DarqueKnight – would lead me. I didn’t even know it was a rabbit hole I was facing!
I had sought and acquired a pair of SDA SRSs, like those I had coveted some 22 years before.
Then, I went after a bigger, more powerful Perreaux amplifier, like the one I had coveted when I first heard it driving those SRSs in1989.
After I installed the SRSs and a close approximation of that big Perreaux amplifier, however, I realized that the vintage electronics just weren’t up to driving the SRSs to the level I sought. So, I bought the latest and greatest Perreaux preamp and monoblock amplifiers – NOT COMMON GROUND, I need to emphasize – and I had a big problem!
And then the fun began: On the advice of Perreaux’s lead engineer, DarqueKnight’s Dreadnought came to the rescue! Building a rudimentary Dreadnought was a challenge even I could manage, given the clear and precise instructions DK provided all of us.
But, once the Dreadnought solved that frightening mismatching-ground problem, DarqueKnight’s irresistible piping in thread after thread led me to covet ever higher performance and requisite modifications of the SRSs. I had never imagined in my wildest fantasies where vintage Polks could go! Kind of like the Star Trek of the Kingdom of Audiophilia – new worlds where no man – except DarqueKnight himself – had ever gone.
But DQ is an accomplished Electrical Engineer, and I’m a mere mortal – that is, a retired HR executive – whose last close contact with a soldering iron was when he earned his novice ham radio operator’s license (KN9MXH) in 1958 (or thereabouts) and tried to assemble a Heathkit receiver.
August 2012: Enter Trey Roseman, doing business as “Vr3 Mods,” best described as the “Equalizer” for technically challenged newbies like me. With trepidation, I contacted Trey about building new crossovers with 21st century capacitors, resistors, and inductors; a Gimpod circuit board, and replacing the SDA inductors and binding posts with contemporary, audiophile-grade components.
Trey is remarkable to work with. Not only did he give sound advice about the components that should be specified in his projects, he gave me advice in a manner that made me confident that he sincerely had my interests in mind, not how to maximize his profit at my expense! I felt sure that he was in the business because he loves the work he does and wants to improve the sound his customers get from their speakers.
Furthermore, Trey had the patience and tenacity to give me, a real newbie, clear and concise instructions about how to remove the crossovers and binding post cups and package them for mailing, as well as to make very clear how the wiring harnesses should be labeled to make reassembly easy!
Of course, the proof of “the pudding is in the eating,” or more precisely the proof of the speaker mods is in the listening. And here Trey’s product exceeded my highest expectations.
Immediately after installation, the sound reproduction of my system was dramatically improved. Most noticeable from the very beginning was the improved reproduction of the music at significantly lower volume. As my wife and I put more and more hours on the new crossovers and other components, the vintage SRSs opened up like a fine old Burgundy.
The sound stage was wider, higher, and deeper. Highs were clearer, and transients faster and better defined. Midrange performance was dramatically improved, and bass was tighter and carried the timbre of instruments far more clearly.
After the necessary “burn-in” time, the performance of the speakers reached a level of realism that I had not expected. As I have noted in other posts, however, I began to hear more distinctly what I called a “muddle in the middle” of complex orchestral music. The question was, “Was this a limitation of the speakers and their new components or of other elements in my system?”
Since I installed the Vr3 Mods in my SRSs, I have introduced several other changes in my system – including Audioquest Sky interconnects between the preamp and my monoblocks, a Silver Circle Audio Pure Power One 5.0 power conditioner on a dedicated circuit, upgraded power cords on all components. The “muddle in the middle” is virtually gone.
What does this say about Trey’s Vr3 crossovers and other mods? It says that they were up to the task of carrying their “weight” in rendering the best sound out of my system when these other “supporting” upgrades were added to the mix.
The strongest endorsement I can offer of Trey and Vr3 Mods is that I sent the crossovers and binding post cups from my SDA 1Cs to him for similar modifications. In the course of modifying them, he ran into a problem with getting the correct inductors. He explained the problem, kept me informed, and completed the work as expeditiously as he could.
Now, he has given me advice about how to build power cords for my CD player and preamp, including both materials to use (e.g., Supra Rondo Lo Rad 2.5 cable) and how to achieve a 9-AWG equivalent cord with shotgun construction.
I am not a seasoned audiophile who can call up all the right terms to describe how my speakers were improved by Trey’s fine work, nor am I a technical expert who can provide scientific data to verify the differences in performance that I – and more important, my wife – hear.
I am, however, a customer and now a friend who has complete confidence in Trey and who appreciates the exceptional work he does with sincere concern for the product he delivers and the experience his customers have throughout the process of modifying their speakers with Vr3 Mods products.
As Toolfan66 says, “Trey for Polkie of the year!”
Pictures of a new and old crossover and of the new SDA interconnect cables Trey fabricated with my prototype plywood Dreadnought enclosure and the new SDA inductor installed in one of the SRSs:
Update on SDA SRS1.2 Mods
Today, my wife and I put in a CD that is a bit off the beaten track for us -- David Johansen and the Harry Smiths from Chesky Records. This is their 1999 Chesky recording; frankly, I can't read the title of the disc on the brochure.
While the music is not our usual fare, the sound reproduction is absolutely extraordinary.
The SRS are about 12 feet apart, center to center. The "sweet spot" is a virtually perfect apex of an equilateral triangle in front of them.
The sound stage extends about six feet outside the speakers on each side. The depth sounds and feels like it is about 10 feet with the front edge about six feet in front of the sweet spot, and the height rises about a foot above the top of the speakers.
The singer is perfectly positioned; he appears virtually right in the middle and in front of the instruments. The instruments are well located with the drums up and behind the singer. The bass is on the left and slightly further back than the singer. Guitars and banjo are right or left and on the same horizontal plane as the singer.
The timbre of each instrument comes through clearly and accurately. Some of the special sound effects -- electric guitar and percussion -- are profoundly effective. Transients are clean and precise, regardless of the instrument and the frequency range.
Bass is tight and punchy -- very clear and affective. And I mean "affective," not effective -- my wife and i feel the bass as well as hear it. (It is effective, too!)
This quality of reproduction is as close to the sound of a live performance as I've ever heard from a stereo system.
I can't resist comparing the sound of the SRS1.2s to the 1Cs, on which I recently completed comparable mods (with a lot of help from Trey and many other Polkies). At this point, the SRSs seem to produce a softer sound and greater detail at lower volumes; the 1Cs a brighter sound with somewhat more bass emphasis. These are two different systems in two dramatically different location. Both sets of speakers reproduce sound remarkably well -- extraordinarily pleasing over extended listening sessions. I love them both! :biggrin:
As my wife put it, "This is not a singer we would normally like, but the sound is so good you have to listen to it!"
List of Mods on These SDA SRS1.2s
Here is a list of all mods on my SDA SRS1.2s:
1. Installed RDO 194 Tweeters
2. Installed Crossover Upgraded by Vr3 Mods
a. Gimpod Boards
b. Clarity Caps
i. Tweeter Network: Clarity Cap ESAs
ii. Midbass Network: Clarity Cap SAs
c. Mundorf Mox Resistors3. Custom SDA Interconnect Cables by Vr3 Mods
d. Jantzen Perfect-lay Inductors: Board-mounted & SDA
a. Supra Rondo 2.5 Cable4. Custom Aluminum Binding-Post Plates by Vr3 Mods
b. Neutrik speakOn NL2FC Male Connectors (Speaker Ends)
c. Banana Connectors (Dreadnought Ends)
a. Upgraded Binding Posts5. Dreadnought SDA Amplifier Interface per DarqueKnight’s Design
b. Neutrik speakOn NLJ2MD Female Jack Receptacles for SDA Cables
a. Avel-Lindberg 1000VA Transformer6. “Larry’s Brackets & Rings” by Toolfan66
b. Enclosure Designed and Assembled by Myself
c. Cardas CCGR Binding Posts
a. Brackets for Tweeters7. Black Hole 5 Installed behind Tweeters, MWs, and on Sides in Cabinets
b. Rings for MWs and PRs
8. Dynamat Xtreme on MW and Passive Radiator Baskets
9. Acousta Stuf Polyfill to Replace Stock Polyfill
10. JB Weld on MW Magnets
11. Custom-cut Gaskets for PRs (1/4” Neoprene Material)
12. Spikes: Meniscus “Extra Points Set”