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Thread: SDAs unplugged

  1. #1

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    Default SDAs unplugged

    I'd like to hear from SDA owners who don't use the interconnect cable. I've been running my 1Bs unplugged for about a month now. I like the SDA effect, but to my ears when I run unplugged the tonal balance is much better and vocals sound more natural. The difference is more noticeable when listening to vinyl than listening to CDs. Has anyone else noticed this?
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    hmmmm -- truth be told I'm listening to my Monitor 10s (peerless tweeters i think), and my SDA 1Cs are sitting in the closet, unused at the present time.

    I haven't tried the 1Cs without the interconnect cable, maybe I'll give that a try and see if you're right.

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    You should buy another loudspeaker if you're not using the interconnect. They simply aren't working for you, perhaps something is wrong with them or its time to move on....that happens as well.

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    One thing you might try is to make an SDA cable and run it back to your listening chair, with a switch on it so you can switch it in and out. Combined with the A/B repeat feature on most CD players, you can really hear even the very subtle cases, and I'll bet you decide to leave it attached.

    I did this, but with a fairly short wire between the speakers, with a wireless-activated realy to switch it in and out. That way, I could just push the keyfob to open/close the relay from my chair, as opposed to having wires stretched to the listening chair. But that method works too. The relay was also a good/quick way to demonstrate the SDA effect to others, especially with the right recording.
    Last edited by Bubinga99; 05-02-2010 at 10:36 PM.

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    I enjoy listening to "Unplugged" music on my SDA's with the cable. Does that count hehe?

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    I haven't listened to my SDA-1's much without the SDA effect. I have heard, however, that the power handling capabilities are cut by 40-50% when you're not using the dimensional woofers(/tweeters).
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    The SDA effect on music quality is very sensitive to listening position, and speaker placement. Maybe you should experiment some with both before making up your mind to go unplugged for good.
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    When I bought my first SDA/SRSs in 1984/85 I had to use them for a while without the SDA cable because I had non-common ground amps. While they did sound good, there was no comparison with the SDA cables in use. They just were a completely different speaker.

    Are you sure there isn't something wrong with them? Have you upgraded the caps and resistors on the crossovers? You may find yourself liking them with the SDA effect if you do the upgrades.

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    SDAs are sensitive to placement. My temporary situation means having 1.2TLs in a room far too tight for them, and with the cable connected there's too much sound bouncing around. They work fine--in the original owner's huge room the SDA imaging was quite impressive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John in MA View Post
    SDAs are sensitive to placement. My temporary situation means having 1.2TLs in a room far too tight for them, and with the cable connected there's too much sound bouncing around. They work fine--in the original owner's huge room the SDA imaging was quite impressive.
    I've experienced that first-hand. 1.2TL's are NOT speakers for smaller rooms. Listened a few weeks later when they were swapped with CRS+'s, and the CRS+'s were not overpowering... though they did like to draw a good bit more more power than the 1.2TL's.
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    I believe SDA loudspeakers are pretty forgiving in regards to the effect and room. I'd be surprised if any members have a perfect enviroment and the best SDA I've ever heard was far from perfect....and I've heard perfect. I's take a real world room over a typically over engineered room anyday. That's real grassroots Polk Audio to me.

    John - "sensitive to placement"...? Uhhh, maybe try a loudspeaker that is REALLY sensitive to placement sometime. I know you've been around the hobby....really?
    Last edited by dorokusai; 05-04-2010 at 01:18 AM.

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    Compared to your average speaker, I mean. Put a straight speaker in a corner or whatever and you're liable to just end up with goofy bass response or something. Put a large SDA in a corner and you have the mirror signal bouncing back at you, in addition to the typical placement issues. There's a reason Polk recommends certain setup details.

    In my case, nearly every dimension of the room is fouled up somehow and it often was like listening to a TV with one of those echo-y fake surround-sound settings. Nothing wrong with the speakers or the gear, just a really terrible room. Some new digs are the next system improvement I can make.

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    you can use your SDA's anyway you want.. with or without cable.. the SDA's are good speakers used either way... some people are chicken to try them without the interconnect cable.. thinking they won't like the sound field.

    i run mine about 60/40 60% with the cable. 40% without. both sound good to me. some music is to "hollow" with the SDA cable. some music that was recorded with a reverb can sound pretty bad with the SDA's using the interconnect. way hollow sounding.

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    When it's working, it's amazing. The guy I bought them from had them in a huge (like in front of a couch long enough for eight people) finished basement. I couldn't even tell where the speakers were from the sound.

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    I think SDA placement is a lot more cut and dry and easier for room placement than "regular" speakers. SDAs, all of them have the same minimum requirements. At least 3' from the sides walls, they can be closer but you loose some of the SDA effect. Minimum of 4' apart from center to center of each speaker, best if 6' to 8' apart, any closer than 4' the SDA effect again can be diminished. No toe in, they must be parallel to the back wall which is a cinch compared to having to figure out the proper toe in of "regular" speakers. Location from the back the wall will depend on the room, if they are too far from the back wall, you will loose bass response so you have to move them closer or further a bit at a time to get the proper bass response; 6" to 1.5' away is usually the distance inwhich you will find your best bass response again depending on the room. The sweet spot is usually started at exactly the same distance from the middle of the center plane of the baffles that the distance the speaker are apart. The last consideration is they need to be level, front to rear & side to side. This is easily accomplished by placing a level on top of the speaker, first front to rear then across side to side.

    That's it!

    My room is far from perfect and not very big i.e., 19' X 11' 2" but is a perfect rectangle and my bigass 1.2TLs sound fine and not overpowering in this room. I have them set up 5.5' from the sides walls, 6' 8" apart, and 8" from the back wall. My sweet spot starts exactly at 6' 8" from the center plane of the baffles and in my room can go back as far as 8'. They were very easy to setup and really all I had to do to get them equidistance from the side walls and how far apart was measure the width of the speakers. They are perfectly level and I have spike on those heavy boys and they were not hard to get level. I have a large overstuffed couch up against the back wall which is made to accomodate three people but can easily seat five. I have the center of the couch lined up with the sweet spot.

    Every other "regular" speaker or monitor I've ever had were a pain in the ass to set up. You had to guess how far from the back wall they are which could be 6' or more. The distance between the two speakers again took a guess to get them to sound right. Same thing with the distance from the side walls. The biggest PITA was the toe in. Should they be aimed right on axis aimed at your ears for the sweet spot or of axis, slightly past your ears and where the hell is the sweet spot? Another setup necessity, especially with monitors is, how high the tweeters are from the floor, do they need to be the same height as your ears, do they need to be tilted back and how many degrees do they need to be tilted back? Some require them to be tilted forward.

    IMHO "regular" speakers are much more difficult to set up and take much, much more time to set them up than SDAs. Of course there are guidelines and different forumlas put out by speaker manufactuers as well as other expert opinions on how to set up speakers but there is no cut and dry measurements for these type speakers.

    If you have SDAs set up in a room that is not square they are very easy to setup and will usually give you the perfect sweet spot if the simple setup instructions are followed.

    IMHO, I believe the OP has either a problem with the speakers i.e., a bad driver(s) or tweeter(s) or the crossovers need to have the caps and resistors updated/upgraded.
    Last edited by hearingimpared; 05-04-2010 at 03:09 AM.

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    Doro has bad ears.

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    I've just read a few of your other posts; when was the last time you had your mouth washed out with soap?

    SHUT UP RUSS!:p:D

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman1 View Post
    Doro has bad ears.
    I've been farther than you have...you can bet on that Russ.

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    I've played with speaker placement quite a bit with these, they are quite a bit less finicky about placement than a lot of other speakers I've owned. I've settled on having them 32'' from the side walls, 78'' between speakers and 5'' from the rear wall. I have rebuilt the crossovers and damped the baskets on the PRs and MWs. I'll probably replace the SL2000s with RDO194s in the near future. They do sound fantastic on most material with the cable plugged in, but after doing a lot of A-B comparisons with and without the cable, to me the overall tonal balance is a little better without the cable. Without the cable I lose the huge soundstage, but things like female vocals, piano and acoustic guitar sound more natural.
    Denon PMA-900V
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai View Post
    I've been farther than you have...you can bet on that Russ.
    My ears have been wrecked for years. That's what happens when a kid spends hundreds of hours in a puddle-jumper; I figure I've accumulated at least a thousand hours on single-prop and twin-prop airplanes, not including the dozens of hours flying commercially.
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    I have an L-shaped room in the basement. The imaging was so one-sided and I found a solution that's incredible. The problem was the left side had way too much dimensional reflection and the right side had way to much room to fill in the other part of the L-shape. I solved both of these by installing 4" thick acuoustic pads next to the dimentional arrays and adding a panel to make the room size more even left to right. A byproduct of the foam was the SL2000 tweeters sound smoother now. The soundstage is huge, deep and symetrical and the out of phase gimmicky aspect of the SDA that came from all the side reflections is gone. A real win-win IMO. This setup sounds better than ever before in the last 21 years.





    Last edited by OldmanSRS; 05-04-2010 at 08:55 AM.
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    Monolithic 2001 tablets! No wait... SDA's flagship... I really want some...

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    SDA's are designed to be used with the cable. If you're not using the cable then you're not getting the full use of the speakers. Time to move on to a conventional speaker. The only reason the cable isn't hard wired is so they can be moved easier, not to play them without it.

    Some of the drivers aren't working and you are missing some frequencies to the drivers which are supplied by the cable. Many think the cable just sends a low level signal from the opposite channel. Not true so you are missing fundamental frequencies and it will cause you to try an compensate with tone controls, etc.

    The only time I've unhooked an SDA cable is for trouble shooting.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy View Post
    some music that was recorded with a reverb can sound pretty bad with the SDA's using the interconnect. way hollow sounding.

    Not the speakers fault............it's the source. I disagree, you do loose a lot of what a speaker (conventional or SDA) should sound like. The SDA's are not designed to sound as good as a non-SDA speaker when the cable is removed. Can't have it both ways.

    Of course anyone can do what they want, but trying to sell it as it sounds just as good as any other non-SDA speaker is a pretty big stretch, IMHO.

    Todays recordings use way too much reverb and processing and the SDA's pick up on that more than many other speakers. Don;t balme the speakers...........blame the crappy production values and I'm not talking poor recordings, just over processed. Norah Jones - The Fall is a prime example of over processing. She sounds like she's singing in her bathroom.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 05-04-2010 at 09:32 AM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Running SDA's without the cable is like having sex with your sister. It is still sex, but it just ain't right.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    SDA's are designed to be used with the cable. If you're not using the cable then you're not getting the full use of the speakers. Some of the drivers aren't working and you are missing some frequencies to the drivers which are supplied by the cable. Many think the cable just sends a low level signal from the opposite channel. Not true so you are missing fundamental frequencies and it will cause you to try an compensate with tone controls, etc.

    The only time I've unhooked an SDA cable is for trouble shooting.

    H9

    Agree. My 1.2's were some of the ones with the polarity revered at the binding posts. I ran them as marked from day-1 and 20 years later (after reading about it here) swapped the polarity and got SDA working for the first time since I owned them. Damn, what an improvment!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    Running SDA's without the cable is like having sex with your sister. It is still sex, but it just ain't right.

    ........................................

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    If your not going to use them as "SDA's" I say sell them and get some speakers that meet your needs.. Just to have them because there BIG makes no sense at all..
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    Running SDA's without the cable is like having sex with your sister. It is still sex, but it just ain't right.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigaltx24 View Post
    I'd like to hear from SDA owners who don't use the interconnect cable. I've been running my 1Bs unplugged for about a month now. I like the SDA effect, but to my ears when I run unplugged the tonal balance is much better and vocals sound more natural. The difference is more noticeable when listening to vinyl than listening to CDs. Has anyone else noticed this?
    I notice the opposite. Tonal balance seems off to me when running w/o the cable. Vocals are recessed, highs are muted and things seem to sound unnatural. Flat, dry, lifeless, uninspiring, flaccid, tepid, vapid, choked, constrained, etc.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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