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  1. #1

    Member Sales Rating: (10)

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    Thumbs up Lsi9 crossover upgrade

    I've been running my Lsi9s with upgraded crossovers for a few weeks now. I think many here are familiar with Ben's work; for those who are not:
    the standard package is replacement of the original caps with Sonicaps (highs) and Daytons (lows) as well as Mills resistors. This is what I had him do for me.

    After a flurry of upgrades in 2008 and the first half of 2009, my economic situation of late dictates that I could probably afford only one audio purchase/upgrade this year. I decided on the speaker crossover upgrade and I don't regret it one bit.

    Night and day difference? Yes and no. I think it comes down to two sets of variables. 1) Quality of recording and 2) type of music. I notice a huge improvement on good to excellent recorded CDs (I don't spin vinyl). With these, yes, I would say night and day difference. On dull and flat sounding recordings there is not much of a difference at all. They don't sound worse (as I have a pretty neutral source) but just not really better (the mantra 'garbage in, garbage out' rings truer and truer). Second, I notice the biggest improvement in hard rock (Zeppelin), rap/hip-hop (Beastie Boys, Eminem, The Roots) and electronica (Animal Collective). I've always thought these speakers handled jazz and soft/acoustic music (i.e. early Elliott Smith, Bon Iver) with excellence (and they still do)...probably classical too but I'm not there yet. But I never would have guessed that I'd equally enjoy listening to these other genres on this system.

    I'm also a little surprised at my initial findings -- since Sonicaps seem to have a slightly better reputation than Daytons (no?) I am surprised to find that for me what sticks out most on the musical spectrum is the improvement on the low end. In particular, the snare drums, bass and lower tones of piano just have this really rich, life-like presentation. Much more heft and weight than before. (A drum solo at the end of the 3rd song on Fiona Apple's When the Pawn just blows me away now, for example). I might just need some more time to evaluate the highs.

    After playing one of my wife's CDs (HDCD) for her, I asked her if she noticed a difference. She described the sound as much more "3D" than before -- she has a very good ear, having taken piano lessons for several years, but might lack the vocabulary typically used in audio forums...moreover she's not a native English speaker -- but I think what she was getting at was improved imaging. The sounds of the various instruments (and voice) just sort of leap out at you with a vibrancy that wasn't as obvious prior to the upgrade. Again, I should mention that this was a very nice recording.

    In short, I loved the musicality of the Lsi9s to begin with. Thats why I didn't really consider selling these and moving on to something else. I feel this upgrade (at least for me in my system) has allowed me to retain all of the strong features of the speakers while at also enabling them to handle other kinds of music very well, making them an even more versatile speaker.

    Where to go from here? Who knows but I can tell you one thing for sure...when I do have the ability to upgrade again, it will NOT have anything to do with speakers.

    Oh, and great job Ben!
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  2. #2

    Member Sales Rating: (5)

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    Nice write up!

    The fact that you hear the rock was improved the most pushes me even further in the direction of doing the same to my 9's. If I could make Zep and Animal Collective () sound as good through these speakers as Miles Davis adn Julie London do then I would probably stop surfing CL for speakers every weekend. Well.... maybe ;):p

    I'm about to do my Mon 10's and the result will likely be the "straw" one way or the other.
    Baby Einstein has never sounded so good.

  3. #3

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    The low end sound better partly because the high end is clarified. I have the same mod on my 9s - Sonicaps in the highs and Dayton's on the lows.

  4. #4

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    How many hours do you have on them?
    Living Room:.................... Zone 2 (Workout Room):
    AVR - Yamaha RX-V757......JBL 4312 Pro Monitors
    Pre - Nak CA-5
    AMP - Adcom 555 (Main)
    Main - Polk RTI8**/RTiA5
    AMP - Adcom 545II (Center)
    Center - Polk CSiA4**
    Sub - Snell Basis 300:p......Zone 3 (Outside)
    CD - Yamaha CDC-555.......Def Tech AW5500
    TV - Pani TH-42PZ80U
    BR - LG BD390
    Monster HTS1600 Power Center
    Dedicated Circuit - (2) 20amp, (1) 15amp
    Ben's IC, Canare 4S11

    **Dayton and Sonicap Caps with Mills Resistors**

  5. #5

    Member Sales Rating: (7)

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    Norm,

    Congratulations....and thanks for the review!

    If I may, I had some questions for you, or anyone else that may have modded theirs. If I understand you correctly, you said that SQ didn't change that much on poorly recorded music, but was a big improvement on good recordings, yet you say some of the biggest improvements were on rock? I mostly listen to rock, and a good portion of it is poorly recorded - compared to classical for instance. Were the discs you were listening to good recordings, or was it the better quality bass and rythym that increased the satisfaction of the rock recordings? I'm looking at a possible purchase of LSi9's in the future, and the xover mod is very interesting to me, so I'd like to understand further?

    Also, did you notice the sonic signature change in the speakers? They are supposed to be warm and a little laid back stock. Would you say they get brighter, or just clearer? And did they get more forward, or stay the same?

    Thanks, Troy
    ..... ><////(*>

  6. #6

    Member Sales Rating: (10)

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    Quote Originally Posted by curved View Post
    How many hours do you have on them?
    Ben recommends at least 80 hours for burn-in. And 300-400 for them to fully settle in.

    I haven't been as fastidious as I should have been in taking note of playing time but I've had them back for exactly 3 weeks and would say that I average about 5 hours a day -- so maybe 100 hours so far.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishbones View Post
    Norm,

    Congratulations....and thanks for the review!

    If I may, I had some questions for you, or anyone else that may have modded theirs. If I understand you correctly, you said that SQ didn't change that much on poorly recorded music, but was a big improvement on good recordings, yet you say some of the biggest improvements were on rock? I mostly listen to rock, and a good portion of it is poorly recorded - compared to classical for instance. Were the discs you were listening to good recordings, or was it the better quality bass and rythym that increased the satisfaction of the rock recordings? I'm looking at a possible purchase of LSi9's in the future, and the xover mod is very interesting to me, so I'd like to understand further?

    Also, did you notice the sonic signature change in the speakers? They are supposed to be warm and a little laid back stock. Would you say they get brighter, or just clearer? And did they get more forward, or stay the same?

    Thanks, Troy
    Anybody else should feel free to chime in, especially because I'm still registering my impressions mentally, but here is my take:

    Let me start with the second question since that is a little less complex. No, I don't believe the Lsi sound signature has changed fundamentally. I wouldn't describe the sonic changes as brighter or more forward. Things are just clearer -- i.e. instruments more distinct and more vibrant.

    Addressing your first sets of questions: yes, I guess there is a sliding scale of excellent to poorly recorded albums and evaluations may be subjective...and there is a sliding scale of what one considers to be 'rock.' (I'm not sure what kind of rock you like). So, here are a few that sound particularly good to me with the mods:

    Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
    Beatles - Box Set (2009 remasters)
    Fiona Apple - When the Pawn
    Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
    Beck - Sea Change
    Beck - Midnight Vultures
    The Who - Who's Next (MFSL)
    The Who - Live at Leeds (MFSL)
    Tori Amos - Under the Pink
    Arcade Fire - Funeral
    Elliott Smith - Figure 8
    Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles (MFSL)
    The Shins- Wincing the Night Away
    Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
    Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (CBS Mastersound)


    To give a counter-example, just yesterday I put in 10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe. In the past I hadn't noted the quality of the recording, but it just sounded terribly flat and dull.

    These are just my early impressions. I know that there a number of threads that deal with Lsi-mods in the DIY, Mods and Tweaks section so you might search there for additional impressions.
    Last edited by Norm Apter; 07-31-2010 at 12:43 PM.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  8. #8

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    Thanks Norm! Let us know after another couple months if anything changes with break-in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Apter View Post
    Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles (MFSL)
    ...Good album! Haven't broke this one out in awhile. You made me want to dig it out.
    ..... ><////(*>

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post
    The low end sound better partly because the high end is clarified. I have the same mod on my 9s - Sonicaps in the highs and Dayton's on the lows.
    Now that I think about it, that makes perfect sense. I never would have thought of it that way. Thanks for mentioning this.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

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