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  1. #1

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    Default Extremely Proud of my SDA 2B Speakers

    Just wanted to rant a little bit about a trip I had today. I'm fortunate enough to live within a 5-15 minutes drive of 3 high end audio stores that have amazing listening rooms and carry tons of brands. I've auditioned speakers in the $500 to $165,000 range (X-2 Mk.II Alexandria Floorstanders ) which is pretty awesome to be able to do.

    Today I took a listen to the Vandersteen Model 5 ($16,900), the Quad 2805 ($10,000) and several other speakers that I can't recall the names of in the $10,000 plus range. I listened through lots of high-end tube gear with both vinyl and digital as the source. All in all, I'm extremely proud of how the SDA's stood up to much more expensive gear in much better rooms. In fact, I was kind of blown away to hear my system when I got home!

    The Vandersteens were very impressive. I don't think they necessarily destroyed the mid range and top end of the SDA's, but they smoked them in bottom end clarity and definition, one thing I feel is lacking in my SDA's. I can hear the kick drum and upright bass through the SDA's fine, but they don't have the definition, air, or space around them that I've heard other speakers portray far better in my room with the same electronics.

    The Quads 2805's were a treat to hear. Last time I auditioned them in the same listening room I wasn't impressed at ALL. Today, they were connected to top of the line Conrad Johnson tube gear (the ET5 Preamplifier, ET250S amplifier). I was blown away at how insanely BIG the music was, but more specifically, the vocals! It really sounded like I was standing right in front of the vocalist and he was singing directly into my ears. The entire wall sounded like 1 unified speaker lol.

    I heard some PSB's, little Quad floorstanders, that weren't all that impressive. I decided that I'm gonna take a trip with a friend and spend a day auditioning speakers to find what my "flavor" is. I'm definitely not a fan of magneplanar's anymore after owning the 1.7's.

    Anyway, I was a fool for thinking about selling the SDA's! I took them out of the closet and have been running them for a few days with the new Emotiva XPA-2 when the neighbors leave hehehe. All I have to say is AWESOME.

  2. #2

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    If you think the SDA 2's are impressive, check out the bigger SDA's in the food chain and see what you think of the vandersteen's.
    Polk HT system 1: LSIC, LSI25 mains, LSI F/X rears, Lsi F/X rear centers, Lsi 7's presence speakers,
    Yamaha RX-V2500 System, Sunfire grand 5 channel, Carver A753 3 channel amp.

    Polk HT system 2: ,Polk CS1000 center, Polk cs400rear center, Polk RT800 mains stacked with RT55's, Polk F/X 1000 rears running on a Yamaha RX-V2200

    Polk Speaker collection: SDA SRS 1.2tl x 2, SRT system, SDA SRS 2 P/B, SDA 2A, SDA 1C Studio, SDA CRS+, Monitor 12 series 2, 7B & 4, SRS 3.1tl, RTA 15tl

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluecomet View Post
    If you think the SDA 2's are impressive, check out the bigger SDA's in the food chain and see what you think of the vandersteen's.
    I believe you! And may I say, that is an insane collection you have there

  4. #4

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    You are welcome to drop by and listen to my 2.3tl's. Keep in mind that for now, I am crammed into a ****box apartment with zero room to give them the space they need.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    You are welcome to drop by and listen to my 2.3tl's. Keep in mind that for now, I am crammed into a ****box apartment with zero room to give them the space they need.
    Would love to! Where exactly in SD county are you?

  6. #6

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    LA county actually...
    Sherman Oaks to be exact
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    LA county actually...
    Sherman Oaks to be exact
    Ahhh I see. I'll be in Riverside on Monday picking up some AV123 Strata Mini's. Would have been cool to swing by and have a little listening session but like your 2.3's, they aren't exactly light.

  8. #8

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    I thought the wife made you stick them in a closet since you couldn't sell them??
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
    Powered By Wyred 4 Sound, STP-SE, SX-1000...
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  9. #9

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    they are, but that don't mean they cannot come out and play.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    they are, but that don't mean they cannot come out and play.
    Not you John..:tongue: Talking to mister cr381ve the guy who has so many stories around here.
    Last edited by Toolfan66; 06-23-2011 at 07:37 PM.
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
    Powered By Wyred 4 Sound, STP-SE, SX-1000...
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    they are, but that don't mean they cannot come out and play.
    +1


  12. #12

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    I hear ya about the bass... it's the only complaint I have about my 2B TL's. Plenty of bass, but not the kind of tight definition and separation that keeps it from muddying up the middle. Otherwise they are easily the best speaker I've ever owned.

    I've unfortunately never heard a pair of SDA's bigger than the 1C's, but I have heard some of the big Vandy's (3's and 5's), and I know exactly what you're saying about those. The bass is big, well controlled, and seems to be just about perfectly integrated with everything else. There's only one other brand of speaker I've ever heard that seemed to do it as well, and those are a little boutique brand made in the Seattle area that no one else has ever heard of.

    Well, to be fair, I've heard some Klipschorns where the bass was pretty amazing, but not enough to make me want to listen to horns all the time. If you get to audition the big SDA's, make sure you come back and tell us how you think they stack up.

  13. #13

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    If your bass is bloated on SDAs, you need to look at your setup. Corners, walls, furniture, etc. block and muddy your bass. Because of the PR design the SDAs actually test out with lower bass distortion than any of those high dollar models you listed. The difference is most likely the listening room that you were hearing. If you have bloated bass it may be your room.

    Just my opinion

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by On3s&Z3r0s View Post
    I hear ya about the bass... it's the only complaint I have about my 2B TL's. Plenty of bass, but not the kind of tight definition and separation that keeps it from muddying up the middle.
    then it's set up wrong, if I was you guys I would play around with them some more, and look at the room they are in, can you say room treatments or placement of room treatments if you have them..
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    If your bass is bloated on SDAs, you need to look at your setup. Corners, walls, furniture, etc. block and muddy your bass. Because of the PR design the SDAs actually test out with lower bass distortion than any of those high dollar models you listed. The difference is most likely the listening room that you were hearing. If you have bloated bass it may be your room.

    Just my opinion
    Your opinion is spot on!!!
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    If your bass is bloated on SDAs, you need to look at your setup. Corners, walls, furniture, etc. block and muddy your bass. Because of the PR design the SDAs actually test out with lower bass distortion than any of those high dollar models you listed. The difference is most likely the listening room that you were hearing. If you have bloated bass it may be your room.

    Just my opinion
    I don't want to threadjack, but I've tried a bunch of different things. Moving them away from the walls helped (they were at 4", now at 9", tried them farther out, but 9" seemed to be where the max benefit was). They're 3' away from the closest corner wall. I've tried repositioning area rugs and furniture, since they're in a room with hardwoods. They're on spikes and pads. One thing that seems to make a difference is going back to the stock SDA IC and sockets instead of a run of BJC 12 white between two Cardas binding posts (just less bass presence overall with the stock IC). But some mid/high image definition goes away when I do that too, so that's not a good long term solution. I think my next step is going to be to try some speaker wire that is known to constrain the bass and see if I like that better overall.

    Keep in mind that mine are studios, so the differences in the cabinet may also be having an effect. I can't imagine I'd have the guts to try to add cabinet bracing, but I have wondered if more or different damping material beyond just the stock polyfill would be a good idea. I got a pair of MW 6510's that I was thinking about swapping out to see if those change the bass at all from the stock 6503's. I'm pretty all-over-the-map trying to figure out how to make these work lately. If I hit upon the definitive solution I'll definitely post about it.
    Last edited by On3s&Z3r0s; 06-23-2011 at 09:36 PM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    Because of the PR design the SDAs actually test out with lower bass distortion than any of those high dollar models you listed.
    vs the Vandy 5's and big Wilson's?Not likely.

  18. #18

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    SDA = Fuzzy Logic!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    SDA = Fuzzy Logic!
    James,hope you have your flame suit at the ready.:tongue:

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    Fred, I only feel suiting to say that's need to be said after reading the OP's post of what he thinks of other speakers and what he used to think about the SDA 2Bs in the past.

    It sure is Fuzzy Logic to him.

    Besides, I have the winter skin to scorch too. :tongue:
    Last edited by megasat16; 06-23-2011 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Forgot the emoticons...No Emoticon for H9 from now on.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    vs the Vandy 5's and big Wilson's?Not likely.
    I haven't looked at those particular speakers listed, but when the SRS were tested, when released, they were some of the best ever tested in bass distortion.

    "We have never measured a low-bass distortion level as low as that of the SDA-SRS." Julian Hirsch November 1985 Stereo Review

    Again, bloat is room dependent. You may have the wrong room (acoustics) for audio.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    I haven't looked at those particular speakers listed, but when the SRS were tested, when released, they were some of the best ever tested in bass distortion.

    "We have never measured a low-bass distortion level as low as that of the SDA-SRS." Julian Hirsch November 1985 Stereo Review

    Again, bloat is room dependent. You may have the wrong room (acoustics) for audio.
    Um... not to be pedantic, but the state of the art may have changed somewhat in the last 25 years. I've also had other speakers in the same room, on the same gear that did not sound so bloated to me, including (and I realize this is likely to draw some fire) the 2B's before I upgraded them. Whatever it is, it's not only the room.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOOLFORLIFEFAN View Post
    then it's set up wrong, if I was you guys I would play around with them some more, and look at the room they are in, can you say room treatments or placement of room treatments if you have them..
    Nope. Coming to this conclusion is fairly simple. After setting the SDA's up as best they could be setup in my room (long wall, 2 feet out, 6 feet from each side wall, which meant moving furniture) I auditioned them, heard the issues as described above, and then swapped in a pair of different speakers in the same location. Issues where gone. Then to take it further I tried a different speaker location (short wall) with both sets of speakers, same conclusion. I'm not a scientist but I feel that it is a sufficient enough test to build a strong case. On3's having the same problem confirms what I've been hearing. Speaking from a professional background in music, I know what to listen for in a kick drum, bass, and upright bass.

    It's the speakers, and I've said it from day 1 even before the TL mods. Now, with all that said, I love my SDA's!

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by On3s&Z3r0s View Post
    Um... not to be pedantic, but the state of the art may have changed somewhat in the last 25 years. I've also had other speakers in the same room, on the same gear that did not sound so bloated to me, including (and I realize this is likely to draw some fire) the 2B's before I upgraded them. Whatever it is, it's not only the room.
    Apparently the upgrade added bass in the frequency node that your room already accentuated.

    Bi-amping my A/D/S L1230, which involves bypassing the passive crossover totally ruined (bloated) the bass by about 6 dB in my listening room. This made the speaker system that I prefer in this room totally unlistenable. When I move the bi-amped set into another room, no bloat, due to a flatter room response. Going back to factory passive C/O made the better fit for my room.

    Setup, room frequency nodes, hard surfaces, etc. all contribute.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    Apparently the upgrade added bass in the frequency node that your room already accentuated.

    Bi-amping my A/D/S L1230, which involves bypassing the passive crossover totally ruined (bloated) the bass by about 6 dB in my listening room. This made the speaker system that I prefer in this room totally unlistenable. When I move the bi-amped set into another room, no bloat, due to a flatter room response. Going back to factory passive C/O made the better fit for my room.

    Setup, room frequency nodes, hard surfaces, etc. all contribute.
    That does help to know. I had considered taking them down to my home theater room, which is a lot softer... carpeted, more fluffy couches, chairs and window coverings, to try them there. Unfortunately, that's not a long term fix either, but at least that would bear out that the room and the speakers just don't get along.

  26. #26

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    Try adding weight to your passive radiators to tame the bass down, small increments evenly between each speaker may help. It is a relatively cheap tweak that is used on PR subs all the time to help with tuning bass freqs. It doesn't hurt the PRs or speaker value at all since no perm alterations are done. Tape/glue/washers etc. work great as long as they don't rattle or work loose.

    On another point, I don't want anyone to take my posts as trolling or thread crapping, I just don't think enough in room testing is done here before people mark a brand/line of speakers/gear as s*it and blame it on the gear, when their room is the issue. I know that most of us can't knock down walls or treat our rooms as anechoic chambers and sometimes a speaker model isn't a fit. A good test is to take them outside and see if the bass bloat disappears.....if it doesn't, trade 'em, if it does, treat your room.

    Tryin' to help, Peace Out.

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    Better gear will get you the definition, air, space and depth you crave.
    "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!

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    I haven't looked at those particular speakers listed, but when the SRS were tested, when released, they were some of the best ever tested in bass distortion.

    "We have never measured a low-bass distortion level as low as that of the SDA-SRS." Julian Hirsch November 1985 Stereo Review
    OK I misread your post to mean the 2B vs the speakers listed in the OP's first post.With the additional volume displacement afforded by the 8 woofers vs a pair in the 2B it's a safe bet the SRS 's would certainly have less distortion in the bass(vs the 2B),no doubt excellent for that era.Driver design has come along way since and the subwoofer section in the Vandersteen 5 is a very advanced.It's an electronically controlled (actively driven with error correction)dual coned push pull design with 1" of excursion capability,and copper shorting rings.The result is deep bass extension with low distortion.
    Again, bloat is room dependent. You may have the wrong room (acoustics) for audio.
    Absolutely,the room and relative placement within has a huge influence on the quality of bass.However certain speakers can have inherent excessive or bloated bass as a result of certain design decisions made by their designer regardless of room influences.
    Last edited by FTGV; 06-23-2011 at 11:27 PM.

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    I was amazed at how much the environmental changes made in the bass of my SDA's. Putting the speakers on spikes and adding bass traps made all the difference in the world. I love the bass from my 1C's.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    Fred, I only feel suiting to say that's need to be said after reading the OP's post of what he thinks of other speakers and what he used to think about the SDA 2Bs in the past.

    It sure is Fuzzy Logic to him.
    Ah OK James sorry. I thought you might be trying to rattle some cages.

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