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  1. #1

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    Default A slightly different take on the Dreadnought

    For many years I wanted to upgrade the AI-1 SDA cable on my stock AI-1, but I wanted to keep the original pin/blade type terminal and socket because I never liked the idea of using binding posts for the connections. I don't know exactly why, I just didn't. I looked and looked for something that would work, but never did find anything. Along came the Dreadnought. I liked the idea of using a better isolation transformer, but still didn't want to use binding posts, so I did nothing. Then at one point another Polkie and I were looking at having new pin/blade terminals made, but that never panned out. When the 1000V Avel deal came up I knew it was time to abandon my hope of finding a pin/blade type terminal and look for something else. I found the Neutrik Speakon connectors and decided that is what I would use.

    Since I use the excellent MIT Shotgun S1 cables I wanted to use the same for my new SDA cable. I talked with the good folks at MIT about this and they didn't think their cables with the network boxes would be a good idea as those boxes are directional. They suggested using the Shotgun cable without the boxes, so I acquired 16 feet. They warned me that this cable was a pain to terminate and they were right. The guts are not simply your typical stranded wire and that's probably all I should say about that. I have to thank the good folks at MIT for making this possible, thank you!

    So, with the cable decided on I made very careful measurements to find out which of Neutrik connectors would work. I found that the NLT4MP-BAG female chassis socket would just fit between the upper Cardas binding posts on my 2.3TL's in place of the stock pin/blade socket. I chose the NLT4FX-BAG for the male end. As the MIT cable measures 21mm in diameter and the maximum inside diameter at the tail end of the NLT4FX-BAG shell is only 16mm I had to remove the rubber bushing, the metal ring that holds it in place and the plastic locking device inside the shell. That still wasn't enough, so I had to use my Dremel to enlarge the end of the shell. Let me tell you that was a lot of work. Things went very smoothly after that and the cables were done.

    Needing an enclosure for the transformer I looked around and found something I liked from a company in China, but their stock sizes weren't what I wanted or needed, so I asked about custom sizes to which they said sure. After sending them my drawings they got back to me saying sure, no problem, but we have a minimum order of 10 for custom work. Since I didn't need 10 I dropped that idea and looked elsewhere. I talked with a certain someone (THANK YOU!) that was willing to make me a one off and placed the order.

    The work on the binding post plate to accommodate the Neutrik chassis socket was a bit tricky because it's a one shot deal, but all went smoothly and installing the Avel in the enclosure was straight forward. I'm leaving out some of the finer details in this project, but I would suggest that one should have a certain level of knowledge, the right tools and the skill set required before tackling such a project. If anyone has specific questions, I would be glad to help.

    I would like to thank all those that have gone before me on similar projects. You shared your knowledge, experiences and gave me ideas to work with. You guys make this forum the best around.

    Oh yeah, sounds GREAT!!!



    Both cables finished.



    Close up of the Neutrik connector.



    The Neutrik chassis socket installed. MIT jumpers, of course!



    I tried black cap screws first....nah



    With stainless steel cap screws.....much better.



    The cover lined with Dynamat.



    The guts. Stainless steel hardware was used to attach the transformer.



    Behind the antique table I use for my gear.



    Damn, she's pretty.
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  2. #2

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    Looks fantastic Jesse! What do you think of the sound of the Dreadnought itself? That is imaging, soundstage, detail, etc? Thanks for sharing this.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

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  3. #3

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    well someone just raised the bar! Atta'boy Jesse.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  4. #4

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    Very nicely done.

    I'll be doing something similar but with a different MIT cable that works with what I'm currently running. Unfortunately I have to use binding posts on the case. I'm not to particular for that though.

    Nice jumpers too.

  5. #5
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    A beautiful job, Jesse! Nicely done!

  6. #6

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    That's great looking stuff man.
    The shotgun cable had to be a bear to work with.
    what are the jumpers made from?

  7. #7

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    Excellent ! Nice work Jesse.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by brgman View Post
    That's great looking stuff man.
    The shotgun cable had to be a bear to work with.
    what are the jumpers made from?
    Those are Shotgun jumpers. They do make jumpers for their stuff you just have to call and custom order them. With that said they only make jumpers for their higher end speaker cables, no no jumpers for any EXp folks
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  9. #9

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    Nice!!! I am so making these changes!!!


    Great job Jesse!!
    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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  10. #10

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    Outstanding! Welcome to Club Dreadnaught!
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  11. #11

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    M'eh, it's ok.
















    Just kidding, good work as always my friend!
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  12. #12

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    Nice work Jesse.

    I'm curious though, what don't you like about using spades for the AI-1 cable?
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR binding posts, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheets (3" strips) installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA transformer

  13. #13

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    Beautiful work. We are lucky to have a genius among us! Can only imagine the crazy sounds coming from any of your systems!!
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    I really hate you SDA guys...makin' me want a pair of my own so I can create beautiful Toroidal artwork too...
    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
    I may have an addiction... RTA-15TL, SDA 2, LSi25, LSi15, LSi9, LSi7, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LS/FX, RT/FX, DSW MP2000...and that's just the Polks...

  15. #15

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    Nice job Jesse!
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Thumbs up

    Oh yeah BTW nice looking case!! Who made that for you?? LOL!!
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
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  17. #17

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    Looks great Jesse!!! Top notch. Looks like McLaren made it.
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    Looks fantastic Jesse! What do you think of the sound of the Dreadnought itself? That is imaging, soundstage, detail, etc? Thanks for sharing this.
    Thanks Greg.

    Yes, it is all there better than before.

    Quote Originally Posted by brgman
    what are the jumpers made from?
    MIT's, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman
    I'm curious though, what don't you like about using spades for the AI-1 cable?
    Spades always come loose, always. The only reason I'm using spades on the jumpers is because my speaker cables use bananas. Every once in a while I check the spades and sure enough, one or two will be loose and believe me, I torque the hell out of 'em.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toolfan66
    Oh yeah BTW nice looking case!! Who made that for you??
    Yeah, I wasn't sure you wanted me to say. Folks, Larry made the case and the faceplates.

    Quote Originally Posted by MillerLiteScott
    Looks like McLaren made it.
    LOL.....Yep, Larry McLaren.
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  19. #19

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    Excellent work Jesse, as usual.


    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Spades always come loose, always. The only reason I'm using spades on the jumpers is because my speaker cables use bananas. Every once in a while I check the spades and sure enough, one or two will be loose and believe me, I torque the hell out of 'em.
    You might want to look into AudioQuest spades. Mine have never became loose, even with very heavy speaker cables pulling on them. I always have to use a wrench to loosen the Cardas posts when I want to remove them. If this is something you want to pursue, AQ is good about making product recommendations for specific applications.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  20. #20

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    Very nice F1! I have heard that Dreadnoughts improve the sound of SDAs over using stock or aftermarket SDA cables even when using common ground amps where a Dreadnought is not needed. Is this correct and if so what kind of improvements did you notice? I've been debating for some time on trying one with my SDAs using common ground amps.

  21. #21

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    I built an 800VA Dreadnought and used it with a common ground amp. After a period of burn in (maybe 25-50 hours) the improvement was easily audible: music seemed to float in the air instead of coming from the speakers. More like live performers in the room. Instruments were clearer especially in complex passages, better transients, more tactile bass.

    Do it - I'm betting you'll love it. Avel Lindberg sells the 800VA transformer off the shelf too.

    If you search the forum you'll find some great "how to" posts.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR binding posts, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheets (3" strips) installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA transformer

  22. #22

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    The Dreadnaught definitely produces an improvement over a straight SDA connection when used with a common ground amp.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman View Post
    I built an 800VA Dreadnought and used it with a common ground amp. After a period of burn in (maybe 25-50 hours) the improvement was easily audible: music seemed to float in the air instead of coming from the speakers. More like live performers in the room. Instruments were clearer especially in complex passages, better transients, more tactile bass.
    Quote Originally Posted by nspindel View Post
    The Dreadnaught definitely produces an improvement over a straight SDA connection when used with a common ground amp.
    This is all in your mind...placebo effects.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  24. #24

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    Just like cables.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  25. #25

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    Well, at least the Dreadnought "looks good" though.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

  26. #26

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    Outstanding F1.

    I've got my Dreadnought built (thanks Neil & Larry), but I'm mulling how to terminate at the speaker (currently updating CRS+'s). Will probably just default to Cardas spade. Wondering if I should, or even could, start breaking the DN in before speaks are done? It's KILLING me seeing the DN just sitting there.

    Craig

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    Great write-up and beautiful work, F1nut!

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    Thanks for the great write-up. As usual Jesse, you have managed to raise the mark for the rest of us. Outstanding work! It's a shame it's hidden!
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  29. #29

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    Thought I would post this pic here as well. My case is done except the transformer. It's on it's way!!
    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 485
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    Thanks Jesse!!
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
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  30. #30

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    High marks Jesse! Love the Neutrik connectors. They got everything covered.
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