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  1. #1

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    Default On the fence about my SDA-2s

    I have done a bit of searching and reading here at this great forum and still have some questions. I have a pair of SDA-2s I bought new in the mid 80's that have been sitting basically dormant in my house for roughly the last 20 years. When the urge to get back into my stereo hit me over the past few months, I noticed the sound of my speakers was not as great as I remembered. They still work fine, but the highs were harsher than remembered and the bass seemed lacking. As far as I can tell, my Yamaha A700 amp still works ok (only puts out 100 wpc I believe but the reference point in my memory utilized this same amp back in the mid 80's).

    My question is whether the speaker degrades with age, making a mod necessary to regain the sound I remembered? I also live in Tucson and wonder if there is a place nearby that I can take the speakers to for any required upgrades (crossovers, Tweeters?)?

    The reason I say on the fence is that one side of my just says I should sell them, and get a newer system including speakers...(including a McIntosh amp that I have always lusted for since the 70's!).

    Thanks,
    Drew

  2. #2

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    I'm new to CP but can offer that room size and placement is key for these speakers . Yes speakers, as well as your amp, have degrading electrolytic caps. I would say your somewhat underpowered to get the most out of the SDA line. The most recommended upgrade you read here would be the RDO-194 tweeter upgade from Polk directly. Only 48 bucks if you tell them your a CP member. If you can use a scew driver your good to go own your own with this update.

  3. #3

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    Welcome to Club Polk!

    The REAL question here is HOW MUCH are you prepared to SPEND? Because that WILL be a factor on whether to refurb your SDAs or move on to something newer, and perhaps better sounding to "you"!

    And yes, 20 year old speakers have had their crossovers degrade.

    There are threads you can search for upgrades: crossovers, dynamat, Larry's rings, black hole, spikes, RD tweeters, and so on! If you have SL2000s tweeters in there, YES they will sound harsh! Get the new ones from Polk mentioned above.

    Also, that Yammie amp of 100 watts is not quite enough to do justice to your SDAs. A better pre-amp and better amp can do wonders along with upgrades. But that's your call and the "budget" is a factor.

    If you can afford higher level gear, go for it. Go out, listen and find what knocks your sock off!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 03-18-2014 at 04:04 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

  4. #4

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    Any chance that amp sat idle for 20 years too?
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  5. #5

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    Thanks everyone.

    As far as budget, I could see spending maybe $4K to $6K if I upgrade my system via a new amp and speakers (will keep the Denon turntable).

    ...and yes the amp has been idle the same amount of time. My CD player died in the mid 90's and I have only played the Denon maybe a dozen times over the last 20 years.

  6. #6

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    Might as well figure the Denon is as due for fresh capacitors as the Polks.

    The Polks will be a hundred times easier to re-cap, and probably less expensive.

  7. #7

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    Welcome to CP. Do you know which model SDA-2 you have? There are 3, and each is from a different generation.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...ished...Almost
    Center: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...hannel-Project
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...rround-Project
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, H-Nuts, BH5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-350, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer


    www.dhsspeakerservice.com

  8. #8

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    Name:  SDA-II.jpg
Views: 222
Size:  121.3 KBI believe I have the earliest version the SDA-II. They have the external fuses and look just like the attached pic of a pair that was on sale recently on Ebay.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schurkey View Post
    Might as well figure the Yamahais as due for fresh capacitors as the Polks.

    The Polks will be a hundred times easier to re-cap, and probably less expensive.
    Fixed it for you. That amp might need a little TLC if its been dormant for long periods of time. It might be attributing to the poor SQ you're experiencing.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  10. #10

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    Those look beautiful. I would definitely spend the coin to have them working 100% Put a decent amp on those speakers & you'll notice a big difference & you have a nice budget to start with
    Randy
    HT-SDA1c Yamaha-RXV1-Denon-POA2200-HK DVD25-Cs400i-Monitor4's-Premier Acoustic150
    2ch-SDA2b-ADCOM GFA-555-565-600-555-YaQinCd2-Pioneer PL-630-AKAI GX210d
    Pioneer-SA9800-SG9800-CTF650-TXD1000-RT-909-Monitor11-Peerless
    Marantz-2252b-5025b-6300-YaQinCd1-TeacA4010s-Monitor7
    Yamaha-CR2040-Advent2-TeacA4010s-Monitor7

    Yamaha-CA810-CT810----- No Speakers Yet
    Marantz SR1000-Pioneer PM120 workbench set up

  11. #11

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    Original 2s. Did a pair two months ago, absolutely beautiful sound, rivaled my 2As.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...ished...Almost
    Center: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...hannel-Project
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...rround-Project
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, H-Nuts, BH5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-350, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer


    www.dhsspeakerservice.com

  12. #12

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    So, what I am getting is that maybe an amp upgrade would be first priority and then look at speaker mods later if needed? Not sure if both amp and speakers age at the same rate, or if one if more prone to degradation.

    Anyone know of any good places for upgrades or equipment in AZ (Tucson seems to be void of any high end stereo options for purchase or repair).

    Thanks,
    Drew

  13. #13

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    wow nice pair, they look minty...

    could be lots on things...
    NAD 2100 - NAD 1020 - Project Debut Carbon with speed box S
    Frankin Polk Monitor 10b-2A - Blue Jeans IC's - (living room)

    Marantz 1060 - Infinity RSe - I-job (garage/mancave)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by azlane View Post
    So, what I am getting is that maybe an amp upgrade would be first priority

    Thanks,
    Drew
    I would go that route. Just picked up a pair of 2.3's which sounded horrible in the sellers basement with a sub-par AMP. Got home and put good clean power on them and it was a night and day difference. Can always use the upgrade in power if you let the speakers go.
    Last edited by amb426amb1; 03-19-2014 at 06:37 PM. Reason: spelling

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by westmassguy View Post
    Original 2s. Did a pair two months ago, absolutely beautiful sound, rivaled my 2As.
    From what I have read here on CP everyone here detest/hates this version!!!!!
    I own a pair and did a couple of mods minus the RDO's and thing they sound fine to me. Have I compared them to other SDA's no.... But there better that the monitor series for sure.
    What made you think/hear these are better than the ones you have?
    Not trying to go off topic or steal the tread, but I wanted some ones opinion "based on fact ie using the product" who in fact likes this speaker.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by emionence1963 View Post
    From what I have read here on CP everyone here detest/hates this version!!!!!
    I own a pair and did a couple of mods minus the RDO's and thing they sound fine to me. Have I compared them to other SDA's no.... But there better that the monitor series for sure.
    What made you think/hear these are better than the ones you have?
    Not trying to go off topic or steal the tread, but I wanted some ones opinion "based on fact ie using the product" who in fact likes this speaker.
    Well you haven't read very much then. I don't know anyone who "Detests" them. Certain models are more desirable than others. For the 2s, the 2B is the preferred model, since it's 4th generation, and has the newer designed crossover. My 2As are 3rd generation, and were expensive to upgrade. The original 2s are 2nd generation. The 2s I rebuilt, were done with Sonicaps, Mills Resistors, and RDO-194-1 Tweeters. The Dimensional Tweeters were disconnected. Cabinet upgrades were done, hurricane nuts, machine screws, and drivers and PRs were Dynamatted. They sounded amazing, and rivaled, my 2As for overall sound quality, not bested them.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...ished...Almost
    Center: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...hannel-Project
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...rround-Project
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, H-Nuts, BH5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-350, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer


    www.dhsspeakerservice.com

  17. #17

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    Those are BEAUTIFUL :-), I really like the ones I have!!
    Just did the TL upgrade on my SDA-2A's and letting them break in for a while then maybe do an A/B test

  18. #18

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    I don't think people necessarily hate the original SDA 2's or 1's but I think it's fair to say everyone (including the designers of these speakers) feel that the dimensional tweeter was not the best design choice. I owned a pair of these (the version with the SL-2000 tweeter, might actually have different MWs also) for several years. I liked them, but the most damning thing I could say about them is that the dimensional tweeter flat out doesn't fulfill the design objectives. It's supposed to widen the soundstage and add dimension to the music, but what it actually added in my experience was a perceptible echo. Whether or not most people have exactly this experience, the dimensional tweeter tends to be the reason cited for thinking the speaker is somewhat inferior to the later models that dropped the dimensional tweeter. Lots of folks disconnect the dimensional tweeter when making other modifications to the speaker, and some have made crossover modifications to boost the volume of the regular stereo tweeter to add some of that volume back.

    So, all that said, these are not a super easy or cheap speaker to upgrade in my opinion. If you're in it for the fun of experimenting as a hobby project, then absolutely they can be improved a ton. I think you'd want to start by replacing the tweeters since the other complaint people have about Polk stuff of this era is that the SL-1000 tweeter was a horrible thing to do after the Peerless tweeters that had been used before it. But the stock caps and resistors in the crossover are the next thing you'd want to spend some significant money on.

    Overall though, if you are looking for the best audiophile experience you can get for the budget you quoted earlier, I wouldn't spend it on upgrading those speakers personally. I loves me some Polk, but unless it was for a growth and learning experience I would save myself the trouble and go with an easier upgrade with a more predictable outcome.
    Last edited by On3s&Z3r0s; 03-21-2014 at 10:19 PM.

  19. #19

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    Thanks for all the helpful input. I did find a local store and spent some time there this weekend. They want to sell me B&W CM10s which are $4k a pair and more than I really want to put down for only speakers. I have found some good reviews of KEF Q900Bs online and they are half the price of the CM10s (had KEF bookshelfs in college and loved them).

    The store also steered me towards a Rotel 1570 amp and I have found nothing but good reviews there, so that may be a good choice. One thing they did suggest that I am also leaning towards is a Blue Sound Vault for all of the expansive Internet music and my CD collection.

  20. #20

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    Personally not a B&W fan, my experience is once you get them home you really need to listen to them loud for a good bass response...
    NAD 2100 - NAD 1020 - Project Debut Carbon with speed box S
    Frankin Polk Monitor 10b-2A - Blue Jeans IC's - (living room)

    Marantz 1060 - Infinity RSe - I-job (garage/mancave)

  21. #21

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    They aren't detested, they're just the least desirable of the series.

    You should just replace the amp and/or preamp first and see if it "revives" your Polks. If you still don't like them THEN move on.
    |Fronts - Peerless RTA-12B | Center(s) - Peerless Monitor 5 | Rears - Peerless Monitor 4 |
    |Amp for fronts - Yamaha CA-1010 | Preamp (and amp for center/rears) - RX-V667 |
    |TV - Philips 46" Smart LED | Gaming - Xbox One - Xbox 360 | Headphones - Philips Fidelio X1 |

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