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  1. #1

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    Default Vintage Speaker comparison: SDA-2A vs. Monitor 10B

    Well back at school with a few days before classes start. Brought back some more speaker wire so I was finally able to hook up my 10Bs to the receiver as well as the 2As (2 sets of speaker outputs). This gives me the opportunity to compare the two speakers head-to-head. (Note that this is not a controlled test). The receiver has a/b switches so I can run one set or the other, or both at the same time.

    The SDAs have RD0-194 tweeters installed with a couple weeks on them for burn-in. The 10Bs have sl2000 tweets. So this also gives us the opportunity to compare the 2 tweeters head-to-head. The speakers have very similar geometry and layout - the 2As are mostly 10Bs with SDA circuitry in them (see link in my sig for pictures). The 10Bs are set on top of 2As upside down so that the tweeters are close together.

    COMPARING THE TWEETERS

    The sl2000s definitely have more present highs, to me this makes the speaker seem louder. At low to moderate listening levels, I actually prefer these tweets to the RD0s because the music seems more "present" or "forward". However, if you turn the volume up to critical listening levels, the 12/15 KHz peak quickly becomes bothersome and painful. The RD0s on the other hand stay pleasant all the way to receiver cut-out, and at critical listening levels sound more realistic to my ears. Upgrading from the sl2000s is highly recommended based on my listening.

    THE SPEAKERS

    The main thing I've noticed is the 10Bs are more efficient speakers: at a given volume level they are slightly louder than the 2As. The SDAs dig a little deeper into the subsonic realm thanks to their slightly larger passive radiator. On certain tracks the entire room seems vibrate - a recipe for a quick headache. With both sets playing the amount of sound produced is amazing, even as the soundstage disintegrates into mud :). The SDAs seem a little more... I dunno... musical, maybe? It's hard to describe.

    I'll post more impressions later if anyone is interested.

    Oh, and keep in mind this is being done in far less than ideal conditions.
    My system

    "The world is an ever evolving clusterf*ck." --treitz3

  2. #2

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    The lack of open space on both sides may be problematic at higher volume levels (certainly soundstage will deteriorate quickly). You do have too much speaker for a dorm room but not too much speaker lol). Still, I'm interested and considering the tweeter upgrade or my 2's and 1C's. What music are you using for the comparisons?

  3. #3

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    lol, I'll be the first to admit these are not excellent speakers for a dorm room. Something along the lines of a pair of Monitor 7s would be more fitting, but the speakers I have now will be able to fill any space I get in the future.

    What music are you using for the comparisons?
    A little bit of everything - pop, rock, new age, blues, jazz. I have yet to throw some classical at them and listen critically.
    My system

    "The world is an ever evolving clusterf*ck." --treitz3

  4. #4
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    I once did a similar comparison with the CRS+ and the Monitor 10 Series 2.
    The CRS+ sounded better and had better bass. But, the Monitor 10's were very, very close.

    In the end, I sold the CRS+ and kept the Monitor 10's... (just didn't need both).
    The CRS+ sold for $550. I don't think I could have sold the Monitor 10's for much more than $150. The difference in sound was not worth $400.

    Also, I figured, the Monitor 10's are a lot less picky about room placement.

  5. #5

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    I should add that one of the M10s has a bad crossover that makes the tweeter "fizz" on stuff like piano and classical, so they are not fun to listen to on stuff like that. Also the noise floor in my listening environment is pretty high. So by no means a perfect comparison.

    The CRS+ sounded better and had better bass.
    Aren't the CRS the little bookshelf SDA speakers? I'm surprised they gave more bass than the M10s - the monitors are no slouch!
    My system

    "The world is an ever evolving clusterf*ck." --treitz3

  6. #6
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    Yep... the CRS+ is an amazing little speaker.

  7. #7

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    FYI: I went back to the sl2000 tweeters in the SDAs tonight for a comparison.

    I was perfectly happy with the RD0s until I got the 10Bs hooked up and listened to the sl2000s in them for a while. Switching back to the RD0s after them was like halving the high frequencies - I kept feeling like I was missing a lot of the details in the music: violins, other stringed instruments, and percussion all just sounded like they had a heavy cloth thrown over them - I didn't like it.

    So far I feel like the speaker sounds much more balanced with the sl2000s in. Maybe my rig is eating high frequencies somewhere so the emphasis the sl2000s provide is compensating... Now there is the small matter of the 12/15 KHz peak at high volume...... Oh well, the world isn't perfect.

    Any suggestions on why I'm liking the sl2000s better right now? Is it personal taste, or are the RD0s not broken in yet (I played them 10 hrs a day or so for a couple of weeks, but at low levels)?
    My system

    "The world is an ever evolving clusterf*ck." --treitz3

  8. #8

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    when first listening to the SL2000 in the many different vintage polks i've owned.. i initially liked them... if I haven't heard any SL2000's in a while.. and a pair of Polks move thru the house... i like them for the first couple days.. then when I sit down and do some more critical listening to better evaluate the speaker.. that's when i find they fatigue my ears. eventually, either getting a headache or a slight version of head nausea

    don't ask me why it happens. but it's happened with every pair that had the SL2000's in em. Unlike both pair of my monitor 7's, with Peerless tweeter.... nada. no headaches.. even though I'm not a huge fan of the Peerless. I like it better than the SL2000 and SL1000.

    To me the RD0's. are still my fave replacement tweeter. I know i like it more than the Peerless.. (runs and hides) ;)

  9. #9

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    Went back to the RD0s after I discovered all my sl2000s are showing their age: one died outright, and two others were very "fizzy" when playing George Winston.

    The RD0s are a better tweeter, I guess I just had to convince myself the hard way.

    In other news, moving the speakers forward greatly helped my excessive bass issues and the imaging is much improved.
    My system

    "The world is an ever evolving clusterf*ck." --treitz3

  10. #10

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    this is funny....I have both of these....just got the 2a's and in the middle of restoring my 10b's...
    Hafler XL-280 - NAD 1020 - Sansui TU-666 - B&O TX2/SoundSmith - Monitor 10-2A

  11. #11

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    Interesting read. These are as large I think I would personally go with a set of Polks as I have such a small listening space.

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