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  1. #1

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    Exclamation My SDA-2 sound strange

    My first pair of SDA speakers. I actually have never even heard a pair before, so please be patient with me.

    I set up a pair of original SDA-2 (two tweeters side-by-side) with a 120 wpc Yamaha receiver and 12ga wire.

    This is my "please be patient with me" question since I don't know anyone else with these speakers: Are these things supposed to sound like a reverby "sound expander" knob has been turned way up?

    Many albums- especially those mastered with reverb- are about unlistenable.

    Compared to a pair of Boston Acoustics A150's, the SDA-2's sound washed out alot of the time. No offense (just don't know), but is this normal??

    Thanks- Malcolm

  2. #2

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    Are you using the IC between the speakers ?
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
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    I am using the interconnect cable. Things get much louder when I plug it in.

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    I should have mentioned it earlier, but one of the tweeters is different from the other three. Three are black dome; one is silver.

    Is it possible what I'm hearing is a tweeter wired out of phase?
    Or is it possible this is simply how the speakers sound?

    Malcolm

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    Where did you get them? I bet you have 3 RDO194s and 1 sl200 tweets.Get another RDO194 from polk and mention your a member so you get the member discount.Pull one of the black tweeters to confirm it is indeed a RDO194.As for them sounding "not right" the person who had them before might have wired them up wrong since you have different tweeters.Im sure a polk guru will chime in and point you to the schematic to wire those properly.
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    can you post a picture ?
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    I can probably post a photo this evening.

    I hope it's something simple... a new tweeter or rewiring the leads. I really like the general tone of the speakers.

    Malcolm

    ps- regardless of the model tweeter, I'm going to have to pull things apart to check the wires, right? Is my best best to start with the "different" tweeter and see how it's wired to the crossover?

  8. #8

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    No time this PM to post a picture of the mismatched tweeters....

    I had read somewhere that when you play something in "mono" it doesn't give the SDA anything to work with.

    Running some music in mono removed the echo-ey sound and actually sounded quite nice.

    Don't know if that helps trouble shoot a problem, or whether it means I'm simply more used to straight speakers (Boston Acoustics) compared to SDA's...

    Thanks!

    Malcolm

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    The mis-matched tweeters aren't helping, for sure.

    Polk uses the following wire code:

    Black or blue is postive.
    White or green is negative.

    It may just be that the SDA tweeter is causing the strange sound, it does to many. You can disconnect the SDA tweeters, so try that and see if you like them better that way.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm G View Post
    My first pair of SDA speakers. I actually have never even heard a pair before, so please be patient with me.

    I set up a pair of original SDA-2 (two tweeters side-by-side) with a 120 wpc Yamaha receiver and 12ga wire.

    This is my "please be patient with me" question since I don't know anyone else with these speakers: Are these things supposed to sound like a reverby "sound expander" knob has been turned way up?

    Many albums- especially those mastered with reverb- are about unlistenable.

    Compared to a pair of Boston Acoustics A150's, the SDA-2's sound washed out alot of the time. No offense (just don't know), but is this normal??

    Thanks- Malcolm
    When you describe the sound as "washed out", that certainly indicates a tweeter problem to me. The reverb problems sound like a phase issue.

    Since the tweeters are clearly mismatched, you know the previous owner changed something, so following F1's information, you should make sure the tweeters (check the odd one first) are wired properly. Even if that straightens it out, you'll quickly want to get the 4th matched tweet.

  11. #11

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    Two thoughts come to mind....how is your receiver set up (surround or 2ch. stereo) and how are the speakers arranged? Positioning is important, they and you should form the three points of an equilateral triangle with approx 8' sides/distance with NO toe in (angling) of the cabinets. Experiment with the distance between the wall & cabinets too, mine sound good about 4" off the wall. If your AV receiver has a simulated stereo setting, try that,a lot of the
    "effects" settings sound weird with SDAs! Good luck:)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdb View Post
    Two thoughts come to mind....how is your receiver set up (surround or 2ch. stereo) and how are the speakers arranged? Positioning is important, they and you should form the three points of an equilateral triangle with approx 8' sides/distance with NO toe in (angling) of the cabinets. Experiment with the distance between the wall & cabinets too, mine sound good about 4" off the wall. If your AV receiver has a simulated stereo setting, try that,a lot of the
    "effects" settings sound weird with SDAs! Good luck:)
    gdb, your basic setup explanation spurred a silly question as the owner said this is his first experience with SDA's.

    Malcolm, you do have the speaker marked "Right Channel" on the right at you face the speakers and the speaker marked "Left Channel" on the left as you face it. Correct?

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    Oh Yeah, another thing is....the binding post knobs can unscrew all the way off!!! Make sure (according to the diagram) that the red is on the POS+ post sometimes they get put in the wrong position. Keep at it, it IS worth it!!

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    Does the Yamaha have any type of DSP? My Denon has a 2 ch virtual surround setting on it, and when it is engaged it sounds like crap. Good luck

    Later,
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    Also make sure they are placed correctly. They need to be faced directly forward, NO TOE-IN, like you most likely were doing with the BAs. Make sure there isn't anything between the speakers that will screw the the dimensional array. They should also be at least 3 feet away from any side walls, if possible. I kept mine about 10 ft apart, but I have a very long wall to place SDAs on.
    "SOME PEOPLE CALL ME MAURICE,
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  16. #16

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    Hi Everyone! Busy few days- no time for pics or to pull the tweeters and crossovers to check the wiring....

    I am using a 2-channel Yamaha receiver (an old CR-2040 from some time around 1978). No surround sound, hypersurround or reverb built in. Nice parametric EQ, but for the first time ever I've found a receiver where I like everything set neutral!

    12 ga copper wire. Speakers set straight ahead (not toed in); set 10-12 inches away from the wall. I'm guessing the speakers are 10-12 feet apart; nowhere near side walls... it's in my finished basement so the space is relatively wide open with carpet, drywall, unfinished ceiling. R and L are on correct sides; interconnect cable installed (man, that thing is *long*). FWIW, the L speak is about centered L to R in the big room and the R speak is about in line with where the stairs come down, so the room gets about half as deep at that point (15-20 feet?). Don't know if this matters. The area is not very echoey, thank goodness.

    Seems like the speaker with the mismatched tweeters sounds a bit more garbled than the other one.

    Someone asked about stuff between the speakers. I've got a small TV on a stand between them, and it sticks out a bit farther from the wall than the speakers. Would this mess up the imaging a bit??

    Somewhere on this site someone recommended B.B. King "Live at the Regal" for the SDA's. I hadn't listened to that in years, and HOLY SMOKES!!! I've never heard such 3-dimensional sound from a stereo before. Maybe my ears are readjusting to the SDA sound.


    Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll pull speakers this weekend and see what's going on in there.

    Malcolm


    ps- in addition to the mismatched tweeter, the binding posts (the red and black-capped terminals on the back, right?) seem to be different on one of the speakers. The holes through one set of posts are narrower than the other, and I cannot thread 12ga wire through. Does this seem significant to anyone? OH- now I get the advice about the black and red caps possibly getting switched around. Sneaky!! If they were switched I assume the speakers would sound like total cr@p, but I will check. Thanks!

    ***
    pps- on an entirely different subject: Does anyone know a good way to get candle wax off a speaker? I bought a nice pair of Boston A150's a day or two ago with oak veneer, and somehow the original owner spilled a bunch of candle wax down the front of the speaker. Must have had the grilles off... nothing evident on the drivers (in fact, best refoam job I ever saw), but it's all over the black face of the speaker. I was thinking of getting the wax really cold with a spray or something hoping the wax gets really stiff, contracts and breaks off easily in pieces. Anyone have advice on dewaxing?
    Last edited by Malcolm G; 01-07-2009 at 10:35 PM.

  17. #17

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    I'm not sure how this would apply to speaker material, but ice is a good way to get wax out of fabric and carpet.

  18. #18

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    Re: the wax on the speaker.... I was thinking of using an aerosol cold spray I use at my office to test teeth before we do root canals. Should make the wax pretty brittle- I hope it'll just pop off.

    Then I need to get the cigarette smoke out of the grille cloth. Can you have grille cloth dry cleaned on the frame???

    Malcolm

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    Well, F1nut and InspiredSports were right. A tweeter had been wired out of phase. It wasn't the mismatched one, it was the contralateral one... I took all four tweeters out and found one was wired opposite from the other three, corrected the connections (thank god for those spades and lugs- couldn't have been easier!) and then it happened....


    THESE SPEAKERS ARE UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!!

    B.B. King's guitar was coming from the far end of the house. The Door's "Riders on the Storm" sent my border collie running from the "rain". YoYoMa was sitting in my basement! I just cannot believe this is all coming out of a 2-channel stereo- I am amazed. I just simply cannot believe how cool these things sound!


    Thank you everyone for your advice. I was ready to kick these speakers to the curb; now I am still in the "Shock and Awe" stage...

    Thanks everyone!

    Malcolm
    Last edited by Malcolm G; 01-08-2009 at 08:56 PM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm G View Post
    Well, F1nut and InspiredSports were right. A tweeter had been wired out of phase. It wasn't the mismatched one, it was the contralateral one... I took all four tweeters out and found one was wired opposite from the other three, corrected the connections (thank god for those spades and lugs- couldn't have been easier!) and then it happened....


    THESE SPEAKERS ARE UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!!

    B.B. King's guitar was coming from the far end of the house. The Door's "Riders on the Storm" sent my border collie running from the "rain". YoYoMa was sitting in my basement! I just cannot believe this is all coming out of a 2-channel stereo- I am amazed. I just simply cannot believe how cool these things sound!


    Thank you everyone for your advice. I was ready to kick these speakers to the curb; now I am still in the "Shock and Awe" stage...

    Thanks everyone!

    Malcolm
    Thats great news. Enjoy! IF $48 for a matching RDO is in the cards for you, that should make for a sllightly even better soundstage.

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    I'm glad you got the tweeter problem resolved.

    Then I need to get the cigarette smoke out of the grille cloth. Can you have grille cloth dry cleaned on the frame???
    You can clean them with Resolve Fabric Cleaner, does a great job. Better yet, take up smoking.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm G View Post


    THESE SPEAKERS ARE UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!!

    B.B. King's guitar was coming from the far end of the house. The Door's "Riders on the Storm" sent my border collie running from the "rain". YoYoMa was sitting in my basement! I just cannot believe this is all coming out of a 2-channel stereo- I am amazed. I just simply cannot believe how cool these things sound!


    Thank you everyone for your advice. I was ready to kick these speakers to the curb; now I am still in the "Shock and Awe" stage...

    Thanks everyone!

    Malcolm
    I just got the same speaker and Agreed they are AMAZING.
    glad you figured it out!
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    I like to keep my SDAs slightly in front of the tv and other stuff in the middle.

    Brett

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    You need to think that you're listening thru headphones. No cross-talk issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by f1nut View Post
    better yet, take up smoking.

    he he he :D:D
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    I too was floored by my first SDA'2. The original2's. But after a while the dimensional high frequencies became too much(unrealistic). Try disconnecting the outer tweeters like F1nut said. Mine sounded much better after that. It may be a little soft on the highs, but if you like the soundstage more you can fix the slightly attenuated highs real easy. There is a reason why Polk ditched the dimensional tweeter after the first of five generations of SDA's;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Better yet, take up smoking.
    You are so Bad, but then its a Nationwide thing, you should get your protege a room though.

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    Well Son of a @#$%^

    After I got the tweeter back in phase the SDA2's sounded good for a day or two, and then they went back to sounding like cr@p again.

    This time it's as though they have no midrange (you know- when you take a graphic EQ slider all the way down). Same speaker- the right one. One of the woofers is completely seized up, and another one sounds raspy when I push the cone in.

    They probably were wrecked in shipping.

    So I need to order at least two new drivers (I have tweeters on the way from the original owner).

    ** How do I go about getting correct replacement drivers. The locked-up driver is one of the round 6.5" black ones that is marked "Engineered for use in: SDA II: and has Res. "23 KR" on it. Is that a "resistance" reading or something??

    ** Are all three of those round drivers identical?

    What else should I check for on these speakers? Would be nice to have them fully functional again. For an evening or two they rocked!

    Malcolm

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    Replacing the locked-up driver with an old replacement could not be easier. The SDA-2's live again!!

    Thanks everyone!

    Malcolm

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    very cool... yeah the speakers are so special in how they sound.. they are worth keeping around and replacing parts as they go bad over time.

    on the back of each 6.5" driver will be a model number of that driver.. typical ones would have a number like this.. MW6500 or MW6511 etc. when replacing bad drivers.. look for ones with the same exact MWxxxx number.

    enjoy your SDA's :D
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