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  1. #1

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    Default Could use some advice...

    I recently picked up a pair of what I believe to be original SDA 1 speakers from a local goodwill store for an unbelievable price of $10 a piece. I expected them to be blown, but took them home to find that they were working flawlessly.

    I am also an industrial design student looking at building a unique set of speakers for a senior project.

    Now my problem is that I am debating taking the SDA's apart and using the speakers in redesigned cabinets. I know it seems like a sin to take apart perfectly good speakers, but financially it seems to make the most sense.

    What advice would any of you Polk experts have for me?

  2. #2

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    2 tweeters, 4 mids, and one woofer(passive radiator) in each speaker? No mater what you stole those! I would do some other mods first before you did new cabs if they are in decent shape. Push in on the woofer, and hold it in. Did the mids slowly return to their normal resting position, or return very quickly?
    BTW welcome to Club Polk.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  3. #3

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    Default

    Hate to say it, but if you think they're worth more dead than alive (may be true), go for it. You won't be making any friends here though by killing a perfectly good pair of SDAs. ;)

  4. #4

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    Yes they are are set up with the two tweeters over the four mids. I couldn't believe it when I saw them sitting there. I went to pick it up and run to the cashier with it and quickly discovered their 80 lb. weight. As far as the cabinets themselves... there aren't any cracks or gaps, but the finish is pretty rough. There are quite a few scratches and rough areas, and some of the corners are a little mashed up. When I push on the woofer the mids react immediately and slowly return. However I think the rubber surrounds feel thinner than they should be. None of them are torn or cracked but they feel thinner than I would think they'd be. What kind of modifications could be made to make them better?

    Thanks I really appreciate any advice you can give me.

  5. #5

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    John Locke

    I do feel bad about the idea of "killing them" but do you think that if I do it right there is a chance for improving their current sound?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by trans_am_462 View Post
    John Locke

    I do feel bad about the idea of "killing them" but do you think that if I do it right there is a chance for improving their current sound?
    Well, many of the original Polk parts (SL1000 tweeters, MW6501 midwoofers, and PW12(?) passive radiator) won't really fit in well with new designs. Most newer designs out there feature ported enclosures, narrower cabinets, etc. There are some here on the forums that don't 'like' the side by side tweeters, but there are mods for that that involve simply removing one of the tweeters.

    I'm guessing because of their price and the nature of good will, that they did not come with the SDA cable. Most would agree on the forums that the true power of the SDAs lie in the use of the actual "Dimensional Array," which becomes active only when the SDA cable is used.

    That said, the MWs and the Tweeters I'm sure will work in a modern design, as some here have used similar parts on "SDA center" projects.

    But, the choice is yours. I think you have an incredible set of speakers for $20.

    Just curious, where in the country are you located?

    And, can you post any pictures? I'm guessing you have the silver tweeter (faceplates) that are side by side (NOT over and under)?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by trans_am_462 View Post
    John Locke

    I do feel bad about the idea of "killing them" but do you think that if I do it right there is a chance for improving their current sound?
    You cannot do anything to the cabinet that will improve their sound.

    Take a few pics and post them here so we can tell exactly which ones they are.

    Did they come with a black interconnect cable?

    take a pic of the connections on the back also,

    Also remove one driver and see if it is an MW6511, MW6510 or 6509 and that will help us to identify which ones they are.

    based on condition those speakers costs between $300 to $550

    You can improve the sound by doing the following upgrades:

    replacing the caps & resistors on the crossovers.

    Applying Dynamat to the driver frames.

    Upgrading the Interconnect cable.

    Upgrading the Tweeters. Those speakers are so sought after and have such a huge following that Polk Audio spent millions of dollars to Engineer & create brand new replacement tweeters in 2004.

    That alone should tell you something about what you found.

    Welcome to Club Polk!!!!

    Lasareath
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    My Polk SDA SRS 1.2TL's http://www.LASAREATH.com/


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  8. #8

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    They are the side by side tweeters. Unfortunately they didn't come with the SDA cable. I wish I had one. I live in Wisconsin. I'm really torn on what to do here. I'll have to give it some serious thought...

  9. #9

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    The first generation cabinets were inferior. Making new cabinets that are well braced out of 3/4 MDF is much better than stock if you are good with wood. You will need a circle jig for sure to get it right, and a 1/2" rabbit bit for the router makes for a very clean flush mount. Listen to them as they are for a little while, and if you are serious about going forth with custom cabinets give me a shout.
    Have fun
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  10. #10

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    Good pickup.....
    Just a thought about the Interconnect cable, most of the 2nd hand stores seperate the wires from alot of things and just lump them altogether in a "wiring" area. You might go back and check the section with all the wires, cords ect...
    I have bought a couple of things at Goodwill or sim shops and have found the matching power cord in the wiring section.

    Regarding the "death' of the speakers, you could always re-veneer the original speakers( OR rebuild them as Ben said while I was writing) and re-install the components, once you have done you design work cabinet' for your school project.

    AS far as making new cabinets that sound better, bear in mind that Polk had spent hundreds of hours R&Ding these speakers. So you may be looking at a steep learning curve to come up with something that preforms better...But you never know, you might stumble on something...

    Besides, the intent of the "school project" is the experience of R&Ding something, designing it ant them implementing your ideas.
    Once the class is done you are not 'stuck' with keeping the components in the "test" cabs....

    Are you going to be updating/ modifing the crossovers?
    I would recommend keeping the stock ones and finding or making a seperate x-over for the "school cabs". That way you could just put in updated caps and resistors, matching the Polk specs, IF you intend reinstalling the pieces back in the Polk Cabs.

    Have fun and update us with some pics of your progress.

  11. #11

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    Thanks a lot guys! I'm really glad I joined the club. I really appreciate the feedback. I am not to worried about the woodworking aspect of this project, but the technical aspects of the components is what has me a little concerned. If I weren't to disassemble the SDA's do any of you have any recommendations on where the best place to go to buy speakers etc. from?

  12. #12

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    www.parts-express.com

    I have not dealt with the personally, but many here consider them the "go-to" for DIY audio

  13. #13

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    www.madisound.com

    That's another great site for speaker building. They've got a bit wider selection than Parts Express does.



    As far as tearing down the SDA's, I wouldn't. I'd just leave them as is, and consider doing some crossover upgrades, mortite, dynamat etc.
    The nirvana inducer-
    APC H10 Power Conditioner
    Denon DVD-2910 universal player
    DPA The Little Bit Three DAC
    Yamaha P-300 turntable/TCC TC-750 phono preamp
    Acurus L10 preamp
    Adcom GFA-545 power amp
    PolkAudio SDA 2A's/PolkAudio Monitor 7A's
    Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables
    Audioquest Sidewinder IC's
    Audioquest Black Mamba IC's
    Signal Cable Analog II IC's

  14. #14

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    Ok thanks. I've heard good things about madisound. I'll have to check out parts express too. I'm really pumped about this project, but I really need to figure out what kind of size parameters I'll have before I get too far into it.

  15. #15

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    Welcome. Just bear in mind several very important things, until you've gotten an IC cable in place, and positioned them properly, and connected them to a good source with clean power......You Are NOT Capable of Judging Their Sound !!Without meeting these rquirements you haven't yet heard SDA!!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by trans_am_462 View Post
    Ok thanks. I've heard good things about madisound. I'll have to check out parts express too. I'm really pumped about this project, but I really need to figure out what kind of size parameters I'll have before I get too far into it.
    Did you think of using the SDA-1s as a kind of 'template.' Build another pair with modifications you feel may be 'better' and then comparing them against the originals in an A/B. Would be cool from a testing / hypothesis proving stand point.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdb View Post
    Welcome. Just bear in mind several very important things, until you've gotten an IC cable in place, and positioned them properly, and connected them to a good source with clean power......You Are NOT Capable of Judging Their Sound !!Without meeting these rquirements you haven't yet heard SDA!!
    +1000


    Until you've heard the SDA's with the IC in place, you haven't heard the SDA's. Used SDA IC's are easy to find, and easy to make if you feel like going that route.
    The nirvana inducer-
    APC H10 Power Conditioner
    Denon DVD-2910 universal player
    DPA The Little Bit Three DAC
    Yamaha P-300 turntable/TCC TC-750 phono preamp
    Acurus L10 preamp
    Adcom GFA-545 power amp
    PolkAudio SDA 2A's/PolkAudio Monitor 7A's
    Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables
    Audioquest Sidewinder IC's
    Audioquest Black Mamba IC's
    Signal Cable Analog II IC's

  18. #18

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    First generation cabs were basically particle board. I had the original 2's. Same type of "wood" as the 1's. MDF is far superior to particle board. There are 2 original 1's. The 1, and the 1a. To upgrade to the 1a from the 1 involved removing the horizontal baffle from the inside. If you start from scratch you make a standard well braced MDF speaker box. Take a peek at the upgrade.
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55888
    If it is indeed the 1a that you have it would be nearly identical to what you are contemplating building. It's not rocket science. You are still using the same box volume, and dimensions. That is the most important thing. All the later versions were single chamber cabinets. Why do you think they did that? Because it is better. If you feel confident with your wood working skills go for it. It's not like you have to destroy the original cabinet to swap the drivers If you don't like it go back to the original cabinet. Nothing will get hurt, and MDF is cheap. You can make some real nice cabs with MDF and real wood veneer.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  19. #19

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    Thanks everyone for all the insights. After thinking about it, you guys are right these are way too nice to take apart and risk making worse. I may do some upgrading to there existing set up, but I won't part them out.

    Long live the SDA and thanks for all the help!

  20. #20

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    If the interconnect socket is the blade/blade variety, you might be able to pick that cable up directly from Polk. Mention you're a club member for a discount.

    Nice find and good luck.

  21. #21

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    Also if it is Blade blade you can make one that is much better than stock. The connectors are still available for about $20 shipped. LMK if you need them.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  22. #22

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    Yep, I'd sure like to see a pic of them. WOW, what a nice find for $20. That's a bargain. :)

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