How I Transformed My Home Listening Experience

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Litejazz53, May 18, 2019.

  1. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    Everyone is searching for that elusive component or accessory upgrade that will elevate their home audio listening experience, trouble is, it's so very expensive! Most people agree, your speakers should receive the most attention, and that is what I focused on. I wanted to take advantage of the Polk LSiM closeout, so I purchased the 703 bookshelf and the 707 floor standing speakers. I have found the Polk speakers a bit tame on the extended high end, when compared to my Aerial 10Ts and I also remembered the wonderful extended highs and realism of my older Magnepan 3.7's I owned in the past. Magnepan has enjoyed great success with their Planar magnetic design which share some points of similarity to true ribbons, but use imprinted polymer film diaphragms, the (flat ribbon) design, which are relatively inexpensive and don't burden an amplifier loading, in other words, much more affordable!

    I have been wanting to try a super tweeter for the fun of it, and got looking at them online to see how affordable they are. I found the Tannoy at a mere $4,000 per pair, the Townshend at $3,000 per pair and the Fostex T500AmKII at the giveaway price $2,000 per pair. Safe to say, all were past the budget. I then found the Aperion Super Tweeter with the more affordable Planar magnetic, flat ribbon design.

    This company offered a 60 day in home test period, and they cost $300.00 per pair, not each. These tweeters come in what I like to call a Steinway piano gloss black housing which is very attractive and has a 6 way switch on the back that provides an adjustable crossover at 8KHz, 10KHz, 12KHz, 14KHz or 16KHz and an OFF position. With these adjustments, the user can adjust the crossover to integrate with their existing speakers perfectly. If that is not enough, they also provide 4-position volume attenuation, 0 dB, -1 dB, -2 dB, -3dB or -4 dB, you simply plug the jumper in the correct position and it's a done deal. I simply ran a connection from my speaker to the 5 way gold plated binding posts on each tweeter and I was up and running. You can set the tweeters to overlap your existing tweeters or augment at 12, 14, or 16KHz. Their frequency response is given at 8KHz to 33 KHz.

    I have absolutely nothing to do with this company at all, for me, this was a trial balloon, something to have some fun with over the weekend, however this product performed so beautifully, my plans are to purchase a second pair for the bedroom Polk LSiM 703 speakers.

    When testing these speakers, I was lucky to have some friends over and once we got all the variables dialed in for my specific speakers, they simply turned the tweeters on and off using the switch on the back of each tweeter. The differences we all heard were unexpected to say the least. Adding these small tweeters literally transformed my LSiM 707 Polk loudspeakers, it was beyond anything we expected. My guests were much younger than me, and it was interesting to see where they liked the tweeters set and where I liked them set, and you have plenty of variables to choose from. I preferred much more frequency overlap than they did, as I really enjoy a crisp high end response.

    Without going on and on here, we found instruments so much more detailed and real, trumpets, muted trumpets, trombone, snare drums, cymbals, saxophone, electric bass, stand up bass, female voices, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, nylon string guitar, especially solo piano, and on and on, the presentations were so much more detailed and realistic with the super tweeters engaged.

    I am listing some of the CDs and SACDs we listened to for your information. I don't think I have ever found any product for $300.00 that improved my entire system so much. So, if you are considering a new amplifier, new turntable, cartridge, or replacing speakers, here is another avenue you can try first. I honestly did not know how much a reasonably priced super tweeter could add to the mix, but it's as relative as any subwoofer you could purchase. Until I can move up to Wilson Audio, Revel or a Grand Utopia loudspeaker in my next life, this was a move in the right direction, SOLD!

    Audition Discs:

    Ravel Bolero SACD

    Frederick Fennell, Holtz, SACD

    Tchaikovsky, 1812 Overture, SACD

    Mark Levinson, Disc #1, Red Rose Music, SACD

    Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, SACD

    Bill Evans, Portrait In Jazz, SACD

    Frank Sinatra, Nice & Easy, SACD, Telarc

    Russian Pops, Pope Music, Gold CD

    Saint-Saens, The Great Organ Symphony, Telarc CD

    Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Telarc CD

    Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi Trio, Misty, First Impression Music

    Muddy Waters, Folk Singer (Original Master Recording)

    Harry James, The King James Version, Sheffield Labs

    Windham Hill, 25 Years of Guitar, CD

    Joe Bonamassa, Blues Deluxe, CD

    Chris Jones, Smoke & Noise, CD

    Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley, CD

    Keb Mo, Just Like You, CD

    Mark O'Connor, The New Nashville Cats, CD


    Other Artists: Dave Brubeck, Dave Grusin, Diana Krall, Lori Lieberman, Lyle Lovett, Acoustic Alchemy, George Winston, John Boswell, Liz Story :edthumbs:


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    [​IMG] :righton:
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  2. Hipper

    Hipper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Herts., England
    I'm 65 and can't hear above 10kHz. I use an equaliser and have experimented by cutting off completely above 10kHz and allowing the full range up to 20kHz. I could not tell any difference. In addition my speakers ribbon tweeter claims to go to 30kHz.

    Yet I have read that listeners do hear differences with super tweeters even when they play frequencies that are apparently out of our hearing range. And even when playing CDs which don't go above 22kHz. I should perhaps try some!
     
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  3. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    I have thought about adding a set of super tweeters to my system on and off for years now, just to see how they would work in my system. These sure sound reasonably priced! And your positive review adds to my interest. Thanks so much for the review Litejazz53!
     
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  4. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Great review and find. I looked into super tweeters a while back and I'm surprised I didn't come across these. I was close to purchasing a pair of Fostex super tweeters for ~$500 but these Aperion units would be far easier to integrate.
     
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  5. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    Thanks so much for the compliment on the review, I have really been doing some listening over the past few days. The Polks are nice speakers to begin with, but there was such a stark improvement on the top end, I was really taken back. Many folks on the forum are trying to eke out an improvement in their system, and mine took a major step forward, it was worth sharing. The tweeters weigh just slightly under two pounds each and measure 5.25" tall X 4.25" wide X 5.50" deep, including the binding posts. :agree:
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  6. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Well done and i believe you are on to something! I have a few supertweeters laying around (used in the Harbeth SHL5+) and was thinking about making a crossover with level setting adjustments.
    Done right they can be magical but you have to be careful so things don't get hashy (as I have heard on some Dali speakers with super teeeters). adjustability is critical.
    you may also want to experiment with reversing the polarity and position fore / aft if you hear any destructive interferance.
    looks to be a well made reasonable product.
    i do have a small glitch with the kludge factor, but if people supplement with subwoofers, why not super tweeters? peace and congrats!
     
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  7. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    You will hear a big difference regardless of your hearing upper limit.
    If the crossover is set to 8000Hz for example, the tweeter's output begins to taper off at that frequency by a certain amount per octave- but will still have a significant audible contribution at 6000Hz and to a lesser extent at 4000Hz and so on depending on the slope of the crossover.
     
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  8. Hipper

    Hipper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Herts., England
    If the effect is just the lower frequencies (4-8kHz) I should be able to do this with careful EQ shouldn't I?
     
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  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Super tweeters and speakers that have them bring a sense of sparkle and air that you cannot duplicate with any EQ.
     
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  10. h46e55x

    h46e55x What if they believe you?

    Location:
    Gitmo Nation West
    I just returned the 703s I had purchased from Adorama. If I had read this, I may have extended their audition. :) C'est la vie.
     
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  11. toddfan

    toddfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    How (or should I ask: does?) the piggybacking onto your existing speaker terminals affect the ohm rating of your speakers as seen by the amplifier?
     
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  12. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Adding a super-tweeter does change the presentation without a doubt. The change can be for the better or worse, provided the phase and time alignment are ok, and that the freq response remains smooth. Whether or not the extension makes any difference, I can not say definitively. I am however a skeptic of any differences claimed above 22k, where we have no musical harmonic at all, but only noise.

    Noise may be a good thing.

    Now an interesting observation of my own and within the audible range, tape hiss adds to a sense of air and upper register. Hiss can also be destructive. When more pronounced, tape "hiss" can actually interfere with the music reproduced, and increase upper register distortion. (from personal observation) Perhaps this may a reason vinyl has such appeal (or one reason) that vinyl produces a pleasant background "whoosh". The background "noise" covers the full range, mostly bass with just a hint of treble as the stylus glides through a pristine groove.

    Likewise adding a super tweeter may add upper register "noise". Some audiophiles claim that ultrasonic sound energy impinges on the eardrum (which it does) and is sensed or felt as pressure. This may be true as a psyhco-acoustic phenomenon, but I do not know of any definitive tests to confirm this. Also, the extension of frequency range may impart a sense of ease and openness to the music, even though we do not hear it directly. (specifically from 16KHz to 22kHz that younger people hear, but even for those who do not) This is an interesting area of perception of hearing.. and worthy of study and testing.

    Nice Polk towers BTW, the tweeters look super.
    Where are you crossing them?
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  13. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    You make a good point. I have lived with Aerial 10Ts for many years and they have a robust, very natural and open high end, great tweeter and midrange for sure, so I immediately noticed a warmer sound with the Polks, the tweeter absolutely solved that, classical SACDs are so clean and detailed. If these little quasi ribbons do this kind of job, what would a full blown ribbon sound like?? I hope people try these out, as they are such an upgrade to any system and can be tailored to any system with all the various adjustments.
    I am crossing them at 8 KHz, as I am older and I wanted to overlap, additionally, I went for the 0 dB setting, as I really like a HOT top end. Friends of mine liked a more subtle approach, with a 3 db volume cut, however, what is so great about this product, you can adjust everything to fit your age, preference and speaker size and type, and do it in 1 second. If I used them with my Aerial 10Ts, I would set much higher, possibly 12 to 14 KHz. They would have worked beautifully with your 703's without a doubt. :righton:
     
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  14. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    They are 5 ohms, BUT, the affect or amp loading is so marginally affected it's not a problem at all. This one thing is why the planar magnetic design is beneficial.
     
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  15. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    These were a great upgrade for you, as your polk speakers sounded too warm. I doubt they can be an upgrade for anyone's system though as some people will not have speakers that are too warm and allready have plenty of top end, no?
     
  16. rushed again

    rushed again Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    You've peeked my interest in these @Litejazz53. How is the stability sitting on your 707's with their radius top?
     
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  17. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    The Zu Omen DW II come with a super tweeter built in. Perhaps that's what gives them the famous "forward" signature. It works fairly well with a full range driver of the Zu, and only with a warm sounding tube amp, yet I'm not sure it will benefit speakers that already have a stock tweeter, unless you like bright sound, or can somehow disable the stock tweeter. I like my Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 warmish 3 way "British" sound, I wouldn't want to make them sound brighter or more forward - I have the Zu for that.

    As long as you like it though - enjoy it and congrats on a good score.
     
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  18. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Correct integration of a high-quality super tweeter should not make a system brighter, but increase the sensation of soundstage ambience and instrument decay/sparkle. If these Aperion units are of high quality, they should add sparkle without adding fatigue, similar to a (good example) beryllium tweeter.
     
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  19. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    That is with the stock tweeter on or off? I'm trying to wrap my mind around how two tweeters, and one of them a super tweeter at that, should not overload the sound with HF's. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I would need to hear it first.

    Do they have a return policy if I don't like it?
     
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  20. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Besides, how do I "correctly integrate" them? From what I can see from this thread, you just hook them up to the speaker posts and put them on top of the speakers, and then hope it works for you. Is there more to it than that? Because if it gets more technical than that, involving opening my speaker enclosures and/or messing with stock tweeters - count me out.
     
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  21. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    very similar to a subwoofer. crossover, level, polarity and position. On the back are controls for crossover frequency - 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16Khz- and jumpers for level balancing- 0, -1db, -2db and -3db.
    adjust each to taste. seems like it would get the job done.
    the other things you could adjust if you hear any phase effects (comb filtering= a slightly hashy sound, especially at distance) would be to reverse wire the polarity and / or slide the unit on top of the main speaker at different distances from the front baffle- e.g. flush, back 2", back 4" from the face etc.
    Aperion Audio Super Tweeter Speaker Pair
     
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  22. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    This.

    However, as with any speaker system, room and component synergy will play a large role. The only way you'd know for certain is to take a gamble and make the effort.
     
  23. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    OK. It's not super-necessary, but I might give them a try. $300 is doable, and they have a 60 day in home trial period.
     
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  24. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    That is a great question, and I worried about that myself, before they arrived. The slope is a gentle one and they are very stable speakers, the stance is wide and they have nice rubber feet. Sitting on top the point down just slightly for a literal perfect listening angle in a seated position. The angle is not enough to make them unstable, I was lucky in that regard. The end result is much like a Wilson or any of the other extreme high end loudspeakers that have the tilted tweeter positioning. In my case this was all by chance, and the angle is perfect.
     
  25. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital Thread Starter

    I think that is true. If you have a loudspeaker that has a very open and strong top end, they would not be necessary. If I still had my Maggie 3.7 there would be no need to augment the upper frequencies, and certainly no place to sit them, and even my Aerial 10Ts have such a nice extended top end, I would probably not benefit as much from the tweeters, however, even with the Aerial's I think a higher frequency setting using these would still be nice. Another factor influenced me as well, I'm older and I don't think my hearing is as keen as it was 30 years ago, so a little boost on the top end is welcomed. Their flexibility is a real plus, as you can really set them to do as much or little as you may require, however I do agree with you, some speakers could already be too potent in the upper frequencies. One thing I found is the sonic characteristics of these flat ribbons is just "different" from the round 1" ring radiator tweeters in the Polk speakers, their addition enhanced the entire presentation for me, and blended beautifully with the Polk speakers. One thing you can expect, these speakers take a bit of time to maximize. You will probably tend to go too strong with the settings, and as you listen for a few days, you will attenuate the volume output, and probably make changes to the upper frequency options. As I always said with my back channels and subwoofers, it's better for them to be felt and not heard, the key is in the blending, no one thing should stand out.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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