Newbie Wammer
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About Gidders

  • Rank
    New Wammer

Wigwam Info

  • Turn Table
    Linn LP12
  • Tone Arm & Cartridge
    Linn Ittok & Troika
  • Digital Source 1
    Akurate DSM
  • DAC
    Akurate Exaktbox Kat
  • Power Amp/s
    2 x Naim Nap 250
  • My Speakers
    Naim SBLs
  • Headphones
    Sennheiser HD800
  • Trade Status
    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. You may have seen that I've been running SBLs aktiv with a Linn ADSM/Exaktbox digital crossover & DAC/2 x Naim 250s and loving the transformation which I described as having seven league boots on compared to my Naim Snaxo active . But when a pair of SL2s came up at the right price it was an opportunity too good to be missed. I picked them a couple of weeks ago I installed them using the same digital crossover as I'd used with the SBLS (after all Naim used the same Snaxo for SBLs & SL2s) They sounded great, more bass control, more separation around vocals & cymbals. If SBLs are like your young mate who is larger than life & great fun to be around, the SL2s are the person they've matured into. Something a bit more rounded, not quite so in your face, having bags of authority & still great fun to hang out with. And they look great so added WAF, not that I have a W whose A I have to F The filters/digital crossovers for my SBLs were created for me by Neill Hallworth / @sunbeamgls of and when he heard that I'd got the SL2s, he offered to come & create some dedicated bespoke filters rather than just using the SBL ones. He advised me that, although the drivers were very similar (my SBLs were Mk 1) they would have different impedances, the cabinet volumes would be different, there would be phase difference etc etc and he was confident that he would be able to extract more performance from them. So yesterday Neill called with his majik box of triks. The first step was to take electrical diver measurements which, together with some base crossover information from Naim, were then plugged into exakt design to create an initial filter. Before loading that into my Exaktbox, we reset the speakers to passive & took a frequency response scan as a reference point. V1 of the filters was a good starting point although, as with the passive crossover, there was a big dip at 560hz (which I'd read about in a review being down to a diaphragm resonance) with a hump either side but high frequency roll off better controlled. So Neil lowered the bass/mid roll off point, added a boost at the dip point and a couple of cuts either side to smooth out the humps. With this iteration the dip was significantly reduced & the whole frequency response was much flatter. Being a non -ported design, the bass starts to roll off at about 120hz so lastly Neil added a subtle lift from this point down. So how do they sound now. Well I wasn't ready for or, expecting the magnitude of the improvement. All the strengths of musicality & PRaT are there in spades but now hi hats really shimmered, recording venue acoustics were tangible, bass lines are so solid, the space around instruments & performers improved, the decay on notes seemed to hang in the air. Boundary speakers are not renowned for their imaging but this has tightened up so that you can place individual performers, or even where the cymbals in the drum kit, are. The mid range has a much smoother integration. The slight mid/high frequency brightness had been tamed & the somewhat bass light presentation was gone leaving me wondering if I would still need my sub. (I have still got it in the system but I've dialled it down about 30% :)) The end result is so impressive, I've done no work today, I've been sat here listening to track after track. A big thank you to Neil - another awesome job. If you want to come & have a listen to Exaktly what SL2s Aktiv should sound like, (Birmingham, West Midlands) or to have a chat, just get in touch - you will be very welcome - just be prepared to radically rethink what Aktiv can do for you
  2. As the title says, does anyone know the thickness of the SL2 spacers washers (including the tiny nodules) On mine the tiny nodules have worn away so I'm looking to get some aluminium sheet the right thickness to cut some new ones
  3. Ok folks - I've had an offer of £3950 on ebay - anyone interested at closer to the asking price of £4495 before I let it go?
  4. As the author of the original post on here about Exakt SBLs which @sunbeamgls quoted elsewhere, I love it when trolls rock up & pontificate with apparent authority about something which they have no actual experience of... Really adds value to the debate!
  5. OK but was running an ADSM & have subsequently added an Exaktbox... So my question is does the headphone socket on an ASDM use the Katalyst DAC?
  6. At the beginning of the year, having been running a pair of SBLs with a pair of 250s sort of bi amped (one for left channel only & one for right - just because I had 2 x 250s & hadn't got round to swapping them for a pair of 135s) I decided that it was time to do the proper thing & go active. So SNAXO & Supercap added and this gave a significant improvement in detail, soundstage, PRaT & all the things that SBLs are famous for... But I was still left with the feeling that they are a bit forward & a bit bass light. In fact a non audiophile friend described them as "a bit shouty". And yes - I'd done all the set up things, as close to a solid brick wall as the skirting board would allow, re-sealed the bass loading box etc Then a couple of months ago I was at Brian & Trevor's in Manchester for a musical evening listening to a Linn/Kudos Exakt active system thinking this system sounds amazing (although I would have liked to hear it with Naim power amps) but the transparency that the Exakt technology brought, which performs the crossover in the digital domain, was breath-taking. In the interval I remarking to one of the other attendees how great Exakt was & that I wished it was available for SBLs! And he said "I write Exakt filters for speakers that Linn doesn't support" OMG!! That person was Neil Hallworth of So we embarked on the Exakt SBLs project. Step 1 was to physically measure the SBL cabinets, the position of the drive unit centres, the front baffle slope etc. These numbers were then plugged into Linn's system to enable Linn's Space Optimisation to be enabled. That is available now for free for anyone using a Linn DS or DSM with SBLs via Konfig! Step 2 involved Neil calling at my house to take some electrical measurements of the drive units to measure their impedance. Step 3 Neil then took these measurements together with some information on the crossover frequencies & slopes obtained from Naim to work some digital magic to create a first cut of the digital Exakt crossover filters. In fact he sent me three versions with different crossover slopes, 2nd order, 3rd order & 4th order. It was very quickly apparent that the 3rd order (which is what Naim used) was the best. The 2nd order sounded congested in the mid-range while the 4th order sounded as though there was a hole in it. He then sent me a 3rd order v2 without telling me what he'd done. When I tried it, it was clear that this was an improvement over v1 with better definition & spatial separation. The sound stage was more clearly defined & I was in heaven. The slightly bright & comparatively bass light presentation was gone without losing any of the strengths of musicality & PRaT that SBLs are renowned for. Neil assured me that there would be more to come in step 4 but I was so impressed that my SNAXO & Supercap were already up for sale! Step 4 Neil called again to fine tune the filters. Firstly we agreed that in taming the brightness, they had lost a little of their sparkle. Now apparently, the sound waves emanating from all drive units have an interaction with the speaker cabinet front baffle and to compensate for this, within the Exakt crossover Neil had created a 0.8 dB treble filter. Now I'd been advised by John Jackson (ex Naim Senior Test & Service Engineer & currently Witch Hat Lead R&D Engineer) that the SBL cut away foam grill was designed to overcome the treble baffle interaction issue. So Neil removed the filter, updated the Exaktbox & sparkle was back. Hi hats shimmered, room acoustics were tangible, the space around instruments & performers improved. Next we played with the actual crossover frequency. With v1 the bass/mid roll off & treble roll on were at the same point 2.4khz which we'd got from one Naim source. In v2 the bass/mid was rolled off at 2.3khz & the treble rolled on at 2.5khz (from a different Naim source) So we tried widening the gap by 50hz either way - not as good. Leaving the bass/mid where it was but bringing the treble back again - immediate improvement! Adding baffle filters for the bass/mid drivers for both the length & width of the cabinet added further improvements and the subtlety of the changes that could clearly be heard was mind blowing; -0.5 dB - too much, - 0.25 dB, not enough so we settled on - 0.4 dB. Adding a 1.5 dB lift in the bass from 0-60 hz - too much, 1.2 dB - still too much, 1.0 dB - bingo! In all we went through 17 variations fine tuning the Exakt crossovers in just over two hours. Imagine trying to do that with resistors & capacitors in the analogue domain! The end result? Absolutely stunning. If you thought going from passive to active with a SNAXO was a big step... from SNAXO to Exakt is like having seven league boots on! Really, it's that good. If you'd like to listen just get in touch Oh, the cost? Well I'm going to make a few assumptions. If you're already active with SBLs, then presumably you've got a good front end - LP12 around Akurate spec, a Naim NDX minimum, maybe NDS, or a Linn Akurate DS/DSM Katalyst, Naim 82/Supercap or more likely 52/Supercap, SNAXO / Supercap. Hardware. You keep whatever power amps you're using - in my case a pair of olive Nap 250s which will retain your signature sound. Ideally you'll need a Linn Akurate System Hub which becomes your pre amp - £2700 new or about £1600 pre owned, & a Linn Akurate Exaktbox Katalyst which is where the majik happens (see what I did there) - £5000 new or I picked one up pre owned with 4 years warranty for £3200; And, you'll need a set of Exakt filters from which are just £295. These can be tested for a free 2 week trial period before purchase. Total cost about £5400 pre owned or ~£8000 going new But you can recoup say £1500 on your NDX, or £2000 on your Akurate DS, £2000 on your 82 /Supercap & £1500 on your SNAXO /Supercap = £5/5500 so approx. cost neutral going pre owned And if you've got a 52 or an NDS you might even have some cash left over If you would like to come & have a listen (Birmingham, West Midlands) or a chat, just get in touch - you will be very welcome - just be prepared to radically rethink what active can do for you A huge shout out for Neil of for all the work designing & refining the filters.
  7. Sounds superb - the Katalyst DAC upgrade is a real game changer in terms of sound quality. This Akurate DSM was upgraded by Linn to the latest specification with Katalyst DAC architecture for improved audio performance, Exakt links & HDMI 2.0 connections in July 2018 and has almost 4 years remaining Linn warranty. With original packaging, remote, mains lead & Exakt Ethernet link. Happy to demonstrate (West Midlands) - just message me. Cash on collection or posting by courier of your choice at additional cost Was £4995 on ebay - now £4695 now £4495 ono, with almost 4 years Linn warranty, saving of over£3000 on new price. Open to reasonable offers Was £4995 on ebay - now £4695 now £4495 ono, with almost 4 years Linn warranty, saving of over £3000 on new price. Open to reasonable offers
  8. Rebuilds - Expert Stylus Co or Goldring? What are your personal experiences?