I was back at Reference Audio on the weekend to have a quick listen to a set of quirky and interesting speakers that Peter Hardie has been working on. They’re a DIY project that fell into his hands when the previous owner couldn’t stand to listen to them. With some fettling, the owner wants them back.
They’re made up of a set of 15” Tannoy Dual Concentric drivers mounted in a home made hard wood cabinet, with the drivers mounted way up high. The cabinet is tall and doesn’t feel all that solid or well braced; a knock on the side reveals a lot of resonance. It’s roughly done and looks as if it was made with old floorboards but there’s a certain amount of charm to the whole thing that I had to admire.
The sound was too brash and shouty for the owner but Hardie has made some changes – he’s rewired them with Vitesse Audio cable, changed from a bi-wire arrangement to a single set of speaker connectors and has changed the way the speakers are isolated, ignoring the spikes and adopting a mixed system of isolation feet.
He hasn’t altered the crossovers, which apparently use some pretty budget components and he hasn’t changed the internal damping but the changes have apparently made all the difference. Sonically, I really liked what I heard. These things image like crazy, as expected from the Dual Concentric design and they’re really fast, showing off with any and all percussion or guitars. There’s still a smidgen of harshness or excess energy at the top but it’s well under control and wasn’t intrusive; certainly no worse than some modern metal dome designs I’ve heard. The speaker’s high sensitivity means that the 10W leak power amps drive them with ease and the volume control on the Lightspeed LDR passive preamp never goes above three o’clock, except with that low level live version of Hugh Masekela’s Stimela from the Hope CD, which always needs a little bit of extra power.
These speakers were a refreshing change from a lot of the picture perfect stuff I see and they’ve got immense potential. A little more tweaking and they’d likely sound marvelous. In fact, Hardie is muttering about bringing in some Dual Concentric drivers for a project of his own.
Makes me wonder how much DIY is going on out there? The days of magazines like Hi-Fi World publishing DIY supplements or having DIY sections are long behind us. Gary Pearce is flying the “I did it my way” flag with his big Vofo single driver speakers but the rest of the team are slack in this regard. We’d love to hear about your DIY projects, so drop us an email if you’re working on something you’d like to see on the site.