View Full Version : Help: New ADS L620's are Muddy


Taylor Player
05-09-2011, 07:24 PM
Received these via Pony Express off of Craigslist and after reading all the glowing reviews about ADS speakers, was really looking forward to giving these a spin.

What a disappointment.

What I've got on my hands are none of the shimmering highs and punchy bass that I've read about. Instead, I'm mired in mud, mud and more mud. No note separation and a very flat sonic experience. At first I chalked it up to "this must be what ADS speakers sound like" but there's no way ANYONE would think these sound good.

Now, as a bit of background, these speakers sat unused in a closet in a climate controlled for 15 years. Do vintage speakers need to "open up" after sitting unused for any length of time? I've read that some people think they've experienced this, but is there really anything to it?

I did a search and read that it may be cone sag (guess that happens to the best of us once we reach a certain age, eh?) so I tried listening to them upside down and had the same, flat boring experience.

The drivers seem to be tight to the cabinets, the cabinets are solid though one has a slight side seam separation on the bottom. That said, both of the speakers are exhibiting the same characteristics.

I may try to shoot some video switching between my JBL's, Wharfedales and these to see if I can provide some context for what I'm describing, until then, any and all help is appreciated.

montrecott
05-09-2011, 09:35 PM
Are the tweeters working? I ask because many of the classic ADS speakers had fuse-protected tweeters. The tweeter fuses are in a small compartment in the back of the speakers. Some models even included extra fuses in that same compartment. Check and see if those fuses are blown. If it's not that, I don't know what it is.... I have a pair of L620's and they are excellent speakers. Mine also have that same tweeter/fuse arrangement.

mhardy6647
05-09-2011, 09:49 PM
sounds like they are not.
bad fuses, Tweeters, or (least likely but still formally possible) crossover capacitors (or maybe even a wire off one or both speakers' tweeters inside?).

They'd never be described as "muddy" in good working order.

jdurbin1
05-10-2011, 01:52 AM
never, ever...

John

mcp1
05-10-2011, 07:06 AM
Those are fantastic speakers, so like others have said, something is amiss. Check the fuses and make sure the tweeters aren't blown.

Taylor Player
05-10-2011, 07:10 AM
Before my original post I knocked the bass and mids all the way down and the treble all the way up to test the tweeters and thought I heard sound coming from them, along with the woofers.

After the response questioning the tweeters was posted, I tried again, this time the speakers were upside down as part of my "cone sag" test and there didn't seem to be anything coming from the tweeter, only the woofer.

I checked both fuses and they seem okay but I'll get some replacements today to see if that helps.

Here's to hoping that's all it is....

RickeyM
05-10-2011, 07:33 AM
Anytime I get some older speakers, I open 'em up and take a look inside just to see how things are. You never really know what's been done to the speaker before you got them. This is where a DMM or even a LCR meter come in handy.

adam-ads
05-10-2011, 10:15 AM
If yours are the newer model with metal grills, each speaker came from the factory with two fuses. One in series with the tweeter and one spare in a dummy slot. If yours only have one then someone must have already been in there.

Make sure the fuses are in the correct slots. While you're at it, make sure it's the correct size. I believe they should be 1.25A or 1.5A.

Taylor Player
05-13-2011, 07:53 AM
Mine are the cloth grills with only the one fuse as far as I can see.

So, I pulled the fuses, they looked okay but I grabbed a couple replacements just as part of the process of elimination; alas still nothing from the tweets.

Then I noticed the fuses I pulled originally (and found replacements for) were 10A 250V 312. The back of the speakers clearly states "1.6A Max AGC 3AG"...

Have to confess that I'm pretty ignorant about the compatibility of fuses at this point. Is this good news because I can replace them with the correct size and it should work or bad news that since the fuse was the wrong size it may not have blown if needed and fried the tweeter?

mhardy6647
05-13-2011, 08:20 AM
a 10 amp fuse could permit a fatal overload to the tweeter.
Here's what I'd do (but please use your own judgement and gauge your own comfort level before proceeding!)... I'd remove one tweeter from one speaker and carefully feed it a very low volume low-level signal (sans) crossover from a radio, discman, or amplifier/receiver (start at zero volume and slowly turn up just a tiny bit). If you hear the signal, the tweeter is at least functional; if not, it's probably toast. The other way to check the tweeters, if you have a DMM (digital multimeter), VOM (volt-ohm meter) or VTVM (vacuum tube voltmeter) is to check for continuity of the voice coil with the "ohms" or "resistance" setting on the meter. You should see a DC resistance of a few ohms; if the resistance reading is "infinite", the voice coil is open.

HTH.

SoCal Sam
05-13-2011, 08:32 AM
You will find GLOWING reviews on just about any piece of gear you care to mention. Folks make a $5 garage score and they think they have struck gold. So, your disappointment is not surprising.

I've found most ADS to be exactly as you described. The woofer simply does not have the motor for an acoustic suspension and you need loads of power to overcome the internal pressure. Ask AR owners. The tweeter is treated cloth and if you are lucky, it is not coated in hair or other muffling fibers. I've seen them coated in animal hair so much so they look like tennis balls.

Mchaz
05-13-2011, 11:38 AM
Did you try ye' olde toilet paper tube test for the tweeters? It's as simple as put one end of the tube up to your ear, and the other end in front of the tweeter playing at low volume. The tube makes the sound coming into your ear extremely directional, so what you point it at is what you hear.

boreas
05-13-2011, 11:57 AM
Then I noticed the fuses I pulled originally (and found replacements for) were 10A 250V 312. The back of the speakers clearly states "1.6A Max AGC 3AG"...

I think you may have discovered why the speakers sat in a closet for 15 years. At a guess, I'd say that a previous owner upped the amp rating on the fuses because the correct fuse kept blowing (because the amplifier was overloading them). Then the fuses held up just fine but the tweeters got cooked.

The correct amp rating for the fuses is set at a level where there is enough current for optimum performance but the fuses will blow at a level approaching the point at which damage is likely. What the person who replaced those fuses did was to increase the maximum current allowed to reach the speakers by a factor of six. Nuts! It's like the old homeowner's "trick" of using a penny to "fix" a blown fuse.

The L620s are very much worth fixing. If you find that you need to replace the tweeters you're sort of in luck because the L620 used perhaps the most commonly used tweeter in the ADS line, the #206-0100. There is a supercession to part #206-0116, a "ferro-fluid" cooled equivalent so finding them (you know where) won't be too difficult.

The first thing to do would be to pull the tweeters and check them with a digital multimeter. They're 4 ohm tweeters so your reading should be around that.

John

boreas
05-13-2011, 12:13 PM
You will find GLOWING reviews on just about any piece of gear you care to mention. Folks make a $5 garage score and they think they have struck gold.

You'll also find reviews or opinions on the interwebs trashing some of the very best gear ever made. Opinions........... Like another body part, everybody's got one.

I think the OP deserves to find out what he's got without too much concern for the opinions of others. Clearly, with 2 dead tweeters, the speakers aren't performing at their best so at the moment there's more "there" there. If, after repairing them, the OP doesn't like what he's hearing he can always sell them to some "idiot" who believes what he reads on the net. ;)

John

Taylor Player
05-13-2011, 03:53 PM
All,

Thanks for the valuable input, it's all appreciated. I will definitely keep you posted...

dumptruck
05-13-2011, 04:16 PM
:lurk:

hedrick
05-14-2011, 10:59 PM
While there are varying personal opinions on everything, the widespread positive reviews, and test results showing flat response, makes it very unlikely that the ADS speakers are completely missing treble. That doesn't mean everyone will like their sound, but it suggests that a complete lack of treble is due to a malfunction.

I use a pair of L500s in my living room. I've tried a number of different speakers, include Paradigm Studio 20's, and find the L500's clearer.

bigstereo
05-15-2011, 06:38 AM
I had a pair that I sold last year. Owned them 2 years, cabs a little beat but drivers in good shape and working properly. I never really heard of A/D/S speakers before reading about them here. Well I got the 620's for chicken feed, took em home, fed em some watts and I was like "Wow"! They sounded great, not muddy or lacking highs at all. Bass was deep enough and had good punch. I only sold them (at a profit) because I had too many bigger pairs of speakers sitting around and not enough room.

If yours sound muddy there's something wrong with them.

RickeyM
05-15-2011, 08:50 AM
Hey Taylor, just a thought. Are the cabs sealed properly? Along with non-working tweeters, air leaks can really hamper the performance of woofers.

boreas
05-15-2011, 09:12 AM
Hey Taylor, just a thought. Are the cabs sealed properly? Along with non-working tweeters, air leaks can really hamper the performance of woofers.

Exactly. Always a good thing to check but leaky cabinets will diminish the bass, not kill the highs, I'm pretty sure the OP has dead tweeters or bad caps. "Muddy's" a pretty good description of a speaker with non-functioning tweeters.

John

Taylor Player
05-16-2011, 05:50 PM
Okay, newbie question: I borrowed an ohm meter from work and am curious, should i be able to pull a reading off the wires running across the front of the tweeter or do I have to pull them to get a correct reading?

Of course, I'm sitting in a hotel room for a conference 1500 miles away from the speakers but still, the mind wanders back to wanting to get this resolved!

boreas
05-16-2011, 06:39 PM
Okay, newbie question: I borrowed an ohm meter from work and am curious, should i be able to pull a reading off the wires running across the front of the tweeter or do I have to pull them to get a correct reading?

Those little wires have a sort of rubberized coating on them. You'd have to breach that to take a reading. I think there'd be a very high likelihood of catastrophe. Those wires are pretty damn delicate, the two ends of the voice coil winding in fact.

I'd pull the tweeter. It's only 4 screws and much safer.

John

dumptruck
05-16-2011, 07:38 PM
Start with the paper-tube-to-ear test mentioned earlier. Edit - nevermind I had forgotten some of this thread. It does sound like somebody did their darndest to cook the tweeters so the multimeter would be a good idea. +1 on NOT trying to get a reading from the VC lead wires on the outside.

Taylor Player
05-26-2011, 10:14 PM
Okay, rookie problem: From the front of the speaker, I took out the four corner screws of the plate the tweeter is mounted to and the plate isn't budging so I'm unable to pull the tweeter to get a reading. It's not like it's stuck...it's S-T-U-C-K as in won't budge.

Am I going about this wrong?

:dunno:

jimdabomb
05-26-2011, 10:42 PM
I just picked up a pair of L420's for $25 and they work perfectly, the treble is very nice. They are a little bass shy but the bass that's there has good detail. They blend well with my M&K sub. I'm not sure if they will replace my IMF Super Compacts yet but they are pretty nice.

Lux Man
05-26-2011, 10:58 PM
The plate will come loose- use a thin wide blade like a putty knife to get under/behind it and gently work it out. Try not to scar the face plate around it, it will come out. Just go about it gently and be ready to support it once it falls out so you don't break the wires

manchild
05-27-2011, 02:29 AM
Maybe they are not in phase

boreas
05-27-2011, 10:38 AM
Okay, rookie problem: From the front of the speaker, I took out the four corner screws of the plate the tweeter is mounted to and the plate isn't budging so I'm unable to pull the tweeter to get a reading. It's not like it's stuck...it's S-T-U-C-K as in won't budge.

Am I going about this wrong?

:dunno:

Nope! You're not. The tweeter may be stuck down with a non-drying adhesive or perhaps a thin sheet of sticky film. You may see some of it oozed out around the edges of the plate.

Try slipping a thin flat blade like on a small 1" drywall knife under the edge of the tweeter mounting plate and lever it loose, working at the corners only. DO NOT slide the blade in very far. The rivets you see at 3 and 9 o'clock are the points of attachment for the voice coil wires (outside) and the speaker leads (inside). There's a chance that you could damage them.

John

Taylor Player
05-27-2011, 10:54 AM
Nope! You're not. The tweeter may be stuck down with a non-drying adhesive or perhaps a thin sheet of sticky film. You may see some of it oozed out around the edges of the plate.

Try slipping a thin flat blade like on a small 1" drywall knife under the edge of the tweeter mounting plate and lever it loose, working at the corners only. DO NOT slide the blade in very far. The rivets you see at 3 and 9 o'clock are the points of attachment for the voice coil wires (outside) and the speaker leads (inside). There's a chance that you could damage them.

John

Thanks....one thing I'm noticing from your photo, is that my tweeters are missing the rubberized coating and are not adhered to to the face plate, they're bare wire leading to the rivets but they are not broken. Not sure what, if anything, that's an indication of...

DON73
05-27-2011, 11:37 AM
The tweeters are very hard to impossible to remove without a very strong force. I have a pair of 880s and the tweeters both quit working and I tried without success to remove one. I got the idea that I could remove the crossover and maybe use a wooden dowel to tap out the tweeter. Then I found the little compartment that houses the fuses. On my 880s one fuse is for the tweeter and the other is for the midrange.. I have five pairs of ADS speakers and not one of them sound muddy or lack bass. On my 880s the tweeter is very close to the tweeter and there is a small space and I've been told by an ADS speaker repairer that a small flat screwdriver can be used to pry the tweeter out. In the worst case the tweeters can be repaired for $50 each.

boreas
05-27-2011, 11:41 AM
Thanks....one thing I'm noticing from your photo, is that my tweeters are missing the rubberized coating and are not adhered to to the face plate, they're bare wire leading to the rivets but they are not broken. Not sure what, if anything, that's an indication of...

Not sure either. The tweeter in the photo is from an L400 but it's the same 206 0100 tweeter that the L620 uses. You might have the supercession version, the 206 0116, installed. They're a "ferro-fluid" cooled version of the earlier tweeter.

John

lukiedog
05-27-2011, 01:05 PM
Apparently the tweeter is the Peerless 810665, did not know that, I thought Braun made their own stuff. I think you should be able to tell if the tweeter is working properly without taking it out, use your ears. One problem I've had with these is the nut working loose from the back of the push spring speaker jack, but that is probably not your problem here. I buggered up the recessed edge that holds the woofers in, easy to do, particle board just crumbled. Be sure to use something wide. I bought a scraper like tool with a bent edge after damaging the cabinet on mine.

adam-ads
05-27-2011, 01:41 PM
Apparently the tweeter is the Peerless 810665, did not know that, I thought Braun made their own stuff.

That doesn't sound right to me. The Peerless model you mention had the leads at an angle to the edges of the plate. The ADS and Braun models I've seen have leads which are parallel to the edge.

boreas
05-27-2011, 01:45 PM
Apparently the tweeter is the Peerless 810665, did not know that, I thought Braun made their own stuff.

How did you determine that? The OP hasn't really described or posted photos of the tweeters unless I missed it.

If they're Peerless 810665 tweeters the voice coil wires will be angled downward at about 45 degrees from the dome. That requires a different cutout in the front baffle too.

John

lukiedog
05-27-2011, 01:49 PM
I got the info from this post, sorry if I'm perpetuating an urban myth, should have sought better references. And yes, I believe the L620s I had, the wires were horizontal, not angled like in the peerless.

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&1026433344&openusid&zzJimjenjr&4&5

boreas
05-27-2011, 02:15 PM
I got the info from this post, sorry if I'm perpetuating an urban myth, should have sought better references. And yes, I believe the L620s I had, the wires were horizontal, not angled like in the peerless.

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&1026433344&openusid&zzJimjenjr&4&5

Hey, you found it on the interwebs so it must be true! ;)

I think people do substitute the Peerless tweeters for the original ADS ones fairly often though. You certainly see Peerless tweeters and the new Indian copies being sold on that basis (on the auction site) all the time.

I would imagine that they work fine but you'd have to modify the cutout in the front baffle. The cutout consists of a circular hole barely larger than the magnet with two notches in the circle at 9 & 3 o'clock for the wires. You'd have to make another pair of notches at around 4:30 and 7:30 for the wires on the Peerless.

John

teebee
06-12-2011, 04:51 AM
Most ADS tweeters use a thin rubber/ foam gasket between it and the baffle.
Try taking the woofer out and pushing the tweeter out from the back. Cup your hand over it to make sure it doesn't go flying! Stay clear of the leads and terminals while removing them.

Good luck! The correct tweeters pop up on the 'bay often.

Google "ads parts schedule"

or see http://sportsbil.com/ads/

archie2
06-12-2011, 06:05 AM
I have a pair of A/D/S L520's and they are not muddy at all. They are among the most well balanced 2-ways I have heard. Very detailed and dynamic with unexpected low tight base from a 8" woofer. And I am one of those guys who walked away with them for 5 bucks from a flea market. They were sold to me by the original owner who bought them in Austria.
If your L620's are muddy, the tweeters are not working properly.

boreas
06-12-2011, 11:19 AM
Just curious to learn how the OP is coming along with these speakers.

John

teebee
06-16-2011, 04:36 AM
Just checkin' in too!
Any progress?

Taylor Player
07-18-2011, 10:11 PM
Okay,

Finally had a chance to get back into this project. First, thanks for the tip of popping the woofer out to push the tweeter out from behind: worked like a charm. These are indeed the 206 0100 tweeters.

So, both woofers are measuring 5.5 ohms. On the other hand....

...both tweeters are measuring 1.0 ohm? :dunno:

Toast?

boreas
07-18-2011, 10:32 PM
...both tweeters are measuring 1.0 ohm? :dunno:

Toast?

Skoal! ;)

Yeah, new tweeter time. You can look on the auction site. There's a pair there now. Or you can have yours rebuilt with NOS parts by Richard So (http://www.adsspeakersservice.com/), a former ADS engineer. As I recall, the only thing not replaced is the magnet.

No affiliation but Richard has a very good reputation.

John

Taylor Player
07-19-2011, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm on it! :thmbsp: