Dahlquist DQ-8 or Alon II?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by dbxdx5, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I currently own the DQ-8s and love them! In fact, I bought them new when I was 17, so that means I've been using them more or less continuously for 24 years. :music:

    But... a friend is selling a pair of Alon IIs (re-foamed), and I'm considering taking the plunge, given that these, like the DQ-8s, were designed by Carl Marchisotto and share certain things in common, such as the open baffle and phased array. Has anyone here heard both speakers and able to give me their thoughts on which they liked best and why? I use a B&K ST-120 amp (the later version) with basic grey and black Kimber cable bi-wired to the DQ-8s.

  2. stereocuuple

    stereocuuple Two Channel Only

    i have owned both and now have alon IVs. do it you wont be sorry. also i have auditioned a B&K st 2140 with the alon IVs and it drove them with ease and was very musicial. the dq 8s are great but the improvement is massive with the alons.
  3. Susurus

    Susurus Resolution:6.62×10^-34

    Alon II is more ambitious. 3 way, heavier, larger, more bass. Closer to that price class would be 3-way DQ-20s.

  4. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I guess I'll interpret this to mean you think the Alon IIs would be a significant improvement over the DQ-8s (I don't own DQ-20s). :scratch2:
  5. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Bump for any additional feedback. I plan to listen to the Alons tomorrow, so that will certainly help in my decision.
  6. Susurus

    Susurus Resolution:6.62×10^-34

    Never heard Alons yet but I really like my similar DQ-20s. Both sets...:yes:

    JD and CM understood how to make a great midrange work.

    I like the DQ-8 but the DQs with 3 or 5 drivers are significantly better than the 2 ways.
  7. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Thanks Stereocuuple and Susurus. I went ahead and bought the Alon IIs. Wow, these are revealing speakers! To this point I've only been able to listen to them with CDs (both of my turntables are out of order), so I'm wondering if the bit of stridency I'm hearing on some vocals are the speakers, the CDs, or my amp. The amp question is a concern because I'm using a B&K ST-140. It's the last version of this amp, which apparently some people say isn't good for driving 4 ohm loads (which is what the Alons are) and others say can handle 4 ohms fine. Stereocuuple: Is this the amp you drove the Alon IVs with, and is that a 4 ohm speaker? My hunch is that the stridency is the Alons laying bare the quality of some of the CDs for better or worse, whereas my DQ-8s softened things.
  8. tubed

    tubed Addicted Member

    I found the floorstanding DQ-8 to be a very engaging speaker and so far, my favorite vintage 8" 2-way , more exciting to listen to than my Spendor SP-1s.
  9. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Questionable Morels Subscriber

    The B&K St-140 is far from a strident amp.

    I currently run B&K EX-442/EX-442 Sonatas, after owning some B&K ST-202 and 202+ models, all which are far from being anything close to strident.

    The 202s will give you deeper, and more controlled bass. The EX-442s will give you more detail. But none will be strident.

    What's your pre-amp? Your CD player? Your DAC, if you have one?
  10. Mortsnets

    Mortsnets AK Subscriber Subscriber

    The later version of the ST-140 (105w) with blue and red lettering can drive 4 ohm loads ok. Check your upstream components even speaker wire and cable.

    How do the Alon's compare to headphone sound?

    When I got new speakers limitations in other components were really called to my attention especially cd players.
  11. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Now I'm really thinking that the stridency I heard on a few discs is just the Alons revealing what's been there all the time: some not so great recordings or remasters. Anyway, here's my set-up:

    Amp: B&K ST-140 (later 105 watt version)
    Preamp: Anthem TLP-1
    Digital sources: Denon DVD 3910 (no separate DAC)
    Turntables: Beogram 8002 with MMC2 and a Perpetuum Ebner 2020 (idler drive) with Shure M97xe and Jico SAS
    Reel to reel: Otari MX-5050 BII
    Speaker Wires: Basic grey and black Kimber biwired to the Alons
    Interconnects: Various types of Monster
  12. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I want to believe that, but there's such a question mark about whether this is true. For example, I emailed the very nice folks at Eastern Elite Audio Video, who are former B&K employees, to find out their take on whether the red and blue lettering version of the ST-140 can drive 4 ohm loads, and this was the "answer":

    The amplifier specs is what I need to go by as well. We tested similar B&K amplifiers at 4 and 8 ohms and I could not tell you to use the ST140 at 4 ohms. We had many customers tell us they used it at 4 ohms but you could try it at your own risk. Sorry I could not be more helpful.

    So it sounds like "no" but with an asterisk that in real-world applications people have said "yes." Tell me I'm overthinking this and that I should just listen to the music and unless I hear any audible distortion from clipping, then things are fine. :yes:
  13. Mortsnets

    Mortsnets AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Maybe your supicions are correct, here is John Atkinson comparing the 70w to 105w versions:
    The main change, however, is the raising of the voltage rails from ±49V to ±60V without any difference other than reducing the output-stage bias current from 160mA to 140mA. (B&K's John Beyer tells me that this change occurred in 1985.) This raises the specified clipping power into 8 ohms from 70W to 105W, but renders the amplifier much less suitable for driving speakers whose impedance drops much below 8 ohms (as do many speakers).

    Personally I've used the 105w version with 4 ohm speakers with no problem.

    I would try swapping out the Denon for another cdp. Where do you live? Maybe you can borrow from another AK'er.

    Here is a quote regarding the Denon:

    The Denon added a slight edginess to the voice and tonal balance from top to bottom didn't sound like it was in exactly the right proportion — almost as if tone controls were (subtly) engaged.
  14. donberry

    donberry Super Member

    I never look for speakers anymore, am very happy with what i have and don't see the need. That being said, if I came across a pair of Alon or a pair of DQ-20 or DQ-30 I would buy them - and I have never personally heard either but I have zero doubt I would like them.
    I could have got a pair of DQ-8 - nice speakers but I want the bigger boys.
  15. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'll have to read the Stereophile piece. I can say that I listened to the Alons some more last night with better source material, and they sound incredible. So not sure the Denon is causing any problems; it was probably the first few CDs I played. My question now re the B&K is this: Would I notice if it were having any problems driving the Alons? In other words, if I don't hear any distortion, can I safely assume that speakers and amp are fine/not being damaged in any way? Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but this is new territory for me.
  16. Susurus

    Susurus Resolution:6.62×10^-34

    First, 105 WPC* is not going to open up a large Carl Marchisotto-designed 3-way limited baffle/AS bass system. No way.

    Excellent matches that worked for my DQ-20s bench 200-250 or more:

    Yamaha PC-2002, M-2, Sony TA-N77ES, MOSfet Hafler P-500(mint). Very bad matches: Carver and Adcom. The speakers are picky!

    I tried and only high-current, robust iron made them dynamic. No I wouldn't expect them to be Khorns but <300@4ohms just left them a bit flat and lifeless...some amps just didn't click at all, even with more power, good reviews, modern tech.

    The good news is the better your amp, the finer these speakers will sound. Best feature of my DQ-20s is tonal clarity and realistic timbre.

    Tone down your walls with acoustic treatment if the highs are emphasized. As a bonus they'll image better. :yes:

    *105 pure Class A Krell and B-2 could be exceptions, haven't heard them. Yet.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  17. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I can't comment on other 105 watt amps, but after listening longer to my B&K powering the Alons, I'm completely blown away. It must be an overachiever. :scratch2:
  18. Susurus

    Susurus Resolution:6.62×10^-34

    If you were local to me, I'd be happy to schlep over some big iron 50lb amp so you could hear the difference...it is not subtle.

    Meanwhile enjoy your new speakers!



    (in PNW)
  19. Susurus

    Susurus Resolution:6.62×10^-34

    donberry, DQ-20/20i models were 2000-2500 new; not many of those in circulation.

    There are other Dahlquists that might appear on your local CL. Keep eyes peeled for DQM-9/9c models. Have not heard the M909 but it's also TOTL. In general if it's over 50lbs and says Dahlquist jump on them if the tweeters work... :yes:


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