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View Full Version : What to do with these L200's?



Alobar
11-27-2015, 08:21 PM
After deciding to keep my L200's and pulling out the 077 tweeters from my old Jubals I am now looking for ideas on how to proceed to make some improvements to these completely stock speakers. I will very likely be using what I have, the horns and LE15B's but will be adding the super tweeters into the mix. The reason for not wanting to replace the woofers, or the horns is mostly economic but also logistics. I live pretty far out in the sticks and it has proven too difficult to get used stuff off from ebay or craigslist here. Anyway because of this I am likely going to go with the drivers I have now which all are in good condition and sound great. Here is a link as to how I came to buy these JBL's new back when I was 19 yo and how they have been away for the last 30 years before finally getting them back a few weeks ago.
http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?37319-Opinions-sought-on-L200-vs-L65-s

What I am looking to do now that I have made up my mind on the L200's over the L65's is to first incorporate the 077's into the 200's. I am going to go with the simple idea of a 1mf cap and L Pad and see where that takes me sound wise. Other things I am considering is to rebuild the original crossover, create a new 3 way or, if there are any other crossover design improvements that can be recommended, maybe try that. Another possibility at some point down the road would be to go with a active crossover, get another amplifier and bi amp. Then there are other things to try out possibly such as plugging off one port, elevating the cabs etc. But basically am looking for ideas in keeping to the original drivers (including the 077's) and see what sort of sound improvement can be had.

Other than adding the 077 tweeters, what is an easy thing to do to improve the sound, particularly the bass. Does plugging off one of the baffle ports help with this driver? Or would an EQ work better for mellowing out the boominess? .

hjames
11-28-2015, 06:04 AM
You can't really plan where you are going to wind up - make a change, listen for quite a while, and THEN decide if you want/need to do more.

Sounds like the simple change of the external slot tweeter and a cap or two is a great way to get a feel for it.
Listen to that over the winter and maybe next year.
Then consider if you want to try a tube amp or an improved preamp or something ...
The speakers don't live in isolation - there are other things contributing to the end sound ...

Its really all about what moves YOU! I evolved mine over nearly 10 years and they still sounded sweet to me the day I sold them.
(The sale was a great opportunity to make 2 of us happy at the time, and I realized most of my investment back again).

Best of luck on your journey.

Alobar
11-28-2015, 09:31 AM
You can't really plan where you are going to wind up - make a change, listen for quite a while, and THEN decide if you want/need to do more.

Sounds like the simple change of the external slot tweeter and a cap or two is a great way to get a feel for it.
Listen to that over the winter and maybe next year.
Then consider if you want to try a tube amp or an improved preamp or something ...
The speakers don't live in isolation - there are other things contributing to the end sound ...

Its really all about what moves YOU! I evolved mine over nearly 10 years and they still sounded sweet to me the day I sold them.
(The sale was a great opportunity to make 2 of us happy at the time, and I realized most of my investment back again).

Best of luck on your journey.
Thanks for the reminder. Do need to be patient with this! We've been building our own house and we are both to the point where we just want it all to be done! That impatience shouldn't carry over to these speakers too! I may try to get a couple 4" pipe plugs and listen for a while. You are also right that I need to listen to a lot of different music before making more changes. Right now Pink Floyd sounds outstanding but Leonard Cohen there seems to be too much in the lower frequency. One of the main improvements will be when I get back the circuit boards to my Kenwood power amp I sent out to be rebuilt. That amp really sounds much better than what I am currently using.

HCSGuy
11-28-2015, 09:54 AM
I don't have L200's, but I have something similar - L200 enclosures housing my fathers old LE15A woofers, LE85 compression drivers, HL81 horn/lenses, and LX5 crossovers. I was amazed at the difference I got when I bypassed the LX5 crossovers, put a protection cap on the compression driver, and biamped them with a JBL M552 active crossover - I would strongly consider getting some kind of adjustable active crossover and giving it a shot. Even set at similar Xover points (with different slopes), the sound was noticably different, and a whole lot more enjoyable. Give it a shot:)

Alobar
11-28-2015, 10:43 AM
I don't have L200's, but I have something similar - L200 enclosures housing my fathers old LE15A woofers, LE85 compression drivers, HL81 horn/lenses, and LX5 crossovers. I was amazed at the difference I got when I bypassed the LX5 crossovers, put a protection cap on the compression driver, and biamped them with a JBL M552 active crossover - I would strongly consider getting some kind of adjustable active crossover and giving it a shot. Even set at similar Xover points (with different slopes), the sound was noticably different, and a whole lot more enjoyable. Give it a shot:)

This is something I am interested in doing in the long haul. Seems like this would open up lots of options for dealing with the idiosyncrasies of the LE 15B and it would allow for something else I have been interested in to happen, the introduction of a tube amp. This is something I have been taken up with since listening to my brother in law's Deckware tube amp at his house. My Kenwood sounds wonderful too, but if I were to biamp I would leave that power amp to do the heavy lifting that the big bass driver requires and then I could probably get by with a fairly low power tube amp for the horn and tweeter. My Kenwood has power level meters and when those were set to -20db it was producing 1.7 watts per channel @ 0db. This amount of power is just downright loud through the L200's, way past having any sort of conversation other than having to yell. That is also carrying all the drivers, the LE15B taking the most of that I presume. Getting a low power tube amp would be a lot more economical than a higher power unit. Anyway it is something to think about right now but it is probably a year off.

Mr. Widget
11-28-2015, 02:39 PM
You can't really plan where you are going to wind up - make a change, listen for quite a while, and THEN decide if you want/need to do more.+1

I would like to put emphasis on the "listen for quite a while". Any subtle change in a system is often seen as an immediate improvement. This phenomenon is a key factor in the multi-million dollar audio cable industry... but I digress.

Yes, following each mod, listen carefully for quite a while. If possible also reverse the mod and repeatedly compare.


Widget

Alobar
11-28-2015, 03:05 PM
+1

I would like to put emphasis on the "listen for quite a while". Any subtle change in a system is often seen as an immediate improvement. This phenomenon is a key factor in the multi-million dollar audio cable industry... but I digress.

Yes, following each mod, listen carefully for quite a while. If possible also reverse the mod and repeatedly compare.


Widget

Yes I have experienced this myself, becoming convinced immediately that some very subtle change was really an improvement, or the other way around only later to change back to the way things were. The circuit boards for my Kenwood are likely to be out for a few more months so I need to just wait till I get that back in the lineup to try most of these ideas. However I am pretty certain the 077's will stay as I have experience with their sound and I am missing them already with the 2 way L200. I did get to the hardware store today and bought some 4" pipe plugs like Heather used on her speakers to block one port. I'm going to try this out on mine but am not sure it will help the LE15B's. Seems like mostly these plugs were incorporated after the original woofers were swapped with something more desirable

Alobar
12-22-2015, 12:29 PM
Well I have been spending several hours every day listening to my L200's with the 077's, first sitting on top of the cab's and then mounted inside using Lee in Montreal's well crafted stainless steel mount. I have to say these tweeters have really made a big improvement! :bouncy: I have been against drilling a 3 inch hole in these cabs at least until I have made the decision to keep the 077's so these mounts are working out well as a temporary solution. In fact they are working good enough I am considering keeping them mounted like they are permanently. The tweeters are proving to be real improvement in my listening experience, and something I had been missing since I was using the L65's. The down side to these speakers now I suppose is the bottom end frequency with the LE15B's. I don't know quite what to think yet. Some of the music I listen to doesn't sound bad while other stuff comes across as boomy. This seems especially true with newer recordings, say around 2000 and later where they seem to have a lot more bass in the recording. The 200's don't seem to like that much! However the music from the 70's sounds okay, well good enough depending on what you are comparing them to. I was listening to some of my 70's music the other evening and a track from The Alan Parsons Project's called Stereotomy came on which is a pretty dynamic song. I was just drawn to crank it up, way up and it sounded so good I didn't care if my ears rang for a week! In that track there are footsteps on a hardwood floor that made the hair stand up on the back of my head! Anyway these old speakers still have the ability to really delight the senses.

With the LE15B's I think I am going to keep them and try to work around their deficiencies with what I can control. One thing that comes to mind is I remember now that when I had them 30-40 years ago I always had them elevated, seems like around 24" off the ground. Seems I remember not caring for the bass with them on the floor. I have raised them about 4" so far, but I may try to add another 6". I don't think I can get away with raising them more with my wife. Another option down the road might be a sub (or subs).

Happy Holidays! :sleigh:

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hjames
12-23-2015, 02:52 AM
Sounds like the 077s are keepers!

To get some height in a subtle way, and get Wife Acceptance factor to boot -
Try making some bases/stands for them .that have some height built in and have wheels at the bottom,
you can always say you did that so they can be moved easily when housecleaning and such ... (just be careful HOW you sell that feature!)
Also makes it easy to try differences in position and vary the sound field.

Zonker92 of AudioKarma made some really cool stands for his 4430s - He got 5 inch height in them -
and said it cured the "boundary issue" which, I believe, is a lot of the boomy stuff you are experiencing.
Maybe you could build a pair or have something like them made -
They are flush to the cabinet in the front.

68901
68900
68899






With the LE15B's I think I am going to keep them and try to work around their deficiencies with what I can control. One thing that comes to mind is I remember now that when I had them 30-40 years ago I always had them elevated, seems like around 24" off the ground. Seems I remember not caring for the bass with them on the floor. I have raised them about 4" so far, but I may try to add another 6". I don't think I can get away with raising them more with my wife. Another option down the road might be a sub (or subs).

Happy Holidays!

Alobar
12-23-2015, 11:33 AM
I had plastic milk crates under my L65's for several years so I am certain anything as nice as Zonkers bases would be quite welcome in our living room! These bases are a great idea and because I am getting started on building new kitchen cabinets it wouldn't be a reach to use some of the scrap to make something nice looking like these.

The main issue now will be height to still see out the windows behind the 200's. That over even optimal acoustics will be the limiting factor height wise. Our living room is 16' wide and 20 feet deep but the speakers sit off from the back wall about 5 feet as our computer desks and printers etc live in the space directly behind the speakers. The ceiling is vaulted at a 45 deg with the peak (which runs parallel to the speakers) near 20 feet above the floor. I don't know room acoustic wise if this is a bad arrangement with the LE15B's or not. Also a deep shag carpet directly in front may be having a negative effect. Think I'll wait for her to go traveling to the lower 48 this spring to roll up the carpet and experiment.

I have casters under the speakers now which are a must, not only for moving to clean under but due to constrictions with the room they sit closer together than I like so with wheels I can roll them apart to listen to music and bring them closer together when I'm not.

Probably the next big improvement will come when I get my 40 yo Kenwood power amp back together from getting a recap. Hopefully that will happen sometime in January. As I remember the combo of the L200's and the Kenwood were a match made in heaven!


Sounds like the 077s are keepers!

To get some height in a subtle way, and get Wife Acceptance factor to boot -
Try making some bases/stands for them .that have some height built in and have wheels at the bottom,
you can always say you did that so they can be moved easily when housecleaning and such ... (just be careful HOW you sell that feature!)
Also makes it easy to try differences in position and vary the sound field.

Zonker92 of AudioKarma made some really cool stands for his 4430s - He got 5 inch height in them -
and said it cured the "boundary issue" which, I believe, is a lot of the boomy stuff you are experiencing.
Maybe you could build a pair or have something like them made -
They are flush to the cabinet in the front.