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Thread: Basic restoration of XPL90's

  1. #1
    Senior Member Slare's Avatar
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    Talking Basic restoration of XPL90's

    I have to thank this site as a great resource for restoration tips. I found these pretty uncommon XPL's via Craigslist nearly free, but they were trashed to tragic proportions. I picked them up figuring at least the drivers worked making it a sound buy for the woofers alone.

    I have no idea what the hell these poor speakers were put through. It seems like they were dipped in bleach and owned by a cat who kept them under a sun window in a damp garage for their whole life. There was corrosion on the small XPL badge above the tweeter!

    However being my first restoration effort, I have to say I'm quite pleased with the results and am amazed by how well the veneer cleaned up. They are now quite presentable (especially with the grilles on), though I have to admit I think I prefer the sound of my little L1 bookshelfs which just seem a little smoother to my ears. Something about the XPL tweeters seems a little off, they seem to go from being too quiet to too bright through the volume range, wanting different tone settings at different volumes. Crossovers looked good, possibly they are off from the environment they were used in?

    Anyways, thanks for the tips, and here are some pics of XPL90's for those who care to see them (not very common speakers...).

    Tools:
    Steel wool
    Dark walnut danish oil
    Flat black fusion paint (front frames were beyond any cleaning repair)
    PE Black grille cloth & Dap contact cement

    Before:




    After:

  2. #2
    Obsolete
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    Nice job!

    Yes, they are pretty rare and they weren't cheap when new either. I can't imagine anyone buying a pair and then treating them like that.

  3. #3
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    Nice!

    It looks like the same finish I have on these restored basket cases:

    http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/s...t=XPL200+rehab

    Ah, it takes me back...

    The thing about the XPL90 is that it's missing the signature driver of the series, the 3" Ti dome midrange. Without that, it's hard to imagine the "XPL sound" really being there.

    That being said, it's a cute looking thing, even if the sound is less than hoped for. You're correct that the L1 is a better two-way.

    These are the two drivers that in combination make the XPL Series special.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    I thought that woofer looked familiar! Same as the L20T. And I can't tell much difference between my L20Ts and my L1s so it must be the tweeter on the XPL that makes the difference. I thought it was supposed to be a good one? :dont-know
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

  5. #5
    Senior Member Slare's Avatar
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    Yeah, about the tweeter that's what I thought too. I haven't had a chance to give them a real fair shake yet. Given the previous condition, I'm also wondering if the tweeters have had something harden in them or otherwise wear poorly. I'm going to try and run some hours through them to see if it helps. I don't think they've seen much use in a looong time. I will say they are still monsters for their size. It's amazing to me how much power these older systems will take in stride.

    I had a really nice pair of L20T's awhile back but have since sold them. I thought they would be pretty good for nearfield use (thought about keeping them for my PC) but they seemed awfully lifeless to me in a regular stereo setup.

    The L1's have been with me since I started back into audio a couple years ago, and I have yet to find another such sized bookshelf I've liked better regardless of brand. I'm sure part of it is a placebo effect from my mains (L5's) but I really like the sound of the L1's. Regardless of the setup I've used them in, they've always been great.

    If find it a bit odd all three speakers have so much in common but seem to have completely different sound to them. Maybe it is actually the L20/XPL poly woofer /crossover behavior I don't like...

    Oh and I should add I remembered reading Ti's thread quite some time ago and took some ideas from that thread. I think the overall veneer condition was probably very similar. The "pre" pictures really don't do justice to how terrible it looked in person. I would have liked to spend more time on the veneer but to be frank about it, I knew up front my 90's were worth a tiny fraction of proper 140/160/200's and it just didn't seem worth it.

    I remember seeing 160/200's at my local hi-fi shop back in high school with price tags beyond comprehension at the time. It's so odd to see them around and now being restored. Kind of reminds me of that scene in American Beauty when the dude buys the Firebird.

  6. #6
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Last weekend I A/B'ed a pair of L20T and L20T3 - seemed to us like the 20T3 is a much better sounding speaker given the same pair of drivers!
    (but the L20 looks "better" ) ...


    Quote Originally Posted by Slare View Post
    Yeah, about the tweeter that's what I thought too. I haven't had a chance to give them a real fair shake yet. Given the previous condition, I'm also wondering if the tweeters have had something harden in them or otherwise wear poorly. I'm going to try and run some hours through them to see if it helps. I don't think they've seen much use in a looong time. I will say they are still monsters for their size. It's amazing to me how much power these older systems will take in stride.

    I had a really nice pair of L20T's awhile back but have since sold them. I thought they would be pretty good for nearfield use (thought about keeping them for my PC) but they seemed awfully lifeless to me in a regular stereo setup.

    The L1's have been with me since I started back into audio a couple years ago, and I have yet to find another such sized bookshelf I've liked better. I'm sure part of it is a placebo effect from my mains (L5's) but I really like the sound of the L1's. Regardless of the setup I've used them in, they've always been great.

    If find it a bit odd all three speakers have so much in common but seem to have completely different sound to them. Maybe it is actually the L20/XPL poly woofer /crossover behavior I don't like...
    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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