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Thread: Olympus History

  1. #1
    Webmaster Don McRitchie's Avatar
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    I thought there might be some interest in the background of the Olympus and its development given the discussion in the recent "JBL 250 Ti or Olympus S7" thread. This system was designed around the S7 which consisted of an LE15, LE85 and LX5. Bart Locanthi did the design work with the goal of a speaker system with uniform amplitude and power response. He designed the LX5 specifically for this driver combination and designed the original enclosure to contain a 6 cu ft sealed volume.

    The S8 was later added at the insistance of Bill Thomas who wanted to showcase JBL's most expensive theatre component - the 375. Locanthi designed the HL93 horn/lens so that driver would fit in the very shallow Olympus enclosure. As one of the contemporary engineers told me, that horn is too small to properly load the 375 for a 500hz cross-over. The only reason it works at all is that the 375 is so powerful that it can opperate to a degree with no horn attached. The LX5 from the S7 was used in this system even though it was actually optimized for the LE85.

    The original S8 was a two-way system that was quickly expanded into a three-way system when it became apparent that the 9 kHz bandwidth restriction of the 375 limited its appeal. The passive radiator versions (S7R, S8R) came about as a result of Ed May's work in developing a weather resistant speaker for outdoor use. The original LE8 based "Carnival" used a passive radiator to eliminate a the requirement for a port and thus sealed the driver motors and networks from the elements. Ed felt that this improved the bass response compared to the ported version and thus began the design of a passive radiator that would work with the top-of-the-line LE15A.
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    Don McRitchie

  2. #2
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    Nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie
    The only reason it works at all is that the 375 is so powerful that it can opperate to a degree with no horn attached.
    Yep.
    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie
    The LX5 from the S7 was used in this system even though it was actually optimized for the LE85.
    Now you're giving away "secrets"! It is true various components were deemed "good enough" for different applications despite them not having been specifically designed for those applications.

    I guess that's a bit of ammunition for the DIY guys who love the unidriver principle. Of course, it still doesn't make something sound right.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SUPERBEE's Avatar
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    Thank You!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don McRitchie
    I thought there might be some interest in the background of the Olympus and its development given the discussion in the recent "JBL 250 Ti or Olympus S7" thread. This system was designed around the S7 which consisted of an LE15, LE85 and LX5. Bart Locanthi did the design work with the goal of a speaker system with uniform amplitude and power response. He designed the LX5 specifically for this driver combination and designed the original enclosure to contain a 6 cu ft sealed volume.

    The S8 was later added at the insistance of Bill Thomas who wanted to showcase JBL's most expensive theatre component - the 375. Locanthi designed the HL93 horn/lens so that driver would fit in the very shallow Olympus enclosure. As one of the contemporary engineers told me, that horn is too small to properly load the 375 for a 500hz cross-over. The only reason it works at all is that the 375 is so powerful that it can opperate to a degree with no horn attached. The LX5 from the S7 was used in this system even though it was actually optimized for the LE85.

    The original S8 was a two-way system that was quickly expanded into a three-way system when it became apparent that the 9 kHz bandwidth restriction of the 375 limited its appeal. The passive radiator versions (S7R, S8R) came about as a result of Ed May's work in developing a weather resistant speaker for outdoor use. The original LE8 based "Carnival" used a passive radiator to eliminate a the requirement for a port and thus sealed the driver motors and networks from the elements. Ed felt that this improved the bass response compared to the ported version and thus began the design of a passive radiator that would work with the top-of-the-line LE15A.

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    RIP 2011 Zilch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giskard
    I guess that's a bit of ammunition for the DIY guys who love the unidriver principle. Of course, it still doesn't make something sound right.
    Heh.

    Thanks Don!

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    Senior Member spkrman57's Avatar
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    Thanks for the history.

    I actually enjoy when these tidbits of info come around.

    Ron


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    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
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    Love that insider insight on the development aspect of the industry. Wonder if the desire to upmarket the S7 with the heavy-hardware S8 caused some friction in the camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giskard
    "...I guess that's a bit of ammunition for the DIY guys who love the unidriver principle. Of course, it still doesn't make something sound right..."
    Quite right. We can also lament the need (compulsion perhaps) to fix or "improve" the crossover that has been designed and tuned by the pros specifically for the system. I am not immune, just reasonable in my expectations.

    DavidF

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    That could be a very interesting discussion David! I think all of us would agree that someone definitely knew what they were doing at the time the LX5 came out (in this instance Bart). What changed? Why was there a fundamental shift in network design that caused JBL loudspeakers to get incrementally better with each new network implementation. And did they get better? Some people don't think so.

    I know that I thought the LX5 was the bomb.
    For awhile...

  8. #8
    Senior Member glen's Avatar
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    Don't forget the S6 system!

    The earliest mention of these I have seen includes the S6 system (LE15, LE75, HL91, LX5).

    This is on the November 1, 1960 Linear Efficiency price list which also lists the S7 (LE15, LE85, HL91, LX5) and S8 (LE15, 375, HL93, LX5) systems. This early S8 system did not include the 075 as Don noted.
    http://www.lansingheritage.org/html/...1960-11-01.htm

    The S6 system was still listed on the September 15, 1962 price list (DPS-907) and the August 23, 1963 Interim Price List, but disappeared from the October 1964 catalog (SC516) before the introduction of the "R" series passive radiator systems.

    I'm partial to the S6 because I have one with an odd LE15 (no "A") woofer with a "roundback" casting: http://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/s...9&postcount=11.

    FYI, the LE15 is NOT listed on the Dec. 4, 1959 price list (DPS-903) http://www.lansingheritage.org/html/...1959-12-09.htm , shows only the S5 system (LE10,LE30,LX3) and cabinets up to the C49 "Dale". So the Olympus must have been introduced sometime after that date (as Don said).
    glen

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  9. #9
    JonathanKeehn
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    I bought a pair of C60 Soveriegn I S8R's in 1968 along with a JBL Energizer and SG 520 Graphic Controller. It was a killer system in those days. The only drawback I can remember was that the horn for the 375 was too short to work near the 500 Hz crossover point which resulted in a bit of a honky sound in the midrange, even though I've been told the LX5 network was tweaked to correct the rolloff. Other than that I got many years of audio ecstasy out of that system. Ever since that time I have been a huge JBL fan.

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