Minggu, 22 Agustus 2010

Rejuvenating Spica TC50

I'm currently listening to my Spica and also waiting for my fastening break time, why not continue the Spica story?. This legend is known for its 'disappearing' and staging quality. When you listen to it soon you'll  forgot that there are speakers in front of you. Just sounds floating around and in front of you. That's the way I liked it just like my more refined Magnepan SMGa.

My Spica : pre 1988 built !

One box sounds not so loud as the other. So I starts measuring both with my DIY Speaker Workshop Jig II, here is the result, yes the "B' channel just sounds softer.

Now it's confirmed I planned to move the internal crossover to outside the box for better tweaking and checking. I opened both boxes & smells 22 years old odors of this spica. All drivers were in unbelievable good condition, original French Audax including hand markings for each driver to match the crossover. Not to forget, thick genuine sheep wool blankets

So lets see the crossover, as said in the forums, electrolyte capacitors , those yellow things says ECI on the marking. Hell of electrolytes, after more than 20 years !. Inductors are cheap ones with ferrite cores both for high & low frequencies. Resistors are good metal oxyde though.

One elco is not in good condition, white thing comes out so must be leaking then. Here is my old story about electrolytes in loud speaker. Not bad, one out of 10 elco after 20 years!. I just replaced it temporarily with cheap MKP until I have the mood for tweaking.

Leaking capacitor
Now it's the turn of the enclosures - a closed box with no leaks. I have to make sure of no leaks all the time.
I reversed the bolt and nuts for crossover PCB to be mounted out the box on the rear side. Notice white glue and rubber washer..no leakage.

Hmm..does not look pretty yet. I'll put the board in a box when all is tweaked right..that's a promise for an old friend. How its measures now? well quite ok I think, both box sounds more balanced now.

Here is the crossover as per today :) waiting for better components, some are almost ready and still in 'burning' process. Nichicon Muses and BP, recycled Philipes- Epcos- Wima MKC , some green and silverish Russian paper in oil and maybe a pair of 30uF big oil can?..who knows.

As for now I felt little to be modified, its sounds already good enough for me, groans-moans and throat sounds of Diana Krall's voice is just awesome also her piano 'kick'.  Maybe I need to remove a little harshness and sibilance a bit for complex music. That's the next tweaks are for. Thanks for visiting.

Kamis, 19 Agustus 2010

There are second chances in my simple life : Spica TC50 speaker

Have you ever thought that you'd have to make choices in the past, well a luxury choices that is. And all a sudden there you are, after say more than 10 good years being confronted again with the second chance right in front of you, dejavu all over again :).

Mine happened long time ago when I was still a near graduation student in the Netherlands. I started looking for a pair of serious loudspeaker to take home and live with it..just like a wife isn't ? except it comes in pair :).

At that time I was considering an unusual speaker, Magnepan SMGa and another pair which I have listened at my well funded friend apartment, Spica TC50 driven by high-endish gears such as Goldmund turn table with Van den Hul Grasshopper cartridge, Aitos tube MC Pre-pre and Aitos tube power. Really an experience not to forget to hear the sound.

Finally I married to the Maggie SMGa, took her back to my country home after graduation. Why SMGa? they are more expensive than the Spica, more than 3 times. The reason was that Maggie in combination with my system at that time, second hands Counterpoint tube pre & hybrid power amp sounds quite good, maybe scoring a decent 6 points out of 10 points of my friends gears.

Fast forward to present time, I started doing DIY audio thing and with several 'hardcore' audio friends planned a visit to a place known as electronic ghetto in Jakarta, a Bronx kind of place with many unexpected audio jewels if you're lucky.

And how lucky was I indeed. In one of the shop I saw a familiar sight...a TC50 Spica..to be honest I'm bit disappointed to see both grills full of holes and one of them are totally broken into 3 pieces. Hmm..lets see the speaker driver then..looks unfamiliar though, especially the woofer, not the same as my friends. Need to gather more info on the net after asking the price, quite pricey for jewel from the past. Got home and started browsing.

Here is a link on the net.  Yup exactly, the Spica's have stood bravely the cruel tests of the time. With many fanatics. A proof that the TC50 is a legendary loudspeaker. Woofers and tweeters are no longer in production, the designer John Bau just don't want to continue his creation, etc. etc...

To cut the story short, the next day I went back and got myself one of my 'youth' mistakes home to correct, a pair of legendary TC50-Spica, here is the pic. the date was 12th April 2009, just maybe after 10 years, nope, more than 18 years later, can you believe it?

Talk about second chance? I will give this Spica a real second chance..it needed too.., one speaker sounds not as loud as the other, the grill have to be made anew..hmmm..sounds yummy for a tweaker like me..so the story will continue for sure..thanks for reading