A slightly different take on the Dreadnought

F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,670
edited December 2013 in Vintage Speakers
For many years I wanted to upgrade the AI-1 SDA cable on my stock AI-1, but I wanted to keep the original pin/blade type terminal and socket because I never liked the idea of using binding posts for the connections. I don't know exactly why, I just didn't. I looked and looked for something that would work, but never did find anything. Along came the Dreadnought. I liked the idea of using a better isolation transformer, but still didn't want to use binding posts, so I did nothing. Then at one point another Polkie and I were looking at having new pin/blade terminals made, but that never panned out. When the 1000V Avel deal came up I knew it was time to abandon my hope of finding a pin/blade type terminal and look for something else. I found the Neutrik Speakon connectors and decided that is what I would use.

Since I use the excellent MIT Shotgun S1 cables I wanted to use the same for my new SDA cable. I talked with the good folks at MIT about this and they didn't think their cables with the network boxes would be a good idea as those boxes are directional. They suggested using the Shotgun cable without the boxes, so I acquired 16 feet. They warned me that this cable was a pain to terminate and they were right. The guts are not simply your typical stranded wire and that's probably all I should say about that. I have to thank the good folks at MIT for making this possible, thank you!

So, with the cable decided on I made very careful measurements to find out which of Neutrik connectors would work. I found that the NLT4MP-BAG female chassis socket would just fit between the upper Cardas binding posts on my 2.3TL's in place of the stock pin/blade socket. I chose the NLT4FX-BAG for the male end. As the MIT cable measures 21mm in diameter and the maximum inside diameter at the tail end of the NLT4FX-BAG shell is only 16mm I had to remove the rubber bushing, the metal ring that holds it in place and the plastic locking device inside the shell. That still wasn't enough, so I had to use my Dremel to enlarge the end of the shell. Let me tell you that was a lot of work. Things went very smoothly after that and the cables were done.

Needing an enclosure for the transformer I looked around and found something I liked from a company in China, but their stock sizes weren't what I wanted or needed, so I asked about custom sizes to which they said sure. After sending them my drawings they got back to me saying sure, no problem, but we have a minimum order of 10 for custom work. Since I didn't need 10 I dropped that idea and looked elsewhere. I talked with a certain someone (THANK YOU!) that was willing to make me a one off and placed the order.

The work on the binding post plate to accommodate the Neutrik chassis socket was a bit tricky because it's a one shot deal, but all went smoothly and installing the Avel in the enclosure was straight forward. I'm leaving out some of the finer details in this project, but I would suggest that one should have a certain level of knowledge, the right tools and the skill set required before tackling such a project. If anyone has specific questions, I would be glad to help.

I would like to thank all those that have gone before me on similar projects. You shared your knowledge, experiences and gave me ideas to work with. You guys make this forum the best around.

Oh yeah, sounds GREAT!!!

DSC01284.jpg

Both cables finished.

DSC01286.jpg

Close up of the Neutrik connector.

DSC01763.jpg

The Neutrik chassis socket installed. MIT jumpers, of course!

DSC01991.jpg

I tried black cap screws first....nah

DSC01993.jpg

With stainless steel cap screws.....much better.

DSC01997.jpg

The cover lined with Dynamat.

DSC01998.jpg

The guts. Stainless steel hardware was used to attach the transformer.

DSC02011.jpg

Behind the antique table I use for my gear.

DSC02021.jpg

Damn, she's pretty.
Political Correctness'.........defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


President of Club Polk

Post edited by F1nut on
«13

Comments

  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,432
    edited January 2013
    Looks fantastic Jesse! What do you think of the sound of the Dreadnought itself? That is imaging, soundstage, detail, etc? Thanks for sharing this.
    Relayer-Big-O-Poster.jpg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:
    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\
    My response is: If you need 60 seconds to respond in one sentence, you probably should't be evaluating Polk speakers.....


    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee
  • george danielgeorge daniel Posts: 11,992
    edited January 2013
    well someone just raised the bar! Atta'boy Jesse.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)
  • DrenisDrenis Posts: 2,872
    edited January 2013
    Very nicely done.

    I'll be doing something similar but with a different MIT cable that works with what I'm currently running. Unfortunately I have to use binding posts on the case. I'm not to particular for that though.

    Nice jumpers too.
  • KennethSwaugerKennethSwauger Moderator Posts: 6,846
    edited January 2013
    A beautiful job, Jesse! Nicely done!
    "They thought we were too loud, but shoot, I had four army blankets folded over my amp, and the volume level was on 2. I'm used to playin' on 10!" S.R.V.
  • brgmanbrgman Posts: 2,857
    edited January 2013
    That's great looking stuff man.
    The shotgun cable had to be a bear to work with.
    what are the jumpers made from?
    I'M OFFENDED!!!!!


    2 CH-Rogue Audio Zeus w/Factory Special Extreme Mods,Joule-Electra 300ME Platinum Preamp,OPPO-105 w/Modwright Tube Mod, Auralic Aries Extreme Server,Polk 2.3TL,3.1TL's,Dreadnaught,RTA-15TL's,1C's All Fully Modded,2xRTA-12c's Partially Modded,Benchmark DAC2 HGC,Synology NAS,VPI Scout w/Dynavector DV-20XH and Rogue Audio Ares Phono Preamp,Sony PCM-R500 DAT,HHB-850 Pro CDR,Tascam CC-222SLMKII Cassette/CDR,MIT S3.3 Shotgun Cables,Shunyata Hyra-8,Shunyata and Triode Labs Power Cords

  • thsmiththsmith Posts: 6,092
    edited January 2013
    Excellent ! Nice work Jesse.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,817
    edited January 2013
    brgman wrote: »
    That's great looking stuff man.
    The shotgun cable had to be a bear to work with.
    what are the jumpers made from?

    Those are Shotgun jumpers. They do make jumpers for their stuff you just have to call and custom order them. With that said they only make jumpers for their higher end speaker cables, no no jumpers for any EXp folks :sad:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,248
    edited January 2013
    Nice!!! I am so making these changes!!!


    Great job Jesse!!
  • nspindelnspindel Posts: 5,346
    edited January 2013
    Outstanding! Welcome to Club Dreadnaught!
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.
  • striderstrider Posts: 2,569
    edited January 2013
    M'eh, it's ok.
















    Just kidding, good work as always my friend!
    Wristwatch--->Crisco
  • drumminmandrumminman Posts: 3,368
    edited January 2013
    Nice work Jesse.

    I'm curious though, what don't you like about using spades for the AI-1 cable?
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills/jantzen inductors, Gimpod's boards, Lg Solen SDA inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips, interior of cabinets sealed with Loctite Power Grab, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer
  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,604
    edited January 2013
    Beautiful work. We are lucky to have a genius among us! Can only imagine the crazy sounds coming from any of your systems!!
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,058
    edited January 2013
    I really hate you SDA guys...makin' me want a pair of my own so I can create beautiful Toroidal artwork too... :mrgreen:
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited January 2013
    Nice job Jesse!
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,248
    edited January 2013
    Oh yeah BTW nice looking case!! Who made that for you?? LOL!!:cheesygrin:
  • MillerLiteScottMillerLiteScott Posts: 2,568
    edited January 2013
    Looks great Jesse!!! Top notch. Looks like McLaren made it.
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,670
    edited January 2013
    headrott wrote: »
    Looks fantastic Jesse! What do you think of the sound of the Dreadnought itself? That is imaging, soundstage, detail, etc? Thanks for sharing this.

    Thanks Greg.

    Yes, it is all there better than before.
    brgman wrote:
    what are the jumpers made from?

    MIT's, of course.
    drumminman wrote:
    I'm curious though, what don't you like about using spades for the AI-1 cable?

    Spades always come loose, always. The only reason I'm using spades on the jumpers is because my speaker cables use bananas. Every once in a while I check the spades and sure enough, one or two will be loose and believe me, I torque the hell out of 'em.
    Toolfan66 wrote:
    Oh yeah BTW nice looking case!! Who made that for you??

    Yeah, I wasn't sure you wanted me to say. Folks, Larry made the case and the faceplates.
    Looks like McLaren made it.

    LOL.....Yep, Larry McLaren. :wink:
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited January 2013
    Excellent work Jesse, as usual.

    F1nut wrote: »
    Spades always come loose, always. The only reason I'm using spades on the jumpers is because my speaker cables use bananas. Every once in a while I check the spades and sure enough, one or two will be loose and believe me, I torque the hell out of 'em.

    You might want to look into AudioQuest spades. Mine have never became loose, even with very heavy speaker cables pulling on them. I always have to use a wrench to loosen the Cardas posts when I want to remove them. If this is something you want to pursue, AQ is good about making product recommendations for specific applications.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DawgfishDawgfish Posts: 2,557
    edited January 2013
    Very nice F1! I have heard that Dreadnoughts improve the sound of SDAs over using stock or aftermarket SDA cables even when using common ground amps where a Dreadnought is not needed. Is this correct and if so what kind of improvements did you notice? I've been debating for some time on trying one with my SDAs using common ground amps.
  • drumminmandrumminman Posts: 3,368
    edited January 2013
    I built an 800VA Dreadnought and used it with a common ground amp. After a period of burn in (maybe 25-50 hours) the improvement was easily audible: music seemed to float in the air instead of coming from the speakers. More like live performers in the room. Instruments were clearer especially in complex passages, better transients, more tactile bass.

    Do it - I'm betting you'll love it. Avel Lindberg sells the 800VA transformer off the shelf too.

    If you search the forum you'll find some great "how to" posts.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills/jantzen inductors, Gimpod's boards, Lg Solen SDA inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips, interior of cabinets sealed with Loctite Power Grab, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer
  • nspindelnspindel Posts: 5,346
    edited January 2013
    The Dreadnaught definitely produces an improvement over a straight SDA connection when used with a common ground amp.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited January 2013
    drumminman wrote: »
    I built an 800VA Dreadnought and used it with a common ground amp. After a period of burn in (maybe 25-50 hours) the improvement was easily audible: music seemed to float in the air instead of coming from the speakers. More like live performers in the room. Instruments were clearer especially in complex passages, better transients, more tactile bass.
    nspindel wrote: »
    The Dreadnaught definitely produces an improvement over a straight SDA connection when used with a common ground amp.

    This is all in your mind...placebo effects.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • nspindelnspindel Posts: 5,346
    edited January 2013
    Just like cables.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.
  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,432
    edited January 2013
    Well, at least the Dreadnought "looks good" though.:rolleyes::razz::smile:
    Relayer-Big-O-Poster.jpg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:
    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\
    My response is: If you need 60 seconds to respond in one sentence, you probably should't be evaluating Polk speakers.....


    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee
  • vcwatkinsvcwatkins Posts: 1,909
    edited January 2013
    Outstanding F1.

    I've got my Dreadnought built (thanks Neil & Larry), but I'm mulling how to terminate at the speaker (currently updating CRS+'s). Will probably just default to Cardas spade. Wondering if I should, or even could, start breaking the DN in before speaks are done? It's KILLING me seeing the DN just sitting there.

    Craig
    Den: Rega RP6 * AT33PTGII * Budgie SUT * Jolida jd9 * Roon (Sonic Transporter) * PS Audio DirectStream Jr. * Joule-Electra LA-100 mkIII * Sunfire Signature II * PSAudio Power Plant 3 * MIT S3 * Polk SRS 1.2
    Office: Roon * Sonore UltraRendu (LPS-1, WW Plat7, Iso Regen, Lush) * ProJect Pre Box S2 * Pass ACA * PSA Dectet * DH Labs Q10 * Brines Folded ML-TQWT RS 40-1354
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  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,597
    edited January 2013
    Great write-up and beautiful work, F1nut!
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • helipilotdoughelipilotdoug Posts: 1,226
    edited January 2013
    Thanks for the great write-up. As usual Jesse, you have managed to raise the mark for the rest of us. Outstanding work! It's a shame it's hidden!
    Sunfire Theater Grand IV
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature
    SRS 2.1TL
    SDA 2BTL's
    CSiA6
    FXiA4
    FXiA6
    SDA 2A's
    Monitor 10A's

    http://www.douglasconnection.com
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,248
    edited January 2013
    Thought I would post this pic here as well. My case is done except the transformer. It's on it's way!!
    image.jpg



    Thanks Jesse!!:biggrin:
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,165
    edited January 2013
    High marks Jesse! Love the Neutrik connectors. They got everything covered.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • GlennDogGlennDog Posts: 2,032
    edited January 2013
    Toolfan66 wrote: »
    Thought I would post this pic here as well. My case is done except the transformer. It's on it's way!!

    just to be clear . . you've got a 1KVA tranny on its way? . . . . . cuz I've got a spare, thoughts?

    G
    Power Rogue M180 monos & Adcom GFA 5802
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    Pre/Pro Integra DHC 40.1
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