The Tale Of 5 Tweeters - SDA Tweeter Replacement Guide

Introduction

This article is aimed at those who want to be sure that they are choosing replacement and upgrade tweeters according to Polk's specifications and recommendations. Of course, owners are free to make whatever tweeter and driver replacements/substitutions they wish with their speakers. Some owners my subjectively believe that a non-standard tweeter replacement sounds better.

The five tweeters used in the SDA series are: the SL1000, the SL2000, the SL3000, the RD0194, and the RD0198.

The RD0194 silk dome tweeter is the appropriate replacement for the SL1000 and SL2000. The RD0194 is a drop in replacement for the SL2000, but not for the SL1000 since they are different sizes and have different footprints. Fitting an RD0194 into a cabinet made for the SL1000 will require some cabinet modification.

The RD0198 silk dome tweeter is the appropriate drop in replacement for the SL3000 tweeter used in the fifth generation SDA SRS series and in the RTA 15TL and RTA 11TL. The SL2500 is a cost reduced derivative of the SL3000 design. It was used in the Monitor 2 series speakers and in the RTA 8TL of the RTA series.

An alternative to the newer RD0 silk dome tweeter models is to track down the actual SL series tweeter, but those are not always available. Whatever replacement tweeter is chosen, it is highly recommend to invest in a Dayton Audio DATS V2 Audio Test System ($100) (or a similar speaker tester) in order to make sure that the tweeter is in proper working order.

Table 1 gives the typical electrical performance parameters of four of the five standard SDA tweeters. The nominal impedance of the SL2000 and RD0194 tweeters is 7.5 ohms. The nominal impedance of the SL2500, SL3000, and RD0198 tweeters is 5.6 ohms. The measurements in table 1 were made using the Dayton Audio DATS V2 Audio Test System.
Table 1. Measured Electrical Parameters Of SDA Tweeters
rf0p7w4wqpcy.jpg

Glossary of terms for table 1:

Qts - A measurement of the total electrical and mechanical control of a driver. (no units)

Qms - A measurement of the control coming from the speaker's mechanical suspension system (the surround and spider). (no units)

Qes - A measurement of the the control coming from the speaker's electrical suspension system (the voice coil and magnet). (no units)

fs - A measurement of the free air resonance of a driver. This is the point at which driver impedance is maximum. It is the point at which the weight of the moving parts of the speaker becomes balanced with the force of the speaker suspension when in motion. (measured in Hertz)

Re - The DC resistance (DCR) of the driver. This measurement will almost always be less than the driver's nominal impedance. (measured in ohms)

Zmax - The driver's impedance at resonance. (measured in ohms)

Le - A measurement of the voice coil inductance. As frequencies get higher there will be a rise in impedance above Re. This is because the voice coil is acting as an inductor. Consequently, the impedance of a speaker is not a fixed resistance, but can be represented as a curve that changes as the input frequency changes. Maximum impedance (Zmax) occurs at fs. (measured in millihenries)

The measured values in table 1 provide some quantitative insight into why the RD0 series tweeters are upgrades to the SL series tweeters and why they are subjectively preferred by many SDA enthusiasts.

Test Tweeters

I had SL2000, SL3000, RD0194, and RD0198 tweeters on hand. I found a used SL2500 tweeter and two new old stock SL2500 tweeters on eBay. As of this writing, I have not located SL1000 tweeters that I felt comfortable with purchasing.

jk8ena790oue.jpg
Figure 1. SL2500 tweeters.

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Figure 2. Column 1-SL2500 tweeters, Column 2-SL3000 tweeters, Column 3-RD0198 tweeters.

41danrbbgin6.jpg
Figure 3. SL2500 left, SL3000 right.

The SL2500 is similar in construction to the SL3000, and could be used as a replacement for the SL3000. However, as its overall lower Q measurements show, the SL2500 has lower performance with regard to driver control. This translates to lower performance in reproducing high frequency speed and detail.

Conversely, the RD0 series replacement tweeters have overall better driver control performance than their respective SL series counterparts.

The dome of the SL3000 has a shiny metallic appearance due to its vapor deposited metal layers. The SL3000 dome is composed of a triple layered (Tri-laminate, or "TL") construction with a top layer of stainless steel, second layer of aluminum, and third layer of clear polyamide. The SL2500 has a dull appearance and has a black polymer coating on the front and rear sides. It is not clear to me at this time if the SL2500's dome has a triple layer (Tri-laminate) structure similar to the SL3000's.

5r7xlbmuv5no.jpg
Figure 4. Rear side of SL2500 dome, left. Rear side of SL3000 dome, right.

bpmeqab9lrtl.jpg
Figure 5. SL2000 left, RD0194 right.

The 1989 versions of the SDA CRS+ and SDA 2B can be modified to support replacement of the SL2000 tweeter with either the SL3000 or RD0198 tweeters. The modification consists of the addition of a 5.8 uF capacitor in parallel with the 2.7 ohm resistor. This modification creates a contour network that corrects the rising high frequency response that would result from installing the SL3000 or RD0198 in these speakers. The SDA CRS+ and SDA 2B use the same crossover circuit.

Phase And Impedance Curves

The following phase and impedance curves for the SL2000, SL2500, SL3000, RD0194, and RD0198 tweeters are given in figures 6-10. In addition to the difference in DC resistance between the SL1000/SL2000/RD0194 and SL2500/SL3000/RD0198 tweeters, the differences in phase and impedance response highlight another reason why tweeter replacements must be chosen with care.

k60tgrjai18r.jpg
Figure 6. Phase and impedance curves for SL2000 tweeter.

uht4mwym2lbs.jpg
Figure 7. Phase and impedance curves for RD0194 tweeter.

kkhvnz4wngq0.jpg
Figure 8. Phase and impedance curves for SL2500 tweeter.

3nxj3qhc4b2e.jpg
Figure 9. Phase and impedance curves for SL3000 tweeter.

npis6m5t9we8.jpg
Figure 10. Phase and impedance curves for RD0198 tweeter.

PDF versions of these curves are attached below.
"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
«13

Comments

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,607
    edited August 9
    Ray, nice work and I'm sure many will benefit from it.
    Post edited by KennethSwauger on
    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."


  • westmassguywestmassguy Posts: 6,166
    Outstanding. I have a spare SL1000 I'd be happy to send you Ray.
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  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    Jesse, I don't do lost causes. :)
    I wish everyone happiness with the tweeters of their choice. ;)
    "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
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,448
    Outstanding Ray.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    Outstanding. I have a spare SL1000 I'd be happy to send you Ray.

    PM Sent.

    "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
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,526
    Splendid, thank you. This needs to be preserved for the ages (and I am not being facetious).
  • xschopxschop Posts: 875
    Very concise write-up. Can you tell if the 194's plastic frame is thinner or cast differently than the 2500/3000 frames?
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,607
    I don't think the plastic is thinner, but the casting is very different.
    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."


  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,348
    Excellent write up Ray. Thank you for taking the time.
    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." :\

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

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  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    edited August 5
    xschop wrote: »
    Can you tell if the 194's plastic frame is thinner or cast differently than the 2500/3000 frames?

    Thank you for your question. It allowed me to clear up a long-standing misconception I held about the RD0 tweeters' frame construction.

    With all the 2500/3000 frames' extensive cross bracing and deeper curvature, I expected them to be thicker, heavier, and more rigid than the RD0194 frames. The opposite was true.

    The RD0194 frame is actually 5.7 grams heavier than the SL3000 frame and 1.29 millimeters thicker at the center cutout. In fact, after taking thickness measurements, I placed the empty frames side by side and could easily see that the frame thickness at the RD0194's center cutout was substantially greater than that of the SL3000. Similarly, the RD0198 frame weighed 30.1 grams and was 3.36 mm thick at the center hole.

    The RD0 frames are also more rigid when trying to bend them using two hands.

    Upon receipt of my first RD0 tweeters, I vividly recall thinking that Polk had "cheaped out" on the frame construction. In this case my eyes deceived me, so my apologies to Polk for condemnation before investigation.

    This measurement exercise provided more insight into the RD0 tweeter's superior electrical and mechanical construction. I wish Polk had done a white paper on these tweeters similar to the one done for the SL3000.

    q09gnjckkcva.jpg
    RD0194 frame on left, SL2500 center, SL3000 right. The SL2500/SL3000 frames are identical.

    2dtw6xm5vtso.jpg
    RD0194 frame on left, SL3000 frame on right.

    do3zbilfapss.jpg
    The SL3000 frame weighed 23.8 grams.

    wxoobx5p4idw.jpg
    The RD0194 frame weighed 29.5 grams.

    6ioyw9q5d175.jpg
    SL3000 frame thickness around center hole was 2.07 mm.

    4bkwmjnqqlq0.jpg
    RD0194 frame thickness around center hole was 3.36 mm.

    ynyahzcat724.jpg
    The RD0198 frame weighed 30.1 grams.

    43bp4elzd09u.jpg
    Due to the integrated structure of the frame and voice coil/dome assembly, I could not do a stand alone weighing of the SL2000's frame
    Post edited by DarqueKnight on
    "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
  • xschopxschop Posts: 875
    Again, thorough inspection.Thank you. I had a couple 194's that had severe plane run-out (flatness) where they bolted to the baffle. They contorted then resonated in certain frequencies when bolted down.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    xschop wrote: »
    Again, thorough inspection.Thank you. I had a couple 194's that had severe plane run-out (flatness) where they bolted to the baffle. They contorted then resonated in certain frequencies when bolted down.

    Did you return them for replacement?
    "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
  • leftwinger57leftwinger57 Posts: 2,901
    Clearly music is subjective because it's an art form and all are entitled to their opinions. When it comes to proven science there should be no wiggle room w the exception of stubbornness. No golden ear here but when I changed out my old scratchy SL1000s to the drop in RDO -194 there was a better and extended listening time w/ the newer replacement tweeters. i can't be any more clear and direct than that......Lew

    I did notice that if tightened w/ the machine screws Toolfan provided it could warp the frame so I backed off and w/ the gasket made for an air tight seal...No TL mod here....
    2chl- Adcom GFA- 555-Onkyo P-3150v pre/amp- JVC-QL-A200 tt- Denon 1940 ci cdp- Adcom GFS-6 -Modded '87 SDA 2Bs - Dynamat Ext.- BH-5- X-Overs VR-3, RDO-194 tweeters, Larry's Rings, Speakon/Neutrik I/C- Cherry stain tops Advent Maestros,Ohm model E

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  • xschopxschop Posts: 875
    To Toolfan, the first set were donated and I kept for another rainy day project. The other set was new and sent back by person I helped with 10b's.
    Were going to try the Dayton DC28F when I get some more adapter plates done.

    To Dark knight, can you lift the SL2500 vs the SL3000 domes with a strong magnet? Depending on the amalgam of stainless, it may determine whether the 2500 has a metallic layer or not. JAT
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    xschop wrote: »
    To Dark knight, can you lift the SL2500 vs the SL3000 domes with a strong magnet? Depending on the amalgam of stainless, it may determine whether the 2500 has a metallic layer or not. JAT

    I wouldn't have expected either of the domes to have a magnetic metallic layer due to the tweeter magnet's strong magnetic field. I tried it anyway with the magnet of one of the tweeters and with another strong magnet that I use to clip notes to the side of my refrigerator. There was no magnetic attraction with either the 2500 or the 3000 dome.

    The SL3000's dome is translucent and allows points of light through. All of the three SL2500 domes totally block light. I used the "light test" to see if I could see any indication of a metallic layer behind the black polymer coating. One of my SL2500s was manufactured in 1991. The other two were manufactured in 1994.

    19hzqlx9othb.jpg
    Light test: SL3000 dome on top of a flashlight.

    gscezqefbcwp.jpg
    The SL3000 dome is translucent and allows points of light through.

    The layer structure of the SL3000's Tri-laminate dome structure is as follows:

    Top-Stainless steel, 0.00000394" thick.
    Middle-Aluminum, 0.00000394" thick.
    Bottom-Polyamide, 0.004".

    Source: SL3000 Dome Tweeter white paper, September 1989.

    jvfy50ccitfz.jpg
    Light test: SL2500 dome on top of a flashlight.

    m682f6c0tmp2.jpg
    The SL2500 dome is opaque and blocks all light.
    "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
  • xschopxschop Posts: 875
    At this point, the only way someone could definitively conclude the sl2500 having metallic layer is via GC/MS. Doubtful anyone here has one in the garage hehe.
  • mlistens03mlistens03 Posts: 2,322
    Great write-up, thanks! This will come in handy for many people (including myself).
    Micah

    Main system: Technics SL3200, Shure M97xE, Lafayette LR1100 for tuner, Hagerman Audio Labs Bugle 2 phono stage, NAD C352 integrated, Boston Acoustics VR 2, Boston PV500, generic ICs, and BJC Belden speaker cables.

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    I've always thought the goal of high-end audio was not to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Turn that darn music down' but to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Tell your friends to go home and you can practice later this week'.
  • xschopxschop Posts: 875
    Yes, please pardon my scientific methodology interjection.
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 23,899
    edited August 6



    Great scientific analysis from an engineer.
    H9.

    P.s. I have RD0194's in my 5B's and (2) pairs in my1C's. I have not noticed any sort of vibration, ringing or resonation in the 8 years I've owned them. Not very scientific, but it's my experience so that's really all that matters.

    P.s.s Thank you DK for yet another thorough write up and analysis. Definitely very informative.



    Post edited by KennethSwauger on
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • sbb2112sbb2112 Posts: 69
    As an engineer, I tend to like to see data to support a conclusion. There are times that gathering data is difficult due to lack of knowledge of scientific methods of collecting or lack of proper equipment to do so. Sometimes an observation or opinion is just that without real supporting methods. I think there are 2 completely different things going on here. DK has posted factual data on all the tweeters listed and I have a better understanding of the differences because of it. My interpretation of the way the different sounds produced is my opinion and not a fact. In the end, I use the data to form a better opinion of the real world. I usually don't put out something with out either some data or a theory to support my opinions.
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  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 603
    GREAT information. TY :)

    Just throwing this out there. Any chance of a similar thread with data for the peerless, Denmark and USA, and maybe even the MT replacement. Non destructive of course. I am mainly curious about the specs.

    I'd be curious about the frequency response curves for all of the above, although I think some may be already out there. I know there is one for the SL2000, and I think one was provided for the RD0-198 that showed the attenuation as the frequency increased.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    pkquat wrote: »
    GREAT information. TY :)

    Just throwing this out there. Any chance of a similar thread with data for the peerless, Denmark and USA, and maybe even the MT replacement.

    I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope for that. :)
    "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
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,448
    pkquat wrote: »
    GREAT information. TY :)

    Just throwing this out there. Any chance of a similar thread with data for the peerless, Denmark and USA, and maybe even the MT replacement. Non destructive of course. I am mainly curious about the specs.

    I'd be curious about the frequency response curves for all of the above, although I think some may be already out there. I know there is one for the SL2000, and I think one was provided for the RD0-198 that showed the attenuation as the frequency increased.

    Do a search Keith (Geppy1) had a thread on those back before the Vanilla switch.
  • gimpodgimpod Posts: 1,759
    Great job DK I've bookmarked it, lots of good info here should be a sticky.
    Pink Floyd, Just makes me want to turn it up too 12 and share it with the world!!. JMO
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  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,526
    gimpod wrote: »
    Great job DK I've bookmarked it, lots of good info here should be a sticky.


    Hey, howdy! How are you doing, sir?
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 603
    pkquat wrote: »
    GREAT information. TY :)

    Just throwing this out there. Any chance of a similar thread with data for the peerless, Denmark and USA, and maybe even the MT replacement.

    I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope for that. :)
    A little hope it is then :)

    gimpod wrote: »
    Great job DK I've bookmarked it, lots of good info here should be a sticky.
    How many agree's are needed to make this happen.

    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Do a search Keith (Geppy1) had a thread on those back before the Vanilla switch.
    I found this one, which I knew about. Do your remember one with specs?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 11,448
    pkquat wrote: »

    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Do a search Keith (Geppy1) had a thread on those back before the Vanilla switch.
    I found this one, which I knew about. Do your remember one with specs?

    No Keith is not like Raife, he does not have the equipment for that.

  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,473
    I'm for a sticky for sure!

    It's nice to know the replacement tweeters are BETTER than the originals in substance and performance. B)

    They sound softer at first but then they sound right after a couple of weeks. That's my experience with the RD-0194 replacements anyway. Sibilance is greatly reduced too.

    Thank you Raife for doing that study! ;)
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,339
    edited August 8
    SDA Tweeter Measurements Table Revised To Include SL1000 Tweeter

    Thanks to David (@westmassguy) for the loan of the SL1000 Tweeter.

    ducb56bqq98p.jpg
    I like the SL1000's elegant brushed aluminum frame.

    uk8x9joa34gi.jpg

    Table 2. Measured Electrical Parameters Of SDA Tweeters (Revised)
    7kriuhj77mf7.jpg


    lh3hnwvsh7jf.jpg
    Phase and impedance curves for the SL1000 tweeter.


    A PDF copy of the phase and impedance plot is attached below.
    "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
  • HzTweakerHzTweaker Posts: 457
    Fantastic thread! There's a lot of good information here. Thanks DK.
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«13
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