Focal JM Lab Mezzo Utopia modification

VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
While the stock components are solid, can always improve!

Just starting the thread with the stock pictures, will update later

This will be an all out build

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- Not Tom

Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

"No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
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Comments

  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    All parts after almost 20 years were right on spec...

    .2 MH / .19 DCR (tweeter shunt)
    3 MH / .29 DCR (First series Inductor in woofer network)
    3 MH / 1 ohms (Second series inductor in woofer)
    2 x .7 MH / .4 ohm (mid series)
    1 x 2mh/.18 ohm (mid shunt)

    Cap values –
    1.46 (versus 1.5)
    218 (versus 220)
    8.16 (versus 8.2)
    3.9 (versus 3.9)
    49.38 (versus 50)
    49.76 (versus 50)
    15 (versus 15)

    Resistor values –
    3.63 (versus 3.6)
    1.26 (versus 1.2)
    .61 (versus .6)
    4.8 (versus 4.7)
    6.8 (versus 6.8)
    6.79 (versus 6.8)
    6.79 (versus 6.8)
    1.24 (versus 1.2)




    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 21,472
    The stock crossovers were very well built it appears... where can you possibly go from there, especially with them still being within specs.?
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Diamond v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    Saying that it's "too hard" to pursue your dreams is no different than admitting to yourself that you are too lazy to achieve them.

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    They are well built, but they are also low end parts (respectively)…

    These parts align with Solen as far as quality... (they were actually made by solen)

    So my first objective will be Clarity Cap CMR throughout, even shunt parts, except the 220uf which will be Clarity ESA)

    Sand cast resistors are garbage, so path audio throughout

    Inductors are good, but they are bobbin wound, so I will go with perfect lay and replace all of the iron core inductors with air core/film as possible to match spec.

    Resistors and caps have come a long, long way in 20 years!

    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,198
    If this is an all out build have you considered Higher end Mundorf or even Jupiter caps instead?
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Im not willing to push the budget that far and I know the performance CMR can provide. I did consider Duelund in some parts, but again, significant price increase.
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 21,472
    Dueland caps?
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Diamond v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    Saying that it's "too hard" to pursue your dreams is no different than admitting to yourself that you are too lazy to achieve them.

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Duelund makes caps, but they are extremely pricey, even the RS series which is "entry"
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,659
    edited March 13
    VR3 wrote: »
    Duelund makes caps, but they are extremely pricey, even the RS series which is "entry"

    Yea they make Clarity CMR look like entry level in cost.
    Post edited by pitdogg2 on
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    True that... I would have to build a second set of speakers just to put the parts in!
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    The iron core bass inductor as an air core weighs a whopping 7 pounds of copper. Love it.

    Inductors ordered!

    Only parts I am missing are the Clarity CMR 25ufs to make the 50uf :p
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,659
    What is that 22000 axon ? Is that the 220uf cap? That looks yuuuuuuge
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Yes 220uf, it's a big boy
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,659
    VR3 wrote: »
    Yes 220uf, it's a big boy

    I can't imagine how big that will be in a 400v CMR
    WHOA!!
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Yeah, I'm not going cmr there because I would have to use 10, 22uf caps, which would be 2k in caps, not gonna happen.

    I broke my rule on this cap because it's in the shunt position. I am using a 180uf and a 40uf Esa 250v because I got them on close out...

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    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    An interesting comparison is to see what JM Lab did the next generation (the Alto). They used similar parts but you can see they removed all iron core inductors and they upped the resistor quality...
    1oq3z9vuf0uc.jpg

    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,010
    The gauge of the wires is significantly different as well. I think the cords to my stove and clothes dryer are smaller than those stock Utopia wires!

    Sooo...while these speakers are out-of-commission, what are the backups???
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,613
    Just a question, with these larger caps does it take longer for these speakers to warm up when they've been sitting ??
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    edited March 13
    I haven't used the Utopias in months due to construction in the living room, they are boxed up. Wilson cubs in the office are keeping me entertained and the living room has the full in ceiling and in floor set up for movies.

    Can't say I have noticed a warm up period... But they take 300 hours to break in... Just note, with the cmr, you are not actually seeing the capacitor. The cap is inside the thick red tube and the ends are epoxy filled. The cmr when you click it with your finger, it feels like a spring
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,010
    Well, I traded you two pair of speakers (plus more) in obtaining my Mezzo Utopias from you, so I know you should have alternates B)
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • SIHABSIHAB Posts: 1,483
    VR3 wrote: »
    The iron core bass inductor as an air core weighs a whopping 7 pounds of copper. Love it.

    Inductors ordered!

    Only parts I am missing are the Clarity CMR 25ufs to make the 50uf :p

    Funny, I was going to ask you about the iron inductors and if you liked
    the effect/sound. I'll show my ignorance and ask if they are actually needed
    in speaker Xovers?
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Iron cores meet a design goal... Cost and space.
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Big ol 25uf caps have been ordered! 10 to 12 week wait... should work out perfect!
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    edited March 17
    Had some spare time and my wandering mind has been contemplating the internal wiring scenario...

    Removed all of the internal wiring, except for the bass driver (can be done later)

    Replaced the tweeter diaphragm with a new one I ordered from Focal a while back. Supposed to be spec for spec the same but I figured since the original has a foam surround, it cant hurt! (no ferrofluid thankfully)

    The best part about this was the fact the WBT posts have never been soldered, which will make it much easier to change the main incoming wiring...

    The lead plate in the bass enclosure has come loose, I am thinking about simply removing this and putting dynamat in its place....

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    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    I sent email to focal about the enclosure. The midrange and tweeter cabinet are NOT sealed off in the wiring channels. This would in theory increase the enclosure size that the midrange sees. Given that the tweeter cabinet is purely a place holder for the tweeter and the connectors, built of 1/2" MDF and NOT properly sealed, this is a curious choice (and or error?). Will see what they say!
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    edited March 17
    So Im getting kind of jacked up about this... haha

    Planning to use DH Labs Q10 from the binding post to the networks and DH Labs T14 to the drivers and for any lead extensions.

    Going to remove any lead plates and properly dispose, replace foam with GR Research No Rez, which would effectively dampen the enclosure and negate back wave.
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,575
    This has me curious too. If I understand you correctly, it’s similar to the leakage I was getting between internal compartments on the Elacs?
    Cannot be part of the design as I would think one would affect the other. Should have been sealed at the wire hole
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,467
    Right, it looks like a complete oversite in the manufacturing process. *unless other pairs are sealed and mine are not*

    And if you read the stereophile review, they noted an odd resonance in the midrange... of which I would absolutely contribute to this...

    Will post Focals response when/if I receive it. They have been very forthcoming with info on the Mezzo so far though :)
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,659
    VR3 wrote: »
    Planning to use DH Labs Q10 from the binding post to the networks and DH Labs T14 to the drivers and for any lead extensions.
    OK now you have me jacked up. I want to rewire my 2.3tl's with their OCC 14a. Silver plated copper.
    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,575
    edited March 17
    Andrew Jones admitted to me that the first run Adante’s had the known issue of the mid/tweeter plate that the wires went through had a poor seal on it.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
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