Dec 212012
 

There’s a lot of interest in upgrading the crossovers on Tannoy Westminster Royals, both the HE and SE versions. The word is that upgraded crossovers can deliver amazing improvements in the performance of Westminster Royals of any version.

Back in March of 2012 David King shared his Westminster Royal crossover upgrades with us, and told us about the major improvement it made in the performance of his system (Thanks David!).

Those who have been watching Jeff’s Place closely know that the previous importer for Tannoy in Cyprus, Charalambos Ioannou (he goes by Pambos), recently posted comments about his experiences with the Westminster Royal crossover upgrades he has done on his own Westminster Royals (below), as well as for a number of his customers that also have Westminster Royals.

Pambos Wests

Pambos and I have been corresponding by e-mail and he has sent me more details about his crossover upgrades that I know all of you will want to know about. Many thanks to Pambos for taking time to let us all know about his Westminster Royal crossover upgrades!

Here’s what Pambos told me about his experiences upgrading the Westminster Royal crossovers:

“All of them were the HE version, not the SE (current version). When they released the SE version I asked Tannoy for the upgrade kit, which they sent me, as you can see in the attachment (WESTMINSTER ROYAL SE UPGRADE KIT). What Tannoy actually did was upgrade the components of the crossover and the internal cables. But Tannoy only did a fraction of the upgrades that we have done! In some areas Tannoy actually degraded components instead of upgrading them!

I shall explain. I say “we” because all the pairs I bought and were sold to customers were upgraded in the same way, with outboard crossovers. What Tannoy did was upgrade to Hovland capacitors which are much better than the previous capacitors. The stock capacitors in the HE version cost 1 dollar each to buy, and the Hovlands cost $30 each! Tannoy also upgraded the stock 50-cent resistors to 2-dollar resistors! I am OK with this, these are decent upgrades. Not the best, but OK.

The mistake Tannoy made was that they degraded the inductors. They replaced the air core inductors with iron core inductors. As any High-End manufacturer of speakers will tell you, there is a HUGE difference in sound quality between air core and iron core inductors, in favor of the air core inductors. Iron core inductors are used either for very cheap toy-type speakers or for very big concert type professional speakers where they need huge inductors with high inductance (of course), and where sound quality comes second. These are the inductors you have in your speakers. How can you listen to them?

Here’s how we upgraded the crossovers in our Westminster Royals: We used Duelund capacitors & resistors, and high quality air core inductors. My pair is wired with Audio Note UK silver cables, which others avoided because of the high cost. But also for the Duelund components you need to spend a lot of money. The sound from the Tannoy crossovers with the Duelund and Audio Note UK upgrades is far, far, and away from what the stock Tannoy crossover gives. These upgrades transform the Westminster Royal into something in its own class. PURE sound. Crystal clear.”

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 2

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover

“Here are photos of different crossovers, all of them for the Westminster Royals I personally sold to customers. All outboard!”

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 3

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 4

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 5

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 6

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 7

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 8

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 9

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 10

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 11

Pambos Wests Custom Crossover 12

“I also sent you the schematic of the crossover which if you give to any audio technician he can build you the outboard crossover from scratch.”

Pambos Wests Crossover Schematic

“Here are the photos of the original tannoy crossover as it was in the HE version!”

Pambos Wests Original Crossover

Pambos Wests Original Crossover 2

Pambos also said, “And you definitely need to do also what David recommends. Especially the replacement of those cheap connectors inside, instead soldering the cables directly in every place Tannoy put male-female connectors.”

Pambos, I have to say that your crossover upgrades are very impressive indeed! Thank you so much for sharing with us what you have done. In looking at the two photos of the stock crossovers I have to admit they are wimpy looking compared to what you have done with your crossovers. Now I realize I’m going to have to do something with the crossovers in my Westminster Royal SEs. Stay tuned!

Updated December 30th 2012

Here’s a couple of other links related to modifying Tannoy crossovers that are interesting reads (sent to me by Mark Coles of Sablon Audio – thanks Mark!):

Makiek’s Tannoy Page: click here.

Troels Gravesen Tannoy Crossover Upgrade Page: click here. Mark suggested that Troels might potentially be persuaded to make Tannoy crossover upgrade kits should you be interested.

Here’s some photos from a follow-up message from Pambos: “I thought you might be interested to look at these photos also, as some of the readers of your web page have spoken about in-board upgrades of the crossover. This was from the in-board upgrade of 2 pairs of Royals we have done! You see, the difference in sound pleasure was so huge when we upgraded inboard with moderate components , that we then decided to spend more money to upgrade in even more expensive and more quality components which were so big we needed to go outboard.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks for the great photos Pambos!

Additional food for thought: I have received some very polite and respectful correspondance from Tannoy enthusiasts that have somewhat of a differing opinion from that expressed by Pambos and David (earlier) on the results of upgrading Tannoy crossovers. The correspondance was intended for me alone, but I thought I should share it because it provides an additional perspective on crossover upgrades. While these opinions are based on experiences upgrading crossovers from the Tannoy 15 DMT Mk II & Tannoy GRF Memory (and not Westminster Royal crossovers), the comments still may be relevant to your own particular tastes in audio. I know sometimes that a discussion of differing opinions can turn passionate, but I expect everyone to behave in gentlemanly fashion, so no flames please. Thank you.

Essentially the differing opinion is this (somewhat paraphrased): “I have read everything on your website about upgrading the Westminster Royal crossovers to a higher level. It is very nicely written and with beautiful photos! Based on our experiences over the last 10 years with similar upgrades to the crossovers of Tannoy 15 DMT Mk 2 and the GRF Memory we always felt 100% sure that the speakers became much better sonically with the upgrades and outboard crossovers. Then came a shock when we compared our upgraded 15 DMT Mk 2 to an unmodified Tannoy 15 DMT Mk 2. The modified 15 DMT Mk 2 speakers sounded better but the unmodified 15 DMT Mk 2 speakers played music better, having a more organic, more human, more musical sound. The modified speaker had lost ‘The Tannoy Sound’. 

Also, here’s another thing to keep in mind that we learned when upgrading Tannoy GRF Memory crossovers. Our first step was to take the crossovers out of the speakers and make outboard crossovers. Our second step was to change all the Tannoy parts for very high grade new parts. We found out to NEVER use parts with another load or specification other than what Tannoy originally used. We also learned that the way Tannoy soldered the capacitors (for the high frequencies) is very important. We also learned that the strange block (with Dutch ‘cement’ resistors) are very special. They are inductive!  

After doing all the Tannoy GRF Memory crossover upgrades we compared it to the original GRF and had similar results to the 15 DMT Mk 2 comparison – the sonics were improved but not the music playing ability. With the original Tannoy parts it was like heaven on earth with that delicious Tannoy sound. My point is that, of course, you can change the crossover of the Westminster Royal and get better audiophile-style sonics. But be careful, as you may compromise the musicality of the Original Tannoy Sound.” 

The topic of improving audiophile-style sonics at the expense of musicality is one that is near & dear to my heart (in fact I will be contributing an essay to a new audio book to be published on this very subject in the next year). I am not saying that there is a sonics versus musicality issue here with what Pambos and David have described in their upgrades to Westminster Royal crossovers. What I am saying is that you should proceed with your eyes wide open as you plan your upgrades as to the possibility that your outcome could end up the same way as what was discussed about the Tannoy DMT Mk 2 and GRM Memory upgrades above, where the results did not match the tastes of the listeners as they had hoped. Balancing the attributes of audiophile-style sonics and musicality is definitely possible, but just remember that not everyone hears a change in sonics as the improvement they had hoped for, and further fine tuning of the components to get the your desired balance of sonics & musicality may be required.

After looking into the cost of upgrading my Westminster Royal SE crossover components with Duelund and Audio Note, it looks as if I will not be able to afford to implement what Pambos has suggested in the near future as I have too much competition for my limited funds at the moment. Those of you who decide to do the full upgrade Pambos has suggested, be sure to report back with your results.

Updated December 31st 2012

Richard Wugang of Sophia Electric once told me that remarkable results can be obtained by judicious changes to components, but overdoing it can have the opposite effect. I changed 1 capacitor and 1 resistor in my Sophia Electric 91-01 300B mono amplifiers and the transformation was rather dramatic and positive. However, Richard told me not to think that adding more Black Gate capacitors would make it even better (which was the substitution I had made), rather it would have the opposite effect and would decrease the musicality by making the overall sound more clinical.

In the same spirit of Richard Wugang’s advice, a number of people have suggested a cost-effective step-wise approach to implementing Westminster Royal crossover upgrades, which has the added benefit of changing a component, then giving it a listen to see if it matches your sonics & musicality tastes.

In particular I thought Mark Coles said it very succinctly in his message to me: “Reading through these articles, I suspect a great starting point for many would be to direct solder the internal wiring (upgrading the wire on earlier models) and swap out the tweeter caps for something like Clarity MR (as in the KRs) or Mundorf silver/oil. That should yield a great improvement for a modest cost and can later be augmented with nice foil inductors (Alpha-Core / Jantzen) and better resistors like mills or even Duelund. Lovely though the CAST caps are (I use them in my Lampizator dac), the cost in such large values will I suspect prove prohibitive for many, not least of all when their source equipment might not yet have been optimized.”

While Mark did not suggest this, I do suggest that if you are considering upgrading your internal wiring that you talk to Mark about creating a version of his Panatela speaker cables to use as the internal wiring harness. Mark did develop the Panatela high-frequency cable run of his component speaker cables based on advice from Dr. Paul Mills at Tannoy, and it is an awesome match to “The Tannoy Sound” of musicality, enhancing it in every positive way you can imagine. Also, as Mark points out, the Tannoy Kingdom Royal uses the Clarity MR as tweeter capacitors, so that could be a nice choice for the Westminster Royal as well.

I also decided to contact Dr. Paul Mills at Tannoy for his recommendations as to what he might recommend for “judicious changes to components” for the Westminster Royal SE crossover. Stay tuned.

Updated January 1st 2013

Here’s another cool link forwarded to me by Mark Coles that compares many capacitors for sound quality in crossovers. As Pambos has advised, the Duelund CAST is very good, and Mark reports similarly good results from the Duelund CAST. Click here for the capacitor comparison.

Also, as Mark and I were discussing a mod to bypass the high-frequency level controls on the Westminster Royals, Mark came up with the idea of fitting binding posts onto the crossover boards directly to eliminate the extra wiring from binding posts to the crossover boards. Then all I would need to do would be to pull the Panatela speaker cables through into the speaker and connect them to the binding posts. Cool idea!

 Posted by at 11:24 am

  50 Responses to “Pambos Checking In From Cyprus: Tannoy Westminster Royal SE Crossover Upgrades – Updated”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Anyone reading the article above shall not take it wrong.

    Westminster Royals are very very good speakers out of the box! You don’t need to do any upgrade to enjoy your music, especially if the rest of the Equipment allows you to do so.

    The gist shall be that these speakers are not bad at all. Are very good and can become much better. Very much better.

    I do not doubt that Tannoy could sell the speakers with the above upgrades as standard. But in that case the speakers would cost at least double the price, as Speaker manufacturers are selling speakers for living and they have to make profit.

    In that case only a fraction of the people Who are today proud owners of Royall’s would have had them and probably the speakers would be discontinued as not profitable.

    I know this because Tannoy stoped me for being their distributor and gave their representation to someone else, because I was selling only the prestige line of their speakers and not their cheaper lower priced speakers. That leads to the conclusion that they were not making as high profit with the prestige speakers as they were doing with their lower grade products.

    So the fact that the speakers can be upgraded, should not be a reason for anyone not to chose them amongst other speakers.

    Any one buying these speakers will be satisfied for life. But he will always have the opportunity, whenever he likes or has the money, to upgrade them and live their full potential and enjoyment.

    As I have seen elsewhere in your web, you are a motor biker. I am also.

    I recently bought a KTM SMT which I enjoy almost every day. One thing I like about KTM manufacturer is that you can buy the bike and spent almost the same money you bought it, making it even better or sometimes much better by buying extra staff from their power parts list. For example akrapovic exhausts which cost stupid money.

    It would be nice to have the same options when you buy your speakers which costs more than a 1000cc bike..!

    Any way, at the end, the modified-upgraded Royals are much hotter than my 1000cc KTM. Probably is because every time I play a new record I discover more their ability to give my a big smile of satisfaction!

    Pambos

    • Hi Pambos,

      I like your analogy to upgrades for sporting motorcycles. When I bought my Ducati I upgraded the air intake, put on Termignoni pipes, and upgraded the ‘chip’ in the ECU. It would be nice if one could order an outboard crossover with your upgrades in an enclosure that matched the West’s, either constructed by Tannoy or a quality 3rd party.

      By the way Pambos, what was the total cost for upgrading the crossovers in the fashion you’ve recommended?

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

      • Hi Jeff
        It would be good to include the Canterbury se in on this , as there are a few people using these watching your webb page.It would be good to see options like D.I.Y. ( inboard or outboard ) , different products for cost reasons ( and what the effects may be ) . I know I am asking alot , but I hope there are more people watching this thread like Pambos with a wealth of knowledge on crossover’s and willing to share this, maybe Tannoy to ?.

        cheers Lance

        • Hi Lance,

          I’ll ask Tannoy if they’ll send me the circuit diagram for the Canterbury SE crossover. I assume the same approach to replacing the crossover components with the same premium components Pambos has discussed would be a great place to start.

          It’d be nice if there was an easy upgrade path that was essentially plug & play (disconnect the old crossover, connect a new pre-built premium crossover), but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

          Here’s another thought that I may have an opportunity to investigate: My friends Pete and Stephaen both removed the crossovers on their custom horn based speakers and replaced them with a DEQX digital crossover and tri-amplified their speakers. I’ll tell you what, you’d never think anything digital was involved, as the resulting sound is very analog-like. I’m in the process of talking to the DEQX importer to see if it might be possible to review one of their HDP-4 crossovers. Some folks are saying the best crossover is no crossover in the form of digital equalization in the form of the DEQX. I think it’s very interesting.

          Cheers,

          Jeff

          • Hi Jeff,

            About the active crossover you discuss above, I would like to let you know that a few days ago I put to Paul Mills the fact, that when I tried it, it didn’t have good results. Here it’s what his comment was:

            “We would not recommend an active crossover, the driving impedance for the transformer is important.”

          • Thanks for sharing Paul’s comments, Pambos, it doesn’t sound like active crossovers are a good idea for the Tannoys.

            Kind regards,

            Jeff

  2. Season greeting Jim, Pambos.

    Does the cross over also work for the Canterbury? I assume the driver being same…..
    Cheers

  3. Don’t forget the Kensingtons.

  4. Hi All,

    I have been on Holidays with my family in a place with no internet access!

    I have tried the no crossover (active) option and didn’t work for me!

    I wouldn’t like to say what brand of active crossover it was, because I wouldn’t like to offend it, but it was from a very reputable company which builds active tube crossovers. Much better than digital for my believe.

    But this it was for me. Don’t forget that I drive my Royals with 50,000 euro amps from Audionote. The active crossover would cost me either another same amp (add 50,000)
    Or two pairs of amps of laser quality.

    The cost of upgrading the passive crossover depends on what you would like to use as upgrading components, plus the cost of a skilled person who will do the job.

    You can calculate it by yourself. All the components and there values are on the schematic I sent you and all the prices of the components are on the internet, as many online shops have them.

    Hi-fi collective, Parts Connection etc.

    For me, the buy of the components cost me 5,000 Euros but I have chosen the best at the time available. This cost does not include the Audionote cables which are very expensive and does not include also the working hours for the build of the crossover.

    I recommend anyone to proceed firstly with what David did, see the differences with almost no cost and then proceed with upgrading components.

    There are a few places on the crossover that are more critical than others.

    I would say on the high frequencies crossover the most important are the 6,8 μF and the 2,2μF capacitors. The 3,3 uF cap will never be in use if you keep the cross on flat selection as it is given on the board of the front of the speaker. So no need to be replaced at all.

    For those with the HE version very critical are also the resistances which are of very bad quality. On the SE version are acceptable!

    On the low frequencies the most important are the inductors (everyone with the SE version definitely need to upgrade from iron core to air core inductors), and the 20μF capacitor. The 200μF cap is the last component which will need to be upgraded. This was kept the same by Tannoy in the HE and SE version as it affects very little the sound. It is used on the notch filter (cuts the low frequencies below 200 Hz, as they are produced by the horn loading system of cabinet).

    It would be nice if Tannoy would like to offer the upgrade outboard crossover as optional but, I am telling you for sure that at least my crossover ( with components I used) if it would have been build by Tannoy it would sell at least for the price of the rest of the speakers!!! That’s why Tannoy is not doing it. None would buy it!

    A good example is what happened from HE to SE version. For the cost of about 200euros upgrade the Tannoy raised the price from HE to SE version by at least 2,000euros. That means 10 times! I am not blaming them at all, as the same is happening with almost all loudspeaker manufacturers.

    So the only way to go and keep the cost low is for anyone to do the job by himself. Or at least buy the components on the internet and pay a knowledgeable man to do it.

    Pambos

  5. Hi Pambos, is awesome to see your crossover upgrades and thanks for sharing them here with everyone. Have read on the Internet were a lot of people have said the Duelund capacitors are the best they have heard. I wish you and Jeff lived nearby so you can hear each others audio systems.

    I have some questions for you Pambos, are you using silver wire from Audio Note UK or from Audio Note Kondo from Japan? What wire type are you using and what do you think about the AN-CABLE-1300? How many meters of wire is needed to rewire everything inside of each Westminster?

  6. Hi Dodd,

    Thanks for your good comments.

    Duelund are indeed the best caps especially if you like natural, neutral sound. They are the only caps I tried which they are not adding any kind of their character to the music.

    The cables you see in the pictures of my outboard crossover are the Audionote UK SPe silver but because it happened to have more than I needed, I used a pair for every connection. The cables inside the speakers (from outboard crossovers to the drivers) are the Audionote UK Sogon. Inside the speaker you need 1.5m pair for each driver. For the crossover it depends on the way you do it because as you can see from the pictures of the different crossovers, each one is built in different way and some needed longer cable than others. I would say 2m for each crossover is the average.

  7. I would like to do a clarification on the schematic of the crossover that appears on the pictures above.

    The small inductor on the low frequencies is said to be 1,03mH. This was the actual measurement by Maciek on its pair of the crossovers. The 0,03 doesn’t has to be taken in account as it falls in the small variation of 5% of the inductors Tannoy is using.

    I have measured at least 3 different pairs of crossovers and I came to the conclusion that the value of the inductor that was opted by Tannoy was 1,00mH. That conclusion comes from the fact that 6 different inductors I measured were between 0,97mH to 1,03 mH.

    So anyone of you who is planning to proceed with the upgrade of inductors, should buy this inductor with the value of 1,00mH. Not 1,03mH.

    The inductors I am using are from North Creek Electronics. Although I believe Duelund are better, I did not try them. They weren’t available on the time I was building the crossover.

    All other components are as it is said on the schematic above. All the values of capacitors and resistors are written on the components Tannoy is using for the stock crossover. Anyone opening his Royal’s cabinets will find them and see them inside.

    Only the inductors does’t have their values on them!

  8. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks you for your and your readers comments..

    I can put back the stock Tannoy crossover in just 2 minutes.

    The speaker cables from the drivers of the speaker are coming directly to the outboard crossover. I solder female banana plugs on the stock Tannoy crossovers and to audition them against the custom made crossovers I only need to unplug the speaker cables coming from the amp and the drivers and plug them to the Tannoy made,stock crossovers.

    I have done it several times when customers were asking me to have an audition of the stock crossover and in the next 2 minutes the upgraded ones. It was after audition they decided to proceed with the upgrades on their own Royals.

    No magic was lost and no Tannoy sound is lost. The magic and the Tannoy sound was in its best. It was multiplied. The Tannoy sound comes from the cabinets and the drivers. These are made by Tannoy. Crossover components are NOT made by Tannoy. Tannoy only buys them from manufacturers that make capacitors, resistances and inductors. They only need to give the values to the manufacturer and they get their caps, resistors and inductors which they put together on a board and create the crossover.

    If it was an issue that upgrading components on the crossover the magic and the Tannoy sound would have been lost, Tannoy would have not upgrad the components from HE to SE version, with better ones. They did not redesign the crossover, they did not redesign the cabinet, they did not redesign the drivers. They ONLY upgraded crossover components and the speaker cables. And the speakers sounded better without loosing their magic or the Tannoy sound…

    The only think that can probably happened with the friends above ( on the mods of GRF and DMT) is that the quality of the rest of the system was not at a high standard and with the better components their amps and the rest of their equipment exposed their weaknesses. The speaker revealed the weaknesses of the amps as it became much more clean and revealing.

    Is like a woman being much more pretty in the dark and is loosing her magic ore mystery when you turn on the light. Such a woman I agree is better to stay in the dark and leaves you with the magic thought that is more pretty.

    A solid state,transistor based amp will sound worse with the upgraded crossover. There are audiophiles who drive their Westminsters with solid state amps. Those need not to upgrade the crossovers. Their amps will be exposed.

    I have no interest and need not to try convince anyone to proceed with the upgrades. I don’t sell components I am not trying to put you in any kind of financial expenses.

    Only thought it would be good to let you and your readers know of my experience and that of my clients who upgraded their crossovers. In the way Tannoy did. But for Tannoy having in mind the cost of the components. For me cost was no object.

    I wanted to get the best possible from the speakers. Squeeze them and get the maximum of their taste and flavor. I strongly believe that I deed. You have a picture of the rest of my system and can calculate the cost of the amp, preamp, returnable, DAC etc which are feeding the Tannoys. I gave them the best possible on my believe. I am probably listening to the most magic sound anyone can get from these speakers.

    Any friend will happen to be in Cyprus, has an open invitation to visit my audio room at home and live the Tannoy experience in its best. And the stock crossovers are here and will be here for a comparison at any time. Both stock crossovers from HE and SE version can be plugged and compared with the custom made ones.

    Everybody is WELCOME. Even Dr. Paul Mills…

    It would be my pleasure.

    For the most magical sound, the final judge after all is everyone’s ears

    Cheers

    • Hi Pambos,

      Thanks for your great ideas related to upgrading the crossovers of the Tannoy Westminster Royals, it is very much appreciated by me and others reading the blog.

      I am pretty much of the opinion that an upgrade should be an upgrade with everything, both for high-quality tube amplification and high-quality solid-state amplification, or it’s not really a very useful upgrade for me. If your suggestion is only for a powering of the Westminster Royals with a particular type of tube amplifier, then I think I would find it too limiting as a reviewer, as the implication is that it would make some products sound good (vacuum tube), and some products sound bad (solid state). That puts me in a pretty bad position as a reviewer of audio equipment, as having my Westminster Royals voiced so specifically that they only sound good with a particular amplifier would be a disaster.

      Over the years I have listened to thousands of examples of very high quality amplification using both vacuum tube and solid state, and I have to say that there are examples from both that I like very much, and there are examples of both that I haven’t liked very much. Take for example the superb solid-state ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue Amplifier that I am reviewing now – it is superb by any criteria, and I like it a lot.

      If you believe that upgrading the Westminster Royals crossover as you have suggested would make a fine product like the ASR sound bad, then it is definitely something I would not want to do.

      Perhaps I have misunderstood what you have said above? I hope so!

      Again, thank you for your comments on upgrading the crossovers of the Westminster Royals, I have found it to be fascinating!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  9. Hi Jeff,

    Happy New Year!

    Thanks for your comments.

    The gist of what I said above is that if the amp is good will benefit from the upgrades.

    If the amp has a weakness, that with the stock crossover it is not shown, with better components on the crossover will probably be exposed.

    For example, if an amp has coloration or distortion in the mids the speaker is better with the fabric grill at the front, ON!!
    This way female voices are less irritating to the ears.

    That doesn;t mean the speaker sounds better with the fabric grill on!

    This is what I was trying to say. Making the speaker more revealing it is never a bad thing.

    It was probably not a very good example the tube-solid state comparison as I agree with you that their are some examples of very good sounding solid state amps.

    As for the comment of a folks above: ” We also learned that the strange block (with Dutch ‘cement’ resistors) are very special. They are inductive! ” I only have to suggest that you visit Tannoy web page were the upgrades of the speakers from HE to SE version is discussed. There it is mentioned that, the new Vishay resistors on the crossover of the SE version ARE NOT inductive!

    If the previous inductive resistors were so special as the friend suggests, why Tannoy change them with non inductive ones?

    Also Tannoy refers to the upgrade of the inductors from air to iron core saying there is less resistance between the amp and the drivers. This is correct! But the same purpose can be achieved with thicker wire on the air core inductors. These is exactly what we have done. That’s why the inductors you see in the pictures I sent are so big. This have exactly the same resistance with the iron core ones. I gave the iron cores of the stock crossover to a person with a special tool which measures resistances of 0,001 Ohms and after the measurement I ordered my air core inductors made with AWG wire which was exactly with the same resistance as the air core inductors Tannoy is using.

    Tannoy could do the same but the cost of the inductors would have been at least 7-8 times more and will probably wouldn’t fit in the cabinet because of their size. This is the only explanation for Tannoy not going with the air core inductors.

    The way we did it, we have both. Better inductor and lower resistance. Same as the iron cores.

    As for the capacitors and how they sound their is a very helpful review at the link below:

    http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html

    I will be here to discuss any other matter with you.

    As I understand you have many knowledgeable friends of these issues. Some of them are building their own loudspeakers. Those definitely know more things on the subject. Richard Wugang or Mark Coles for example. Take their advice and share it with us here as you already have done a bit.

    best regards

    Pambos

    • Hi Pambos,

      Thank you for elaborating, it is helpful.

      I’ll starting thinking about an upgrade ‘map’ that allows me to change 1 thing at a time, then report on it. I have to juggle this with other time commitments like reviewing, the day job, non-audio related activities and such, so it may take some time for me to do.

      I was thinking of a path forward like Mark Coles has suggested:

      1. Direct soldering the internal wiring: “soldering the cables directly in every place Tannoy put male-female connectors” as you have suggested, Pambos.

      2. Upgrade the tweeter capacitors with Duelund.

      3. Other upgrades as discussed in the post.

      Here’s a question I have for you Pambos: I never use the high frequency level adjustment on my Westminster Royals as I prefer the ‘level’ setting. It seems like it would yield positive benefits to bypass these level controls all-together. Do you bypass the level controls when you upgrade the crossover?

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  10. Sorry Jeff

    I did not notice that you gave the link for capacitors above!!!

    That is why I gave it…

    You are always on step forward, it seems!

    Cheers

    • Hi Pambos,

      Thank you for suggesting the capacitor review page. Mark suggested it this morning as well. I put the link for it at the bottom of the blog post as I think it will be an excellent resource.

      I just ordered some of the WBT leaded silver solder from Parts Connexion so I could get started on a little soldering.

      I’ll be asking for more advice as I proceed.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  11. For those who are interested of the DCR of the iron core inductors in their SE version of Royals crossover
    here it is:

    the small one I,00mH inductor has 0,13 DCR

    the big one 4,00mH inductor has 0,29 DCR

    12 AWG air core inductors from North Creek has about the same. I suspect also from other manufactures the 12AWG inductors have the same DCR, but better ask before you order.

    The Canterbury inductor is 2,1mH for those interested. Again a 12AWG air core is a perfect match

  12. Thanks Jeff,

    Bypassing the level controls it was the first thing we have done actually!

    You are absolutely right in your thinking.

    If you see closely on the pictures of my crossover, next to the small Duelund round cap there is a silver cable around 3cm long. This is doing the job of bypassing one of two level controls. Look more closely and you will see the other one which is longer but not easily seen.

    You will be socked by the results as you proceed..

    I suggest to go for the VSF caps. Not because the other ones will not make any difference but because the benefits will make you want to go to the best one at the end, which means the money you will spend on the other caps will be lost.

    This is what happened to me!

    Unless you can sell them to someone afterwards.

  13. As a cool link for capacitors review was given above, below is a link to a resistor review also.

    For those who may be interested.

    http://www.duelundaudio.com/downloads/Resistorsvol5no3HIFICriticHiRes.pdf

    I would also like to inform all folks here, that I am going to upgrade my almost perfect sounding crossover, even more.

    I decided to upgrade my air-core inductors to Duelund CAST.

    I shall let you all know in time the results.

  14. Hi Pambos, thanks for the resistor review. I was not really expecting resistors to make such an impact on sound quality as the review stated. I look forward to reading your findings here about them and also the Duelund Cast inductors.
    Hello Jeff, I like the approach you will be taking of only upgrading a little at a time so you can hear how each component upgrade in the crossover will affect the sound quality. If is not asking too much Jeff would you consider taking before and after pics of each upgrade you do?
    Thanks Gentlemen

  15. Hi Dodd,

    Thanks. I shall definitely let you know my findings.

    You see an inductor is a very long wire, via it all of your signal passes until it reaches your driver. Woofer or tweeter.

    It is funny that music lovers spend thousands on speaker cables or even internal wiring of the loudspeaker and don’t pay attention to the inductors, only because are inside the loudspeaker cabinet.

    A loudspeaker manufacturer gives you a cheap inductor wire, because it is trying to keep the product’s price low, so more people can buy it. It is like the power cord you find in the box when buying a very expensive amplifier. Regardless of the price of the amplifier you buy, you will always find the same standard power cord inside the box.

    But rarely you use it, if you bought an expensive amp. You want the best of it and so you buy an aftermarket good power cord for your precious amp.

    I feel sad because I can not replace also the tweeter’s inductor. This is a small autoformer on the crossover, which is complicated and only under the supervision and help of Tannoy can be replaced with a better one.

    The autoformer is there to give you more choices on treble energy. As far as I know none of those who bought these loudspeakers is using it. All keep it flat. So only a fraction of the windings (as it can be seen on the schematic above) of the autoformer is used.

    If we are many on this and ask Tannoy through Jeff to produce a few pairs of this autoformer, with only one tab (for the level treble) with solid core silver wire, I am sure all of us, (who shall buy it and replace the stock one) will get much much better high frequencies. We deserve this as we are all using very fine amplifiers to drive our Westminsters.

    Lets hope my prayer will be heard by Jeff and Tannoy for better listening to all of us!

    Hope dies last..

  16. Hi guys

    Great read and Pambos seems on the money with his upgrades. For others reading this thread and thinking is it worth trying or not, I say let your ears be the arbiter. In my experience and others I know Duelund’s are in a category by themselves and yes it is easy to upgrade with expensive parts and loose the magic. Not all caps, even audiophile caps are created equal. Magic is hard to find, but Duelunds are a safe bet. In fact the Duelund VSF sound even better to us then the CAST caps…and they are cheaper. Duelund’s have a life, a naturalness that other caps don’t. I am still stunned at the poor quality of parts put into expensive audio gear, every time I look inside I am disappointed…well unless its a Shindo or Garber etc. But remember getting the best sound is just like good cooking, just as Jeff mentions above with Black gates, too much of a certain flavour can skew the dish/sound…and yes Blackgates will do that. Tune the system, the entire system to your preference and you will find bliss…swapping gear for the next expensive component is unlikely to.
    Jeff all the best for the new year and still loving the site!

    Cheers, Andy

  17. I should also clarify I am in no way associated with Duelund or any other Audio business…just a music lover…that’s why I come to Jeff’s Place :O)

    Cheers, Andy

  18. Hi Andy,

    As you can see on the pictures of the upgraded crossovers not in every place CAST caps are used.

    It is exactly as you say. They are upgraded components of different types-brands. The big cap of 200μF either stays as it was by Tannoy or it is replaced by 9 mundorf caps of 22μF plus a Duelund VSF 2,0uF to make the total of 200uF. The 20uf cap is replaced by VSF and the 2.2uF , 6,8uF in the high frequencies are replaced by Duelund CAST.

    My experience is that the VSF sounds better at the beginning ( immediately after soldering it on the crossover). The CAST needs more patience as it needs much more time to brake-in and opens up. At least 300 hours.

    After that, CAST is much superior to VSF, as it is more air and silence around the musical instruments and the voices.

    In any case either VSF or CAST cap is much more relaxing, neutral, natural, clean and musical than any other cap in the market. At least in the moment.

  19. Thanks Pambos

    I will defer to your experience on the cast caps…Duelund do make for extremely musically natural and engaging sound and to my ear other caps sound way more artificial…though sometimes I love big old PIO caps when I want some liquidity and smoothness…the rest of the time its Duelund’s. An affordable cap that has some magic and works well in crossovers are Obligato’s…not up to Duelund standard (nothing is) but a very musical cap and affordable. I’m about to build a new outboard crossover for my speakers using Duelund parts and I like the box and layout of yours…just what I was thinking. Thanks for posting the information and enjoy your wonderful speakers.

    Warm regards, Andy

  20. Hi guys

    One more thing I forgot to add is that if you want a really good autoformer to replace the stock attenuator you could always get Dave Slaggle at Intact Audio to wind you some to your specs…I am getting him to wind some for me. Dave’s stuff is very musical and he can be found here http://www.intactaudio.com/

    Hope its useful.

    Cheers, Andy

  21. Hi Andy,

    Very good and useful information, indeed. Thanks!

    I would prefer to substitute the autoformer with air-core inductor as I am only using one tap of the autoformer. I do not need multiple taps means I do not need autoformer.

    What loudspeakers do you use?

  22. Hi Pambos

    I use vintage Goodman’s 12 inch Triaxiom’s in a fairly large cabinet. The Goodman’s have a wonderful tone just like Tannoys and just like Tannoy’s the music is of a piece…great coherence. My crossover is very simple with a cap, coil and L-pad as the driver is basically a full range unit with a compression horn in the centre. I drive them with various tube amps and they make wonderful music…very unhifi…just wonderful music.

    Regards, Andy

  23. I got a view on the internet. Never heard of these speakers.

    The driver looks very similar with the dual concentric from Tannoy. Must be very musical and warm sounding.

    I like this kind of speakers. They sound very musical
    and natural-pure. And they need only few watts.

  24. Yes exactly very naturally musical, beautiful rich tone and natural timbre and the weight you only seem to get from large drivers in large cabinets. I love them. I have found all the Goodman’s drivers to have the same sonic signature, but the Triaxiom’s and Axiom 80 are stunning. The Axiom 80 can be even better at some things though your system must be heavily tweaked in order for it not to bight your head off. I generally prefer that natural fullness of the Triaxiom’s. I drive mine with 2.5 watts and they go loud! One day I would love to hear a pair of well setup Westminster’s…maybe the next time I am in the Pacific Northwest Jeff? :O)
    Regards, Andy

  25. Hi! I’m after first step of modification of my Tannoy Glenairs. I’ve changed components in HF unit : capacitors – Hovland musicap [same range as in Westminsters – yellow] to Mundorf Silver/Oil and resistors- RCH 25 model from Vishay to Mundorf Mresist. Mods result in more clean , transparent but also smooth sound, more realistic vocals and better sense of three dimensional imaging of artists. To sum up I strongly recommend this modification. I am thinking now about LF unit. Greetings from Poland.

    • Hi Electro,

      Awesome comment! Thanks for telling us about your mods, the results are very exciting.

      Keep us posted about any developments, and thanks for stopping by!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

    • Very good news!

      If you have been inspired by the above article and the photos to proceed with the upgrade,
      I have to say I am really happy!

      Mundorf silver/oil is a good choice. I personally prefer silver oil than silver gold as they are smoother.

      Give the new components some more time and they will definitely become even better. How much better you will only find out if some time in the future try to put back the “Yellow” caps. You will be shocked!!

      Cheers

  26. Hi all,

    A friend of me who also bought the Wesminsters SE and upgraded his low frequencies crossover with North Creek inductors, decided also to upgrade for the Duelund CAST.

    So now 2 complete sets (as you see them in the above pictures) of North Creek inductors are available for sale at half price!

    We could sell these on ebay or Audiogone but we decided first to let you know here, as some of you may not have the funds to go at the end of the road (Duelund).

    Anyone interested may send me an e-mail at:

    pamioan@yahoo.gr

  27. Hello:

    I’ve enjoyed and benefited from all the comments. I’ve had Tannoy speakers for over 40 years and this is a wonderful site for Tannoy lovers. I’ve read with interest all the comments about upgrades and modifications to the Tannoy Westminister SE speakers. My 2012 experience with my SE Westministers was confirming David King’s new WBT Binding posts, the internal soldering and the special Supports. A substantial leap forward at a very reasonable price.

    Another step I took in 2012 was a change in Amplifiers. I’ve been using the KR Audio 20 watt SET Amp for a number of years but decided to go to a 160 watt solid state ASR Emitter I in July 2012. An unpleasant experience in a number of ways including a suubstantialk loss on the resale. I had to do it to get back to the Tannoy/SET music, which I’ve done with the KR Audio Kronzilla DX 100 watt SET monoblocks with the KR Audop P-130 Pre- Amp. I know this comparsion is not with its big brother the Emitter II but the Emitter I didn’t stand a chance against the Kronzilla DX. For me Tannoy/SET is musical ecstacy or as close as I’ve been in the never ending pursuit.

    • Hi Frank,

      It’s nice to hear from you, and I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your new KR gear.

      Sounds like I should give that Kronzilla a listen one of these days!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  28. Hello Frank,

    Many congratulations with your lovely Kronzilla amps. We had some email conversation about how to get the best out of the Emitter 1. I know for sure you put a lot of effort in it! In the end you decided to say goodby to the Emitter. Although I must admit it is a pity that you could not reach the audioheaven with the Emitter I can fully understand why you decided to say goodbye the ‘young lady’ . I am very glad for you to hear (also) at this place that the new ‘Grandladies’ let the Westminster shine in its full glory!

    Kind regards,

    Siedy

  29. I want to publicly thank Pambos for rousing me out of my slumber when it comes to Tannoy crossovers. I remember a TGI person in the 90s hinting to me about the GRF Memory crossover. And then in 2005 I read Harvey “Gizmo” Rosenberg’s article titled “How to lift your crossover fog,” where he said “mount your crosover externally” because “even my $30K Tannoy Westminister Royals came stock with $10 inductors, which I immediately changed.”

    I was inattentive in the 90s and again in 2005, but thanks to Pambos and Jeff’s site, not anymore.

  30. A few minutes ago I received the freshly cooked Duelund CAST inductors.

    Its a joy only to look at them and hold them.

    They weight alone 15 lbs !!!

    I can’t wait to install them in the outboard crossover and play some music through them.

    And I shall definitely let you all know the outcome, although it will take some time for 15 lbs copper to settle down and run in.

    • I am very excited about all of this! I can’t wait to see the package from Frederik Carøe with the Duelund CAST components!

  31. Pambos as I come to Cyprus frequently is it possible to have your email please.

    • Hi Edward,

      Pambos’ email is pamioan@yahoo.gr and is in the post about ordering Duelund components if you need to find it again in the future.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

    • Hi Edward,

      If you came to Cyprus frequently don’t miss the opportunity to visit me and have a listen to probably the best sounding Westminsters on the planet!

      It would be my pleasure to offer you this experience and have with you a fine glass of wine during the audition.

  32. Dear Pampos,

    How much would a pair of Tanoi Royal Westminster Crossover be worth with upgrades and how does one go about selling it?

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

%d bloggers like this: