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inheriting 104's that need repairing

 
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webby
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 7:29 pm    Post subject: inheriting 104's that need repairing Reply with quote

Hello, My father has a pair of 104's in his attic that i can have if i want. I grew up listening to these speakers and they got me into music. I would like to repair them and need some advise. I do remember the mid cone buzzing, and looked like the laminte was flaking off. The covers have turned to dust! And i dont remember the connectors being too clever either.
What should i do, replace with better cones or original, do i them upgrade all the components??? Also what are the model munbers for the components. And a how do i get inside the units without damaging them.

Also how would they comapre to my B & W 602 s3 on a nad c320.

Lots of questions i know.
Thanks in advance
Ian
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terry
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 262
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:51 pm    Post subject: Re: inheriting 104's that need repairing Reply with quote

Good to see a new member. Welcome.

The drive units should be BD139 SP1042 (bass radiator); B200 SP1039 (mid/bass) and T27 SP1032 (tweeter). I suspect that most of the drive units should be OK unless you have the earlier version of the BD139 SP1037 in which case the foam will have disintegrated. If you have the SP1042 it will have rubber surrounds and will be fine.

To get to the units just unscrew them from the front. The SP1042 is just a passive unit and so will have no wires attached.

I don't know the B & W 602 s3 and so I cannot compare them with the 104s. I suspect that the 104s will have a warmer sound. If you upgrade you may wish to change the crossover to the DN22 SP1065 which in effect upgrades the 104 to 104ab. All details can be found on the main site at http://www.allansonline.com.

Replacement drive units and crossovers are usually sourced through online auctions such as eBay.

Terry
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David
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Posts: 90
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:50 am    Post subject: 104s Reply with quote

I have a set of 104abs in mint condition except for grills. The original grills were foam, which like the grills for the JBL L100s have long since gone. I made a set of my own to fit the cabinets and even got them to do the cuts at the local Home Depot. I jigsawed the inside and stapled black cloth to them. Velcro holds them, rather than the plugs so I wouldn't damage the face.

I agree with Terry, that you should try to repair the LF drivers, rather than try to buy replacements. I have been looking for spares for almost 8 months and haven't seen the 1038 version.

By the way Terry, there is some affair holding the LF driver in the cabinet. Mine have been worked on and maybe they sealed the driver in. There is also a block in the interior of the cabinet bracing the speaker to the back of the box.

The speaker connectors are really not that bad and you can certainly live with them.

The crossover was a sore point in the early editions and I have the Absolute Sound review, if it means anything. They indicate that there was a spike around 1500 hz that made the speaker unlistenable. Otherwise they liked it the open large sound and good imaging.

When I recently examined the drivers I found that the former owner had clipped the hookup wires and only twisted them together with tape. Not a good job. I soldered the joints and checked the damping material inside. A ton of that. Black insulating material on the sides and the blue foam as well.

I had some buzzing going on and I thought one of the drivers was going, but it was just the speaker wire vibrating against the LF cone. Also glued the HF screws in as they were loose. Overall a no $ solution and am impovement in sound, or so I think.

Keep at the 104s they are well worth it.

David
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webby
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:44 pm    Post subject: inheriting 104's that need repairing Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome and information,
So the best thing to do would be get inside and see if the cone is damaged or just loose wires etc. And try and purchase a new crossover to upgrade them. Can the cones be repaired and if so where and cost???
I seem to remember them being plastic cones.
Also would it be worth fitting a active bass driver? and i guess i would need to change the crossovers. any other good ideas?
Thanks
Ian
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David
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:10 pm    Post subject: crossover/new driver Reply with quote

Ian, the 104s have plenty of bass. Any time you are changing the crossover you are into something that it took KEF years to develop. You really don't know what you are going to get. Your resale value goes south. You can always keep the original crossover but it is like reinventing the wheel.

Try the aB version of the crossover 1st. I have never seen the cones fall apart, but if you take them to one of the speaker repairs they may be able to work on them. Are you in England? if so Terry will be able to direct you. I think Falcon is the source for the crossovers. They might even have drivers. Try to find the source of the buzz 1st. Is it on both speakers or just one?

David
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terry
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 262
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: inheriting 104's that need repairing Reply with quote

webby wrote:
Also would it be worth fitting a active bass driver?


The 104 cabinet is as David suggests designed for a passive radiator - hence the BD139. The B200 provides quite a punchy bass and this is enhanced by the BD139. Angus McKenzie in 'Hi-Fi Choice - Loudspeakers, A Unique Consumer Guide; 84 Models Reviewed and Compared" 1976 said of the 104ab that "The extended bass response and the general clarity of this loudspeaker makes it one of the top recommendations of this survey.........I can recommend it very strongly indeed for general purpose audio reproduction under domestic conditions and it is a musician's speaker..........The classical music panel liked this speaker very much... the KEF 104ab was regarded as one of the best loudspeakers in the entire survey...."

Terry
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David
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Posts: 90
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:55 pm    Post subject: 104 construction Reply with quote

I was quite surprised to find the extra damping material in the 104 as well as the extra braces. Overall the cabinet is very well finished and quality veneers were used througout.

The back is glued, like the ls3/5as I believe. Overall the speakers weigh in at about 40lbs each which is huge for a so called "bookshelf speaker".

I just picked up a set out Musical Fidelity MC-2 used in very good condition. Made in 1989, according to the stamps inside. Designed by Martin Colloms. Particle board, with Black vinyl simulated oak construction. 20 lbs each. Monitor Audio HF driver and Celestion 8" LF driver. Lots of bracing, good crossover, but overall build and material quality is not near KEF. Sold for $595 in US in 1988 which was just over 1/2 of price of KEF 104aB in its day. Market value today for the MF is low. The KEF still has value.

The HF of the MF unit is incredible, but the bottom octave of bass is simply not there. The overall imaging is better than the 104s, but they do lack bass output.

Ian, fix your drivers, update the crossover and enjoy. The 104s which appear on ebay, rarely have the foam baffles anymore and you can enjoy your speakers w/o grills.

David
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terry
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See Falcon Acoustics site for possible new crossovers for 104ab (http://www.falcon-acoustics.co.uk/pl28p4.htm)
Terry
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webby
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for all the advice. You convinced be to restore them to there former glory. I get back to England in March, so i shall try and get the crossovers in preparation and take it from there. If I cant get a kef crossover which one should I use as an upgrade to the original?
Cheers
Ian
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David
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:52 pm    Post subject: crossover Reply with quote

Ian, check out Falcon Acoustics for the proper crossover. I went to their website about 6 months ago and I think they have it, or at least plans for it. Terry has pictures on this site and also information on the aB crossover itself from KEF.

Let us know ho it goes.

David
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terry
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get really stuck I have a pair of crossovers.
Terry
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