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Thread: DQ-10 vs. DQ-10

  1. #1
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    DQ-10 vs. DQ-10

    I posted this elsewhere and received some very enthusiastic responses, so I thought I'd do the same here.

    Recently, my friend Keith managed to obtain a pair of DQ-10's for FREE. The speakers had been donated to the college where Keith teaches, but for 10 years or so did nothing but sit around and collect dust. Once it was determined that the speakers were free for the taking, Keith snatched them up and brought them to my house so we could check them out, and compare them to my DQ-10's.

    His are about 10 years newer than mine, have beige grilles, yellow mylar caps in the crossover, and are mirror imaged. Mine have black grilles (and are in far better physical condition),and are demonstration, or "show" models, incorporating large, green rectangular block capacitors (and more of them) than ever made it into stock units. I replaced the upper bass drivers with newer Dayton Audio units, as well as the supertweeters with drivers from Emminence. I've also installed two "Hi-Fi tuning" fuses in each speaker. Nevertheless, mine are not mirror-imaged.

    Not surprsing, the surrounds on Keith's woofers were totally rotted away. That left one of three alternatives: have the woofers refoamed; have them rebuilt by Regnar in N.Y., or purchase new woofers from Simply Speakers in Florida. About five years ago, I had a refoam done on mine which proved unsatisfactory, as there were other problems with the woofers. I bit the bullet, and paid $139.50 each for Regnar to rebuild them, and I've been thoroughly satisfied ever since. Unfortunately, Regnar's prices have so skyrocketed that doing so today, including shipping both directions, would cost over $400, so that option was ruled out.

    New woofers from Simply Speakers are advertised as "original Advent replacement parts." They are of the somewhat newer variety, incorporating a larger metal basket rather than the familiar masonite ring. At $129 each, that seemed the best alternative, and Keith bought a set, which I installed for him.

    Then we listened. Keith's "new" speakers sounded clear, distinct and super-detailed - much like any DQ-10. Bass seemed weaker than on mine, but that may very well be because the woofers were new and hadn't yet broken in. It could also be that the Regnar-rebuilt woofers really are better, but since Keith bought a subwoofer to go along with his DQ-10's, it became a moot point.

    I told Keith that the DQ-10's would require a subwoofer, and so we schlepped off to Best Buy to check out some from Polk. Keith bought a small Polk model that was on sale for $180 down from $200. It was an 8" model, with a 50-watt amplifier. As Keith's using an old Luxman R-1140 receiver to drive the DQ-10's, which has only 55 watts/channel, the small sub seemed a decent match, though hardly in the same league as the 15", 500 watt Definitive Technology model that I have.

    I connected the sub for Keith, and each of us was startled at the results: Keith for the fact that he now had deep bass, and me by the surprisingly good performance from such a small subwoofer. Then, a couple of days later, I saw an ad in the Sunday New York Times from J&R Music World for the Polk PSW-505 12", 300 watt sub at 50% off: $249, instead of $500. I told Keith about it, and suggested he purchase it, and return the smaller unit to Best Buy.

    Keith did exactly that, and had intended to do an A/B comparison between the two, but upon connecting the new sub, such a comparison wasn't necessary: the 505 just blew away the smaller unit.

    So, Keith now has a set of DQ-10's which cost him about $250 (the price of two woofers, plus shipping), and a really good sub that cost about $275 (including shipping). The "deal of the century?" Perhaps!

    And so, how do these "new" DQ-10's compare with mine? Well, for starters, I'm astonished at how well the old Luxman receiver actually drives these speakers. Much popular stuff sounds flat out terrific, but highly complex material (such as Verdi's "Requiem," with a full orchestra, chorus and soloists all performing at once) immediately displays the shortcomings of a modestly powered receiver. (I'm using a 250 watt/channel Adcom GFA-5800.)

    For the short period in which I had both sets in my home, mine sounded quite a bit better in many respects: far smoother highs and mids, deeper bass, and a greatly surperior upper bass/lower midrange, yielding a "throaty" character to brass instruments, cellos and the like. All of that could easily be attributed to the replacement drivers, and the differences in the crossover network. But what about one set being mirror imaged, and the other not?

    There is no question mirror-imaging works. On mine, while I've always been delighted by the super-wide and incredibly detailed soundstage, the center image has never been quite so well defined. While a center voice does come from the center, it seems somewhat vaguely placed "somewhere" in the center, whereas on the mirror-imaged pair, it seems almost possible to measure the breadth of the center image!

    I've had directions to mirror image my speakers for years, but have been reluctant to do it, afraid I might cut a wire too short, or be unable to cut a leg off one of the metal brackets (something necessary so as not to have a relocated panel's bracket stuck in the middle of the crossover network.) Now, I'm looking more closely into doing it after all. I may have to contact Regnar for new mid bass/upper midrange panels, and pieces of felt (for which I'm sure they'll want a small fortune), but now that I've heard the difference mirror-imaging makes, I'm anxious to get it done.

    I've never known of anyone being able to do such a comparison on a pair of DQ-10's, and have to admit it was an absolute blast. Best of all, Keith is all but dumbfounded at how good his system sounds, and what a terrific deal he got.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    Keith is all but dumbfounded at how good his system sounds.
    You mean he doesn't like it?

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