State of the tweak: Fiddling with my Magnepan 3.7s

Ok, ordered some Dueland resistors (two 2R 10w, wound together, per speaker) — or rather, re-ordered some Duelands. The problem? The leads were too short to simply insert them into the tweeter attenuation port. D’oh!

Anyway, I called Parts Connexion and they very kindly sorted through their box of overstock and located two sets of the resistors I needed, but this time, with much longer leads. Parts swapped! But be warned — the image they have on their site isn’t accurate. If you want to get yourself some, call first.

Okay. Now, as has been pointed out to me, the $100 I just spent on the resistors is probably more than the entire crossover costs. My response?

[Insert cricket chirping here].

Look, none of this has to make sense, does it? But here’s my lame attempt: the resistors are in series with the circuit — as are the fuses. Parts changes here are worth the extra dime. Will the Duelands (I say Duelands because they make no 1ohm 10w resistor, I have to get two 2ohm 10w and wind them in parallel to get a 1ohm) be more effective and sound better than a (single) $5 Mills 71901 1RO 12w resistor? Good question. My response?

[Insert cricket chirping here].


Chokes are in, too. I have two Mills 5502 (in parallel) for each tweeter and one Mills 5522 for each mid range. Why? Well, the late Al Sekela said I should. Who am I to argue? That said, it’s fair to ask: do they have impact? Do they sound better than the stock steel bar?

[Insert cricket chirping here].

Lastly, I have some 2.5amp and 5amp Supreme fuses from Hi-Fi Tuning. These are $85 each, and I need two per speaker. Like the resistors, these fuses are directly in the signal path, so spending here is worth it. Or is it? I mean, what’s the impact? Do these sound better than the stock fuses?

[Insert cricket chirping here].

Now, here’s where things get interesting. Each of these changes, IMO, makes the speaker sound smoother, cleaner, clearer and more articulate — a bit. Taken individually, the contribution is subtle, at best. But! When taken as a whole, the Maggies are easier to listen to — and quite frankly, they now just sound tremendous. Taking all the tweaks out does make the sound brighter (a bit), more etched, less detailed and less extended at the same time. Again, let me restate: the speakers do sound tremendous “stock”. But with the tweaks, however, taken as a whole, the sound quality takes a solid step up. However, it’s a question of refinement not a revolution.

Is it worth it? Hard to say. I think so. But then, I’m a tweaker. I expect YMMV.