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Switching Speaker Cabinets

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I don't know what category this questions falls into, so I'm placing it here under Mods, Tweaks and Upgrades.

I own a set of EPI 100 speakers that are in very beat up vinyl wrapped cabinets. They are frayed, scratched, dented, and look awful, but sound quite good. Likewise, I have a set of Fisher XP-56 speakers that sound absolutely awful, but are in Walnut veneer cabinets that look pretty darn good. Both EPI and Fisher speakers are two-way with 8" woofers.

Can you sense where I am going with this?

Both EPI and Fisher cabinets have the same exact outside dimensions, measuring 21"x11"x9". However, the EPI cabinets are fabricated with pressboard that is a bit thicker, 3/4" vs 1/2" thick on the Fishers.

Do you think I will get the same sound if I replace the Fisher drivers with the EPI drivers in the Fisher cabinets? Should I reinforce the Fisher cabinets to get the same degree of stiffness and rigidity that the EPI cabinets have since the Fisher cabinets are a bit thinner? If I go ahead with this switch, I would also replace the caps in the EPI crossover, install new binding posts, and upgrade the quality of the internal speaker wiring.

Anyone ever attempt anything like this and have a recommendation? Does anyone have an informed opinion if this will work? Does anyone have a half-baked opinion if this will work?


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Here is a half baked analysis.

I am fairly certain the cost of materials to make the switch is no more, but probably less than, the cost of veneer.  BUT

If you make the switch and don't like the result what will you do?  Will you revert to status quo ante?

What is the comprehensive cost of not getting a good result and reversing your work vs the cost of just purchasing veneer and making the EPI cabs pretty?


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If the veneer on a 30+ year old cabinet is in good shape, it's probably going to be higher quality than consumer veneer today (that's paper-backed stuff that comes packaged in rolls at your lumber store). So if the drivers and crossover fit without too much hacking at the cabs, it might be worth the effort.

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I’m going to go ahead and do it.

Interestingly, I expected to get responses from other audio enthusiasts who had tried something similar and had either good or bad results. Not hearing any compelling arguments against the idea, I might as well try it. Besides, removing the vinyl and adding a new wood veneer to the original EPI’s would be a big project and I’m not really that confident in my woodworking skills. Refinishing a speaker is much closer to my comfort zone, and that also seems like less work, overall. 

When I start the project I’ll be sure to post “before” photos, and when I’m done I’ll post “after” photos, as well as my impressions on the sound quality. I also have another pair of EPI’ 100’s so I’ll be able to do an A/B comparison.


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  • 5 months later...

Sorry I never replied to this. Seems like a splendid idea. And yes—I recommend some bracing.

 I did something similar with Avid 100 drivers in AR-4x cabinets. That was Roy’s mod and easy peasy drop-in.

A more ambitious project and more similar to yours: I had some crappy Japanese no-name speakers from the Sal that I used as a basis for Johnny Richards’s “Rompicollo” speakers. I lined the thin walls with some mdf and added braces. Made grille frames and covered those in cheap irish linen cross stitch fabric. They look like KLH now but they’re ported, with PE Buyout drivers. Sound good too. 

Show us your progress!

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