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Allison 6 (CD6) tweeter health/repair question


npt3
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So I found a pair of 6s (late model) which looked like a refoam and refinish job, but to my horror, when I unboxed them, the doofus seller packed them in a way that the front grills were pulverised, and the tweeter domes were, well, not nipples anymore.  Goddamit.

Questions for you Allison fans (FYI, I've owned a pair of new 7s and am the current happy owner of a late model pair of Threes.  I've restored two pairs of AR-3as and a pair of AR-4s, too, so I know how to do stuff, ;-) ):

  1. Most importantly:
    1. Are my tweeters hopeless, or is there a way to fix them?
    2. If I need to replace my tweeters, will ANY Allison two-way tweeter work as a drop-in replacement?  (e.g., Four, Five, 'classic' Six, CD6, 7/CD7, AL110?)
  2. How is the Allison badge fastened to the speaker?  (does it screw in, is it glued on?)
  3. Has anyone ever replaced the spring-loaded speaker wire terminals with 3-way binding posts (and if you have done so, how?)

And yes, I've already ordered a new pair of front grills from Alex Bobotek.  :)

I'd be grateful for any advice you may have.  Happy New Year!

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That sucks..... I know. Had a few shipping problems over the years but not that bad.

All the models you listed can swap yes.

Can you toss a picture or 2 out here so we can see the victims?

A bent tweeter can sometimes be fixed, but need to see first.

I believe ALEX has (or had) some of those pins. There were some on EBay from a parted out sale just recently.

Oil those up and leave for 24 hrs. Before trying to loosen/remove. After all this time they can be a bear ? to get out.

The logos are glued on

Bill

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Gaze at the destruction.  One is completely DOA.  I just tested the other (the dome of which seems to have magically reverted to a dome shape) and it seems like it's putting out sound; but the base plate is cracked.  The woofers just need refoaming, so if I can find some decent tweeters I'll at least have four proper drivers.

I'm hoping I can do some Restore-A-Finish magic on the cabinets.  Anyone ever apply new veneer over old?

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If the domes are only squashed and not torn, you could wet them with water and suck them out. But the seller should give a partial refund for the damage. Just a thought. Here are before/after shots of some Sixes (Mine were Six, not CD Six). btw, replacing spring terminals has been covered in an AR thread. I'll see if I can find it and provide a link.:

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OK__didn't find the thread but some members have snapped off the spring terminals and covered the holes with these:

https://www.parts-express.com/parts-express-gold-plated-banana-5-way-speaker-wire-binding-post-terminal--260-302

Another option would be to measure the existing terminal cup (I believe it's round but I don't know the diameter) and search PE for the right size to replace it. This one has a 4-1/8" outer diameter but they have other sizes. Just search for "round terminal cup"

https://www.parts-express.com/gold-banana-5-way-binding-post-round-recessed-speaker-terminal-cup--260-311

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Thanks JK!  I'll check those out.  I'm going to get all my money back here, hell or high water - newandold is right, my purchase of these was predicated on the tweeters being AOK.  It would have been a refinish/refoam job, but this has become a longer-term project.  Which is OK, but I'm not paying for these speakers.  My seller did a crap packing job, and he knows it.

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1 hour ago, npt3 said:

Nice job!  How 'wet' did you make the paper (spray the paper? apply dropwise?) and how did you suck the domes out?

I think I applied the water with a small watercolor brush. To suck it out, find a tube of the correct diameter. I may have used a scrap piece of PEX water pipe. You can suck it out by mouth or even use a vacuum cleaner (that part's a little scary but I have done it)

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On 12/30/2017 at 3:41 PM, newandold said:

That sucks..... I know. Had a few shipping problems over the years but not that bad.

All the models you listed can swap yes.

Can you toss a picture or 2 out here so we can see the victims?

A bent tweeter can sometimes be fixed, but need to see first.

I believe ALEX has (or had) some of those pins. There were some on EBay from a parted out sale just recently.

Oil those up and leave for 24 hrs. Before trying to loosen/remove. After all this time they can be a bear ? to get out.

The logos are glued on

Bill

I've always wanted to know what the actual difference is between the "three-way tweeters" and the "two-way tweeters"...

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11 hours ago, JKent said:

I think I applied the water with a small watercolor brush. To suck it out, find a tube of the correct diameter. I may have used a scrap piece of PEX water pipe. You can suck it out by mouth or even use a vacuum cleaner (that part's a little scary but I have done it)

I'll try some clear pipe and some gentle vacuum.  If I did it by mouth, I'd be afraid of my wife walking in on me, haha!

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16 minutes ago, npt3 said:

I've always wanted to know what the actual difference is between the "three-way tweeters" and the "two-way tweeters"...

The two way Allison uses ferrofluid   as a cooling material in the gap, to remain cool enough while operating in a broader frequency range than its 3 way counterpart.

Silicone grease is used in the 3 way tweeter.

 

 

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On 1/2/2018 at 11:17 AM, newandold said:

The two way Allison uses ferrofluid   as a cooling material in the gap, to remain cool enough while operating in a broader frequency range than its 3 way counterpart.

Silicone grease is used in the 3 way tweeter.

 

 

Thanks!!  That's clearly significant. 

Does anyone know how the Natick Allisons were veneered, i.e., was it iron-on veneer or was it glued on?  (I'm guessing it was the latter, since I've always considered the Allison (and Roy-era AR) cabinets of really high quality finish.)  I may use this as an opportunity to re-veneer the cabinets with a HQ two-ply walnut veneer.  New skills! :)

 

PS my seller refunded all of my money (including shipping.)   :) Now, to source some tweeters...

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1 hour ago, npt3 said:

Thanks!!  That's clearly significant. 

Does anyone know how the Natick Allisons were veneered, i.e., was it iron-on veneer or was it glued on?  (I'm guessing it was the latter, since I've always considered the Allison (and Roy-era AR) cabinets of really high quality finish.)  I may use this as an opportunity to re-veneer the cabinets with a HQ two-ply walnut veneer.  New skills! :)

 

PS my seller refunded all of my money (including shipping.)   :) Now, to source some tweeters...

That’s great!

Now you have a labor of love project.

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My concern would be that since these were crushed by impact with some object-surface,  was there damage to the voice coils / formers ? No way of knowing by looking at them. Personally I'd be asking for a refund and my money back unless the seller was willing to return a serious amount of cash. Considering what it would cost to put these systems right. Just look at the prices of Allison tweeters on Ebay. 

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  1. I got all my money refunded.  Horrible packer, good (and responsible) seller.
  2. I found a pair of CD7s locally that are perfect! (i.e., the tweeters are perfect, and there are only minor defects on the grilles.  And the woofers need to be refoamed.)  I hooked them up as soon as I got home, and even with the 'wooliness' of the bad-foam woofers, they sound great.  So, my plan is to listen to these as an auxiliary pair (once I refoam the woofers), while I
  3. restore the cabinets of the CD6s.  Like newandold said above, this will be a labor of love project.
  4. Once I get the CD6 cabinets just as I want them, I'll remove the drivers from the CD7s and put them in the restored CD6s. 
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So, I went to Rockler today and got a 24"x96" roll of pressure-sensitive walnut veneer.  Has anyone successfully re-veneered  Allison cabinets?  I'd be happy to hear tips on removing old veneer.  I saw one method which looks pretty easy and harmless, involving leaving a wet (not dripping) towel on the veneer surface for a long time to soften it up and get it to peel off the MDF.

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2 hours ago, npt3 said:
  1. I got all my money refunded.  Horrible packer, good (and responsible) seller.
  2. I found a pair of CD7s locally that are perfect! (i.e., the tweeters are perfect, and there are only minor defects on the grilles.  And the woofers need to be refoamed.)  I hooked them up as soon as I got home, and even with the 'wooliness' of the bad-foam woofers, they sound great.  So, my plan is to listen to these as an auxiliary pair (once I refoam the woofers), while I
  3. restore the cabinets of the CD6s.  Like newandold said above, this will be a labor of love project.
  4. Once I get the CD6 cabinets just as I want them, I'll remove the drivers from the CD7s and put them in the restored CD6s. 

On refoaming: I've refoamed AR 3ax woofers before, using the shims and replacing the dust cap.

 

Do I NEED to use the shims?  The dust cap on the Allison woofer has a different geometry (narrower base and higher dome) than the dust cap I got in the kit I have.

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14 hours ago, npt3 said:
  1. I got all my money refunded.  Horrible packer, good (and responsible) seller.
  2. I found a pair of CD7s locally that are perfect! (i.e., the tweeters are perfect, and there are only minor defects on the grilles.  And the woofers need to be refoamed.)  I hooked them up as soon as I got home, and even with the 'wooliness' of the bad-foam woofers, they sound great.  So, my plan is to listen to these as an auxiliary pair (once I refoam the woofers), while I
  3. restore the cabinets of the CD6s.  Like newandold said above, this will be a labor of love project.
  4. Once I get the CD6 cabinets just as I want them, I'll remove the drivers from the CD7s and put them in the restored CD6s.

I'd say you're in great shape if you have a perfect pair of CD-7's as a backup. I've had good luck with lightly sanding the cabinets and then applying a blend of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Watco Rejuvenating Oil works well, too.

I can sympathize with your horror when unboxing these. I won a pair of perfect (vinyl) Sixes on ebay a couple of years ago. Grills, cabinets, tags, all perfect! I asked the seller to please package these carefully and to not put any pressure on the front of the speaker. When the package arrived and I picked it up I felt and heard the two cabinets bang into each other. One tweeter was destroyed along with the grill, the other grill was dimpled by the tweeter posts. Luckily, like you, I had a responsible seller to deal with and got a refund, but now I had to find a good tweeter, which I was able to do fairly quickly.

12 hours ago, npt3 said:

Do I NEED to use the shims?  The dust cap on the Allison woofer has a different geometry (narrower base and higher dome) than the dust cap I got in the kit I have.

I would shim. When I did mine, I was able to entirely remove the original dustcap by carefully prying it off with an X-acto blade. Just be very careful to not cut into the cone. Glue the original dustcap back into place when finished.

Good luck with your restoration.

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So yeah, the indentation in the front of both cabinets where the Allison logo aggressively bore itself into, can't be sanded out.  I tried doing that, then hitting it with Restore A Finsh and 0000 steel wool, and the overall finish looked fantastic, but the imprint is deep, and I don't want to sand through the veneer.  So since I want these to look perfect, I think I'm going to go with re-veneering them with PSA-backed walnut veneer.

And I wound up using the shims, but the original dust caps were a b**** to get off, so I wound up cutting them down to the base.  I'm going to have to replace them with poly dust caps from Parts Express.

 

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UPDATE!  I had a revelation.  Realizing that the veneer was probably about 1/64" thick, and that I had nothing to lose by sanding down those deep indentations, I did.  By hitting those areas with a coarse sandpaper HARD until the indents disappeared, then following up with a medium then superfine grit, I was successfully able to remove them with no trace whatsoever!  There were some other sides with some scratches against the grain that I was able to remove by the same technique, focusing on the scratches first, but sanding the entire face.  I followed up by applying Restore A Finsh with 0000 steel wool on all sides, bearing down pretty hard.  They look really, really great now!  I'll post up some pictures soon. 

I MAY follow up the Restore A Finish treatment with Watco walnut, but these look pretty damn good enough.  I'll see what they look like when they dry totally.  If they're still as good as they look now, I'll apply some Wax-N-Feed.  :)

 

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