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Philharmonic AA Plus Monitor - my notes

222fbj

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#1
I bought the kit, just finished assembly, and they sound great. Below are some notes on my experience.
Full size pictures help explain the notes.

1. Shipping: From PartsExpress I received the BR-1 Cabinets, and the 6.5 inch woofers. From Philhamonic I received the Morels, Crossovers, Damping, a CD with Audio samples, and screws. The Morels had slipped out of position. They also had some small bits of styrofoam on them. They were not damaged, but I wish Philharmonic would charge a few dollars more and upgrade the packing.

2. Cabinet Recess: The BR-1 tweeter recess was too small for the Morel. I fixed that with a dremel. Dennis (Philharmonic) said this is a QC problem with the cabinets, and shows up about 1 in 3 times.

3. The provided instructions are good. I put my copy here. Re Step 1 - add "Check Cabinet Recesses" and fix if needed.

4. The crossover can be left loose and should stay in place. Or, you can use the provided screws. This comes up in Step 3 of the instuctions. If you plan to fasten the crossover, I suggest making (2) holes in the MDF, and attaching the crossover as part of Step 1.

Listening: I sometimes read speaker reviews where they describe hearing things they never heard before. I had that same experience when I listened to Powerhouse Kraftwerk by Bengt Hallberg & Arne Domnérus (on YTmusic or Amazon). I recommend the AA+. fyi - Youtube Review by GoldnEar.
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milan616

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#2
I just put my kit together on Friday night and it's interesting that my Morels were cardboard wrapped vs the styrofoam you got. I also had to dremel the cabinets just a bit. And for securing the crossover boards I put a lot of elbow grease into the first screw, and the remaining ones got a loving tap with a hammer to get me started. Definitely wish I had thought to use the dremel to put in a few starter holes but I decided to secure the crossover before dry fitting the tweeters.

PXL_20210326_163134256.NIGHT.jpg

Definitely some beautiful sound coming out of these, loads better than my outgoing Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. They also dig deep enough to not make me miss the subwoofer!
 

Dennis Murphy

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#3
I just put my kit together on Friday night and it's interesting that my Morels were cardboard wrapped vs the styrofoam you got. I also had to dremel the cabinets just a bit. And for securing the crossover boards I put a lot of elbow grease into the first screw, and the remaining ones got a loving tap with a hammer to get me started. Definitely wish I had thought to use the dremel to put in a few starter holes but I decided to secure the crossover before dry fitting the tweeters.

View attachment 120826

Definitely some beautiful sound coming out of these, loads better than my outgoing Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. They also dig deep enough to not make me miss the subwoofer!
Packing the tweeters was a pain. Morel ships them in bulk lodged into slits in stryo blocks rather than boxing them individually like nice tweeter companies do. I finally devised a way of circling the tweeters with thick cardboard, and that solved the problem. So far everyone has been happy with the sound, and I just sold the last kit today. The minimum order number is 100 pieces, and I'm not going to go through shipping 50 pairs of kits again. But it was worth doing once. I'm going to sound out Meniscus Mark to see if he wants to pick up the kit. He carries the tweeter and Eco-Core and, of course, crossover parts, so people could just order the woofers and cabinets from Parts Express and everything else him. And I could walk the dogs and sell BMR's. Now that I'm not commercially involved, I would put these things up against the Revel M16 with no hesitation. What you don't get with the kit is high sensitivity or sophisticated cabinets.
 
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#4
I also had the cut away a little from the cabinet to get the tweets in. It also took me some time to realize that I should give the xover screws a hammer in first :)

What great sounding speakers!

Picture of them set up next to my BMR’s (AA+’s are going in a different room).
 

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222fbj

222fbj

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Thread Starter #7
Picture of them set up next to my BMR’s (AA+’s are going in a different room).
Hey Jearle... My AA+ sound so good - they are my first really good speaker. I now wonder what a 'better' speaker like the BMR adds?
Since you have both - maybe you could enlighten me?
 
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#8
Hey Jearle... My AA+ sound so good - they are my first really good speaker. I now wonder what a 'better' speaker like the BMR adds?
Since you have both - maybe you could enlighten me?
I have been trying to think of a technical way of saying what I perceived the differences to be, however, gushing nonsense is what you’ll get.

The BMR’s sound larger (better LF response?) and the entire mix sounds wider (better OFAX dispersion?) and less congested (less distortion, more coherent between drivers?). The midrange / HF is also smoother (that BMR taking the stress off the tweet?)

As you know, the AA+’s are a fantastic sounding speaker, especially for the money. The BMR’s just take it to the next level and are about the best I’ve heard for any money.

That doesn’t help, sorry :)

Maybe at some point I’ll hook them back up next to each other and make some real notes.
 
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222fbj

222fbj

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Thread Starter #9
I have been trying to think of a technical way of saying what I perceived the differences to be, however, gushing nonsense is what you’ll get. The BMR’s sound larger (better LF response?) and the entire mix sounds wider (better OFAX dispersion?) and less congested (less distortion, more coherent between drivers?). The midrange / HF is also smoother (that BMR taking the stress off the tweet?) As you know, the AA+’s are a fantastic sounding speaker, especially for the money. The BMR’s just take it to the next level and are about the best I’ve heard for any money. That doesn’t help, sorry :) Maybe at some point I’ll hook them back up next to each other and make some real notes.
Thanks - It helps, and I'm sure the BMRs add a lot. The AA+ speakers made me realize what I've been missing.
I just need some more listening experience. BTW - great looking room.
 

Dennis Murphy

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#10
As JEarle has indicated, the main difference is in sound staging and a sense of air around the midrange content. The tweeter character is also different, but that's just the usual difference between a good ribbon and a dome. It's not a matter of distortion--the AA+ actually has lower distortion in the highs than the BMR (not that you can really hear harmonic distortion in either speaker). The wave launch is just different, and the ribbon has less energy in the sssssssss region, and more at the very top. Which is also probably a function of its wider dispersion.
 
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#11
Packing the tweeters was a pain. Morel ships them in bulk lodged into slits in stryo blocks rather than boxing them individually like nice tweeter companies do. I finally devised a way of circling the tweeters with thick cardboard, and that solved the problem. So far everyone has been happy with the sound, and I just sold the last kit today. The minimum order number is 100 pieces, and I'm not going to go through shipping 50 pairs of kits again. But it was worth doing once. I'm going to sound out Meniscus Mark to see if he wants to pick up the kit. He carries the tweeter and Eco-Core and, of course, crossover parts, so people could just order the woofers and cabinets from Parts Express and everything else him. And I could walk the dogs and sell BMR's. Now that I'm not commercially involved, I would put these things up against the Revel M16 with no hesitation. What you don't get with the kit is high sensitivity or sophisticated cabinets.
I bought a pair of your kits, but I'd also be interested in picking up another pair from Meniscus too, in case that helps persuade Mark.
 

Dennis Murphy

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#12
I bought a pair of your kits, but I'd also be interested in picking up another pair from Meniscus too, in case that helps persuade Mark.
I'm afraid the Meniscus connection is a dead issue. He just wrote back saying that Morel has increased the price of the tweeter to $102 a pop, and a bare bones kit without the woofers or cabinets would run at least $450. That would bring it up to around $570 complete, and even then you would have to pay extra to get pre-wired Xover boards. So no more AA+.
 
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#13
I'm afraid the Meniscus connection is a dead issue. He just wrote back saying that Morel has increased the price of the tweeter to $102 a pop, and a bare bones kit without the woofers or cabinets would run at least $450. That would bring it up to around $570 complete, and even then you would have to pay extra to get pre-wired Xover boards. So no more AA+.
Well then I'm glad I was able to snag a pair when I did, it's an excellent speaker. Maybe I'll pick up a pair of Mini Monitors instead, and slowly work my way up the Dennis Murphy product ladder.
 

hex168

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I'm afraid the Meniscus connection is a dead issue. He just wrote back saying that Morel has increased the price of the tweeter to $102 a pop, and a bare bones kit without the woofers or cabinets would run at least $450. That would bring it up to around $570 complete, and even then you would have to pay extra to get pre-wired Xover boards. So no more AA+.
Just trying to help: might the Dynavox TD2801XL be an adequate replacement? Same size faceplate as the Morel. I'm not sure if the response can be made flat enough but there is plenty of sensitivity to work with:

https://ampslab.com/blog/2018/07/17/dynavox-td2801xl/

https://www.parts-express.com/Dynav...MIvbbLo9mN8AIV1uDICh2RNQJsEAQYBiABEgJqbPD_BwE
 

Dennis Murphy

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#15
Just trying to help: might the Dynavox TD2801XL be an adequate replacement? Same size faceplate as the Morel. I'm not sure if the response can be made flat enough but there is plenty of sensitivity to work with:

https://ampslab.com/blog/2018/07/17/dynavox-td2801xl/

https://www.parts-express.com/Dynav...MIvbbLo9mN8AIV1uDICh2RNQJsEAQYBiABEgJqbPD_BwE
Thanks for the links. The response is pretty choppy. Since the Dayton classic tweeter costs half as much and I already have a crossover for it, I think the Silky might be a better candidate. It's quite smooth up to 12 kHz or so, but has a 15 kHz peak that ranges from moderate to whoa--not the best QC on the silky, but it is cheap. I sold probably 100 pairs of the original AA kit using it, and the overall sound was very close to the AA+ I'll have to check out the current crop and see whether the QC is any tighter.
 

Dennis Murphy

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#17
Dennis,
Let me sneak an Econ question in with that response. Do you see prices going up on other parts for speakers, etc.?
Covid has caused all kinds of parts shortages and increased demand for entertainment products, so I think the only direction for prices is up. I've put food and water off for awhile and just ordered bigger inventories of my drivers than I ordinarily would, so I'm hoping I can keep prices where they are.
 

TimW

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#18
Glad I decided to order a pair of these from Dennis last month. I knew they were a bargain but now, looking at those potential meniscus prices, I feel very lucky to have gotten a pair. I looked up the price of the Morel tweeters right after ordering and saw that $102 price, I was afraid Dennis might be losing money but I figured he must have put in a large order with better pricing.

These speakers sound very good. Detailed but not very fatiguing, and pretty close to neutral. They are very similar in signature to the Pioneer based AAM that I also own, with the main difference being bass extension. Comparing either AAM to other two-way designs, I find the midrange to be less recessed making vocals more detailed. Many other two-ways I've had have a recessed lower midrange and a boosted upper midrange/low-treble (presence region) which makes them sound detailed and spacious at first but then become fatiguing. While the AAM Plus is certainly not a warm or dark sounding speaker, it does not cross into the fatiguing category with anything but the most poorly mastered material.

One thing I have noticed about the AAM Plus, which may well be due to my room and placement, is a slight lack in warmth or body. It is probably because I am used to a less neutral sound, and again, I think it may be due to room affects. But I was wondering if @Dennis Murphy could comment about the dip shown here in his measurements at 300-500 Hz. Is that an actual dip which I could consider filling using EQ? Or is it more of a measurement anomaly?
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