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In Reply to: SS Vs.Tube Xover posted by rufusen on November 26, 2006 at 15:44:28:
I have the Marchand XM-26 and XM-9. My XM-9 uses upgraded OP2134 op amps instead of the stock op amps. I am using Sovtek 12ax7s in the XM-26.
Overall, I would say the XM-26 sounds very slightly rolled off to me in comparison to the XM-9 but otherwise I think the 2 units sound similar.
The XM-44 and XM-126 can be configured as 3 way crossovers and both share similar architecture with the XM-26 whereas the XM-9 is a somewhat simpler design. One thing I don't like about the XM-26 is that it picks up more noise than the XM-9, probably due to its high (1 Megohm) input impedance.
As far as single ended active crossovers are concerned, I don't think you can go wrong with either the XM-44 or XM-126. You can order the proper filter types from Phil Marchand, he is very willing to work with customers.
Many Thanks for your comments.
I'm undecided between this two units because I'm going to have a vintage all SS setup to drive the glorious Tympani and my doubts are if I'll need a tube unit somewhere in the chain or go for a 100% SS setup.
From what you say the tube xover is not going to add a different signature from the SS xover it is correct?
Well, IMHO the signatures are similar but YMMV!! Some folks may hear a lot more of a difference than I between these 2 units. And, to tell you the truth, sometimes I prefer the XM-26 and sometimes I prefer the XM-9, it depends on the source material!!
I had Tympani 1Ds back in the 1970s and I used big (ARC) solid state amps to drive them. I also had Tympani IVas in the 1980s, again using big solid state (Spectral) amps. I passively biamped the T-IVas but never tried biamping with the T-1Ds.
I don't think using the XM-26 would "spoil" your SS amp chain though. Given the bass slam and impact you can get out of Tymps, I would always lean toward using SS amps for the bass panels. The mid/highs might sound fine with either tube or SS amps. You would have to experiment with the level settings if you use different amps for bass and mid/high panels though!! And, you will have to order the XM-44/XM-126 filter boards from Marchand with the proper slopes and crossover frequencies for the T-1D-- I don't remember what these were but they were listed in the owners manual I believe.
Interested to hear you have both the Marchand XM-26 and XM-9. :-)
I've perused the Marchand site but I don't know their products in detail ... have you merely replaced the external XO with an active or are you running your IIIAs 3-way active?
(I run my IIIAs 3-way active with Rod Elliott's opamp-based actives (www.sound.au.com.) )
If you are currently only running 2-way active and still using the internal passive mid LP/ribbon HP crossover ... why don't you go 3-way active by using both Marchands simultaneously? (I believe Phil supplies different XO modules quite cheaply?)
If the XM9 is a "simpler" architecture, maybe it only allows symmetric LP/HP slopes ... in which case, use this for the mid LP/ribbon HP crossover (as these are both 12dB) and use the XM26 for the "external" bass LP/mid HP crossover (as this is 18dB bass LP/12dB mid HP)?
Of course, you might need to buy a third amp but this doesn't have to be a very powerful one, just for the ribbons! :-))
Getting rid of all them passive components is a biiig step up, IMO!! :-))
I am using the Maggies 2 way active and I use a sub too. Instead of junking the XM-9 and XM-26 and replacing them with an XM-44, I am following the advice of Phil Marchand and feeding the low pass output of the XM-26 into the XM-9 to split between the Maggie bass panel (hi pass out of XM-9) and sub (low pass out of XM-9).
I am tinkering with the notion of doing 3 way active as you suggest but right now there are too many things going on in my life to take on modifying the panels! It seems like I just got them back from Magnepan after refurbing!!
You are right, the XM-9 supports only symmetric slopes whereas the 26, 126 and 44 can support either assymmetric or symmetric.
I use the reissue Mac MC-275IV for the mid and ribbons and a larger Mac solid state amp for the bass panel. Sounds pretty good.
I have the age old problem of "fiddling" with the subs, their placement, crossover frequency, and such. Right now I have gone back to using the subs to augment the Maggies (no high pass) with a 50 Hz crossover, 24 dB/octave L-R, low pass only. There seems to be no end to the number of combinations one can try, it keeps me off the streets......!!
Should be very niice! :-))
Yes, yours sounds like a good XO setup. How have you setup the XM-26 ... 18dB on the bass and 12dB on the mids/ribbons?
And with the XM-9, you're currently running sub LP @ 50Hz, with a 24dB slope ... and running the bass panels full range? If your alternative with the XM-9 is to have 24dB HP @ 50 Hz for the bass panels, I'm not surprised running them full range sounds better. But I have a feeling (because I'm researching subs for my IIIAs right now! :-)) ) that rolling off the bass panels with a 12dB slope at about 70Hz would probably be a good thing.
There is another combo you could try with your XM-9 and XM-26. Given the XM-9 only supports symmetric slopes ... use it for the external bass/mid XO (ie. this changes the bass LP slope from 18dB to 12dB). The III had a 12dB bass LP slope and a friend of mine with IIIAs converted his to 12dB ... and it sounds pretty damn good! :-))
You should use bass LP 12dB @ 290Hz and mid/ribbon HP at 500Hz.
Then use the XM-26 for the sub/bass panel XO ... 24dB @ 50 or 60Hz for the sub LP and a 12dB slope for the bass HP @ 70 or 80Hz.
Just a suggestion! :-))
Yes, I have the XM-26 set up as 18 dB/octave on the bass and 12 dB/octave for the mid/ribbons. Phil Marchand wanted to know the filter characteristic when I ordered these boards for the XM-26 and I said Butterworth-- Magenepan does not really say this in their literature, though.
I have been torn over if and how to hi pass filter the bass panels. Recently, I have gone back to driving the MG-IIIa full range to experiment with running the MC275IV balanced because I have a long cable run between amp and preamp (Mac C41). I use a balanced output from the C41 for the Maggies and an unbalanced output for the XM-9 and then into the sub amp. I have VMPS passive subs so I use another stereo amp with them.
I like to go back to driving the Maggies full range every once in a while to compare how they sound versus biamping. Overall, though, I like the sound of the MG-III biamped and will go back. I have yet to fully evaluate the 340 Hz symmetric L-R crossover suggested by another MUG member too!!
Thanks for your suggestions on crossovers; in fact, I have 50 Hz and 100Hz L-R boards for the XM-26 in addition to the 18/12 Butterworth boards. I also have 50, 70, 85, and 100 Hz L-R plug-ins for the XM-9. I'd have to order to some additional plug-ins for the XM-9 to run it 12 dB/octave at 290/500Hz as you suggest. Sounds interesting though!
I wonder why Magnepan went from 12 to 18 dB/octave on the bass LP slope in the MG-IIIa??
Why did Magnepan go from 12db to 18 dB/octave on the bass LP slope, from the MG-III to the MG-IIIa ... who knows!!?? :-))
I guess they thought it sounded better but whether it really does or not is anyone's guess!! Well - anyone with a Marchand XO like you, that is! If you get the additional plug-ins from Phil you can tell us!
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