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Thread: Monolith refresh - Panels, woofers and rail stain updates

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    Super User JonFo's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Big Canoe, GA

    Default Monolith refresh - Panels, woofers and rail stain updates

    Iíve had Monolith IIIís for eight years now, having bought them used in Ď98. They were made in January of Ď93.

    They sat unused for more than a year as I finished up the custom home theater room designed around them and the rest of Martin Logan gear I have.

    Once in full deployment in the new HT, they were marvelous, although running on their factory passive crossover for the first months. After playing with placement, tuning the room acoustics and all other non-invasive approaches, it was clear that a better sound should be possible with these great speakers. So I went with an active external crossover and bi-amped. Big improvement.

    However, in measuring the new x-over setup, it was clear something was not right in the bass, especially the mid-bass. Keep in mind Iíve always used subs (back in those days it was two Velodyne ULD-18ís) so the Monolith woofers were not being taxed by ultra-low frequencies. The x-over then was at 60hz.

    Looking at the stock 12Ē driver, it was clear the distortions and Ďflabbinessí I was hearing were a product of one tired speaker. So I updated the driver with an ACI SV12 unit. Read the specific story and see pics of that one at my site.
    The sound, especially the 100hz region was vastly improved. Been very happy with them as long as the x-over is below 160hz.

    Having experienced dramatic improvements from the active x-over, I then went all-out with a Speaker processor, the DriveRack 260. This allowed true panel to woofer (and to sub) integration on a level that seemed a pipe-dream before. This unit is awesome, and results are likewise.

    Now, here we are in the spring of 2006 and the panels have significant high-end frequency drop offs, the ETF measurements also show some panel resonances that I donít think had been there before. Also, the original panels are now 13 years old. Time for a refresh of the panels.

    The Monoliths I bought (since I got them used) came with Oak rails. They look nice, but donít really go that well with my HT setup, where everything is either black, grey or uses purple for a highlight color. When using front projection, light control and reflections are critical. The light Oak rails pick up the light of the PJ and are somewhat noticeable when playing a movie. Since the replacement of the panels requires some disassembly of the Monolith, Iíll be removing the rails and refinishing them.

    The plan is to use an Aniline dye to stain them a dark purple and then put a satin finish poly coat over that.
    First, lotís of sanding to get down to the bare wood.

    In addition to the panels and rails, Iíll also be doing something with the woofer, but thatís detailed in another post.

    Some of you have PMíd me or posted asking for details on Ďhow-toí perform some or all of the above, so this thread is for you guys. Pics, measurements, descriptions and crying on your shoulders if I screw-up, all to come in the next few days.

    Lotís of work in the next day or two
    Last edited by JonFo; 04-30-2006 at 01:00 PM.

    System #45 (Monolith IIIx, Sequell IIb, SL3XC)

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