Passion of the Hi-Fi: Part VI - Resolution

JA guffawed, “It sounds like you need a tweeter-ectomy.”

“I hope that’s all I need.” After buying a replacement tweeter for one of my Usher S-520s, I asked Stan Tracht, US representative for Usher, a pair of questions.

“Will I need to solder anything?”

“No soldering needed,” Stan advised.

“Do I need to buy a second tweeter to ensure the speakers match?” I’m in the process replacing the tweeters on a pair of busted Polk Audio Monitor 7s I bought in the basement of the Silent Barn for $30. Adam Sohmer, Polk representative, recommended never having unmatched tweeters.

Tracht said, “No need to match the tweeters.”

That’s confidence!

The tweeter arrived two days later. It cost $25. It was surprisingly heavy.

I placed the speaker with the blown tweeter face up from the ground. Of course, the screws holding the tweeter could only be removed with the one Allen key I was missing.

My screwdriver with interchangeable heads was at Stereophile HQ. I needed it to take apart JA’s Creative EMU0404, a portable computer audio recording interface that I borrowed. While mishandling it during my own recording project, I dislodged the USB input, and the device no longer communicated to a computer. I disassembled the unit to take a look inside and found the golden walls of the USB input spread wide. By clamping the walls of the input back together, I hoped to save the unit, but after re-affixing the circuit board and casework together, it didn’t even turn on.

Digging through a milk crate of wireless routers, ponchos, and other inessential essentials, I found an old set of drill bits, a high school graduation gift, but I didn't have a drill. I tried removing the screws with the drill bit in between my fingers. This failed. Fortunately, old-roommate Pete left some of his stuff behind, including his drill(s), while he found a new place.

After drawing out each screw just enough to grab, I twisted them out by hand. I tilted the speaker to the side, and the tweeter plopped out dangling by a thick set of wires clipped on to posts on the left and right sides of the tweeter. Using needle-nose pliers, I pulled the wire’s pushpins off their posts. The tweeter’s magnet kept drawing my pliers towards the center of the tweeter. This was annoying, but ignoring the magnet’s force, I carefully inserted the pushpins onto the new tweeter’s posts and then screwed the tweeter back in place.

It worked. My soundstage was now evenly balanced between left and right, but the new tweeter sounded a little tight in its expression of the highs. I sent Stan an email.

Stan consoled me, “It will smooth out.”

dalethorn's picture

Chances are your ears aren't identical, so just put the brighter speaker on the side where you have less sensitivity. Then have a couple of beers and call me in the morning.

earwaxxer's picture

While your at it hack out the piece of crap capacitor in the crossover. Well, I guess you have to look at the inductor as well. What the hell, toss the whole thing out and start over!

Ariel Bitran's picture

dale: it did smooth out.

earwaxxer: stay tuned...

SET Man's picture


    You must have been rocking out with those little speakers hard. At least the price of the replacement was reasonable. 

     Well, personally I have never killed any speaker... yet.


Ariel Bitran's picture

you can read how I fried the tweeter at the end of this piece

pelliott321's picture

Your a disaster!