Cambridge SoundWorks HT setups - Page 14 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #391 of 396 Old 09-03-2013, 10:39 AM
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I just fired up my old M80s (I've been on The Wharfedale Evo2-10s since I last posted in this thread) and they sound great. They need a little coaxing out of the bass/treble knobs as the amp I use now is only about 30w/channel (Marantz PM5004) and they are pretty hard to drive but they sound awesome. The bass is very punchy and tight and they image well. I wish I had a more powerful amp to try them out with. Good stands make a big difference too, I remember when I had these before there was always some upper bass distortion which I think was due to the crappy wood Sanus stands I was using....I now have very heavy Focal (rebadged Target MR60, 4 post steel loaded/about 80lbs each) and it doesn't seem to be there. Could be the Marantz amp over the old Onkyo HT receiver I was using back then too. I've tried both vinyl via a Rega RP1 and digital via my computer and a Marantz CD5003 and everything sounds really nice.
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post #392 of 396 Old 12-03-2016, 09:34 PM
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Boy am I late to supper. CSW has been through many changes since I acquired my New Ensemble (5 channel) setup in 1994. In looking for help with my issue (below), I see they only make a very limited number of Bluetooth speakers now. (Most likely a very far cry from the beloved company Henry Koss started.)

My speakers were stored due to dead receiver that was never replaced (ya know, divorce and all that goes with it). And they've sat in my garage in a cardboard box for a few years. I've been without even a basic stereo outside of my computer system for several years. But I've always been very pleased with my CSW speakers when used both for either music or home theater.

Fast forward to today and I picked up a Sony STR-DH550 5.2ch AV Receiver (145W x5) at Best Buy for just $150. It's not an exotic receiver by any means, but it will certainly sound better than (a) nothing and (b) my computer speakers. And it's bound to sound "good enough" for the price.

So on to the unpacking of my CSW speakers and I find that my two mains and the two surrounds (but not the bass modules and center speaker which are vinyl coated) have suffered from the same NEXTEL paint problems mentioned in earlier posts in this section. The faux suede covering has "melted" to a sticky goo more or less. I tried to clean them with some simple glass cleaner (what I recall they recommended back in the day) and I found that in a test area I actually removed the covering altogether. I assume some paint thinner would make quick work of cleaning up all the mess. But then I'll have "naked" speakers.

From the looks of things, these speaker enclosures are built out of high density particle board stuffed into an aluminum (it's not magnetic) covering.

Anyone have any ideas what I could paint the soon-to-be bare metal with that will leave an acceptable finish? (Frankly, ANYTHING is more acceptable than the goo coating they now have.) I could go a cheap as rattle can but they'd likely look like they were finished with cheap spray paint as well. I'd consider any color, but the conventional flat-black is most likely what they'll get.
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post #393 of 396 Old 12-07-2016, 11:20 AM
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Quick update on this...

Well, did some work on my speakers with a bit of Acetone (fingernail polish remover / paint stripper) and found the old NEXTEL coating comes off almost too easily. And makes one heck of a mess in the process. I thought the speakers might be in an aluminum housing based on how they looked where the NEXTEL coating had been removed before (in very small area at first), but it turns out that is just a thick layer of light grey primer over dense wood fiberboard. (MDF)

Being that these are wood (ish) speakers, I'm just going with the strip, lightly sand, then prime & repaint route. I'd hoped that I might be able to disassemble everything in order to remove the screens before painting, but it looks like everything is glued solid. So I'll have to do some careful masking. Hope to get this done over the holiday break. I'll update with a couple of pictures of the results.

The good news is that the speakers still sound great. The amp itself really seems to be missing some BASIC features. (Like no auto programming of radio station presets, etc.) But the tonal quality (at least to my 50+ year old ears) is impressive for the price I paid. SO happy to be watching NetFlix, etc. and using something 100X better than the TV speakers.
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post #394 of 396 Old 12-25-2016, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packers-fan View Post
Quick update on this...

Well, did some work on my speakers with a bit of Acetone (fingernail polish remover / paint stripper) and found the old NEXTEL coating comes off almost too easily. And makes one heck of a mess in the process. I thought the speakers might be in an aluminum housing based on how they looked where the NEXTEL coating had been removed before (in very small area at first), but it turns out that is just a thick layer of light grey primer over dense wood fiberboard. (MDF)

Being that these are wood (ish) speakers, I'm just going with the strip, lightly sand, then prime & repaint route. I'd hoped that I might be able to disassemble everything in order to remove the screens before painting, but it looks like everything is glued solid. So I'll have to do some careful masking. Hope to get this done over the holiday break. I'll update with a couple of pictures of the results.

The good news is that the speakers still sound great. The amp itself really seems to be missing some BASIC features. (Like no auto programming of radio station presets, etc.) But the tonal quality (at least to my 50+ year old ears) is impressive for the price I paid. SO happy to be watching NetFlix, etc. and using something 100X better than the TV speakers.
The grills on ensemble satellites are fairly easy to remove for painting. - I'd also double check the surrounds on the satellites and woofers just to make sure they are still in tact. Repainting ensembles will bring new life to them cosmetically. On the power side of things. A decent POWER amp driving them will also squeeze their true performance out of them. ( in fact 2 stereo amps is ideal. One to drive the bass module(s) and one to drive the main sats) . The NAD 2200PE is pretty easy to find on the used market as is the Adcom 555 (original or II). So for not a lot of cash, you can really make the ensemble system perform on par with some speakers costing many times what they are worth.
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post #395 of 396 Old 04-22-2017, 06:37 AM
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Disposing of Ensemble Bass Modules - GONE :(

I have a set of Ensemble speakers (2 Sats 2 Bass). One of the bass speakers is blown or otherwise in need of repair so I replaced them both in my system with a KLH powered subwoofer...the bass speakers have been in my attic unused for 3+ years but now they have been demoted to the garage and are on track for disposal. Anyone in the Boston area who would like to take them is welcome to do so...just PM me to make arrangements.

*** 5/26/2017 Update ***
The bass modules are no longer available...moving in 7 days and so they have gone and joined the great trash heap in the sky....

"You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means."

Last edited by smdelaney; 05-26-2017 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Change in Status of Speakers in Question
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post #396 of 396 Old 08-30-2017, 11:03 PM
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refinishing Ensemble sats (Nextel substitute)

This is an old thread, but just in case someone else ends up here through a search like I did:

1) Nextel is in theory still available, from Mankiewicz in Germany. Surely not the original formula because: EU VOC regulations, but here's their website:
http://www.nextel-coating.com/nextel...lt.asp?lng=eng
No MSDS to know exactly *what* might be toxic in the old stuff, alas.

2) After using denatured alcohol to remove the Nextel, other DIY forums have recommended truck bed liner spray paint for its textured finish. You can go to your local AutoZone and buy Rustoleum or Duplicolor, each slightly different.

P.S. Too bad about dumping those woofer cabinets -- because I have exactly the opposite problem: Humidity has, in addition to making my Nextel satellites gummy, caused all the laminate to fall off my otherwise perfectly functioning woofer boxes! Guess I'm about to learn how to use contact cement and align previously-trimmed pieces...
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