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New refurb project - Rega Ela Mk1

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  • New refurb project - Rega Ela Mk1

    So having recently completed a refurb on the unique KLH2 loudspeakers (https://techtalk.parts-express.com/f...y-loudspeakers) I was browsing the local classified's for anything else unique or interesting and I stumbled up a set of Rega Ela Mk1 speakers for what I thought to be a bargain!

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    Working condition and all that. Woofers are in excellent condition - surrounds are made of the good stuff so no deterioration, still nice n supple! Tweeters seem ok - but I am almost certain they are early examples of the ScanSpeak D2008/851200 in case they need replacing.

    They sound great. The woofer measures just under 4.5 inches surround to surround so its tiny for what these can do (guess they probably classified it as a 5 inch).
    Its a transmission line design - perhaps tuned for low 50's. This version of the Rega Ela uses a Royd Audio woofer (I understand it was swapped out in later iterations for a Rega sourced unit).

    Naturally they don't have any substantial bass slam instead its soft and articulate and enough to give them a warm friendly approachable sound. Bunch of superlatives I know - but I've found myself just gabbing a cushion and lounging on the floor listening to music, having forgotten about what the speakers really are. To me, that's an excellent testament to their sonic qualities.

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    So plan is a full refurb on these guys. I'll swap the plastic coating for some real veneer, re-paint the fronts, install new hardware and update the crossover. And I'm contemplating building another box exactly the same but installing a subwoofer and plate amp to turn them into a matching 2.1 system and assist the little TL loaded woofers dig an octave deeper.

    Thought I would start this thread as a bit of a resource on these speakers as I start the tare down. I'll run a full set of measurements as well before pulling them apart.

    Anyone had any experience with these before?
    Last edited by DeZZar; 02-17-2022, 10:31 PM.
    Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
    Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

  • #2
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    Kick things off by measuring them up and drawing them. Cabinet is good for about 26L volume before any internals are considered. I figured I can work with around 18-20L net for a subwoofer to match them.

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    Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
    Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

    Comment


    • #3
      Now that's about as simple as it gets. 2nd order on the tweeter with a half decent cap @ 3.3uf. No labels on the inductors so I'm going to guess, at this point, its somewhere around 0.9mh on the tweeter and perhaps 1.2-1.5 on the woofer for a crossover point anywhere between 2.5-3K (guessing). We'll see when I have a chance to pull this apart and actually measure them.

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      Impedance is a little bit all over the place. Not sure what these were rated as 'nominally'! Dips to around 4.5ohm @ 10K.

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      Perhaps some inconsistencies in the line stuffing between the two boxes but generally good alignment between the two. Looks like tuning is right around the 50hz mark which makes sense as the line length is about 1.6m + stuffing.


      Frequency measurements incoming soon!
      Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
      Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

      Comment


      • #4
        Well its no wonder they sound pretty good. With so few parts in the crossover this is a pretty good FR

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        Here is the full 0-90 degrees...

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        And some nearfield for the woofer and TL

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        Based on the aligned sum, f3 sits around 60Hz, f6=48Hz and f10=41Hz.


        Just about perfect for pairing up with a matching bass module!
        Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
        Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

        Comment


        • #5
          Excellent! Thanks for measuring these and sharing. I'm a little surprised; those Rega's have pretty decent off-axis response. I'm sure the small mid-woofer helps.

          I'm looking forward to seeing how these come out. It looked like there might have been dust caps on the woofers originally, but a quick scan of review and photos suggests they came from the factory like yours.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by squib View Post
            It looked like there might have been dust caps on the woofers originally, but a quick scan of review and photos suggests they came from the factory like yours.
            I know! It's a little odd right...but yeah that appears to be how they are. I'm actually debating adding a breathable dust cap to them as part of the refurb. I had to clean a lot of accumulated dust from inside the voice coil former on these. There just isn't anything preventing dust from getting inside the voice coil, so I think I'll give them a good clean and add a dust cap, just make it a mesh one so as not to fully block any ventilation needs they might have.
            Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
            Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

            Comment


            • #7
              A lot of Royd speakers didn't have dustcaps. I assume it was for sound quality reasons.
              ​​​​​​Watching with interest...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by fatmarley View Post
                A lot of Royd speakers didn't have dustcaps. I assume it was for sound quality reasons.
                ​​​​​​Watching with interest...
                Maybe the darker color along the inner rim of the woofer cone is from some kind of doping they added to reinforce the edge. I'm curious about the front baffle design with the ridges and valleys. Are you planning to veneer the cabs and keep the baffles, as-is?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by squib View Post
                  Are you planning to veneer the cabs and keep the baffles, as-is?
                  absolutely, I think this is what gives them such a unique look. will replicate it for the bass module a well!
                  Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                  Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The only thing that ever turns up around here are Fluance, cheap Klipsch, white van stuff, and crappy 80's Pioneer/Jensen/KLH/Fisher/Technics monkey coffins. Kind of sad, and I suspect one of the reasons I have trouble finding people interested in high-end, smaller speakers. To make matters worse, these guys still think a 5/8" particle board, vinyl wrapped, no braces, cap on small cone mid and cap on cone tweet, 15" woofer with 1.2 Qts, garbage is worth $100. The cabinets are never even worth repurposing, either. I did find a pair of 8" 2-way Realistic speakers at a rummage sale for $30 one day. Had a trashed 10" passive radiator but were otherwise free of chipping, the veneer was decent. Even had a single brace. Measured well enough for what it was. Still have the cabinets, they are worth repurposing.

                    Nice find! I'm sure you will be able to do some magic with the treble balance but otherwise it looks like the original designer did a pretty decent job. What is the distance from the floor to the tweeter? They may have deliberately tuned it a little hot due to seated position vs tweeter height.
                    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's not often that something this classic/unique shows up around here either. That's why I jumped on these. Much the same....often just nasty cheap box speakers.

                      Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                      . What is the distance from the floor to the tweeter? They may have deliberately tuned it a little hot due to seated position vs tweeter height.
                      It's about 30inches. The baffle is at an 8.5degree tilt backwards. I took these measurements level at tweeter axis rather than perpendicular to the baffle. I'll take a set of vertical axis measurements before I strip them down.

                      The tweeter is about as bright as you would expect from these measurements. It literally sounds just 1-2db too much...but purely from a balance perspective....it never comes across in an unpleasant way which is why they may have opted to leave it alone instead of introducing resistors. (It likely also helps flatten the power response like this).

                      I'll experiment bringing the tweeter down a touch. It also depends on the series resistance on the woofers could. Although iron core it's very thin gauge so I'll see if there is a chance to reduce the resistance.
                      Last edited by DeZZar; 02-19-2022, 12:15 AM.
                      Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                      Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Reading some reviews and listening to the previous owner of these it seems people are sad to see their ELA's go but eventually upgrade/change not because they really want to but because of the limited bass extension. In my mind, adding a good sub and tuning it right would have been a solution but I guess it does just get to that point where you've had them for so long you end up going for a complete change.

                        Conceptually I'm aiming to put together something like this as a matching 2.1 solution. Keeping everything great about the ELA itself and upgrade where we can, but add in a matching bass module to fill in the missing 30-60Hz.

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                        Working up a design at the moment using a single Epique E180 in around 18-20L tuned to somewhere between 32-25Hz for an f3 @ 31hz matched up to a 250W DSP plate amp. This will be capable of taking a full 220W for content down to 28Hz (so full music range). This'll give us 106db before we take away baffle step and add back room gain. Won't be an SPL king at all, but this is about stereo music listening (not HT), and matching up to the ELA's and I believe a single E180 should be plenty to keep up with them!
                        Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                        Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just posting an update on this little project - its been a while and have finally gotten the chance to come back to this one.

                          Starting with the teardown....the drivers are actually glued in - not like epoxy or anything - but strong enough that these are never coming out based on normal poking and prying.

                          The woofer has an odd little threaded hole in its face plate. You need to thread a bolt into this hole as far as you can and then using the bolt carefully lever the drivers up. The glue will finally give way (and/or some of the MDF as it was in my case) and you can pry up the drivers until you can get a decent grip on them and pull them out.

                          After the woofer you could push on the back of the tweeter but I found it easier to use the same method, threading a bolt into one of the mounting holes and gently prying it up.

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                          Drivers, crossovers, terminal plates and stickers all removed....here on the woofers you can see the odd little extra hole....

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                          Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                          Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The plastic coating on these came off really easily so I've stripped it off top/bottom/sides and back.

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                            And then prepared the rear surface a little as the chipboard constructions joins here and I want to take extra care to make sure it wont show through the final veneer. A layer of backing veneer will go down first followed by the real stuff.

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                            The bottoms of the baffle have been beat up a little so I will router out this bottom section and replace it before re-painting them.
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                            Both boxes stripped back, prepared for veneer, sanded and ready for the next steps. I'll throw some paint stripper on the baffles and then repair them before veneering and re-painting.

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                            Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                            Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Now onto the replica box for the bass module.

                              Settled on a design using the Dayton Epique E180HE-44 woofer and the SPA250 DSP amp. In around 20L net tuned to low 30's we'll get a low 30's f3 - a nice compliment to the Ela's performance.


                              Starting the glue up here and leaving it so one side is off to start with - once its all together the loose side will allow some final port tuning before it gets sealed up permanently.
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                              Rear compartment for the amp - sealed off from the rest of the box.
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                              Here at the bottom the port will terminate into the base of the speaker but there will be vents to the rear (as shown) and the sides once it's all done.
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                              3D printed flare to suit some PVC pipe I have laying around that's the perfect size for the port.

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                              Driver cutout wraps up the basics of the baffle and now I need to set about replicating the ribs in the baffle. Just setting up a test piece here - ran out of time tonight to actually make all the cuts but its ready to go tomorrow.
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                              Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
                              Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

                              Comment

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