Thursday, July 24, 2008

WPC speaker upgrade

Started this week on another project that I planned to do for many years now but just never did: upgrading speakers in all of my pinball machines.

I've read Tony's guide a lot and will follow it.. especially the schematics at the end of his instructions are interesting.

I don't have everything I need yet - I do have one pyramid crossover, and last week I went crazy and bought about a dozen speakers in all sizes.
I don't have l-pads or rheostats yet so I'm waiting for them to complete the upgrade and do all rewiring necessary.

What I already did was replacing the original speakers in my Medieval Madness pinball machine with better ones. According to some posts on rgp, just installing new speakers without rewiring anything may also make a big difference on some games, but the final result depends on the game and speakers used.. one just has to experiment, you don't know in advance how successful you'll be..

In the backbox I replaced the left speaker with a much better quality car speaker of the same size, and the tweeter on the right with an improved one.
Best results you get if you put 2 of the same type of speakers in the backbox, but I just did not want to drill/cut the plastic speakerpanel of my MM.
I did buy speakers with built-in tweeters too that can fit in the backbox, but will use those for another game with wooden speaker panel.

I put a large subwoofer in the cabinet (the biggest size that I could fit in there, the troll assemblies just don't touch it).

Results (without installing an lpad to change the balance):

The cabinet speaker can't be heard at all.. the volume of the backbox speakers is too high in contrast.. so an lpad is really necessary for a new subwoofer to make any noticeable difference.

The tweeter on the right distorts sometimes. It's annoying. Don't know how it comes as it doesn't do it all the time.. I'll have to experiment to lower its output.
It shouldn't do it in theory as it has more than double the watts of the original.
I'll install the tweeter into another pinball machine too and see what it does..
Maybe they're of less quality than I think they are, or maybe it just doesn't go well into the default configuration on Medieval Madness.
I hope it's the second as I intended to buy more of these tweeters as they have a good size.. I want to install them in my Attack from Mars, Cirqus Voltaire and Safecracker pinball machines.

I first replaced the left backbox speaker and tested this setup.
That actually sounded the best ! The speaker was clear enough to let me hears sounds I never heard before (what - there's actually water flowing ?! glass breaking ?!) The result really has to be heard to believe, only now you realize how crappy the default pinball machine speakers sound !
It also had enough power to give out a good bass you could feel and hear, but would not overpower the other sounds.

So I'll install an l-pad and see if I can fine-tune it so the pinball machine will really sound very good. If I can't get it right then maybe I'll just return to the default wiring and only keep the left backbox speaker.
But I'm pretty sure I'll get it working with an l-pad. Last year I heard a friends Medieval Madness with only a new subwoofer in the cabinet and a pinballpro l-pad alligator clip thingy in the backbox and the improved bass also made a huge difference to the feel of the game..

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