New Speakers!

Een AA batterij op de voorgrond ter vergelijking.
Een AA batterij op de voorgrond ter vergelijking.

We open this blog with a photo of the old speakers of the ITT brand. A German brand, at least I thought for years. But after some research it turns out to be an American brand. The abbreviation stands for International Telephone & Telegraph. Although there is no direct link with loudspeakers, it appears that the company owned more than 350 other companies. Perhaps also a branch in the manufacture of loudspeakers. I have searched in vain for a part number but have not been able to find it...

How it went or turned. Today I say goodbye to these clunky 3-way speakers. They have been in my possession for almost 10 years and have let out endless hours of music. But actually they've always been too big, especially for the space I've been living in for over 4 years now. The arrangement was therefore also incorrect, the right loudspeaker was turned a quarter turn to the left and the left loudspeaker was tilted to the right. So time to replace them with at least something that sounds just as good and fits better in the setup and my room in general!

The idea for new loudspeakers has been in the planning for years, decisive was the advice I received from a good colleague who is a fan of good music, which according to him should be accompanied by good audio quality.

He strongly advised me to look for the Bowers & Wilkins - Matrix 1 loudspeakers from the mid 80s.

So after some searching on the internet I found someone who had a set for sale somewhere near Rotterdam.
Arranged and visited with the car on a Sunday evening, when I arrived there I was surprised by a large collection of good loudspeakers of different brands and qualities. During the listening test, I was quickly overcome. I'd heard and read a lot of good things about the speakers and they weren't bad at all. The sound is pure, no hiss or hum in the background and the range is very wide, every sound from the music can be heard as if you were listening with good headphones.

This series of loudspeakers are known for their great quality, one that nowadays can easily match what the listener expects from a set of speakers. We'll take a look at the user manual for some extra information.

The introduction from the manual mentions a number of highlights of the loudspeakers.

Including the construction which 'eliminates' resonance from the cabinet itself.
The 'extreme' range of the speakers.
Preparation for digital music by means of the CD (Compact Disc).

Perhaps you are still curious about the exact specifications:

There is a lot more to mention about the device via the manual. But first, let's prepare the speakers for use. I have to make new audio cables myself to connect to the speakers and amplifier.

The connection on the back consists of so-called 'Banana plugs', where you screw a cable to the speaker, as it were. Although I can connect a cable directly to this, I want removable plugs, this makes it easier to disconnect the cables when moving the speakers, for example.

So I went to a local audio specialist to get these special plugs. In addition, I got 7 meters of cord with a diameter of 2.5 mm 2 .

Before I start making the cables to the amplifier, there is something else that needs to be done first. There are four connections on the speaker, a stereo pair for low tones and a pair for the treble. So you could connect these separately from each other, but I'm going for the easy way and loop them to each other. For this I take two lengths of cable of identical length.

Step by step I prepare the short pieces and connect them to the bass connection.

At the other end I do the same and plug it into the treble jack. The result looks nice, but I'm doing something wrong...

It is good to check your own work sometimes. The cable was connected the wrong way round, just turn it around and everything is fine.

I repeat the same steps for the other speaker, the result is identical.

You can then connect the banana plugs via the top. The next step is to make the cable to the amplifier.

For this I take two pairs of plugs, I unscrewed another one to show the inside of the plug.

I don't have any pictures of the cable, but I do have an important tip that I can give. Each cable has a certain electrical resistance (in Ohms). Although one speaker is closer to the amplifier than the other, the length of both cables should be the same. I know that 3.5 meters of cable is enough for me. so cut the cable half way through the middle so that both lengths are the same. This prevents one speaker from having more resistance than the other. Ultimately, the difference is small, but there is a chance that one speaker will deliver more sound than the other due to the difference in cable length and resistance!

I have to admit, I've never worked with plugs like this before, so have to check the internet for instructions. There are apparently different banana plug models with their own way of connecting. For this I take the back of the plug and insert the cable here and then tighten it. There is a metal pin in the plug that should clamp everything in place when the back is tightened. But in practice things are a bit different...

After tightening I notice that there is still a lot of play on the cable and with little force I pull the cable out of the plug...
I finally try it again but the result remains the same. Now I'm not sure if I'm doing it wrong, or if the plugs don't meet the requirement. Fortunately, there is another method...

In the end I use the side connection of the plug, strip the cable far enough so that it clamps well but does not protrude at the other opening. Now it is firmly in place and I can start installing the other plugs.

In a fairly short time I prepared all cables to be connected, I only have to strip the other ends because I clamp them without a plug in the amplifier.

Connecting to the speakers is done in no time, but connecting to the amplifier requires a little more attention. The amplifier (a Setton AS 3300). has connections for three speaker pairs. Might be interesting to know, the amp may support three pairs but I can only use two at a time. In the future there are plans for an extra pair of speakers (perhaps the B&W Matrix 3) but for now I'll stick to one pair. I will connect the speakers to terminal A for now.

Of course I first put the speakers in the right place before connecting them, the preliminary result below.


The new speakers fit the decor much better and I have some space left now that the old ones are gone.

The only thing that is missing now are the elevations for under the speakers, they are now on the floor, making them susceptible to dirt. The sound now also goes through the floor, which is not optimal. As soon as the standards are there, I will add to this blog.

Until then, just a selection from the manual supplemented with some photos

Speakers with and without dust cover

It is certainly not unimportant to check whether the speakers have consecutive serial numbers.

In my case I have the 03261 and 03262 here. The important thing here is that this means that these two speakers were produced one after the other. So the means and actions used will have to be almost the same. For example, if there is a (large) difference in the serial numbers, there is a chance that one loudspeaker has been put together with slightly different resources and labor and can therefore also have a different sound reproduction!

B&W Matrix logo on the front of the speakers.