Royd RR3 Replacement Drive Units

edited December 2012 in Loudspeakers
Revelation speakers are a worry to maintain. When Joe Ackroyd closed Royd, he sold all the Royd spares to Phonography, a dealer in Hampshire - but the Revelation spares are now long gone (they still have a little Royd spares from other ranges).

As I understand it, Revelation bass drivers are somewhat unique, either being modified (from what I don't know - does anyone have an idea?), or custom made. The tweeters, though, are Vifa units. Having dismantled one, I can't see it being modified in any way ( although Joe did modify other tweeters he used).

The original tweeter is this: Vifa D26NC - 15 - 06. It is a 6 ohm unit, and also has the following numbers on it: 27022002 (probably manufacturing date - 27 feb, 2002).

There is a very useful page here, explaining how to understand the Vifa codes. It seems that the '15' element of the code is a customer code, so the manufacturer 'customised' the tweeter for clients. The only thing that seems to change is the face-plate.

I have been in touch with the manufacturer (Vifa has been bought by Scanspeak), who directed me to their main distributor. There I was told there are no D26NC-15-06 left now.

Some research has revealed that this particular tweeter was replaced by another variant, the D26NC - 55 - 06.

This tweeter has slightly different specification, but appears to be an improved version of the Revelation tweeter, release a little later. Look at the two PDF data sheets, here:


It seems every electrical and mechanical measurement is identical between the two tweeters. More interestingly, look at the freq plots. The later tweeter (DN26-55-06) has a slightly smoother response; the peak around 14 - 16khz is flatter.


It seems reasonable to conclude the newer Vifa is a better choice, and Royd may very well have fitted them had they been available (or cheaper?) at the time the Revelation series was designed.


Sadly, the Vifa D26-55-06 is also out of production now. After Vifa stopped making it in house, it was produced under license in China, as far as I can tell. It had the exact same specifications, and one assumes Vifa kept tight quality control over their design.


There are a number (78, as of today) of new, Chinese manufactured Vifa D26NC-55-06 available from Solen, in Canada. I bought a pair myself, and they arrived at reasonable cost (just under £50GBP).


I have compared them with the very last D26-15-06 from the factory (I bought that as well - sorry!), and they seem identical so far. I shall measure them again shortly, they have been running for several weeks now.


One last thing - a slight hitch: The circular heatsink of the Chinese made D26-55-06 is slightly larger that the square one of the in-house Vifa units. The inner hole, behind the faceplate rebate, on the RR3 cabinet is slightly too small to insert the D26-55-06. I enlarged mine carefully with a sharp Stanley knife, carving away the corners. Also, the faceplate is a little tight, but can be 'persuaded' to fit without surgery. All is now well, and I have brand new tweeters in my RR3.


Comments

  • Excellent piece of research there Alan. I assume they sound near enough identical to the original's ?
    I think the ones on my RR1's are smaller ones at only 19mm but might be an interesting experment to try a pair of these in them. There again Joe Acyroyd did know what he was doing and playing around with his design/specs could be ill advised.
    But the mid/bass drivers in the RR1 is far as I know is the same 5in one in all 3 Revelations albeit the RR3's seem to have pointy end cones.
  • You may be right about the mid bass units, Mervyn, did Phil (at Phonography) tell you that?

    I am struggling to remember if they are the same across the range, I know I asked but it was a couple of years ago. Throughout the rest of the Royd ranges, each driver was unique even though they looked the same. 

    Sometime, when you're feeling brave, why not pop one of your tweeters out and read the label for us? :)
  • Good catch on the RR1 tweeters, Mervyn. The RR1 definitely has a different tweeter, a modified metal dome! I don't know if Royd did any other speakers with metal domes? - It would be very interesting to know what driver that was.

    Also, the RR1 crosses over at 5khz, whereas the RR2 and RR3 cross at 4.5khz (and the RR2 appears to share the same tweeter as the RR3). Seems to be a slightly different beast.
  • Your right Alan - all the mid/bass drivers are different. Just spoke with Phonography who still have some original RR1 drivers - nice to know !!

    Will pop out the tweeter one day when feeling a bit gung ho !
  • Your right Alan - all the mid/bass drivers are different. Just spoke with Phonography who still have some original RR1 drivers - nice to know !!

    Will pop out the tweeter one day when feeling a bit gung ho !
    Thanks Mervyn, that's very kind! In your position, I would certainly nab at least one spare driver, as there is no indication how to replace them - I have an old RR3 driver here, there's not a mark/number on it!
  • edited December 2012
    It seems the NOS tweeters are spot on replacements, I find them to be perfect. I am running one of the original replacements and one of the 'improved' ones, and can't tell the difference at all.

    I haven't got far with the woofers; I have my old blown unit which I have dismantled completely. It is almost certainly a Scanspeak unit, but doesn't match anything they ever had on sale.

    The basket can still be found on the 10cm full range drivers, and in fact the cone may be used on them also. It is a 10cm paper slice cone with a (very very rare) 19mm voice coil on an aluminium former.

    There is also a double magnet assembly on the back, which can be removed from the basket.

    It looks as if the driver was made to Royd's specs either at Scanspeak or Royd HQ, using Scanspeak parts. The unknown elements are:
    • Magnet (though extg magnets can be salvaged)
    • Weight/amount of doping material on the cone
    • Spider stiffness
    • Voice coil

    I may yet send my ripped up driver to somewhere like Wembley loudspeaker repairs and see if they can reverse engineer the remaining parts of the puzzle. I can always supply a working unit for examination.


    Anyone got any observations/helpful suggestions?

  • Some top info there. I think this would be a worthwhile addition to the RoydAudio.com website. Would you be happy for me to reproduce it on the site?
  • Some top info there. I think this would be a worthwhile addition to the RoydAudio.com website. Would you be happy for me to reproduce it on the site?
    By all means Arfa. I had meant to ping you so you knew about this, I just forgot. It may be worth linking back to the discussion here, as there will hopefully be more to say in the future, when I investigate those bass drivers further.
  • edited January 2013
    I used to work for a Royd dealer in London, and have a vague memory of someone needing a replacement LF unit for their RR2's... If I remember correctly, it was a Dynaudio unit which Joe then modified at the Royd factory. I believe Totem also used the same driver in one of their models - Arro i think

    JD
  • Hi JD

    That's really useful info, thanks! Anything else you recall (or old contacts you could ask) would be received with genuine interest.

    The basket initially looks to be Scan-Speak, as does the cone itself. Also, Scan-Speak have made a few drivers with 19 nor 20mm voice coils, so it currently seems a pretty good bet the drivers were made up from S-S parts. To that end, I have an email enquiry pending with the distributors to see if anyone recalls dealing with Royd, or recognises the driver.

    However, a Dynaudio lead is a good one. I haven't yet been able to track down an appropriate candidate on google yet, but I will try x-checking with Totem drivers as well. Thanks for your input. :)
  • Hi All,

    Reading on NVA site the Doc I think also is going to replacement/fix drive units.
    That will be cool.
  • edited January 2013
    I had a look - the are replacements unfortunately. Voiced to his taste, so not so much Royd as Dunn.

    I have had a reply from the man at the Europe distributors, this is what was said:
    Dear Alan,

    Scan-Speak / Vifa never made a 140 mm driver for Royd. According to our files Royd have only brought P13/M13 baskets
    and assembled these with non Vifa/Scan-Speak parts.
    The only P13/M13 that is still available is the M13SG09/08, but we only have a few pieces left as last stock, when these
    are sold there are no other drivers available with the M13/P13 basket.

    see: http://www.tymphany.com/files/resources/dvifa/M13SG-09-08.pdf
  • edited January 2013
    The non Scan-Speak part (bold mine) is a little puzzling, as it is undoubtedly a paper-slice cone, which I thought was unique to Scan-speak. Obviously I was wrong about that, also the fact that Revelation drivers utilise a 19 or 20mm voice coil, which S-S occasionally also did.

    More investigation needed, methinks.

    Duke ( @JD ) - I have looked at the Totem Arro driver. There is quite a bit of controversy around that driver, it seems some early models were Dynaudio but later they used a cheaper remake. Nontheless, it is a different driver as far as I can see, a different basket for a stert (The S-S basket in the link above is undoubtedly the correct one for the RR3, whether the RR1 and 2 used different would be interesting to know), also bigger voice coil and different cone.

    Would you by any chance be able to chase up any of what you remember with your old contacts please? It may be the best lead left for the time being.

    In the mean time, I am thinking about sending one of my working drivers to someone who can measure every electrical and mechanical parameter for me, and see if a custom driver manufacturer can make something up. My guess is that this route would be prohibitively expensive, but I would like to see.

    Does anyone have any suggestions at this point?
  • Hey Alan,

    Had a trawl through pictures of Totem speakers, and I might have been mistaken.. I believe it was the Totem Hawk that used the same paper slice driver from Dynaudio. Joe then doped the cone, and dressed the basket to his specifications.

    Not sure if posting a link to a pic is allowed, so have neglected to do so :)

    have lost contact with most of the chaps I used to work with, they mostly disappearde into the world of home-automation. Will try chasing a couple up tho, and see if they remember owt

    JD


  • saying all that tho, scanspeak revelator does look alot like the Royd Revelation units..
  • edited January 2013
    <snip>

    Not sure if posting a link to a pic is allowed, so have neglected to do so :)

    <snip>

    JD


    Post away!
  • I may need a pair of tweeters for the RR2s I have just bought. One has a lower output than the other. I'll check conns first but it's good to know that I can get suitable replacements if needed.
  • Hi Steve,

    Just saw your message. There is a chance that replacing the ferrofluid in the tweeters would restore things. If you unclip the heatsink at the rear, you'll find the faceplate is integrated with all the 'front' of the tweeter. When you remove it, the voice coil will come out of the magnet with it. It all clips back together just fine.

    I don't know if ferrofluid drying out causes the lack of output, but could be worth a try. I believe you just inject it in.

    I am currently using one NOS replacement tweeter, and one of the later replacements (which should be technically better). I can detect no difference at all between them, so I can recommend the newer units from Solen. (I think it's the same tweeter as found in the ATC SCM35).

    If you only need one though, I can drop in the other Solen replacement I bought, and send you the correct NOS unit. It's only been in a couple of months. However, you may just find that the other tweeter is down also, once a new one is installed...
  • edited February 2013
    Hi Alan, wow, that is a really kind offer. I'm going to swap the tweeters over later this evening to see if the dipped output follows the driver. I have this niggly feeling that it isn't the tweeter. Strangely I am still enjoying them even with the slight imbalance. To put it into perspective, I normally use a Leben and Audionote Js and these driven by a little Onix OA21 are mixing it even with this fault.
  • Alan, I don't know how to PM on here but I think I've pretty much confirmed it is the tweeter...if I could buy your 'spare' I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks

    Steve
  • Hi Steve

    For future reference, click Inbox at the top and then New Conversation - big button on the right.

    Cheers

    Dave
  • Hi Steve

    I'll PM you in a minute, it'll be easy to reply then.

    If you are sure it's the same tweeter (I would be very surprised if it wasn't) then we're sorted. The NOS tweeter was £58 with shipping. Given it's now  'second hand' (sort of), you can have it for £30 delivered. I'll just need an address.
  • edited February 2013
    I had to take apart my speakers this week, partly because of the wood shavings I didn't remove when fitting the new tweeters, and partly because I bought some TQ black jumper leads on the cheap. My intention was to solder them internally, but when I opened the speakers up it made more sense to solder the bass driver wires to the upper terminals, along with the other gubbins (leaving the bottom terminals redundant for now). My logic being that no cable is better than even a very good cable. This is an easily reversible modification.

    In so doing I thought I'd take a few photos of the insides of the speaker, just to give an idea of the construction of these speakers. They really are very heavy indeed for their small size.

    image

    Dismantled.

    image

    This shows the thickness of the cabs, thicker than the penny.

    image

    The steel plates inside the cabinets, and the port-tube.

    image

    As above, from a different angle.

    image

    Here we see the thickness of the metal plate, approximately 4mm.

    image

    The upper binding posts, with tweeter protection (such as it is). The internal links can be seen dropping toward the lower binding posts - I removed these and bought the red & black wires up to the upper binding posts.

    image

    Rear view of the uprated tweeter, notice how tightly it fits. You can see where the inner hole had to be re-shaped with a sharp chisel and a stanley knife. Also, part of the crossover, which is mounted to the top of the cabinet.

    image

    The rest of the crossover. Not much too it, but this still has more individual components than other Royds I have seen. Jo Ackroyd described this as a "modified first order crossover".

    image

    The small main driver that has been custom built and voiced, and cannot be replicated (so it seems at this time).

    image

    Rear view of the driver, showing the heavy canvass wrapping that is heavily glued on.



    These are 'simple' speakers, but it seems they are anything but a simple design, from the custom built mid-bass driver to the unique crossover to the unusual cabinet construction. I wonder what Joe Ackroyd might have come up with given more time and resources? I should love to have heard a substantially bigger variation, but given what he says in his article here, perhaps Joe knew the magic was in the small drivers.

    This is what he said in the little note he wrote, which came with all the Revelation speakers: 
     

    The aim of hi-fi is to reproduce sound as accurately as possible.
    This means that it must reproduce the correct musical note, at the
    correct time, for the correct length of time, and as near as is
    practical at the correct volume. Of course, “correct” means that sound
    which was on the original recording.

    In order to do this, loudspeakers must be critically damped at all
    frequencies, and have the least possible phase distortion. Phase
    distortion is a time delay dependent on frequency: the lower the note or
    frequency, the longer the time delay for the same phase shift.

    The Royd Revelation Range is a considerable step forward, compared with any other type of design.

    The use of compound reflex bass loading in these loudspeakers reduces
    the phase shift compared with standard reflex bass loading by more than
    75%, and is 3 times less than a closed box or acoustic suspension type
    cabinet. A transmission line cabinet has more bass distortion than a
    closed box, because it adds a further 180° phase shift to that produced
    by a closed box. Compound reflex bass loading also ensures that all bass
    frequencies are critically damped and that the Revelation range of
    loudspeakers reproduce frequencies down to 20Hz in the listening room.

    The Royd Revelation Range employs first order crossovers. This type
    of crossover produces the least possible phase distortion, and
    introduces no other distortions or resonances.

    All models perform at their best with high quality amplification.

  • Thanks for that Alan.

    I haven't taken mine apart to such a degree, so now I don't have to :-)
  • @Alan: Colin mentioned that he thought SEAS had launched a replacement driver recently.
  • Thanks both, for the heads up.

    I have had a quick look at the SEAS site, and I guess several of the drivers have potential to form the basis of a re-worked RR3; they look like fine quality engineering, with exceptional characteristics for small drivers. Maybe they get a good deal of the way 'there' as standard units, without the remodelling Royd did.

    I wonder if it isn't possible to send away a working driver to somewhere and get a complete suite of measurements done, and then have a custom unit built. Expensive, but it may be the only way.


  • edited October 2013
    Hi Alan,

    Many thanks for this thread, I just ordered a pair of spare tweeters from Solen, 18 left now...

    Regarding the drivers, they're the same as in my (late SE-spec) Royd Sorcerers, but I bet the doping is different... thinking I could transplant the cone from the RR3s in to a Sorcerer driver if something went wrong?

    Thanks,

    Neil
  • Hi Neil,

    Maybe so. I always suspected the Sorceror didn't lose much to the RR3, a head to head would be interesting.

    I heard RR1s today, on the end of a Magnum 250 & Lakewest MDAC - it was close to perfection. Bravo, Joe (and Colin).
  • edited November 2013
    Hi Alan, the RR3s are a significant step up from the Sorcerer.  Both are hugely enjoyable speakers, but with the Sorcerer I thought "what they do they do so well, stuff the flaws".  When I plugged in the RR3s I began to notice that my system was finally complete.  They are much more refined with a deeper, more textured bass and the utterly open window on the mids that I experienced with the Sapphires, but the Sorcerer's didn't quite match up to, was there.  I can't quite believe how low they go.  The Sapphires are raucous fun, but stamp their signature on the music.  The Sorcerers were better all rounders, losing out a bit to the Sapphires in terms of 'immediacy'.  The RR3s are like the best of both of them, but with a deeper, more cohesive bass and as I said, way sweeter and natural in the highs, something that Royds never were that good at.  All are inherently musical though.

    I saw a pair of RR3s on eBay, which were buy it now, and I simply couldn't help myself.  Best decision I've made in a long time.
  • I'm so glad you're enjoying the RR3s.
  • Hi Alan, the RR3s are a significant step up from the Sorcerer.  Both are hugely enjoyable speakers, but with the Sorcerer I thought "what they do they do so well, stuff the flaws".  When I plugged in the RR3s I began to notice that my system was finally complete.  They are much more refined with a deeper, more textured bass and the utterly open window on the mids that I experienced with the Sapphires, but the Sorcerer's didn't quite match up to, was there.  I can't quite believe how low they go.  The Sapphires are raucous fun, but stamp their signature on the music.  The Sorcerers were better all rounders, losing out a bit to the Sapphires in terms of 'immediacy'.  The RR3s are like the best of both of them, but with a deeper, more cohesive bass and as I said, way sweeter and natural in the highs, something that Royds never were that good at.  All are inherently musical though.

    I saw a pair of RR3s on eBay, which were buy it now, and I simply couldn't help myself.  Best decision I've made in a long time.
    Wow - well done Neil! A great find, and very interesting opinion too. It's nice to feel validated occasionally, knew they were good!

    I've been trying to get some big old monitors to catch up with the Royds, I recently updated the X-over with fast caps and Clarity caps, but no dice...

    Funny what you say about the immediacy of the Sapphires, that's precisely what Justin & I were discussing last week. No loss at all with the Revelations, and gains everywhere else so long as they have suitable amplification. I love them - and the RR1 for that matter.
  • Thought I'd mention that I've had a very good experience recently from bi-ampling my RR3s, I was ready with wire snippers, but was pleased to look inside my RR3s and see that Joe Ackroyd decided to add some jumper wires with lugs to making switches back and forth easier.  Will take a pic when it's light outside…
  • edited April 2014
    ...
  • Wish mine had that.

    I wonder if your additions were by a previous owner?
  • Don't think so as there's no trace of solder or marks from solder links being removed.
  • edited April 2014
    I'm not surprised there are variations, given they are basically hand built & voiced by a grumpy old geezer (genius) & his mate in a shed...

    They are power hungry, Neil, so I'm also not surprised they respond to BiAmping.
  • edited April 2014
    I'm not surprised there are variations, given they are basically hand built & voiced by a grumpy old geezer (genius) & his mate in a shed...

    They are power hungry, Neil, so I'm also not surprised they respond to BiAmping.
    The reason I bi-amped is because I prefer the top end of my PA0 (SE) - more "illuminated" like the Mistral or Zero amps vs. the higher power stuff - but need the power of the dual mono PA2M (SE) and it has a far superior bass end than the PA0 (SE). :) 

    In any case it's worked bloody well & the PA0 (SE) is really singing only having to handle music from 4.5kHz up.
  • Also, is there no wadding in your speakers Alan?  There is in my RR3s...
  • I wonder if these will stay so low & someone will get a true bargain: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Royd-RR3-Speakers-Extremely-Rare-Superb-Condition-NO-RESERVE-/271525118619

    Too expensive for UK bidders, can't be as well known in the US...
  • I've emailed Mike Hanson about these, I think he's Canuck. He ran the original Royd Audio enthusiast website and I can't remember if he said was looking for these or not. RR3s for a few clams has to be news.
  • Potentially a bargain for someone.
  • They went for £650, interesting, wonder how much they'd have gone for in the UK...
  • Possibly not much more.

    Seems fairly realistic to me.
  • I varies so much, I'd reckon any thing from £450 - £700.

    IMO they're worth the top end of that, but they are so unusual not many people know of them/want them. Of course, for a good price you need 2 or 3 people to want them at once.
  • edited July 24
    @Alan, I have just received a brand new pair of RR3 tweeters, which are back in production: https://www.digikey.co.uk/product-detail/en/peerless-by-tymphany/D26NC56-06/D26NC56-06-ND/6557409

    £15 each, less than half the price of other retailers...

    Do you remember the voltage / capacitance rating of those yellow electrolytic caps?  I want to send mine in for a service, replace the tweeters, and replace the electrolytics like-for-like.  Thanks.
  • That's cool, Neil. Maybe I'll snag some for mine.
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