Big changes

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Recent visitors to Music Room 2 may have noticed a rattling noise in the left channel of the IRSV system on bass notes. The 35-year-old woofers in the Infinity IRSV are struggling. Sad, but true.

This system is our lifeblood reference. It’s one of the most revealing loudspeakers I have ever had the pleasure of using, and while not perfect (let me know if you find a perfect loudspeaker), it represents our consistent benchmark by which we can judge designs.

Time for an upgrade to the bass system with a more modern approach. As much as I might want to preserve the IRS in its original state, I recognize it’s not a museum piece.

Our senior speaker engineer, Chris Brunhaver, pulled all 12 of the IRSV’s original woofers out and replaced them with a more modern, beefier, lower distortion, higher excursion, version. Once out of their box, I was reminded of just how old, tired, and lacking the original woofers are: cheap stamped frames, small magnets, short coils, conventional spiders and surrounds. The only exotic element was their graphite cones. Back in the day, they were “the bomb”. Over the years much has changed.

Designer Arnie Nudell was never a fan of spending money on fancy woofers. In Arnie’s view, a woofer that met minimum specs was just fine because whatever its weakness might be, it could easily be corrected with the active servo system. He and I fought endlessly over this philosophy. I wanted the best-built woofers possible so the servo system did next to nothing. Arnie felt it was a foolish waste.

I am not here to suggest either one of us is right or wrong because, unfortunately, “The Arnold” is no longer with us to defend himself.

That said, this all new woofer system is nothing short of breathtaking. Holy crap! 4,000 watts of amplification per side (compared to the original 1,200 watt amps), massive cast frame baskets, long-excursion linear coils, oversize magnets, super compliant spiders and surrounds, coupled to a stiff aluminum cone. Distortion levels sans servo are below 1%, a figure not even possible with the full servo and original woofers.

Wow.

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by for a demo. The IRSV just got a new lease on life.