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Loudspeakers - Apogee DIVA

THE APOGEE DIVA LOUDSPEAKERS



The DIVA was the APOGEE's most expensive ribbon speaker when it was released in 1988. Nearly as large as the original FULL RANGE, it was a 3-ways system, slightly over 6 feet tall with a very large trapezoidal bass panel, a 3 elements aluminium midrange ribbon and a tweeter made from a single strip of aluminium foil.
The design uses an external crossover box with controls for the bass range (normal or low), overall midrange level (normal or high), upper midrange (high or normal or low), and tweeter level (high or normal or low).
There were 2 versions of the DIVA.
The later version had serial numbers starting from 6000, as opposed to from 10000 for the first models.

I bought mine in 2003 in the North East of France. This model belongs to the first serie. When I met the seller I saw that the MRTW right ribbon was broken. I listened carrefully to the bass because it’s the most complex part to change if needed.

The sound was flat without any pleasure. I did not know what to do: should I buy or not ? As I was in contact with a "guru" in Paris who owns all the Apogee models, I just did it and these beauties came back to the South of France where I have enought space to listen to them.

Transportation is very difficult because of the weight, but also because of the design of this product. Ribbons are fragile. You must have original crates, if not you are starting badly !.

DIVA are great, but getting the best from them is not easy....


1) The first point to care about is the tension of the ribbons.

You will never be satisfied by your DIVA if the ribbons are not in a perfect condition. Mines had to be changed. I spent a lot of time to understand how to do mods, but now I am a "professional" on this point. See herebelow the DIVA nude, and also the beginning of the repairing.

I bought the new replacement ribbons from Australia. http://www.apogeeacoustics.com/repairsapogeeribbons.html


apogee_diva_mrtw.jpeg

MRTW: very complex.

apogee_diva_reparation_panneau.jpeg

Diva without the MTRW

diva_aimant_entier.jpg

Diva nude, magnets are everywhere from bass to tweeter.


2) Amplifiers.

You can read a lot about this subject, but only a few amps are able to manage the 4 ohms impedance even if it’s easier than with the previous Scintilla model (nearly impossible to drive, 1 ohm...), combined with an efficiency as low as 87 dB/W/1m.

To shortcut, here are the results : Krell, Pass Labs, Threshold, Sphinx, Rowland, Classe. All of them are class A amplifiers because, once more, only the class A can do the job.

The other ones are only trying to do the job.

You need 30 amps and the best will be 50 amps of current (nowdays, it is only one hand of amplifiers being able to permanently deliver 50A...).


3) Listening :

You will be very surprised but this is the only true ribbon (MRTW), the bass is magneplanar type.

It’s also the only one who can generate music like in concert. Why ? Technology surely, and a touch of magic done by the Apogee guys (high level engineers).

Since 1988, no one in the market has reached this level of performance. Magnepan or Martin Logan or Final are the closest but still not at the same level !.

Magnepan KILLED Apogee. Yes Magnepan said that true ribbon was its own technology … and therefore Apogee was in the patents' war nightmare...

DIVA have their own crossover separated from the speaker itself. You have a lot of switches but again, except the use of the upper midrange in low to suppress the S in voices, I put everytime all of them in neutral position (N). Here are the precious schematics.

The bass must be suppressed because it generates a big loose of slam. So disconnect all !.

 

 

BASS part of the filter:

diva_xo_bass.jpg



MIDRANGE part of the filter:

 

 

 

diva_xo_midrange.jpg


HIGH frequencies part of the filter:

 

diva_xo_tweeter.jpg

 

Inside the crossover there are the air core inductors (mH) handmade. You will see that the components are not outstanding ! (they belong to a standard quality range). All the other ones are audio components from 1989's.
So you can (should) change the air core inductors by the Goertz models for example, which are really great.

foilLarge.jpeg

 


So how is the sound ? These babies are so neutral that any impovement or modification before them (source, cables, preamp, amp) is immediately audible.

So my system uses a Threshold SA/3.9e modified with 96,000 µF of capacitors on each side, plus some high-end audio components (not present in the original version), the result is marvellous. There is no word to decribe these loudspeakers until you ear them somewhere.

The soundstage is prodigious, voices are magic, the slam is there with a very deep bass (not as punchy as the cones can be, but …), air is present around the instruments, silents are perfect because the speakers use only permanent magnets: nothing like in the electrostatic models which require 4,000 Volt ! and generate some interferences with the music signal.

You want more ? no sorry, came and listen, you will be in trouble and never forget the experience.

Must have the highest distinction, standing ovation …

TL_5stateart.jpg

My system :

Specifications :Specifications

Height

188 cm

Width

82 cm

Depth

7 cm

Bass driver

Aluminium/Kapton panel (hand cut)

Midrange

Aluminium/Kapton (3 segment)

Tweeter

Aluminium single segment

Max Sound Level

115db SPL @ 4m with 100W amplifier in a 18'x25'x8' room

Sensitivity @ 3m

87dB

Frequency response

25Hz (-3dB) to 25kHz

Crossover frequencies (electronic)

550Hz bass to mid, 12kHz mid to tweeter

Suggested amp power

100W (into 8 ohms) 200W (into 4 ohms) with ±20amp current

Impedance nominal

3 ohms

Weight

150lbs each

Finishes available

Light grey, Anthracite, Taupe, faux marble plus faux wood finishes

Price at time of first sale (1988)

£8000 / $­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­7500

Current price in good condition

£2500-£3500 / $­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­2000-$­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­4500

 

References :

Stereophile
http://www.apogeespeakers.com/reviews/diva_stereophile_august1988.htm

Hifi news
http://www.apogeespeakers.com/reviews/diva_hifinews_june1988.htm

Absolute sound
http://www.apogeespeakers.com/reviews/diva_theabsoutesound_novdec1988.htm

A search for the ultimate speaker
http://www.apogeespeakers.com/reviews/a_search_for_the_ultimate_speaker_bestofaudio.htm

Apogee Site (non official)
http://www.apogeespeakers.com/

Apogge user’s group
http://audioworld.com/cgi-bin/sw/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=1



Article written by
Florent.

Creation date : 05/06/2007 @ 14:55
Last update : 07/11/2014 @ 20:50
Category : Loudspeakers
Page read 14932 times


Print the article Print the article

Reactions to this article


Reaction #5 

by provence131 07/06/2010 @ 23:34

Les MBL mais aussi : http://www.thresholdlovers.com/articles.php?lng=fr&pg=274

Reaction #4 

by Charles_K 07/06/2010 @ 15:15

Si je peux me permettre de donner mon avis, seul les amplificateurs fabriqué par MBL peuvent driver correctement ces "tueuses d'amplis n", surtout lorsqu'il s'agit d'offrir aux diva leur plein potentiel en toute neutralité. 
smile 

Reaction #3 

by AUDIOFAN 02/05/2010 @ 09:33

Bonjour à tous
j'ai été aussi l'heureux possesseur d'une paire de DIVA que je faisais fonctionner avec 2 PASS Aleph 0 via un filtre DAX;c'est le meilleur systeme que j'ai jamais possédé jusqu'à ce qu'une surchauffe d'un PASS ne vienne endommager un ruban medium...ma faute et la facheuse tendance des PASS à envoyer du DC lorsque il se met en mode "sécurité";pour mémoire les APOGEE marchent EXTREMEMENT bien avec les amplis SPECTRAL.
bien à vous

Reaction #2 

by Apokrell 18/03/2008 @ 17:57

J'ai le bonheur de posséder des Diva depuis l'an 2000. Ces enceintes ne demandent qu'à être poussées à donner le meilleur d'elle même.

Je les ai d'abord alimenté en monoamplification avec un Krell KSA 250. Ensuite, je les ai biamplifié passivement en conservant le KSA 250 dans le grave et en rajoutant des MDA 500 (blocs mono dérivant du KSA 250) dans le medium aigu.

Enfin, j'ai trouvé un filtre actif Apogee DAX1 et je suis aujourd'hui en biamplification active.

La qualité de cette association amplification/enceintes incite à faire évoluer le reste. Mon préampli Krell KRC3 a été remplacé par un KRC HR plus transparent et plus fin. Côté source, au lecteur CD Krell KAV300CD a succédé un ensemble drive Teac P30 / Dac Audiomat Maestro.

Les Diva rendent justice à ce convertisseur de course et en particulier à son grave abyssal et précis, très précis.

De très grandes enceintes, et le Full Range va encore plus loin...


Reaction #1 

by jacquierfils_14 21/01/2008 @ 18:04

Très intéressant article

Je suis moi-même pssesseur de Diva, depuis 1993!

J'ai, depuis, largement modifié mon système d'origine, et à chaque fois , avec des améliorations substantielles, qui me donnent à penser que je n'ai pas encore atteint les limites des Diva

J'ai un lecteur Audi Aereo Prestige, un Krell KSA 250, et de très bons cables VD Revelation, plus un traitement de salle Acoustic System

Je suis impressioné par le courage de Florent de s'être attaqué au démontage et remplacement des rubans medium, ce que les sites dédiés considérent comme une chose plutôt difficile. Il faut dire que je n'ai rien d'un technicien! Mais il va bien falloir que je fasse quelque chose pour optimiser mes Diva, maintenant que Florent me donne à penser que c'est possible, sinon facilement accessible!

Encore Bravo

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