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lwschwartz 09-22-2015 09:35 PM

Infinity IRS V upgrade
I have been enjoying Infinity speakers since the early 70's when I got my first set while in the Air Force. I have had many other lines of speakers which were all good but the sound from my Infinity's has always seemed better to me. Infinity was sold to Harmon many years ago. They used the brand name like Black & Decker used the DeWalt brand. The developer, Arnie Nudell went on to found and work with Paul McGowan of PS Audio at Genesis. Many of the concepts of Genesis are good but they didn't sound the same. I have done direct speaker comparisons with many brands but keep coming back to my Infinity's. I currently have three sets. The prototype set, a mid production set and one of the last ones that were produced. After extensive testing, I finally realized that I may not live long enough to find a set of speakers that sounded better to me so I needed to refurbish and or upgrade what I had.

I have worked with many of the original engineers and through the help of Paul McGowan, who even had Arnie Nudell fine tune the upgrades to the point that Arnie says the upgraded systems are the best he has ever heard.

One of the most important upgrades are to refurbish the EMIM's with new magnets and recalibrate the diaphragms. Another vital upgrade is to replace the crossover in the bases of the mid high units. We have tried replacing capacitors which helps but Paul was able to convince Arnie to redesign the crossover with the much improved components available today. It is now an external unit but sounds better than ever. It does require special cables to go from the crossovers to the mid high panels but those can easily be made by WireWorld. Ivan is always available to help with that. The capacitors in the amps also need replacement where needed.

I have spent weeks trying different combinations of units and comparing the sound. The best I have found is from source to tube preamp to Pass Labs XVR crossover and then to the amps. The 80 Hz and below goes directly from the XVR to the amps on the back of the woofer columns. The original Infinity Servo only turns the amps on and off. The 80 Hz and above goes from the XVR to the new outboard crossovers designed by Arnie Nudell, the original system designer. From there to the mid high panels.

Each time I hear a new speaker system that is claimed to be the best, I come back to these. I have owned several systems that are into the 6 figures but these are still better. I would expect that our friend, Gary Protein, may agree with me.

I don't do the work myself but I have developed many sources over the years. As far as I have been able to tell, there are less than 30 of us system owners left. There were only a bit over 50 systems made. If anyone has further questions or wants to know sources for repair services or components, PM me for their contact info.

Still-One 09-23-2015 07:49 AM

Interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to bring us up to date.

crwilli 09-23-2015 08:11 AM

Can I assume the work on the EMIMs would apply to any infinities with them? RS II a's or Betas?

lwschwartz 09-23-2015 09:34 AM

Yes, The engineer that rebuilds the EMIM's replaces the magnets and recalibrates the diaphragm. When finished, they meet the specs that the original design engineer and Arnie Nudell have specified for a current EMIM. It is available for all EMIM's starting with the ones in the RS 2.5 and 4.5, the RS 1, II's etc. all the way up to the IRS V, Beta, Delta, and Gamma systems. The last EMIM's designed used in the Renaissance to the Epsilon systems used a different frame design. I have owned both of these last two systems and the latter design is not an improvement.

The EMIM's with neodymium magnets are known to peel, this was a design problem allowing the iron in the alloy to expand. So many have said look for the older Samarium Cobalt magnet ones. That is like doing a total knee and putting it back like it was; why recreate the design that caused the problem. The neodymium was a marked improvement. The last version of EMIM's in this series used an alloy called nicorex. The confusion led us to work with the original engineer, including getting the original design drawings and then have Arnie Nudell check the designs and listen to them. The rebuilt EMIM's are better than the originals and what would be used if the speaker systems were designed and built today.

So that is a long winded way of answering your question with a yes.

crwilli 09-23-2015 11:57 AM

This is a very valuable post to this forum. Thank you for sharing it!

Sent from my iPad using A.Aficionado

cleeds 09-24-2015 02:24 PM

Thanks for this information. It's very interesting! I bought an IRS Beta system new and have been enjoying it ever since. The best designs by Nudell & Co. are still extraordinary! They do require some care and maintenance, and I've sent you a PM for some details on your sources.

Thanks again for the info in your post!

Ritmo 09-25-2015 06:17 AM

Thx for sharing Larry.

Rha 11-17-2015 09:33 PM

Greetings. I am new here and the proud owner of IRS Beta's. I found this site after searching for repairs/upgrades for the Beta's.
I recently had a buzz from one woofer tower that I've tracked to the Servo Crossover. I attempted to contact Mr. lwschwartz to learn about his resources but was unable to because of my new status(?). Even though this thread is a bit old I'm hoping someone can guide me to someone with expertise to repair 'my babies'. Thanks and wonderful joining you.

GaryProtein 11-18-2015 12:22 AM

Bill LeGall at Miller Sound in Philadelphia 215-412-7700

Larry can probably list others.

I have to agree with Larry. I have heard many top of the line speakers, but I always smile when I come home to my IRS-V.

Rha 11-18-2015 08:43 PM

Thank you Gary. I called Bill LeGall today and his reputation is well deserved… a most gracious and generous man. We talked for almost an hour. He answered all my questions and offered additional information and advice that I had not considered. After our conversation I finally opened the Servo box and discovered a burned area under a resistor. I will take the box to the nearest electronics repair (200+miles) tomorrow and have it checked out. Hopefully it can be a simple replacement of a failed part. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Thanks for your reply. Best regards, Rod

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