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Celestion Ditton 44's


Powerglide

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I picked these up nearly a year ago and they have been rocking the workshop in between cameo visits from other speakers. First of all these are one hell of a speaker that kind of slip under the classic radar and get little love over here until you hear them. I have many visitors that are gob smacked that they are just stock running off a good DAC and humble 80's Yamaha. They are hard to find but go reasonably cheap, the tweeters have a tendency to blow and meant to be a ***** fix (or impossible) I probably shouldn't drive mine so hard. Yet to hear the 66's but they are meant to be better again.

So here they were, I got them off the original owner who brought them from some HI-FI store in Melbourne back in 1972, he packed his life into a Honda Civic and came to study in Sydney, the speakers were the first thing loaded I think he had told that story more than a few times. Unfortunately or fortunately he got married and the WAF on the teak cabinets was low and they were painted a beautiful cream colour 

 

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Hammer time, I thought they were just 12mm cabinets but the front edges had been rebated out of 18mm back to 12mm to give a nice slimline appearance Baffles and backs were grooved into the sides and tops for strength, as were the mid tubes and braces, very well built! 

 

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These are Ditton series 1 which had the Rola bass drivers, some S2's had them but don't think there were any in the S3's, don't know much about the mids but the HF 2000 is quite famous (Gale) A lot of Celestion tweeters are used by other manufacturers and if you know anything about guitar amps, 9 out of 10 use Celestion bass drivers.

 

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Had a sheet of African Teak on 12 ply that I'd been saving for something, book matched the end grain up and over the tops and reversed the veneer pattern so I'll end up with a mirrored pair.

 

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All the drivers are front mounted so careful cutting with a jigsaw is good enough and the tweeters were set in with a router, ditto for the terminals

 

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I laminated 12mm MDF to the insides creating a strong stepped rebate for the baffles and backs, basically a box inside a box 

 

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Folded the cabinets together and pinned on the backs to hold everything square 

 

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Sikaflexed the mid tubes in, seemed important that these were isolated from the other drivers 

 

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Ready for some solid beading, the S1's had raw partical board baffles, the S2's had painted black partical board and the S3's had veneer baffles with a beveled front edge. I've gone for a hybrid, Teak baffles with square beads, I like the look better and they are far more resilient to chipping 

 

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https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/333316-how-to-cut-perfect-45-degree-angle-for-mitre-timber-joint/ (this is the go spider)

 

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Ready for a little block plane and hand sand 1972 style, still reckon you get a better job this way, for new veneer anyway

 

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I'll squirt some clear around tomorrow, the crossovers are at the doctors can't wait to hear what a freshen up will do. TBC 

Edited by Powerglide
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On 07/01/2021 at 7:26 AM, Willmax said:

Beautiful craftsmanship Peter, I've always been a big fan of the Celestion Ditton range of speakers. Also a fan of your work on the Gales and KEF as well ?

 

I am getting old but I do no my name is not Peter, I have never worked on Kef's or even seen Gales in the flesh? 

 

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3 hours ago, Powerglide said:

 

I am getting old but I do no my name is not Peter, I have never worked on Kef's or even seen Gales in the flesh? 

 

Sorry my bad, I must have had you confused you with someone else. 

The exquisite workmanship stands though. 

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I measured the component values on the two boards and found that some of the capacitors where either not in spec or different on the two boards. 

 

Replaced the two 2uF that were in parallel with a 4uF Russian MBGO, paper in wax type.  These were way off.

 

Added two 10uF K73-16 to sure up the values between the two boards, and put 0.1uF K40Y-9 paper-in-oil bypass caps on all the caps.

 

I look forward to hearing these Alan.

 

Mark

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Finished off the cabinets yesterday 

 

only put 3 coats of satin on these, Teak has a very open grain if you put too much product on it becomes patchy where some of the more porous areas keep soaking in and other areas it floats on top and won't sit down leaving orange peel if this happens the only fix is a full grain choke, could take 7-10 coats with sanding in between (piano finish) 

 

light sand 

 

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third coat 

 

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Very happy with the gloss level, it's 25% two pack acid catalyst so rocks off nice and hard

 

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undercoating the raw mfd 

 

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matt black backs and a little around the tweeters 

 

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I'm going to loose the roll on with these, noticed the bass driver rubbers are starting to perish no splits yet but while they are out I might as well re do them. I found a perfect match but they won't arrive for a few weeks and I have to do this thing called Work ...... Rats 

I ordered all new nutserts and black machine screws for the drivers while I was at it 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Recieved the parts to finish these off and put some time in over the long weekend.

 

removed the perished surrounds and cleaned up the frames

 

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masked off the cones and painted the rims of the frames black

 

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Fitted new surrounds 

 

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right or wrong I decided to drill holes in the tweeter flanges to mount directly to the cabinets (good enough for Gale!)  originally they had little steel clamps, some were missing and proved to be elusive to find replacements.

 

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replaced all the T nuts with face fixed nutserts and reinstalled the crossovers and drivers, one of the tweeters was missing a faceplate, I cut a new one out of black card from officeworks

 

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sparked them up this morning, hard to comment on the crossover upgrades, supposedly need a week burn in but off the bat sound as good as ever. Overall they look great but should have inspected the surrounds on the mids, they are starting to go and will need replacement soon. Reluctantly I will drill into the baffles for the old grilles 

 

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These is one of the most sympathetic restoration I've seen of such speakers, well done Sir. 

 

What if you friction fit the front covers to avoid drilling the front baffles?

Edited by Willmax
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Thanks for the grille suggestion @Willmax might just do that.

Did some AR2ax's that when I reached the grille stage couldn't bring myself to staple Velcro to the baffles, they fit snug enough when static but auto remove when turned on. 

 

Spent some time on desk work in a prime spot this week and had a few lads over last night to celebrate the lifted ban, quite unanimous praise, they always sounded great and now they look the part. I'll bring them home for a proper session next week. 

 

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Hi ,     Absolutely brilliant workmanship on all.  Im so stoked to see my old best friends brought back to life so beautifully  . I am sure they will give you years of pleasure. Thanks for sharing all the great pics and info. 

 

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