Any opinions on the Realistic Mach One speakers?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by rhkwon, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    I've got a pair of these and I've been trying to decide whether I like them or not. I bought a very nice pair about a year or so ago after reading about them on various forums. Many raved about them and how great they are for rock and their ability to crank at high volumes. That's great and all but I want music produced faithfully and as well as possible. It's got a 15" woofer and a horn tweeter. Other folks say they're good but not a great audiophile speaker. They were very affordable back in the day and I really don't care about the philosophical stuff about whether they were crap or a Radio Shack product, etc. I'm trying to make a non biased determination on their sound.

    After about a year of on and off listening I still can't decide whether I like the way they sound or not. Yes, they will crank loudly and they sound ok to me. I tried some jazz and the bass is pretty good with clear definition. The highs have a graininess to them, however, and it's not very clear sounding. They also sound a bit congested to me overall. For classical, they sound good. For rock, they sound pretty good too. But something about them that I can't put a finger on. I've placed them on the carpet where they sound much better especially in the low end. I've also placed them on stands where they start to sound congested.

    All the reviews at Audioreview were enthusiastically positive but it seems the owners of these are either 15 year olds who like speakers that have that high volume crankability factor or 50 year olds who were 15 when they originally bought them! My gut feeling and my ears tell me these are ok speakers but not superb or even fantastic sounding. I've used them with tubes and SS receivers.

    The reason I'm asking is to decide whether to keep them or sell them. I'd hate to get rid of them and later regret that I did but I've got way too many speakers!
     
  2. markshan

    markshan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Personally I liked the Mach II better.

    Quite a few Radio Shack speakers back in the day were killer on the price/performance scale. They sold a little metal bookshelf unit with an omnidirectional ribbon on top (I can't recall the model) that would often go on sale for $75 and it was excellent sounding in the right room. I think the price on that one was too low and actually scared some people off.
     
  3. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    Yes, the Optimus 7 or something like that with the Linaeum tweeter.
     
  4. LesPaul666

    LesPaul666 Active Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I had a pair of Realistic Mach One's I got half price on sale, around $200.00. They were brutally horrible speakers. Clogged, harsh, crappy...no matter how you placed them, and set those useless output controls. Cool looking woofers, though.;) I think they survived over ten years on the market, though. After that, I had a set of 10" 3-way Optimus towers with dome tweeters on sale, they actually sounded really good. I miss those.:agree:
     
  5. JBStephens

    JBStephens Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you MUST.

    Location:
    South Mountain, NC
    They were made to sell, not listen to, and they fulfilled that engineering goal very nicely. In spite of the 15" woofer, the bass was merely loud, not deep. Although I never tore a pair apart, I would imagine that inside would be typical Realistic crossovers, i.e. 10-cent caps and tiny chokes. A few dollars spent at Parts Express on decent crossover components might make a world of difference, and you might want to try that before finally deciding to part with them.
     
  6. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    Yeah, those little controls don't make much of a difference soundwise.
     
  7. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I have a pair of Realistic Optimus T-120s I received as a "bonus" when I bought a Pioneer Receiver recently.

    The woofers and midrange drivers need re-foaming. Is it worth it for these speakers? They do look extremely cool....
     
  8. WVK

    WVK Active Member

    Location:
    Houston
    As I recall they were a Consumer's Reports #1 rated speaker at the time.

    WVK
     
  9. bhazen

    bhazen Caffiend

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Mach Ones make those Cerwin-Vega monsters with pink woofer surrounds sound amazing.
     
  10. XMIAudioTech

    XMIAudioTech New Member

    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    As with most RS products the Mach Ones seem to get the haters out...

    I have a pair. While they aren't even in the same league as say, Klipschorns, A-25's or AR's, they are still very good sounding speakers, IMO. I have heard that the OEM drivers for the early Machs were made for RS by Altec (the later ones were made in Japan, but still are good robust drivers)...

    -Aaron
     
  11. LesPaul666

    LesPaul666 Active Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Those were the ones I had after the Mach One's! They were a *very* good speaker. If you can get them redone inexpensively, it would definitely be worth it.
     
  12. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    Rotted surrounds are a common problem. There is a special 15" surround available. The ones on the pair I have are still in fabulous shape.

    Still can't decide. My ears tell me one thing, my heart another, and you guys still another.
     
  13. Taurus

    Taurus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Based on what I've read over the years, like most ARs these speakers need a potent amplifier to sound their best (cramming that 15" driver into that miniscule sealed enclosure is a clue to this).

    Without thinking deeply about the answer: do you enjoy listening to them? As in, do you catch yourself involuntarily tapping your foot and singing along with Mr. Plant or Mr. Stipe?

    Even when I finally owned a decent system, I still got a kick out of listening to my aunt's huge GE console stereo. While it didn't have lots of detail (despite using horn tweeters) imaging was mostly non-existant and the bass - while very powerful - was rather boomy, despite all that it was fun hearing my tunes through it and could listen for hours. Years later I read something in a magazine, Stereophile I think, that helped to explain that. A professional reviewer was questioned about his choice of personal system, IIRC which included a Scott receiver and small AR loudspeakers, and was asked why he chose such a simple/inexpensive set of gear when he was exposed to all the highly accurate hi-end equipment at work & which he could obtain at a discount. He replied that he enjoyed his little system more because he knew it had obvious flaws and being aware of that fact, he could pay more attention to the music vs. the pricey gear which was supposed to be free of audible flaws and so caused him to be much more analytical when listening, in turn causing him to pay less attention to the music.

    While even I've got limits :) as a secondary listening rig, I would still like to own one of those big ol' consoles or other "just for the hell of it" type systems.
     
    clhboa likes this.
  14. LesPaul666

    LesPaul666 Active Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Those Mach One's were something I lusted after since my early childhood-I wanted *so* much to like them. Instead of foot tapping, I wanted to grab my Louisville Slugger and smash them. I tried 5 different combinations of amps and receivers, and nothing could make them sound better. They were highly efficient, IIRC.
     
  15. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    The music makes me want to tap my feet, definitely. They're a good speaker for the money, just not that sure they are the ultimate, which, for a lot of people, is the never ending goal.
     
  16. Joseph

    Joseph Active Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Well that settles it! They must not be very good if Consumer's Reports rated them so highly:winkgrin:
     
  17. WVK

    WVK Active Member

    Location:
    Houston
    At the time (and maybe now?) they compared the goes in with the goes out
    in an anacohic chamber. They considered closer better.
    WVK
     
  18. Doug Hess Jr.

    Doug Hess Jr. Active Member

    Location:
    Belpre, Ohio
    Thanks to Steve and this forum "ruining" my ears, I probably wouldn't like them quite as much anymore, but I had a set in the early 80s that I ran with an NAD 2200 power amp and a Yamaha $600 CD player and I LOVED how they sounded. I don't think you are going to get an unbiased opinion here. If YOU like them, then they sound great. If not, then don't. I personally thought the little dial for the horn was handy and I used it a lot. But I would not consider the sound-- while much louder-- as good as my Klipsch speakers I own now. But if I had a set of Mach One's now, I wouldn't throw them out.
     
  19. LesPaul666

    LesPaul666 Active Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Maybe I'd try to like them more, now that I'm older. :) Maybe they'd sound good with a good tube amp.
    I used the H/K 825/870 combo, Adcom seperates, an older Pioneer receiver, among a few other things. I just couldn't win. Maybe that Sony-CDP-101 was the problem.:confused:

    I do remember what did sound good on the Mach One's though,

    The "RL" LP of Yes-90125.
     
  20. DjBryan

    DjBryan New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Were these the ones with the adjustable Mids & Highs? If so I had these not bad, but too much midrange for me IMO, not bad speakers for what I paid years ago.
     
  21. rhkwon

    rhkwon Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    Yes, the ones with knobs for adjusting the treble and midrange. You can't hear a drastic change when their adjusted up or down.

    And what exactly is liquid cooled?
     
  22. I Am The Lolrus

    I Am The Lolrus New Member

    Location:
    LA, CA, US
    its kind of amazing that this thread was revived today.... i just ran across a pair of these. I put them on an adcom gfa-2 (100wpc @ 8ohm) and I have to say the speakers are rather strange. They have huge woofers, 15"?, yet the bass is terribly lacking... so I adjust the high/mid controls, and then the sound goes from bad to worse. Do these things require a lot of power to sound good? I mean, with a horn tweeter and such a big woofer, I expected these to be for playing music loud, but there must be a way to get them to sound ok... Any additional comments?
     
  23. Taurus

    Taurus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I'm not saying these speakers were ever SUPER-great sounding, but when listening to them now, there is one factor that many older speakers in any price range share and that can seriously alter their sound, particularly their mids and highs.

    The capacitors in their crossover networks have an excellent chance of being out-of-spec, causing subtle-to-severe electrical changes.

    This is caused by

    1) age - their internal parts have changed chemically

    and/or

    2) since they are very probably electrolytic types, they are leaking, which can REALLY alter their performance characteristics.

    In fact, its not uncommon for mids and tweeters to seemingly not work at all or only produce sound at whisper levels, when actually its because the fluid inside the cap is at severely reduced levels.

    ----> Bad caps can also change the sound of the woofer if its crossover uses them.

    So its not surprising many people report much improved sound when such caps are replaced, keeping an otherwise quality loudspeaker from being tossed into the trash can.

    Luckily caps are pretty easy to replace if you know how to solder and if you stick with what the speakers came with, don't cost much either (polypropylene or other modern versions cost much more).
     

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