Budget Vintage Speakers: warmth with detail

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Phasecorrect, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Hey folks, seeking vintage 70s-90s loudspeakers that have a touch of warmth that doesn't obscure fine inner detail. In other words, something more towards nuetral than colored, with an open midrange, and controlled bass. I can forgo deep bass if the rest of the sonic picture is too my liking. I have limited experience: Large Advents (fairly clean deep bass, fried egg tweeter leaves a lot to be desired); Kef C55 ( flabby bass, boxey, muddy sound), etc. Spica tc 50s: incredible 3d imaging, however, no bass, overall veiled sound. Dq-10s, etc.

    Contemplating:
    Klh 17
    Dynaco 25
    Jbl decade series
    Infinity jr monitors
    Polk monitor 7
    Boston A series

    Anybody comment on my criteria vs speakers listed? Other suggestions?

    On the higher end of budget project:

    Vandersteen 1 b
    Magnepan smg
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  2. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    I'm a loudspeaker engineer, and must interject that speaker design has advanced tremendously since those vintage days. There were some good speakers then, but after decades of evolution it is possible to make overall better designs today. That doesn't mean that every modern speaker is better-ALL speakers are horribly inaccurate transducers-but top companies like KEF, B&W, JBL, etc etc would not agree that their old speakers are somehow "better."

    Now, today you can get some cheaper speakers for instance the Klipsch smaller models, which however are not at all replacements for their back-in-the-day models. And today there are many tiny speakers which I feel have something missing from their sound, a kind of liveliness they do not possess. I *think* it is because of the physics of their tiny enclosures necessitating very low efficiency but that is just a hypothesis of mine.

    Anyway, there are some nice old speakers in a sentimental way, but they also may have failed capacitors and rotting parts. I personally wouldn't mess with that old stuff but good luck at Goodwill if you want to, no great harm will be done.
     
  3. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Personally I don't really consider the Vandersteen 1b or Magnepan SMG vintage but I guess they're getting up there. Of the speakers you mentioned I'd grab a pair of the Vandys. If you don't mind doing a little work you can look for a pair of the older, early 80s Snell speakers. They can sound very nice and they are what eventually evolved into Audio Note's speaker line.
     
  4. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix
    You will find a lot of people who disagree with your assessment of the vintage Advents. Myself included. But your ears are the only ones that matter for your listening experience. I've found on the "extended" setting with proper amplification the treble to be more than sufficient. And the bass is fantastic.
     
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  5. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Probably being a little harsh to prove my point. I believe Stereophile did an Advent measurement test when they reviewed vintage equipment from time to time roughly 10 years ago (estimate). The tweeter measured extremely poorly, but sounded better than it should. The bass is the real selling point and I see the appeal. I guess my recollection confirms the Stereophile measurements. The famous tweeter is a bit long in the tooth to my ears.
     
  6. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Update: I recently acquired a pair of CR 9s by Boston Acoustics, made in USA mid-90s. For history, the company was started by two ex-Advent employees I believe in the early 80s, and the CR 9s are an updated, modern take on the classic Advent sound. However, they are far more relaxed and refined in the treble response, with equally or shall I say improved bass performance. It is extremely deep, clean, and musical. They are a large, 2-way monitor with 8" driver. They also have rubber surrounds, which removes the slight headache of replacing foam ones. I believe the retailed for roughly $600 back in the day, were the flagship model in the series, and have the famous "Kortec" tweeter still in production. Not the last word in detail or transparency, but what is there is quite pleasing, as is some depth, which is surprising at this price point. Sort of band aid approach until my next move, but these far surpassed my intial expectations.
     
  7. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    Kef 104/2 :)
     
  8. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    "Virtually every pair of KEF 102/2, 103/3, 104/2, 107 and 107/2 loudspeakers all have the same problem; the proprietary inner surround ring, also know as the annulus, has dry rotted. This can cause several problems; the woofer excursion increases which can allow the voice coil to bottom out and distort the former causing ongoing audible distortion, bass output is significantly reduced, the woofer power handling is much lower, and the frequency response of the woofer will also change because the back enclosure is no longer sealed."
     
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  9. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Speaking of Kef, anybody familiar with the C15 mini monitor? I was less than enamored with the C55, but to be fair, that was an early attempt at the Uni-q technology. This is a more straight forward design: simple 2-way, with dedicated tweeter and midrange.
     
  10. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I have used for many years Leak loudspeakers.
    In my big room i use Leak 2075,s
    Whih are a two cabinet 4 way syst. The large cabinet is transmission Line loaded with a 15" driver.
    The top cabinet houses a mid, upper mid and tweeter.
    The smaller room houses a. Pair of Leak 2060,s which are 3 way using a 12" bass driver and mid, and tweeter
    Of the infinite baffle design.
    I also use in this room a pair of original
    Leak Sandwich from 1965!
    These are a 2 way design and my favourites. These are also infinately baffle.
    All 3 speakers have been rebuilt.
    I will spare the details .
    I really love the sound these units
    Produce!
     
  11. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    Mine are visually intact, so am I OK?
     
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a friend who is into owning many pairs of vintage speakers at one time, so I speak from what I've heard at his house and from what I own myself. I have a pair of Dynaco 25's hooked up to my NSM CD jukebox and for that set-up, I feel that they are perfect. The Dynaco's are a very "nice" sounding speaker, especially at lower levels, but when I first bought them a few years ago, I had them hooked up to my SCOTT 299b tube amp, where I listen to music a bit louder and they didn't really knock me out there. They have since been replaced by KLIPSCH Chorus 1's with Bob Crites upgrades and outside of a possible future KLIPSCH Cornwall audition, they will probably always stay, as I love them THAT much!

    Now, at my friend's house, he has those large ADVENTS and he is always big on playing me nothing but 80's "digital" music (Depeche Mode) on those, so I'm not sure if I'm getting a fair audition from them, because I usually hate the sound of 80's digital. With that type of music pumping out of those ADVENTS, I find them decent sounding, but I always end up feeling that they sound about as boxy as they look. Maybe I'll have him spin some Sinatra or jazz one day on those and I might have a different opinion?

    The other speaker on your list that my friend owns, are those Vandy's. He actually owns Vandy 1's and 2c's and he has them hooked up in rooms that are only a wall apart. For the longest time he kept pushing those 2c's on my ears and call me HUGELY unimpressed, but then he recently bought a used pair of 1's for like $300 bucks and they made me sit up and take notice. Now I have to make a confession of this friend of mine, although it hurts me to do so, but he is one of those guys who never finds any serious doubt in the words "digitally remastered". For instance, when he plays The Eagles, he grabs a 2-CD remastered set (white cover) which to my ears sounds mastered far, far louder than needed, but he loves how it sounds. Naturally, I would either go grab an original early vinyl pressing of "Their Greatest Hits" or the DCC Gold CD and he would probably say, "look how loud you had to turn that up" or "that doesn't match the level of loudness to the rest of my other CD's". I forgot to add, that he has NEVER owned any CD player that isn't a five-disc player, which I have always loathed, to be honest. I told him the other day, that it's no wonder why you hate spinning vinyl, when you despise the idea of having to change a CD and I thought that CD's had made ME lazy!

    Oh well, the bottom line here for me is, this guy collects some interesting vintage speakers, which are fun to hear, but I fear that the crap recordings that he puts in them is a huge problem, especially when he thinks that they sound great.

    Get some vintage Klipsch or try a used pair of Vandersteen 1's.
     
  13. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I agree with all of this and I own vintage speakers.

    When it comes to speakers, there is no such thing as a free ride no matter when they were made.

    When it comes to vintage, the best options are klipsch, jbl or alltec and there is an argument to be made they are better than new designs.

    I have a pair of dahlquist and Rogers that I enjoy but I'm not fooling myself into thinking they are better than what I can buy new.
     
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  14. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Also...as far as making a recommendation, the standard questions are still critical. What is the amp, how big is the room and what is the budget?

    I don't think anyone should set out to go "vintage". You answer those questions, look at your options and include vintage. It could come up as the best option but certainly not a given.
     
  15. Sondek

    Sondek Forum Resident

    I'd recommend Rogers LS6a speakers. They're excellent.
     
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  16. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I have the 5a's and they are a great speaker as well. I certainly wouldn't put them in a very large room, sit very far from them to listen or give them loads of power. Also, they are expensive over here if you can find them.
     
  17. Sondek

    Sondek Forum Resident

    I always found the LS6a's to be very big sounding - much bigger than they are, and they're a fair size for monitor speakers - and very natural sounding too. There's a pair on Ebay UK at the moment, but they're a two or three hundred pound more expensive than they usually go for.
     
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  18. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I agree, they are a very honest speaker and deliver everything that is given to them. If you are trying balance something out in your sound like add warmth, it won't do it. Well, I guess it could if you were replacing speakers that are bright. But I have found them to be very neutral.

    I've not seen 6's go for less than $2,500 over hear and that doesn't happen often. If I was working in a big space and wanted to move some air, floor standers whould be the better choice.

    If you are into hearing the range of what is available in speakers, Rogers are a pretty big deal. I can't say that they are a better choice than a new pair of ls50's. Mostly because I haven't heard ls50's but it would seem they might me the the modern and less expensive alternative.
     
  19. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    Living in the Boston area, I've come across - and restored - my fair share of classic "New England Sound" speakers, including KLH Sixes and Seventeens, Acoustic Research AR2ax's and AR4x's, A/D/S L9e's, and most recently a pair of Boston Acoustics A150's.

    They all have similar attributes and can sound very pleasant, and I find their styling very appealing... but I still find that modern speaker designs run rings around those old classics in terms of accuracy and resolution, including many entry-level models.
     
  20. Sondek

    Sondek Forum Resident

    These ones are going for £652. But I've seen them going for between around £250.

    ROGERS LS6a/2 COPPIA DI RINOMATI DIFFUSORI ACUSTICI 2 VIE IN LEGNO ***Perfette** | eBay

    The pair I had were in black.
     
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  21. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
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  22. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Good point. I figure this knowledge would be beneficial to me or other members if an opportunity to go vintage presents itself.
     
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  23. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    WI
    Your take on the 150s?
     
  24. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    If you can pull it off, warmth with detail is how I would describe Cornwalls.

    [​IMG]

    A tube amp certainly helps as well
     
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  25. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    Madisound makes a copy of the A25 in kit form.
     

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