Tell me about vintage A/D/S speakers

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by loomis, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. loomis

    loomis Forum Resident Thread Starter

    akron ohio

    Can you folks please tell me about 1970-80's A/D/S speakers, such as the L710 L780 L810 L910 and the 1290's etc?

    I'd be most interested in information about the most popular, most easily obtainable, and affordable L7XX and L8XX three-way speaker series.

    The 810's are supposedly fantastic speakers, and a clean pair can be had on ebay for under $300.

    Often you hear people say "the (insert low-cost vintage audio product here) is the best sounding X under $1000 today." This is exactly what I have heard about these vintage A/D/S speakers. Is this accurate?

  2. easyge

    easyge Forum Resident

    Sioux Falls, SD
    I have owned a pair of L1290's since 1988 and they are wonderful. I am listening to them now. They are very mellow and very accurate. This speaker is a sealed enclosure. No ports, no passive radiators. I will never part with them. :) ADS had this great high end high quality reputation back in the 80's and the early 90's. I cannot comment about the other models you have mentioned though. Their car stereo speakers in the early 90's were great as well. :thumbsup:

  3. Kayaker

    Kayaker Forum Resident

    New Joisey Now
    I have a pair of 880's that I bought in '86. I used them for over 12 years as my main speakers and liked them - they have a nice mid-range. I now have them set up as rears. My new Von Schweikert speakers (at several times the price) absolutely smoke them, as do many new speakers I hear. I think speaker technology have passed these babies by.
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  4. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    I owned a pair of L710s that I bought new in 1978/9, and finally sold a couple of years ago when I had no more room for them. The only issue with them in that time was the need to re-woofer it when the surrounds went. Performance-wise I, too, think they have a wonderful midrange and very impressive bass for their size, though like a lot of sealed box speakers they do need some amp power in spite of their fairly efficient rating. Compared to modern speakers they are not nearly as transparent, and the cabinet design, with its raised lip around the edge, means that their appeal does not rest on their imaging capabilities. Still, a very musical speaker, and one that harkens back to the best type of '70s-'80s sound.

    BTW, they still fetched $300 on ebay at the time.

    John K.
  5. jeff e.

    jeff e. Member

    If you're buying vintage a/d/s/ speakers, be sure that all of the drivers still work. I've had two pairs that I picked up at thrift stores and both had tweeters and/or midrange drivers that were completely dead. Rather than locating replacement drivers, I just decided to part them out on eBay.

    I'm not sure if the a/d/s/ voice coils are unusually delicate or I've just had incredibly bad luck.
  6. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Pleasantville, NY
    I have a pair of L990's I bought in 1986, they still work great but I do not use them anymore. As someone else said my Audio Physics Virgo III's smoke these, but they cost 5 times as much. I have the original boxes, I have no idea what they are worth and shipping would be noticeable, but if you are interested PM me.
  7. ben_wood

    ben_wood Rollin' with the Tide!

    I personally would live to own a mint pair of ads L730s. I listened to these remarkable speakers at my local "Sound Distributors" store on many occasions during the late 70's/early 80's. They were a sealed 10 inch 3-way design with a rubber woofer surround (no foam rot!) and ads' famous dome mid and tweeter. The bass was accurate, non-boomy, the mids and highs were detailed yet non-fatiguing. I don't know what exactly happened with ads, they produced some of the most well designed/engineered speakers of that time period and are still coveted today by many audiophiles. BTW it seems to me that the best Analog and Digital Systems speakers used the ads (all lower-case) logo rather than the later A/D/S moniker.
  8. Taurus

    Taurus Forum Resident

    Houston, Texas
    Just wanted to say that while I usually prefer brighter sounding speakers, I did like the mellow & smoooooth character of the a/d/s models. And I thought their styling (in the 80s anyway) with their rounded off edges & quiet good looks reflected that personality. And the cabinets were built so solidly! Don't let their low effeciency deter you from grabbing a pair.

    And because of the above, I've always thought that the a/d/s brand back then was the Steely Dan of the loudspeaker world. :)
  9. loomis

    loomis Forum Resident Thread Starter

    akron ohio
    Thank you everyone for your replies. This information has been very helpful for me.
  10. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Deep Maryland
    I have the L990s that ALP has available above, and like them quite a bit, especially for jazz. Very non-fatiguing, while imparting a nice heft to the music when called for. Might be worth a weekend drive to Pleasantville, NY!
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  11. Roninblues

    Roninblues 猿も木から落ちる。

    I still have my L1290s which are on another smaller stereo just because I didn't want to get rid of them. Main system has B&W 802s.
  12. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Also, some history. ADS is Analog & Digital Systems. Previously the importers of Braun Audio Products. Which began in Huntsville, Alabama. And the ADS speakers early on through the ADS peak years used the same drivers as Braun speakers did. At least on some models.
  13. dnuggett

    dnuggett Forum Resident

    DFW Texas
    I have a pair of 1290 Series II in my second listening room. They are great speakers, I don't think you'll find better at the price point they can be had for right now, assuming you get them in great shape.
  14. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    I had L880s for over a decade. My buddy still has them. My new speakers are much better but I wish I had held onto those old ADS speakers for a back up system. I think used they are a good bargain if they are in working order.
  15. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    Wonderful speakers. The 710's are generally regarded as being better than the 810's. TAS said so in a review of the 810 and in the manufacturers comments ADS quote 'agreed with that assessment'.

    I still have a pair of 400's - a speaker about the size on an LS3/5a.

    They are detailed yet smooth - very dynamic, good at low volumes, easy to listen to.

    Wish they were still being made. :cry:
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  16. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Fresno, California
    Hope this isn't considered threadcraping, I have the version of the 400 intended for satellite/sub systems. Has that tweeter design found in bigger models. Mine came with wall-mounting hardware, something to think about for my surround system. What I've noticed—when I was engineering recordings I noticed how the Neumann KM 84 was so "on" with strummed/plucked instruments, guitars in particular. Other string players have written about that quality in that microphone. The a/d/s tweeter has a very similar quality. Maybe not the most 'accurate' sound conceivable, but one of the most 'musical'.

    Here's a review of the little a/d/s 400L:

  17. tman53

    tman53 Forum Resident

    Not to thread crap but I had a/d/s speakers in my car and they were fantastic. I wound up selling the car and am sorry I didn't remove them. This was about 10 years ago. Are they still in business? I haven't been able to find anything with regard to car audio.
  18. WhitsunVillien

    WhitsunVillien New Member

    Brooklyn, NY
    I have a pair of ADS L780/2 speakers that are wonderful. I know this is an old thread at this point, but it's exciting to see people talking about these great old speakers. I have to say I'm surprised to see people above stating that they don't listen to theirs much any longer. Feel free to get in touch if you aren't enjoying your ADS speakers any longer and want a buyer!
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  19. Stalker

    Stalker New Member

    I have a pair of A/D/S M-90's I need to replace the midrange speakers, anyone have a place that I can find them and how difficult a process will it be to do it myself? They are a monitor style, floor standing unit with that super accurate ADS sound. My favorite ADS speaker of all time would have to be the L-710 in the bookshelf style. Sounded great and deadly accurate. I like them with a tube amp and transistorized pre-amp, like a Dynaco PAT 5.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  20. I have the L730 and they're outstanding
    ben_wood likes this.
  21. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    I have a pair of ADS 300c speakers that I bought in 1980 for my Accord hatch back. I recently replaced the tweeters and the woofers and use them for surround speakers. They have aged well and sound excellent. I owned many cars in the 80's with ADS speakers and amps. It was sad to see them go out of business. :(.

    fmfxray373 likes this.
  22. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    It's a link from another forum (hope it's OK to post it here?), but it contains a LOT of info on A/D/S speakers. It also includes comments from former A/D/S employees. I hope it's found useful!

    Oh yea, I own 2 pair of A/D/S L570's. A pair each of Series I and II. An easy speaker brand to listen too. Non-fatiguing, but still detailed!
  23. Adrock

    Adrock New Member

    I have a pair of l810's( which is a replacement for an older damaged pair)That I was still using as fronts for my surround. I got the second pair at a thrift shop for $100. Which was great I really lucked out with the second pair. They must have been kept in a hyperbaric chamber. They are so clean. The weird flypaper coating on the midranges and tweeters still has a green glossy hue( my old ones had turned kind of dark and less translucent). These are simply fantastic speakers. The accuracy is downright freakish. I also just got a pair of l300's which are rigged up in my office and are phenomenal as well. It's great to see the recent posts. ads speakers are awesome!
  24. rkutect

    rkutect New Member

    Sacramento, CA
    I have a pair of L1230 Professional Monitors---got them in 1982. Fantastic speakers still to this day!
    I have also had ADS car stereo equipment in several cars---took it from car to car---also great equipment!
  25. Tizman

    Tizman Member

    I have had a pair of L810 for about 8 years. They were my main speakers until about 2 years ago when I got into SET tube amps, and needed a bit more efficiency to suit the low wattages I had available. I use mostly Klipsch and single driver speakers now, but I do miss the easy and mellow qualities of the L810. They were never harsh and helped less than stellar quality recordings sound good. These same recordings are unlistenable through the speakers I now use. I am working on a couple of higher output SET amps now, and will put them back into rotation soon. I highly recommend the L810.

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