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Vintage Speakers vs New


What kind of speaker do you prefer?  

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Just kinda curious. A lot of modern speakers - especially in the mid price range ($1500-$5000) range are difficult for me to listen to compared to say, a vintage AR or Advent design. I begin to suspect this has more to do with the modern ported designs vs Acoustic Suspension design. My favorite modern speakers are sealed or at least, not ported. Maggie's for instance. NSMT 10s, etc.

 

Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I voted for Planar/Electrostatic, etc. mostly for the "etc." part. I think a well-done open baffle speaker is magical in it's ability to reproduce music. Since you didn't include an "OB" or "other" choice, I went with the "etc" as they are both dipole in character (rather than a box).

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

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I would add open baffle speakers too. I know I drone on about the DQ-10's a lot, but they are open baffle with a sealed 12 woofer. I don't have any affiliation Hawthorne Audio, but it would be fun to build a pair.

 

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Just kinda curious. A lot of modern speakers - especially in the mid price range ($1500-$5000) range are difficult for me to listen to compared to say, a vintage AR or Advent design. I begin to suspect this has more to do with the modern ported designs vs Acoustic Suspension design. My favorite modern speakers are sealed or at least, not ported. Maggie's for instance. NSMT 10s, etc.

 

Paul

 

There is the ATC SCM11 and Harbeth P3ESR.. and older design still available today is the Klipsch Heresy III. I would guess that the Revel Gem 2 is about the best modern sealed design today.

 

The Yamaha NS10 is an appliance speaker used by engineers to ensure that audio sounds great on the "lowest bidder" sound system. You wouldn't be wrong for choosing it, after all, for the last 20+ years, mixes were validated on the NSM 10.

 

For other pro sound sealed designs you have the Lipinski L-707A..

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I voted panels. My current speakers, which I traded my brother for some non-audio stuff (they were sitting in his closet anyway) are Alon Model IV. They are open-baffle, dipoles in the mids, open baffle but not dipole tweeters with a sealed 12" woofer underneath. I got them when I asked my brother about "those speakers in your closet" and then found out they were dipoles in the midrange. They really are very similar to panels in their sound, but have a much more impressive bass than any panels I've had the good fortune to hear.

 

The designer now runs Nola speakers and still services the Alons. He has a dipole tweeter available that I will probably eventually get, since it makes sense to me to have the whole of the mid and high range dipole, but I'm not sure the difference will be huge. I'm loving these speakers just as they are.

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I do dearly love Planars and Electrostatics, and the few open baffle speakers I have heard were also jaw dropping in how very very good they sounded. Anyone trying to get my Maggies out of my office will certainly know they have been in a fight. :)

 

I have to admit though, listening to something like an old Advent, or even the $100/pair Cambridge Soundworks Model Six's is like slipping on an old and comfortable pair of shoes. The Model Six speakers in particular, have some severe lacks. But they do not *ever* act like a pair of ear rippers either...

 

Perhaps in the rush to have all our speakers respond from DC to 80K - and sell for budget busting prices - we have lost sight (or hearing) of an elusive something. Not value exactly. Certainly not absolute performance. Nor public acclaim. Something more like - persepective perhaps?

 

Whatever it is, I think it, along with perhaps a touch of nostalgia, is why I voted for Acoustic Suspension speakers as my favorites.

 

Even though there is not nearly enough voters to make any kind of judgement call, I think it is pretty interesting how evenly dispersed the votes are. There is no one type of speaker that is an obvious favorite. Though I admit, I expected to be about the only person who voted for sealed speakers!

 

-Paul

 

 

 

I voted panels. My current speakers, which I traded my brother for some non-audio stuff (they were sitting in his closet anyway) are Alon Model IV. They are open-baffle, dipoles in the mids, open baffle but not dipole tweeters with a sealed 12" woofer underneath. I got them when I asked my brother about "those speakers in your closet" and then found out they were dipoles in the midrange. They really are very similar to panels in their sound, but have a much more impressive bass than any panels I've had the good fortune to hear.

 

The designer now runs Nola speakers and still services the Alons. He has a dipole tweeter available that I will probably eventually get, since it makes sense to me to have the whole of the mid and high range dipole, but I'm not sure the difference will be huge. I'm loving these speakers just as they are.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Just kinda curious. A lot of modern speakers - especially in the mid price range ($1500-$5000) range are difficult for me to listen to compared to say, a vintage AR or Advent design. I begin to suspect this has more to do with the modern ported designs vs Acoustic Suspension design.

 

Are you sure that your preference for AR or Advent speakers had to do with their acoustic suspension (sealed) design? While acoustic suspension design provided superior bass reproduction from a relatively small enclosure, the so-called "Boston sound" of AR, Advent (and KLH) was definitely euphonic, adding an unnatural 'warmth' to everything that many people found pleasing. OTOH, they were hardly accurate in terms of tonality. By contrast, in North America, most English speakers of the time were viewed as 'cold', when they were actually far more accurate in reproducing what was on the recording. While AR, Advent and the like were generally considered to be pleasing to the ear, they added that artificial quality to all types of music. It was only when you heard certain recordings on an accurate set of speakers that you realized what you were missing.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I don't know Allan - it is possible. On the other hand, I am not so sure that the Advents added anything euphonic so much as the "cold" speakers just made everything glare. I think that Maggies are very accurate and neutral. They can reproduce bad material in all it's glaring awfulness. But good material sounds - good. Impactful and even edgy, but none of the "glare" I am talking about.

 

My old Advents would let me know without question when I was listening to a horrible recording, though they were not as accurate as the Maggies are. Or perhaps not. Mostly I listed to them with LPs of course.

 

The PSB Image line is very accurate, and to me can be ear rippers even on fairly good material. The Imagine and Synch lines of the speakers, though embedding the same technology, do not have that ear ripping quality. Or not as much of it at least.

 

I am not sure that "accuracy" is the right word for this, but that is just my opinion. I could easily be wrong. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

Are you sure that your preference for AR or Advent speakers had to do with their acoustic suspension (sealed) design? While acoustic suspension design provided superior bass reproduction from a relatively small enclosure, the so-called "Boston sound" of AR, Advent (and KLH) was definitely euphonic, adding an unnatural 'warmth' to everything that many people found pleasing. OTOH, they were hardly accurate in terms of tonality. By contrast, in North America, most English speakers of the time were viewed as 'cold', when they were actually far more accurate in reproducing what was on the recording. While AR, Advent and the like were generally considered to be pleasing to the ear, they added that artificial quality to all types of music. It was only when you heard certain recordings on an accurate set of speakers that you realized what you were missing.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I don't know Allan - it is possible. On the other hand, I am not so sure that the Advents added anything euphonic so much as the "cold" speakers just made everything glare. I think that Maggies are very accurate and neutral. They can reproduce bad material in all it's glaring awfulness. But good material sounds - good. Impactful and even edgy, but none of the "glare" I am talking about.

 

My old Advents would let me know without question when I was listening to a horrible recording, though they were not as accurate as the Maggies are. Or perhaps not. Mostly I listed to them with LPs of course.

 

The PSB Image line is very accurate, and to me can be ear rippers even on fairly good material. The Imagine and Synch lines of the speakers, though embedding the same technology, do not have that ear ripping quality. Or not as much of it at least.

 

I am not sure that "accuracy" is the right word for this, but that is just my opinion. I could easily be wrong. :)

 

I owned a pair of AR5 speakers and a good friend of mine had a pair of the original Advents. I wasn't suggesting that they made everything sound good as no speaker will do that. But, they did tend to be euphonic. Accurate speakers won't artificially 'sweeten' or 'soften' recordings the way AR and Advent speakers often did. I admit that the sound could be glorious at times but, IMO, it wasn't wasn't a faithful reproduction of the tonality and timbre of the recordings.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I owned a pair of AR5 speakers and a good friend of mine had a pair of the original Advents. I wasn't suggesting that they made everything sound good as no speaker will do that. But, they did tend to be euphonic. Accurate speakers won't artificially 'sweeten' or 'soften' recordings the way AR and Advent speakers often did. I admit that the sound could be glorious at times but, IMO, it wasn't wasn't a faithful reproduction of the tonality and timbre of the recordings.

 

Grin- I am just suggesting that I think the Advents at least, did not "sweeten" everything up. They were very accurate speakers, at least for their day. ;)

 

The Advent Loudspeaker | Stereophile.com

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Grin- I am just suggesting that I think the Advents at least, did not "sweeten" everything up. They were very accurate speakers, at least for their day. ;)

 

The Advent Loudspeaker | Stereophile.com

 

With all due respect to J. Gordon Holt, at that time the "Boston sound" was the American 'standard' for want of a better term. And the Advent was one of the better speakers of that genre. They may not have been viewed as 'colored' then, but many people later came to realize that they were after listening to accurate speakers with better resolution. Especially when compared to live music. The head of marketing for Castle Acoustics, an English manufacturer of high quality speakers (the original company, not the current one owned by IAG), used to demonstrate how accurate and natural his speaker were by playing a live clarinet and then playing back a recording of the same music. Yet, they were examples of the supposedly 'cold' British sound.

 

I don't doubt that you enjoyed the Advents. And, perhaps to your ears, they were accurate. IMO, they were not; they were euphonic.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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With all due respect to J. Gordon Holt, at that time the "Boston sound" was the American 'standard' for want of a better term. And the Advent was one of the better speakers of that genre. They may not have been viewed as 'colored' then, but many people later came to realize that they were after listening to accurate speakers with better resolution. Especially when compared to live music. The head of marketing for Castle Acoustics, an English manufacturer of high quality speakers (the original company, not the current one owned by IAG), used to demonstrate how accurate and natural his speaker were by playing a live clarinet and then playing back a recording of the same music. Yet, they were examples of the supposedly 'cold' British sound.

 

I don't doubt that you enjoyed the Advents. And, perhaps to your ears, they were accurate. IMO, they were not; they were euphonic.

 

You might be right - when I think of cold sounds, I think of the drek that came out in the 1980s with badly tuned ports and five way crossovers. Yuck! Brit made speakers like the Harbeths have always been favorites of mine- but to me, they sound like Advents. Maybe more Advent sounding than actual Advents, but the same kind of sound.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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You might be right - when I think of cold sounds, I think of the drek that came out in the 1980s with badly tuned ports and five way crossovers. Yuck! Brit made speakers like the Harbeths have always been favorites of mine- but to me, they sound like Advents. Maybe more Advent sounding than actual Advents, but the same kind of sound.

 

Harbeth wasn't founded until 1977 when Dudley Harwood, former head of research for the BBC, and his wife Elizabeth started the company. Hence the company name. While at the BBC, Harwood and Spencer Hughes, later of Spendor, were instrumental in developing the first plastic drivers.

 

However, I know the awful sounding ported speakers you are referring to.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Harbeth wasn't founded until 1977 when Dudley Harwood, former head of research for the BBC, and his wife Elizabeth started the company. Hence the company name. While at the BBC, Harwood and Spencer Hughes, later of Spendor, were instrumental in developing the first plastic drivers.

 

However, I know the awful sounding ported speakers you are referring to.

 

BBC Monitors then - LS3/5's that Dudley Harwood developed. They all have a similar "in the same family" sound to me. I wasn't meaning to say Advents were perfect, they definitely are lacking against some of today's best stuff. I was just wondering to myself if say, Magico at $22K is worth ~200 times the cost of an original set of Advents. About 30 times in today's dollars I guess.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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BBC Monitors then - LS3/5's that Dudley Harwood developed. They all have a similar "in the same family" sound to me. I wasn't meaning to say Advents were perfect, they definitely are lacking against some of today's best stuff. I was just wondering to myself if say, Magico at $22K is worth ~200 times the cost of an original set of Advents. About 30 times in today's dollars I guess.-Paul

 

Well, the 200 x factor is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, you would have to figure out the cost of the Advents in today's dollars, accounting for inflation. Also, the Advents cost more than $200 for a pair in 1971, based on the figures in the JGH review. Not the figure of about $100 that you used. Regardless, that type of comparison is meaningless because it ignores diminishing returns, one of the fundamental underlying considerations in high end audio. Does it make any sense to ask if a $50,000 DAC is worth 25 times more than a $2000 one?

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Well, the 200 x factor is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, you would have to figure out the cost of the Advents in today's dollars, accounting for inflation. Also, the Advents cost more than $200 for a pair in 1971, based on the figures in the JGH review. Not the figure of about $100 that you used. Regardless, that type of comparison is meaningless because it ignores diminishing returns, one of the fundamental underlying considerations in high end audio. Does it make any sense to ask if a $50,000 DAC is worth 25 times more than a $2000 one?

 

Yes, those are good points. I remember a price tag on a set of advents for $119, but I might be mistaken, or those might have been the slightly less expensive little Advents. In 2014 dollars, that would be somewhere around $600 I think. Thus roughly 200x and 30x figures. Of course that is alwo conparing th bottom of rhe Magico line. You move up and wham- those figures grow very quickly.

 

It does not ignore dimishing returns though it does measure them in just currency. That would be because the value of something like an audio product - with those kinds of diminishing returns - is measured in something else in addition to currency.

 

But in any case, how would you measure the value of any twk sets of speakers? In my case, I think preference plays a part, though it is necessarily balanced by cost and appearance.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Interesting discussion.

 

Accurate vs euphonic?........or let's look at it another way.....can something be euphonic and still be accurate?......or accurate and yet euphonic?

 

We know what euphony means........but what is 'accurate'?......do we have a reference?

 

Let's list just a few characteristics that make up the so ice signature of a speaker system

 

Frequency response

Harmonic distortion

Power response

Impulse response

Phase integration

Phase quadrature

Polar response

Cumulative decay

Dynamic range

Diffraction

Resonance

Sensitivity

Directivity

......and the list can go on and on if need be. Anybody wanna take a shot at folding these into accurate or euphonic,?......be my guest.

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I couldn't tell you what a single quantitative metric you just listed does for sound. I mean I could mime it.. ? ;-)

 

I love the Advent "Large" friend's dad worked for Advent, in the 80's, at one point and had two stacked Advent Large and an Advent A-350 receiver and it escapes me to what turntable. Nothing sounded quite like it.

 

But that is Nostaliga, and nostalgia is something you see while driving down the road of life. You may stop in check out, but don't stay there. Newer and more exciting adventures await.

 

Newer is better. Newer speaker designs generally are better performers. If you disagree, fine. Most likely, what is available now is better.

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I couldn't tell you what a single quantitative metric you just listed does for sound.

 

 

Newer is better. Newer speaker designs generally are better performers. If you disagree, fine. Most likely, what is available now is better.

 

Owners of original Rogers LS3/5A's might disagree with you. Owners of vintage Dalquists and Infinity Reference standards would certainly disagree! Lol

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Hi there mayhem13, Do you have experience with either one of those, great, speakers? I don't. I haven't seen an pair of IRSs for sale in a good while. Good luck to anyone searching for a pair of IRSs, and the Rogers LS3/5A falls squarely in the nostalgia category. I don't mean to snark or insult the merits of these speakers. I am sure they are loved. I stated my point.

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