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Would These 3 Vintage "Best" Speakers Still Be Contenders Today?

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I do not understand your last statement; your abstract way of expressing yourself puts me in mind of a reviewer at 6 Moons Audio, who goes on about everything under the sun during an equipment review and after 6 excruciating pages and 100 paragraphs of taking up peoples time he finally gets down to it and writes a paragraph about how the subject of the review actually sounds. This is not a criticism of you, but just something that I am reminded of. 

 

 You claim to be a psychiatrist and I have no reason to doubt it (or believe it). I am a General Semantics expert, which has much to do with psychiatry and peoples emotional reactions to symbols (usually meaning words). There is one thing I always wanted to ask if you are truly a psychologist. Psychiatrists are supposed to be in the practice of making people better adjusted and happy, and yet they themselves (at least in the U.S.) as an occupational group, always seem to have among the highest rate of taking their own lives; which certainly is not well adjusted or happiness oriented at all! If there is anything in the world crazier or more contradictory than this, I do not know what it could be. What says you?

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I really liked the sound of the Snell Type Type A III back in the mid-90s. I had the Snell Type E ll at that time and lusted for the A III which was heads and shoulder better. A couple of years later I heard the Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2 and bought them. I still own them today. At this time (late 90s) Thiel made the 6 and 7, which to my ears sounded better than both the Type A III and SDA SRS 1.2, if properly amped. Thiel 6 become my favourite speaker from that time and money. The Apogee Diva and Infinity IRS Beta was super nice, probably better too, but costed way to muck for me so I never directly compared them to my SDA SRS 1.2 or the Thiels.   

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42 minutes ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

I do not understand your last statement; your abstract way of expressing yourself puts me in mind of a reviewer at 6 Moons Audio, who goes on about everything under the sun during an equipment review and after 6 excruciating pages and 100 paragraphs of taking up peoples time he finally gets down to it and writes a paragraph about how the subject of the review actually sounds. This is not a criticism of you, but just something that I am reminded of. 

 

 You claim to be a psychiatrist and I have no reason to doubt it (or believe it). I am a General Semantics expert, which has much to do with psychiatry and peoples emotional reactions to symbols (usually meaning words). There is one thing I always wanted to ask if you are truly a psychologist. Psychiatrists are supposed to be in the practice of making people better adjusted and happy, and yet they themselves (at least in the U.S.) as an occupational group, always seem to have among the highest rate of taking their own lives; which certainly is not well adjusted or happiness oriented at all! If there is anything in the world crazier or more contradictory than this, I do not know what it could be. What says you?

 

I was an academic psychologist - not a psychiatrist. And I don't feel criticised.

 

The paradox you speak of is well-known and fascinating. It would hardly be surprising to understand that people aware of an "emptiness" in themselves might pursue psychology-related careers - or helping services such as Samaritans / counselling etc. Probably trying to find answers. Also - someone who has successfully navigated any problem is infinitely better placed to help someone else facing a matching challenge than a person without relevant experience. This implies that there are "lost" and "found" instances of professional and unpaid helpers - and one is vastly preferred to the other. That is my answer to your question. I dare say this conversation is now straying beyond the Thread and the Forum.

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Re: Irving. Yes I guess it is straying, but then again I am human and it is my post. I did like, appreciate and respect your answer, and that is what I think also, and actually the only thing that would really make sense and explain it. People thinking they know what is going on in someone else's mind, better than they themselves do, has always been a little suspect and creepy to me. Like the "Big Guess" disguised as a science. At its best it probably is a science, but way more often I'm afraid, its the type of practitioner that you described.

 

 Anyway, the Snell Type A III is a speaker I would have loved to hear. One of my earliest speakers as a teenager was the Polk model 10. I bought it without much of an audition based on a faulty review, claiming "its definition is on par with the Magnepan." No. It was a fairly wide speaker and it taught me what cabinet diffraction is, and it had too much of it I realized after a while. It bothered me enough that at some point I actually preferred the limited bass Minimus 11 from Radio Shack. Ever since the Polks I have stuck with slim minimal diffraction speakers. Does your A III suffer from cabinet diffraction at all, being so wide? 

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I have never heard anything I would attribute to that problem.

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I think curvature of the front panel prevents much of that. You are lucky to have them. They are often available on ebay but you gotta be close. Not too many people wild about shipping A III speakers.

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The wide open baffle of the upper chamber has a lot to do with what makes the Type A so awesome.

 

And yeah - shipping of these monsters a nightmare. In the vid. above Peter Q talks about taking away his first pair in his car - no room for the packing crates - and the toll on his car. Fortunately I had a van.

 

Just would mention too - you can smell these speakers when you walk into the room. Vintage wood. Truly lovely.

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12 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

<snips>There is one thing I always wanted to ask ... Psychiatrists are supposed to be in the practice of making people better adjusted and happy, and yet they themselves (at least in the U.S.) as an occupational group, always seem to have among the highest rate of taking their own lives...

 

As a psychotherapist/trainer of 40 years—

Doctors of any genre are also high in the suicide stats. Dealing with people in dire straits is hard, and the stresses do add up. Except in social work, peer support is generally not automatic, so without care the stresses can be fatal.😔

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5 minutes ago, GregWormald said:

 

As a psychotherapist/trainer of 40 years—

Doctors of any genre are also high in the suicide stats. Dealing with people in dire straits is hard, and the stresses do add up. Except in social work, peer support is generally not automatic, so without care the stresses can be fatal.😔

 

And admitting depressive/suicidal thoughts as a Dr is a good way to lose a license and other professional associations, hospital privileges for example.


No electron left behind...

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1 hour ago, GregWormald said:

 

As a psychotherapist/trainer of 40 years—

Doctors of any genre are also high in the suicide stats. Dealing with people in dire straits is hard, and the stresses do add up. Except in social work, peer support is generally not automatic, so without care the stresses can be fatal.😔

Yes. Just lost a family friend who was a therapist, this year. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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On 5/24/2020 at 4:34 AM, davide256 said:

KEF bookshelf speakers from the 80's

I have a pair of KEF 303's, Version II.  I think they were called  the Celeste outiside of the US. 

Believe I bought them in summer of 1981. 

They cost $450 at the time, that's about $1300-$1350 today.

 

I thought they were great then. Today they don't compare to many speakers at their price and well below: Bass response is very weak - big rolloff from 70hz - very little output below that. Aren't particularly efficient and can't play that loud. 

Today you can do much better for less. Speaker desing and technology (especially cone design and materials) has vastly improved, especially what you get for your money. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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What we once thought was good we sometimes look back and realize it wasn't that great. I think  drivers are better today "overall", but among the crowd back then were some exceptional performers. which were real beauties whose performance would still surprise today. I can think of some seas, audax and focal midrange drivers in particular. I think tweeters might have made the biggest gains, but again "overall" I would say. Certain versions of the Heil tweeter and Infinity Emit tweeters are still great today if you know which ones to look for. There are others too. I think what we have today is more consistently good drivers but the greats from yesteryear are hard to beat by much. I seek out exceptional vintage stuff because its cheaper and I think I end up with the same result pretty much, but saving thousands, or even tens of thousands.

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4 hours ago, firedog said:

I have a pair of KEF 303's, Version II.  I think they were called  the Celeste outiside of the US. 

Believe I bought them in summer of 1981. 

They cost $450 at the time, that's about $1300-$1350 today.

 

I thought they were great then. Today they don't compare to many speakers at their price and well below: Bass response is very weak - big rolloff from 70hz - very little output below that. Aren't particularly efficient and can't play that loud. 

Today you can do much better for less. Speaker desing and technology (especially cone design and materials) has vastly improved, especially what you get for your money. 

Had to look to identify what I had... they were actually from the 70's, the Reference 103's. As a bookshelf speaker they rolled off in the bass and also at the top. But in between

they had very little driver distortion and cabinet resonance, something that even today many box speakers fail at. Definitely slow on transients by today's standards.

 


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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8 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Had to look to identify what I had... they were actually from the 70's, the Reference 103's. As a bookshelf speaker they rolled off in the bass and also at the top. But in between

they had very little driver distortion and cabinet resonance, something that even today many box speakers fail at. Definitely slow on transients by today's standards.

 

I'm not saying mine are bad souding - they have a nice balanced presentation that sounds good. But lacking overall power and dynamics and also low bass and the higher end. Lots of speakers today sound better. There are many fantastic bookshelf speakers on the market today that do everything better, including some by KEF. Hell, the LS50's are not a lot more in today's dollars, and they are several orders of magnitude better than my old model. I wouldn't want to live with the 303's as my main speaker. I could live with the LS50 and not be too upset about it. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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The older KEF bookshelf speaker that was pretty good was the Reference 101. They used LS3/5A drivers and sounded more accurrate than the legendary LS3/5A. But neither one was a speaker that you could play anywhere near loud in a medium size room. Even the LS50 I heard on Steve Guttenbergs video is more of a nearfield listening speaker. Not a speaker that excels at filling up a room according to him. I have enough different speakers to play around with and drivers. I have some current midrange drivers that you would not see in any speaker under about $8,000. I sometimes screw them in somewhere. Most midrange drivers sound and work just fine with most tweeters, if they are roughly the same efficiency. 

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I owned a pair of Yamaha NS1000M speakers, purchased new in 1975 for $1000. I should have kept them, probably the worst mistake in my audio life, but I contracted audiophile fever and traded them off a few years later. I drove them with a Yamaha NS-1000 integrated, which was not close to showing their potential.  I absolutely believe they would be awesome value in today's market at an inflation-adjusted price of $5000.

 

Crossover components would all need to be replaced long before now. Active crossovers would be interesting with the beryllium drivers. The 12" woofer was mounted in a sealed birch cabinet and delivered a very tight and honest 40Hz. 

 

I heard the modern replacement (zylon drivers, no beryllium) at an audio show. They cost $18,000. The sound was spacious and very detailed, driven by an expensive Yamaha front end CDS3000 CD/SACD player ($7500), C-5000 preamp ($11,000) and M5000 power amp ($11,000), but disturbingly bright. Needed a better room and/or system matching.


“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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Better still I hear, was the Yamaha NS 2000. They were above the NS 1000 in the line, but dealers in America had to special order them. A pair popped up on ebay within memory for around 3 grand.The Japanes sometimes made something unavailable to people in North America. Audio Technica decades ago made a model 180 cartridge, but in America you would have thought the top of the line was the 170, since they didn't export their top model the 180, to America, but did export it elsewhere.

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I had a pair of circa 1979 top of the line Technics SB 7000A as a teenager. They were phase and time aligned and had a 13 inch woofer, competing in timing with a small open space staggered mounted midrange and tweeter. They did have something about them that was kind of special in that way, but upon hearing some speakers that were more natural sounding, I soon realized what Japanese coloration was all about. I hooked them up to a second system using a Sansui G series receiver and a turntable with a Micro Acoustics electret phono cartridge. Still in my mind, one of the worst combinations ever. I couldn't  even stand that combination and sound. Although the Technics speakers I enjoyed in my youth in another system, which didn't make it sound harsh and analytical. Tell me more about those.

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Genesis 1.2

Infinity IRS V

Infinity RS1 B

Kappa 9’s

 

Opps, I listed 4 and they all still can rival new speakers if kept in good condition.

 

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I agree. The best speakers of decades ago are still great speakers today (some). Everyone doesn't fall for "newer is better." Sometimes its "they dnot make'em' like they used to."

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23 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

I had a pair of circa 1979 top of the line Technics SB 7000A as a teenager. They were phase and time aligned and had a 13 inch woofer, competing in timing with a small open space staggered mounted midrange and tweeter. They did have something about them that was kind of special in that way, but upon hearing some speakers that were more natural sounding, I soon realized what Japanese coloration was all about. I hooked them up to a second system using a Sansui G series receiver and a turntable with a Micro Acoustics electret phono cartridge. Still in my mind, one of the worst combinations ever. I couldn't  even stand that combination and sound. Although the Technics speakers I enjoyed in my youth in another system, which didn't make it sound harsh and analytical. Tell me more about those.

 

Not quite as good as yours - the https://www.hifidatabase.com/Technics_SB-5000_4867.php units. Did some tidying up inside, changed the crossover capacitors to better quality - was very happy with the sound. Developed an amplifier board using a chip amp which was placed vertically behind the the speaker - the longer interconnect, very short speaker cable idea. Used for a decade or so - never noticed a colouration; was able to deliver what I call competent SQ.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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