• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

20 year old flagship speaker vs today's best $2500 or under?

paulgyro

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
31
Hi everyone I'm currently in the market for a new pair of speakers to replace my Forte IIIs, budget is $2500.

I keep debating with myself and thought I'd let you guys join in too.

Get a 20 year old high-end flagship or the best $2500 or under pair you can get bookshelf or tower.

Examples of old high-end flagship type I'm debating about.


Note: Assume I can get parts for repair if need be.

Revel Ultima Gem with stands for about $2k
-I've not heard these but have heard the Ultima Studio (same line), amazing. Studios measure good on Sound Stage Network https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/revel_ultima_studio/
-Stereophile's Products of 1998 Joint Loudspeakers of 1998 https://www.stereophile.com/content/stereophiles-products-1998-joint-loudspeakers-1998
-Stereophile's measurements looks good but for a dip at about 4k. https://www.stereophile.com/content...r-ultima-sub-15-subwoofer-measurements-page-3


KEF Reference 201/2 with stands for about $2k
- 201/2 measure great on Sound Stage Network https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/speakers/kef_201-2/
-Stereophile's measurements and review look great https://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-reference-2012-loudspeaker-measurements
-Stereophile's recommended A (Restricted Extreme LF)-list until about 2013

Current example speakers up to the $2.5k price point.

Arendal 1723 Monitor S or 1723 Monitor for $2 to $2.4k
Focal Aria 906 for about $2k
JBL HDI 1600 for about $1.9k
Revel Concerta2 F36 for about $1.75k
Legacy Studio HDs for about $2k
Ascend Sierra Tower or Sierra-2EX $2.5k or $1.5k
KEF R3
KEF LS50 Meta (most likely way too small)
Other Revel book shelf
Other Focal Chora lines.
Others?

Let me know your thoughts!

I'm going crazy thinking about this.... :)

Other info you might want, my room is 320 sq ft, 3000 cubic feet, 8-9 ft listening distance. 80-85 db average listening levels.

Current amp is VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP (VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP | VTV Amplifier)

I already own 4 subs, all aligned with miniDSP HD 2x4 and MSO. Amazing bass.

Paul
 

Sal1950

Grand Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
10,124
Likes
10,456
Location
Central Fl
The only thing I want to add is to beware of speakers 20 years old.
Woofer surrounds, crossover caps, and other things may have deteriorated.
I stay newer than 10 if you want a decade or two of trouble free use.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
8,753
Likes
24,325
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The only thing I want to add is to beware of speakers 20 years old.
Woofer surrounds, crossover caps, and other things may have deteriorated.
I stay newer than 10 if you want a decade or two of trouble free use.

I agree. Speakers do unfortunately deteriorate rapidly after 10-15 years or so and you are often stuck with beautiful cabinets, almost a full set of functional drivers and no spare parts. Ask me how I know that- or better still, have in look in my storeroom. :facepalm:
 

BoredErica

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
536
Likes
710
Location
USA
I agree. Speakers do unfortunately deteriorate rapidly after 10-15 years or so and you are often stuck with beautiful cabinets, almost a full set of functional drivers and no spare parts. Ask me how I know that- or better still, have in look in my storeroom. :facepalm:
Wish there was an easy way to lengthen the life of a speaker. Oh well, 10-15 years is a decent amount of time...
 

DonH56

Master Contributor
Technical Expert
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
6,126
Likes
11,464
Location
Monument, CO
You can't get drivers for the original Ultima line AFAIK. I agree with the rest; get a decent modern('ish) speaker new or made within the past five years or so, a sub or two, and enjoy. A pair of year-old Revel F206's sold for about $2k on another forum recently.
 
OP
P

paulgyro

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
31
Gotcha thanks all! If there aren't parts available it certainly doesn't make sense to invest $2k in a time bomb. I now have some Arendal 1723 Monitors on order. I've also reached out to Revel and Kef to see if they are have parts available just incase.

How do you think the over all performance of the Revel / Kef I mentioned above compared to the $2k speakers we are discussing?
 
OP
P

paulgyro

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
31
Personally I wouldn't rank the original Klipsch speakers as high as you do....
Not sure what you are getting at here, my only mention of Klipsch was what I'm replacing. Can you clarify?
 
OP
P

paulgyro

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
31
Say out of curiosity I contacted Revel to see if they have tweeter and woofer available still and they do. Does knowing their are part's available change your thinking at all?
 

Sal1950

Grand Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
10,124
Likes
10,456
Location
Central Fl

amper42

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
1,077
Likes
1,441
Hi everyone I'm currently in the market for a new pair of speakers to replace my Forte IIIs, budget is $2500.

I keep debating with myself and thought I'd let you guys join in too.

Get a 20 year old high-end flagship or the best $2500 or under pair you can get bookshelf or tower.

Examples of old high-end flagship type I'm debating about.


Note: Assume I can get parts for repair if need be.

Revel Ultima Gem with stands for about $2k
-I've not heard these but have heard the Ultima Studio (same line), amazing. Studios measure good on Sound Stage Network https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/revel_ultima_studio/
-Stereophile's Products of 1998 Joint Loudspeakers of 1998 https://www.stereophile.com/content/stereophiles-products-1998-joint-loudspeakers-1998
-Stereophile's measurements looks good but for a dip at about 4k. https://www.stereophile.com/content...r-ultima-sub-15-subwoofer-measurements-page-3


KEF Reference 201/2 with stands for about $2k
- 201/2 measure great on Sound Stage Network https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/speakers/kef_201-2/
-Stereophile's measurements and review look great https://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-reference-2012-loudspeaker-measurements
-Stereophile's recommended A (Restricted Extreme LF)-list until about 2013

Current example speakers up to the $2.5k price point.

Arendal 1723 Monitor S or 1723 Monitor for $2 to $2.4k
Focal Aria 906 for about $2k
JBL HDI 1600 for about $1.9k
Revel Concerta2 F36 for about $1.75k
Legacy Studio HDs for about $2k
Ascend Sierra Tower or Sierra-2EX $2.5k or $1.5k
KEF R3
KEF LS50 Meta (most likely way too small)
Other Revel book shelf
Other Focal Chora lines.
Others?

Let me know your thoughts!

I'm going crazy thinking about this.... :)

Other info you might want, my room is 320 sq ft, 3000 cubic feet, 8-9 ft listening distance. 80-85 db average listening levels.

Current amp is VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP (VTV Stereo Amplifier based on Hypex NCore NC252MP | VTV Amplifier)

I already own 4 subs, all aligned with miniDSP HD 2x4 and MSO. Amazing bass.

Paul

Paul, I understand what you are going through. I have a pair of 7' VMPS SuperTower III speakers from 1993 that can offer tons of sound. They have 13 drivers in each tower and REW shows they're easily flat below 20Hz. But these are old and I'm reforming the 15" woofers. I also may modify them with newer silky tweeters. Most 20 year old speakers don't offer the wonderful sound of BE or RAAL tweeters.

I upgraded to the Revel F328Be for my new fronts and they sound fantastic. I find any speaker shorter than 55" doesn't have the crazy presence of a 7' tower. Now the VMPS towers are my hobby platform for trying speaker modifications and the F328Be are my main stereo. I have kept the SuperTower III speakers in good shape but the foam inserts rot over time and need care. I have spent some time reforming woofers. It's a fun hobby rebuilding them. But its not for everyone.

If I was you I would put a few more $$$ toward your new front speakers. I would suggest the Revel F208 or the BMR Tower. Revel 208 can usually be purchased with a negotiated discount. My guess is I could probably get a new pair of F208 for about $3600 from a good reseller. The BMR Towers would be $3700 plus shipping. BMR's are in high demand and I would not expect a discount.

If you purchase either one of those speakers it will meet your needs for years, fill your room and you won't be experiencing the upgrade bug each year like you may with a smaller speaker. Both of these speakers are a great value in my book.


Happy hunting!
 

rdenney

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
1,741
Likes
2,701
In my experience, speakers don't die quite as easily as some are suggesting. But when I buy older stuff, it's at a price point that keeps them from being a bad deal even if they die in five years. Example: I bought a pair of Revel Concerta F12's, which were probably 15 years old. They work great, but I got them for $700, so if I only get five years from them, they'll still be a good deal.

But I'm already struggling to get parts--an attempt to buy a replacement set of carpet feet has gone nowhere. They identified some stock in the UK, but even with me willing to pay three times their price for shipping, I can't get anyone at Revel to lift a finger to make it happen. That's why I don't sell my old Advents, which seem to be indefinitely repairable.

Rick "for whom buying old stuff is part of the hobby" Denney
 

dlaloum

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 4, 2021
Messages
767
Likes
494
I would look at electrostatics for a high end example from 20+ years ago ...

The 20 year old Quad 989 is well nigh identical to the current 2912, and the 988 is almost identical to the older ESL63 from the mid 80's, or the newer 2905 (current).

Martin Logan still makes the CLS... I first heard that speaker in the mid 80's

As long as they have not been ARC'd (in which case they need a replacement diaphragm) - their performance does not change over time.

Both the ML and the Quads are still available, parts are available and they can be easily repaired (well... as easily as any ESL can be!)

You could even have a listen for the much more delicate Quad ESL57 - Quads original electrostatic from the 60's - it is severely bass limited - but it's midrange is quite magical! - these are delicate, easily damaged - but still repairable to this day.
 

jonfitch

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
375
Likes
417
Older speakers tended to have less bass so will sound quite lean relative to modern designs, I guess besides Dynaudio speakers which have always had chonky bass. But blended with subs I doubt you will be able to tell the difference assuming you aren't sitting nearfield.
 
Top Bottom