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Vintage speakers- do they hold up?

q3cpma

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#21
And here is another caution: parts. I own some B&W speakers and although they do not have the common foam rot issue, many replacement parts are no longer available. I have seen things like Matrix 805's from the 90's sell for as little as $200 a pair because they need tweeters which you can't get. Tweeters can get physically damaged, over driven, or have the ferrofluid fail. All of which is a modern management disgrace. I toured the HD motorcycle factory once, they had a room full of blueprint drawers and retiree machinists who would make you needed parts for any Harley ever made. Porsche also supports their "classic" products back to the beginning. Speaker companies, even if still in business, seem to think the legal minimum is enough. A $5,000 or $10,000 pair of speakers is not a toaster!
That's because you didn't choose the right company: https://www.genelec.com/product-warranty-lifetime
 

watchnerd

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#22
I've owned Martin Logans that were nearly 20 years apart.

The difference could mostly be heard in the woofer bin.

I think electrostatic evolution has been pretty.....static.

And what about Magnepan?

Have Maggies really changed much over the last 20 years?

As for an oldie-but-a-goodie:

Vandersteen 2Ce

They were never truly high end to begin with, and they still sound fairly decent every time I've heard a pair in the last few years.
 

Inner Space

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#23
Uh, decades of working in audio, in studios, restoring, maintaining? You're lucky that you haven't had to deal with cigarette smoke crud on the insides of electronics or on the surface of speaker cones. Its real.
So, no evidence or data. Just an unsupported anecdote. Thanks for clarifying.
 

Inner Space

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#24
Did you buy them sight unseen? Unfortunately they aren't available in the US (or at least they weren't)
I would have, but I got a chance to hear them while traveling in NZ and Australia. You can get them in the U.S. now, from Music Direct, and maybe others. If in doubt, go for it!
 

Ericglo

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#25
I would have, but I got a chance to hear them while traveling in NZ and Australia. You can get them in the U.S. now, from Music Direct, and maybe others. If in doubt, go for it!
More than I would like to spend on a pair of speakers, but I am glad to hear that they are available in the US.
 

GeorgeWalk

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#26
I have a pair of Klipsch Heresy's from about 1978. I had the woofers reconed (some cracking and I had a cat that thought they were his toys) and I replaced the crossovers. They still sounds great to me and I use them almost every day.
 

Inner Space

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#28
You're friggin' kidding me, right? You want data on work I've done in the past? REALLY? I suggest you chill out, cuz you've been on the computer too long. :facepalm:
No, I asked for data or evidence on smoke-related adverse effects on studio equipment. You have none. Neither do I, after 20 years in studios. Because there isn't any. Don't get all defensive about it.
 

Chrispy

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#29
I am using the same speakers I bought in the early 70s and they perform great, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Sure, some JBLs or other higher end vintage speakers might be completely OK, but the average "consumer vintage" speaker is likely to not be doing so well.
I mean vintage in the sense of something of a particularly good quality from a date range of gear. General definition of antique is over 100 years old but that's relatively meaningless as to quality/value......old is old, vintage indicates a quality much old stuff simply doesn't have. At least the way I understand vintage....
 
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#30
I just dug out my old Yamaha NS-690 speakers and have them set up in the near field. I know not all vintage speakers are great because I've owned many of them, but the NS-690 is amazing to me. I updated the crossovers with Solen polypropylene capacitors and they are fantastic sounding. I've always loved large air-suspension woofers and these have cloth surrounds that don't deteriorate. I was using LS50's and various other speakers but these blow them all away.
 

Dj7675

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#31
Do they hold up? I think some do (and obviously some don't). I have had 3 pairs of vintage speakers: JBL 250ti, JBL L212 (with sub), and JBL18ti. The 250ti had been completely taken apart and new crossovers made. These have been my main speakers for the past few years. These 4 4way speakers and the main woofer is 14inch. The dispersion is quite a bit narrower than the Revel M106s I have in our theater and living room. They are fussier to set up (distance from the wall, amount of toe in, seating distance) but for 1 person, in that spot, I still think it sounds very good and haven't had the desire to upgrade to something else (yet). The L212 was a one of the first sub/sat systems that came out and the 2 main speakers I thought sounded good. HOwever they had not been restored and I decided I didn't want to spend my time doing restoring and repairing so sold them. The 3rd pair of was the JBL 18ti bookshelf. I compared it to a few other speakers and it didn't sound great compared to the M16 or M106, so sold it. If I had been here before going down the vintage road, I probably wouldn't have ever went with vintage speakers but in this case it worked out ok. If you aren't into repair/maintenance I wouldn't recommend it necessarily. But if you are or get a pair that someone has went through the electronics etc, they can sound very good,
 
OP
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Thread Starter #32
Uh, decades of working in audio, in studios, restoring, maintaining? You're lucky that you haven't had to deal with cigarette smoke crud on the insides of electronics or on the surface of speaker cones. Its real.
In any case, this guy doesn't smoke and I've never noticed a whiff of tar and nicotine from any of these speakers. He is massively overweight though ;-)
 
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Thread Starter #33
I read a lot of subjective impressions in your comments which is interesting by its own- but not at all what I asked.

Does anyone have actual data? I.e.- measurements of vintage speakers which show that they actually measure well?
 

watchnerd

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#34
I read a lot of subjective impressions in your comments which is interesting by its own- but not at all what I asked.

Does anyone have actual data? I.e.- measurements of vintage speakers which show that they actually measure well?
Stereophile has measurements going back more than 20 years.

Pretty easy to look there and figure out if you think any old models measure well.
 

restorer-john

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#35

Hipper

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#36
I read a lot of subjective impressions in your comments which is interesting by its own- but not at all what I asked.

Does anyone have actual data? I.e.- measurements of vintage speakers which show that they actually measure well?
Literally thousands of reviews of speakers are in Audio, Stereophile, High Fidelity etc. Go do some research here:

https://worldradiohistory.com/
Surely Roy_L means 'measurements of vintage speakers which show that they actually still measure well?' In other words how do these speakers measure today after x years of usage?

That is actually an interesting question. After one, two, five years etc., how does our kit, and particularly speakers, perform compared to the original specs. Has it changed.
 

restorer-john

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#37
That is actually an interesting question. After one, two, five years etc., how does our kit, and particularly speakers, perform compared to the original specs. Has it changed.
Electronics don't change unless component parts fail or deteriorate. I have 40+ year old amplifiers that test identically to when they were new with not even a single replacement component.

Speakers, whether vintage or not seem to also be phenomenally reliable unless you consistently overdrive and damage them. Apart from dried out ferrofluid, touchy L-Pads and roll surround failures. I have no doubt the current speakers in my listening room are as good as the day they were made.

Audiophiles like shiny new things to keep them interested. Part of the justification is their "old" stuff might be wearing out or just isn't as good as whatever they are currently lusting after.
 
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#38
But let's say we have vintage speakers in perfect condition. Surrounds, crossovers and all like new. Isn't the biggest problem the design of the speaker? Isn't, for instance, narrow baffle better then wide? Didn't we start caring more on driver directivity? And more stuff like that... Don't we know more now then 40 years ago?
 

thewas_

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#39
Isn't, for instance, narrow baffle better then wide?
Maybe for imaging precision, otherwise a wide baffle is advantageous as it places the baffle step lower at the lower region mids region where its not so critical acoustically.
Didn't we start caring more on driver directivity?
Old loudspeakers were more often 3-way designs with small mid drivers which had usually smoother directivity then later 2-way and 3-way designs with larger mid(-bass) drivers without waveguided tweeters.

Does anyone have actual data? I.e.- measurements of vintage speakers which show that they actually measure well?
Except the sources that @restorer-john mentioned I for example have tons of old German magazines full of measurements which I can't upload.

But just as an example here are some measurements of my current main 1979 loudspeakers:

1599206238807.png
1599206262210.png


1599206300843.png

1599206315648.png


As you can see the large hightech manufacturer already used modal and structural analysis back then and the engineers even wrote an AES pager about it! https://www.aes.org/e-lib/online/browse.cfm?elib=3882
 
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Mnyb

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#40
Maybe for imaging precision, otherwise a wide baffle is advantageous as it places the baffle step lower at the lower region mids region where its not so critical acoustically.

Old loudspeakers were more often 3-way designs with small mid drivers which had usually smoother directivity then later 2-way designs without waveguided tweeters.


Except the sources that @restorer-john mentioned I for example have tons of old German magazines full of measurements which I can't upload.

But just as an example here are some measurements of my current main 1979 loudspeakers:

View attachment 81324 View attachment 81325

View attachment 81326
View attachment 81327

As you can see the large hightech manufacturer already used modal and structural analysis back then and the engineers even wrote an AES pager about it! https://www.aes.org/e-lib/online/browse.cfm?elib=3882
Yes I too think wide baffle would be better , these thin towers we are mostly an interior design fad .
GRIMM is back to wider baffles .

Wonder what we could do if we did not throw away tried and true working solutions from the past and addedd our new knowledge about directivity and overall better drivers and some DSp , WoW :)
 
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