Classic speakers to hunt down used

Which classic speakers sound good among these?


If you can give me model no. that would be appreciated.

Are there others that I should go for?

Thanks in advance...
Hi Gonglee3:

Will you be using these speakers in your gym system? If so, be careful that you get speakers rated at 8 ohms and not 4 ohms. The Marantz 2270 was a bit of an anomaly, in that it put out 70 wpc into 8 ohms, but only 46 wpc into 4 ohms. Very popular receiver though.

To read up on classic speakers, check out the Classic Speakers web site .

I know the most about and have owned a number of Acoustic Research speakers over the years. My favorite was the AR-5 a 3 way design with a 10 inch woofer. I use a modern era design (circa 1995) in the AR 302 in my main system. Other goodies were the AR3 & AR4 from the 60's & 70's and the AR 9 from the 80's.

Regards, Rich
I would add Klipsch - anything from the late 80's (Forte) and *earlier*.
The New Advents are a classic and still sound great. Make sure the foam surrounds of the woofers are intact, as they tend to rot after 10-15 years. I owned mine for 25 years, replaced the woofers once, and sold them here on Audiogon to a guy who continues to enjoy them. Smooth, good bass extension, and pretty eficient - I originally ran them with the Advent 300 receiver, which only made 15 W/ch. The beautiful real walnut veneer was just icing on the cake.

If you find a pair of older Large Advents that have had the original tweeters replaced with the orange fried-egg tweeters, they would be sonically equivalent to the New Advents. Again, check the woofer surrounds carefully for rot. There are plenty of places that will replace the surrounds for you, but you need to figure that into the price. Good luck!

The ORIGINAL AR 9 is legendary. I don't know much about it but Chadnliz and Quadophile might. I do remember that the lower priced EARLY VERSION AR 90 sounded quite nice to me so many years ago, and that the AR 9 was said to be even better.
A few large-box classics...

Altec model 14 and model 19 are very good-sounding older high efficiency systems.

IMF and Fried (same designer) built some very nice transmission line systems.

The Snell Acoustics Type A is one of the most intelligently designed speakers ever, and was very well executed. Potential weak point is the downward-facing woofer has probably sagged over time, but I would guess it could be reconed or replaced.
Get the a/d/s 710 or 810s they are better and feature butyl rubber surrounds that never rot!
Spica T-50
i HAVE BEEN BUYING UP SOME vINTAGE lARGE aDVENTS AND REWORKING THEM. I stick with the Wood cabinet models. I can't believe that they are getting for these on ebay though. I was watching a pair that needed new surrounds go for over $250. Wow
Thay sound great though

What do you do to them?
Rebuild the X-over with new capacitors?


Sincere thanks to all those posted - I will hunt them down, and give them to my music students. Sometimes it's hard to convince the parents about spending some for quality hifi gear - many think sony at bestbuy is hifi.

My students really need to hear good music to improve, and buying classic stuff used is the only thing I can think of.

Thank you again !

No this is not for my gym system - but for my students. I have to put together a pretty acceptable system for under a few hundred dollars - so I am turning to old gears.

I like the sound of them anyway.

I have been mating them with sharp 1-bit digital amps - sounds good for the little money.

If someone knows of other ways to get pretty good sound for under $1000, please let me know.

Thanks for the link Ral1 - very interesting sight about classic speakers ! I feel like i have found a gem.
EV and Really true older Klipsch may be a rendundant suggestion. Klipsch used EV drivers on their oldest Heritage Series types and may have had them OEMed for the later ones. What surprises me is that the question mentions KLH, Advent, and AR all of which have a polite prentation then EV whichi s notoriously bright and then classic Infinity which used hard to Drive but forward sounding speakers some of which even had electrostatic drivers such as emits and emims which have great clarity. What "sound"style is your true objective.
I Second the IMF-Fried BTW. They made some great Transmission Lines. KEF was still more English sounding even though Bud Fried was working in their group. When Bud really had his say Fried (IMF) went in a different direction. But, you might want to check out some older KEF it seems like they might suit you.
A JBL L-100 Century speaker is a great vitage speaker if you can find them.
Altec's. Model 14's on up.
I am too inexperienced on hifi to know what my style is - yet. I teach classical music, so I like speakers that are little dark sounding - not too forward. I like old Jensen and Tannoy coauxial 15 incher (too expensive though).

So please recommend any good sounding classics I can get for a few hundred $ on ebay.

I am now listening to an old Jensen alnico magnets, with an old Marantz receiver - and it does it for me. I can't think of modern gears giving me this much joy for this little money - although I don't know too many modern ones to be honest.

I heard so far:


I liked them all.

I am not familiar with Chinese Hifi - but heard good things about them lately - like Cayin tube amps. If someone knows of them, please enlighten me.

Basically, I am interested in any good sounding gears that are good value - I have to put together systems for 1 to 2 thousand $ and offer them to my music students for their education.

They need to hear quality to improve their ear, and refine taste. It's hard to find systems for that little money to do all that - but most parents can't see themselves spending more for hifi (sadly).

Thanks again for all the suggestions - I will hunt them down - my students thanks you all.
I owned, listened to and sold many of those speakers in the early 70's. The AR-KLH-Advent followed a certain lineage of Henry Kloss and the Advents easily outplayed most of the comparable box speakers in the day. The big AR3a was probably a better speaker, certainly better built, as was the KLH 5, but the Advent had a less wooly sound, at least when driven with the mediocre solid state receivers that were usually coupled with them.
AR made a 'big' speaker, called an LST, which Levinson later used in multiple sets- don't know what mods he performed on them. Those would be pretty rare, i think, and probably insanely power hungry. Most of those 'acoustic suspension' speakers were very inefficient, and were mated with solid state equipment which offered higher power and 'lower' measurable distortion.
I am not as familiar with the small Infinities of that day- their claim to fame was the multi-piece Servo-Statik, and later tower speakers with monster woofer arrays.
EV- other than horn speakers, I don't remember much in the way of bookshelf speakers in that era, except for one that was equalized, and actually sounded pretty good at the time. The name escapes me right now.
Best bet, imo, is a refreshed pair of Quad electrostats (aka- 57's) with a low powered tube amp. I switched to this kind of set up in about 1973 and never looked back. (Except recently, when I bought my first large horn set up, go figure). Good luck.
Another classic of yesteryear you may consider is DCM Time Windows.
What is the budget? My wife is a classical musician played professionaly , a violinist. She was quite taken with the corect timbre of a Consonance tube amp we ran across. And I personally like the VR1 bookshelf but its probbly too bright for you my wife insisted on the VR2s which are floor standers. If you have a small room the Omega sngle drivers and thier other speakers are magical with a small tube amp by SQ which is a brand distributed by Stephan Monte if you live near Philly audition them. Otherwise call Quest for Sound an A'gon dealer he will set you up with what you need. He carries inexpensive stuff as well as real High End but don't worry he is a super nice guy not snobby all what you can afford he'll have.
No affiliation Just a customer
Whart,You should not be surprised about going from stats to horns.They both have the same magic ingredient and this is that they energise the air in your room.Box speakers just don't do this.This is why people who pay $60000 for Avalon or Wilson speakers are missing the point.
They need to go and listen to a violin or cello up close and personal.No box speaker can capture the energy and dynamics of these.
If you have SET's. the EV12trxb will be incredible...Lively, dynamic, with a midrange to die for...and not very expensive. I also have some Tannoy Monitor Gold 12's and they sound great with anything driving them, but are many more $$$$.

The best buy I made in bang-buck ratio is the ADS L-700 and Braun L-810. One of the best tweeters around bar none. They also sound great no matter what I drive them with.
Try the Jensen CX series as they're very nice sounding.
Works great.
I've noticed that bigger the HF horn, the more forward it would sound.

The EV 12TRXB cast alum ones are good too.

Keep in mind that these drivers allow you to adjust amount of HF to fit your room. This works perfect in almost any room. Wide open and superb for any acoustic music ( just average for the exaggerated techno music but fine with disco.)

I use the rectangular GRF cabinet design and modified it to fit these drivers.
Avalon Ascent Mk-2--Rediculously good,3 way.Easy load to drive.Sealed enclosure(means great midbass),and stunning extension,and timbres.Added benefit,was an external crossover.Gorgeous cabinetry to boot,and the used mkt prices are a STEAL!!

Choice #2--I didn't realize how great the old Sonus Faber Extrema was,until last Thanksgiving,when I was invited to an audiophile friend,to hear one.Though he,being smart and keeping the entire system competitive,added a Townshend Maximum super tweeter,to the mix.What I saw,in a gorgeous looking speaker,and heard,shocked me.These are not large speakers,yet had stunning dynamics,and superb timbres.A great combo!!
Both these CLASSIC designs would cost MUCH more(even taking inflation into consideration)today.They were,both,built to real heirloom standards.I wish I had both,but unfortunately -:)I only am the lucky owner of the Ascents.

The original Teledyne AR-9 is an awesome speaker but it is an in-efficient power hungry speaker...all the same it is an amazing speaker used $600-$1000
Probably your best bet from an economic standpoint is the "original" large Advents, as they are easy found, reasonable in price (in most cases) and sound great. However, it also depends on what sort of sound that you like,I currently own several pairs of "classic sound" speaks, i.e.,Altec Lansing 15, JBL 4311, IMF TL50 series II, and each has a different sound. KLH's and even the Dynaco A25, are also good choices if money is tight as these can sometimes be purchased for only a few dollars.. However, other considerations need to be made; not only the type of sound you like, but how much power you need to drive the speakers. As an example, I have a set of Pioneer CS 88A, have a nice clean sound, wonderful to look at and can be driven nicely by a 35 watts rms per channel amp, however, my IMF's require at least 70 watts to drive, and really need at least 100 watts for the peaks due to the transmission line design. You state your looking for some classic design speakers of "golden age of audio," but don't say if there are budget, size or power considerations. There is no wrong answer here, its what you like and can afford within the guidelines of what will work with the physical size, ability to drive (amount of power), type of sound and perhaps, even what the speakers look like. I've collected audio items from the classic period (1970-1980 for solid state items) for a while and its always about making the right match up of components to work together. Hope this helps, good luck with your search, Dennis
It's a flashback to 1971 for me, but for what it's worth, here's a coredump of my memory when I was a teenager...

Dynaco A25--way more integrated and driverless sound than AR, Advent, (and just plain boring KLHs)and simply ahead of its time. I used them with great joy for 5-10 years back then. Even Dynaco itself never bettered it (with later A35s and A50s, which I tried and then got rid of). The A25s had such a unified, natural sound they were miraculous for the price.

OK, I admit I did like the KLH 17.

For what it's worth, I also liked the HH Scott S15 (very hard to find, but if you see a pair and you want classic speakers, grab it).

I don't know why everyone liked Advents so much. I owned a pair and thought the tweeter was tizzy and never blended into the soundfield.

The ARs I liked were the 3A, the 6, and the 4x, but the Dynacos was superior all of them. (I used to listen to them at the AR room in Grand Central Station.)

OK, back to the future now...
how old does the speaker have to be to be considered "classic?"

I would say all of the original Infinity Kappa series.
Kef 104.2
Celestion SL600
Dahlquist DQ-10

Accepting that there is a distinction between classic and vintage, you're talking at least 25 years to be considered vintage.

For audio I would say the vintage eras are:

hifi components: primarily made in USA (up to 1968); first Japanese wave (1968 to mid 1970's); second Japanese wave (mid to late 1970's); everything else


60's; 70's; everything else

Regards, Rich