Dunlavy Audio Labs SC-IV


I've always been very interested in owning DAL SC-IV's, but given their current age, I'm a little concerned with making the investment in a pair.

I would assume the way Dunlavy matched/tuned drivers to achieve his results, would mean that just replacing a failed driver (if they're even available) with an off-the-shelf version would have a serious impact on sound quality.

Are the drivers in these speakers prone to failing and/or deteriorating over time? Are replacements available, and can you maintain the accuracy of the system with a standard replacement driver? Anything else I should know about investing in a system of this age?

Thanks for any and all input...I just don't want to invest in something that may be on the backside of the curve of its useful life.
I would think the main thing that could go wrong with the drivers (unless you have a problem with your amp taking them out) would be the surrounds for the woofers and midrange units. Those can likely be repaired by Madisound. I seem to recall that there might be a former dealer in Iowa who has replacement drivers (he might have sold his stock by now), but as you assumed I would not suggest replacing the original drivers with off the shelf units.

Great speakers. I would check with the seller to make sure that they haven't had drivers replaced.
Seadweller, I'm more familiar with Duntech than DAL but I believe John did tune/match all his drivers and crossover parts in DAL models too. So replacements should be done with caution.

As Rcprince stated most common may be foam surround failure from age. But even there rebuild choice should be made carefully. One friend with Duntech Princesses (closest sibling to the SC-IV) had his woofer surrounds refoamed. But that speaker repair didn't utilize the correct weight foam for the Dynaudio drivers and my friend had to have them redone by someone who knew what they were doing.
they use morel as bass and vifa in mid-range and tweeters.
most manufacturers advise to only get ones from them for profit reasons. Less-likely manufacturers buy bulk of drivers and select ones that match perfect.
been frying my drivers (aerial 10t) couple of times; ordered and replaced them in minutes -- nothing complicated sweep-swap-tillybilly-done.
if bad comes to worst, work with driver manufacturer to select and order proper model, take screwdriver, soldering iron and replace them.
If the driver is special to you speakers I would talk with Bill Legall of Millersound. I used Bill to repair one of my drivers in my dunlavy sc III's; He is the best period.

1422 Taylor Road
Lansdale, PA 19446-1531
(215) 412-7700
I have almost every model speaker that John Dunlavy designed in his illustrious (albeit short) career. I have gone to lots of high-end shows and been invited to countless shop demos. There's a tremendous amount of amazing gear in the marketplace today, but I don't believe you can do better than the SC-IV at it's used price point. Over the years, I have replaced a few of the mid-range drivers with units from Madisound. Installation is a snap and gives the opportunity to apply a silver contact enhancer which makes it sound better than new.

I have friends who insist on spending tens of thousands for the 'speaker-of-the-year'. They then come over and leave shaking their heads.

Having said that ,though, it is important to 'tweak' the system to include spikes or something like 'StillPoints' under the speakers to maximize performance and spend the time to get them placed correctly in the room. Good electronics and cables are likewise important. In fact, as you live with the speakers you'll be amazed at how revealing each upgrade will be.

Good luck and good listening!
Thanks everyone...What is a fair price in today's market, for a pair advertised in mint condition?
Seadweller, taking facts that they're not in business anymore, you'll still get stellar deal and save much more even after possible neccessity to replace drivers which are not pricey at all.
Already almost decade ago, once Dunlavy line decommissioned, they drop down the price drastically and your model could've been purchased for $4000. Now it's at or near half-way down i.e. @~$2k and worth worth worth every penny.
Yes, changing out a driver with a new replacement is a task most should be up to. Just pay attention to the wiring (taking a photo of the original may help) so you don't reverse phase.

As mentioned earlier, I'm not as familiar with DAL as Duntech models but I believe John not only tested individual drivers, he then tailored crossovers to match desired response for each speaker. I'm told Duntech keeps records of manufacturer so that a similar driver (spec-wise) can be supplied for replacement. I don't know if that practice was continued with DAL or not.

A few comments regarding set up if you do buy a pair. I believe use of spikes is room dependent and that relates to suspension VS solid floor, construction material, and floor coverings. Next, my Princess manual specified a 3 meter distance for listening to allow the five drivers to converge properly. A 10' equilateral triangle set up can work nicely. However, distance from sidewalls in important and should be a minimum of 3', more is better. Lastly I understand the DAL models may have been a bit easier to drive than similar Duntechs. My Princesses were rated at 90 dB but John suggested a minimum of 200 wpc "for musical enjoyment". ;^)

Good luck. I too believe all of Dunlavy's designs (Duntech and DAL) hold up very well and can offer great bargains in today's market.
I picked up a pair of the SC-IVs a couple of years ago for $2,500.00 which were not only functionally perfect but also without any visual flaws. I passed on a couple of lower priced sets that were around $2K. I've always felt that if gear looks like it's been cared for there's a better chance that it's in good shape sonically as well.

As a side note, I use the SC-IVs as the main channels in our high-end Home Theater room and use the SC-Vs as the choice for our reference 2 channel set-up. With the SC-Vs I have also incorporated the larger Dunlavy Sub (very rare) that incorporates four 10" drivers into an SC-IV size enclosure. Needless to say, the system is capable of moving some serious air in that room.
Here's the place Madisound recommends for Dunlavy repair, Meniscus Audio in Grand Rapids MI. They replaced rubber surrounds on two 10" woofers for me, fast turn around time and reasonably priced.

As far as I can tell the rubber surrounds don't deteriorate noticeably over time. My surrounds were damaged by "die Katzen". Both speakers are now covered when I'm not listening. 8^)

PS: I've mentioned this on several Dunlavy threads, the IVA is superior to the IV. I've owned both. So, if you're serious, definitely look for the IVA.
I've owned the SC-IV Signatures since the early 90's and they still look and operate as they did when new. No signs of deterioration at all. They are the most balanced sounding speaker I've ever heard. Love them, love them, love them!

They are very easy to drive with their very even and stable impedance. Even though they are very large speakers, with the right source material and when properly placed, they are very capable of disappearing like a truly great monitor speaker.

Oh, did I tell you that I absolutely love them? :)
I purchased a pair of SC-IV's new when they were first released and have never regretted it.  I love their ability to reproduce instruments as neutral and natural as any speaker should.  Not a bass blaster by any means but drums sound real to this drummers ear.  I do augment the lower octave with a 12" sub (24db cross at 40hz).  I have never had any deterioration of the drivers and I've enjoyed their beautiful music for 25 years now.  A bargain at any price in my opinion.