Dunlavy SC IV Speaker- Any Good???
Anyone own these ?
I realize the company is now Defunct
and was Colorado based.
At 200 lbs each and 6 feet tall they
will not be missed in a room.
But they actually weigh the same as
my last speakers but with only one third the footprint.
Okay the little woman may see it as a lateral
not sure if you’re serious or just being funny
this is an accurate write up, based on what i recall of the sc4’s, which a dear friend of mine had, driven by big bad arc monoblocks way back then, wonderful transparency and powerful sound, helluva system
Excellent speakers, a classic design. Amazing imaging, maybe not as transparent as the best in that area, but well-balanced tonally and excellent dynamics. You need a large room for them to sound their best and should sit at least 10 feet from them for the drivers to integrate. They like power, and sound really good with tubes (I have heard them with ARC, VAC and VTL), though fine with solid state as well. If I had a room large enough for them, I would strongly consider them, even though they're no longer in production.
I lived in Colorado Springs and have hear the SC-IVs and the other smaller and larger models at The Sound Shop, his dealer back then. I also got to meet John at his small manufacturing/lab in Colorado Springs back in the 1990s, an interesting guy.
I always thought the speakers were fabulous but there was an extremely small, inches, sweet spot and if you were in it they were magical, no kidding.
Great speakers to be sure, although I seem to remember reading a review that said the lVa was a significant improvement, I think maybe in bass? Could be wrong. As someone who owns speakers from a defunct company, I don’t recommend it — it’s like constantly walking on eggshells fearing a blown driver, etc.
Are you joking? They we made back in the early 90s that means they’re close to 30 years old! You have to be out of your mind to buy these! All the drivers will need to reconed. That is assuming they will still operate properly! The crossover network is gonna have to be replaced! 30 years old parts! They’re not worth more than $.10-$.15 on the dollar! Way too big of an investment will be required to bring these up to current standards assuming you can even buy the correct replacement drivers? The crossover network will be have to be completely redesigned! Anybody who buys these cabinets is going to be completely diluting themselves!
Thank you all for the valuable input. The speakers I recently sold after 3 years
were 10+ years older than these so age is not an issue to me if I
am rewarded with an SQ that exceeds an investment of x 10 in newer gear.
If they need refoaming, some people still do that well.
If the XO tests poorly I'll have them rebuilt as I did the previous ones.
If my dog puts a paw through the driver then I may have an issue.
Plan to audition them Saturday. Very curious how they will sound.
JPY- I bought the Fritz speakers and had a 30 day trial.
Once burned in the high end sound was frick-in amazing.
Good Enough to allow me to sell the Tannoys which went
in 2 days locally.
But.... I missed the visceral air movement and midrange magic those old 15s dual concentric provided. So I sadly returned them on Tuesday. Wish I could have kept them for a second setup. I think I will need to stay with a larger floor stander.
Now I am looking for Nirvanna under $5k.
The Curve is out of state so that requires travel.
Will likely be traveling soon to audition more good stuff!!
Trying to be patient but as OCD as I am its not working!
@chorus I did not own these but heard them once. I stopped in to a local shop on a Saturday morning and these speakers had a substantial audience. We were all just amazed at what we heard. Consensus in the room was that this was by far the best speaker any of us had heard. But that was then, and speakers have come a long way since the early 90's.
They are old. If I were you, I'd try to find out what the crossover design looked like and get an estimate on a rebuild before buying. Plan on rebuilding, regardless of how the speakers audition. Crossovers that old are not going to be functioning in spec. They just aren't.
200 lb speakers are a pain to move and a pain to sell. You better be sure you can live with them before you buy.
I've been down the nostalgia road. I had fun reworking a pair of A/D/S 1290's from the mid 80's. It was lots of fun and I enjoyed the work and learned a lot, but I probably won't go down that road again.
Keep us informed. I love to follow stuff like this.
@chorus - I’m right there with you.
I’ve owned my pair of SC-III.As since 2006, and the only speakers I’m looking to upgrade to (but doesn’t make financial sense, with two kids coming out of private school and headed to college) are WATT/Puppy’s. Their dynamics, spectral balance, and immediacy are characteristics I can’t find anywhere else. In fact, I’d say the immediacy of the Dunlavys best the Wilsons, but the latter does everything else a little better than the former.
A friend and I were sitting in a high-end audio shop just chatting, after perusing the eye candy in the room. One of the salesmen (the same one who allowed me to bring home Aragon and McCormick electronics for overnight auditioning on just a photocopy of my DL) wordlessly walked in and got a CD spinning of the Eagles. The first developed riffs of Hotel California immediately shut us both up - we had never heard anything that close to a live performance (for reference, it was a CAL transport/DAC through Threshold amplification - forgot the preamp, unfortunately).
My cousin has a pair of the SC-IV.As and loves them the same. We both have rather largish listening rooms, but the SC-IV.As seem to over power his. He hasn’t treated his room yet, much to my chagrin. He’s still trying to tame a large bass suck out - mainly due to the top/bottom extreme placement of the woofers on the SC-IV.A.
It appears the overarching concern is the condition of the speakers due to age. I believe John primarily used Vifa drivers, which should be pretty durable. I’d go over the condition of the speakers with a fine tooth comb, but wouldn’t think twice about buying them, given good condition and a good price. I also would hold off on the IV.As if you can, but that’s not a must. As good as the IV.As are, if the straight IVs are even just 75% as good, they’ll still be a treat to listen to.
Even more great info. Thank you all so much!
These are not the "A" version it seems.
If they are that much better perhaps I should wait?
Now about my room. Not in the Large category.
It is sort of 3 rooms-14' x 15' + 6' x 9' + 10' x 12'
with a standard 8' ceiling. Limited glass with panels.
Worked well with the big Tannoys. The Demo room
is a little bigger though.
Here is his description:
Rare opportunity to own a pair of Signature Collection Dunlavy Audio Laboratories SC-IV speakers. These units are in excellent condition. The cabinets do not have any scratches and the grill cloths are in great shape. All of speakers are in excellent condition with no signs of wear.
I wouldn't wait for a pair of IV-As to show up. They were tweaked from the IVs to add a little more bass extension, bit I don't think it's necessary. If you want more bass extension, wait for a pair of SC-Vs.
The Duntech equivalent of the SC-IVs is the Crown Prince/Princess, which I owned for many years. As pointed out above, John Dunlavy designed the Duntech line (I think they now call it the Classic line) as well as his own company, which he formed after leaving Duntech. My dealer in NJ was friends with John and one of the first dealers to carry the line, so I heard all of their speakers for many years. My brother came to visit and wound up buying a pair of the SC-Is which he still uses today.
Your 14x15 room might just be big enough, but I'd want to make sure I could sit 10 feet away, as I mentioned above. The Dunlavys are sealed box speakers, so they can actually be placed a little closer to the back wall than some other designs, though you might lose some soundstage depth. You can toe them in quite a bit, if you need to put them on a long wall (as Dunlavy always suggested).
As for Robert Deutsch, he is good at his work.
Could email these guys with any specific questions on them. https://www.thehifipodcast.net/
I've listened to the Duntech Sovereign quite a few times in a mastering studio with the finest original recordings. Extremely detailed, which is why they are being used for mastering.
Dunlavy may be out of business but Duntech is not, so if you have the ching you can purchase these brand new.
If the link does not work (got a weird warning from A'gon) then just Google Duntech Sovereign, they are in Australia.
I owned the SC-IVA's and had to sell them due to selling the house where the room was almost large enough..... Amazing speakers in my opinion. I was tempted to replace x-over caps, but after reading about the fact they were individually hand matched to the drivers, I decided against it. I'm glad I did because after several hours of pulsing high current through them the solens reformed and they became pure magic! BTW there are no electrolytics in the x-overs to go bad. Hopefully the ones you are looking at have been used regularly. I now own SM-1's with SC-S2 subwoofer and still enjoy the Dunlavy magic daily. I like to say the only thing wrong with Dunlavys is the source material as each tweak to that end is revealed. If I had the room, I would definitely own another pair!
More good info. I saw the SkyHi Audio VI ad. 500 lbs each at $20k- Nope.
They did offer to cover shipping. All in the amazing MU% they operate on.
The SC IV pair I will be listening to is owned by a sound engineer
who uses them in his home so they have not been in a garage for
20 years otherwise I would pass.
The Duntechs are likely fantastic but not in my wheelhouse price-wise.
What does anyone think is the minimal WPC required to operate
these? I listen at a max of 75db. Vocals and acoustic music mostly.
Do the Duntechs do well at lower volumes???
I owned the big Duntechs (forerunners of the Dunlavys) back in the 80"s & they were substantially better in just about every way than anything else available at that time other than maybe the Infinity IRS & the bigger Apogees. The had no spikes & even as big & heavy as they were, they benefitted from my silly looking but highly effective retrofit. I lived in a rented, cool converted carriage house on an estate & my system was in a large living room (20' x 30') w/ a hard oak paneled ceiling. I put a piece of felt on top of the speakers, then a small piece of plywood w/ a 2x 6 going up to the ceiling capped by another small piece of plywood. This was wedged in tightly to put reasonable downward pressure on the speakers. It made a substantial improvement in clarity & dynamics. Along w/ my Conrad Johnson Premier One power amp & the original Basis turntable, lots of good times & good music!
If you can get those speakers for reasonable $, & an they sound good, go for it! Very little better options today for anything less than about $20,000.
As to your question about power, I think Dunlavy suggested 100 watts per channel. My recollection is that the Dunlavys were about 90db efficient, and a nominal 4 ohm load. For my Duntech Princesses, a similar load, I used a Krell KSA 80 (100 watts pure class A), ARC M300 (300 watts pentode) and then Classic 150 monoblocks (130 watts triode) and Jadis JA80 monoblocks (60 watts), and also used a Sonogy Black Knight (200 watts per channel) and Concept 60 (60 watts per channel) solid state amps The JA80s were weak in the deep bass but a wonderful midrange and easily drove the speakers; the higher powered amps did a better job controlling the bass and were a little more dynamic, though at the volumes I listened there wasn't that much of a difference. I heard the SC-IVs with, among others, VTL amps (about 120 Watts) and a VAC Renaissance 30-30, and the VACs were surprisingly good, again a little weaker in the deep bass. I think I saw you have a lower-powered Pass amp, but if it's Class A it might be able to do the job.
My recollection is that the speakers did well at lower volumes, but I'd say they did open up a bit at higher volume levels. Perhaps our current owners can address that question.
I have a pair of SC V's as the front speakers on my surround system. At 7'4" tall and 340 lbs. they make my 74" tv look small. I wish I could post a pic.
John Dunlavy was an actual rocket scientist. He was responsible for the communications for NASA during the race to the moon. Started designing speakers on the side and formed companies later in his life. Man was a genius.
i currently own Duntech Princess and have owned them for 16 years. I highly recommend them! They sound great with Pass Aleph 3 or anything of higher wattage; class A is best. These require space to the sides, not as sensitive to the wall behind them. A pair of Talon Pheonix replaced these as my main speakers. The Talon were replaced by Rockport Cygnus. Currently, the Duntech are played in the pool house.
good luck and happy hunting,
Agreed with @jg2077, Dunlavys are easy to drive and relatively sensitive, so they'll sound good with 30W on up.
My III.As are driven by Rogue M-150s, and it's a great combination. I sold my Aragon 4004 Mk II and moved to the Rogues to enjoy the midrange lushness, as the Dunlavys don't need help revealing the upper registers.
My first audition of the IVs (non-As) was with an Exposure integrated, in fact. I don't think the output power was much higher than the low teens in watts. So even at those low power levels (AB bias, even) - that was the configuration that hooked me into seeking the setup I have now. I'd expect Class A (like jg2077's setup) would sound sublime.
don't know what the set price is; priced right, those are good speakers . Good luck in your search.
chorus, hopefully this may help some in your now continuing search. I'll say upfront I don't agree with all the comments made here. But then this is the internet. ;^)
I owned Duntech Princess for 19 years. That tells a great deal about how I felt about them. During that time I had three friends who also owned that model so heard them in a variety of rooms and with various electronics. I've posted about them previously on Audiogon as well as the Speaker Asylum. I also had personal conversations with John Dunlavy three or four times.
John had an engineering degree and played acoustic bass. He began in audio with his Duntech speaker company in Texas. His first model was reviewed and purchased for reference by Burt White, noted reviewer for Audio magazine. I never learned why but John moved to Australia, redesigned his speakers (tall columns with WMTMW configurations), and began manufacturing a number of models there. They became successful, with world wide sales. I bought mine in 1990. The problem was due to the size and weight for most models, shipment was expensive, particularly to the US which was his biggest market.
So John returned to the US to begin building a new Duntech model in Utah which could be sold at a lower cost (mainly reduced shipping). That didn't turn out well and he ended up separating from the company, which remains in OZ. John then formed Dunlavy Audio Labs (DAL) and located in CO. He developed a speaker line up which essentially paralleled his Duntech models, except he cut some costs. He selected different drivers and designed cabinets that were easier, thus cheaper, to build. Sonics were quite similar to the Duntech models although they could be driven with lower power.
The DAL SC-IV was a sibling design to my Princesses. I felt the new model was a very good speaker but preferred my Duntech version. After a Stereophile review of the SC-IV offered positive comments but felt appropriate bass extension was missing for a speaker of that size and cost, John introduced the SC-IVa with improved bass.
As a general statement, both Duntech and DAL offered musical, refined speakers. Nearly all models were large and heavy. Room placement was critical and required distance from both the side walls and front wall. As mentioned, seating distance was necessary for full driver integration with the vertical array. Thus, typically the larger the model the larger the room required. Both lines benefitted from quality electronics, while less power was typically required with the DALs. Driver surrounds (foam) should be checked on any older speaker. The cones should be good unless someone stuck their finger or a screwdriver through one. I can't say if there are any electrolytic caps in the crossovers but that is likely all that might need replacing (same value though). Some folks have modified them but I would caution against that unless you have significant design experience.
A key to John's designs was their time and phase coherency. Changing drivers or crossovers can screw that up.
I still have positive feelings about my Princesses. The only reason I sold them was due to concern over an upcoming move (not knowing what the new room would accommodate) and having a buyer fall in my lap.
I believe if you find any of John's speakers in decent condition and set them up properly you may be delighted.
Sorry the audition didn't pan out, Chorus. But Dunlavys are worth keeping an eye out for in the future. Three or four years ago I had the good fortunate to pick up some Duntech PCL 25 monitors, and they were wonderful, particularly for piano and voice. But the Dunlavy SC II floorstanders that replaced them are significantly better, particularly in terms of sound stage, hall ambiance, and timbre. String quartets, massed strings, voice, and piano are much more life-like than with the Duntech monitors. They're also easy to drive and very clear at low volumes. Would love to listen to some of the bigger Duntechs or Dunlavys, particularly with some large scale classical works. But baroque opera and Renaissance polyphony are wonderful on my SC IIs, and the scale is also convincing with Mahler and Strauss. There's an interview in which Dunlavy describes the work he did with the Colorado Symphony, and it seems to have paid off in his speaker designs.
If you want the ultimate Dunlavy experience, find a Dunlavy subwoofer(s) to go with the SC-IVs or Vs. In my 2-channel room I have the Vs with a single passive Dunlavy Sub designed into an IV enclosure. Integrates seamlessly. Rattles the windows if you want it to. Hard to find but once in place the system will compete with six figure speakers.
Personally I really wanted .pair and had the cash in my pocket I was about to buy them and my friend told me to follow him into another room and there was a set of Rogers ls3/5a playing he looked at me and said what do you the no of the dunlavys.now! He was right the ls3/5.a s were music playing machines and that is what the big boys were missing.
I do not want to say a Dunlavy speaker can not produce great sound.
I am sure it can. The setup sucked.
My latest tangent-yes I recognize my OCD behavior- is starting to learn
how to build a custom 3 way using the best speakers I can get my hands on.
Well, within reason.
More to follow as this progresses.
I like the idea of confidence, but realistically the Dunning-Kruger thing is real.
So the idea that OCD is a viable replacement for years of expertise seems questionable.
@chorus you know that that Dunlavy is one of the best measuring speakers of all time right?
I’ll put money on a bet that this is not likely going to end up as a magical replacement for Dunlavy.
chorus, as always with purchases the choice is up to you. But please consider these two points.
#1, I can't imagine ANY Sony receiver producing the potential sonics of that speaker. During the 19 years with my Duntech Princess I tried several well-regarded amps, but with mixed reactions. After a few trials I settled on a pair of VTL 300 mono amps with KT-90 outputs. During that period I had the chance to audition a passive bi-amping set up with the 300s driving the woofers and a pair of VTL 225 mono amps on the mids and tweeters. The overall presentation, with dynamics, soundstaging, bass impact, etc, was almost unbelievable. Unfortunately four amps and 32 output tubes was not a reasonable answer for me. But then a pair of Parasound JC-1 mono amps was my final solution. That provided up to 800 watts into the 4 ohm load, what did that Sony have?
#2, John Dunlavy was a very bright designer. I hope you read the Stereophile interview posted above. Is it reasonable to assume any of us without close to his background could near-equal his designs with home built speakers?
Anyway, good luck to you in finding your answer.