Looking for good quality vintage speakers

Anyone know anything about DCM KX-10s...I keep looking on craigslist for some old vintage speakers...I just don't know what to get...there's so many on there.

Why do you want vintage speakers? What era are you looking for, what look, what footprint, what sound?

I am not particularly enamored of vintage speakers. Compared to what's available today, they don't have the detail, the linearity, or the dynamic range that you can get today. Some are all right, like the ADS speakers from the '80s, which are also very durable and have close-tolerance, high quality drivers.

Many of those vintage woofers had foam surrounds that crumble after 20 years. They are repairable, but only a few kinds are worth the trouble, and the larger the woofer, the more difficult it is to maintain voice coil alignment when replacing the surrounds.
Old Infinity Q series of the late '70's can compete with some of todays. Excellent dynamics too. I remember they were very affordable back then, they had the Emit tweeters.
I am not sure what you are looking for or what price range you are in. But there are companies that make new "vintage" speakers. Tannoy and Klipsch are two that I like. Old Klipsch are forward and very dynamic and Tannoy are smooth, laid back (still detailed). The Tannoys have newer technology in them like "Dual Concentric" drivers to help with phase and time alinement.

Here is a link to Tannoy's site.

I'm with the others....I'm not sure why you want what you want. If you're thinking you'll get more bang for your buck, that's probably not true since new efficiencies in manufacture mean that many moderately priced speakers of today can outperform top-range models of yesteryear.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for a "vintage sound" --well, I guess there are a lot of options ranging from wall-of-sound Bose 901 to British classics from Spendor and KEF and the like all the way to Klipsch Cornwalls and Hereseys and so on.

If memory serves, the DCM KX-10 was a "party speaker" -- a high efficiency bookshelf that pumped out lots of volume, sort of like Cerwin Vega stuff. I'd skip it if you're looking for audiophile grade reproduction.

If high efficiency is what you want, a couple hundred bucks will easily buy some used Klipsch monitors of very recent vintage. If efficiency is not such an issue, two hundred will also get you some very desirable stuff like B&W DM302, PSB Alpha B and countless other similar speakers from Epos, Energy, Mission, Wharfedale, etc.
Thanks for the responses guys...I'm just getting into this whole thing and was given an old Denon PMA-770...that's what I'm trying to find speakers for...a guy from a local record shop told me he had some old Snells that would pair well with it...I guess I'm just trying to see what other people think before I throw down a few hundred dollars...I'm a poor college kid...as for music...I mostly listen to Indie and Classic Rock and a little bit of Hip Hop...this is my first system I'm putting together and I really appreciate the help!

No no no. See if you can find a pair of Harbeth's. You could keep those for quite a while.....
Which Snells? What's your budget?

Ed and I are in sync on this one. Although there are few true classics out there, most seriously designed and built speakers today are more linear, have better control of cabinet resonances, have much better inner detail and low-level resolution, more true bass extension, better treble extension with far better dispersion (this one is SO easy to verify--a lot of highly regarded speakers from the '70s and even '80s rolled off at about 15KHz; many today extend out to 30KHz), better sensitivity, better power handling, better dynamics, and in smaller, more affordable packages.

For example, the PSB Image 25 compact stand speaker at $479/pair has a midrange-to-treble smoothness and linearity that would have been considered unachievable in anything but a cost-no-object speaker 15-30 years ago. Mini-monitor size, usable bass extension down to 45 Hz at least, anechoic sensitivity at 89dB or 91dB in-room. That means it only takes 1/4 the amp power to hit the same loudness as those classics from the '70s such as the AR 3a and the Dahlquist DQ-10.

If you have more money and want more bass extension, just move up the PSB Image line. They make T-45, T-55, and T-65 floorstanders. A twice the B-25's price, the PSB T-55 Image Tower is 93 dB efficient (like doubling your amp power again), has true deep bass that extends down into the low 30's. It can also handle about 70% more power than the B-25. This provides a tremendous dynamic range, both louder and softer, than the B-25.

In the vintage days, American speakers pretty much ruled. There are still some very excellent American speakers, but it's really hard to beat the price/performance value of speakers from Canada, such as Paradigm, Mirage, Energy, PSB, and Totem.
I agree with Johnnyb53, speakers out of Canada right now have a very good price/performance value. If you are in the USA it is best to buy American (or Canadian) with the current value of the dollar. Over seas pricing is going through the roof. It is not a problem though... American speakers are still king of the hill in my book. Brands like Thiel and Wilson come to mind. Sadly though many of the American prices are ski rocketing too....

What is your budget? For the types of music you listen to I have a good feeling you would really like Paradigm Studio 100s. They have solid bass (a touch over done) with a clear/clean/flushed out midrange. Some say the highs are a little harsh but I did not think so. Used they range from $1,000 to $1,500. IMO the Studio 100s play well out of there price range.
I'm not sure exactly what Snells he's planning on selling me...he said they'd be around $200. That's kind of my price range for now $200 - $300. I'd like to stick with the whole vintage setup. This will be going in my vintage clothing store and I like the whole aesthetics of having an old system in the midst of all my old clothing. Maybe I'm crazy...let me know if that helps anymore...thanks again everyone!

I disagree with most of the posters. There are a few vintage speakers that can, from a musical standpoint, best many of todays high price offerings. The Large Advents come to mind as one. As for repairs, several foam kits are available with simple instructions on how to maintain the voice coil alignment.
Check Ebay, or better yet, visit a few garge sales. You might get lucky.
Good luck.
If vintage buy Altecs I just picked up another pair off craigslist look beat up spend 2 hours cleaning refinishing cabinets speakers are working looking great. Some vintage doesnt need repair. These have corigated surounds and are near the same condition as new in the mid 60s.

I'm willing to help out an ambitious college kid. Toward that end, I can offer you a three piece set-up from Cambridge Soundworks called the Ensemble Two. These landed in my lap as the result of a local trade some years ago and I don't know much about them. They are probably a similar vintage to your Denon.

There are a pair of satellite speakers which are desk size and a relatively small ported subwoofer which can be stashed just about anywhere in the store. Probably a good set-up for your purposes. You can have them for the price of shipping.

So that's the only thing about the deal that might not be so good. If you are in the U.S. it's probably a great gift. If you are writing from South Africa or Denmark or Brazil, I doubt if they are worth shipping and I'd rather not be bothered.

If in U.S. send me your zip code and I'll shoot you a shipping estimate.

Meanwhile, if anybody knows these speakers and thinks they are crap, feel free to say so. It won't hurt my feelings.
I'd suggest looking for some ADS 1590s
these speakers are sealed acoustic suspensions. They are about 20 years old. They housed 2 - 10" bass drivers in each channel with soft dome midraange and tweeter. They sound very good and are a bargain at today's prices.
agree with squirrel....lots of great neutral vintage speakers out there...
Snell Type K would be a good match and easy to find on Ebay around $200.
I agree with the Advent recomendation as well, although they may be a little large for your room.
For FREE? I'd take Microjack up on his offer. Those Cambridge Ensemble systems were pretty good. Enjoy the system you have now while you save up for something better.

BTW -- I just checked around and The Stereo Trading Outlet has brand new Mission M31i bookshelf speakers for $139.95 a pair. Mission is a great sonic match with Denon amplification. I owned the M31 and it's quite good, especially for around $160 shipped.
If I'm not mistaken(wouldn't be the first time if I was): Weren't those Cambridge systems designed by Henry Kloss? You could do a whole lot worse than a free system from one of the better, old-time designers. They won't compare with an original condition pair of Dahlquist DQM-9's, but those are hard to find that haven't been butchered.
These are Henry Kloss speakers. As usual, he was ahead of the curve. He started Cambridge Soundworks as a factory-direct operation back in the 1980s. Must've seen the internet revolution on its way.
For those of you who suggest that no vintage speakers are worth considering:

Are you DEALERS, by any chance?

Why dont you write this kind of stuff in your classified ads and spare the forums?

Casey, you make excellent and admirably sincere points regarding your interests.

I agree with several posters that there are some excellent values in vintage equipment and for the purpose of your vintage store, I might suggest they are also, well, COOL!

With coolness in mind, you could consider vintage speakers which are still well bid on the used market and respected by audiophiles, but also have interesting or quirky shapes.

Might be tough, but not impossible, for $300:

Spica TC 50's
DCM Time Windows
Magneplanar MG-Is (benefit from higher power)or MMGs
Polk 10's (with covers removed to show 1980's passive radiator design)

Good luck and have fun,

You guys are awesome...thanks for all the great feedback...especially you Macrojack...I'm definitely going to take you up on that!

08-11-08: Cwlondon
For those of you who suggest that no vintage speakers are worth considering:

Are you DEALERS, by any chance?

Why dont you write this kind of stuff in your classified ads and spare the forums?
Why the hostility? Ed and I aren't dealers. Ed reviews for Positive Feedback Online. I'm a 54-yr-old lifetime enthusiast who sold audio gear in SoCal in the mid-'70s when these vintage speakers were brand new. I know what they can--and can't--do.

The original post did not mention the limited funds or that the vintage speakers would provide atmosphere for a vintage clothing store. That changes everything.

I'm not averse to vintage gear--I have 5 amplifiers and two preamps from the mid-'80s and a couple more preamps from the mid-'90s. The stereo pair in my HT surround rig are 12-yr-old Mirage M5si's. But finding vintage speakers for cheap that give you what you want is a crap shoot. Many, many speakers at all price ranges in the '70s had foam surrounds, and they ALWAYS disintegrate. Next, driver technology has improved mightily in the 30+ years since the Dahlquist DQ-10, Larger Advent. and AR 3a.

You CAN find good value vintage or used speakers, but there are many more, even if they have a legendary reputation, that are a box full of headaches for a novice. If you go used or vintage, try to pick something with butyl surrounds, like ADS or Snell, not foam-surrounded speakers like Dahlquist and Advent unless the foam surrounds have been replaced. ESS AMT 1a or 1b's were so cool, they'd be worth replacing the foam surrounds. To me, they're iconic of the '70s.

Once he explained himself, the idea of putting a vintage system in a vintage clothing store is very cool, and we're all on the same page to help him find something that sounds good, is very affordable, and looks retro-cool. The Cambridge sat/sub system is a good start. I hope he lucks into some full-range ADS spkrs. They were ahead of the resolution curve and they're extremely well built with top-notch drivers.

Another great one is Celestion-Ditton if you can find'em.
I loved the Snell stuff back in the 80s. If your pal is offering you a pair of E3s, I think you'll be happy.
What about these "a/d/s HT300?" They are going crazy cheap on eBay but have a $500 retail value? Something seems fishy...Yay or nay?

Here's also a list of what this local guy is selling...any of these worth calling on?

Vandersteen 2CE Signature speakers. Near Mint. $900.00 pr
Snell Type A original great condition awesome $999.00 PR
McIntosh XR-5 good condition new surrounds $300.00 pr
McIntosh ML-1C very good shape, new surrounds $400.00 pr
McIntosh Ml-1C very good shape, new surrounds* $350.00 pr
McIntosh XR-14 speakers Very good shape $400.00 pr
Genesis Research Model 2 rare new surrounds $200.00 pr
ADS L1230 excellent cond rare $450.00 pr
ADS L710 speakers excellent condition rare $350.00 pr
ADS L690 speakers excellent shape rare $200.00 pr
ADS L570 speakers excellent shape $125.00 pr
ADS L620 excellent shape walnut $200.00 pr
KEF Q15 speakers Mahogany finish near Mint $150.00 pr
Polk Audio SDA-1B excellent condition $400.00 pr
Polk Audio RTA-12 excellent condition $300.00 pr
Polk Audio S-10 mint condition rare $250.00 pr
Polk Audio Monitor 7 mint condition $150.00 pr
B&O RL-140 with stands mint condition a steal $450.00 pr
B&O RL-60 brand new with boxes $200.00 pr
B&O Beovox 5700 mint and THE BEST sounding B&O $500.00 pr
AudioSource b2-50 MKII BEST SUB ever made, period $700.00
Jamo 5 piece high end 5.1 system with powered sub near mint $350.00
Paradigm Monitor 9 v.3 good shape with boxes $350.00 pr
Paradigm PW-2200 near mint black $700.00 pr
Mirage M790 speakers great condition $300.00 pr
Mirage M990 speakers very good condition $350.00 pr
Mirage Frx9 brand new, never used $2400. MSRP $700.00 pr
Canton Karat 300 speakers great shape $300.00 pr
Canton Karat 100 speakers great shape $200.00 pr
Conrad johnson Synthesis LM-310 exceedingly rare, excellent condition $2000.00
Klipsch Chorus II mint condition oiled oak $850.00 pr
Klipsch RF-5 excellent condition black $600.00 pr
Klipsch RF-35 near mint condition black $400.00 pr
Klipsch RS-3 II rear surround speakers black $200.00 pr
Klipsch RC-3 II center speaker black mint $200.00 ea
Klipsch RC-35 center speaker black mint $200.00 ea
Klipsch KSW-12 Powered Subwoofer near mint $250.00 ea
EV s-180 subs 18" nice cabinets $600.00 pr
EV s-500+ speakers great shape $1200.00 pr
Cerwin Vega commercial subs 18" wheeled cabinet$500.00 pr
Bose 901 IV excellent shape walnut $300.00 pr
Bozak Rhapsody last pair ever sold by Bozak $500.00 pr
DCM Time Windows mint, except foam, with boxes $300.00 pr
Fried Model R very rare excellent shape walnut $700.00 pr
PSB Century 800+ excellent shape black $400.00 pr
JBL N38 very good shape $150.00 pr
Rectinear Highboy III near mint lt grilles $400.00 pr
Rectilinear Highboy III for parts $100.00 pr
Mordaunt-Short Pageant II mint Teak sweet $350.00 pr
Braun LS-100 very rare excellent black $500.00 pr
Dynaudio Audience rare version lt oak mint $400.00 pr

Johnny- You mentioned the "headaches" associated with some older speakers, related to their foam surrounds and I concur completely. Then you suggest speakers with Heil Air motion Tweeters and all the headaches that they provided when the accordian diaphragms in them failed at the folds(very common). Surrounds are much cheaper/easier to find and replace(for most). Happy listening!
the ht300 is still made. not up to par with the older braun designs. the 710, 810, etc are all classic
Casey, there's some good stuff on that list. But I would start with the Cambridge Ensemble system -- it's good and you can't beat getting it for free. I never heard the Ensemble II, which I believe is a scaled down system with one bass unit instead of two, but the original Ensemble had a very sweet midrange, decent bass and a somewhat soft and rolled-off treble that was perfect for smoothing out the rough edges of cheaper CD players and amps -- which should work well in your situation. Another plus is your placement options will be greater than with a regular box speaker. Yet another plus is you'll be able to get away with cheap speaker wire by the spool and any decent $10 interconnect between your CD player and amp.

Now you can save your money for a few years and enjoy quality music while slowly upgrading. I think the best upgrade path for you would be to look into a new integrated amp when your budget allows -- something in the $500 or less range from Cambridge Audio, NAD or Rotel would be a good start. Then look into a good CD or universal DVD player, which are going very cheap these days, around $200-$400 and much less than that on the used market. And finally, a nice set of speakers, also in the $500 range.

With a more powerful and higher-res integrated amp, you'll hear an improvement in bass grip and midrange focus with the Cambridge speakers, especially if they have a passive (non-powered) bass unit, which I suspect they do.

The new CD or DVD player will enhance the resolution even more.

Finally, when you add the new speakers, the whole system will take a huge leap forward.

If you upgrade the speakers now, you won't hear what they're fully capable of. If you upgrade the disc player now, the amp you have probably won't let you hear an improvement. But if you follow the amp-CD-speakers path, you'll be in nice shape and you'll enjoy every improvement along the way.
How about a new "vintage" speaker? Might try the Cambridge Soundworks Model 6. Acoustic suspension, retro looks, the last of Henry's 6's. I bought a pair just to have them.
Your best bet to get vintage speakers at an affordable price on the used market is to go the Klipsch route - several different sizes to choose from. Altec Lansing also made some wonderful speakers, but these will cost you alot more.
Phase Techs
Cool looking speakers for a vintage clothing store. JBL L100's with the white woofers. Add the Maxell "Blown Away" poster between them (which had a JBL L100).


JBL 4301b Control Monitors. Price is right, the look is definitely right, and the woofers have been professionally re-foamed.

Disclaimer: I have no personal stake in this listing; it just looked like a good fit, and nice-looking too. JBL's brightly colored foam grille coverings of the '70s are soooo retro cool.
The ADS L710 series II. 1). beautiful... walnut with radiused (sp?)corners, bronzed metal grills, and black metal stands. high WAF. (not married, but, if she judged me by my speakers, would be). 2). tweeters are protected by fuse 3). woofers don't have those rotting foam rings, 4). they weigh a bit, but not too large in size, 5). they sound very, very good... your ears may prefer the silk dome to aluminum, esp. in today's digital world, and the eyes- walnut to black vinyl mdf. 6). they keep going up in value. As a less expensive alternative, the B&O S-45, for similar reasons... but with square corners, and rosewood. that being said, to confuse you further, i've listened to a pair of low end B&W bookshelves, black mdf, aluminum tweeter- and they sounded great.
Looking for good quality vintage speakers


I personally would not buy any 'old' enclosed speaker.
Example; Linn Isobarik DMS, good back in the early 80's, totally outclassed today by probably just about everything modern speaker.IMHO.
totally go vintage, you're young and have many years to develop the disease of over-intellectualizing "audiophilia nervosa" and/or "mmtb syndrome." just have fun for now. i had a PMA-777 under my arm when i came home from the navy back in the 80s. like johnk said, altecs are nice, as are electro-voice and some heathkit speakers (using jensen drivers). many have accordion surrounds that won't rot, and will blast the dorm with ease. check out thrift stores. another aspect of using vintage is you don't feed into the consumer mentality of perpetually disposable goods.