don't give up.....i recently found a pair of speakers i've searched for for nearly ten years....
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My experience with old cone speakers, tends to be that they do not compete with latter day speakers. I had a pair of Linn Isobariks DMS that I bought new in 1983 ($2700) that were considered up there with the big boys, funny that I didn't audition the 442's, perhaps they were not available in the UK. I gave them to my brother 12 years ago and as high end speakers go they quite frankly sound awful. Back in the day they were the mutts nutz.
The Mordaunt Short System 442 speakers were and still are great sounding speakers. I remember a Hi-Fi store near me was a Mordaunt dealer in the mid to late 1980s. They had a pair of 442's in there main show room and they were about $3K. The dealer told me they could not get enough into the USA from the UK because they were in such high demand in Europe and Japan. The 442's had such a full natural sounding and smooth dynamics. Vocal midrange was accurate and precise. Scary good huge bass extensions considering they are a two way design speaker.
The only drawback other than not finding a pair is that the 442's are not that efficient and need plenty of amp juice.
Had bought a pair of B&W 801 series II from another dealer before I listened to the 442's. To this day I am kicking myself for not waiting. I have been searching for a preowned pair of 442's since. Have had no luck either.
The Mordaunt Short System 442's have a cult following and people tend to hold on to these classic speakers. I found a NY Times archive article raving about the 442's sound and cutting edge new design.
The search continues . Hopefully we can each find a pair.
Stereophile also did a full glowing review of the Mordaunt Short System 442's. I forget what issue but around 1988/89.
Plus need to mention there is a Canadian site called American Audio out of Ontario. They have been advertising a used pair of 442's for $1800 for about a year. I must of attempted to inquire about the 442's about a dozen times. They never responded back to me. I even tried calling and left a few messages on there answering machine. Again they never responded. I don't think they have the 442's but just using them as a little bait to grab your attention.
I figure to save you the time and headache if you see there ad.