Recommendations for Vintage Speakers


I’m currently looking to put together a vintage system and am wondering what a good pair of full range, floor standing speakers would be. They would be powered by a Pioneer SX-1250. I listen to a very wide range of music, a lot of live Grateful Dead, Classic Rock, Metal, But also enjoy Jazz and even a little Big Band music once in a while. Thanks for your help!
bigjohn9095
lots of good suggestions above, but i'd likewise go with the polk sda or srs, which are generally available for cheap and outperformed my ads 1290 and pioneer hpm100. the original (early 90s) kef reference are also vg.
I also listen to mostly live Dead and have assembled several vintage audio systems for this purpose. I really like the way they sound on acoustic suspension speakers, particularly the larger bookshelf or floorstanding models from ADS or Acoustic Research such as ADS L-710, L-810, L1230, L1530, AR-10pi, & AR-11, or AR-9. The treble is a little wooly on dried-out ferrofluid AR tweeters; I think the ADS have aged better. That said, my vintage speaker churn ended with the JBL L300. The 15” woofers really thump and Garcia’s leads shimmer through the midrange horns. Good luck in your quest!
I also owned the Pioneer SX1250. I bought it at the PX at a cost of less than $600.00! After going through my Bose phase, I bought a pair of Polk Model 10A's. The receiver is long gone ( I also bought the black version of it. I can't remember the model number). I'm still using the Polks on my home theater set up. I've never replaced a driver on them yet! That's reason enough to consider them. Good luck. Joe 
Many great suggestions. 

To me - after 55 pairs of vintage speakers and many from the above lists - ADS stands out. The 1090/1290 is the sweet spot with the 1090 having less cabinet resonance. If you can get a pair of 1590 likely you are done with your search. The 910 and 1530 would be my next choice. All these have rubber surrounds so unless abused no need for re-foam.

Also, if you ever switch to tubes you need modest (20-30wpc) to get really great sound out of the 1090/1290 - i was driving those with 18 wpm Shindo EL84 amp.

The KEF 104 is also great provided that it is properly reformed and recapped (applies to most vintage speakers).
Good luck.
I've owned: Acoustat, Audiostatic, Polk, Altec A7, Altec 15, Klipsch Heresy, Green Mountain Audio, KEF, Zu, ADS 410/710, Linn Kaber, Triangle Zerius (GREAT speaker), Totem (many, liked most), many single-driver speakers, and  many more I can't recall at the moment.

Several months ago, I purchased a set of JBL L112 speakers in great shape and replaced most of the crossover parts with identical values. Aside from having to move the speakers around in my small room (8X14) to work out some bass issues, I now have the most engaging speakers I have ever owned. They aren't just loud - they have a fullness and impact that I have been seeking since I started the hobby. These sound more "live" - most of the other speakers have sounded "good". 

I get to work around live music quite a bit, and these JBLs possess that intangible quality of just sounding right. When a vocalist holds a note and has an emotional crack - this speaker conveys that kind of emotion in spades. It allows me to forget about "critical" listening so I can just enjoy the music.

I have heard the L100 (unmodified "crossover"), and they are not similar at all. The L112 has a proper crossover.

The other half of the equation is my updated 30 watt  Harman Kardon 430 receiver. Many people like to dismiss vintage equipment, especially receivers, as nice but not up to the quality of current equipment. I would invite those people to hear this setup playing Larkin Poe's "Come on In My Kitchen" Jam In the Van performance from Youtube. The production quality is amazing, and they are performing for you in the room.

I have owned Naim, Audio Research, Belles, Rogue Audio, Cary, Audio Note, etc. I'm not overstating the quality of the HK receiver - it's the real deal. If you keep your eye out, a system (speakers/receiver) can be assembled for about $1,200-1,500. 

I have compared the HK to Sansui, Pioneer, Marantz, AR, and other receivers, and I can't find one that matches the mighty 430. They are easy to service with off the shelf parts, and any competent tech should be able to fix any issues and keep it going for another 20 years. The FM tuner sounds excellent too. I do use a Schiit outboard phono preamp to improve upon the internal pre and run it through the tape monitor.

Looking for a DAC for computer audio? Topping D10 from Amazon or Parts Express and less than $100. I prefer this to both an Auralic and the Chord Qutest I had in house.

Good luck on your search!