Seeking Speaker Recommendations


Greetings,

I've been away from the hobby for quite a while, but am now ready to slowly edge my way back in.  Many moons ago I sold my Altec Model 19's, and have never been able to find a replacement for them.  Their dynamics, their liveliness, their punch, the way they recreated the music on a grand scale.  Even at lower volumes their dynamic swings were amazing.  They sounded so lifelike.  I'm sure their measured performance was likely abysmal, but the sound they generated, to my ears, was like sitting at a performance.

Having been to the CES/Comdex show many, many times years ago, I had seen and listened to hundreds of speakers by hundreds of manufacturers.  What I liked was significantly out of my price range.  I've personally owned systems by Thiel, Von Schweikert, Martin Logan, Magnepan, Legacy, Focal, and the list goes on.  I even went to great expense and custom built a pair of Altec 604 based speakers.  All have left me wanting my old Altec 19's back.

I know they can be had today, and you can even build a "new" pair with the cabinets and drivers available, but I can no longer house a pair of speakers larger than a washer/dryer!  What I'm looking for is a small to medium sized floor-standing speaker, preferably under $3,000/pair, that will recreate that Altec Model 19 magic.  I assume it would have to be high efficiency and horn based.

Can anyone kindly recommend a system that might come close to what I'm seeking?

Thanks!!
seadweller
http://www.pispeakers.com

Take a look at these or maybe Klipsch Chorus


Check Tekton site....you might get interested.
Thanks...I'm 99% sure I listened to the PI speakers a the CES show a long time ago.  The designer was a really nice guy.  It looks like he's really expanded his lineup.  Definitely worth consideration.

The Tekton's are more conventional, so I'm not sure they'd reproduce the mid/highs the way a horn does, but I could be mistaken.
Seadweller read Terry London review on double impact, he mention I think about horn in comparison to the Tekton, if you end up liking what you read, the electron are the size that might fit your needs,...
How about a real classic: the DCM Time Windows 1A, the 3 and the 7! I have owned the 1A's for 40 years (now on pair no. 3!) and keep coming back to them for that SOUND! Truly a GREAT design by Steve Eberbach of Michigan! And I own Quad 57's (two pairs!)). Along with various vintage Altecs and JBL's! Dynamic range and 3-D imaging to die for! And my current pair only cost $219 + shipping (in excellent condition, too!). How can ANY present-day speaker beat that!
Checkout the review by Peter Aczel in the Audio Critic (1977)! "Here's a speaker that is worth 20 years subscription to TAC". List price then was $660 a pair - which I paid for pair no. 1.Forget about Tekton! The TW's are far more neutral and revealing of the source - analog or digital! I really missed them after selling pair no.2. Now that I have pair no.3 I am happy again!
How about re-visiting one of the Audio Show for first hand listening experience to a wide variety of speakers and gear. 

AXPONA in April and LAAS in June coming up. 


The DCM Time Windows were very good speakers in their day.  I loved them.  However there's no way that they are live, as in possessing jump factor dynamics like a horn.

There ill be a speaker returning to the scene that does have the jump factor, is in a monitor size, and will play at all volume levels without break up.  They also have a very details sound without harshness.  They will be coming out soon.  The speakers will be made by the same guy that designed the extremely well reviewed SP Tech Timepiece speakers and others with the similar technology involved.  The new Aether Audio Spirit I speakers have less than a 2 cubic ft. cabinet, but use a wide, but shallow throat waveguide on the tweeter.  It also has a powerful 7" woofer.  I've heard the speakers that Bob Smith designed and I can tell you that you WILL NOT WANT for dynamics with this speaker because they have it in spades.  The amount of small details that are heard will match most ESL speakers.  And the best news is they will cost around $2000.


dorkwad:  Regarding the dynamic range of the TW's: Steve Eberbach tested them by using a bridged pair of Ampzilla's (800 watts) and dropping a tonearm/cartridge onto an LP at FULL gain! 
Not to be ignorant, roberjerman, but what does doing that prove about the speakers dynamic sound?
Take a look at the smaller models offered by Spatial Audio.
I have a set of Spatial Hologram M4 Turbo on trial, just about to the end of the 60 days. They are NOT going back.  It took 100+ hours of break-in to get to the decision. I really enjoy them.
Soliloquy 5.3 floorstanders  musical, punchy and efficient ( 89dB )
Dynaudio C1 Confidence Platinum. 

"Dynaudio C1 Confidence Platinum"

Seriously doubt if you can find one for under $3K but they are excellent choice even at ~$9K.

To the OP, what is the rest of your system, particularly your power amplifier?

Tekton Double Impact.  Please read some reviews.  I sold my Kef Blade 2 speakers and bought the Tektons.  Never looked back.  They are that good.
I currently have a Parasound Halo P5/A23 combo, a Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable, and my venerable Rotel 965BX CD Player.  I bought the Parasound stuff as a carry-over when I sold my Cary SLI-80, but actually will likely keep the P5/A23.
By the way, I've listened to a lot of speakers of varying designs, and have yet to come across a system with conventional drivers that can match the sheer excitement and energy of a horn-based system.  That includes speakers with ribbon drivers.  If possible, I'd like to go new/newer, rather than going back decades on an older system.


Actually, I take back my comment about not hearing a single conventional system that came close to delivering what a horn-based system is capable of.  A long time ago, I listened to a pair of PMC MB2's, and they were quite spectacular.  If they had 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, I might buy a pair!
seadweller,

Where are you located?  If it's anywhere close to the north central portion of Indiana, you could hear the speakers I was talking about.

I've heard all the speakers you mentioned, and owned a pair of Von Schweikert Vortex Screens for 18+ years and obviously liked them.  I now own VMPS RM40 BCSE speakers that have very good dynamics and can play at very loud volumes, BUT...they don't have as much jump factor as those Aether Spirit I.  The Aether's have very similar detailing as the VMPS, but are in a very compact cabinet.  The Aether's have seriously good bass, almost the equal of the huge RM40s.  The Aether's can actually play at louder volumes than the VMPS.  The Vortex Screens were considered to have good dynamics back in 1991, but they can't hold a candle to the RM40s in that area.  The pair of RM40s that I have are better sounding than the ones that one Best In Show at the CES, so it's saying something that the Aether's are in their league in most areas and ahead in dynamics and live sound quality.

Consider   used Merlin VSM's, probably the most recent version you can afford.  I can't compare them to horns but they very good.
LOL @roberjerman. I was just about to ask if vintage was a consideration, in which case I would suggest a pair of Dahlquist DQ10s. But the DCMs are a *great*suggestion.
kalali ....
Dynaudio C1 Platinum with stand 6 .... 170 watt / 4 Ohm
Plinius SA 103 Class A power amp , 220 watt / 4 Ohm ... bridge mono 730 watt / 4 Ohm.....
Conrad Johnson ET 5 preamp ( used tube telefunken 6922 )
Wadia 781 i CD /SACD player ( used Synergistic black fuse )
Apple Mac Mini for lossless music used wadia DAC 
Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable 
2 sets of Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 7 RCA Interconnect ( conrad johnson only used RCA no XLR )
Nordost Valhalla 1 speaker cables 3.5 M long
Nordost QB8 power strip
All Cardas Clear Beyond power cord 
bass deep , tight , punchy ... esotar2 treble wonderful , no need subwoofer whatsoever !!!! ( instantly killed my previous system as B&W 803 d2 , Mcintosh MC 501 monoblock ... they are suck , bass so dark no deep , tight and  punchy etc ... and treble make you fatigue and headache ! ) ... Dynaudio C4 platinum is my dream ! cant afford !!!!
kalali .. 
Audiogon wont allow i upload the pic of whole system !!!!
Harbeth c7es3  great for all music.  Fantastic at low volume too!   Read some reviews.  Great detail!   


Think used!  For less than $3000, you could find a used pair of B&W Nautilus 804's.  I had 805s, then 804s and now 803s.  Just love the Nautilus line...been around a few years but still sing sweet.  

I found my 803s at The Music Store - a consignment business in Denver.  Google then and take a look.  Good luck!!

Dorkwad,

    Weren't the Aether Spirit 1 speakers released about 8 years ago? Where did you hear about a new release? I still have my Timepiece 3.0s and never looked back.

spenceroo,

I have been to Bob Smith's house a couple times in the past few months.  Each time I heard one of his former speakers in a just average system and I was very impressed.  Bob and I have become good friends since he did the Level 3 mod of my Nuforce Ref 9 SE V3 mono amps which are now stellar in all ways.   Bob is getting back into the speaker business with a lower priced great speaker in the Aether Spirit I and he is going to come out with a couple of more higher priced and even higher performance speakers soon.  He has a new backer that is very impressed with his speakers.  This will allow Bob to crank out his speakers at a better clip.  His son is now working for him full time and is quite excellent in his abilities also.  His speakers have no discernible driver anomalies meaning it's like listening to one sensational driver.  They also have a serious jump factor in lifelike dynamics.  This is in a less than 2 cubic ft. enclosure.  The stuff he's talking about coming soon is outrageous!

Keep in mind that he and I are becoming good friends--BUT...I'd call a dog a dog if it barks.  His speakers have little to no irritation factor.  I'd say none, but there was one cut out of at least 25 that I heard that did bother me some.  The other 24 were stunning with bass to die for in that size enclosure.  They DO NOT break up at any SPL level either.

Bob

Too all who have suggested many different conventional speakers - the OP has clearly stated that he likes the character of horn-based speakers.  There are many conventional speakers that I think sound absolutely amazing, but I do not think any of them will reproduce the type of "horn" signature that the OP's Altec 19 will do.  Horn speakers just have a different way of broadcasting the midrange and highs that no standard speaker can do.

I think it's going to be very difficult to get the same sound as the Altec 19, because that type of midrange sound really requires such a large horn.  If you wanted smaller speakers, you could look into Klipsch RF7, which is just under 14" wide.  It has a horn that is crossed over very low (at 1300hz).  The Altec horn is crossed over at 1200hz, which is very close.  The Klipsch won't exactly reproduce the type of midrange of the Altec, but I think it's probably going to be the closest you can get and still have a very small footprint.

The Klipsch Cornwall has a much better midrange horn, but the speaker cabinet is 25" wide, maybe not as big as your Altec, but approaching.  Unfortunately, it takes a larger horn to get that big "throaty" sounding midrange.

The Klipsch speakers will have more high frequency response than the Altec.  The Klipsch Chorus could be a compromise.

I think you'll just have to determine how much of a compromise you want with regards to horn speaker size.  Smaller horns will not have as "throaty" midrange presentation.

I should say that you need a long throw horn.  That's why the Klipsch Cornwall is nice and throaty.  The horn itself is not extremely large/wide, but it is definitely a longer throw than the RF7 (and probably even longer throw than the Chorus).
Thanks dorkwad - that's great news to future speaker owners if it works out for Bob. He certainly deserves another go with his speakers. Since getting my Timepieces, I haven't had the slightest desire to search for new speakers. Any word from him about a new website any time soon?
I'd look to late April or May for active news on Aether Audio.

Bob
Shop around for a Pair of JBL 4430's. I picked up a pair a few years back for $1,200, the sound stage is unbelievable. I've seen them on Ebay for $2400 recently. BTW, I use to have a pair of Voice of the Theater with those horns. My personal opinion, 4430's are the way to go.
I've read some of the responses here, I have a pair of Klipsch Forte I, I've heard the La Scala's, I can't speak for the Conwell's , You would not be disappointed with JBL 4430's. JBL produced the 4430 for 18 years straight

I have PMC PB1i.

I would look for a pair of OB1s.

Another option is something like a GR Research Super V.  A pair or two for sale over on audiocircle. 

Finally, there's a pair of Von Schweikert VR5 HSE as well for around $3K.