The spicas are wonderful speakers but do need to be away from the rear wall to image best. IF you find a pair on Audiogon (or elsewhere) for a reasonable price I would get them and see how you like them ... worst case is that you lose the shipping since they're really easy to sell on. I have not heard (nor heard of) the RT3s so I cannot comment on relative performance. Hopefully another poster will fill in this information.
Since your main system is ESLs I find it hard to believe that you would not like the spicas if you have the room to keep them away from the rear wall by a couple of feet. SUre they're not ESLs but I think the design goals were similar ... imaging and midrange rather than bass and SPL.
I've had two pairs of TC-50's. The first was the original and the second has slightly better connectors, a cross brace, different felt configuration around soft dome tweeter and supposidly better power handling. The later model TC-50 was better. The TC-60 was completely different and I have never heard it. I modified my TC-50 with less internal "stuffing", internal wire replaced with cardas wire, new edison price connectors, removed the felt on the front. The sound of the TC-50 does have some coloration, kind of a signature midrange sound, excellent sense of space, imaging, phase coherency. Bass is very tuneful but unless you're in a small room bass can really lack (my current setup suffers from this). I find they sound best with cardas cables (they can sound too lean with the wrong cables). I don't have a tube amp but they did sound better on a tube amp I heard them on. They have a 4 ohm load so If you have a true class a amp like mine then their otherwise poor efficiency is alleviated somewhat. The spicas overall can really compete in terms of revealing detail, space, imaging even with real expensive pieces but have some harshness, coloration, damped bass compared to good proacs, charios, others.
IF you are used to the Quads, gotta go with the Spica's. Rt 3's are good, but the midrange on the Spica's just sneaks up on you letting you know how good it is. I would have to say the RT 3 has better low end, and actually more extended on top, but in the midrange and depth dept, and now that I think about and read a little more(I keep notes on everything I have ever listened to at home)in the focalazation and placement, Spica has it and really a lot of other speakers in the same price range. was one of those speakers that got it amazing right at the time.
Caveat though, Original drivers no longer made for the Spica, and the woofers had very tight tolerence's in the voice coil, so if you buy a pair used, make sure they are extremely well packed. Company in PA will rebuild the woofer cheap($40) but they are so busy it takes over 6 weeks to get them back.
I owned a pair of TC50's from 1990 through 1993. I bought them because I moved into a small apartment.
I enjoyed them and they served me well. They are not well extended in either direction but what is there is fine. They have a good upper bass, which can give you a feeling of what is below. I think it is generous to say you can get 60hz solidly from them but I never measured them
The midrange and sound stage is what made them enjoyable. Also, although they go south after 16,000 they have an Audax soft dome which is smooth. They won't play at head banging levels but can handle 90hz or so in the right room. They can tend to compress if driven too hard.
Finally, both drivers are hard wired with no protection. So, if you are not feeding them good clean power you can distroy the drivers. However, they were out sourced and easy to replace.
One more thing is that they do need power. They are not they most sensitive speaker. I would say at least 100 watts with current.
I am going to respectfully disagree with a couple of posters on the power dept.. They are not the most efficient speakers in the world, but also don't get the idea that they will play loud if they have plenty of juice. If its in your office, I doubt that it is much of a concern.Just treat them like you would your Quads and it will be fine. I thought they sounding great on Audio Research/Dynaco Stereo 70.
Had the 50's and blew them. Amp was turned up all the way before warming up. Then it powered up.(it wasn't me!)
Replaced them with 60's which have just a little more at the extremes. Ported and a little more punch. Just a little less Spica sounding than the 50's but definitely still Spica's.
Just like to point out these speakers are amazing in my small bedroom, about 10'x 12'. Moved them into my larger den and the sound just collapsed, not just the bass.
I use Spica TC-60's in my main system, but I also have Axiom M3Ti's in a secondary system. If you are considering the RTS-3's, then I would recommend you look at the Axioms, as they have a very refined sound for the money.
While I've not heard either, I have read what Stereophile said about the RTS-3. And, AudioAdvisor has them on sale for 199. So, I'd say get a pair, listen and if you don't like send them back and your only our some shipping costs.
I have both speakers. The Spicas are the better speaker; soundstage better, are more lively sounding and transparent, albeit with less extension on the top and bottom and are less efficient. Spicas are not exactly "small" (RTS-3s take up less space) and need at least 2 feet from the rear wall and need to be on solid stands. The RTS-3s are a little more forgiving in this regard. If this requirement cannot be me, consider a small non-ported speaker that you can mount on the wall, like Gallo or Mirage.
I once had a pair of TC-50's and absolutely loved them until my wife decided to get a cat as a pet. My cat destroyed the speaker by clawing onto the felt and sleeping on the sloping front (I hope you guys can picture it). Grill was destroyed too and tweeter was damaged.
I was lucky to get a replacement diphram for the tweeter (last one) as Audax does not make them anymore in that impedence. Then the other started buzzing (bad news).
Anyways, sold them (5 yrs ago) and still miss them despite having much better speakers. There is something to the sound of the Spica's I miss and cannot be replaced. This is definitely a cult speaker. I am still looking for a pair in mint condition for my second system.
If I were you, I would definitely pick the Spica's but make sure the tweeter is not buzzing as they run the tweeter really HOT because of the felt and sloping baffle (tweeter has to work much harder as the sound is tilted away from the listening position).
Make sure you have good amps to play them so that the lower freqs will not be shy.
Cheers to all TC-50 owners. Great speaker!
www.murphyblaster.com, under the top right measurements icon, has some frequency response measurements of several speakers including the Sound Dynamics RT-3's. I'd spend a weekend with a nice kit, but I know I'm weird.
Jvia: Can you supply information about the company that rebuilds the Spica drivers? I'd like to have that information on hand! Thanks !
These speakers are very different from each other, and I have owned them both. Recently, I decided to keep the RTS-3's and sell the Spicas because of the RTS-3's ability to play much louder, play deeper bass, have more extended treble (and MUCH faster too) and most importantly they just rock (compared to the Spicas).
Where the Spicas shine is they are VERY integrated in their sound presentation, being one the first time aligned speakers available (many years ago). Just BEWARE that Spicas DO NOT rock and they will BLOW if pushed even a little hard. They should only be used with low to medium music levels where you are NOT looking for strong bass beats, thrilling dynamics, etc...
Speaker drivers have come a LOOOONG way since the Spica was designed, and there are many speaker choices better than either of these two speakers in the $500+ range (used). I will say though, that the RTS-3 is amazing for a $200 speaker, and this is the "new" price! (That's why I bought them. I use the RTS-3's in my secondary "little system". The RTS-3's let me enjoy a WIDE variety of music, which the Spicas never could do).
The 60's are less delicate than the 50's. Had them for many years and I push them. I had 50's, now 60's, and also AP Virgo's. Comparing the Spica's to the Virgo's I don't hear a whole lot of advancement (15 years?) AND they are at least six times as much. The Virgo's fill a much larger room although they even sound more lightweight in the mids and are not as good as Spica's on rock. Again, the Spica's need a small room where a small room suffocates the Virgo's.
You could make better choices for rock, but you would be sacrificing in other areas.
Check out this link... Virgo's in the front and I think Sound Dynamics in the back. (?)
For Spica pic go to enjoythemusic.com>>archives>>euip review.
Here you go, they fo great work and damn its the cheapest on
the net, but they do take a while
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Madisound has the # and the cureent replacement tweeter, any good tech should be able to solve any crossover problems as long as one of them is still good.
Ultrakaz, from my experience with the RTS-3s on a Atlantis Reference Stand, the RTS-3s do not like a more solid stand than the API SST.