State of the art speakers from yesteryear.

Which speakers from the past can compete with the very best available today?
With some modification performed today that will take them over the hill?
A perfect example would be the Infinity RS-1b.
Upstream electronics would be chosen to suit the speakers.
Quads. How far back are you thinking?
Some folks think that the Quad 57 and/or 63s are still the best speaker ever made. However, they do typically take a greater amount of care and feeding than do a typical dynamic speaker.

Again, some folks think a Klipsch K-horn with modern updates is the best of the best.

Recent variations of some other older designs are also very good. A couple of examples are the current version of the Magnapans and Vandersteens.


jeez pedrillo...there are hundereds
Apogee Diva's.
Some compression and field coil drivers and a few horns like WE.
Ohm F and Ohm A (much more rare)
There are many that I like such as Gale 402, KEF 104ab, 105/2, Bozak Symphony, JBL 300B, 4350, Altac Lansing Model-19 and Stonehenge. They all sound different and have different amp requirements but I like them all. I particularly like the Bozak Symphony, JBL 4350, and the Gale 402 which I used to own.
Yamaha NS10
Yamaha NS10
Is that with or without the tissue taped over the tweeter?

Lets just throw in the Auratones while we're at it.
Infinity Reference Series. 1980's Take up an entire wall... needs great gear to use..
Have to agree with Kirkus on those yamahas. Many studios used them as monitors which is why so many recordings sound tipped up in the treble, harsh, and bright. Try Waveform Mach 13's.--Mrmitch
Snell Type AII, AIII, AIIIi
Second the Auratones.Sold the NS10m's after hearing them.Still like them both,though not as much as the L100's....YMMV,Bob
What the heck are Yamaha NS10s? I thought I had heard of most
legendary vintage speakers, but this is a new one to me.
(There's a pair on ebay for $650). Thanks.
But if the Yamahas are so bright, wouldn't you think songs mastered on them would be dark? Sort of the opposite of Dynaudios.
KLH-9's if you could find any that still work
impulse lali's
roksan ojan 3x
Polk Audio SDA series.
Jbl Hartsfield (Older version) with Super tweeter and subwoofer. This speaker sounded very close to the Quad ESL 57 in the midrange (I had both at the same time) but could fill a theatre full of sound.

Most Apogee Full Range Ribbons (Full Range, Scintilla, Diva, Duetta,)

Many other great vintage pieces that the Japanese covet for good reason.
Spica - Angelus, TC-60, TC-50
Bozak Concert Grands or Symphony's...can,( with some TLC, if need be),sound remarkably good and will compete with many "modern" high-end (overpriced?)designs.
I had a pair of NS-10s. They were not what I would call one of the great speakers of yesteryear. Sure you don't mean the NS-1000s? THOSE were/are great. My parents still use theirs and they are wonderful.
I had a pair of NS-10s. They were not what I would call one of the great speakers of yesteryear.

Ahh, but did you ever try putting toilet paper tissue over the tweeter and hanging them from the ceiling with bungee cord?

That is the all important tweak/alteration that takes them over the hill ;-)
Yeh, but you didn't ask if he uses inversion boots while listening, these little details get forgotten easily.
Here's a short list that fit my criteria, which is: pre-1980, well suited to a wide variety of music, works well in a domestic environment, and has a treble range that's smooth and well-dispersed enough to sound reasonably "modern", whatever that means. I also need to have spent some time with them personally . . .

AR-1 with ESS tweeter added (fairly common in these parts)
B&O Beovox 5700
JBL L212
Empire 9000M

All of the above have given me that impression of "Damn! Those things are HOW old???", and I could easily enjoy them as my only speakers . . . maybe with the exception of the Empires on aesthetic grounds. And a few that don't quite make the list:

Quads . . . I absolutely love them, they're wonderful. But play some rock or crank up some jazz, and they sound like somebody brought a Jaguar E-type to a drag race . . . disappointing.

Horn systems (radials, sectorals, multi-cells, slant-plates, etc.) in my opinion never sounded very smooth until constant-directivity horn designs came out in the 1980s. This throws out lots of otherwise great speakers, which can sound like somebody brought a big-block Chevelle to a road race . . .

Also, the chapter of loudspeaker history marked by the ubiquity of little paper-cone tweeters (a la JBL L100, McIntosh ML-anything) is one that I'm really happy is behind us.