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the original large Advents! Even more outstanding when they are stacked (4 speakers one 2 floor standing tweeters up and 2 on top tweeters down) I ran these with my marantz 1200 intergrated for over tweenty years (before Apogees) I still have the Marantz and the 4 Advents in mint condition.
Also consider the JBL L-100s
Both were great in their time.
A nice set of ADS 810s on the right stands has always stood out for me. A well re-done set of Dahlquist DQ-10s are still hard to beat for the price, if you can stand the noise of a (I believe) Phillips piezo tweeter.
That was when I was doing a lot of listening (couldn't afford to buy anything!)and there were lots of decent shops. So much of the 70's stuff, like the large Advents, AR's, etc., which was also really nice, had rolled off highs as part of their design, often beginning at 11K, with 13k and up just MIA.
The Dahlquist and ADS of that era had nice, tight bass and (more)extended highs. They didn't "build down" to filter out signal to noise issues from poor recordings, gross solid state, etc. I'm sure there are a ton of other good ones, but these stick in mind 35 years later.
I like Lowthers too. They've been on the market for about 50 years, but I wouldn't put old SS in front of them: the mid-range issues are painful to imagine. Maybe Tannoy (too costly), but with a subdued treble (still?).
REmember, this was the era of (Boston v. West Coast) distictive voicings and JBL L-100s and so forth, so you can find some real "interesting" and amusical noisemakers in a box.
No, I'm not the guy selling the 810 set here on Agon.
Another vote for the ADS L-810. I had a pair as well as the later column version with similar drivers, the L-1090, and they had a very similar sound; the 810 may have had the advantage on bass response.
The 1970's-'80s ADS speakers anticipated how speakers are made today, with better, more inert cabinets and high quality drivers built to very close tolerances, and made to last. They're a bit pricier, but deliver. There are currently a couple of pairs available on A-gon, and a pair at this Seattle audio store, which also has L-730s and L-780s. The L-810 may be the best deal of the bunch, though. It would taked doubled-up Advents to approach what the L-810s did, and by then you're spending the same money. The ADS had far better driver and build quality.
The ESS AMT 1b or 1c would be a good match, as they'd be an easy load for a 70 wpc receiver to drive, but they're hard to find and usually need some repair. Definitely the woofers and passive radiators would need re-foaming, and you'd hope the AMT units would be fine. Even harder to find would be their battleship grey Evaluator monitor, which I particularly liked at the time (I sold audio in 1975-6).
If I were putting together a vintage system, it would be a good 1970s DD turntable such as Marantz 6300 or period-correct Thorens, a Marantz or Luxman integrated amp, and the L-810s. That would have been a sort of statement system at the time. Not all-out SOTA, but definitely respectable and even admired.
A good friend owns ADS tower loudspeakers that he purchased sometime in the late 80s. He was a very discerning audio purchaser.
The ADS speakers sound phenomenal. I remember attending a party at his home about seven or eight years ago. We were sitting on his patio, and he was playing a mix of songs for the party. At one point an acoustic piano track was playing. From outside the house, about 100 feet away, it sounded like a real piano playing in the house. It's what inspired me to upgrade my system, and frankly, I don't think I've yet hit the target of his relatively modest, but carefully assembled ADS/NAD system.
Sonab, yeah! haven't heard those in a while.. fooled around with a pair for a bit...
ALSO: Epicure model 20 or the very rare (now) Epicure model 3 from circa 1979...
ALSO: Allison model one
ditto stacked advents, ADS 810
Instead of JBL L-100's, JBL L-166 Horizon or L-112 is better speaker, same design...
i had a pair of ads-810-2 and was VERY happy with them. BUT, when i bought a high-current amp (100w/ch) i melted the tweeter protection fuses a couple of times (although radio shack had replacements). so they are not for black sabbath at woodstock volume levels. but they were/are classics, especially for classical music lovers.
08-10-09: JohnkMy favorite Altec from that era was their model 874 Segovia. It was an oversized bookshelf 3-way (25"x14"x12"), a common format of the time.
It was a sealed enclosure and worked well on a wider range of music than the JBl 100. It was rated as 4 ohms, but I think the Marantz had a 4-ohm rating.
There are several great speakers from those two decades, but I'd go for something iconic.
If you want an "ultimate '70s system" AR3s, or AR1Ws with Janzen tweeters... maybe just a pair of Janzen two ways. Allison 1,2,or3s, or Dahlquist DQ10s,or 20s would also be excellent. For an early '80s system, I'd go with Ohm Walsh (any from 1-4), or maybe AR9s... but 9s really need a bit more amp. If you want to add a turntable, I'd go Thorens for the '70s, or Rega P3 for the '80s.
I feel that with few exceptions 30+ year old speakers can't compare with the modern designs.
Even the well considered....and 125$ each...at the time.....original Advent suffers when compared to modern speakers.
Of the FEW vintage speakers I'd like to hear again would be KLH9s and Magnepan Tympani 1d. Maybe toss in an AR3a for giggles.....or even a Braun Triamp.....model unknown.
Refurbished OHM Ls, C2s, or Hs. OHm Acoustics in Brooklyn offers these vintage models with modern drivers and electronic components. These were my favorites back in those days. HAving them still available and supported by the original company plus with the latest and greatest technology included is a nice option. Prices straight from OHM would range from $500-$900 or so these days I believe.
I upgraded my original OHM Ls from 1978 myself recently and they sound better than ever.
I have as a second system-
AR amp-I purchased in 1973
Ohm Walsh 2 used 10 yrs ago
I must say the sound from this modest system is nothing short of amazing.I have had several friends listen and
acutally get annoyed at how great it sounds.The Ohms are stock, no mods--the AR amp is designed for a 4ohm load-together it sounds sweet.