vintage versus modern speakers


Since I have had so many excellent insights and answers to my question, here is the second chapter of my "free" education: are great vintage speakers (Infiniti, JBL,Sansui, Sony, etc..) from the seventies better sounding than what is available now? the X factor in that equation is the cost, since my speaker budget is only 1500$ for two speakers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your advice will be read and taken into consideration.
Thank you.
rockanroller
This is an easy one. No. Technology has advanced and the products evolved. You are better off with newer speakers at all price points.

Of course speakers from the 70s that are still around are old and not even as good as they were back then.

I don't think it's even debatable but hey you never know....
I agree with Mapman to a point.

The JBL L100 Century was and is still one of the best rock-
n-roll speakers ever made, if they're in good shape.

The Infinity Gamma, Beta, Sigma, some of the RS series are
still very good, again, if in good shape. One of the only
speakers I've ever regretted selling out of the hundreds of
speakers I've owned were my Betas. I still kick myself in
the ass every so often to remind me of what a dip shit I was
for selling them.

So it really depends on the speaker model and the condition,
but for the most part, today's speakers are better.
I would say the only place that the older speakers are going to hold their own is with very low powered tube amps where some will find Cornwalls, Apollos and Valencias superior to the Zu and Tekton offerings in the price range.
are great vintage speakers (Infiniti, JBL,Sansui, Sony, etc..) from the seventies better sounding than what is available now?
Absolutely not!
And while the Japanese companies built great electronics during the 70's, their speakers were very poor when compared to some of the classic US brands like AR, EPI, KLH, etc. But even these acoustic suspension designs of yesteryear cannot hold a candle to well designed and engineered modern offerings.

No contest vintage a joke now.
My main speakers are B&W N801, up until recently I also had a pair of Yamaha 1000M speakers, 33 years old. Of course I prefer the N801 speakers, but are they worth nearly 10X the price of the Yamaha's? Probably not. The Yamaha speakers have a unique, very revealing sound.

I can still remember hearing a pair of Klipschorn speakers at a HiFi show 35 years ago, they sounded truly amazing, the most dynamic speakers I have ever heard. Similarly, as one poster commented, JBL L100 speakers still sound great on rock music.

So in answer to your question, there are some amazing sounding vintage speakers still available. At the end of the day it is all down to personal preference.
any modern "artisanal" brand of speakers that might be worth looking at? especially made in the US ?
I heard of ZU....Thoughts?
That's all depends on your amp.
Your amp will determine what you should be considering.
If you like a horn loaded speaker, and are willing to change out old cross overs, etc., vintage Klipschorns, Cornwalls and Heresy from Klipsch sound great. Many folks seek them out and prefer them to more recent offerings from other manufacturers. See Bob Crites' website. I think the same might be said for vintage JBL. There are deals to be had for one who is patient and familiarizes himself with the current market for those speakers. Good luck.
Rockanroller- There are plenty of modern "artisanal" U.S. speaker makers. Here is a totally random list off the top of my head (well, not totally random, definitely skewed toward tube-friendly designs). Per Paraneer, if you give us an amp maker or amp type AND importantly a price range, the list can become more focused, but here are just a few:
Tyler
Green Mountain
Audiokinesis
Selah
Fritz
Merlin
Geddes
Beveridge
Audience
Ohm
Daedalus Audio
Devore Fidelity
Classic Audio Loudspeakers
Soundlab
KCS Custom Loudspeakers

if you step across the border to Canada, you can add quite a few more, two of which are Coincident and Ref 3A.

My apologies to all speaker builders I've left out. Others will fill in the blanks.
I bought my AR9's new in 1981, and at the time the critics agreed that you could buy bigger and more expensive speakers but not better ones. And Infinities and ADS were around at the time, and the AR line-up outperformed every other speaker I heard IMO.

I was passionate over my 9's. Their dual ll" subs could blow you away; the upper bass-lower mids could send shivers down your spine; and they could talk. But the 4 ohm impedence and large woofers made them so frickin hard to drive (expensive as well). The crossovers died some time ago so then I ran the 90's--one size down. STill frickin hard to drive with my hk990 (150w/8ohms;300w/4ohms.

I picked up a pair of precursers to the the Revel line for cheap on audiogon last fall, probably the first pair of speakers Dr. Floyd Toole designed for Harman--100lb 3-way floor standers. There is no doubt that they are very clean, low distortion speakers compared with my vintage AR's.

That's my sad story. I'm transitioning to the 21st century. My stubborness had to yield to reality. No more vintage speakers for me.
You have been given good, solid advice. New speakers are definitely better, dollar for dollar, than what you'll get from 30 yr. old speakers.

And your amp now dictates the appropriate speakers to look at....

-RW-
JBL L100s have a frequency curve that looks like a smile...all highs and lows. I liked them back in the day but modern stuff is often designed with a much more even (accurate) frequency response overall, and usually far less coloration.
IMHO, the 70's not so much. But, the 80's & 90's, well that's another story.
Well, here is the amp I have: SAE 2401, SOLID STATE, NELSON PASS DESIGNED. Here are the specs:
Minimum Continuous RMS Power Per Channel (both channels driven 20 - 20,000 Hz at rated Distortion):
250 watts at 8 ohms
375 watts at 4 ohms
Total harmonic Distortion (from 250 mW to full rated power/at 1 watt): less than 0,025%/0,02%
Intermodulation Distortion (from 250 mW to full rated power): less than 0,025%
Clipping head Room: 0,5 dB
Damping Factor: 60

Frequency Response:
Rated Power : 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -0,5 dB
1 Watt [Normal/Hi-Pass]: 2 Hz - 160 kHz / 20 Hz - 160 kHz +0,25, -3 dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio:
Rated Power (unweighted): 110 dB
Rated Power (IHF-a): 125 dB
1 Watt (IHF-A): 100 dB
Crosstalk (100 Hz to 10 kHz): greater than 70 dB
Rated Output : 2,24
Both Wolf_garcia and Ebm nailed it in their prior posts.

"Vintage" in speakers bears no correlation to wine. In this hobby it just means "old" in the context of "outdated".

Yes, I owned the JBL L100s back in their heyday and they were fine IN THEIR ERA. BUT ....

(i) The available competitors back then were comparatively few; and

(ii) that "vintage speaker " technology by today's standards is very very outdated with a matched big erosion of performance in terms of comparative performance.

(iii) Most had a big, skewed and excessively-pronounced top and bottom end to emphasize the college crown craving for "loud" and "boomy" as part of the 60s and 70s rock music offerings. That artificial "West Coast sound" (Google it) was a new manufactured sonic signature of that era designed to appeal to the college crowd masses and boomy rock discs such as Jethro Tull, The Doors, The Doobie Brothers, The Stones et al (NOTE: mostly poorly recorded offerings by today's standards = ergo the many remasters today).

"Vintage speaker" attraction today is masked in a fleeting nostalgia wrapper, because their comparative performance against today's quality product is not even close.
Actually many of these so called poorly recorded rock albums you mention of yesteryear sound much better than the poorly engineered and compressed rock and pop albums put out today. That does not mean I don't agree that most great speakers of today can sound better than the great speakers of yesterday......there are some exceptions.....and some that still sound great today........but generally one can spend less today and get much better sound per dollar than yesterday.
If I recall correctly, Nelson did not design any SAE stuff. I believe that Jim Bonjiorno did that basic design on your amp, although I know that Ed Miller put his hands in several amps of that era also.
Since I've chimed in... My 2 cents on the speaker discussion.
Basic design parameters hasn't changed. There were some nice speakers put out in the late 70's & 80's... Jon Dalquist had a few, Infinity, DCM was ok, recently I have been modding an Altec A7, they have turned out quite nice. What has changed is, Material technology... we now have Kevlar, carbon fiber, magnesium, aluminum, ceramic, pulp wood fiber cones & yada yada yada... This has changed along with a much improved manufacturing process. We used to have measure 50 drivers to match up a half dozen to tight tolerances. Today, they come off the line within 5% or better tolerances... Combine that with better caps & resisters along with compensation circuitry not typically used back then and normally, Yes, today, overall speakers are better, but there is no doubt that there were satisfying speakers of yesteryear that if found in good shape could offer some enjoyment.
I don't disagree with all of the above, but I would add that The Doors LA Woman album for example is very listenable because in part at least it was not overmixed. Some of the old Chicago as well. I admit though my editions are remastered as well.

The vintage AR's, specificly 9's and little brothers, were not "hollow in the middle" but were set apart and easily distinguishable from competitors by their balance, midrange presence, flat frequency response and were not popular with the rockers. Point being that flat frequency response is not the only factor distinguishing vintage speakers from contemporary brands. The vintage AR's still don't hold up in comparison to today's audiophile brands. But if flat frequency response is the main consideration, get a pair of early 80's AR's. There are still plenty around.
I note that the OP indicated a budget of $1500. My suggestion is that he go to the Audiogon home page, click on "speakers" on the left side of the page, then click on "continue to all speakers listings" on the right side of the page, and then in the "narrow by price" boxes on the left side of the page enter a min price of $1000 and a max of $2000. That search presently returns 147 listings. I suggest looking through those listings, picking out several speakers that strike your fancy, and asking for comments on those specific models.

My guess is that the sweet spot in that price range for price vs. perfomance, together with minimal condition-related risk, will generally be speakers that were made between about 1990 and 2010.

Regards,
-- Al
On the question of best speakers for $1500, unfortunately that is not a lot to get into really good towers, and American made doesn't make it any easier.

With a big amp like the SAE, if the OP could stretch his budget to $2000, Ascend Acoustics is an American company that has been making excellent speakers for over a decade, based in California. Their Sierra Tower is right up there with Salk speakers(also American), but more affordable. I just bought their Sierra 2 bookshelf speaker and I am seriously impressed.
Raymonda nailed it when he said
generally one can spend less today and get much better sound per dollar than yesterday.
IMO, partly as a result of what Timlub said:
Material technology... we now have Kevlar, carbon fiber, magnesium, aluminum, ceramic, pulp wood fiber cones & yada yada yada... This has changed along with a much improved manufacturing process. We used to have measure 50 drivers to match up a half dozen to tight tolerances. Today, they come off the line within 5% or better tolerances... Combine that with better caps & resisters along with compensation circuitry not typically used back then
to which I would also add:
computer modeling which cuts R&D costs substantially, and
lower cost manufacturing sourced from third world countries.

At the other end of the cost spectrum are the high 5 to mid 6 figure speaker systems which would have been beyond anyone's wildest imaginations "back in the day".
I really like the sound of many of my 60's and early 70's LPs like Jeff Beck's "Truth" and Tull's "Stand up"...some of this stuff sounds really cool on modern gear...Donovan's stuff with John Bonham et al...kick ass.
One issue with speakers made in the 3rd world country manufacturing: made by people for whom it is just a job, not by crafstmen. Therefore, I will only buy American made speakers.
Two, in regards to the quality of records in the seventies, here is the perfect quote: "Actually many of these so called poorly recorded rock albums you mention of yesteryear sound much better than the poorly engineered and compressed rock and pop albums put out today" by Raymonda!
Because , personally, I think that today pop/mainstream music is well represented by the Ipod: immensely repetitive monotony, absence of musicians, cheaply technically done....
So I will follow Almarg suggestions, to look for a set of speakers, but I will also look at some great classics: Infinity, JBL,EPI . To be followed......
At your price point most of the newer and better audiophile oriented loudspeakers won't play that loudly, nor will they have that much bass. They also won't match very well with your amp. A double Advent system with refurbished drivers and crossovers can be had for $500-600 and can do things that the audiophile loudspeakers can't.
In the under $1500 price range, there are not many speakers from the 1970's and 1980's that would be worth considering; vintage models from that era that are still worth considering have actually become more expensive than their original price (e.g., 15 ohm Rogers). While some of the higher end speakers from that era might have depreciated in value enough to be a bargain, it will take some experience to identify such bargains and know whether age has not cause major deterioration (the material used on many speakers from that time period for the soft rubber surround on the drivers can turn into dust by this time).

What is amazing is that MUCH older vintage speakers at WAY above that price range are a completely different matter. There are many drivers from the late 1920's throught the 1950's that, can be turned into fantastic systems. The problem here is that many such systems are impractically large in size (the speakers were originally meant for theaters), and because their superiority is no secret, such drivers are VERY expensive. The compression/horn drivers I am talking about are made by the likes of Western Electric, IPC and RCA. If you have a chance listen to modern horn systems built around such drivers (they DO NOT sound like Klipschorns or Altec Valencias and the like). There are modern companies making very good horn drivers, such as ALES, but some of these are even more expensive than the vintage classics.
Questions:
-audiophile? what is the definition? knowing that it is a documented fact that the human auditory system is very limited in its sound listening range, and that mid range frequencies are the most "agreable" to the ear.
-speakers: are we going around and round, and splitting hairs in four widthwise? The problem is that it is very hard to find somewhere where you can listen to speakers, without a salesman obnoxious presence...
Looking at Klipschorn "La Scala", plus I saw Carmen with Maria Callas at La Scala when I was a lot younger(lol)!
Memories!
Thoughts?
Just my 2 cents......Yes, I must say the speakers of today are better then the speakers of "vintage". But like Mofimadness, I currently own Infinity RS 1B's and still admire them. If I were to replace them today....I believe I would have to spend quite a bit more (15K-40K). Since I a retired and don't have the "extra" cash around.....(except for a cruise to Bermuda) I am very happy with my speakers. But todays speakers are better.

Rick (RWD)
One thing that I've noticed by studying this conundrum, is that vintage speakers tend to be older, while modern speakers tend to be newer.
I just thought that I'd point that out.

Better, is in the ear of the beerholder. ;^)
The problem is that it is very hard to find somewhere where you can listen to speakers, without a salesman obnoxious presence...
Hence, the growing popularity of the high end shows. Of course there are the problems of bad room acoustics, partnering equipment, yada yada, but those things are also true at a B&M store.
I thought my Ess Heils were the absolute best. I also had Kefs which were nice . For me it was a pair of Hanks Honkers made in Berkley Cal .These were comprised of huge JBL drivers in an enclosure made with 2x4s and 1 inch plywood. They were great when driven by my Macintosh loud or soft.
I'm afraid that I have a mostly contrarian opinion that falls in-line with Timlub's thinking on vintage vs. modern speakers. I don't think that modern speakers are necessarily better SONICALLY than their vintage brethren. Yes, BUILD-wise, the modern speaker has a lot of positive attributes going for it such as better manuf technologies & more tightly controlled manuf process for speaker drivers. Yet, given these 2 items, it does not mean that the speaker manuf will do a better job designing a better speaker today vs 30-40 years ago. In fact, quite the opposite! My experience from audio shows, listening to people's systems in the USA & over-seas tells me that most modern speakers are SONICALLY no better off than the vintage equivalents.
Modern speaker tout modern materials such as Kevlar, aluminum, Berrylium, etc, etc but I have yet to come across very few select speakers designers who can use these modern materials to their advantage to make a speaker that sounds like real music. 99% or more of the modern speakers just cover up their dismal performance but touting exotic materials, CNC machining, CAD design of their x-overs, etc, etc. When you have a 1-1 conversation with the speaker designer, I quickly realize that they have very little in-depth knowledge of the effects of their x-over & what it does to the phase of the music signal. Many don't even realize that preserving the phase of the music signal is the name of the game in speaker design. Many others do but they don't know how to solve the problem so they cobble together some highly compromised solution that is good enough knowing that the consumer's eyes will glaze over when the throw out some buzz words if they (manuf) are questioned by the consumer.
Further almost all modern speakers have impedance & phase curves are worse than the most hellacious roller-coaster you have ridden. These fast changing one-moment capacitative-next-moment-inductive impedance/phase plots will drive almost all amplifiers to their knees leading to only sonic dissatisfaction. Only the hardiest (& obviously very expensive) amplifiers will be able to muscle the modern speaker into producing reasonable sounding music. Most other amps will output sound from the speakers but they will leave a lot to be desired. The user will forever be on the audio merry-go-round. In fact, there is even a thread to this effect on the "tech" or "misc" forum.....
I realize that the OP has cited his SAE amp's specs & even informed us that Pass or a close associate of Pass had a hand in designing this amp. Having a famous person design an amp means only so much w.r.t. its sonic performance. The amp-speaker interface is very important (discussed at quite a bit of length in either the Amp or Speaker forum. Might be worthwhile reading that thread to narrow down which speaker type will fit best with your SAE amp) & most people put very little thought into it only to be disappointed later on. A solid-state amp's current delivery into a varying load, dynamic headroom, (for me) bipolar vs MOSFET, negative feedback, signal bandwidth, power bandwidth, output impedance are some of the criteria that set one amp apart from another to do the right job for the speaker in mind. If you are going to fix the amp (SAE) better ensure that the speaker selected can electrically mate with this amp.
Purchasing a modern speaker by no means implies sonic pleasure when installed in one's system. Just troll the Speaker archives on Audiogon & on AudioAsylum if you are not convinced. Very few modern speakers will give you long-term sonic pleasure & almost all of them will cost you more than $1500.
Many vintage speakers in good condition will last for a very long time - several have cited Infinity & AR as some of those brands. There are several planar speakers too that fit into the excellent-sounding, good-condition vintage speaker category. Yet another brand with superb sounding speaker is Tannoy - not mentioned before - esp. those that used their 15" Alnico magnet dual-concentric drivers. I believe one can DIY one's cabinet & also buy ready-made cabinets if one can get hold of these Alnico drivers. And, many vintage speakers will sound just as good if not better than modern day speakers with just a component upgrade to their x-over. Infact, I'll 2nd Larryi's post in saying that some of the best sonics I have heard are from speakers using 1920-1950s speaker drivers in modern manuf cabinets.
So, don't rule out vintage speakers from your search list. In the end, none might fit your budget/space/looks criteria, so be it....
Just my 2 cents worth, FWIW. YMMV.
Wow, that was quite a post!

I did a comparison of my own with a higher end Denon avr(3801) in 2 channel mode. I compared some 80's -90's speakers from Paradigm, polk audio, Mission, Boston Acoustics and Mirage. These were all just popular speakers that retailed for under 1000 except the Missions.

I've also got some almost new Tannoy DC 4 with the dual concentric drivers, mind you in a 4" version. They sounded better than all of them in the mids and highs reproduction. The Bostons sounded best with 80's rock, but with all of them the inner detail, the finer resolution was not there. The Missions were simply too bright for me.

I would submit that maybe you could get speakers back in the day with equivalent sound reproduction of today's better speakers. But now you can get that for a lot less money due to better manufacturing technology and materials.

And a 20-30 yr old speaker is going to develop issues with foam rot or crossovers. Most people are not speaker repair technicians.
Let me understand everyone's argument here. You are saying that If I spent $1500 on the used top of the line speakers from the seventies that were priced at tens of thousands of dollars then, but I can get for $1500 used now (in perfect working order!!) that new speakers that costs $1500 today are better sounding??? I'm not sure I agree with that assessment. Maybe, but I'm not sure.

If I found a pair of top of the line Infinity Kappa speakers that costs about $20,000 in the seventies, vs new speakers today that retail for $1500, I'm pretty sure the Infinities would be better sounding. Assuming that parts are all in good shape.

That would be my concern. Are the crossovers and drivers in good to excellent condition? The surrounds are probably dried out and cracked.

But, straight up, a NOS pair of excellent condition seventies top of the line speakers that I can buy now for $1500 vs brand new $1500 speakers today? Hmmmmmmm.

enjoy
But now you can get that for a lot less money due to better manufacturing technology and materials.
I disagree! Runnin, that's what I'm trying to say - today's newer materials have not necessarily translated into better sonics. For 99% of the speakers in today's market, that's an emphatic 'no' from my experience.
02-09-15: Runnin
Wow, that was quite a post!
LOL! :-) glad you "liked" it, Runnin....

one more point to the OP - make sure that the speakers you select are suitable for the Voltage Paradigm (as opposed to the Power Paradigm) since you will be using a solid-state power amp.
You can search the Audiogon archives for Power Paradigm & you'll find that Ralph from Atma-sphere has very generously given us a lot of info on this subject. Good topic to be versed in. Now, most of the speakers are voltage paradigm but not all of them are. If the speaker is currently manuf, the manuf will be able to shed light on what sort of amp works the best. If it's an out-of-production speaker, troll Google to get as much info you can on that speaker....
Probably more info than you bargained for but IMO important info to make a wise/educated selection. FWIW.
I'll guess we'll have to disagree then. The modern woofer/driver has long throw movement that wasn't possible in the 70's. Expensive designs have become cheap to manufacture, and improvements have trickled down to budget lines. The cone materials today can be stiffer, lighter, and therefore faster. Cabinets can be engineered by computer with programming that's done faster and better than any old school methods.

How long are the caps in a 30 yr old speaker going to last? Is it still even running within spec? In the 30 years, how often has it been abused? I've refoamed several speakers and it's not the easiest to do. Like I said, most people are not speaker technicians.

I think some are simply used, familiar and accustomed to the sound characteristics of their old school speakers. Anything new will of course be different, and immediately viewed as inferior.
I think I would be more willing to take a chance on vingage amplification(particularly receivers) than vinatage speakers, of course there are exceptions and due diligence goes a long way so choose wisely and most important try to have some fun
02-09-15: Runnin
I'll guess we'll have to disagree then.
yes, I think this would be the best. :-)

The modern woofer/driver has long throw movement that wasn't possible in the 70's.
ok, so? many vintage speakers never lacked a great bass foundation. And, who says that speakers of the '70s are the only speakers that qualify as "vintage"? what about speakers from the '80s & '90s? I would consider them as vintage as well.

The cone materials today can be stiffer, lighter, and therefore faster.
correct. How many speaker designers know how to maximize this in their designs such that their end product sounds like music & not hi-end sound?? Very few - less than a handful. So, merely having the best materials does not mean a superlative speaker.

Cabinets can be engineered by computer with programming that's done faster and better than any old school methods
correct again - CAD makes cabinet design more convenient; not necessarily easier. Still how many modern speaker designers get their cabinets done correctly so that the box does not resonant, the baffle is strong enough, doesnt splatter the hi freq, reduces the comb filtering, etc, etc so that their end product sounds like music & not hi-end sound?? Again, less than a handful.

How long are the caps in a 30 yr old speaker going to last?
agreed, they have a finite life. So, if you read my orig post, I did clearly mention that new x-over components is very likely needed. Yeah, not everyone is a speaker tech but a lot of people on this forum are savvy DIYers. IMO, if the speaker is worth the music is reproduces then having work done on the x-over is worth it.

In the 30 years, how often has it been abused?
Yup, this is definitely an important question. It's no different than buying a modern day speaker. Yeah, abusing the speaker many times (vintage) vs. fewer times (modern) can (will?) reduce the longevity of the drivers. But who's to say that a fewer times abused modern day speaker's driver will last any longer?? Like Metman wrote - "...and due diligence goes a long way so choose wisely...".

Look, Runnin, in my original post I did not write that the OP has to buy vintage speakers; I wrote that he should not dismiss vintage speakers. You can read my original post again - this is clearly written. And, I still maintain that a half-baked modern day speaker design is not much better off than a vintage speaker. Half-baked is half-baked not withstanding the newer materials, manuf tech, CAD, etc, etc. None of these newer designs assure the user of a better product.

I think some are simply used, familiar and accustomed to the sound characteristics of their old school speakers. Anything new will of course be different, and immediately viewed as inferior.
Are you referring to yourself here?? I feel the comment certainly does not apply to me - I've owned a few modern day speakers & if I find one today that sounds like real music, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it....

Bomb, at the end of the day, your following comment says all one needs to know about your bias.

I've owned a few modern day speakers & if I find one today that sounds like real music, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it….
02-09-15: Runnin
Bomb, at the end of the day, your following comment says all one needs to know about your bias.

I've owned a few modern day speakers & if I find one today that sounds like real music, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it….
Runnin, I'm afraid I don't understand how this shows a bias??? Please explain to me & all of us. Thanks.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
Thank you for the info all of you gentlemen and Ladies!
I still think that 80-90 speakers are better than modern! Example: Paul Klipsch=23 patents in the field! Any modern cad software computer "GURU" engineer that can say the same? Bob Carver? The whole dedicate team at Yamaha/Sony/JBL/Klipsch/ not bothered by any ancillaries expenses to take into account, but with the sole mission of developing and building the absolute best speaker possible, from a SONIC point of view, because they had unlimited budgets? Yes , I admit, the design is boring, unlike some atrocities that I have seen today! The point is that those companies, such as Sony, Klipsch, Carver, etc.. during the late 70 through early 2000 were driven by sound, not by esthetics, design, marketing and the such.
Just my two cents. Remember, I am just the cook!
The last question is :
VOLTAGE PARADIGM ? can anyone explain in everyday terms?
And by the way, I have changed and refoamed some speakers.
Looking right now at Infinity and Klipsch Vintage speakers.
Thank you.
To me, it is not only the speaker itself that matters, but also the amplifiers that will work well with the particular speaker. I personally don't like the sound of most high powered amps, both tube and solid state, and so both efficiency and how easy a load the speaker presents to the amp matters a lot. Most modern speakers, even those that are quite efficient (e.g., Wilsons), are not at all compatible with the amps that I like. Is it the sound of the Magico speaker that I don't like; is it the sound of the amp being used to driver the Magico that I don't like; does it matter which is the root cause?

While it is a good thing that advances in materials and design keep coming along (this affords designers a much wider range of options), it is not always the case that the latest design/material is the best option for a particular implementation. As a very rough generalization, I still prefer the sound of woofers with paper cones and pleated paper surrounds that have VERY short excursion capability. Yes, this does limit acoustic output at the very lowest frequencies, and it does require use of very large cabinets, but, I like the variety of tone and texture to the bass and lower midrange that is afforded by such drivers. There are current manufacturers that make cost is no object speakers that could be made with any kind of driver available that utilize such "old" technology (an absurdly expensive example is the Living Voice flagship).
Bombbaywalla, I agree with much/most of what you say.
To my ears though one guy who does get things right with off the wall design is Anthony Gallo.
Any thoughts on him?
You must like Triangles Larryi, I love their pleated 5" drivers .
02-10-15: Schubert
Bombbaywalla, I agree with much/most of what you say.
To my ears though one guy who does get things right with off the wall design is Anthony Gallo.
Any thoughts on him?
thanks, Schubert.

I'm afraid not - I don't think i've heard any of his speakers. Sorry!
VOLTAGE PARADIGM ? can anyone explain in everyday terms?
Rocknnroller, here is a white paper written on Voltage/Power paradigm by Ralph of Atma-sphere:
http://www.atma-sphere.com/Resources/Paradigms_in_Amplifier_Design.php
Rockanroller, here is my feeble minded attempt to explain voltage paradigm for those that share my huge intellect.
A Voltage paradigm amplifier is one that is capable of maintaining its voltage output at any given impedance, say from 2 to 16 ohms.... If you give an 8 ohm load a consistent voltage, the amplifier will give you its capable power output, If the Voltage is maintained for 4 ohms, the power output will double, if Voltage is still maintained at 2 ohms, power will double again.
In a power Paradigm amplifier, the amplifier is designed to give you a constant power at any given impedance, typically 4 to 16 ohms.
I'm sure someone out there can straighten out any imperfections in that explanation, but it will put you in the league of a correct answer.
I'm not sure that modern drivers with their hyped exotic materials are all that much better than the old plain paper, etc. drivers that preceded them, especially when one considers their performance to cost ratios.
IMHO, many of the used late 80's through early 00's speakers from manufactures such as Dunlavy, Magnaplanar, Thiel, Vandersteen, etc., can more than hold their own against comparably priced new options.
If you like the sound of a particular speaker with a particular amp then buy it. Doesn't matter when it was made if in good condition. It doesn't matter how good or not all the rest are.