Not sure there would be a " modern " equivalent. The ADS Analogue Digital System speakers were really good in their time. I had a pair of ADS 610's, clean and accurate. That was back in the 70's
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Those old ADS speakers were real gems. I still have a pair of 1290's in my HT system. I agree it may be hard to find a modern equivalent. You might want to help us out with what your 1090's do that you really like and want to capture in a current design. For instance, there are two aspects of the old ADS line that really appeal to me. The tight, fast bass, and the overall timbral accuracy. In those two respects, I find them similar to Magnepan speakers. In fact, since 1984, I have used only ADS or Magnepan speakers in my main rig.
What Brownsfan said!!!
I had a pair of ADS L1090s from 1987 to 1996. Since then I have had a couple of pairs of Mirage speakers and liked them a lot; I still use a pair of M5si's in my HT rig.
BUT I started craving that neutral, articulate, room-filling sound, and Brownsfan is onto something here. I now have a pair of Magneplanar 1.7s, and in spite of the wildly different form factor, the 1.7s do a 2013 version of what I liked about the ADS: They are neutral, extended, room-filling, and are excellent at ranging from solo acoustic instrument or voice all the way up to full scale orchestra with chorus.
Although the L1090s were phenomenal in 1987 when I bought them, I'll take my new 1.7s over them. They are even more resonance-free and noise-free, even better at sorting out the complexities of large scale orchestral + choral music, and have a relaxed ease of presence I find even more engaging and endearing. Tonal balance and bass extension are pretty similar as well.
They are even about the same money. L1090s in 1987 retailed at $1100/pair. Adjusted for inflation this is equivalent to $2186 now. Today a pair of 1.7s with optional aluminum trim retail at $2100.
I bought a pair of L810s new and owned/enjoyed them for 20 years. Over the next 5 years, I "upgraded" several times but was never fully satisfied with my speakers again until I picked up my current Aerial 9s. Mike Kelly who is the owner/designer at Aerial, is the same guy who designed the L810s. If I ever upgrade again, I suspect it will be to Aerial 20Ts.
Thanks for the ideas.
What continues to impress about my ADS are the way the tweeters and midrange speakers 'image" the vocals within most songs.
If you find a sweet spot in front and toe-in the speakers just right, you can "see" hear the vocals at different locations on the clock.
I have closed my eyes many times and pointed to where I "hear" the vocals.
Natalie Merchant's Tigerlily "The River" is a great example of hearing her voice not coming from either speaker, but about exactly in the middle of both speakers.
Almost like "being there"
Well, here's a thought: The L1090s he already owns have the same proprietary ADS soft dome midrange and tweeter as the much larger, harder to find, and more expensive L1590s. In the 27 years since the L-series came out, powered subwoofers have gotten more self-contained, faster, deeper, more compact, and exponentially less expensive. For around $1200 the OP could get a pair of Gallo TR-1D or SVS SB12-NSD subs. Both models are compact, sealed like the L1090s, excellent for music, and dig down into the 20 Hz region.
When I think back on my L1090s, my only real complaint was that I wanted more bass extension. Back when I sold them most subwoofers were still slow and large. Today it would be easy to match up some subs. Currently I even have subs that blend nicely with my Magnepan 1.7s, but I may look into the Gallos or SVSs to get extension into the 20s.
I owned L880/2 for 15 years, powered by NAD and Luxman amps. Now, in a secondary system, I use L1290/2 that I picked up used for $350 locally some years ago. Mated with a Harman Kardon 430 receiver from the early '70s (a gem), they sound shockingly good and make me wonder sometimes why I spend so much on other gear. From a cost/benefit standpoint, this combo is way off the charts.
I kept the L1290 in my main system with a 100w/c pure class A amp until 6 or 7 years ago and then replaced them with Vandersteen 3A Signature. I found the Vandies, while not without their faults, to be quite a bit better in most areas except bass depth and quality, and width of sweetspot, which is very narrow in the 3A Sig. The seal-cab ADS bass has a palpable character that's very hard to beat.
I've since sold the Vandies and twice moved on to much pricier speakers and amps but kept the L1290/2. There is something special about that generation of ADS. So maybe check out the 3A Sig if you're jonesin' for a change but hold on to your L1090. You'll be glad you did.