That being said, no I have not tried playing vintage and current speakers side by side.
Given the advances in materials and electronics, I would expect more current speakers to provide better sound reproduction. I say this as a Vandersteen owner who knows that Mr. V. constantly integrates new parts and electronics into the venerable 2 and 3 series speakers in order to produce better sound. A 1980 Vandy 2 will not be as good as a current 2ce Sig.
That being said, no I have not tried playing vintage and current speakers side by side.
Just proves all Vandies are a highly musical ear pleasing speaker that’s gotten better and better over time.
I personally almost bought the used pair of Quattro woods that was Audiogon a couple of weeks back.I have 2 friends that own the Treo ct and they just love them.
Richard is a highly respected manufacturer of very solid products with no hype and just solid information.
Good luck to you with your search,
I know there are some old schoolers around, but most of them have moved on from High End Audio since the push for "discrete" in the mid 90's. Most newer speakers (including drivers) are far less musical than the older speakers. You can evidence this by the folks walking around saying their speakers are so revealing they won't play "bad recordings". Well that's a bunch of road apples. High enders over the last couple of decades have been lied to about the state of affairs with recordings. High End Audio has been in decline since the mid 90's and most of the folks are in denial. You have a couple of reviewers right now who couldn't find their way out of playback session to save their lives. How do I know? They were once clients of mine begging for help. Pre-90's you had people making their recordings sound good on their systems, post 90's people aren't even being told that every recording is different. The concept of tuning in a recording is a lost science except for a few folks adjusting their TT's and Tape heads. The rest think plug & play, speaker placement and wishful thinking is what this hobby is about. This whole chapter of the hobby is one big mess, while the rest of the music lovers are getting into listening, and one by one realizing the High End Audio is nothing more than a revolving door sales club. Praising the new and damning last years models. Today's High End Audio is coming to a painful death, and the only ones who don't know it are the guys who still have a little money in their man cave account to burn. Hey, this isn't me talking, these are the words from the folks getting ahold of me to help them get back on track or to at least get somewhat tuned up. Most of the older folks who call me wish they could go back to one of their systems between the 70's-90's. They were sold the ladder climb only to find they were already there, they just needed to tune things in.
I'm a speaker designer as well, but ask me after all these years and all these new driver designs did I end up going back to simple woofers and paper tweeters? I use 1 cap in my speakers, and my speakers are as light as a feather. They have tuning bolts on them so your can adjust the vibrations, simple right? Their built like a guitar. These other older designers have their stories as well, and together the hobby was about music. Then the paradigm broke and it was all about money over the soundstage. Hobbyist were so compulsive they never even took the time to look at why sound was great back in the mid 80's. Spend this, buy that, upgrade. High end audio created a guilt driven fever that was completely based on false advertising. Let me just say this in closing on my long windedness. How did a hobby that was based on tuning in every recording because they knew every recording was different and unique end up with only a volume control? A volume control, that's your adjustment. In the past audiophiles knew what recordings were. High End Audio took things a completely different direction. Only thing is, the rest of the world made even more adjustments available while High End Audio forgot what the hobby even was.
@michaelgreenaudio your bang on to what ive been thinking. Audio has gone down the proverbial dumpster. Today its all about audio jewellery than audio musicality. Whos got the nicest most expensive toy.
Can i get your opinion about turntables and tonearms in my other post. Modern turntables Tonearms and to lesser extent have really confused the heck out of me. Should i spend tens of thousands to what many claim are the best tonearms and spaceage turntables or insanely priced cartridges that cost more than a new car? Will it make a major sonic difference?
"Musical" Is that somehow contrary to accurate sound reproduction? It sure sounds like it judging by Vinny and Mike's diatribes. As far as I can tell, there's vintage audio fans and there's HiFi fans, and they're not the same people.
Sorry, vintage folks, but you're working with some inverted logic here. Mike is up there calling a system that reveals crappy recordings as crap a bunch of BS. Maybe if the studio monitors it was mixed on weren't a couple of hazy, vague boxes like old JBL's, the recording wouldn't be crap. Some artists actually give a hoot how their recordings sound.
I'm pretty sure my stereo's job is to faithfully reproduce the signal it's given. If that signal sucks, I expect lousy noises to come out. If that doesn't happen, I don't find that to be a strength. That's a weakness. If this thing just glossed over such failings in a recording, it would be totally useless for giving feedback on mixes, which a buddy of mine wants from time to time. If a mix sounds good on a stereo better than almost anything anybody else will be hearing it on, it's probably going to sound great on almost anything.
Should i spend tens of thousands to what many claim are the best tonearms and spaceage turntables or insanely priced cartridges that cost more than a new car? Will it make a major sonic difference?The best approach is to listen and decide for yourself.
The point about restoring vintage is well taken.... needs to be up to snuff....
and frankly I appreciate and use the two tone controls on the MX-110
i think that is a virtue McIntosh mostly continues to this day....
now trying to to convince me that a tea saucer sized Bozak tweeter can reproduce the shimmer on Gold Dust Woman... well it would take a “ Connection” to make that happen.....
I want to answer your question about tables but first I’d like to make a comment about the other fella’s post.
It might be helpful if I introduce myself to you. My name is Michael Green. I work in the acoustical, mechanical and electrical field developing state of the art vibratory transfer and tuning components. Most of my work is in the music business, but I also meet and consult with some of the most up to date and modern technologies in other industries as well. Tonight for example I was meeting with engineers for the medical profession discussing tuning MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines. If you look at my resume and history you will see that I work in the areas where fundamentals and harmonics work together to provide the most efficient results.
In the audio world I keep pretty up to date, and have needed to for the last several decades. I’m not about High End Audio fluff my associates will tell you. I say this because many recordings are sent to me every year both old and new so I can tune them to specifically see if they are bad recordings or not, or bad sources or not. Fact is very few recordings are bad recordings or bad copies of recordings. Usually with some tuning every recorded code can be revealed. However if you don’t have a system that is variable you will only be able to play successfully a few recordings’ codes. It doesn’t matter if a speaker is 40 years old or built yesterday, the same methods and paradigms apply.
I’ll be happy to demo this for you.
Hi Vinny55, ok to your question.
If you look back in time, or better lived through it, you will find different eras where designers and engineers excelled over other times. This is important in our hobby because we are talking about music and there are always those guys who are music making gurus, and all of these gurus have their perfect moment. Most of these audio experts make their very best product and then are asked to make something that is more accommodating for particulars among their clients. It’s very common for the base model design to out perform that same designers flagship or sexy looking models. Huge compromises come with looks in audio, also price tags. Again around the mid 90’s you can see this come into play almost across the board. I knew many of these designers personally and would not put them on the spot or ruin their sales pitch, but if any smart camper looks at the product lines’ histories you can see this taking place.
The way to tell if a product has been over built or designed is to do what we have talked about here. If your a TT guy, go to your used record shop and pickup 20 different recordings, from different times. There’s no reason why all of those LPs (condition good of course) would sound anything but great on a flexible rig.
It all goes back to when designers lost the ability to design products that played harmonics as faithfully as fundamentals. Now a designer who has no idea what I just said, is not going to be able to play a wide range of recordings. Does that make the recording or copy bad? Of course not. It means that the playback system is limited. That system more than likely plays some recordings great and the rest poorly because there are no adjustments for him to make, or he doesn’t even know systems can be tuned. And if any audiophile doesn’t know they can tune a system, honestly they’re not very far along in the hobby (ending their learning curve too soon). I fault reviewers a lot for this malpractice in the hobby. I toured for 3 solid years for free tuning up systems and was on call for as many folks as I could get to. This is covered in the issues of Stereophile and TAS and all the others. People can go back and read all about it. It was called "the tuning revolution". It was the right time for the High End Audio to advance, but they chose the money route instead.
If this hobby would have continued in the method of tuning High End Audio would have a completely different look and function today. High End Audio would also have systems that played all music to a higher level of performance, instead of thousands of systems all playing something different and all claiming to be better than the other. There’s absolutely no way I would invest another dime in audio until I explored tuning. It’s just throwing good money away. Many of your fellow listeners have been tuning for years.
Michael, with all due respect, your argument makes no sense and just sounds like gazing at the past through Rose colored glasses. Flexibility? Most speakers these days are intended and quite content to not be driven by electronics with tone controls. Does anybody even build speakers with tone controls built into them? We're way past east coast, west coast, and British sound. Flat response is a fairly narrowly defined idea these days. Speakers from 40 plus years ago didn't even pretend or claim to be flat. They were boldly east, west, or British.
I don't much agree with your idea about modern speakers not reproducing harmonics either. Having built an amp with only a DMM for test equipment, I've had no option but to listen very carefully and learn what distortion and it's phase sounded like. I built an F5 and it's got 3 pots per channel. 2 adjust bias, one adjust feedback balance. I've spent ungodly numbers of hours adjusting those pots on each channel until the sounded identical. And I wouldn't be able to do that unless my very modern speakers were pretty sensitive to harmonics of distortion. I can't tell you numbers, but I can tell you that the amp is tuned to a modest amount of second order negative phase distortion.
Ok Kosst, lets look at this through your glasses then.
"Flexibility? Most speakers these days are intended and quite content to not be driven by electronics with tone controls."
Really? Name one.
"Does anybody even build speakers with tone controls built into them?"
www.michaelgreenaudio.net It’s called a Tuning Bar.
"Flat response is a fairly narrowly defined idea these days."
Correct, because it is an inaccurate assumption. Speakers can not be made to be flat in playback without equalization. This has always been the case old or new.
"Having built an amp with only a DMM for test equipment, I’ve had no option but to listen very carefully and learn what distortion and it’s phase sounded like."
With all due respect, that was with one specific set of conditions. But it’s cool that you built an amp. I think building amps teaches us a lot about the amp/speaker/room interactions. However where exactly does the rose color glasses come into play here, if you don’t mind me asking?
What specific drivers and or speakers do you consider the most up to date? I have several of them sitting right here in my possession, maybe we can talk more specifically.
The problem with the argument of the advance of technology and how it has been to the sonic betterment of modern speakers largely roots in how it relates to different speaker principles when comparing different eras here. Vintage speakers, certainly over 50-60 years ago, had a closer tie to the necessity of plain old physics in being much larger, and usually horn-driven. The frequency extremes weren’t the highest priority as opposed to what was in between, but while their size and principle came as a natural necessity out of the lack of amp power at the time, size and the adherence to physics is also indispensable in emulating acoustic live sound characteristics - there’s no way around it. Moreover, at the time a sound reproduction system wasn’t something one could easily tuck away, but neither did the mentality call for it nor did physical stature allow it. There was a certain pride in the big pieces of furniture as natural centerpieces almost in the homes they were found, whereas now and for the latest decades interior design dictates for such systems to be a secondary consideration and being in line with the existing decoration; movies are eager to display a B&O console and speakers as that which is found in wealthier homes, but you rarely if ever see a dedicated and space consuming stereo take up the picture. Even when audiophiles may resort to dedicated listening rooms the bi-products of transistor amps in some incarnation are still in full manifestation with overall smaller, direct radiating speakers.
It seems that neither era will come to a fuller fruition, and hence an overall advance to truly speak of, unless the hallmarks of each are combined - that is, for physics to be accommodated while technology joins along. Those that blindly states modern speakers qua being modern are automatically more transparent and uninhibited in their presentation compared to vintage speakers (or their modern iterations) are simply oblivious to the lack the of context and a fuller picture. I’d claim that audio in some, and more fundamental respects have been in a decline that took its full measure decades ago, and the advance in technology can’t alleviate this within the existing paradigm.
"It seems that neither era will come to a fuller fruition, and hence an overall advance to truly speak of, unless the hallmarks of each are combined - that is, for physics to be accommodated while technology joins along."
This is why I am excited. It's also why I'm back promoting more again. The latest paradigm is here and has been here for some time. It's just that HEA is having a hard time turning the corner. Technology makes things simpler not more complicated. What we are seeing right now in real time is exactly what you described. There are a few learning curves to get through because HEA didn't know or didn't care to know, but that's all over. Every day now there are folks moving toward a simpler superior performance. But, it's so simple many are having a hard time making the jump, it's more of a drag them to the water.
Here's the good news though. There's no turning back. Folks can kick and scream all they want but the rate of people converting is picking up speed. I have people emailing me every day about converting their systems over. It's why I'm here speaking on this forum. 10 years ago HEA audiophiles were not ready to concede that the over built components and speakers failed to deliver the basic fundamentals of playback. Many, I'm sure, hate the idea that I'm even here. And that would all be the end of it, if not for the fact that hobbyist are turning away from the HEA paradigm in groves.
I'll say it again for folks to read "all recordings have a different recorded code and that requires a variable playback system to play all those codes". There is absolutely no way around this. We can buy as many systems as we want and play the Plug & Play game all we want, but in order to playback recordings in that fashion it would require hundreds of systems per listener. Some how this "one sound" system approach got into the main HEA brain, but this concept doesn't work. It's an never ending chase, and not one soul on this planet has ever achieved a one sound system that plays all recordings. I don't care who you are or how much money thrown or how much someone lies, recordings are codes, and they are all different codes. Not so much good and bad, but different. The component chase will never work, and has never worked. All these listeners are doing is listening to the same recordings with different outcomes. And no matter how many outcomes there are, it's still at best only going to serve a few recordings with any kind of accuracy.
There's a whole other chapter to this hobby and HEA is having a very tough time getting their heads around it.
Since this is all opinion anyway, I have not done direct comparison of the particular speakers and manufacturers you listed. I enjoy listening to the vintage speakers and I still have old Klipsch, JBL, etc. I also enjoy listening to more modern speakers, so I also have B&W, Magnepan, etc. It seems to me that the vintage speakers, when designed, may have focused on different attributes than the modern speakers. Back in the day, the major concerns seemed to be reducing distortion, creating large amounts of bass, and clear high frequencies, etc. Today it seems to have shifted to transparency, imaging, etc. This may just be my perception, but this is what it looks like when comparing old vs. new product literature, and that's what it sounds like also. The old speakers I have sound good to me, but they may not have the transparency or resolution of the modern speakers.
I work with the most modern of transducer I design loudspeakers have been doing so for over 25 years. I sort out designs for other manufacturers as well as design transducers. Many products on the market have a bit of me in them. I also collect and restore vintage. I became interested in vintage designs as my knowledge of loudspeaker design grew and I read researched much of what the talented designers of the past wrote or created again much of this is still in use in audiophile products. When I started collecting vintage designs I looked for the best of what the past offered never expecting much beyond that it was cool and interesting expecting that it could never be a equal to my audiophile systems. But I found the opposite many of the best loudspeaker designs of the past were better or equal to modern offering and some with just a few modern upgrades are SOTA today. Some offer levels of performance unavailable to audiophiles buying only new designs. Sure if wanting a bookshelf sized loudspeaker you may not find what you like in vintage but if you can handle 12-15 inch woofers than give it a try buy right and if you dont like you can break even or even profit on resale. Still its not all vintage is great its some vintage is and honestly most all will need a few modern updates if expecting SOTA.
"maybe it exists but a seperate thread to discuss tuning might be in order..."
Yep, I’m thinking about it. "maybe it exists" doesn’t quite convince me to do it though. If folks don’t already understand how recordings are made to be tuned, having me come up and preach might stir up too many negative types. Maybe I should start a thread about the "recorded code" first and see how many understand how this works.
Michael Green, you've got my interest. I'm here to learn and confess my ignorance of the "tuning" you speak of and no idea what the "recorded code" is. I am teachable though, so bring it on.
When you said tuning I thought of my 5 band built in equalizer on my Mac 6200 integrated amp. I use it often, very often, because I can "tune" a recording to what sounds best to my ears. Mood affects my turning of those dials as sometimes I want a different sound. If I want more sizzle from the cymbals, I can get it. Mood for more bottom end, I got it. I'm not an always "neutral" guy. It may not be how the guys mixing it in the studio intended, but hey, it's my gig in my listening area. I'm sure some would say I'm not a purist, but you listen to what makes you happy. Like Popeye said, "I am who's I am".
Michael, virtually every modern speaker does well without tone controls. That's why they've virtually disappeared from high end gear. Sure, there's a few speakers out there that have adjustment jumpers or interchangable resistors for tone control, but that's a very rare thing. Flat response really is a fairly well defined idea these days. Nobody is selling bright, shouty speakers like JBL was trying to hock in the 70's and 80's. Nobody is selling speakers like those dark Rogers 3/5 clones of the 80's.
You talk about some mysterious "code" in recordings. I guess every producer has their own idiosyncratic preferences, but I don't buy that there's some code I need to manipulate my system to interpret. I suppose if you really wanted to hear the music as the producer intended you'd need a system that could emulate the speakers, amplifiers, and mixing rooms of every studio in the world. Of course that's assuming there's some huge variety between, which there mostly isn't. Most use thoroughly modern equipment that conforms to that widely held belief of what flat response is. As long as my stereo performs roughly inside that envelope of acceptable flatness, there's no need to fiddle with controls, which I do have but never touch. Besides, I hear variations between any two tracks on the same album. Should I get up and tweaked some 32 band EQ to make sure every track sounds the same before the next song plays?
True to form the older boxes packed with underfelt just seem to have that warm sound, I put a pair of qsc/qst main drivers into my ar8's and they sound better than day 0 and handle the output from my HK 5000 with no problems.
Also have a pair of sw T1's, totally amazing, reworked a pair of JBL control 1's and superb, have a pair of 4 way sdat cat leb 404's which have shaming reviews, cost me R400 odd in 2004 as we delt with alpha united Beng ,,Jacky..still one of my favorite pairs...after ripping the carpets out and laminate strip wood look floor, my sound was terrible...the answer was to run 2 pairs of bookshelf..the upgraded AR8 and nsx90 aiwa retro..a total of 14 drivers to cover the spectrum..amazing sound, when i want to make a noise i hook up the leb 404's...mind you its a beautiful balanced noise!
Colin CT SA.
Another point is that I have the pleasure of listening to near every make and model, the older retro amps just have that pure sweet tone, unlike most of the digital systems on the market...most of my customers who had upgraded to digital ran their retro in parallel to sort the sound or just gave the digital to their kid....RETRO Rules unless you are spoilt and can afford REAL HIFI systems of today, like HK, their software engineers have sat for days fixing the sound on such like the mas100, It had to sound like a PM650..of which i have as well as an old Sony and more....at one time i was running the cats with the ar/aiwa..22 drivers and i can power up the sony and have another 4 drivers going...I will leave the Pioneer L7 to run alone...that is in the pioneer museum for a reason...the control 1's are perfect for that baby!
I'm not a guy of unlimited means by any stretch. My speakers are by far the most expensive things I own. I wouldn't have a Pass amp if I hadn't built the thing transistor by resistor myself. Vintage is a good bargain, but getting my ESS speakers up to par cost almost as much as building the amp. Restoring the Marantz units wasn't exactly cheap or easy either. To get the system I want means a lot more learning and building. WAY cheaper and more effective than buying stuff. I'm thinking my next project will be a raspberry pi based DAC. They've got some nifty tube based hat's for those these days.
I listen to JBL L100s I purchased in 1975. I have upgraded the crossover to the Troels Graveson diy design. They sound fantastic, better than new. I recently bought a pair of ATC SCM19s for a small listening space because the JBLs were too big. They both sound excellent. The ATCs have a little more detail and a little less bass, perfect for my listening area. The JBLs fill the living room with their lush sound such that they sound good in the kitchen.
With the new crossover in the JBLs, in an area where both pair could play as well as they are able, the JBLs would give the ATCs a run for their money.
I had my beloved Klipschorns for 17 years, and expected to have them for life. Fate intervened and because of a move, I needed to sell them. I spent a full year and travelled hundreds of miles seeking a worthy replacement -- listening to almost everything out there under $4,000. I ended up with Spatial Audio M3s, and haven't looked back. I didn't think I'd ever say this, but the M3s surpass the Khorns in every way, mids, highs, and especially sound stage. They have taken me to an entirely new level of quality and enjoyment. I'm a fan of vintage, and have some vintage pieces in my system, but in this case, the new is a significant improvement over the old. The Khorns ruled in their day, but its a new day.
Hi Tomic and Heard
Ok, when I get back into town I will start on how to get this rolling that makes the most sense and ruffles the fewest feathers.
I also want to make sure Agon is ok with me posting links to the TuneLand forum. There's tons and tons of this info over there.
One more thing, I'm obviously one of the older designers and manufacturers in this hobby still kicking, and I understand and respect salesman phobia, but with my schedule I don't have time to debate sidetracks. So if the Mods don't want me here talking about "The Method of Tuning" tell me now, cause I don't dig flames and internet trolls. I'm here to show a method of listening that has changed thousands of listeners experiences and does so every day.
One last thing, people who buy my stuff I love and appreciate, but I'm here to not sell products as much as I am the method. I already have thousands of Agon members who have my products, thank you BTW, but lets keep the products as separate from the method as we can so trolls don't monopolize the thread or threads. If this does happen I hope all understand if I go off to do my job. But if this is done correctly I think we'll have a good time.
@michaelgreenaudio I want to thank you personally for your contributions to this hobby.
Years ago, component and ancillary changes in my second system yielded much less than the expected impact. After a while and many attempts to rectify the situation, I implemented my own version of your RoomTunes, made with burlap we sewed up stuffed with long-hair carded wool a local mill produced. The effect allowed the sound of the individual components and ancillaries changes to now come forward.
This allowed me to understand why price does not ultimately determine the system success. Folks often stress the importance of synergy in this vein, but the room and system setup therein prove crucial. Every one of us regularly hear systems made up of good components sound much better than systems composed of great (or more often, just more expensive) components set up / integrated less well.
Audiophiles fool themselves believing tone controls no longer exist in this hobby. Consider the countless dollars and discussion threads spent on the hopes for and sonic effect of changing whatever (loudspeaker, power / pre amplifier, tube buffer, CD player, turntable, cartridge) component, resistor / capacitor, vacuum tube, cable, isolation device, tweak, etc. in the quest toward the ultimate destination
Thanks Trelja! I love what I do!
This is a cool paragraph
"Audiophiles fool themselves believing tone controls no longer exist in this hobby. Consider the countless dollars and discussion threads spent on the hopes for and sonic effect of changing whatever (loudspeaker, power / pre amplifier, tube buffer, CD player, turntable, cartridge) component, resistor / capacitor, vacuum tube, cable, isolation device, tweak, etc. in the quest toward the ultimate destination"
Text book HEA audiophiles can be a weird bunch at times.
a pleasure meeting you
Yeah.... I'm going to beg to differ with that. Those knobs and sliders from yesteryear have a vastly more significant impact on tone than changing some resistors in a typical amp or line stage component. Sure, you can swap out a resistor or two in a few topologies and get alterations in gain upwards of 15dB, but that's across the full bandwidth. There's no doubt guys like me fiddling with distortion are very deliberately using that as a tone control, but it's of a completely different nature and magnitude than turning the knobs on the front of my Marants. I don't think there's much comparison with what I'm doing and what a guy with a 16 band EQ is doing.