Todays Speakers vs Vintage Speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mark Davis, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Active Member

    Richmond, Virginia
    I was at a Audio store and the guy there said that although Vintage speakers are nostalgic. They don't even come close to the sound that is produced with today's speakers.

    He basically said that with all of the 3D modeling and technology they can create speakers that produce the absolute best sound.

    I had another person say he didn't understand that because all you are doing is pushing air out of box.

    I am sure components and materials have improved over the years along along with technology.

    Anyone have any input on Today's speakers vs the Advents and Kloss and other vintage speakers of yesteryear?.
    FOH Engineer likes this.


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  2. EngineerNate

    EngineerNate AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Vintage speakers can have a sound that is pleasing and some people like the euphonics they provide.

    I don't think there's any argument that speaker driver technology and design has come a long way since the 1970s. Guys like Paul Barton and Andrew Jones have driver tech and measurement tools that Kloss would only have dreamed of utilizing.

    I enjoy both.
  3. Harvestor

    Harvestor Super Member

    I'm not going to argue with technological advancements and material advancement..
    But I will say that Loudspeakers made by a certain few manufacturers in the 60's 70's early 80s were made with a quality that would cost many thousands of dollars to purchase today, and almost No Manufacturers make Big box Speakers like they used to for today's market and if you find any then you will have to pay Big Dollars for them.
    Today's "Trends" are all so similar
    ( smaller thin & narrow Small Driver's ) and Not much for Cabinets.....
    And Not much for your my opinion.
    The rich and Full Sound that Larger Box Speakers of the 70's by a few great manufacturers can be had on the vintage market today for much more affordable price than what it costs "if" you find a manufacturer making something similar today.
    The day's are gone when you could go shopping for a pair of speakers at places like TECH HI-FI or The Gramaphone and Purchase a pair of High Quality Speakers with beautiful wood Cabinets Made in the United States and not have to spend multiple Thousands of dollars....
    I look at SALK SOUND Speakers and while beautiful and made in the USA ... I'm blown away by the Prices and most all of them are using small Woofers and are narrow Cabinets....
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  4. CopperWizard

    CopperWizard Well-Known Member

    Eugene, OR
    My thoughts exactly.
    And what might that be to your ears?
    What is hifi anyway?
    Goggle1824, nefertem7 and Harvestor like this.
  5. OutlawSun

    OutlawSun Active Member

    Dallas, Texas
    I think it really depends on the speakers you're comparing and the listener's ability to hear certain frequencies. Not say that there haven't been some significant advancements and aren't speakers now that clearly beat older designs especially when it comes to reproducing high frequencies (I don't worry about bass so much if you want deep bass add a decent subwoofer). But I suspect some of the best of yesteryear can still give a lot of modern speakers a run for their money outside of the really high end stuff. KLH 17s for example are really precise and not particularly euphoric pianos, horns, and drums sound fantastic on them. You can even pick out individual strokes in a drum roll because there's no flab to them. They hold up extremely well with stuff like clean sounding New Wave.
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  6. swechsler

    swechsler Frog Whisperer

    7th row center
    I think the tech advancements are seen more on the lower end. That's not to say that they're not used in more expensive speakers as well, but back in the day, a cheap pair of speakers sounded like a cheap pair of speakers. These days, most inexpensive speakers sound pretty decent, if not truly 100% high fidelity. But way back when, manufacturers still put lots of money into R&D, and it showed with their higher end speakers. Think about a Magnepan Tympani or Infinity QLS. Do you think there are many modern speakers that are significantly better than those?


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  7. Harvestor

    Harvestor Super Member

    MBL Extreme
  8. swechsler

    swechsler Frog Whisperer

    7th row center
    Well, sure, if you're talking about "cost no object" speakers. I purposely didn't mention the Infinity IRS V for that reason.
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  9. Harvestor

    Harvestor Super Member

    I auditioned them a few times with friends that had the money to buy them...
  10. Todd Dodds

    Todd Dodds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    South of Asheville NC

    I'm thinking that automotive technology advancements in the past 50 years has been 10 fold speaker technology advancements.. And yet, it's hard to beat the ride of a big ol' Electra 225, Cadillac or Galaxy.
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  11. OutlawSun

    OutlawSun Active Member

    Dallas, Texas
    Bass is definitely more prominent particularly with as prevalent as subwoofers have become. But tweeters have improved quite a bit since the 60s and 70s on average. I'd honestly argue that's where a lot of older designs fall short. Good bass and midrange but aren't able to really hit the highs. The mod that seems to come up most often with Dynaco A25s which have good bass is to replace the tweeters.


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  12. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I don't think my old Advents and Kloss speakers of yesteryear sound as good as some new speakers I've heard. However if you were to compare yesteryears best with todays best in blind test for preference the results might be surprising.
    TENER likes this.
  13. slimpikkins

    slimpikkins Super Member

    South East PA
    They may sound better but I can’t afford $10,000.00 or so to replace my QLS1 with new speakers. Who wouldn’t trash old speakers in a hi end shop. Even if I had ten grand to spend I’d probably buy an even better pair of used speakers.

    Driver tech has not changed that much, still a motor which goes in and out instead of round and round. That is surprising to me, just a few ways to make sound that were invented 50-100 or so years ago. New materials, tighter tolerances, and modern manufacturing have been a game changer. Small speakers in phones, greeting cards etc...

    Fine new speakers out there for sure but most of us can’t afford true hi end modern gear. The guy with $500-1000 to spend would do far better with hi if of yesteryear.
    Lossless, John Daly, TENER and 6 others like this.
  14. trinhsman

    trinhsman AK Subscriber Subscriber

    On a lake in Georgia
    Sitting here listening to a set of Snell Type C speakers that I bought for 200 dollars. Listening on an AR XA Marc Morin modded table and a restored Marantz 2275. This hangs with my signature system listed below. Vintage done right and put together properly will hang with anything out there. IMHO
  15. roadrunnerx

    roadrunnerx AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Nations oldest city, EST. 1565.
    Love those!!! Amazing look! When can I come over??? :)
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  16. Schurkey

    Schurkey Well-Known Member

    Another parallel with the automotive industry:

    How much of the R&D money is spent taking quality OUT of the product?

    Time-travel back to 1979. GM is spending big money telling folks how much money was spent on the new "X" body (Chevy Citation, and clones.) GM claimed to have spent zillions of dollars. Problem is, they spent it researching how much strength to remove from each component and yet have it get through the warranty period with "acceptable" failures.

    Clearly GM did not spend enough money, because "Citation" and "Failure" were strongly related. It took GM years to strengthen/improve the driveline-steering-brakes.

    I see the same for low-to-midrange speakers. There's lots of R&D, but it's all about how to make the product cheaper, not better.


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  17. Harvestor

    Harvestor Super Member

    I wish I had that kind of money...
    I'm so broke I'm selling off a rifle to fix my mistake I made with my Technics SA600...
    I could only dream about owning MBL extremes....
    Celt2006 likes this.
  18. bill7621

    bill7621 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    N.E. Ohio
    Heck, I was so poor if I hadn't been born a boy I wouldn't have had anything to play with!
  19. djnagle

    djnagle Lunatic Member

    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Way to broad a statement to be valid.
    Robie and grillebilly like this.
  20. OMGCat!

    OMGCat! AK Subscriber Subscriber

    El Sereno, CA
    I've heard some really impressive speakers both old and new so in my opinion there's no way to make a blanket statement on this.

    I'll agree with the poster above and say that as far as inexpensive speakers go, new(er) are typically far better than older. For around $100 you can get some really decent bookshelves that are leagues above old low end stuff. They won't be the most resolving or unboxy sounding but they are a far cry from the pressboard cabinets with tinsel thin RCA wires hanging out the back you used to see.

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