Saturday, January 31, 2009

By my last post last night you may have gathered that I'm finding the D-6s to be excellent speakers for rock and I am. The spaciousness of their dispersion pattern works beautifully with, and seems to help unravel densely orchestrated productions, and thick, percussive group playing (like Santana).
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The Sublime John Martyn 1948–2009

Get Yer Yayas Out

Image Reference Twos
Design Acoustics D-6
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Idea: Speaker refoaming lessons

You come to my place with your speakers, I provide materials and instruction, you leave with your speakers fixed, knowing how to do the next ones. Please e-mail me if this interests you..

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Sound of Ten Tweeters

The Design Acoustics D-6s make a joyful noise! The Peerless drivers are smooth and musical. The speakers don't image precisely (a respected colleague of mine suggested to me yesterday that imaging is a relatively recent concept in audio...I agree, and will discuss later), but throw a big, enveloping, tonally beautiful soundfield. I'll write more later. I just want to listen now.
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JBL L16s

UDATED:These may be the most natural, tightest, most musical speakers in the Decade series, and you know that's a big statement coming from me.

With the arrival of this beautiful pair of speakers yesterday from Winnipeg, I have now had all three models of JBL's Decade series speakers in house. I won these in an eBay auction, not surprising, as I was the only bidder! They look like 3/4 scale versions of the L26, beautiful oak cabinets containing 8 inch woofers (considered by many to be the finest 8 inch drivers JBL ever made), and LE-25 tweeters. I just refoamed them last night and they are sweet! Every time I hear a pair of vintage JBLs I remember why I love them so much. They get the midrange right. I will post pictures later, but am listening happily while I refoam the ten inch Peerless woofers from the Design Acoustics D-6s. The cabinets are in beautiful shape, but as is my habit, I will fine sand and oil them. I will have more to say about these soon.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Deltas are working!

Grills redone, drivers resealed, 1 tweeter replaced. They look like bass amps and are one of the coolest sets of speakers I've seen. Aesthetically, they embody much of what is timeless about the best of the seventies. And they sound gorgeous! I will take new pictures soon, and my comment is based on my first half hour with Art Pepper (New York Album), but I'm really enjoying them. I hope many people hear them, especially those in the Kitchener/Waterloo area who were so generous with their time, helping me identify & understand what I'd found. These are regional legends, and a fascinating piece of canadian audio history.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Design Acoustics D-6

I picked these up on Saturday. The legs in the pictures aren't original and will be removed.

These are very odd, with 5 Peerless tweeters ( 4 are similar to the ones used by Rectilinear Research in the Mini IIIs the fifth like the ones in the IVs) and one midrange driver on the front, and a 10 inch woofer (needing refoaming) and it's port on the back.

I remember the brand from my obsessive stereo magazine reading in the seventies, when the company made a big splash with it's dodecahedron shaped D-12.

I will let an anonomous writer fill in more:

"Most of you are probably familiar with the dodecahedral D-12 (D for Design) that was Design Acoustics first product and that made the name for the company. That speaker was reviewed by Stereo Review and came out as one of the highest rated speakers ever reviewed by Julian Hirsch. The problem was that the design was just too unconventional even for the Eames era, so a 'conventionalized polyhedron" was marketed that was listed as the D-6. The price was quite a bit lower than the big brother and it became a relative market success for the quite small company. High-Fidelity Magazine immediately reviewed this model in June 1973 and found it to be one of the flatter measuring designs they had encountered. Following his glowing review of the D-12, Hirsch picked up the model for review in September and essentially said that it was his favorite. It was the only speaker to rank a perfect 100% score overall up to that time and for sometime afterwards and in other reviews years later, it was still mentioned favorably. Interestingly, Hirsch liked the D-6 better than the AR LST, though today the D-6 is forgotten and the ARs go for the price of a decent used car.

Hirsch aside, I will say that these are very good speakers for their size and what was available at the time. Thanks to the Peerless drivers, which are unusually smooth for cone tweets, the highs are pretty good and the odd arrangement counters the tendency of cone tweeters to beam terribly. The rear firing woofer, crossing over at 800 Hz, doesn't do what it should do, imo, without very careful positioning near a wall. So, the sound can end up being lean with good mids and highs, but with a major lack of lower midrange and midbass. Overall, they're an interesting design that sound better than one would expect, but will tend to perform less than optimally in most rooms. At the prices they can be found for (eBay pairs have sold for ~$300 in the past, but sometimes others can sneak by for ~$50-100), they are a steal for vintage speakers despite the unconventional (omnidirectional) sound."

I will get them working and look forward to hearing them! I fear that placement close to walls will be difficult in my space, so full of stuff, but am sure they will reward my efforts.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2 new pairs of speakers today!

I am sorry that this blog is not updated as much as I'd like, and sometimes I know it feels like weekends only (though I updated earlier posts twice this week). I will tell you tomorrow about the EPI 100s that I refoamed tonight and am enjoying as I write, and the wacky Design Acoustics D-6s with 4 tweeters and a midrange driver and woofer, that I will refoam and listen to soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My first Marantz Speakers

The woofers need refoaming. Beautiful redwood cabinets. More soon.
The woofers have been refoamed. I hooked them up, and they sounded impressive on first listen. They are a 3 way sytem with a 10 inch woofer, midrange and dome tweeter. There is a port, but the speakers come with a foam plug to fill it with. So the driver compliment is equivalent to the Pioneer HPM-60s and JBL L36s that I've enjoyed so much. Unfortunately I don't think that these Marantz speakers are in that leaugue. The bass is altogether too full when the system is ported, properly in proportion when it's plugged. I suspect the tweeter is the weak link, being a bit brash. The overall sound is decent but veiled (driven by my Marantz 1150).
Cosmetically, they look really cool, with reticulated chocolate brown foam grills. I sanded the cabinets yesterday (brrr!) and they are going to look gorgeous. The drivers have trim rings with logos on them, serious branding! They will look great with a pretty Marantz receiver in a wood sleeve.
In conclusion, I don't think these speakers do proper justice to the company's wonderful electronics. They are kind of  cool.

SOLD. Celestion Ditton 15

They sound great! Very tight bass with good wallop. Very smooth top. I'm going to sand and oil soon, will take new pics. The drivers (and rubber surrounds) are perfect! Classic light, rigid british construction. Cast driver frames, beautiful english walnut veneer. Lots of people have been asking me for vintage british speakers, come and get them!
UPDATE: They have been sanded and oiled. The speaker connectors have been replaced with heavy duty 5 way binding posts.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Rectilinear Research Mini IIIs

Beautiful compact bookshelf system from the hotbed of brilliant speaker design talents. They are 8 inch woofer 3 way acoustic suspension systems. The woofers have rubber surrounds in a deep indigo blue (like the IVs I used to have). The cloth surround mids are Phillips and the tweeters are from Peerless. They have mid and tweeter adjustments on the back. The cabinets are beautiful! They have been sanded to a glassy smoothness and oiled. The grain is very deep, especially in natural light. The grill frames, cloth and badges are in very good condition.
Did I say they sound really good? They do, with a very balanced tonality (with the tweeters up a bit to my taste), in some ways like some of my beloved JBLs (balance wise...they get it right!).
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Please help me identify these!

UPDATED: Thanks to the members of Canuck Audio Mart and readers of this blog for your quick and helpful responses!
These were manufactured in the late 70's early 80's by Delta Sound in Waterloo, Ontario. They used Philips drivers and are decent sounding.
When I buy speakers, I try to do as much research as possible. I bought a pair last week on impulse. The person selling them assured me that even though they weren't identified as such, they were part of Whafedale's Delta series. I didn't think so, but they looked so cool that I bought them anyway. I was correct...Wharfedale's Deltas were regular boxes, with regular badging. These Deltas have a unique, almost guitar amp kind of cabinet, with slab sides bolted to the shallow, heavy cabinets. The cabinets are completely covered in grill cloth. The cloth had holes and I have redone one so far. This gave me the chance to check out their insides. The drivers are by Philips, 8 inch woofer and dome tweeter in a ported design. The cabinets are 3/4 inch plywood, very well made. The sound is nice and very spacious and unboxy, and these babies deserve further listening.
I have looked everywhere I can think of, and have found no information. If you have any knowledge or even a theory about these, please e-mail me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


StudioLabs vintage 1977. Walnut cabinets. I got these in trade for a refoam I did on a pair of Advents. I refoamed all four 12 inch woofers (well) and fired them up. They are not my cup of tea and are lacking in the midrange, which makes sense to me (I can't see an average 12 inch woofer doing mids with good transient response).
Then another guy came over with 2 other 12 inchers from his fathers old speakers (MDS, I think). I redid those for him, but on testing discovered that one had more serious problems than foam (voice coil). He needed 2 woofers and I had 4 in a speaker set that didn't work for me. So I sold two, which are making him happy in his speakers. Now I have 2 studioLAB woofer and one working MDS and one empty hole. Just about any working 12 incher will work fine...these aren't high fidelity speakers. If they are useful to you, come and get them!
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Monday, January 12, 2009


UPDATE: I've listened to reggae, blues, Coltrane and I'm just getting started! These are wonderful speakers. I may be up later than I should tonight, because these Mach Ones make me want to play track after track. Even their looks (without those horrendous fuzzy grills) are starting to grow on me...rock concert PA with nice wood. I will try to address the backlog of speakers that need sanding and oiling tomorrow, and these will be gorgeous!

I just got these monsters up my (many) stairs and hooked them up. I was expecting harsh and powerful, and on first blush I got the power with much more refinement than I would have imagined based on their looks. I will have more to say, but wanted to let you know they're here.

They are the most sought after 024 model, and a reader on AudioKarma explains why:
Just a little information for those of you who own these classic speakers and wonder why the foam surrounds are usually bad . There were 2 versions -The first and original cat# 4024 had rubber surrounds, screw terminals, 10 screws in the L-pad plate, 8 ohm woofers and dual wound brass voice coils

The latter vesrions Cat # 4029 had the (known rotter) foam surround, clip terminals, 6 screws in the L-pad plate, and 4 ohm woofers this version also is the muddy whompy sounding machs that were released after 81' There are no comparison to the sound of the two different verions so beware of this verion on Ebay ect..they are junk .

The Original 4024's were manufactured by Thompson Electronics for Tandy from 77 to 81' the 4029's were made by Optimus from 82 to 84' and they were produced much cheaper to hold a changing market

If anyone has not experienced the original line of the Mach Ones (4024) you should take a listen the quailty of sound is unbelievable compared to todays market of speakers

Thanks to seventiesstereo's good friend jazzfusion for finding the ad.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Sonny Rollins, 2006
Astonishing command of his music, instrument, and band.
Sonny Rollins - tenor Saxophone
Clifton Anderson - Trombone
Bobby Broom - Guitar
Bob Cranshaw - Electric & Acoustic Bass
Steve Jordan - Drums
Kimati Dinizulu - Percussion
Joe Corsello - Drums on "Serenade"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bitches Brew and the reputation that preceded it intimidated me for years. Only after much subsequent exposure to other heroic jazz players' fusion experiments was I ready for Miles'. It is arresting to me now, always challenging, but also funky and joyous.

The Marantz 1150 (75 watts/channel) is my current all around favourite amplifier, smooth, warm and authoritative.

The Dynaco combination has been a big surprise. Being an early transistor design, I thought there might be some glare and harshness. I couldn't have been more wrong. The overall balance & musicality is wonderful. On very full range speakers like the JBL L100s, the lowest bass is slightly rolled off compared to the Marantz, but on speakers like Advents, Boston A60s, and especially the Altec Model Ones, the ST-120/FM-5A combination sings!

Deep bass control isn't an issue with the Realistic STA-2080 (probably made by ONKYO). It's very conservatively rated at 80 watts per channel, and appears to be able to drive a truck. Under regular listening conditions (as opposed to live arena rock volumes), the advantage of a monster amp section is extra headroom available to give air and ambience to the stereo image. If you want a concert at home, combine this with the big studioLABs and break your lease!

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The JBLs, studioLABS or Stacked Advents all work beautifully with Zeppelin. You do get what you pay for, especially in the mids.

If you are looking for maximum crunch for your dollar, the studioLABs (that's how it was on the logo) are unbeatable, and can be yours for less than the cost of refoaming the 4 12 inch woofers!

The use of 9 & 10 inch woofers in the Advent Stack (or in the Smaller Advents or Advent/1s by themselves) gives a more natural and coherent midrange, and the stack has amazing, effortless dynamics.

I love the JBLs more every time I listen to them. They are revealing yet amazingly musical. I'm now sure that the main reason for the differences in efficiency and dynamic range between L100s and my still beloved L36s is the 9 pound difference in woofer magnet weight (3 lbs for the L36, 12 for the L100/L88 plus 12!). They are the ultimate normal sized seventies speaker for getting the Led out.

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