Home Theater Forum and Systems banner
1 - 1 of 24 Posts

· Registered
1 Posts
This thread is NOT confusing. No matter what ANYBODY says, speakers degrade slowly from the day you buy them. They NEVER "get better". And only the fringes of audio-hobbiests are interested in ANY 1950s or 1960s speakers and they don't listen to them without correcting any mechanical issues or electronic issues that are inevitable in un-maintained speakers from the 50s, 60s, 70s or later. These hobbyists replace capacitors, install better inductors than anything available 40+ years ago before air-core inductors were the gold standard for speaker crossovers. Even modern resistors are available that outperform any resistor from 40+ years ago. They replace pressed paper cones in drivers. They replace anything glued and anything plastic (because plastic gets brittle and delicate with age). They replace rubber or foam parts because they are likely falling apart after 40+ years. Speakers made before high quality crossover design software existed (very late 1980s) literally NEVER sound as good as modern speakers designed with crossover optimization software. Older speakers had much more OBVIOUS colorations than speakers made since crossover software matured into a reliable speaker design aid. You can improve old speaker designs substantially by remeasuring new drivers, and using good crossover design software to create a new crossover design. It's possible to eliminate huge amounts of distortion/coloration present since the speakers were originally designed. There is literally NOTHING "better" about older spreakers compared to newer speakers... as separate groups. Certainly, you can find **** new speakers and compare them to rebuilt vintage speakers to "prove a point" disingenuously. But I'm talking about more appropriate and balanced comparisons. The technology in newer speakers addresses problems they didn't even know existed 40+ years ago. Like many of the "better" speakers designed today have wire used in the voice coils that is square instead of round just to get more copper (and power handling) into the voice coil compared to round wire that has air gaps between wires (square wire fills all the air gaps in the modern wound voice coils). That's just 1 example of modern tech being better than ANY older-tech.
Yes you are correct that all components of loudspeakers and electronics do deteriorate over time, however surrounds, diaphragms, etc can be easily replaced on quality units. As for edgewound voice coils, Western Electric (Bell Labs) introduced them on their 555 compression driver in the late 1920's, JBL and Altec Lansing started using them on their higher end drivers in the 1950's. JBL still uses them on a lot of their professional equipment. When digital audio came along, everyone was worried about speakers and electronics being "digital ready", what a joke, there was digital ready equipment available for 30 years prior to the introduction of the Compact disc. What manufacturers started focusing on with the introduction stereo, quad, and later surround, was shrinking speakers to fit more of them into a typical home because the early speakers that could offer outstanding performance were by and large huge to retain high efficiency and good bass response.(Hoffman's Iron law: a speaker can have high efficiency, extended bass response, or small size - Pick any two. What the passage of time has given us is smaller speakers that can offer better quality to a far greater number of people due to much improved manufacturing efficiencies, availability of much higher powered amps and better application of design principles. The basics have been there for more than 70 years. The people that designed a lot of that older equipment were basically fumbling around in the dark, empirically developing products, and quite amazingly came up with some great stuff in some cases that has stood the test of time. You want to talk imaging, listen to some KLH model 9 electrostatics from the 60's properly placed in a listening room. You want dynamics, try out an Altec Valencia or JBL Olympus with the S8R package.. Bass, check out an old EV Patrician or Bozak Concert Grand, or an old Hartley. So just like everything else in the world, the passage of time has allowed for further refinement of existing gear and made generally better quality available to the masses at lower cost. There's a reason that old gear is in high demand still and it isn't just nostalgia. I truly enjoy some of the things new technology has brought to audio, for example I have built some infinite baffle subs into my home that use Fi Audio 18" IB drivers that have tremendous excursion capability and can literally rattle my entire house with 10Hz and lower bass that would have been hard or impossible to match in the 50's and 60's unless you were uber wealthy. I've been an audio hobbyist for over 50 years, and have seen and heard the best of what each generation has to offer and have also experienced the hype each generation has created about the "latest and greatest". Ultimately it's not about specmanship, it's about the music and your enjoyment of it.
1 - 1 of 24 Posts