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Old 3rd June 2014, 07:32 PM   #1
Speakerholic
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Default First vintage speaker purchase,

Hi guys,

I went on my first vintage speaker hunt this morning. It was out of premeditated impulsiveness, but the speakers I purchased amaze me. They sound much better than I expected upon initial impression.

What's so cool about them--They have an upward radiating 5" driver and a forward radiating horn loaded tweeter. Sounds like they were designing for soundstage, right?

They have a spacious, open, and beautiful soundstage--despite a sorta-harsh tweeter on a class D amplifier. (Yet to own a tube amp.)

There are no markings on the outside of the enclosure, so I'm not sure how to identify them without opening them up. I will probably open them up to inspect the crossover network eventually. I suspect the tweeter may sound better with refreshed caps. There is also something loose inside one.

Upon listening it seems the upward radiating driver receives full range. I did an impedance sweep with DATS. The resonate frequency is right at 50hz, and they sound like they have the bass response to back up that correlation.

Any comments or knowledge on these guys? They keep impressing me with their soundstage.

They have RCA terminals lol.
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File Type: jpg phpmkj4WkPM.jpg (106.1 KB, 414 views)
File Type: jpg vintage sweep.JPG (169.5 KB, 408 views)
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Old 3rd June 2014, 07:37 PM   #2
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With RCA's they may be something sold as a package stereo back in it's day, hence no marking on the speakers.

Ya know... you have to open them up. That's the deal when you buy vintage.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 08:04 PM   #3
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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I don't know quite how those are designed to be placed!

Roy Allison did some amazing speakers that put the bass flush against the wall and pointing upwards. The tweeters usually pointed forwards like with the Allison Model 4. This is explained a bit here in a lovely Acoustic Research memoir: http://www.stereophile.com/content/g...allison-part-2

I think you could experiment with placement. But I've really no idea what will work best. Even in a corner, who knows? But a fun purchase.
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Last edited by system7; 3rd June 2014 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 08:19 PM   #4
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K Steve wanna bet on what drivers are in there?
Maybe a small paper cone tweeter on the horn and an unpainted steel basket something like these? The grille cloth say they of the same era. Mine are Westinghouse.
Sorry for the lousy pics.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 10:05 PM   #5
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Fun indeed!

[monologue]I have been experimenting with placement. They are intended to sit on their feet as they are in the third picture on the shelf. I have yet to conclude they actually sound better in any other position. I get a better sounding frequency response with them on their side, horns angled slightly towards the listener and pistons facing inward toward each other. But the best soundstage is heard in their intended positions--pistons radiating up perpendicular to the ground and horns pointed directly at you in the horizontal plane. They are sitting naturally on my desk, so the horns aren't at ear level. Bringing the horns to ear level has a different effect but is not necessarily better.[/monologue]

The 5" driver looks like it doesn't have a surround! This makes me nervous about keeping them on their sides. I attempted to get a look at it through the grill cloth with a bright light. I can make out enough to be confident it is paper, but I can also clearly see a metal frame with expected frame vent holes very much like Cal's picture there, only I am looking from the front on the driver past the edge of the cone where the surround should be!

I did manage to take a picture of the diaphragm of the tweeter through the long, long very long neck of the horn. It is weird also. It has 4 intentional holes in it.

I tried to open the enclosure by removing screws on the bottom panel, but it seems to be glued in place. Does my only choice of opening them now involve sawdust?

Edit: I have them on a class AB amp now. Sound is slightly different. Bass is different, not quite as defined/tight. I have experienced this with these amps on other speakers, however. Treble isn't as harsh though.
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Old 4th June 2014, 02:45 AM   #6
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You might remove the panel using screws one size larger, driven only as deep as the panel is thick, then prying gently as if torquing a cylinder head only in reverse. These can be tight.
Zenith?
The holes are the phase plug.
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Old 4th June 2014, 03:22 AM   #7
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Mmm, smells like a really old box.

Your advice was good phivates! I used a screw 3 sizes larger and a screwdriver and wala! This had occurred to me before, but I previously hesitated for various trivial excuses.

I knew I didn't see a surround. I feared what I heard "loose" in there was the surround. It was.

These drivers are impressive, still decent low frequency extension with no surround.

The horn is metal. The cap-part (excuse my technical terms) at the end is styrofoam.

The white you see on the rear plate of the speaker, as well as nuts and terminal flange, is actually a powder. I have no idea what kind of white powder this is.

Any advice on speakers with no surround? Is re-surrounding it possible/advisable?
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Old 4th June 2014, 03:32 AM   #8
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By the way, Cal should win a prize. My driver looks almost identical to his.
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Old 4th June 2014, 04:02 AM   #9
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Not to be alarmist, but I'd advise caution re. the white powder. Best to err on the side of safety and clean that up with care. Start with a thorough vacuuming while brushing all the surfaces in there. (Your vac. should have a good fine-particle disposable filter in it.) Akin to the common use of lead in paints back then, some platings or chemical conversion coatings involved the use of cadmium, chromates, and the like, which you really don't want to be inhaling or dispersing to your surroundings!
(Disclaimer: I am not an expert in chemistry, metallurgy, or industrial hygiene - the above is just based on my anecdotal experience.)
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Old 4th June 2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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Too bad about the surrounds. Might be worth getting replacement drivers if you like the box and the tweeters are also to your liking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thetwinmeister View Post
5" driver
They look larger. Check, maybe mine will work in yours. They have a cloth surround.
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