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Old 25th March 2004, 09:42 PM   #1
skanter is offline skanter  United States
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Default Realistic Optimus T-200

Hi everyone, I'm a new member. I'm a musician and sound designer, but not quite a high-end audiophile for my personal home music listening.

I just came into possession of some old speakers that belonged to my late father. They are Realistic/Optimus T-200s. Anyone know about these? -- no info available from RS or on the web.

They each have two 10" woofers, a 6" mid, and a metal horn tweeter in a 35" high walnut cabinet. Upon inspection, the woofer foam surrounds were somewhat deteriorated, with some cracks and one small hole.

Normally I wouldn't go near anything by Realistic, but I remembered that the Radio Shack brands were often made by other manufacturers, and the time it was manufactured -- the 1970s -- was a good period for quality audio components.

I hooked up the speakers and they sounded surpisingly good to my aging ears -- nice deep bass, fair midrange and relatively smooth highs. I like them! I have three choices concerning the deteriorated surrounds on the woofers. Should I:

1. Leave them alone as they sound OK as they are and aren't worth putting any money into.

2. Wait to see if the sound gets worse.

3. Have them repaired ($150), or use a do-it-yourself REPAIR KIT ($50 for four)

4. Replace them with woofers from Radio Shack that they recommend as replacements for the T-200 woofers, though not the original woofer ($32 each). These are made by Pioneer.

I know the answers are subjective, but I'd appreciate any feedback.

Thanks in advance,


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Old 28th March 2004, 05:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Realistic Optimus T-200

Quote:
Originally posted by skanter
_snip_
Should I:

4. Replace them with woofers from Radio Shack that they recommend as replacements for the T-200 woofers, though not the original woofer ($32 each). These are made by Pioneer. _snip_
If they are in a state of disrepair and you really like them, I would go this route. I think you might want to listen to them beside a pair of something else first before making that decision though, you know, just to be sure you really do like them.

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Old 28th March 2004, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Realistic Optimus T-200

Quote:
Originally posted by skanter

4. Replace them with woofers from Radio Shack that they recommend as replacements for the T-200 woofers, though not the original woofer ($32 each). These are made by Pioneer.
If the boxes are vented, the recommended replacement woofers are not likely to be plug and play unless Shack has seen to it that they are - which is highly unlikely, knowing them.

If it were me, I'd scrap them.
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Old 28th March 2004, 06:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Re: Realistic Optimus T-200

Quote:
Originally posted by Cal Weldon

I think you might want to listen to them beside a pair of something else first before making that decision though, you know, just to be sure you really do like them.
Cal
Cal has a very good point here. In other words, unless you really like these, it probably isn't worth investing the time or money to resurrect these things.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Fitzpatrick

If the boxes are vented, the recommended replacement woofers are not likely to be plug and play unless Shack has seen to it that they are - which is highly unlikely, knowing them.
If it were me, I'd scrap them.
Yeah, I seriously doubt they took box tuning into account. No offense to anyone using "Shack" stuff, but the fact is that most people who are Shack customers wouldn't notice a difference anyway. I don't know about scrapping them though. I would bet that the Pioneer W25GR31-51F drivers would make for a nice sounding package (assuming the boxes were re-tuned). Not knowing anything about the crossovers only makes things more complicated.

Bill does make a good point, the boxes probably aren't worth the expense of the drivers. Starting over is sometimes the easiest "right" way to do it. If the boxes themselves are good (heavy and solid like most 70's stuff) then maybe you should pack-rat them for a future project?

Things that make you go:

Rich.
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Old 28th March 2004, 07:58 PM   #5
skanter is offline skanter  United States
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I really like these speakers!

I'm sure this is not kosher, but I've been using them in conjuction with my Camber bookshelf speakers. The T-200s are on the floor about 10' apart, the cambers within about 4' apart. Somehow they seem to complement each other and provide a wall of full range-sound.

Is this unheard of?

Even with the deteriorated surrounds, the 4 10"woofers are putting out some nice deep bass, much deeper than the 2
7" woofers of the Cambers. I would think the bad surrounds are
compromising the bass, however.

Since I want to keep these, I'd like to fix (DIY) the surrounds --
about $25 for each speaker (and a lot of time). Or replace woofers with THESE

which RS says are the recommended replacement. Which seems like a better idea? I don't think I could get comparable full-range floor-standing speakers for $50, or even $120 -- could I?

TIA for feedback,
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Old 29th March 2004, 04:08 AM   #6
skanter is offline skanter  United States
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Default Re: Re: Re: Realistic Optimus T-200

Quote:
Originally posted by ratman542


Cal has a very good point here. In other words, unless you really like these, it probably isn't worth investing the time or money to resurrect these things.



Yeah, I seriously doubt they took box tuning into account. No offense to anyone using "Shack" stuff, but the fact is that most people who are Shack customers wouldn't notice a difference anyway. I don't know about scrapping them though. I would bet that the Pioneer W25GR31-51F drivers would make for a nice sounding package (assuming the boxes were re-tuned). Not knowing anything about the crossovers only makes things more complicated.

Bill does make a good point, the boxes probably aren't worth the expense of the drivers. Starting over is sometimes the easiest "right" way to do it. If the boxes themselves are good (heavy and solid like most 70's stuff) then maybe you should pack-rat them for a future project?

Things that make you go:

Rich.
I'm scratching my head..

How does one re-tune the boxes? And how do I know if the woofers RS recommends are compatible with these systems, or if I should use a different driver? What about the cheapest method of DIY refoam kits? Has anyone ever tried this? Also, if the speahers are 25 years old does that mean other invisible components besides surrounds have deteriorated, makeing repair
a waste of time?

Is there a good way of testing the system's response, to see how even or uneven the response is -- I seem to remember a CD
for testing speaker performance.
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Old 2nd October 2006, 03:54 AM   #7
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Default I have a pair, more info, and Q's

Not really a bump...I have a pair of these, and have nearly the same question.

These are sealed, in about a 2 ft^3, 3/4" plywood, braced, fiberglass filled box. The 6.5" midrange is sealed in it's own plastic "can", inside the large box, which is lined with foam. I believe the tweeters are also sealed. The tweeters are 2.5" cones, mounted about 1/2" deep with a very shallow, curved, eliptical metal "horn".

There is no crossover to speak of. The two 10" woofers are 16 ohm, directly driven and in parallel. The midrange has a 1 capacitor high pass filter, and an L pad. The tweeter has the same. I suspect the design was that the woofers were so inefficient compared to the rest, that the L-pad design would work...and of course be inexpensive.

New, these things sounded great. They were never efficient, but they also never had the weird, fake bass curves of the typical ported consumer speakers of that era (late 70's). I ran them on a consumer (yamaha) 200w/channel amp, which also sounded great...up to about 10 watts. But that's another topic. At the time, they were comparable to anything I'd heard.

Now, they sound like - well if they were more electronic than mechanical, I'd say they sounded like they needed to be hosed down with some 111, and have all the connections cleaned. The foam surrounds on the woofers are shot, and that's the main problem.

My goal is to get that nice clean sound back, for my 300 ft^2 living room, without neglecting the nice people I send my mortgage checks to. Buying a pair of AL 510's isn't in the cards.

My options, other than tossing these things into a corner, are:

1. Having the woofers, and maybe the midranges repaired.

2. Replace the drivers.

With these speakers, there's obviously huge overlap between the drivers. Possibly because they're all cones, their aren't any strange artifacts with the mixing, though.

If I were to replace the drivers, what do I look for, and how critical is it to match the specs of these? (Whatever those might be!)

For one, how do you know if a speaker is designed for ported or sealed use, from the specs?

The l-pads are marked "1-5k" and "5k up", is it likely that these are the crossover points?

For the woofers, I'm thinking I'll have to go with two 4's, in series, as I don't see many 16's out there. I want to stay around 8 ohms for the amp loading, as I'm using a consumer amp.

Or does playing roulette with the drivers sound silly, compared to having the old ones fixes. The people at speakerx make a good pitch - is it real, hype or a mix?

Any help would be greatly appreciated...I don't want these things to end up sounding worse!
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Old 2nd October 2006, 04:57 AM   #8
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I would sugest that you re-foam or replace with a rubber surround, the surround is very important so the closest match of material would be better, though rubber lasts a lot longer. I have done it myself and was time consuming/ I was very careful/ but it did work.
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Old 2nd October 2006, 05:02 AM   #9
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Default Repair, Replace or....junk?

Good questions!
Having worked at RS in the seveties I can relate quite well here!
Depending on how badly the surrounds are...you can get away with just super-gluing them if there are small (1/2 ") rips, SMALL holes....but not more than a few of these defects.
A whole section , four inches, would have to be re-surrounded.
Yes RS stuff WAS really good for a time, but the quality really tapered off past 1979 or so.
The wood veneered cabinets were standard fare at the time and this level of finishing has been lost as of late.
Replacing drivers with a "recommended" replacement is suspect as just dropping in 'whatever" will make for an odd uneven sound.
There are multiple dimensions/specifications of any one driver and all the drivers must work together as a specific system.
Perhaps you could do the repair of the surrounds either a "spot" repair as I said or redo the surrounds & you'll be fine....for a while.
Perhaps in the future you could read up on the science of speaker "building" and if you feel confident enough with the process (Read "the math") You could yank those old drivers outta the pretty wood cabinets & build yourself up some really high quality stuff.
Have fun............................................... ..........Rick.........
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Old 2nd October 2006, 11:50 PM   #10
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Default thanks

Thanks guys, I believe I now have a plan: Simple repairs for now, and when funds are better, think about re-using the boxes.

Until then, I'll keep reading. It's been great having so much info from people that enjoy nice audio, but also have a solid grounding in reality.
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