Blasphemy?

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Most 'classic' speakers are judged on the their mid and high frequency performance together with cabinet construction. Rather than spending big bucks restoring these icons to their former glory why not take a moment, face facts? These speakers were the dogz back in the day but they are ill-equipped to play modern music. Why wouldn't you replace the original woofers, the ones where the surround has rotted and shredded with a small sub driver?
I have 40-year-old Marantz and Wharfedale cabinets where the bass driver's shot. They could be restored at ridiculous costs but maybe it was modern music that killed them in the first place.
 
but they are ill-equipped to play modern music...but maybe it was modern music that killed them in the first place.
Could you give us some examples of "modern music" that you were thinking about while writing the above?

The term "modern music" doesn't really mean much today since the industry trend since 1991 (since multiband compressors were introduced to mastering practice) has not been kind to popular music. What you see in Loudness War articles show only the limiting/clipping of the popular music tracks along with less obvious but much more heavy-handed compression used to severely limit almost all popular music produced today.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the induced-distortion iceberg that has taken over the lion's share of "modern music".

Chris
 
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Most 'classic' speakers are judged on the their mid and high frequency performance together with cabinet construction. Rather than spending big bucks restoring these icons to their former glory why not take a moment, face facts? These speakers were the dogz back in the day but they are ill-equipped to play modern music. Why wouldn't you replace the original woofers, the ones where the surround has rotted and shredded with a small sub driver?

Depends who's assessing what. I don't assess vintage speakers that way -I just assess them like any other, within their design context, on overall response, distortion performance etc.

It looks like there are a couple of separate points there. As far as 'ill-equipped to play modern music goes', that's going to vary with how you define 'modern music', and what the speakers are in the first place. I'd have fewer qualms playing 'modern music' of any kind through a pair of JBL L300s for e.g. than I would a lot of current speakers, assuming they're in good shape, and depending on exactly what you're comparing them to.

Condition is separate to design though. If in good shape, many are still decent. If they aren't in good condition, then obviously you don't really want to be playing anything at all through them until they're fixed. You can replace the drivers -but assuming you can find substitutes that suit the enclosure volume / tuning, you'd then need to redesign the crossover. Refurbishment doesn't have to cost a fortune either -replacement surround kits for e.g. are often quite inexpensive.

I have 40-year-old Marantz and Wharfedale cabinets where the bass driver's shot. They could be restored at ridiculous costs but maybe it was modern music that killed them in the first place.

If they're 4 decade old Wharfedales, it's more likely that a/ that's simply the result of 40 years of service, and b/ the surrounds in particular have decayed, than that a bit of Ed Sheeran finished them off. OTOH, that would probably finish me off... ;)
 
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I don't think modern music is th origin of the braking of the speaker. Heavy compressed (or better, limited to dead into distortion) music with a lot of bass can be played on old speakers as long as you don't push them to the limits. I even do it (playing heavy modern electronic steppers dub) on old philips fullrange drivers, but on very moderate volume...

If it's a typical old dome tweeter/big midwoofer combo, forget it to play it loud, it's not made for that like you said. Get a bigger system or a more modern system that can play louder for the same space it takes. Just throwing in a modern woofer in an old cabinet won't work at all. I would do a new modern 3 way, with a big subwoofer at least. Something like the Tarkus kit from Paul Camody.
 
Yes, restoring vintage speakers to original condition usually isnt cost effective if you compare with something new and modern.
Just like restoring vintage motorcycles, cars or houses.
If old cabinets are well made, installing suitable modern drivers can sure improve the sound. And save you some woodworking time and money. I dont see blasphemy in that. But its not that easy, you have to design new crossover, optimize box alignment/tuning etc. Just like new project.
Sometimes, original woofers can be replaced with something fairly similar at affordable price and very nice results. Visaton for eg, still makes some old-style drivers suitable for restoring vintage speakers.
 
My Wharfes are stil kicking after 50+years due to a rubber inverted surround. It does not mind modern music, as long as you respect it's limits. And there are subs nowadays to lessen the burden. So vintage speakers can stil be enjoyed and may put modern speakers to shame on musicality...
 
It seems the OP has decided on a nice project and has been searching for a justification :cool:

Jan

You're almost spot on. I've acquired a pair of old speakers - trust me, I don't need any more speakers! But I have at least 4 or 5 pairs of 6/6.5" drivers I could install into the cabinets. I won't spend time and money trying to repair or replace the original drivers when I've perfectly adequate replacements on hand.

My problem is my speakers will be condemned, bastards to be sent to the orphanage.

The nerds will be infuriated: How dare I insert drivers into a cabinet without knowing the original specs of a 10 year-old unit!
The enthusiast snobs will be outraged: Chinese drivers in British boxes! This is why we need to build that wall!
The sad thing is, I'll replace the drivers and they'll sound fine - good as new. But they'll be worthless because they'll be mongrels.
 
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My problem is my speakers will be condemned, bastards to be sent to the orphanage.
By whom? And why would you care? Their (whoever 'they' might be) opinion is worth nothing if you know what you're doing in design terms. Your speakers, your choice.

The nerds will be infuriated: How dare I insert drivers into a cabinet without knowing the original specs of a 10 year-old unit!
Who cares? Assuming the owner is a competent designer, & can select replacements that will suit the cabinet load and redesigning the crossover, then they should end up with a good speaker. It's when people aren't competent that there's a higher chance of things going pear-shaped, which presumably isn't the case here, so no big deal if you're happy with the changes. That's the only thing that really counts.

The enthusiast snobs will be outraged: Chinese drivers in British boxes! This is why we need to build that wall!
I don't think anybody here is likely to turn a shade of puce over a person refurbishing an old set of speaker cabinets. ;)

The sad thing is, I'll replace the drivers and they'll sound fine - good as new. But they'll be worthless because they'll be mongrels.
They'll be fine if it's done competently. No reason why they shouldn't be. Perhaps not quite as originally designed, depending on how significant the changes in drivers, filters etc. are. Possibly worthless for people who want an unmodified example, in the same way a Bentley MkV with a Rover KV6 fitted wouldn't command the same price. For others -they may be worth something assuming you can demonstrate the changes have been made to a high standard. There's a bod on UK eBay for e.g. that seems to do quite well refurbishing / rebuilding the old E series speakers.
 
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The situation is clear. Should you be in a business of restoring vintage products to be sold, then the buyers will appreciate only original parts. Their faith relies on marketing. They are in the dark, considering their knowledge about technology.

Otherwise, for any other thinkable purpose, the repair can be done in quite a many ways.
 
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Right. Some of it's simply a desire for an unmodified original, same as for antiques or other vintage items -the interest / value is often in originality as people either want it or like it for what it was. For the rest, if that isn't an issue, it's just a convenient box that can be adapted as desired.

Of course, in some cases you need to be a bit careful -some of the better classic drive units could be built to a higher standard and superior design in many ways than many subsequent models. Not all, or even most, but with some of the quality designs it's worth keeping in mind. I wouldn't fancy ripping out the drivers from a set of JBL 4350s and stuffing many new units into them for e.g. ;)
 
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