Current drivers comparable to vintage Scan Speak (8545/9700)


2002-02-06 4:51 pm
TLDR: If one were trying to design a system with current/modern drivers that captured the vintage scan speak sound exemplified by the 18w/8545 and 2905/9[57]00, what would you choose? Satori? Scan Revelator? Other?

Long version: When we moved into our 'new' house (6 years ago now) I lucked into picking up a pair of late 90's/early 00's vintage Acoustic Reality 3d speakers - these are 6' tall pyramids and use the Scan 8545 drivers and either the 2905/9500 or 9700 tweeters (not sure which). They look cool, but unfortunately they always sounded pretty 'meh' - I figured this was just a sign that nostalgia caused us to remember things as being better than they actually were and that modern speakers have just advanced past even top-end speakers from 'back in the day'

However, I finally got around to some diagnostics and discovered that the 'meh' is probably due to a bad electrolytic cap in the bass module that high-passes the main M/T module. Separating things out and using the Minidsp SHD to cross, the main M/T sounds good - really good. Classic vintage Scan Speak sound - rich and harmonic, not harsh at all, but not obviously rolled off. In other words, just the kind of sound that would work well in the main living room system these are a part of.

I've been actively evaluating where to go with a DIY project to replace these speakers, and since they're in the main living room they need to be visually interesting. I'm thinking either an Avalon style cabinet or (if it fits) something like the Sonus Faber Elipsa. So, my search is for current/modern drivers that preserve the basic presentation but maybe offer even better performance in terms of detail/transparency (knowing full well that this may be a contradictory goal)

I"m thinking that the Zaph ZRT with the Revelator woofer and 6600 AirCirc tweeter might be a good option, but also wonder about the Satori line - they seem to be a true successor to the Scans with their paper fiber cones. (so something like the Kairo/Adelpho/Kalasan, although maybe with a BE tweeter)


2002-02-06 4:51 pm
Thanks for the feedback.

Um, you know these are pretty much current parts?

I like the Revelator mid-woofers a great deal, smooth, warm and amazing bass in the right cabinet. Another good choice for a tweeter, if you don't mind a narrower than average dispersion is the R2604

Well, yes they're still available but are 20+ year old designs. I haven't discarded the idea of simply using these drivers in my project, but since I've already mentally allocated some budget for this, it's worth exploring all the alternatives.
I actually owned a pair of ACI Sapphire XL at one point - probably the dumbest audio move of my life was to sell them. They'd be ideal as the basis of this type of project.

The audioexcite Revelation 2 - M4WG is something i should probably consider though - 5.5" revelator and the 9500 in a Visaton waveguide. Would probably work well in a Elipsa style design.

Maybe you should try something like this:

A New Adventure - Page 5

It is available in a kit form, designed well and looks great in my opinion. also, since every cabinet is modular, you can add the woofers and actually choose configuration you need - going from two way, and in a few months if you're not satisfied with amount of bass or loudness level, you add more midwoofers.

Yeah, I follow the goings-on at HTGuide and that does look interesting. Having the Minidsp SHD though, my plan is an M/T with passive xover crossed actively to a bass setup. The MW19 doesn't fit that plan as well as the 16 or even 13. The main Satori designs I'm considering are the Kairo/Adelpho/Kalasan or else the Revolution Mini BE with the mw13p and sb29BAC.
Bass setup is still being evaluated. I have a pair of RSS265HO + matching PR which fits the form factor for an Elipsa inspired design, but the WO24 is also a possibility. If the Elipsa style idea is too big, dual Anarchy or dual RSS210HF are possibilities in an Avalon/Ardent style cabinet (or the RSS265, but they might be a bit big for an elegant Avalon style cabinet)

The Scan Speak 9700 tweeter still tests very, very well. One of the few dome tweeters with low harmonic distortion below 2 kHz.

ScanSpeak D2905/970000 | HiFiCompass

Is the 970000 the same tweeter? I'm still not sure how much updating the 'Classic' series has seen (if any). Those measurements do look awfully good though - very low higher order.
I haven't examined the tweeters, but the woofers in my speakers are private-labeled and so don't have scan speak part numbers. The woofers are obviously the 8545, but I'm not sure whether the tweeter is the 9500 or the 9700 - there is a gasket/surround on top of the tweeter faceplate covering the screws, so it's not trivial to pull out without risking damaging the gasket, unfortunately.

I'm almost certainly over-thinking this and getting into analysis paralysis at this point