Vintage Speakers ?

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Just curious, so I'm asking everybody's opinion on this:

Years ago when I first started into high end audio, I auditioned many, many speaker systems. Finally, I came to the conclusion that the Bozak Concert Grands were the most real sounding speakers available (especially for the price range that they were in). Knowing that someday I'd own a pair, I eventually accumilated enough drivers (and N104 crossovers) to build the Concert Grands and I have enjoyed them ever since.

Even today when I walk into the high-end audio stores I listen to the Martin Logans, Missions, Audio Physics, Nearfield Accoustics, McIntosh, Legacy Audio...the list goes on.

I have yet to hear a speaker that delivers what the Bozaks do: extended natural bass, clear and life-like mids and highs that never cause listening fatigue. Yes, yes, I know that sound reproduction is a personal thing, and everybody has different formulations on what makes the best sound. But from what my own ears perceive the Bozaks are still one of the best speaker systems that I've ever listened to!

So, just a few questions.

1. Why don't I ever see posts or hear people talking about the superb Bozak speakers?

2. What is YOUR personal opinion of the Bozak speakers?

3. Why hasn't Rudy Bozaks design concepts been improved upon in todays speaker systems?

4. Naturally, if you want a big sound, you need a big speaker. Why are all of these companies building smaller drivers instead of improving on the big drivers that produce the awesome open and natural bass of a 12" woofer?

Any additional comments welcome.
There's lotsa people who own and cherish their 'Vintage' speakers. Speaker design has not improved in the last 20 to 30 years. I own a set of Tannoy Monitor Golds , these came in 10, 12 and 15" sizes. the larger sizes are absolutely exquisite... a few overzealous owners claim that they may even be some of the finest units ever made
The few Bozaks that I've heard have been quite good speakers, worth owning... but they were never a big seller, and presumably very few have survived.
Current speaker production is best described as 'apartment' or bookshelf' sizing. but it's quite a challenge to make a 6" driver equal the sound of a 12 or 15" unit, especially so when the large driver is of superior quality.
More telling is the fact that most Speaker manufacturers seldom stay in business for more than a few years... not surprisingly.
A full, detailed response would take quite some time, but I'll try to hit the high points.
Tweeters that are a)large in diameter, and/or b)cone went out years ago.
Large diameter tweeters (meaning over, say, 1") have very poor dispersion, meaning that high frequencies tend to shoot straight out like the beam from a flashlight. This, unfortunately, is due to the laws of physics, and no amount of clever engineering will overcome it (whizzer cones and similar strategies were an attempt to use this principle to benefit, but note the much smaller size of the whizzer...). More particularly, the dispersion is related to the wavelength being recreated. Once you pass the point where the wavelength is equal to the diameter of the driver, you're fighting a losing battle.
Cone tweeters died because they are heavy. They can't start and stop as well as lighter drivers (silk, for instance, which lends itself well to dome tweeters), and high frequencies require a lot of starting and stopping; kinda like the difference between an 18-wheeler and a sports car in city traffic. No matter how big the engine in the truck, it's limited by its mass. Again, the laws of physics prevail.
Putting it as gently as I can...the answers to questions 1, 2, & 3 is that Bozak just isn't that good by today's standards...or even yesterday's. The last time they were competitive in terms of sound quality was perhaps the '60's.
The answer to #4 is similar to the tweeter points I made above; although not quite as grim a tale. Large woofers (like large tweeters) are higher mass than their smaller kin, and don't respond as quickly. In that sense, smaller woofers have an advantage in the starting and stopping aspect. However, we're getting into a realm where we need to do at least a bit of hauling, so some truck-like aspects are desirable. 12" drivers (and 15s, and 18s...) are better at moving air. Okay, so what do we do? You can go one of three routes:
--use one larger driver, such as a 12", to move comparatively more air, generally offsetting the mass/speed problem by crossing it over below 100Hz where the 'speed' demands are lower.
--use two (or more) smaller drivers, such as 8s or 10s, that have as much or more surface area when combined, yet have the quickness of the smaller, lighter cone.
--use a single smaller driver with a really long throw and drive the hell out it, trying to make up for its smaller cone area. I personally have some reservations about this strategy, but this is neither the time nor the place to start that discussion.
You can mix and match those three possibilities, too. For the record, I use twelve long-throw 12" drivers (yes, you read that correctly--no, I don't play that loudly [almost entirely jazz & classical]--if you're curious as to why I do such an insane thing, we can take it up as a separate question), but cross them over at 70Hz. You couldn't pay me to cross over a 12" much above 125-150Hz...not and call it hi-fi, anyway.
In the long run, the speakers are yours, the ears are yours, and people have a strong tendency to grow accustomed to what they live with, frequently preferring it to all comers. If you're happy with what you've got, then count yourself a lucky man--there are many who are dissatisfied and will forever be searching, rather than sitting listening to music on a system that they enjoy...

Vintage Speakers


I share your sentiments.

Some where is my audio work shop I have a copy of a DIY speaker book by Don Davis and Alex Bradman.

It details the contruction of a lot of Bozak models, Jensen, Imperial horns and Altec.. 604s etc.

I think they were all circ early 60's style when size and efficiency mattered.

As to the Bozaks, they were regarded as high end and noted for their clean smooth response , high power handling and low distortion.

This is because they used multiple drivers in parellel, which means each cone has to move less distance for a given output.

There are not many speakers on the market these days that share this approach. Small boxes are less efficient and therefore burn power in the form and heat, the driver have to move further and the produce more distortion.

My own speakers are large format JBL monitors, a sort of diy effort with 18" woofer, 8" and unique bi radial flair and they too have smooth low distortion output. But they are big.


I've got that book!
I didn't know anyone else had ever heard of it: How To Build Speaker Enclosures, Alexis Badmaieff & Don Davis. It's a Sams book, #20520.
(I love the paragraph they use to start the horn chapter...)
Incidentally, those who are enamored of the Klipsch horns should track this book down, as it has detailed diagrams for contructing some of the older models.
A lot of the high end speakers these days use multiple drivers (in exactly the same vein, that's why I have twelve 12" drivers...).

" that's why I have twelve 12" drivers..."
You're full of crap.
Between that and the 128 polyprop. solen caps in the ps of your your valve amp, per channel that is.
I think you should post a snapshot of your gear. If you spent all your money in audio components and got no money left, I can send you a disposable camera along with a self addressed stamped envelope so all you got to do is take a couple of shots and return it to me.

Be careful, when Grey (aka Stanley Schmidt) doesn't like what people post, he deletes the thread......

It cute how he completely p*sses on the guys Bozak's, brags up his own speakers, then has the nerve to tell the guy to continue to enjoy the Bozaks...

Also he's just a little touchy about having 12 Titanics and not being able to get any usable low bass output.

Hey Stanley, when did Titanics become "long throw drivers?" LOL....

A bit flaming going on here or is it jealously!?!

Whoa here!! Let's not use this forum to vent our personal vendettas!

I believe Frank Ross in question number 2 asked for personal opinions, did he not? That is a dangerous thing to ask if you are afraid of getting your toes stepped on.

I certainly have had a few difference of opinions with Grey(whom you call Stanley Schimdt), but we have agreed to disagree in private. So I think Frank Ross has gotten what he asked for, opinions. And if I can still read, the majority have had good things to say about his loyalty to his speakers even Grey after telling FR why he did not like them. If you are a regular on this forum, you note that are quite a few of us, who for reasons unknown, dearly love our old, probably first "Hi-Fi" set of speakers, and they range from old AR-XX to JBL's to Boston Acoustics(myself) and list goes on and always come back to them for comfort, reference, or whatever.

Opinions are opinions, and I used to love Fords and hate Chevy's(you will know what I am talking about if you are from the US) but now I find myself driving a Chevy Suburban and a Ford F-250 and hated Chrysler till they brought out the Prowler and then again had to eat humble pie. So come on, fellas, grow up!!

Grey(aka Stanley Schimdt?) may seem like the school yard bully, but he has given a lot of time and advice to many of us with our pet projects and would be sorely missed from this forum if he left, yes, we would even miss his barbed and seemly arrogant opinions too.

I for one have an ancient Harman Kardon integrated amp sourced by a equally old Technics 6 lp stack turntable hooked up to an elderly pair of 2 way Boston Acoustics, which have given me many years of pure listening pleasure and I know that there are definitely better systems out there, at least the specs say so, but when I fire up this system and start spinning old jazz vinyl, well, I am in heaven. It probably pumps out 20% distortion(joking), but I can and have listened to this system for hours, the record is 8 hours straight, without the least bit of fatigue or ear bleed. And I know what live music is as a musician, singer and addictive live music lover. So you cannot accuse me of listening to a system that does not produce good, clean sound.

So, Frank Ross, I agree with Grey, if you "If you're happy with what you've got, then count yourself a lucky man--there are many who are dissatisfied and will forever be searching, rather than sitting listening to music on a system that they enjoy..."

Surf, Sun & Sound
jealous, yea in his dreams......

I call him Stanley because that's his name.....

IMO the value Stanley's contributions are questionable. You don't need to worry about him 'leaving' he's got too much ego for that. Besides he likes being a big fish in a small pond.

The way he bashes the Bozaks, then touts his own personal speakers is pretty pathetic and adolescent....
Amidst all of this childish, non-constructive criticism, I don't know where to begin, but theres a few points that I will address.

For starters, whose to say that the Titanic's aren't long throw drivers?

Secondly, I hardly consider that Grey giving his opinion about the sound of Bozaks, which was asked for, can be thought of as "p*ssing on that guys" speakers. Unlike most of the Bose bashers, he backed up his reasons with fact about cone mass and frequency reproduction. You find me a cone tweeter that can outperform today's titanium and silk dome's in terms of accuracy and I'll be sure to take note.

Third, who is to say that someone having 12, 12" drivers is full of crap? Why don't you tell that to Thomas W. as well. Ever heard of a little project called the Twelve Shiva's Dancing?...

I couldn't agree with Surf, Sound, & Sun more. Please keep any personal vendettas private. Even if you don't value someone's opinions, maybe somebody else does. Jason has worked hard to keep these forums high among the list among the DIY world. If you feel the need to corrupt them with useless ranting, I'm sure you can locate other ones that deserve that particular fate much more.
Please reread the post. Stanley's post is a political attack with a hidden agenda (boosting his ego).

He's too immature to simply say 'I don't think your speakers are any good'.

He dissects the Bozak design, and puts in snide jabs about other speaker designs as well.

Yea he's entitled to his opinion. But the way he goes about integrating it in to the thread is so blatently condesending and self serving it makes me want to barf.
Hmmm, hadn't looked in on this thread in a bit...
Like most folks, my life's had its ups and downs. I have periods when money is easier to come by, and periods when its tighter. Not that it's any of your business, but we've got some medical bills that require attention. About the only money I've spent recently in this direction has been dropped on a few albums. Selfish of me, I suppose, but my wife liked what I brought home (jazz), and all is well on that front. Anyway, that and trying to get through Christmas is a bit of a load. Hopefully things will smooth out soon, though.
At some point, I'm going to post pictures of some of my projects (and schematics, and PC board layouts, etc.). It probably would be a good idea if I started a website, but I'm burned out on computers (my job is working with mainframes; I used to be interested in PCs, but have reached the point where all I want is for the confounded things to work without me having to reboot every five minutes) and am just not in the mood to learn yet another language. I did GML years ago, and from what I've seen HTML is similar, but my interest level is nearly zero. There are also back-end charges there--I'll need a digital camera and/or a scanner, neither of which I own. More money, I'm afraid. All in good time.
Curiouser and curiouser...
(Stan Schmidt, for those who might not recognise the name, is the editor at Analog magazine, where my stories have been published.)
...anyway, for the record, I'm not Stan. He lives in New York, and I live in South Carolina; as far as I know, no one has yet managed to have quite that much of a split personality. I'll try to track down the folks who own the site you cite and get that straightened out. In that context (only), thanks for bringing it to my attention.
I believe (I'm quoting from memory, here. If you're interested in the precise figures, you can check that the Titanic 12" drivers will do something on the order of an inch (P-P). That's shorter than some, longer than others, but it's very much in the realm of what used to be called long-throw. Older paper cone drivers used to be lucky to do a quarter-inch. I remember when I got my KEF B-139s...they were good for something like a half-inch. That was pretty good for those days. Now I've got Titanics and they're good for about an inch. Somewhere down the road, I'll probably own drivers that are good for 6" P-P, but we're not there yet. There's no formal definition for long-throw (if for no other reason than the fact that it's a moving target), but I believe that an inch is still regarded as decent by today's standards.
I'm not selling speakers, either as raw drivers, or as finished speakers. In terms of 'touting' what I've got, I'm careful--in the sense of a reviewer--to try to note strengths, as well as weaknesses, for exactly the reasons you choose to misinterpret. I'm not that ego driven. Nothing I've built is perfect. Should anyone be interested in travelling the same path I've travelled, I try to leave a trail of bread crumbs, but also warn them that some of the crumbs are stale. Not being a reviewer, I am free to modify and improve on what I've built. The subs I've got (as noted in detail elsewhere) are very much a work in progress. I intend to add a servo loop and dedicated amps for each driver. But that hasn't happened yet, so for the time being the subs sound the way they sound, which is to say tighter than their predecessors, but not as deep. There seem to be a number of people here who are interested in servo drivers, and I will start a thread on that project when I have something to report. Unfortunately, there's only one of me, only twenty-four hours in a day, and I have a job, and need to sleep, and so forth. I also have non-audio projects (house repairs, and the like) that take up time. I can't do it all at once. The servo project has, perhaps, been hanging fire the longest of all my audio-related projects, but I elected to get some other things done first. If, perchance, my subs still don't measure up to my ideals after getting the servos in place, I will say so, and either modify the servos or pursue a different route entirely. I related just such a dead end in the water-cooled thread--I tried extruded aluminum and found that it wasn't working the way I'd hoped. I backed up and went with copper, which did work.
Given the number of people here and elsewhere who do one project, then, without a basis for comparison (or at least none stated) laud the end result to the sky, I try to give a balanced representation of what I'm doing.
Setting all that aside, once upon a time I heard an album on a friend's mother's console stereo. I won't name the album, nor will I name the brand of console stereo, but I will say that the sound was nearly magic...for that one album. The stereo had very, very primitive speakers, very little power, and the turntable was probably powered by a trained squirrel on a treadmill, but that one album sounded pretty damned good. Other albums sounded just awful, frankly. The whole assemblage was lo-fi at best, yet was capable under narrow circumstances of magic. That's not to say I'd care to own the thing. The moral being that even junk can sound good, sometimes.
Now, Bozak was a much, much higher order of equipment, indeed, and was in its day, very good stuff. (Seth, have you ever heard Bozak speakers? Have you ever seen a pair? Do you even know what we're talking about, here?) Unfortunately, they didn't keep pace with the changes and were left behind. Companies come and go, as someone noted above. Bozak was one of the ones that didn't make it. At the moment, I'm having trouble thinking of even one hi-fi speaker company from the '50s that's still around (don't bring up JBL, they're not hi-fi--if it weren't for their pro sound, they wouldn't have lasted). Hi-fi companies, in general, don't last very long. McIntosh is still here, but are a shadow of their former selves in terms of relative performance. Some of the mid-fi names today (Marantz, for instance) used to be very, very good, but have been bought and sold so many times that there's nothing left but the name. A pity.
And, Seth, one more thing...can you name a single instance where I've deleted a thread?

Let me set the record straight.
I've got no beef with you nor do I care about your economic situation, and your medical bills. Nor I give a rats' about what Seth has to say and whatever his agenda is.
Actually I happen to like you, your work, and I also admire your knowledge of audio (Ok that's enough).
I have been the first to thank you just now for the aleph boards you made public and in the past for other stuff you did, too.
However, in this particular occasion I think you went overboard so I wrote what I thought on the spur of the moment.
The guy liked his bokaz. Ok, so they probably are inferior and technologically outdated, so what tha fu**?
I think that there are many more people that enjoy their own little systems, me included, more than there are people wanting to put 12X12" driver in their living rooms (or in their basement firing upwards).
End of story. Lets get back to business.

I am sorry but Bozacks have just not retained a value like many vintage speakers. I have heard but do not know that they were the 1st non-efficiant speakers sold as hifi. I have no idea if that was a reason. I have never listened to any because no one I know has any. I like vintage speakers and am listening to some as I type. My gut feeling about Bozack is that there was a rumour started and they ended up with a reputetion along that of Bose with the audio alite. This is all just a WAG, ok? Anyone that takes offence, I fart in your general direction.
Vintage speakers

I grew up with a single Bozak, as my father had mono equipment. It was and still is a wonderful speaker. As you point out any speaker is not all things to all people; however there are some fundamental options for selecting speakers, IMHO. Imaging, Timbral acuraccy, Dynamics, Tonal accuracy. While some speakers may doo a good job at many of these, I have yet to find a speaker that is excellent at all. Many of the older designs, Bozak, KLH, Quad, Dahlquist, JBL, University and the like have yet to be beaten in their niche. In fact if you surf the web much you will find quite an interest in old drivers and enclosures.
Happy Listening
I sometimes think if I could turn back the clock and undo all the foolish money I spent chasing specs, I'd have been smarter to buy electrostats. The original Quads tend to do fairly well, even now, even though they are very limited in SPL, dispersion, and bass. The bass I could have fixed with a sub, but the lack of dispersion can't be cured, and is pretty much a deal-killer in my book, as sometimes I want to listen as I move around the room doing things. Electrostats are, by definition, a sit & listen kind of critter.
There are no dynamic drivers from that era that I'd choose to live with under any but the most desperate of circumstances.

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001
A) Doesn't Quad have a unique system where the flat diaphragm is broken into vertical panels with the center panel firing first, the adjacent panels fire a bit later and the end panels fire later still? Doesn't this give a sort of cylindrical wavefront that gives good dispersion? Or did that innovation come later?

B) Looking at old speakerbuilding books from the sixties, I notice that they say the choice is between 12 dB slope crossovers and 6 db/octave crossovers, with these books emphasizing that many manufacturers of the time used the 6 db slope.

These days, many high end manufacturers are returning to 6 dB/octave slope crosovers for the gentler phase shift. What did Bozaks use for crossover slope? If they used 6 dB/octave, perhaps that is the reason many people find them very good even if the drivers don't have all the refinements in cone materials, etc., that modern speakers have.

Incidentally, Peerless still sells a cone tweeter and judging by the chart, it ain't half bad up to 15 kHz. Of course, Peerless makes it clear that these are meant for "compact" speakers, (no doubt the kind that are attached to a center unit with the radio, CD, cassette and amplifier in it), but the little cone buggers aren't that far beyond the pale.

If the Bozaks used gentle slope crossovers, could that compensate for the difference in driver technology of the time, even the cone tweeter? One site, like this, attaches great importance to gentle slope crossovers.

I am just guessing here. I have neither heard nor seen the Bozaks.
Vintage Speakers

I have an old set of Advents(Large Type) and a new set of Paradigm's that sound great but usually I end up listening to the Advents.
Even my wife noticed the difference and made me leave the Advents hooked up. Don't ask me why but the Advents are easier on the ears.
As for Grey, the mans has something to say and he is usually right and can convey a lot of knowledge to the DIY and novice.
Not that I agree with all his posts, he is an asset to the Forum
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