Stereo Speaker Systems #1

Acoustic Research Classic Model 6

Acoustic Research Classic Model 6 (1993) $210/pr

The AR Classic Model 6 is probably the most rare of all the AR Classic systems.  Only available in one model year ('93-'94) the Classic High Resolution loudspeaker systems were all built around one of AR's core technology modules, called the Symmetrical Radiation Array (SRA).  

In the Classic Model 6, the SRA consists of three major pieces, one 1" soft-dome tweeter, one 6" midrange driver and, of course, a crossover. 

The SRA places the 6" midrange (or mid-bass) driver above the tweeter in a vertical array, at positions dictated by the highly sophisticated computer designed crossover.  This also provides for bi-wiring / bi-amping at the crossover point from the woofer(s) to the mid-band driver (200 Hz).  

The cone driver used in the Classic Model 6 (like in all the Classic series) features butyl rubber surrounds and is a cast-basket, rather than the more common, and significantly cheaper, pressed steel type. This reduces vibration from the drive unit itself, providing a more stable environment for the moving parts. 

The tweeter is an all-new soft cloth dome design with 1" voice coil with liquid cooling for improved power handling. The same tweeter was used in all AR Classic series speakers, and like all components in all AR systems, was selected only after extensive listening.

The handsome black ash cabinets are heavily braced internally and are finished in high quality real wood veneers.

The Classic Model 6 is fitted with high quality gold plated terminals which will accommodate cables terminated in many forms. They will accept spade lugs, 4mm banana plugs, pin plugs, and bare wire. These are bi-wired with two sets of terminals, linked by a gold plated jumper bar. 

Not exactly efficient, they come alive with at least 45 watts and up.  

Although they are described as bookshelf speakers, we highly recommend a good set of sturdy stands.
How do they sound?  Excellent.  Let your ears confirm that...

About AR (Acoustic Research)...

One of the most revered names in the history high fidelity, AR has been developing innovative solutions to the problems of home music playback since 1954. They've given the world the acoustic suspension woofer, dome midrange and high frequency drive units, and liquid cooled drivers. Each innovation improved music reproduction in a tangible and practical way and evolved direction from two principles: First, the products must set a standard not previously achieved, or they must perform far beyond similarly priced competitors. And second, no matter how advanced the technology may be, music is always the essential purpose and ultimate measure. 



Pioneer CS-A-31

Pioneer CS-A-31 (1969) $220/pr

​As beautiful today as they were in 1969 (48 years ago!), when they were designed by Pioneer and considered a radical bass reflex design at the time, the CS-A-31 speakers are now considered extremely rare and highly collectible.  

These are in immaculate cosmetic and working condition...they yield superb tonal quality.  

The sturdy real hardwood walnut enclosures harmonize perfectly​ with the gold sash attractive saran grills...luxurious yet subdued.  The gorgeous saran netting is acoustically transparent and is framed in real plastic anywhere on these.  

The cabinets are well braced, well lined with sound absorbing felt padding and fairly heavy at 34 lbs each.

This is a 3-way system with 12" woofers, 5" mids and exponential horn tweeters, all designed with heavy Alnico magnets.

A very different style of tweeter balance controls, on the rear, provide accurate adjustment and are fully operational.  

Designed specifically at 16 ohms, they can be easily powered by 20 watts and, even at that, the amp (or receiver) will be "loafing" along with no serious power demands.  A typical 8 ohm power source is just fine. Either placed vertically or horizontally, they will sound great no matter the position.



Boston A-70

Boston A-70 Series II (1980) $175/pr 

The Boston A70 has excellent bass and crystal clear highs. 
From the original brochure:
"The slim profile of the A70 not only makes it easier for you to place the speaker unobtrusively in a room; more important from a music lover's point of view, the dimensions of the cabinet minimize unwanted sounds that would ordinarily muddy the stereo picture.  With the use of the famous SEAS drivers, the A70 has a remarkably wide dispersion for a 2-way speaker, which permits the imaging to be stable over a wide listening area. Boston beveled the grille panel around its inner perimeter to minimize early reflections that can blur the stereo image.  As a result, a cabinet of about one cubic foot (28 liters) internal volume was chosen as the most cost-effective solution, with an aspect ratio of front panel size to cabinet depth that research (at the time) by Boston Acoustics indicated would yield the optimum imaging capability."

About Boston Acoustics...
In 1979, Boston Acoustics was founded as a company committed to creating products with superior high fidelity quality and design at a great value. ..Boston was a renowned leader in high-performance loudspeakers, tabletop products, and advanced car audio systems.  In 2005, Snell and Boston Acoustics were purchased by D&M Holdings which also owns Denon, Marantz, and McIntosh. 

Jennings Research Contrara Group Pedestals

Jennings Research Contrara Pedestals (1976)

The initial product line at Jennings Research was called the “Contrara Group”.

These "Contrara Group Pedestals" have twin Audax woofers and single tweeters.

They were second to the top of the line Contrara Elan Pedestal model. 

Other than the very high quality drivers and crossover networks, the most striking thing is their physical appearance: all the Contrara Group pedestal systems feature hand-rubbed, solid dark walnut cabinets with mosaic tops.  This particular pair have the light bronze smoked glass tops.    These pedestal models are heavy, well-braced cabinets mounted on 180 degree swivel bases which is quite unique, to say the least.  There were a few other speaker models, not as well known but still carrying the Jennings Research badges.

They were introduced in the summer of 1975 and the company initially made quite a splash with an advertising campaign in national magazines such as "Popular Science" and the "New Yorker Magazine". The well-designed systems sold well, but, unfortunately, the very high cost of materials and labor, let alone the cost of marketing and sales, put Jennings Research in a precarious position compared to the well-funded competition. 
There was no question the products were excellent but, as happened to so many companies in the crowded high fidelity market, they just couldn't stay afloat.

About Jennings Research...

Jennings Research was based in Los Angeles, California, USA and founded in March, 1975 by Tom Jennings.  Mr Jennings had been the head of marketing for JBL in the late 60’s, early 70’s and was instrumental in the success of the JBL Aquarius series. In a different time he was also CEO of Wald Sound.  As it is with most driven entrepreneurs, Jennings stuck out on his own, brought in a dedicated group of talented associates and made some amazing speakers. 

Occasionally,  Jennings Research speakers turn up for sale but are considered very rare because, generally speaking, they sound VERY good and most audiophiles tend to consider these "keepers".  The company also introduced a line of amplifiers the next year, but they appear to have only been in production for only a couple of years.


Klipsch 1.2

Klipsch 1.2 (1992) $135/pr

These rear-ported Klipsch KG 1.2 bookshelf speakers are small but heavy, with a surprising amount of bass punch for their size. Klipsch only built them for two years, from 1992 to 1994, and this is a matched pair with sequential serial numbers. Some notes:

● Frequency response is 50Hz to 20kHz (+/- 3dB)

● Sensitivity is 90dB (easy to drive!) and impedance is 8 ohms

● Drivers consist of a one-inch Phenolic dome compression tweeter loaded into an exponential horn, and a 6.5-inch injected carbon graphite woofer with rubber surround

● They have custom fiberglass mesh grills. 

● They weigh 15 pounds each, and measure 13” (H) by 9.25” (W) by 9.25” (D)

● Five-way binding posts make for easy connection choices

● Cabinets are finished in real light oak wood veneer 

Realistic Optimus T~100

Realistic Optimus T~100 (1980-1983) 

$170/pr reduced

Rare, and in excellent cosmetic and working condition, these T~100s are some of Realistic's best.  Made in japan back in the day when high quality sound and excellent cabinet design really meant something.  Each beautiful, genuine oil-rubbed, walnut veneer cabinet contains two 16 ohm 8" woofers in tandem (to become 8 ohms), they produce some deep and satisfying lows.  The 1" dome tweeter is wired to a continuously variable L-pad for fine tuning the crystal clear highs.  They are so efficient that 20 watts will do the job.  Of course, because of they were made, you may want to power them with a lot more wattage because they can handle whatever you throw at them.  The original, soft brown luxurious fabric grills are in great shape as well. 

About Realistic/Optimus/Radio Shack/Tandy Corp...

Realistic branded vintage stereo gear is all over the place.  Some of it is right up there in quality with the best of Pioneer, Sansui, etc.  Also, some of it is just...ok.   Their best era was during the 70's when they successfully competed head-to-head with all the big names in high fidelity.  They sourced practically all their products from Japan and sometimes had the exact same components inside their gear as the competition but at a much lower price.  


Pinnacle "Diaduct" design for floor/bookshelf speakers
Pinnacle PN-70 (stands separate, not included)
subwoofer "Diaduct" design
Pinnacle PN-70

Pinnacle PN-70 (1988) $185/pr

The rarely seen, excellent Pinnacle PN-70 is a compact (floor or bookshelf) 3-way, 8 ohm, bass reflex system that features Pinnacle's patented bass enhancing *"Diaduct" twin port tubes (each enclosure has two tubes).  

The base features a solid oak strip and the grills, cabinets and drivers are all in pristine condition.  

They are best described as accurate, non-fatiguing yet punchy when you hit the gas...

The component drivers in each cabinet: 

one 6.5" treated cellulose fiber cone with rubber surrounds... 

one 4" high resolution midrange with treated cone, rubber surrounds and tuned isolation chamber...

one 1" metal diaphragm dome tweeter with ferro fluid cooling & parabolic dish faceplate for optimum imaging...

Rated power handling is 10-100 watts (300 watt peak) and the frequency response is a very good 38-21 KHz.

*The patented Pinnacle "Diaduct" port tube follows a long diagonal path inside the cabinet.  This technique enables the tube to achieve length enough accommodate a wide port opening without suffering the air flow problems inherent to curved or bent tubes.  Additionally, the elliptical mouth opening results in additional powerful, deep bass from such compact enclosures.  As Pinnacle claims: "Our Diaduct system produces the bass of a larger speaker...without the larger speaker."

Pinnacle PN-6+

Pinnacle PN-6+ (1988)  $125/pr

The smaller sibling of the PN-70 is the Pinnacle PN-6+, a smaller bookshelf 2-way, 6 ohm system that is similar in design to most of Pinnacle's superior speaker systems.  

It also features the bass enhancing *"Diaduct" port tubes (one tube per cabinet) that defy standard expectations of bass from smaller enclosures.

The components in the PN6+ include: 

one 6.5" mineral filled poly cone woofer 

one 3/4" magnetic oil-cooled dome tweeter.

The design elements from Pinnacle always includes the distinctive solid oak base and colorful Pinnacle badge.

Grills, cabinets and drivers are in excellent condition.

*The patented Pinnacle "Diaduct" port tube follows a long diagonal path inside the cabinet.  This technique enables the tube to achieve length enough accommodate a wide port opening without suffering the air flow problems inherent to curved or bent tubes.  Additionally, the elliptical mouth opening results in additional powerful, deep bass from such compact enclosures.  As Pinnacle claims: "Our Diaduct system produces the bass of a larger speaker...without the larger speaker."

About Pinnacle...

Family owned since 1976 and still in business today, Pinnacle speakers have carved a highly respected reputation in the crowded field of loudspeaker design.  Their revolutionary Diaduct port system allowed them to design compact systems that produce high quality sound rarely heard in such small enclosures.  Respected magazines such as Stereo Review, Audio, etc have consistently given their products rave reviews.  They are the oldest independently owned and operated speaker company in the USA having been in business continuously, without interruption, since the mid 70's.



Epi MT-1 Microtower

Epi Microtower-1 aka Epicure Model 75 ('73-'74) $190/pr 

The Epicure Microtower speakers were made in the mid-1970s, Three of the models (MT1, MT2 and MT3) were tall, thin columns with bottom vents, intended to be relatively omnidirectional. 
The fourth one (MTB2) shares parts with the others and not much more.  
Some were marked EPI and some Epicure. Each Microtower 1 enclosure has twin 4.5" full range drivers with durable cloth surrounds.  Rated at 5-50 watts, they are very efficient and can do justice with a minimum of power and produce very good, non-fatiguing sound.  Relatively rare, they are a welcome addition to any vintage collection.  Placed correctly, they do put out an omnidirectional sound, as intended.  

Of course, they are a very cool design, especially with the new smoked glass tops and wood bases to reflect the omnidirectional sound smoothly and evenly ...the circular Epi logo screens are similar to a passive radiator although they don't really affect the sound much. This pair was made with a walnut vinyl finish. Some are marked "M-75".  These are the MT-1 version.  Epi badges and grill covers are complete and in good condition.  Overall these are in good shape considering their age.

About Epicure (Epi)...
EPI was founded in 1970 by Winslow Burhoe, to manufacture speakers based on the "module" he had designed. This module consisted of an eight inch woofer and a one inch tweeter. Many different speakers were built using various combinations of this module, and a six inch version of the woofer. They were wonderful speakers and are still usually prized by their owners, who will frequently go to great lengths to repair them properly when they (rarely) develop problems.


Wharfedale W60D

Wharfedale W60D (60's) $285/pr (upgraded)

The upgraded drivers and crossovers in these Wharfedale W60D are in a class of their own and surpass the overall sound quality of the original Wharfedale components.  They are terrific, efficient and perfect for Class A tube/solid-state amps or even medium powered, high quality solid state receivers. 

What's inside?  A former Marantz sound engineer replaced the failing components by installing very high quality 12" Utah Stephens-Trusonic woofers with massive Alnico magnets, Marantz HD88 mids and Foster 3" super tweeters.   Additionally, there are all new capacitors on the upgraded crossovers boards. Fully operational and accurate controls for mids and highs are on the rear of each cabinet.

The Wharfedale cabinets have a reputation for being some of the finest mass produced speaker enclosures ever made.  The side and rear walls of these real hardwood cabinets are filled with special fine grain sand specially collected in England, making them very heavy and acoustically excellent.  

Newly intalled grill material that resemble vintage AR, KLH, Advent, etc. add the perfect touch to an incredible rebuilt pair of Wharfedale speakers.

About Wharfedale...

Britain has long been recognized throughout the world as being the home of loudspeaker technology in terms of innovation and quality. This reputation has built up over many years by some of the world’s most famous loudspeaker manufacturers. 

Wharfedale, established over seventy years ago has always been at the forefront of developing this reputation. 

The year is 1932; in the cellar of a house in Ilkley, Yorkshire, music enthusiast and audio experimenter, Gilbert Briggs, is building his first loudspeaker units. 

Briggs was one of the new breed of amateur electronics engineers, experimenting with what was, at the time, cutting edge technology.  Briggs’ endeavours, however, proved to be far from amateurish, and no doubt aided by a musical ear, Briggs’ hobby of audio experimentation was about to explode beyond the confines of that cellar, and create a reputation which would quickly spread far and wide.

Gilbert Briggs’ house was located in Ilkley, Yorkshire, in the valley of Wharfe, an area known, to this day, as ‘Wharfedale’; and so, it was to be that the name of his home area, became the brand with which Gilbert Briggs was to change the face of Hi-Fi.
Post-WW2, both in England and in America, wartime developments in electronics had sparked a nascent interest into ‘High Fidelity Audio’.  Wharfedale seized upon this interest and used a number of technological developments to put them squarely in the ‘Hi-Fi Limelight’.  

Two-way and multi-component loudspeaker systems had been attempted in the 1930s; they were however solely the reserve of cinemas and theaters, due to their size. 

In 1945 Wharfedale launched a two-way loudspeaker system, small enough to fit in a family home, even if the external crossover did require two people to lift it!
It seems fair then, to say that Wharfedale invented the domestic speaker as we know it.



Ampex 414 "cubes"

Ampex 414 "cubes" (70's) $45/pr

These small walnut cube speakers were originally included with the Ampex Model 761 tape deck.  Each 6" square walnut cube contains one 4" full range CTS driver.  The cubes are an excellent compliment for any existing speaker system if you want to add some high range but, as far as bass goes, forget it.  However, they definitely have the cool factor going for them.​  

(Stands not included)

About vintage Ampex...

Ampex was an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander Poniatoff.  

Ampex's first great success was a line of reel-to-reel tape recorders developed from the German wartime Magnetophone system at the behest of Bing Crosby!  Ampex quickly became a leader in audio tape technology, developing many of the analog recording formats for both music and movies that remained in use into the 1990s. Starting in the 1950s the company began developingvideo tape recorders which set the studio standards for decades, and later introduced the helican scan concept that make home video players possible. They also introduced multi-track recording, slow-motion and instant playback television, and a host of other advances.

Ampex's tape business was rendered obsolete during the 1990s, and the company turned to digital storage products. They never managed to become a player in this field, and the company was moribund by the 2000



XAM 5E Electro-Voice 8" whizzers
XAM 5E baffling
XAM 5E (MAX spelled backwards) read info...

XAM 5E (1968) $80/pr

These rare XAM 5E speakers were manufactured by Electro-Voice and sold as a private label model by *EJ Korvette's chain stores back in the late 60's and early 70's.  The real walnut cabinets contain Electro-Voice SP-8 full range 8 ohm, 8" whizzer cones that, running as a pair, sound pretty darn good (considering they are EV drivers, that shouldn't surprise anyone).  Fairly heavy, the cabinets do have some battle scars but the vintage linen cloth grills are intact and look real nice...real vintage stuff!  

*EJ Korvette' s, (also known as Korvette's), was an American department store chain founded in 1948.  Similar to Costco because they had membership cards that got you "big" discounts.  Now defunct, they went so far as to market its own "XAM" brand of speakers (made by Electro-Voice) and stereo receivers / amplifiers (some manufactured by EV, Fisher and Roland Electronics of Japan).  XAM was rumored to be a tribute to the owner's deceased dog, Max.