Stereo Speaker Systems #1

Boston A-70

Boston A-70 (1980) $140/pr 

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.  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. 

Realistic Optimus 27

Realistic Optimus 27 (1980-1983) $125/pr

Realistic came out with this unique passive radiator system (rated at 8 ohms) to "provide low distortion and transparent sound quality.  High frequency dispersion is accomplished through a carefully designed phase-correction assembly" this was to prevent "beaming" for uniform, open, airy natural sounding fidelity so "no matter where you sit, you hear all the music." Probably the most striking part of this design are the slim-line, minimum refraction cabinets - genuine walnut veneer on slim, sloped trapezoid shaped enclosures that can easily sit on the floor, backs to the wall and fit into any room setting......this 3-way system features 1" textile soft dome tweeters, 6.5 active low frequency drivers and 8" high compliance passive radiators tuned to the main driver....

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.  


RSL Magnificent

RogerSound Labs RSL "Magnificent" (1989) $165

This is a truly beautiful speaker.  Beautiful styling, room filling sound and practically impossible to find on the East Coast.  Designed as a bookshelf speaker that can outperform most floor sized units, the very heavy solid oak cabinets feature a 2-way system with a 2nd order crossover. Massive 3.25 lb magnets on the 8" long excursion woofers deliver tight bass down to 45Hz. Rare (as are most of the RogerSound Labs vintage speakers), the Magnificents are some of our favorite speaker systems.  We've had several pair before and once you see them and hear'll understand why.

About RogerSound Labs (RSL)
In the ‘70s and ‘80s Howard Rodgers owned a series of hi-fi stores in Southern California called Rogersound Labs. He was (and still is) an icon in the San Fernando Valley, CA who had built himself a reputation for manufacturing the highest quality speakers possible for the money. They sold direct to the consumer to avoid high retail markups and put most of the savings back into the quality of their builds. In the 80's, RSL Speakers were industry-standard in many recording studios throughout Southern California. Howard started off in a small shop in North Hollywood, building speakers one at a time by hand. He later moved the business to a larger facility in Canoga Park where he really gave JBL a run for their money.



Lafayette Minuette Mark II (1969) $85
Coral BX-200 (1968) $125
Sansui SP-30 ('69-'72) $125
Jennings Research Contrara Group Pedestals

Jennings Research Contrara Pedestals (1976) $300

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. 

The initial product line at Jennings Research was called the “Contrara Group”.  At the top of the line was the "Contrara Elan Pedestal" with twin Audax tweeters and Audax woofers.  Next up was the "Contrara Group Pedestal", which features twin woofers and a single tweeter.  Also included in the model series were the "Contrara Group MKii Rectangles" which had single woofers and tweeters in each cabinet. 

Other than the 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.  The Rectangles have the same high quality finish but without the mosaic tops.  The pedestal models also have very heavy cabinets mounted on 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 product is excellent but, as happened to so many companies in the crowded high fidelity market, they just couldn't stay afloat.

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.


ADS L400

ADS L400 ('83-'86) $200 (firm)
(with ADS black metal stands $250...not pictured)

The biggest reason to seek out these ADS L400s today is because they are beautiful. The solid-wood radiused edges match almost exactly to Komfort's very expensive Danish dressers and night stands of the same era. While these speakers are walnut, as they have aged over the years, they match Komfort's teak almost exactly in both color and style! While the ADS L400 are very handsome loudspeakers and, like most of the ADS, prices tend to be high because of their sound, looks and lineage.  The beautiful perforated metal grills float over the front of the speaker with concave corners that come forward to hold the grills.

The highs are sweet. The very high treble might be just a tiny bit stronger than usual, giving cymbal ticks a nice presence. The ADS L400 doesn't emphasize anything; any errors would be errors of omission and they are never, ever harsh. It's always smooth.  And always very accurate.

a/d/s L520

a/d/s ADS L520 (1982) $325 (firm)

a/d/s ADS produces some of the best speaker systems that money can buy and the premium L520 system is certainly recognized for their excellence.  A quick check online will yield rave reviews by just about everybody that has experienced their sound.
Their unique one inch acoustic suspension soft-dome tweeters account for the ultra-clean, "airy" high-frequency response.   The tweeter dome is a super-light fabric-like material with a proprietary "sticky" damping compound and a powerful Barium Ferrite magnet (there's a lot more to describe but suffice to say, the a/d/s tweeters are fantastic!)  The L520 has 8-inch woofers featuring a/d/s' tapered "Stifflite" cones. (Stifflite is a relatively thick material formed of air-filled, randomly-oriented pulp fiber in a unique "sandwich" construction).  Because of this unique design, a/d/s firmly believed it had the closest thing (at the time) to the ideal woofer cone.  
The network crossover components, furthermore, are of the finest quality. Thanks to a/d/s' advanced driver technology, their crossover networks are free of excessive complexity and have the lowest power loss and distortion figures in the industry. 
Finally, the walnut veneer enclosures are precision constructed from 3/4-inch extra-high density particle board with extreme bracing.  The original (and boring) brown fabric grills were in terrible shape so these are upgraded with very nice NOS vintage burlap linen grills along with the original ADS logo badges.  Great stuff! 

a/d/s Sat5 satellites (1990) $135 (photo below)

These are the very first series of Sat 5 (heavy black metal enclosures with flat banana plug outputs) and were made for professional use (unlike the oak cabinet version of Sat 5 for home use).  These are very rare and will only accept banana plugs.
Petite and very heavy, it is perhaps the SAT 5 that best embodies the a/d/s​ ideal - maximum performance, absolute commitment to unparalleled quality.
They use a special version of the fourth-order crossover - the Linkwitz-Riley configuration. This sophisticated alignment remains unique among crossover designs in that it produces no audible phase shift at any frequency. Crossover performance like this does not come cheap. 

a/d/s turned to the only possible solution for reproducing deep bass in a compact loudspeaker - a small woofer with long, controlled excursion. Large precision magnet assemblies provide the necessary force. Oxygen-free copper voice coil windings travelling in an exactingly narrow gap react quickly and efficiently. And a stainless steel voice coil former provides the mechanical strength to handle the most dynamic transients.
The dome drivers have smooth extended response, extremely low distortion, and broad, even dispersion.
Finally, ​an impressive magnet structure drives the dome. Oversize magnets and tight voice coil tolerances allow fast transient attack and impressive dynamic range. A Kapton® voice coil former and high gravity magnetic cooling fluid ensure maximum power handling. And a single layer, oxygen-free copper voice coil provides efficiency.  Amazing stuff!
There are no grills with this pair but no one ever left them on anyway, because those grill covers cause dispersion loss, change in sound stage, potential muffled-ness of bass or treble,  as well as "stereo stage loss," which is really bad.  Besides, they look really cool without them.

a/d/s SAT5 satellites

About a/d/s ADS (Analog & Digital Systems)...

Manufactured since the early 80's in Germany (Braun) and the USA, ADS (a/d/s) products are of very high quality and have a very detailed sound.  

Golden Era - a/d/s & ADS - Mid 70s to Late 80s:

Early models were assembled in the USA from parts produced by Braun in Germany. Over time, more production occurred in house (America). 

L Series:

The two-way Lx20s and three-way Lx30 came before the two-way Lx70s and three-way Lx80s. There is a later, and supposedly improved, “version 2” for all the Lx10s.

Bottom line, suffice to say that ADS produced very highly respected speaker systems...true audiophile sonics.Design:
The actual industrial design was from Braun Design in Germany. One interesting tidbit is that the cabinets were manufactured by a German furniture company named Hados, and sent to the USA for installation of the ADS-made drivers. This is a complete reversal of the typical loudspeaker company practice of building ones own cabinets and stuffing them with drivers built elsewhere.


Infinty Qe

Infinity Qe ('78- '83)  $200

The Infinity QE system features nearly perfect bass response from the high quality 8" woofers with rubber surrounds.  These are coupled to the famous Infinity *EMIT tweeters and that makes for a killer speaker system.  As another Infinity touch, they added bronze phosphor formers for increased rise time of the woofers. This is an acoustic suspension (sealed cabinet) system so the bass is incredibly nice and tight with no "boominess".  The *EMIT tweeter will bring out distinct highs you may have never heard before.   The walnut veneer cabinets with sheer knit grills offer a nice clean look.  Infinity knew how to make some impressive sounding speaker systems during this period and the Qe is definitely one of them. 

About Infinity...
Arnie Nudell, John Ulrick and Cary Christie founded Infinity in 1968. Their first product was the Servo-Static speaker system which had electrostatic panels and a servo-controlled woofer.
Infinity has produced both home and car audio products and they are known for their use of neodymium magnets, mylar diaphragms, and polypropylene speaker cones. Infinity produced the *EMIT tweeter and EMIM midrange drivers and later the EMIT-R, S-EMIT, and the L-EMIM which worked to move air based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. 
The IRS (Infinity Reference System) which cost $65,000 in the 1980s is one of the first ultra-high end speakers systems ever sold. The IRS had 76 EMIT tweeters, 24 EMIM midrange drivers, and twelve 12-inch poly woofers in four tower speakers cabinets.
The Reference, and later Kappa series, were discontinued after Nudell sold the Infinity brand to Harman Kardon. Nudell later formed  high-end loudspeaker company Genesis Technologies,. Genesis' flagship speakers system, the 1.2, sold for US$235,000.  It was for the most part an updated version Infinity IRS Speaker System. 
In the 1990s and beyond Infinity speakers have been less expensive and more mass marketed to the general consumer. The popular SM (Studio Monitor) series speakers had polycell tweeters and graphite impregnated midranges and woofers. 


Coral BX-300

Coral BX-300 (1968) $175

We are lucky to have this v​ery nice pair of ​Corals (Japan), they are a ​3 way​ system with​ 10"​ woofers, 4" horn mids and 1" tweeters.​  ​R​are and are ​completely​ original​,​ ​t​he grills are ​nearly ​perfect and the ​walnut ​cabinets are ​very good condition considering these are almost 50 years old.  ​​Additionally, both ​Coral ​​badges​ are excellent and​ intact. ​ Original factory p​aperwork ​are present on the​ back of both ​cabinets.  The sound from the Coral BX-300​ is very clear and clean with an excellent bottom end​.​  Needing minimal power to make these come alive, ​they would be perfect for any lower to middle powered receiver.  Of course, the very cool, colorful vintage fabric grills are a major plus adding a distinct flavor to these wonderful speakers. 

Coral BX-200
(1968)  $125 (photo above on this page)

A truly fine addition to your vintage setup, these are mid-century modern 2-way speakers with very unique (almost radical) filagree styled grills.  Nice walnut cabinets and very efficient needing as little as 10 watts to sound great in a smaller room environment.

About Coral Audio Corporation...
Coral was a Japanese company that used very high quality drivers. Much of their speaker design looked like reversed-engineered JBL. They made their own compression drivers and co-axial drivers among other things.  Coral was very highly regarded in the late 60's and 70's for high quality, high efficiency speakers. There was a time when some models of Coral would have cost as much as some models of Klipsch and other well known names.


Epicure Model 70C

Epi Model 70C (Epicure, '77-'79)  $125

These have the inverted dome tweeters as the 2-way "C" model was a later version but basically the same as the original Model 70.  Famous name, famous sound, lots of history, the Epicure brand has been around a long time.

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.


Kenwood KL-777A

Kenwood KL-777A (1976) $275

These amazing speakers are a massive array of six drivers designed as a 4-way system with an impressive frequency response from 25Hz to 22kHz and 110 watts of handling power (each cabinet).
The quick story: Taking 23 different types of wood pulp from 19 different countries all over the world, Kenwood's engineers set about finding which combination was the most ideal for speaker cone paper and which pressing method was best.  They hit on the wet press method which gives the cone paper special strength to withstand the high power that they can handle.  And boy, can they handle it!
The massive 15" free edge type woofers alone produce seriously thunderous bass.  Suffice to say that rather than go into a lengthy description, let your own ears be the judge.
The very heavy walnut cabinets are fitted with the typical Japanese "kumiko" styled vertical lattice grills of the era...they definitely have that desirable vintage look.

About Kenwood (Trio)...

Established in 1946 as the Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd. in Komagane City, Japan, in 1960 the company was renamed Trio Corporation. In 1963 the first overseas office was founded in Los Angeles.

In the early 1960s, Trio's products were rebranded by the Lafayette Radio Co with a focus on CB radio.

An importer of Japanese-made electronics Radio Shack (Realistic, Tandy Corp) was A&A Trading Co., and a bilingual Japanese-speaking manager from there established a company that would be the exclusive importer of Trio products.

The name Kenwood was invented by Kasuga as being the combination of "Ken", a name common to Japan and North America that had been tested and proven acceptable to American consumers in the name of Kenmore appliance (Sears) \, and "Wood", referring to the durable substance as well as suggesting a relation to Hollywood.  The brand recognition of Kenwood eventually surpassed that of Trio's, and in 1986 Trio bought Kenwood and renamed itself Kenwood.  Eventually, Kenwood merged with JVC in 2008 as JVC/Kenwood.



KLH Model AV33

KLH AV-33 (1985) $100

KLH was clinging to its much deserved reputation for classic speaker designs by the late 70's and mid-80's but began a slow decent into mediocrity by the 90's.  The AV33s are similar to the KLH Model 802 from the late 70's and contain the same drivers albeit shielded as typical of most AV-type systems from the 80's.  Good looking...oak veneer cabinets with rounded edges...2-way system with 8" woofers and 3/4" dome tweeters, rear ports for good bass response.  Affordable with good sound.

About KLH...

Much of the rich history of KLH began with Henry Kloss (he was the "K" in KLH and known to most as one of the most famous of the pioneers of audio) way back in the 60's.  The 70's were a rich time for KLH and they produced many fine classic speaker systems that are still coveted today by collectors worldwide.  Too many models to list here but, sad to say, by the late 80's, like most of the famous names in audio, the past became just a memory as KLH has now been reduced to just another company consumed by a large corporation looking to cut corners whenever possible.


Realistic Nova 7B

Realistic Nova 7B (1975) $125 (two pairs available)

Originally priced at $130/ea in 1975, these Nova 7Bs are the very earliest version and continue to amaze at the incredible great quality of the interior/exterior build of these classics from Radio Shack.  This 3-way setup was made in Japan using 10" Foster/Fostex drivers and two 3" mid/tweeters per cabinet...they can pump out some serious bass. The heavy, sealed and oiled walnut cabinets have the famous lattice grills that so defined the era.  The lattice frames are recessed into the beveled edges of the enclosures and are removable.

About Realistic...

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.