Stereo Speaker Systems #2

Marantz Model 600

Marantz Model 600 (1980) $375

The Marantz Model 600s are most likely the answer to the question "which Marantz speakers are the rarest of all?"  These very beautiful (very rare) Marantz Model 600 ("Focused Shield") speakers were produced in ONE year only, from late 1979 until *Edmond May's death in 1980 (see notes below)

The first thing you notice are the grills...1/2" thick black plywood frames are covered with polyester cloth that's uniquely silk-screened to match the genuine walnut veneer on the very heavy cabinets (14"W x 14"D x 37"H @ 75 lbs each)And, those well-braced cabinets are veneered on the inside as well! 

Capable of producing an insanely wide frequency range from 25 Hz to 29,000 kHz, they can hit lows you can really feel even at the softest volume.  At its claimed 29 kHz high frequency coming from the super tweeters, unless you're a dog, it's doubtful you will actually hear it but, it DOES make a difference in the overall sonic quality.
Also, very unusual are the faders designed as Lpads to control all the mid to high frequencies (including the super tweeters).   
Specs: 36" tall, by 16" deep, by 15" wide, original glass tops...mirrored, bronze trim, wide dispersion modified LPF 2.25" dome tweeters & 1.75" super tweeters, 5" long excursion midrange, 10" woofers.

*probably one of the most influential loudspeaker designers of all time, Edmond May, after many very successful years at JBL, left in 1976 to join Marantz as their head of loudspeaker design.  The Model 600 speakers, designed by him, are considered extremely rare because, due to his untimely death in 1980 and Marantz being purchased by Philips that same year, they were not carried over (in production) by Philips.  Certainly a bad business decision on Philips' part.  Oh well...) 



DCM CX-17 (1990) $170/pr

DCM, the company that designed the famous TimeWindow® speaker systems, released the CX-17 in 1990.  Of all the great speakers designed and built in the US during the "Golden Age" of audio, the DCM CX series perhaps represent the most independent design philosophy and unique sonic excellence. The CX-17s are the slightly smaller brothers to the more well known DCM CX-27.  They are a co-axial design with 6.5" woofers and .75" tweeters housed in a vertical "pancakes" with a single bass port in the rear.  The cabinet construction of the CX-17 is a great testimony to craftsmanship and design. Thick walls, interior bracing, a near top-to-bottom wall reinforcing bass response with the bass port located at the bottom rear of the cabinet.  They have a very attractive "Chatsworth oak" finish with slightly tapered edges on the front.

About DCM...
In the spring of 1974, DCM Loudspeakers was born. It began with a deep love of music. A love of music that listened for the emotion and impact of live concert sound from recorded music. A love of music that led the founders to expect more from a loudspeaker than existing audio technology at the time was able to deliver. A pursuit of great sound that led to an obsession with high-fidelity loudspeaker design.  Soon, the legendary TimeWindow speaker was introduced to the world and has since become revered by audiophiles and critics was far ahead of its time. Finally, DCM is one of the most storied brands in loudspeaker history. They have successfully designed many well-reviewed and highly loved speakers.


Bose 2001

Bose 2001 (1994) $125/pr

Probably the most surprising (and mysterious) speaker system ever designed by Bose.  The 2001 speakers, besides being rare, produce an amazing amount of sound (especially on the bottom end) considering their small size.  Whenever we've been lucky enough to find a pair of these two-tone grey beauties, they usually get snapped up immediately after they are demonstrated.  The general reaction is "Are you serious?  All that sound is coming from just those two speakers?"  As is with all Bose bookshelf systems, these are very efficient and will get you evicted with only 10 watts of power.

Bose 301 Series II

Bose 301 Series II ('82-'90) $165

It could be the two-tone light brown/dark brown grills and the walnut veneer styling that made this particular series of Bose 301 the most popular of the entire production run of the famous Bose 301s.  Or it could be the sound.  It's probably a combination of both.  Properly placed in the listening room, it's hard to argue about the spacious and dynamic musical presence that these amazing speakers produce.  Foam surrounds are in excellent condition, like new actually.  All drivers are working correctly.  All grills and badges are intact and in great shape.   Only exceptions are minor dings on one of the cabinets.

Amar Bose

About Bose...

We had the distinct pleasure to have met Dr Amar Bose, in person, during the late 60's at a Pacific Stereo store demo in Walnut Creek CA. It was one of the first public demonstrations of the now famous Bose 901s.  When asked about his philosophy towards speaker design, he replied "I want to build speakers the way people want to hear them".  So, there's nothing more we can say that hasn't already been said before about Bose.  You either like them or you don't.  Bear in mind, that in the last 50 years, nobody, and we mean nobody, has sold more speakers worldwide than Bose.  End of story.


Fisher XP-5A

Fisher XP-5A (1966)  $125

One look across the room and everyone recognizes the "vintage" look of these wonderful speakers.  However, looks aren't everything...these well built, two-way XP-5As sound warm and accurate. They were designed and produced during a long gone era in America when pride in craftsmanship and materials were the main goals...not the almighty dollar.
The Fisher company produced a slew of XP models during the 60's and a lot of them are still doing the job today.  The highly prized cane style grill material instantly identifies the 60's and Fisher quality.
Back then, as long as Avery Fisher was running his company, pretty much everything coming out of their manufacturing facilities were top notch.  


KEF C40 (shown with optional custom angled wood stands)

KEF C40 ('85-'88) $185/pr (or $265 with optional floor stands)

The C40 system is both generous in both volume and drive unit. Bass is plentiful and extended, and the design is balanced to operate clear of room boundaries on the optional open stands. The two 200mm bass/midrange units use polypropylene cones. Operating as a 2½-way system, the lower driver is used only at the lowest frequencies, augmenting and extending bass output, substantially improving power handling capacity, and assisting bass damping. The system can go exceedingly loud, can handle plenty of power, and, with a generous bass delivery, is particularly suited to good ol' rock n' roll...the so-called "West Coast' sound.

About KEF...

It all began in 1961, as it so often does, with one man who was somewhat detail-obsessed. And in the world of hi-fi (or indeed, anything grounded in innovation, technology and perfection), that man, was Raymond Cooke, a former technical director for Wharfedale speakers (England).  In the beginning, their tendency to sell raw drivers to their competitors – rather than keep them for themselves  – solidified them as true leaders in this field.  They went on to produce the K1 Series but with the 1962 introduction of the now world famous B139 bass driver, the Celeste was born. It proved to be a best seller but it wasn’t until the 1970s that their real breakthrough occurred.  After a series of very successful commercial loudspeaker designs, 1975 saw a development which placed KEF on the hifi map. Indefinitely.

Thanks to t​he first implementation of computers in the design and measurement of their loudspeakers, t​his lead to the world famous

​ ​KRF ​Reference designs emerging for the first time, from the 101 all the way through to the 105.2. The first of many lines of References, each dominating its market.
Everything about what KEF ha​s​ produced since day one has screamed of quality, of innovation and of style… three very memorable qualities. And when you have a company history (not to mention product range) as long and as illustrious as KEF’s, there are some seriously impressive things to remember.


ADC Sound~Image 5004

ADC Sound~Image 5004 (1991) $125

To begin with, besides the fact that these are VERY rare, it's important to explain that the Sound~Image 5004 series of speakers from ADC are not like regular speakers; You point them at each other, not towards the listener. They interact with each other to correct for frequency responses. These are a 3-way, 6 ohm, interactive system with each radically angled enclosure containing 6.5" woofers, 3" mids, 1" tweeters, and 2" tweeters.
Spaced at least 8' apart with the woofers mostly facing each other, they will pleasantly surprise you with clean accurate high and mids with substantial accurate bass.  They have front facing bass ports directly below the smaller tweeter on the opposite side from the woofers. The enclosures are genuine walnut.  Very unusual and cool...

About ADC (Audio Dynamics Corp)...

in 1991, after enduring years of unjustly harsh reviews from so-called "audiophile armchair critics", Stereophile Magazine praised ADC and awarded them with the 'best under $1000 speakers'.  
Founded in the 60's, by Peter Prichard, who was part of the design team for the GE VR-II cartridge, considered to be one of the earliest hi-fi phono cartridges commonly made. So, ADC was originally noted for phono cartridges and turntables. Their XLM/VLM phono cartridges and their 303 and 404 speakers were highly regarded in the 70s.  As they ventured into other products like Sound~Shaper equalizers, they were still considered as high quality products as time evolved into the 80's.  Eventually, when the company was sold (to BSR in England) ADC's lineup at the time included the famous  "Accutrac" turntables that had quite a following. They were also a mainstream cartridge manufacturer.  BSR decided to dismantle and/or cutback the quality in some of the product lines .  The Sound~Image series were considered to be the last of the truly good speaker systems bearing the ADC logo.


Lafayette Criterion 77

Lafayette Criterion 77 (1977) $95

These are a nice, restored and refinished pair of Criterion 3-way speakers.  Unlike the "West Coast" boom-boom rock n' roll sound, these are closer to the "East Coast" sound that favors accuracy over thumping bass (think jazz, classical, etc).  Of course, the vintage grill material on these is impossible to duplicate so that adds to the "flavor" of that vintage look and feel.

About Lafayette...

Established in the 1920s, Lafayette Radio Electronics (LRE) became a thriving mail order catalogue business; the electronic components it sold were useful to amateur radio operators and electronic hobbyists in areas where such components were unavailable in local retail outlets.   Early Lafayette Radio stores were located in New York during the mid '50s. 

Lafayette advertised heavily in major U.S. consumer electronics magazines of the '60s and '70s, particularly.  The company offered a free 400-page catalog filled with descriptions of vast quantities of electronic gear, including microphones, speakers, tape recorders, and other components.  A significant share of '60s and '70s vintage Lafayette hi-fi gear was manufactured by a Japanese subcontractor named "Planet Research". "
The Criterion" brand speakers were built by several offshore and American assemblers.