Stereo Speaker Systems #1
Visonik Euro 5
With German components that were assembled in the USA, the Euro 5 was released in America in the late 70's by Visonik of America.
These very excellent Euro 5 two-way speakers are also quite rare and in near mint condition. The Euro lineage goes hand-in-hand with the famous Visonik David speakers that enabled M&K (Miller and Kreisel) to produce the original "Volkswoofer" system.
The Euro 5 can be traced back to their German roots because they feature *Braun drivers and components and have the same crystal clear sonics of other famous German/American like ADS, HECO, etc. However, while they have similarities, the Euro 5 are NOT re-badged ADS knock-offs...they are similar yet have different crossovers and feature gorgeous solid timberwood cabinets with wood framed grill cloth.
The main 7.5" woofers are identical to those used in the earlier ADS L-810 speakers which also came from Braun and the much loved 1" dome tweeters deliver pure sweet highs.
Nominal rated power is about 45 watts with a recommended 60+ watts driven and impedance is 4 ohms.
The hand rubbed, real walnut enclosures have radius edges and are, of course, as heavy as you would expect from most high quality speakers systems.
These Visonik Euro 5, like Braun, have Dortmund for frame/magnet assemblies, and DKM for cones, etc. (ADS did the same later on as did Acron, Canton, Heco, MB Quart and more.)
Braun AG FFmm company (Germany) dates back to the very beginning of 1967 when they began to produce high quality drivers and components that were chosen by many professional recording studios in Europe as the preferred in-house monitors. Braun actually sourced a lot of their design materials from the earlier German company HECO that was around since 1949. Canton and Visonik appeared on the scene in 1972 / 1973. ADS (Analog & Digital Systems didn't make a splash until the 80's, they were the last (and most successful in terms of marketing) company to hit it big in the USA. Regardless, even if they all came out of HECO/Braun...they all sound pretty damn good.
Visonik Ambassador 60 monitors
(Germany, '87-'92) $225
Made by Heco Hennel & Co. KG, the West German company that inspired Miller & Kreisel to include some of the smaller David speakers in the design of their famous "David & Goliath" speaker system. These outstanding Visonik Ambassador 60 speakers were part of the well respected lineup bearing the Visonik label and they are surprisingly heavy considering their small size.
Besides their obvious fantastic smooth sonic quality, the second biggest reason to consider these Visoniks is because they are beautiful...they are made of teak veneer with radius edges and perfect grills.
They are rated at 4 ohms for a maximum of 80 watts with a frequency range of 38-25000 Hz.
The enclosures contain 4" German-made woofers with rubber surrounds (designed for quality rather than quantity) and peerless tweeters, all made with crystal clear depth and sound in mind.
Similar in sonic quality to ADS, Canton and Braun, they exemplify the superior build quality from Germany in the late 80's and early 90's and are best described as excellent studio quality miniature monitors (10" H x 6.5" W x 6.5" D)
If you like ADS, Braun and Canton speakers, you will love these!
Note: As mentioned before, Heco Visonik David speakers are a definite rarity in America and the vintage brand is NOT related to another Visonik company using the same name that makes car speakers.
Visonik was prevalent in Germany (and Europe) up to and including the cold war era and beyond. However, while their Visonik David legacy lives on, the company no longer exists but has instead morphed into a new company called "Audium".
Here is a link to there interesting lineup of audio gear:
Bowers & Wilkins DM5
('78-'84) $290 (reduced)
The rare and excellent B&W DM5 speakers were made in Great Britain from the late 70' through the mid-80's.
The pure audiophile quality of the DM5 was continuing the legacy of the renowned B&W DM6. Using the same tweeters as in the DM6, the DM5 punches a lot of clean, clear highs in a re-designed enclosure.
With additional upgrades to the mid-bass drivers, including improved suspension materials and tweaking the cabinet dimensions, the DM5 was a major success for B&W.
The B&W DM5 have a wide frequency response of 100 Hz– 20 KHz at 8 ohms nominal impedance and rated power handling of 10 - 25 watts. They really do deliver high performance.
It may be of note to remind that B&W makes everything at their own factories...from top to bottom, inside and outside...
Also, the 95dB sensitivity rating ensures that power efficiently gets converted to clear sound and with their extremely low system resonance of 53Hz (usually found in much larger speakers) , the music is delivered the way it was recorded.
The enclosures are pure B&W...elegant, unusual combination of oak & dark walnut veneers (including the front and rear baffles). We offer unique custom grills that protect the drivers while allowing the natural beauty of the veneers and drivers to be a visual delight.
Included are copies of the original factory spec sheet and owner's manual.
About Bowers & Wilkins...
The sleepy coastal town of Worthing in South England might not look like a hotbed of 1960s freewheeling experimentation, but for audio fans it’s a place that’s synonymous with innovation. Thanks to the first Bowers & Wilkins speakers built there in the early years of the company, music lovers could experience albums such as Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds in new, mind-expanding depth and clarity.In 1966, John Bowers set up his company with his partner Roy Wilkins and began assembling speaker systems in the workshop of their electronics shop and designed their first speaker, the P1. The profits from this beginning allowed them to invest in new calibration equipment. By 1968, the high quality "Domestic Monitors" (DM1, DM3, DM5) brought more recognition from the audiophile community.In the 70's, with John Bowers at the head of the company, things really took off...with the development of curved cabinet forms and the use of new cone materials such as Kevlar, they hit it big with the Model 801 which almost immediately became the reference speaker of choice for many of the world's leading recording studios. Also, the first model DM6 from acclaimed designer Sir Kenneth-Grange appeared in 1976. The later DM7 was the first that featured the iconic "tweeter-on-top" that's still used today.In the 90's the appearance of the (now very famous) B&W "Nautilus" which totally upended the preconceived notions of speaker design.Even though John Bowers passed away in 1987, today, in the so-called digital age, B&W just keeps moving along with its latest versions of the Diamond Series and so much more.
Obtained from the original owner who bought them new in 1975, they are in pristine cosmetic and working condition...
The more drivers, the merrier for "an earth-shaking experience in bass realism" (as Kenwood said in their print ad for the KL-777D speakers). Firing-squad or not, not many of the Japanese competition in the 70's "high-end" speaker wars had that much Alnico magnet drivers in them as did these KL-777Ds.
These are a 5-way, 6 driver system packed in very heavy 50 lb walnut veneer enclosures with the typical "Kumiko" style lattice grills...pretty cool and definitely have that vintage look. Trippy stuff...
16" Woofers...Aluminium voice coil bobbins for better heat dissipation and power handling, perforated woofer cone cap, cone made of NBKP and canadian pulp for less breakup, long voice coils for linearity, a special acoustic filter in the bass-reflex port made of rolled & corrugated PVC which prevents standing waves.
4.72" Low-Mids... Alnico-driven mylar cone cap driver with 200µ aluminium deposit, corrugated edge, aluminium bobbin and long voice-coil.
High-mid Mylar horns... with Kenwood equalizer very near the mylar film for better high range response.
2" Tweeters...(two each per cabinet) Alnico driven cones with diffusers for wide-angle dispersion.
1" Super-tweeters...Aluminium-coated mylar film with Alnico magnet.
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.
When Radio Shack stated the Optimus 5B were "guaranteed forever" in 1976, that was unheard of at the time. Very few of the competition offered that kind of warranty for speakers. Unfortunately, Radio Shack is gone but their legacy in creating some excellent stereo gear lives on...
Fully operational (all 8 drivers are working) and weighing 37 lbs each, the real walnut veneer cabinets feature 12" woofers that yield deep satisfying bass...two midrange drivers and high compliance tweeters. Rated at 8 ohms with 20-20000Hz, they are surprisingly efficient, don't need a lot of power to do their thing.
The crossovers have been checked and cleaned to make sure the rear controls for mids/tweeters are fully functional. The cabinets have been sanded and refinished as well.
About Realistic (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.
bass extender ('85-'91) $200
Rarely seen and in excellent cosmetic and working condition, this McIntosh "bass extender" (passive sub) is of the typical high quality as would be expected from McIntosh. While it was originally intended as bass boost for the McIntosh XL-1 satellites, it does just fine as a compliment for any compatible quality stereo systems.
Roger Russel originally refrained from calling the XL-1W a subwoofer. It was designed as a supplementary bass speaker for the McIntosh XL-1 satellite speakers. It converted the XL-1, which was a two-way system, to a three-way system for deeper bass. The crossover frequency was at 90 Hz to complement the normal rolloff of the XL-1's.
Response: 20Hz to 150Hz
Power rating: 250 watts peak
Output sensitivity: 85dB/watt/meter re: 8 ohms
Impedance: 8 ohms
Woofers: 12" McIntosh dual voice coil
Crossover frequencies: 90Hz each channel
Overload protection: one fuse for each channel
Dimensions: 27-7/32" high, 17-1/2" wide and 11-3/4" deep
Shipping weight: 62 lb.
Sold from 1985 to 1991
Last retail price: $549.00 /pair
If interested, copy and paste this link to Roger Russel's detailed description of the XL-1W:
Zenith Circle of Sound
(1968) upgraded with Paradigm components $85
Ok, so, what to do with these cool looking mid-century modern Zenith "Circle of Sound" omni-directional speakers from 1968?
Painstakingly retrofit them with high grade Paradigm Mini-monitor V2 components (complete with the Paradigm crossovers) and then add banana plug connections and a bass port on the bottom.
Voila! Now, they not only look cool but they sound almost as good as a pair of Paradigm V2s.
About the Zenith Circle of Sound speakers:
A popular design introduced in 1968 was the Zenith Circle of Sound series that radiated reasonably well in a 360 degree circle but was mainly in the horizontal plane resulting in more of a donut shaped radiation pattern. These originally contained a single six-inch driver facing upwards into a curved solid plastic cone designed to radiate 360 degrees. These speakers were originally part of the Zenith Troubadour Z590 and Moderne Z565 systems.
Obviously they were definitely not audiophile quality, although they sounded just ok considering their novelty look and lack of a separate tweeter.
Standard speaker wire with phono/rca plugs were built-in, which indicated that these speakers were never sold separately but were part of a complete system. The outer dimensions are 13 3/8" tall and 10 1/8" in diameter.
The curved cone reflector is made of 1/16” vacuum-formed white plastic. It is attached to the top piece of the system with three screws. The cylindrical enclosure is completely lined with 1” thick Tufflex acoustic material.
About the Paradigm Mini-Monitor V2 drivers:
Originally installed as a bass reflex system, they are 6.5" drivers with diecast chassis injection-molded co-polymer polypropylene cones and 1" pure-titanium dome and former, ferro-fluid damped/cooled tweeters.