Stereo Speaker Systems #1

Visonik David 80

Heco Visonik David 80​ (Berlin, 1973) $245/pr firm

It's astounding and almost unbelievable that these small speakers can present such an accurate and wide sound-stage.  Close your eyes and it's as if you are at the local jazz club, listening live.

The story of Visonik speakers & creation of M&K Sound 

In 1973, Ken Kreisel (the "K" in M&K Sound) was asked by Walter Becker, (from Steely Dan), to design a speaker system to use in mixing their upcoming album Pretzel Logic.

Also, coincidentally, M&K had recently gotten their hands on some of these small Visonik David loudspeakers and decided to hook them up with their revolutionary subwoofer.  Everyone was amazed at how good they sounded together.  

Ken Kreisel said "The Visoniks had wonderful, clean, natural midrange and highs, and the woofer just put the frosting on the we decided to build a subwoofer with a crossover built-in specifically for those Visonik speakers—we called the system 'David and Goliath.'"

Note: This event was also the beginning of M&K Sound as a strong and highly respected designer of audiophile class loudspeakers.

These David 80 speakers, made by Heco Hennel & Co. KG, the West German company that inspired Miller & Kreisel, are absolutely as rare as hen's teeth!  The 3-way Heco drivers are German made and resemble the same crystal clear sonics of ADS/Braun/Canton, etc.  

All the drivers run directly through the crossovers which are hand-wired directly without binding posts as per the factory design.  

Woofers are 6.5" with rubber surrounds, mids are 1.5" and tweeters are 3/4"  The dark grey, high density, composite, sealed enclosures are a weighty 25 lbs each with rounded corners and perforated metal grills.  

Designed as 4/ 8 ohm impedance with nominal load capabilities of 80 watts @ 4 ohms / 110 watts @ 8 ohms and recommended for use with 35-80 watt amp power, the frequency response(as noted on the model plate) is 28-25000Hz.

If you like jazz and blues piped through true audiophile speaker systems (ADS, Braun, Canton, etc), you will definitely love these!  Sorry, but rock n' roll these ain't...

Note: As mentioned before, Heco Visonik David speakers are a definite rarity in America and the brand is NOT related to another company using the same name that makes car speakers.

About Visonik...
Although there is little history to go on, Visonik was definitely 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:



Ohm D2

OHM D2 (late 70's, early 80's) $275/pr

Considered one of Ohm's most popular speaker systems, these real walnut wood​ veneer​ (heavy at 40 lbs each) cabinets have a​ll ​original ​drivers ​and ​work perfectly​ plus ​the woofers have been re-foamed​.  ​​A​lthough they have been described as ​the best sounding speakers ever made for consumers​, there's always room for an argument​ in there somewhere.  The D2s are exceptionally accurate across a wider-than-audible frequency range, and deliver shockingly full and clear bass. The Ohm Model D2 sold for $595/pair during the 80s. Just how good are they?  Well...not many speaker manufacturers will do what Ohm offers.  Even close to 40 years after they were sold, ​Ohm​ still​ allows up to $595 for the return of a complete pair of undamaged Ohm D2s toward 25% of the purchase price of new Ohm speakers.​​

About Ohm...Ohm was founded in 1972 specifically to develop and market speakers based on ​*Lincoln Walsh’s patented design. The first model, the Ohm A, is still considered one of the all-time best speakers ever produced. In 1981, John Strohbeen (Ohm’s president) patented a design that addressed three issues with the original speaker;

  1. now the stereo imaging could be heard from most listening positions,
  2. they can now be used near walls and
  3. normal amplifiers could drive the design while high power would not destroy them.​     ​

Ohm went factory-direct in 1999 and redefined the speaker line-up from the traditional good-better-best (as the price went up) to the-best-we-can-make for small, medium and large rooms. 

​ Still in business today​, Ohm's reputation is regarded as exceptional across the world.

*The entire Ohm line, and, in fact, the company itself, owe their existence to the Walsh driver developed by the late Lincoln Walsh (1903–1971). This driver, in principle, can operate over the entire audio bandwidth from 20Hz to 20kHz and is capable of producing a coherent cylindrical soundfield around the driver cone. It is a dynamic moving-coil design but with strikingly unconventional and original packaging. Sound is radiated from the surface of an inverted cone that visually resembles an upside-down woofer or a very large ice-cream cone. The face of the cone radiates into an enclosure and generates what is equivalent to a backwave from an ordinary driver.
Hartley Zodiac 1A

HARTLEY Zodiac 1A  (1976) SOLD

These extremely rare, sonically excellent, Zodiac 1A speakers are in mint working and cosmetic condition...all 100% original drivers, cabinets, badges and fresh "vintage style" grill cloth covers. 
They are 8 ohm speakers. The hand-rubbed, real walnut veneer cabinets are surprisingly heavy for their size.
Each enclosure measures 22" x 15" x 9"inches. Speakers size Tweeter 1 1/2" and 10" Woofer (Bass/ Midrange)  
Reviewed in Stereo Review magazine in the mid 70's, they said: "powerful, clean sound from a bookshelf sized, two way system that's enclosed in seriously heavy, well braced, hand-rubbed, oiled walnut cabinets."

About Hartley...

In 1927, Henry Alexander Hartley coined the phrase "high fidelity" to describe his new speaker design.  The term went on to become synonymous with superior sound reproduction.  Later, he and partner P.K. Turner would develop and improve the basic principles and architecture for many types of ausio equipment.  They formed Hartley-Turner Radio Ltd in 1930 (Middlesex England).  Their patents, designs and philosophy would become Hartley Loudspeakers.  Today, Hartley speakers have a cult following. Hartley made their own full range, woofers and mid-drivers and their full range drivers are considered top notch by Hartley fans. They're serious. 

For those out there that are involved with vintage audio, and in particular, Hartley, there are a few book and articles available including one classic article written by Hartley in 1956 called 
Realistic High Fidelity Horn Loudspeakers and Enclosures - 1956
A deeper look is "The Real History of Hartley Loudspeakers, Inc.", a limited edition, (each signed and numbered) coffee table sized book written by the current owner/designer Richard Schmetterer.  It covers the history from 1927 to the present with archival photos. This book is a limited edition, each one signed and numbered!


Boston A-70

Boston A-70 Series II (1980) $140/pr reduced

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) 

$190/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.  


Epi MT-1 Microtower

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

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 clones

Wharfedale W60D "clones" (60's) $240

Clones?  Yep.  Because the original Wharfedale W60D cabinets are in a class of their own (sand filled, very heavy and acoustically excellent) they have been re-purposed with some most outstanding components.  First of all, they sound, uh...much better than 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 built (re-purposed) these...the 50 lb cabinets are refinished (hand rubbed hardwood with real walnut veneer) and contain 12" refoamed Utah Stephens-Trusonic woofers with massive Alnico magnets, Marantz HD88 mids and Foster 3" super tweeters along with all new capacitors on the crossovers boards.  Exterior and accurate controls are exposed on the rear but hey, who cares...they're on the back.

Newly fabricated grills that resemble vintage AR, KLH, Advent, etc. add the perfect touch to an incredible custom designed pair of 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 theatres, 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. Famous demonstrations involving Wharfedale loudspeakers with Quad.

 and Leak amplification took place at London’s Festival Hall, and at Carnegie Hall. There, the audience had to decide if they were hearing live music from live musicians, or recorded music from the Wharfedale speakers.  These demonstrations cemented global recognition of Wharfedale as a manufacturer of outstanding loudspeaker systems.



Ampex 414 "cubes"

Ampex 414 "cubes" (70's) $45

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



Electro Voice EV-7A

Electro Voice EV-7A (1967) SOLD

Very rare and in flawless working condition with smoked glass tops ...the very definition of vintage quality from one of the most famous names in loudspeaker history.  Prevalent during the tube era, they still perform very well with modest power, even with solid state equipment.  The walnut veneer cabinets combined with the gorgeous cane weave grills make these desirable in any collection of fine vintage gear.

Logo badge can be rotated for horizontal or vertical placement.
All original paperwork attached to the rear.
Treble control adjustment in the back to compensate for different room acoustics.

About Electro-Voice...
The company slogan "At Electro-Voice, we live for sound." was coined by radio engineers and partners Al Kahn and Lou Burroughs in 1927.  They started the company to service radio receivers in Indiana.  The original investment was $30 and a second-hand car.  For more than 90 years, EV has designed and engineered leading-edge sound reinforcement solutions that empower the performer, exceed the expectations of the audio professional and elevate the audience experience.  Their vintage speakers from the late 60's and early 70's are most sought after by collectors for their warm, tube-like sound.