Stereo Speaker Systems #1

M&K Satellite 1

M&K Miller & Kreisel Satellite 1 (1978) $300

The late 70's (1978) marked the consumer audio release of Kreisel’s innovative world-class professional studio monitor speaker system design called the Satellite-Volkswoofer System. This system was originally designed by Kreisel for his own use in the M&K RealTime Direct-to-Disc recording studio. Incorporating controlled vertical directivity, a phase-focused crossover with true driver group-delay time alignment, dual-midrange and tweeter driver arrays and minimal baffle coloration, this system made for one of the most dramatic and revealing listening experiences imaginable.  The satellite system consisted of eight tightly packed and controlled Peerless drivers (2 Peerless tweeters and 2 Peerless woofers in each cabinet).

The Satellites are 4 ohm, 200 watts and together, the pair weighs about 45 lbs. Dimensions are 8"W X 6.5"D X 22"H.
What is really very cool about these is they can be connected 6 different ways for different sound characteristics. There is a bright or subdued sound that mimics the best German loudspeakers...a bright or subdued British sound...and a bright or subdued "American" full-on maximum sound.
The truly unique real hardwood sloped cabinet design (see photo) of narrow baffles and vertically directional tops, helps to minimize reflections off the ceiling and floor. It was the first truly high-end satellite system.  Of course, as with all high end satellites, the addition of a subwoofer adds to the low end.  
But as a standalone speakers, they can definitely hold their own.
Incredibly, the Satellite 1 system (even without the special stands) sold new in late 70's for over $1600!

About M&K (Miller and Kreisel)...

In 1969, Ken Kreisel is a teenage audiophile and audiophile recording engineer. Kreisel teams up with Jonas Miller who has opened one of the world’s first ultra-high-end audio salons: Jonas Miller Sound of Beverly Hills, California.  In 1973, Ken Kreisel designs and installs for Walter Becker (of "Steely Dan") the first M&K Subwoofer and triamped studio monitor system for the studio mixdown of Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" album. The subwoofers used specially designed long-throw dual 12” drivers mounted in a unique balanced drive configuration.  In 1974, Ken Kreisel and Jonas Miller launch Miller & Kreisel Sound (M&K) founded in Beverly Hills, CA. Contrary to popular rumors, M&K started its subwoofer & speaker production in the prestigious high rent district of Beverly Hills on Wilshire Blvd., not Ken’s garage.  In 1976, again making audio history, Kreisel invents the modern day "Satellite-Subwoofer" system, The "David and Goliath" System.  Shortly therefater, Kreisel and M&K debuts the world’s first Self-Powered Subwoofer! This model was called the Servo Volkswoofer. This idea revolutionized the entire audio industry.  From then on, the innovations and awards kept coming...


Infinity RS-6000

Infinity RS-6000 (Canada, 1988) $300

The RS-6000 was one of the last Infinity products to include the famous Emit tweeter.  This is a superb sounding system with beautiful honey oak veneer cabinets, sealed 3-ways from Canada's Infinity lineup in the 80's.  At 55 lbs each, the 36" high sealed enclosures each feature two 10" polypropylene woofers and one excellent EMIT ribbon tweeter with attenuators on the rear of the cabinets.  Floor standing with very casual placement requirements, they will sound great wherever they are placed.  Very as little as 35 watts will make these rock but the more power you have the better as well!  
Near mint condition with perfect grills and original factory boxes.

About Infinty...

Back in the late 70' and early 80's Infinity made a series of speakers named the Quantum Series. 
They were the first to have the famed EMIT tweeters and Watkins Woofers.  The line evolved into the Reference Series that included the industry's first polypropylene woofers, 20 years ahead of their time.  They offered improved transient response to avoid distortion, or coloration. 

The secret of these great speakers was the EMIT Tweeter, which stands for "Electro Magnetic Induction Tweeter".  They used very powerful Samarium Cobalt magnets covered by a  thin diaphragm.  It was a ribbon style tweeter that was very light, thin, and super fast. Although not indestructible, they had some of the most crystal clear high end ever reproduced by any speaker.  Eventually these EMIT tweeters evolved into ribbon midranges and even upper bass drivers.

Some of the models used what is known as a Watkins Woofer, which has a special dual voice coil to better handle the different frequencies the low end.  If you had a Watkins Woofer back then, you never even thought of needing a subwoofer.  William H Watkins designed and patented these voice coil woofers. These were truly great speakers.

Servo feedback controlled woofers were also used in the speakers to further eliminate distortion

Arnie Nudel was the man at Infinity who helped design all these speakers but he left to form Genesis Speakers which still make similar, but very expensive ribbon/servo speakers today.

Infinity was eventually sold to Harmon-Kardon, and while they still make some great speakers, the famed EMIT tweeters and the Watkins Woofers are gone.  So in some opinions, the heart of what those speakers were, is gone.


Boston A-70

Boston A-70 (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. 

Realistic Optimus T~100

Realistic Optimus T~100 (1980-1983) $225/pr

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. 

Realistic Nova 7B

Realistic Nova 7B (1975) $165/pr (near mint) 

Very, very good sounding speakers...originally priced at $130 each ($260 pair) 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 very 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.  These Nova 7Bs are in near mint condition.

Realistic Minimus 7 (2 pairs) walnut or black steel

Realistic Minimus 7 (2 pairs available) black steel $50  walnut $75

With full range woofers and sweet little dome tweeters, the stalwart Minimus 7 bookshelf speakers were a perennial favorite at Radio Shack for nearly 30 years.  Even today, their reputation is thriving.

The basic models were either the black steel cased version or the real walnut cabinets
They are surprisingly good speakers, especially considering their size. 

Minimus speakers are ideal as part of a second stereo system in a bedroom or office, or as part of a surround sound setup. Paired with a subwoofer, they make a very nice satellite system. 

There aren't many common speakers that duplicates the price/performance ratio of the reliable Minimus 7. Despite their mini size, Minimus 7 speakers always pack a surprising punch without being a financial knockout.

Realistic Nova 4

Realistic Nova 4 (1984) $99 

The very rare Realistic Nova-4 is a two-way, bass reflex speaker system with excellent low-end response along with good efficiency. Bass reflex designs tend to yield greater efficiency and lower harmonic distortion when compared to some acoustic­ suspension systems. The Nova 4 features 8" woofers (tuned port system) and 2.5" wide dispersion tweeters (they give higher sound pressure levels per watt, which means you can use lower powered receivers or have greater headroom with your existing high power amplifier).  The genuine oiled walnut veneer cabinets have easy-to-use spring speaker wire terminals on the rear and, of course, they feature the famous lattice grill design that personifies the "vintage" design.

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.  


Lafayette Minuette Mark II (1969) $85/pr
Original ad for Epicure in the 70's
Sansui SP-30 ('69-'72) $95/pr
Jennings Research Contrara Group Pedestals

Jennings Research Contrara Pedestals (1976)

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

The biggest reason to seek out these ADS L400s today is because of their sound.  And they are beautiful. The solid-wood radius edges match almost exactly to very expensive Danish woodwork design for fine furniture of the same era. While these speakers are walnut, as they have aged over the years, they match the Danish-styled teak almost exactly in both color and style! 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.

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.


Coral BX-300

Coral BX-300 (1968) $175/pr

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. 

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/pr

The EPI 100 loudspeaker is a timeless classic indeed. Originally designed in the late 1960s by Winslow Burhoe, it was his first "module" speaker. The module concept was a woofer and tweeter that had the same efficiency, and frequency reponses that matched each other. The woofer was designed to roll off on its own at 1800 Hz. The tweeter was designed to do the same thing. The only need for a "crossover" was something to protect the tweeter from bass frequencies, hence the incredibly simple use of a ten microfarad capacitor to do the job.

This model stayed in production well into the 1980s, selling hundreds of thousands of units, and for several years was highly recommended by Consumer Reports.
There were three distinct generations (with plenty of overlap) - and ours offered here are the first version (and some say the best) featuring a tweeter built on a five inch diameter Masonite® faceplate, with a paper concave dome. The voice coil is centered and cooled by four tiny pieces of foam and some silicone heat sink compound. This version's woofers have butyl rubber surrounds and, as ours will testify to, are often still working very well forty years later. The original coarse weave black or medium brown grills were glued and nailed on, and sported the brass badge.  These were made with the walnut veneer only, and were referred to as the "M100".

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.