Stereo Speaker Systems #2

Griffin SP-4D
Griffin SP-4D
Griffin SP-4D
Griffin SP-4D (left/right)

Griffin SP-4D (1960, Japan)  $300

Attention collectors:
This very, very rare and stunning pair of Griffin SP-4D *Hermophonic speakers (20W, 8Ω) were hand-crafted in Japan in the late 50's, early 60's.  The solid hardwood cabinets are an unusual design; two cube ported enclosures with grey/green stove enamel cast 12" woofers featuring chamois surrounds that last a lifetime.  These were designed to accent the upper ranges of the audio spectrum as the high frequencies are delivered accurately from golden bronze cast horns.  

Delivered from the factory they were hermetically sealed with great confidence in the crossover system since the caps are rated at 400v and continue to hold their values despite being over 50 years old! Even the horn level pots are in good working order.  

The original SP-4D custom sculpted wooden bases are included along with added tempered glass tops.  The bases keep the speakers about 2" off the floor and add a nice visual to an already gorgeous pair of speakers.

Thanks to their high quality components, they are remarkably efficient and can rattle the walls with 30 watts of power as is typical of the better tube era speaker systems.  Presently, for demo purposes, they are running through a solid state unit and sound just fine...there's no need to get the volume past 25%.

These heavy furniture grade enclosures are about 65 lbs each and were obviously were built to last.  As they look and sound today, they are best described as in near mint condition.

Dimensions: 28 3/4" tall including detachable base (subtract 2" without bases)

                   15" width

                   13 1/2" depth

As mentioned before, these are extremely rare speakers built in Tokyo, circa 1960. The cabinets are fused with external audio level knobs and there are no rattles or buzzing. The hand made crossboard lattice wooden grills and underlying gold weave fabric are in flawless condition.  All the distinctive Griffin "family crest" logo badges and nameplates made of white enamel and gold lettering are beautiful just by themselves.  All the original stickers and factory information decals are present in immaculate condition as well . 

Although there is scarce information available on many of the Griffin speakers, suffice to say that the Japanese based Griffin craftsmanship was pretty much unparalleled and extremely unique for its time.

These are now available for sale and would be desirable for any serious collection of fine vintage gear.  Price is firm.

*"Hermophonic" was Griffin's own term, referring to the fact these are sealed speakers. Therefore there will typically be little or no deterioration.



Avid 102 (right)
Avid 102 (left)
Avid 102
Avid Model 102

Avid Model 102 (1976) $225

Without getting into semantics, the classic Avid Model 102 speakers are cousins of, and sound similar to, well-known Acoustic Research, KLH and Advent designs of the 70's.  These are a two-way system featuring 10" woofers with butyl surrounds and high efficiency dome tweeters packed inside very heavy, well-braced floor cabinets with walnut vinyl veneer.  They are fuse protected and have controls on the front plate under the unique textured rounded edge fabric grills framed on the front.Nearly impossible to find today, the Avid Model 102 was reviewed in 

Consumer Reports (Feb '76 issue) as follows:

"Out of the eleven different medium priced models we tested (including Marantz Imperial 5G, Dynaco A35, Large Advent and the KLH Model Six V) the top-rated Avid Model 102 earned a higher score than any speaker we’ve ever reported on with an amazing score of 91. Listeners looking for a fine loudspeaker at a moderate price should be quite content with the Avid Model 102 accuracy score of 91, so long as the speaker’s power needs are suitable to the receiver to be used and to the listening room of course."

The drivers are VERY similar to the AR-4x, are physically, and very nearly electrically, drop in replacements for the 4x fact MUCH more so than any currently sold AR "replacement" driver. Both the woofer and tweeter are actually better constructed than either 4x counterpart (but they are almost 10 years newer). The Avid crossover is simpler, with no woofer inductor, and a much lower value cap on the tweeter, which is controlled by a 3 position switch.

About AVID...

Founded in Rhode Island back in the 70's, AVID was one of the foremost designers of high quality speaker systems.  Competing against the other speaker companies with big names like KLH, Advent and Marantz was not an easy task.  However, thanks to fantastic reviews in major publications in shoot-out tests between some of the others led to a core following of audiophiles.  One of the most interesting facts about Avid speakers were their use of a minimum diffraction grill design. The grill cloth was fitted to a hardboard sheet with holes cut for the drivers. In practice, when the grilles are installed, the faces of the drivers are flush with the grille's baffle. AVID noted that their speakers were thus intended to be used grills on.



ADS L-520

ADS L520 (1982) SOLD

These are flawless and, by now, it's well known that ADS produces some of the best two-way bookshelf speaker systems that money can buy.  

This premium pair of L520 speakers are certainly recognized for their sonic excellence.  A quick check online will yield 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 domes are made of a super-light fabric-like material with a proprietary "sticky" damping compound and powerful Barium Ferrite magnets and are fuse protected.  Fuses are tucked away in a hidden door above the spring loaded speaker connections. (there's a lot more to describe but suffice to say, the ADS tweeters are fantastic!)

The L520 has 8-inch woofers (with rubber surrounds) feature ADS' 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, ADS firmly believes it has the closest thing yet to the ideal woofer cone.  

The network crossover components, furthermore, are of the finest quality. Thanks to ADS' advanced driver technology, ADS' crossover networks are free of excessive complexity and have the lowest power loss and distortion figures in the industry. 
The perforated metal grills are in pristine condition...the real walnut veneer cabinets are also in excellent condition and are precision constructed from 3/4-inch extra-high density particle board with extreme bracing.

Good stuff!

ADS L-400

ADS L400 ('83-'86) $175/pr

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.

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.



KEF C40 (stands not included)

KEF C40 ('85-'88) $165/pr reduced

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 twin 8" 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, can deliver good ol' rock n' roll...the so-called "West Coast' sound or, do just fine for jazz, classical, etc.

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.



DCM CX-17 (1990) $110/pr reduced

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 501 Series V

Bose 501 Series V ('94-'99) $175/pr (mint)

​The last of the Bose 501 series, they are probably the best of the entire series.  ​Why?  Bose ultimately managed to figure out the exact size and dimensions of the cabinetry and the design of the multitude of chambers inside to get it right . 

The direct/reflecting design of th​ese ​speaker​s actually​ deliver lifelike sound quality. ​P​owerful and rich bass without any distortion ​thanks to the specially designed 5.25​"​ woofer​ ​and ​dual 2.5​​tweeters ​inside each of the slender floor standing black ashwood enclosures.  

They are capable of reproduc​ing excellent ​high frequency ​for​ enhance sound quality. ​As mentioned before, the​ multi-chamber bass enclosure​s​ ​are able to​ eliminate sonic blur and ​yield​amazing bass effects at any volume. 

About Bose...
There's nothing we can say that hasn't already been said before about Bose.  You either like them or you don't.  We feel that there were several different models that are popular with most people.  It's suggested to let your ears decide.  Bear in mind, that in the last 50 years, nobody, and we mean nobody, has sold more speakers worldwide than Bose.  End of story.


Advent 3/

Advent 3/  (1976) $145/pr

This is an absolutely awesome sounding 2 way speaker design. If you know about the Advent 3, then you know what these speakers can do. If this is your first pair, you're in for a treat. These Advent 3's can hang with almost anything twice their size. Amazing engineering, super efficient and just killer sound. Great speakers for any genre and can put BIG sound in any size room, big or small. The cabinets have a bit of wear on the wood veneer as shown in the photos and one of the grills is excellent while the other has developed some wear over time. This is a great chance to get a legendary pair of vintage high fidelity, mid 70's speakers for a good price.

About Advent...

Henry Kloss (the "K" in KLH) left KLH to develop a low-cost projection television, but had trouble financing the leading-edge research and development that was still required. To earn some money, he decided to build a high-performance low-cost dual driver speaker system, The Advent Loudspeaker.  The rest is glorious vintage speaker history.

Kloss later created many other versions of Advent speakers and also a high-fidelity cassette tapeplayer and recorder incorporating Dolby noise reduction.