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Vintage system advice please

Discussion in 'classic' started by gary, May 23, 2020.

  1. gary

    gary Active Member

    Hi everyone, new here and seeking advice on a system for my BIL who is 60 next month.

    So far we have got him a quad 306 power amp with a passive pre , philips cd transport and DPA dac ( considered a T/T but just not in budget for any quality) cables but am stuck on which speakers to buy.

    Budget left is up to £200 , and he listens to mainly classical , opera and some singer /songwriter female vocal stuff. He sings in an operatic choir so has a keen ear for what sound s good. We have gone vintage because he dislikes most modern speakers. I think the likes of Harbeth/Spendor etc would be ideal but looking around i doubt very much they will be in budget. Preludes maybe ?
    So what is available from the 70's -early 80's that would suit and work with the kit already purchased and in budget ?
    I see a lot of Celestion 15, 25 , B&W 2 and 4 (dm) , heybrook, celef etc but having never heard them could do with your learned input .
    Oh, room size is approx 18 x 10 and they would need to be happy close to the wall on the long side of the room.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Spendor Preludes would be a good bet, though most of the 70s vintage UK stuff (Celestion, Kef, B&W etc) has a decent and even balance for classical. There are a good few sleepers out there, e.g. smaller IMFs, RAM etc. Just avoid a lot of the more rock-oriented ‘80s ‘flat earth’ stuff.

    PS If you get stuck and want a cheap small-speaker fix consider the Chinese Quad 11L or 12L, they are a nicely balanced little speaker for very little money second hand. Voicing wise they are not a million miles away from Spendor etc, so good on vocal and without a tizzy modern top-end.
  3. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    The "happy close to the wall" is the tricky bit...
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Ah, I missed that. It rules out a few, though leaves in most 1970s UK speakers where ‘bookshelf’ actually meant ‘bookshelf’!
  5. gary

    gary Active Member

    Thanks for the replies - ...tony ...would the preludes work ? How do they sound ?
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think they’d need a bit of space around them. The only time I’ve heard them they were at least a foot from the wall, and seemed happy enough there.
  7. lilolee

    lilolee pfm Member

    How about Mordaunt Short Carnival/Festival/Pageants?
  8. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    B&W DM4 have gorgeous clear mids and airy highs and would be extremely happy against a wall but may struggle to fill an 18ft long room. Depends how loud your B-I-L listens to his music.

    EDIT - Just noticed you said the speakers would be against the long wall and firing across the short dimension. DM4 could well fit the bill here.
  9. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    I would say Pageants. Bomb proof and you can pick up for peanuts. They are a 'nice' size and will not attract any problems from significant others. Still sound great too.
  10. Blue Belle

    Blue Belle Member

    I'd second the pageants too, also the Ruark Templar are a lovely little floorstander too.
  11. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    +1 for the Pageants : ridiculously low price nowadays for the sound quality they offer.
    They will also be okay near the wall.
  12. cpg

    cpg pfm Member

    ARC 101/102 and ARC 050 were designed to work against a wall, sounded good too. (use nearly the same woofer as the MS Pageant)

    Possibly a few of the Castle range, Severn?, they were incredibly well finished with real veneer and always sounded good.

    Musical Fidelity Reference 2 and 4 were also highly regarded at the time, probably the look of them will count them out.

    The Heybrook Point 5 is a nice sounding bookshelf speaker.

    In many "vintage" speakers the ferrofluid in the tweeters will have dried out by now changing the balance. It is possible to replace it with a little bit of time and effort.
  13. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I have a pair of AR18s speakers unused since refurbishment.
    They may go well with the system, as they work well close to a wall.
    docstocker likes this.
  14. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Wharfedale 505.2. Great balance, largish bookshelf.Mint £50-80 on eBay. Gems. Can then get stands, £50 is. I would spend the rest on a Chromecast Audio puck and then gift him 6mths Qobuz or Tidal cd quality. He’ll love it. So long as he has internet access of course.
  15. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I'm pretty sure they are for free space use. All the times I've heard them that is how they were used.
  16. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Another vote for MS Festivals. I use a set against the wall in my workshop and they work well.
  17. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I will join the chorus and suggest Mordaunt Short Pageants, as already stated, a great speaker for little cost. The Pageants are ported but these face forward so placement is relatively easy. Stick them on lowish stands and the job is done.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    For classical I’d avoid many of the 80s UK speakers as they represent a) the point where bespoke stands away from walls became ‘a thing’, so don’t fit the brief here, and b) a lot of them at the still affordable-end were horribly cost-cut budget affairs due to everyone being expected to bung £500 at an LP12. So many 80s speakers are pretty ugly things with black-vinyl wrap cabs and those edgy spitty ‘sink plug hole’ tweeters (i.e. with an external Y-shaped brace touching the centre of the cone). Classical demands a decent soft dome tweeter IMHO, and the warning upthread about dried-out ferrofluid is a very good one.

    PS After thinking about this for a while I think I’d stick the original Kef 103 onto the list. It is a real sleeper as it looks a bit odd, but it has a reputation amongst those that know it of being a superbly balanced speaker. Its decades since I heard a pair, but I assume given the rotating baffle it was designed to sit on a bookshelf if required, so shouldn’t have much issue with close to wall placement. It’s infinite baffle so shouldn’t be farty anyway. Not sure if the tweeter has ferrofluid though, I know some Kefs did. Definitely in budget if you can find a pair.
  19. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    They're rather bass-shy then if that's the case!

    EDIT - An excerpt from the DM4 manual:

  20. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Aha! Yes they were rather bass light every time I've heard them! Yer learn something every day...
    ToTo Man likes this.

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