speakers better today than 10 years ago?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mario_S, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. Mario_S

    Mario_S Extra

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    hi all. great forum! takes long enough to get registered though!!! anyway, this is my 1st post. i would have done a search, but the search is currently disabled due to server loads. so here goes...

    how much better are speakers today than they were say 10 years ago? i mean, there were extremely expensive speakers way back then that audiophiles would pay $$$ for. i'm sure they were pretty good back then. how much better are the speakers today?

    reason i ask is this. i'm putting together a home theater. got the new television. now i'm on to replacing my audio equipment. my receiver doesn't support dolby digital 5.1 so i have to upgrade that. i have some old infinity speakers (10+ years old) that have served me VERY well. i've got a set of infinity bookshelf speakers very similar to my floor standing ones that i'm thinking of using for surround when i get my receiver. will these speakers serve me well with a new receiver, or are they crap b/c they're 10 years old? i know i will now need a center and a sub, but my mains are 10" and i can use a phantom center for a while.

    so the question begs - how much better are the speakers of today than the speakers of 10 years ago?

    Mario
     
  2. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    Just because a speaker is older does't mean it is crap.
    I would suggest upgrading your receiver and keeping your current speakers. Let your ears be the judge. If you are happy with the way they sound, try to find a center channel speaker that matches well with your existing ones. If you find that you aren't happy with what you are hearing, then step up and begin your search for a speaker upgrade.
     
  3. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Better? That is hard to say. The basic speaker has never really changed since they were invented. And the materials used are still the same. And speakers do not go bad, so if it still works it probably sounds about the same as the day it was purchased. But the trends in speakers have evolved just like everything else. In the 80s, the big trend was to have a big hollow speaker with a large woofer that would give you that boomy sound. At the time the more bass it had, the better it was. The problem is, that it was mostly 40-60hz bass, and was very boomy because of the hollow cabinet. Now, with the current trend of high quality digital sound, people are starting to appreciate a flat sound, closer to the original source. True deep bass is now provided by dedicated subs, so the seakers are more free to accuratly reproduce everything else. Are these better? Maybe. The materials are the same, they are just implemented differently.
     
  4. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Mario,
    Welcome to the forums! I agree with the above two posts: Save yourself some money and use what speakers you have. If you really feel the need to get new ones, make sure you do several listening tests at your local dealer(s).
     
  5. Tim Morton

    Tim Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Did you say..."way back then"???? Ten years is not all that long ago, especially in the speaker world...I think there have ben some changes in the materials used to manufacture speakers...and with the use of computer models, i'm sure its easier to make a speaker sound good...so yes, i would say that on average at least the lower priced speakers would generaly sound better. But in terms of the high end speakers I don't think there has been many drastic changes.
     
  6. joe rizzuto

    joe rizzuto Stunt Coordinator

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    mario,
    i use infinity sm82's as my fronts and smaller sm62's as my surrounds. i have an infinity video one as my centre and they sound great with both music & movies. i also use a sub for the real lows.
    i think our speakers are the same vintage and they have nothing to be ashamed of when compared to a more 'modern' speaker. they are very effiecient(sp?) and don't need a lot of power to fire them up.
    i think you will be happy with them for h/t.
     
  7. Mark Leitch

    Mark Leitch Stunt Coordinator

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    There are speakers from the 50s that some people think better most of what is made today!

    M.
     
  8. Greg Kolinski

    Greg Kolinski Second Unit

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    Like said earlier ,speaker design hasnt changed much,but I am still using the Acoustic Researh TSW 510 speakers I got in 91.They still sound great,and I believe I would have to spend a fair amount to get anything noticably better.My rears are some old(late 70's) Starks,big old (di-pole") I believe "tanks"There is not much info about them around,I found one guy who knew about them,about $450 new in 78 or so,and was told they advertised a bunch in a lot of the Stereo mags of the 70's.Aparently they were one of many quality speaker companys that just folded up in the late 70's early 80's.If anyone know anythng about these please E-mail me ,as I said,I cant find much info on them.

    Greg
     
  9. Ted_Wern

    Ted_Wern Agent

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    It is hard to say....I have a set of Epicure CD 50's that sound better then alot of the newer speakers I auditioned.
     
  10. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I have this disease that has me spending money on speakers just to try to prove to myself that some old JBL L100s that I bought new in '78 are "old and there must be something better".

    After going through several well known brands including Monitor Audio, Energy, Magnepan, Paradigm, Norh...... those old L100s are still here and I must say have been several notches above anything so far. While I am sure that there are some out there that are better, I hate to think what I would have to spend to find them.....
     
  11. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    "The materials used are still the same".

    I don't think so. [​IMG]

    "Speakers don't go bad".

    Ever seen the foam rot around the surround on a speaker? Speakers certainly can "go bad". Time and the elements affect speakers just like everything else.

    Speak with the engineers that design loudspeakers. They'll be glad to explain advances in driver technology, materials that are used in cabinetry that are much less resonant than cabinets made in the past, etc. None of these things make older speakers "bad" but technology does march on. Regards.
     
  12. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Yes there have been advances in the raw materials that go
    into producing a speaker and there have also been many
    steps backwards..

    For example vintage high end speakers like JBL,Klipsch, Advent
    and many others used Alnico Magnets and you rarely see this
    material today because of it's cost. Most speakers today
    use regular old Strontium which has far less gauss than
    Alnico. Some very high end modern speakers use Neodymium
    which can surpass even Alnico but you only see this on
    super expensive drivers like Focal(JM Labs) and Scan-Speak.

    There have been many advances in Cone and Basket design.
    With the use of a good CAD program and Finite Element Analysis
    they can design a motor structure that can focus more of
    the cheaper magnet's power on the gap because they can look
    at that Finite Element and see where the field strength is
    concentrated and make changes to the speaker's basket and
    T-Yoke to better focus the magnetic field.

    Likewise we have more "ideal" materials for cones today.
    The worst enemy of any driver is a heavy cone and a weak
    cone is also the worst enemy. But years ago you couldn't
    have "Strong" without "Heavy" with composite technologies
    where they stand today you can have thin metal cones that
    actually weigh less than a similar paper cone that has the
    same structural ridgidity charecteristics. You can coat
    these thin metal cones with numerous forms of Ceramic thus
    creating a CERMET material *Ceramic/Metallic* which has the
    stength of steel or titanium and has the weight of regular
    aluminium.

    Surround technology has also advanced. Today you have butyl
    rubbers and santoprene rubber combinations where years ago
    you had mostly foam which would host mildew and bacteria
    and would eventualy rot or dry out and discintigrate.

    Does that mean new speakers are better? Nope...

    There are many vintage (50's and 60's) speakers that will
    compete with the best today has to offer and will do so
    with ease. 10 years ago isn't vintage and there were many
    GREAT offerings from Infinity 10 years ago.

    I say if you have any doubts in your mind then just go out
    and audition every brand you can lay your ears on. In the
    end you may be suprised and you may wind up keeping what
    you have. And if that's the case then you can spend that
    money on source electronics.

    Good Luck! And welcome to the forums!
     
  13. Modena

    Modena Stunt Coordinator

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    Dear Bill,

    To summarize the above message, you are an idiot.

    Thanks,

    Modena
     
  14. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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  15. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

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    Mario_S, since you're asking this question in the context of deciding whether to replace your 10 year old speakers, I'd suggest that a better question for you to ask would be, "Are the speakers I can afford today better than the speakers I could afford 10 years ago?".

    Putting that twist on the question brings a few more things into play.

    For example, due to more efficient manufacturing techniques, etc., some things that were available 10 years ago can be built now at a lesser price.

    Also the Internet has given birth to companies that sell speakers for half the retail price they would charge if they sold the same speakers through a traditional dealer network.

    And, of course, it's quite possible that you have a greater income than 10 years ago.

    So for these reasons it may be that what you can afford today would be an improvement on your Infinitys.

    If I were you, I'd figure how much you're willing to spend on speakers. Then go out and listen to a lot of stuff in that price range. If you hear speakers that you feel beat your old speakers by a wide enough margin to justify the purchase....buy them. If not, save your money for something else.
     
  16. David_Stein

    David_Stein Second Unit

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    >>Dear Bill,

    To summarize the above message, you are an idiot.

    Thanks,

    Modena
     
  17. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Hey, all the counterexamples are great and all to saying how old speakers can sound good, but in general, I'd have to say speakers have definitely been improved upon.

    However, I think it may be hard to prove that speakers have improved based on the subjective nature of people's taste for speakers. It's like the battle of tube vs SS, or phono and digital. People have different flavors and some even grow a bias against new flavors that come out.

    If we go back 100 years and ask people what sounds more realistic, your "moving-coil transducer", or this modern Line array. Of course the technology has changed drastically in only 100 years, imagine 500 years from now when people will wonder how we managed to live with such primitive sound reproduction. (I know I can't)

    So I guess there are people who prefer vintage muscle cars over the modern supercars just like there are people who like their 20 year old JBLs over Bose VideoStage5.

    I guess modern man just doesn't understand the power of Videostage5.

    (Sorry I just had to say it)
     
  18. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    VideoStage 5 Killed The Radio Star....
     
  19. Modena

    Modena Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Stein,

    I was just commenting on this quote:

    '"The materials used are still the same".

    I don't think so.'

    It was made by Bill. With a big smiley face. I agree with Brian. Take your prophecy and shove it. Now let's move on, I am.
     
  20. David_Stein

    David_Stein Second Unit

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    >>Hey Stein,

    I was just commenting on this quote:

    '"The materials used are still the same".

    I don't think so.'

    It was made by Bill. With a big smiley face. I agree with Brian. Take your prophecy and shove it. Now let's move on, I am.
     

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