Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

speakers better today than 10 years ago?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
25 replies to this topic

#1 of 26 Mario_S

Mario_S

    Extra

  • 21 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2003

Posted March 06 2003 - 08:00 AM

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 of 26 Mike_Gr

Mike_Gr

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 176 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 14 2003

Posted March 06 2003 - 08:58 AM

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.
Knowledge is power

#3 of 26 BrianWoerndle

BrianWoerndle

    Supporting Actor

  • 794 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 19 2002

Posted March 06 2003 - 09:16 AM

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.
The only way to safely double your money is to fold it over once and place it back in your pocket.

http://www.cube17576.com

#4 of 26 Mat_M

Mat_M

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 225 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 03 2003

Posted March 06 2003 - 09:39 AM

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 of 26 Tim Morton

Tim Morton

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 212 posts
  • Join Date: May 05 2000

Posted March 06 2003 - 10:10 AM

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 of 26 joe rizzuto

joe rizzuto

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 140 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 10 2002

Posted March 06 2003 - 10:20 AM

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.
let me out!

my dvd list

#7 of 26 Mark Leitch

Mark Leitch

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 125 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2002

Posted March 06 2003 - 10:26 AM

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

M.

#8 of 26 Greg Kolinski

Greg Kolinski

    Second Unit

  • 331 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 13 2002

Posted March 06 2003 - 10:34 AM

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
The more I learn about this stuff ,the dumber I get

#9 of 26 Ted_Wern

Ted_Wern

    Agent

  • 38 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 27 2002

Posted March 06 2003 - 11:34 AM

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 of 26 DonnyD

DonnyD

    Screenwriter

  • 1,154 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 12 1999

Posted March 06 2003 - 11:55 AM

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.....
"There comes a time in the lives of men, when taken at the tide, you're liable to ****ing drown..." R. Farina
"or go broke due to upgraditis..." D. Davis

#11 of 26 Bill Lucas

Bill Lucas

    Supporting Actor

  • 530 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 20 1999

Posted March 07 2003 - 12:02 AM

"The materials used are still the same".

I don't think so. Posted Image

"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 of 26 Brett DiMichele

Brett DiMichele

    Producer

  • 3,184 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 30 2001

Posted March 07 2003 - 01:48 AM

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!
Brett DiMichele
brettd@nospamyukonwaltz.com (remove nospam)

Too Much to list!
My PhotoBucket              My Buttkicker Wireless Advance Kit Review

#13 of 26 Modena

Modena

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 76 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 24 2002

Posted March 07 2003 - 12:54 PM

Dear Bill,

To summarize the above message, you are an idiot.

Thanks,

Modena

#14 of 26 LanceJ

LanceJ

    Producer

  • 3,168 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 26 2002

Posted March 07 2003 - 04:22 PM

Quote:
.....so yes, i would say that on average at least the lower priced speakers would generaly sound better.


I'll agree with this.

And I also believe it's the reason ultra-hi-end (or "esoteric") speakers aren't selling near as well as in the 70s/80s.

BTW: My $425 per pair Boston Acoustics CR9's from 1998 use neodymium magnets in their tweeters--this is the only way to make them small enough to fit right next to the woofer (a "near point source" design).

Boston Acoustics CR9 reviews at Audioreview.com (the woofer's actual dust cap is bigger than in this photo, so doesn't have photo's "nerdy" look Posted Image. Grill is a metal mesh. And I had to special order the pictured cherry finish--black ash was too gloomy looking for me.)

LJ

#15 of 26 Doug BW

Doug BW

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 141 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 27 2001

Posted March 07 2003 - 04:58 PM

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 of 26 David_Stein

David_Stein

    Second Unit

  • 423 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 13 2002

Posted March 07 2003 - 06:42 PM

>>Dear Bill,

To summarize the above message, you are an idiot.

Thanks,

Modena<<


this post is kind of funny because it was brian who said that the materials havent really changed, not bill. those who live in glass houses probably shouldnt throw stones modena.

#17 of 26 Chris Tsutsui

Chris Tsutsui

    Screenwriter

  • 1,869 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 01 2002

Posted March 07 2003 - 10:03 PM

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 of 26 Brett DiMichele

Brett DiMichele

    Producer

  • 3,184 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 30 2001

Posted March 07 2003 - 10:07 PM

VideoStage 5 Killed The Radio Star....
Brett DiMichele
brettd@nospamyukonwaltz.com (remove nospam)

Too Much to list!
My PhotoBucket              My Buttkicker Wireless Advance Kit Review

#19 of 26 Modena

Modena

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 76 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 24 2002

Posted March 08 2003 - 04:53 PM

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 of 26 David_Stein

David_Stein

    Second Unit

  • 423 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 13 2002

Posted March 08 2003 - 05:42 PM

>>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. <<

so what you are saying, is that even with the overwhelming evidence offered in this thread (especially that offered by brett), that you believe that materials havent really changed much in the past X number of years? its laughable.