Best vintage speakers ever made
Best vintage speakers ever made
Best vintage speakers ever made

The best vintage speakers ever made

In today’s audiophile community, enthusiasts are divided into two camps. One group appreciates cutting-edge Hi-Fi/High-End advancements, featuring slim speakers with composite enclosures and speaker cones made of materials like diamond, beryllium, and ceramic. They argue that this approach delivers minimal distortion, a lavish soundstage, and astonishing detail.

On the other hand, the second group opts for speakers from the “golden era of audio,” including bedside tables and compact bookshelves. While these speakers may not guarantee surgical accuracy in material presentation, they captivate with their naturalness and cohesive performance.

We've explored the history of loudspeaker production and assembled a compilation of fifty legendary speakers for you to explore.
We’ve explored the history of loudspeaker production and assembled a compilation of fifty legendary speakers for you to explore.

We’ve delved into the history of loudspeaker manufacturing and curated a list of fifty iconic speakers for you to discover. These examples not only stand up to the speakers of the “new century” but in some ways, even surpass them. Our focus is on the price-to-quality ratio, featuring speakers ranging from $50 to $50,000. The key is that they consistently deliver commendable results in their respective price segments.


50. Naim SBL

In 1986, these compact floorstanding speakers set the standard for the quintessential English sound. Today, Naim SBLs continue to exemplify exceptional performance rhythm, and their frequent appearances at auctions at a reasonable price make them an enticing purchase. With an 8-inch paper woofer, 75W power input, 6-ohm impedance, and 88dB sensitivity, these 24kg gems have the potential to astonish music enthusiasts when paired with a reliable amplifier.

49. Magnepan SMG

A timeless classic, the Magnepan SMG speakers, introduced in 1980, marked a breakthrough for planar drivers, showcasing their ability to rival traditional dynamic driver speakers on equal ground. With two bands effortlessly reproducing frequencies from 50 to 16,000 Hz, a power input capacity of 100W, and a 4-ohm impedance at 85dB sensitivity, these speakers set a remarkable standard. It’s crucial to exercise caution when pairing the Magnepan SMG with an amplifier, ensuring compatibility with low-impedance acoustics. However, with a robust partner, these speakers promise an absolutely lifelike performance.

48. Wharfedale W-90

In the mid-20th century, only a handful of speaker manufacturers prioritized creating a spatially accurate soundscape. The status quo shifted with the introduction of the Wharfedale W-90. These peculiar-looking “tables” with an array of drivers continue to captivate with their presentation even today. Back in the sixties, they earned well-deserved acclaim as the official speakers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Metropolitan Orchestra.

47. B&W Matrix 801

Exemplifying pedantry and precision, the initial launch of the B&W Matrix 801 in 1980 was nothing short of a revelation. This three-way speaker boasted individual volumes for each speaker, a robust 12-inch Kevlar woofer, and an astonishing frequency response spanning from 20 to 20,000 Hz with a mere 2 dB error. While these speakers placed significant demands on amplification, requiring up to 600 W of power and possessing a sensitivity of 87 dB, the challenge for users lay in selecting the appropriate amplifier partners to unlock their seemingly impossible potential.

46. ​​JBL C34

In 1956, the use of a backhorn was standard practice, as industry miniaturization had not yet taken hold. The JBL C34, once again employing cobalt speakers, including the renowned D-130A “15”, weighed in at 60 kg and boasted an impressive 100 dB sensitivity. The JBL C34’s dynamic characteristics set a benchmark in reference standards for its time.

45. Mission 70 MKII

A genre classic, the dynamic and well-balanced sound of the Mission 70 MKII serves as a benchmark for numerous contemporary bookshelf speakers, considering its release in 1983. The 18cm paper woofers deliver excellent performance, complemented by the “top support” from Vifa’s 19mm dome tweeters, adding the perfect touch. Consequently, for a music lover in 2022, it’s challenging to find a more worthwhile investment for just $50.

44. Altec 6041 Monitor

The exquisite Altec 6041 Monitor stands as the epitome of the company’s commitment to high-fidelity sound. Featuring substantial 15″ woofers, midrange drivers of matching size, and an added super tweeter, these large speakers cover a frequency range from 30 to 20,000 Hz. With an input power of 65 W, a sensitivity of 96 dB, and an impressive weight of 93 kg per speaker, the sound produced by the Altec 6041 Monitor is undeniably luxurious.

43. KEF R105

The modular design of the KEF R105 sparked discussions in 1977, and to this day, the speaker’s opulent sound continues to leave a lasting impression. Despite its brief two-year stint in production due to the intricacies of manufacturing, this three-band speaker, crafted based on the closed-box principle, weighed 36 kg. It could handle 200 W of power, featured an 8-ohm resistance, and operated within a frequency range of 38 to 22,000 Hz. With a sound pressure reaching 107 dB, the KEF R105 delivered an exceptional audio experience.

42. Leak Sandwich 600

The 1961 bestseller, the Leak Sandwich 600, featured a three-band design, accommodated 75 volts, possessed an impedance of 8 ohms, and had a weight of 30 kg. What set it apart was its impressive frequency range, extending from 20 to 21,000 Hz. The key to this exceptional performance lay in the groundbreaking use of sandwich diaphragm cones, a pioneering technology introduced for the first time in the Leak Sandwich 600. These cones, characterized by their lightweight, rapid response, and excellent returns, played a pivotal role in achieving the extended frequency response that set these speakers apart from the norm.


41. Altec 604 Duplex

With a frequency response spanning from 60 to 16,000 Hz and an input power of 25 W, the significance of the Altec 604 speakers lies in their historical legacy. The initial Altec 604 model emerged in 1944, and the series continued its evolution until the late 1970s with the 604-8G. Despite ongoing improvements in acoustic technology, even the early versions of the Altec 604 showcased a sound that often elicits the sentiment, “alas, they don’t make them like this anymore!” The enduring appeal of the Altec 604 stems from its timeless audio quality that has left a lasting impression.

40. Technics SB-95000

In 1977, the Technics Japanese corporation presented its largest speakers, and this is not a joke or a Photoshop creation. Emphasizing the principle of phase linearity, these speakers featured a lineup of 4 x 350 mm woofers with cones made of polymer-reinforced Kevlar for the bass, complemented by four additional horn bands. These speakers demand a robust amplifier (with a 4-ohm resistance), but with a sensitivity of 97 dB and a sound pressure reaching 122 dB, even skeptics are likely to be impressed.


39. Infinity IRS V

Featuring a grand ensemble of traditional drivers, including fiberglass and graphite woofer cones, paired with EMIT tweeters and a staggering 2,000 watts of amplification, the Infinity IRS V was the epitome of an ultimate speaker system. In its heyday, the cost of this unparalleled audio experience rivaled that of an entire house. The sound produced by the Infinity IRS V was truly unforgettable, characterized by an unprecedented scale and panorama that left an indelible mark on audio enthusiasts.


38. Tannoy Monitor Gold 15 JBL

A timeless cult favorite, the “golden” Tannoy holds a special place in audio history. First introduced in 1968, the Monitor Gold 15 exemplifies the warm, natural, and exceptionally well-balanced sound that has endeared the company to enthusiasts worldwide. The Dual Concentric 15” speaker, showcased in all its glory and power, delivers a remarkable frequency response ranging from 23 to 20,000 Hz, coupled with a sensitivity of 92 dB and an impedance of 8 ohms.

37. Linn Kan

Manufactured from 1979 to 1992, the Linn Kan speakers, each weighing a mere 5 kg, left an indelible mark on the “British sound” style. Encased in closed designs and featuring a 19 mm soft dome tweeter and a 110 mm polypropylene mid/bass driver, these speakers were instrumental in defining the character of British audio. Despite their modest 50W power rating, the exceptionally rhythmic and groovy Linn Kan speakers, with an impedance of 6.8 ohms and a sensitivity of 86 dB, truly come into their own when paired with a robust amplifier.

36. Quad ESL-57

In 1957, the Quad ESL-57 established the benchmark for electrostatic speakers, essentially charting a course for the entire industry. At that time, these speakers appeared to come straight from the 21st century, and when connected to an exceptionally stable amplifier, the sound they produced was as remarkable as the design itself. The Quad ESL-57 not only set a new standard but also demonstrated that cutting-edge audio technology could be both visionary and sonically astounding.

35. JVC Zero-5

A pinnacle of High-End audio in 1981, the JVC Zero-5 showcased innovation that reverberated across generations. Encased in closed wooden cabinets with a composite frame, the speaker featured Dyna-Flat ribbon super tweeters with a remarkable frequency response extending up to 100,000 Hz. The Fine-Ceramics speaker set added to its technological prowess. Notably, the JVC Zero-5 not only impressed with its cutting-edge features but also delivered a presentation so captivating that even the legs themselves seemed eager to start dancing.

34. Spendor BC1

With a frequency response ranging from 60 to 14,000 Hz, a sensitivity of 84 dB, and an 8-ohm resistance, the Spendor BC1, released in 1969, defied the norms of its time and showcased that high-fidelity sound was not a mere hyperbole or jest. Renowned for its transparent midrange and warm enveloping sound (especially when paired with a stable amplifier), the Spendor BC1 held significant value. Featuring its own designed woofers, complemented by Celestion 1300 and ITT 4001 G speakers handling other frequency bands, these speakers left an enduring mark on the audio landscape.

33. Yamaha NS-2000

Introduced to the market in 1982, the Yamaha NS-2000 speakers incorporated advanced materials like aluminum and carbon in their cone diaphragms. Capable of handling 250 W of power, they operated within a frequency response range from 28 to 20,000 Hz. With a 6-ohm resistance, these speakers facilitated easy pairing with amplification, while their 47-kilogram cases effectively dampened resonances. Today, the Yamaha NS-2000 speakers are highly regarded for their dense and rich sound, earning them well-deserved popularity.

32. Cabasse Sampan 310

Released in 1971, the Cabasse Sampan 310 made a luxurious entrance with its premium features. Equipped with a 12” woofer (30BZ1S), midrange and tweeters (12K16 and TWM3), these speakers operated in a frequency range from 60 to 20,000 Hz. With a sensitivity of 94 dB and an impedance of 8 ohms, the Cabasse Sampan 310 delivered a confident and genre-wise “omnivorous” performance that continues to delight music lovers even today.


31. Cerwin Vega D-9

Introducing the Cerwin Vega D-9, a bass powerhouse that revolutionized the industry in the 1970s with its unparalleled low-frequency support. Boasting a robust 359 W of input power, a frequency response spanning from 29 to 20,000 Hz, and a three-band configuration featuring a 15″ woofer, 2×6″ midrange drivers, and a 1″ tweeter, these speakers delivered an astonishing sensitivity of 101 dB at 8 ohms. The Cerwin Vega D-9 unmistakably showcased a level of realism in performance that set it apart in the audio landscape.

30. Dynaco A-25

In 1969, the Dynaco A-25 marked a breakthrough in the bookshelf speaker niche. Priced at less than $159, these speakers delivered a smooth and unfatiguing sound. Despite being 8-ohm speakers with a modest 15 watts of power, the Dynaco A-25 not only laid the foundation for the modern compact speaker industry but also, when well-maintained, continues to bring joy to enthusiasts for years to come.

29.Yamaha GF-1/GFD-1

In 1991, Yamaha introduced the high-end Yamaha GF-1 / GFD-1, a set of active mastodons featuring four 125-watt stereo amplifiers. These behemoths were equipped with midrange and tweeters sporting beryllium membranes, while the woofers boasted a YST system with active servo control. Weighing a substantial 175 kilograms each, whenever one of these rare wonders appears for sale, a full-fledged frenzy ensues as enthusiasts vie to acquire this audio masterpiece.


28. Rehdeko RK-145

The Rehdeko RK-145’s remarkable oval drivers are truly mesmerizing, but even more impressive is the velvety sound they produce. These speakers, ideal partners for tube amplifiers, have the ability to captivate even seasoned audiophiles. However, their rarity makes finding these speakers at auctions an increasingly challenging endeavor. The elusive nature of the Rehdeko RK-145 only adds to their allure among enthusiasts.

27. KLH Model 6

The KLH Model 6, exclusively designed for music, was in production from 1958 to 1972, and today, these gems can be found on sale for what seems like “mere pennies.” However, the sound quality offered by these speakers defies their affordable price. With a very expressive and effective performance, the KLH Model 6 stands out, particularly excelling in the midrange. Few, if any, modern speakers, even those with a higher price tag, can compete with the vintage charm and musicality these speakers bring to the table.

26. Acoustic Research AR-3a

In 1969, the Acoustic Research AR-3a stood out as one of the most impressive speakers in the High-End class. Priced at $499, a notably steep cost for speakers during that era, they featured 12” woofers, dome midrange speakers, and 3/4” tweeters. The closed-box design, structurally enhancing a dry and clear bass, adds to their allure. Today, these speakers are highly sought after at auctions, as enthusiasts recognize the enduring value and exceptional quality that the Acoustic Research AR-3a continues to offer.

25. Tannoy GRF Corner Mounting (Monitor Red)

The 380 mm Tannoy Dual Concentric LSU/HF/15.L coaxial speaker is considered incredibly valuable today, even without cabinets. This assembly offers a sound that is akin to an open window, and once you listen to the Monitor Red, it becomes impossible not to fall in love with it. The unique qualities of the Tannoy Dual Concentric speaker, renowned for its performance, make it highly sought after and cherished among audio enthusiasts.


24. Rogers/BBC LS3/5a

In 1975, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) established stringent requirements for loudspeakers, leading to the involvement of developers such as Rogers, Swissstone, Audiomaster, and more. The Rogers LS3/5a speakers emerged as the most widely recognized globally. Despite their small size, these speakers excelled in delivering well-controlled bass, thanks to their compact design. The enclosed case ensured a clear and smooth presentation, particularly from 60 Hz. With an 8-ohm resistance and an input power ranging from 25 watts, the Rogers/BBC LS3/5a speakers have become synonymous with neutral sound reproduction.

23. Electro-Voice Georgian II

The “new-old” Electro-Voice, specifically the Georgian II model released in 1987, is often regarded as one of the few speakers that could rival the renowned “blue” JBL series. Featuring an 18” paper woofer, 12” midrange, horn tweeter, 96 dB sensitivity, 6-ohm impedance, and an impressive 300 watts of power input, it’s remarkable how all these components are elegantly integrated into a single case. The Electro-Voice Georgian II has earned its place among audio enthusiasts for its powerful and competitive performance.

22. Kenwood LS-1000

The Kenwood LS-1000 speakers, introduced in 1981, epitomize Kenwood’s advancements in sound reproduction technology. These speakers feature a resonant-independent Linear Suspension System cabinet, along with a 28 cm woofer, 10 cm midrange driver, and a 3.6 cm treble driver, both equipped with progressive flat diaphragms. With a frequency response spanning from 32 to 25,000 Hz, an impedance of 8 ohms, a peak power of 180 W, and a weight of 33.5 kg, the expressive sound of the Kenwood LS-1000 remains impressive even by the standards of 2022.

21. Wilson Audio WAMM

In the early 1980s, Wilson Audio made a significant impact with the introduction of the WAMM loudspeakers. These massive speakers, weighing 170 kg, exemplified an uncompromising approach, introduced a modular design principle, and set a new standard for surround sound. Featuring an 18″ woofer, a pair of 7×9″ woofers, a pair of 4.5″ and two 1″ midrange drivers, along with a tweeter array of fifteen electrostatic panels, the WAMM speakers could deliver exceptional performance across a frequency range from 17 to 30,000 Hz with an error of only 3 dB. The modern reincarnation of this model approaches a million dollars in price, making the pursuit of the original vintage version all the more enticing.

20. JBL 4345

In 1981, massive speakers primarily designed for recording studios found a new audience among audiophiles who appreciated their talents for home sound. With punchy bass, a full-fledged “wall of sound,” and realistic-sized images that could cause goosebumps, these speakers were truly impressive. Featuring four bands with 18” woofers, a frequency response ranging from 32 to 20,000 Hz, and a sensitivity and impedance of 96 dB and 8 ohms, respectively, each column weighed a substantial 112 kg. These speakers represented a pinnacle in audio engineering for their time, delivering an immersive and powerful listening experience.

19. Diatone DS-V9000

The Diatone DS-V9000 speakers, representing the top of the lineup in 1988, remain highly regarded for their neutral, ultra-detailed sound and exceptional tonal fidelity, even in 2022. These speakers boasted a myriad of innovations, from ADMC magnetic systems to plasma-sprayed midrange cones and tweeters, showcasing cutting-edge technology “under the hood.” Weighing a substantial 125 kg each, these four-way speakers could handle 180 watts of power, featured an impedance of 6 ohms, a sensitivity of 92 dB, and delivered a frequency response spanning from 18 to 80,000 Hz. The Diatone DS-V9000 speakers stood as a pinnacle of audio excellence in their time and continue to be appreciated by discerning audiophiles.

18. JBL L300

The JBL L300 is a timeless classic, often considered as speakers “for all times” and capable of being the final choice for audio enthusiasts. Released in 1978, these speakers embraced the classic three-way approach with a 15” woofer (136A), a horn midrange (LE85/HL92), and a ring tweeter (077). Featuring 8 ohms of impedance and a sensitivity of 93 dB, each JBL L300 weighed a substantial 66 kg, accommodated 150 watts of power, and boasted the brand’s signature “cozy” and dense sound. These speakers have earned a lasting reputation for their exceptional performance and enduring appeal.

17 Altec Model 19

According to some audiophiles, the Altec Model 19 stands out as having the most transparent and accurate midrange among all speakers on the market, including those in the Ultra High End category. The sound of the Altec Model 19 is often described as striking and impressive. This two-way speaker, equipped with the renowned 15” 416-8B woofer and 811B horn, offers a frequency range from 30 to 20,000 Hz, a sensitivity of 101 dB at 8 ohms, and accommodates up to 65 watts of power. The Altec Model 19 has earned a reputation for delivering an exceptional listening experience with its remarkable midrange clarity.

16. Onkyo Scepter 500

In 1978, the Onkyo Scepter 500 made a notable impact with its use of the 15″ W3801 11,000-gauss woofer, offering a remarkable low-frequency response that few competitors could match at 25Hz. The speaker didn’t just excel in the low end; it also expanded the range “from above,” with a super tweeter working up to 35,000 Hz. With a sensitivity of 96 dB, a power input of 120 W, and a maximum sound pressure of 117 dB, this 97 kg “live weight” became the dream of many audiophiles, and these speakers continue to be highly valued today.

15. Sony APM-8

Sony’s pinnacle square flat speaker model, the renowned APM-8, stands out with its four bands, weighing 102 kg. Equipped with drivers featuring areas of 807, 122, 24, and 5.8 cm2, these speakers deliver a frequency response ranging from 25 to 30,000 Hz. The APM-8 is celebrated not just for its impressive specifications but also for its ultra-transparent sound, distinct from traditional dynamic drivers. It’s indeed regrettable that such a unique speaker is no longer in production, leaving a legacy cherished by audio enthusiasts.

14. JBL 4350

The JBL 4350, a top speaker in JBL’s professional blue series, made its debut in 1978. Initially finding a home in studios, these acoustic systems gained popularity among music lovers for home use in the 21st century, and for good reason. Few speakers can compare with the 4350 in terms of pressure and bass intelligibility. This four-band system operates within a frequency response from 30 to 20,000 Hz, boasting a sensitivity of 95.5 dB and weighing 110 kg. Featuring two 38 cm JBL 2231A woofers, capable of reaching up to 126 dB of sound pressure, and a frequency response starting from 30 Hz, the JBL 4350 stands out as a powerhouse in the world of speakers.


13. Pioneer SF-1

The Pioneer SF-1, produced in extremely limited quantities between 1979 and 1982 (less than a hundred sets), has become a rare and highly sought-after collector’s item, commanding sky-high prices. The unique design of these flat square speakers, which has largely faded into obscurity, offers enhanced realism of sound, especially due to their coaxial “point source” sound scheme. The scarcity of the Pioneer SF-1, coupled with the economic challenges related to their production complexity and cost, has contributed to their elevated status among enthusiasts and collectors.


12. Technics SB-10000

The Technics SB-10000, representing the pinnacle of the “ten thousandth” series, marks the culmination of the achievements of the renowned Japanese company. Released in 1977, these three-way phase-line loudspeakers feature 18″ paper woofers and a horn design for midrange and treble. Operating within a frequency range from 30 to 22,000 Hz, the model boasts 95 dB of sensitivity, a 6-ohm impedance, and can handle up to 300 watts of musical power. Weighing in at 140 kilograms, these giants from Technics deliver an elegant and reverent sound experience.

11. Onkyo GS-1 Grand Scepter

The Onkyo GS-1 Grand Scepter, a 1984 creation by Hiroyuki Yoshi, is a substantial speaker with a weight of 117 kg and a sensitivity of 100 dB. Complete with various audiophile features, including a sophisticated crossover unit, this speaker showcases a clean design. The sound quality of the Onkyo GS-1 Grand Scepter stands out, easily surpassing many competitors by delivering lively and natural performance. This speaker exemplifies the dedication to audio excellence and innovation that Onkyo is known for.

10. JBL Paragon D44000

From its debut in 1957 until the end of production in 1980, the JBL Paragon D44000 held the title of the world’s most expensive home speaker system. The substantial weight of 136 kg justified its cost, and even today, the prices for the Paragon D44000 remain astronomical. The investment is warranted as this iconic “bedside table” has the ability to recreate the ambiance of a nightclub within your home. The three-band system can reach up to 15,000 Hz, and with an 8-ohm impedance and 125 W input power, it remains compatible with modern amplifiers. The JBL Paragon D44000 utilized a LE15A woofer, a 375 midrange driver with an H5038P horn, and a JBL 075 tweeter.

9. Jensen Imperial

In 1956, the Jensen Imperial epitomized the true American sound and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of audiophiles worldwide even in 2022. These massive speakers, measuring 83 x 135 x 62 cm, accommodate only 35 watts of power, feature a relatively light impedance of 16 ohms, and weigh a substantial 99 kg. The sound delivery from the Jensen Imperial is akin to magic, thanks to its 15” woofers and cobalt magnet systems, ensuring a velvety sound that can be enjoyed for hours without a hint of fatigue.

8. Altec A7 Voice Of The Theater

The Altec A7 Voice Of The Theater horn systems, originally not designed for home use, have found a devoted following among High End enthusiasts in the 21st century. Despite their oversized nature, these speakers have proven to easily meet various household needs. Renowned for their “life-size sound” and uncompromising dynamics, the Altec A7 covers a broad frequency response from 30 to 15,000 Hz, earning them high praise among audio enthusiasts who appreciate their unique qualities.

7. JBL Hartsfield

The JBL Hartsfield is a revered item among collectors, offering an exquisite and well-coordinated presentation. The development of these speakers commenced in 1955, and by 1957, the first models were introduced. Equipped with 15” woofers, specifically the 150-4C, and featuring unique JBL 375 coaxial assemblies for midrange and treble, the Hartsfield pioneered an approach that became the cornerstone for many proprietary developments for decades to come. This legacy is evident in the latest incarnation, the JBL M2. However, it’s the Hartsfield that stands out, capable of delivering musical realism that can literally make your hair move.

6.Exclusive model 2401

The 1983 TAD (Technical Audio Devices) speakers command record prices, and it’s not without reason. These speakers feature two 40 cm woofers with AlNiCo magnetic systems, a beryllium horn driver, a frequency response ranging from 29 to 20,000 Hz, 300 watts of power handling, 4-ohm impedance, and an impressive 98 dB sensitivity. Weighing in at 145 kilograms, these giants from TAD not only showcase the essence of real bass but also stun listeners with their remarkable microdynamics. Their exceptional specifications and performance contribute to their status as highly sought-after and prestigious speakers in the audio world.

5. Vitavox CN-191

If you’re yearning for natural sound, the Vitavox CN-191 is the answer! In today’s audio landscape, audiophiles are opting for these speakers, originally crafted in 1948, over newfangled High End designs (as seen on whatsbestforum). The true magic lies in an honest frequency range of 30 – 16,000 Hz (with a “fifteen” for the bass, naturally), a minimal resistance of 15 ohms, 100 watts of input power, and each speaker weighing in at 114 kg. It’s noteworthy that Vitavox has recently resurrected the production of these speakers, catering to the enduring demand for their unique and natural sonic qualities.


4. Kinoshita Monitor RM RIS-1C

The zenith of Kinoshita production, the Monitor RM RIS-1C, conceals remarkable features behind its unassuming name. With an astonishing lower cut-off frequency of 9 Hz and a weight of 300 kg, these speakers showcase Kinoshita’s favored Vertical-Twin design and TSS (Total Sleeve Shield) technology, among other advanced features. Originally designed for the finest recording studios, these speakers have found favor with audiophiles, earning love and admiration from a multitude of enthusiasts as 350 companies over the years have chosen to equip them.

3. Apogee Grand

The Apogee Grand exemplifies Ultra High End audio at its pinnacle. This speaker system revolutionized the luxury industry at the close of the 20th century and became the coveted dream of many audiophiles seeking uncompromising fidelity. These four-way mastodons featured active bass with a 12″ woofer in a closed box boasting 600 watts of amplification from Krell. With separate amplification for high frequencies and a remotely controlled crossover for other bands, the Apogee Grand effortlessly reproduced a frequency range from 18 to 27,000 Hz and maintained an impedance of 3 ohms. Weighing more than half a ton, this system easily achieved a sound pressure of 120 dB.

2. Klipsch Klipschorn

Many consider the “golden age” of audio to have dawned with the creation of the Klipsch Klipschorn in 1946. This speaker system marked a significant moment, setting the stage for what many view as the ultimate in speaker technology. However, it wasn’t until the AK6 version, introduced just a few years ago, that the Klipschorn could be accommodated in any room without constraints. Prior to this development, the operation of a 15” woofer, utilizing reflected bass from the walls of the hall, necessitated placing the speakers strictly in the corners of the room. With a sensitivity of 105 dB, these speakers could be driven even by a one-watt amplifier, and the lower frequency of 33 Hz was palpable, providing a visceral experience.

1. Electro-Voice Patrician 800

What could surpass speakers with “15” or “8” bass? How about speakers with 30” (76.2 cm) woofers! The Electro-Voice Patrician 800, unveiled in 1963, not only set a record for the size of its woofers but also delivered an absolutely mesmerizing sound. Weighing in at 143 kg, these speakers featured an additional 12” driver handling 100-800 Hz, an 8HD & T25A 800-3500 Hz horn assembly, and an EV T35 textile diaphragm vertical horn tweeter. This combination contributed to an extraordinary audio experience.

  1. What about Acostic Research AR-9? Polk Audio SDA-CSR+ compact bookshelf speakers?

  2. I think you have overlooked canadian made paradigm 11 se deluxe. Three way,three hundred watts and they sound amazing.

  3. So the world’s best speaker goes all the way up to 15,000hz and has a bottom end of ?

    You need to report the same stats for all the speakers. This seems like an obvious point.

  4. I don’t see any mention of the trustee Advents that were considered the best value dollar for dollar on the market. Part of my original setup.

      1. Don’t you know audiophile snobs like these are anti Bose regardless of performance/sound?

    1. I agree. Advents were revolutionary, not to mention Kloss’s other greats, KLH and Cambridge. Woefully underrepresented here, along with many Klipsch models. And missing Bose 901s as well.

  5. Lots of interesting and innovative (important) designs missing from this list:

    Linn Isobarik
    Dunlavy SC-VI
    Hegeman One (Morrison)
    DCM Timewindow
    IMF transmission lines
    Advents (as noted above)

    to name a few off the top of my head.

  6. absolutely love the choices here. But in the early 80s a friend of mine had RTR tower speakers and there was just something warm and buttery about the sound the cherry on top was absolute crystal clear highs.. I’ve got a pair of Epos 22s now that come pretty close sound wise but I was so wasted back then that nothing would’ve sounded better anyway blasting over those monsters. Great article fun

  7. You left out ADS-Analog & Digital Systems 710 & 810 speakers. I still use my 710s I bought in 1982 to this day, they’re great.


  9. In 1976 I sold the best sounding speaker system ever made. The Accoustat X full Range Electrostatic speaker. It used high voltage power amplifiers in the speakers to drive the Electrostatic elements. Seating position and speaker positioning was critical.

  10. Where are BIC’s Omnidirectional speakers. TRP-200,400,600’s..?
    They are the Best Sounding Speakers I’ve heard.

  11. I still have my Philips 545 tri-amplified, motional feedback, studio monitors bought in 1980. They still sound great..!!!

  12. Sonab put out some great speakers too,pioneering the omni directional “stereo everywhere” sound. Some great ’60’s and ’70’s examples would be the OA6,OA116 and the OA2212.

  13. I thought that the Allison One was an awesome speaker. Two 10″ woofers, two dome midrange and two dome tweeters in each cabinet. Beautiful full sound.

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