Debating on some "new" tower speakers

I believe I'm going to either sell my Klipsch Belle inspired clones or part them out sometime soon and I'm pondering some new tower speakers. My hearing isn't what it used to be which I guess, in a way, saves me some money. ha. For the last few years, I've really thought about buying a pair of those JBL Studio 590's when they run them at 50% off, or less, I have heard them before and was quite impressed with them and have since deliberated. I also have a friend, not far from where I live, that has a pair of Klipsch Epic CF-3's version 1 in satin black I've considered. They would cost less than the JBL' and I've owned CF-3's before and they do sound great. The problem with them mainly is that all of the drivers are "unobtanium" anymore so if you "chooch" a driver, good luck finding one.

I do look on the For Sale area here, AK Barter Town, Craigslist in a 300 mile radius, etc., just to see what's out there. I don't want bookshelf speakers as I just don't want something that small on stands around. I do have a 100lb German Shepherd and another dog plus 2 cats but my upstairs room doesn't get occupied by them unless I am up there; I'd rather not have anything knocked over or something that has to come up 4 feet into the room to sound decent. So, I'll stick with towers with some girth to them.

Any others in a $1,000 give or take price range to consider? I spent 25 years in the home and car A/V world with the last 9 being a Manufacturers Rep for multiple lines but a lot of the dealers I used to deal with either aren't there now or are under new ownership. Those years, I was a rep for Canton and also NAD/PSB of which I'm still good friends with the main guys as Lenbrook. I don't know who Canton's national distributor is now, though. I could probably get PSB at 50% off or more pretty much like I can NAD.

I primarily listen to rock, hard rock, some pop, etc., from 70's on up (I'm 54 now), jazz like Ella to Norah to Diana Krall to Sinatra , older country on occasion (like 1990 and back...none of this new pop country auto tune shit), and some others. Kind of eclectic. No punk, no rap, no new country as mentioned. I have 2 systems and primarily use the Carver and Onkyo gear. I do have a Dynakit ST-70 tube amp but never have been into tube stuff that much and sold most all that I've had.

Just looking for ideas, opinions, and input as this is such a good eclectic group here.
 
I'd recommend considering Thiel but the same issue with the NLA drivers applies.

Yes, I've always enjoyed their speakers and would always make the time to go by their booth at CES and CEDIA the years I was a rep.

Two other pairs I've considered, as I can get them fairly reasonable, are Infinity RS-IIIb's and Phase Tech 8.5's. I actually kind of own a pair of RS-IIIb's but they've been at my best friends house now for over 10 years so I pretty much let him have those. They always sounded great and could back up fairly close to a wall. There are people who do make some replacement parts for them as far as EMIT tweeters and the Polydome mids. The Phase Tech 8.5's I find intriguing as I can get them for $100 and the company still stocks and sells all the replacement drivers for them and also the foam diffraction pieces around the tweeters. But, I have no experience with them so not sure what they are like other than reading fairly glowing reviews about them. At 100 pounds each, they are quite solid.
 
$1000 buys you lots of speaker, IMO.

I wouldn’t really know where to start- does efficiency matter, do you plan on swapping amps around, is form factor and size a concern ( I know you are looking at towers though)…

I can say this though- I’ve learned over the years I can be happy with many different speakers. And like you, I think about potential issues with older drivers that are unobtainable or any priority drivers.

I had a pair of Thiels here for a stretch. Exemplary build quality and excellent sound although very power hungry to achieve their potential.

The drivers- the Dynaudio tweeter (D28DF) has been out of production for a bit, but the Morel MDT30 or 33 is an ideal replacement (supposedly built to design of the D28) and you can replace just the voice coil if you experience a failure. The mids I recall were available still from the manufacturer at least until recently, and the woofer could be repaired with a matching voice coil by an expert speaker repair facility (this was done to my woofer on a Sony SS-M7 with great results). I also hunted a few original replacement drivers as backups and was still in the game for well under a grand.

My long winded post is basically saying with careful shopping even some older speakers can still prove a smart buy if they used drivers supplied from some of the big manufacturers with no, or minimal modifications.
If you still have that Dynaco ST70 you may want to consider efficiency of your speaker purchase though. I run one myself and use speakers that are 90-91db efficiency or for my 86db efficient monitors, where I don’t play music loud, I run models with zobel networks and benign impedance swings.
 
$1000 buys you lots of speaker, IMO.

Yep, I agree....a grand can buy a great many variations of speakers. I'm not much of a "system swapper" and only have my gear upstairs in a 15.5' x 32' room with carpet floors, and those angled ceilings like most above garage rooms have...5 foot side walls then angle up to a point where it's about 8 feet wide on top ceiling and it's an 8' ceiling height.

I've pondered selling the Onkyo reference stack but then I have doubts. The amp is nice at 52-lbs and is underrated at 80wpc. But, for the volumes I drive, it's typically plenty. I can't play crazy loud with having tinnitus, as it will irritate it I go too long, but I do throttle it up on occasion. The Carver amp is "rated at" 460wpc which is more than plenty....and sounds really good. The Dynakit ST-70 isn't in full working order yet and I don't know if I'll keep it once it is. It came with a big group of things I bought last year that have mostly all been sold off. I'm not a big tube amp person anyway as it involves troubleshooting that I'm not versed in typically. ha.

There are so many great choices out there, for sure, but in central Arkansas, the pickings are more slim for used gear that the state flippers haven't already found and marked way up. Spending $1000 on a new pair of JBL Studio 590's would be the most I've spent on any single piece of gear, so to speak, in many, many years. It's not that I can't afford to spend more, it's just that I'm a "cheap audiophile" and don't care as much now since my hearing has gone more south. Maybe that's why the Belle clones haven't really done it for me over the last few years. My friends tell me they sound great....but my ears are just different now. Not to mention after having been in that industry for 25+ years, I just refuse to pay retail for gear anymore. I do love the sound of my ads L1230's; maybe it's something about those dome mids and tweeters, but I've always enjoyed their speakers.

I do appreciate the "long winded post" as I find them more informative! :D
 
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240sx4u

Technically It's LexusGuy
I actually like JBL speakers a lot, the studio 590s would be on my list if I were looking for new in that price bracket.
 
Yep, I agree....a grand can buy a great many variations of speakers. I'm not much of a "system swapper" and only have my gear upstairs in a 15.5' x 32' room with carpet floors, and those angled ceilings like most above garage rooms have...5 foot side walls then angle up to a point where it's about 8 feet wife on top ceiling and it's an 8' ceiling height.

I've pondered selling the Onkyo reference stack but then I have doubts. The amp is nice at 52-lbs and is underrated at 80wpc. But, for the volumes I drive, it's typically plenty. I can't play crazy loud with having tinnitus, as it will irritate it I go too long, but I do throttle it up on occasion. The Carver amp is "rated at" 460wpc which is more than plenty....and sounds really good. The Dynakit ST-70 isn't in full working order yet and I don't know if I'll keep it once it is. It came with a big group of things I bought last year that have mostly all been sold off. I'm not a big tube amp person anyway as it involves troubleshooting that I'm not versed in typically. ha.

There are so many great choices out there, for sure, but in central Arkansas, the pickings are more slim for used gear that the state flippers haven't already found and marked way up. Spending $1000 on a new pair of JBL Studio 590's would be the most I've spent on any single piece of gear, so to speak, in many, many years. It's not that I can't afford to spend more, it's just that I'm a "cheap audiophile" and don't care as much now since my hearing has gone more south. Maybe that's why the Belle clones haven't really done it for me over the last few years. My friends tell me they sound great....but my ears are just different now. Not to mention after having been in that industry for 25+ years, I just refuse to pay retail for gear anymore. I do love the sound of my ads L1230's; maybe it's something about those dome mids and tweeters, but I've always enjoyed their speakers.

I do appreciate the "long winded post" as I find them more informative! :D
Jeezus, L1230s are still to this day a speaker that to me, not only sounded “right”, but put some excitement into listening, and did some great things with imaging and soundstage. At about 6 ohms snd pretty efficient- I think 92/92.5db, just a great speaker even to this day.

No flies on the L1290/L1290 II, but the 1230s had a “boogie” factor built in.
 
I believe I'm going to either sell my Klipsch Belle inspired clones or part them out sometime soon and I'm pondering some new tower speakers. My hearing isn't what it used to be which I guess, in a way, saves me some money. ha. For the last few years, I've really thought about buying a pair of those JBL Studio 590's when they run them at 50% off, or less, I have heard them before and was quite impressed with them and have since deliberated. I also have a friend, not far from where I live, that has a pair of Klipsch Epic CF-3's version 1 in satin black I've considered. They would cost less than the JBL' and I've owned CF-3's before and they do sound great. The problem with them mainly is that all of the drivers are "unobtanium" anymore so if you "chooch" a driver, good luck finding one.

I do look on the For Sale area here, AK Barter Town, Craigslist in a 300 mile radius, etc., just to see what's out there. I don't want bookshelf speakers as I just don't want something that small on stands around. I do have a 100lb German Shepherd and another dog plus 2 cats but my upstairs room doesn't get occupied by them unless I am up there; I'd rather not have anything knocked over or something that has to come up 4 feet into the room to sound decent. So, I'll stick with towers with some girth to them.

Any others in a $1,000 give or take price range to consider? I spent 25 years in the home and car A/V world with the last 9 being a Manufacturers Rep for multiple lines but a lot of the dealers I used to deal with either aren't there now or are under new ownership. Those years, I was a rep for Canton and also NAD/PSB of which I'm still good friends with the main guys as Lenbrook. I don't know who Canton's national distributor is now, though. I could probably get PSB at 50% off or more pretty much like I can NAD.

I primarily listen to rock, hard rock, some pop, etc., from 70's on up (I'm 54 now), jazz like Ella to Norah to Diana Krall to Sinatra , older country on occasion (like 1990 and back...none of this new pop country auto tune shit), and some others. Kind of eclectic. No punk, no rap, no new country as mentioned. I have 2 systems and primarily use the Carver and Onkyo gear. I do have a Dynakit ST-70 tube amp but never have been into tube stuff that much and sold most all that I've had.

Just looking for ideas, opinions, and input as this is such a good eclectic group here.
I have a pair of Dunlavy Cantatas that are simply outstanding! I believe you could buy a pair for close to $1k. The drivers are all still available from Madisound.
 
Jeezus, L1230s are still to this day a speaker that to me, not only sounded “right”, but put some excitement into listening, and did some great things with imaging and soundstage. At about 6 ohms snd pretty efficient- I think 92/92.5db, just a great speaker even to this day.

No flies on the L1290/L1290 II, but the 1230s had a “boogie” factor built in.

I agree completely. Once I got these "done", they are pretty much all I listen to and have no desire to replace them. I had Richard So rebuild the mids and tweeters and I rebuilt the crossovers with Mundorf caps and resistors. The woofers aren't perfect but they work fine and not spending that close to $300 to have them redone. The grills are the worst part and look awful. They will be tough to recover but I can do it when time allows. The material is beyond being able to be cleaned and will have to be stripped. I know some people think they sound better without grills, and maybe that's so, but I'd rather the domes not be "catch-all's" for stuff; nor do I want them to get hit.
 
As far as the JBL Studio 590's go, the main downside that everyone has talked about with them is their fit and finish; cheap plastic bases, vinyl clad covering, and some rather bland reviews on SQ. I guess that's the beauty of older used speakers that have parts you can work with is that you aren't screwed when something goes south. There's an older gentleman not too far away from me that has a pair of Infinity RS-IIIb's and also Phase Tech PC 8.5's that I could buy (both) for a song. I've owned RS-IIIa's and really did enjoy them. They reside at my best friends house where they've been for over a decade, after I moved back to AR from TX in 2009. I've not ever owned, or know much about, Phase Tech speakers but the company actually still sells brand new replacement drivers and the foam pieces for the tweeters. That's quite the statement in itself.
 
I have a pair of Dunlavy Cantatas that are simply outstanding! I believe you could buy a pair for close to $1k. The drivers are all still available from Madisound.
I’m a big fan of Bobby Palcovic’s designs (Merlin Speskers), and I have read some posts elsewhere compare them favorably, with a slight nod to the Dunlavy having a bit deeper bass.

This is high praise in my book. I bet your speakers sound exceptional!
 
Well, looks like I've got this figured out now. A friend of a very good friend, who lives maybe 20 minutes from me, wants to trade my Belle clones for 2 pairs of black satin Klipsch CF-3 version 1's, a new in box spare 10" neo woofer, and 2 K-63-N HF driver (which are unobtanium) for my Belle clones. Originally I had version 3's, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and these are both version 1's which are termed as the "best" version to have. I don't need 2 sets so I'll probably sell the best looking pair and strip the paint off the other pair and prep them for some new veneer. Maybe mahogany or walnut....anything but oak. lol. Supposed to swap them around tomorrow, weather permitting.
 

Andyman

Junior Member
PSB made some good stuff; isn't there anything recent they made that interests you since you have an in with them? One of the locals had a big set of towers that sounded quite nice and I've had a few sets pass through here, including a set of Minis I picked up a few weeks back at a SMAC meet.
 
I was going to say I have some Revel F36 in black in nearly pristine condition for a little more than four figures. Like much of the stuff I sit on, I haven't listed them anywhere.
 

MikeT.

Senior Member
@avguytx , I could use a couple of friends like yours. Did the swap take place? Hope you will not be affected by hurricane Ida. My hometown of Baton Rouge looks to be in her sights.
 
PSB made some good stuff; isn't there anything recent they made that interests you since you have an in with them? One of the locals had a big set of towers that sounded quite nice and I've had a few sets pass through here, including a set of Minis I picked up a few weeks back at a SMAC meet.

There's really not been many of their tower speakers I've cared for in the last decade. I did like the towers they had years ago like the Stratus series but now everything is the usual slender towers with multiple small drivers. Nothing against them but just not my preference.
 
@avguytx , I could use a couple of friends like yours. Did the swap take place? Hope you will not be affected by hurricane Ida. My hometown of Baton Rouge looks to be in her sights.

Yep. My wife and I drove down yesterday and made the swap, It ended up being a set of version 1's and a set of version 2's, which is no biggie. The version 1's will be the ones I keep but the version 2's actually look the best in appearance, and of course they sound great. In the fall, I'll strip the black satin paint off of them and veneer them in either a regular mahogany, walnut, or cherry veneer. That won't be tough to do as it's just the tops and sides that have to be done.

I hooked up the Onkyo Reference gear to them and flanked them with the ads L1230's which is going to be all I need for speakers. 2 pairs is puh-lenty for me to rotate around. lol. We switched the room up and I now have everything on the 15-1/2' +short wall" where before I was using a section of the long wall (32') that did give better bass than how they are now, but, they open up much better like they are at this point. I need to play with the distance some.

I doubt we see anything from Ida since we're so far north. Maybe some rain, which we could use.
 

Andyman

Junior Member
There's really not been many of their tower speakers I've cared for in the last decade. I did like the towers they had years ago like the Stratus series but now everything is the usual slender towers with multiple small drivers. Nothing against them but just not my preference.
Gotcha! Mark's PSBs were older ones and I'm sure they were Stratus. Slender with small drivers it wasn't.
 
Gotcha! Mark's PSBs were older ones and I'm sure they were Stratus. Slender with small drivers it wasn't.

The Stratus were a great sounding line and got good reviews and a big pair of the Gold or Gold i would have been nice. The Platinum series came out while I was still a rep and were very nice but rather pricey. Those never come up in my neck of the woods.
 
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